Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: Complete/Convenient by Ketan Bhagat

Have you ever heard of unusual stories? Stories which are just written without any purpose or with some purpose. Some of them manage to entertain readers and some of them falter. Author Ketan Bhagat in his debut novel 'Complete/Convenient" has put together an unusual story with many unusual things lined up for the readers. So how much this "unusual" clicks with the readers? Let's find out.  

Complete / Convenient: There Is More To Men Than Bromance depicts a very strange contrast between India and other countries. It talks of developed countries, where the worries of everyday life like the chaotic traffic, the rush to complete work, the suffocating corruption and red tapism are virtually absent. A land where life is simpler, faster and gives one time for other luxuries.
The author explores the plot in the backdrop of the charming story of Kabir. Kabir has earned a promotion with great perseverance and care, one that takes him to Sydney. Kabir and his new wife enjoy the scintillating life Sydney has to offer. Ketan Bhagat describes the beautiful city well and carves the adventures of the lead character in detail. He details how Kabir leads a kingly life punctuated regularly with the relaxing experience of spending time on beaches. Bhagat describes the sweet romance, bitter office issues, and the picturesque landscape that dots the horizon.
The author quite subtly goes into the stage when Kabir starts missing his homeland, its nitty gritties and the slight unease of its crowded streets. Despite all the professional success and the new friends, he cannot let go of the memory of his homeland. Complete / Convenient: There Is More To Men Than Bromance compares the emotions of the NRIs and the Indians who reside in India. He points out the contrast in the way each section leads their life and how they envy each other because of that.

The title itself is unusual. The tagline is a mystery. The cover page depicts few beautiful sights of places around the world. One cannot deduce a just explanation to the title until you are done with the story. The blurb is unusually lengthy and talks about developed countries and it's charms and also about human emotions which are to be experienced through Kabir's eyes. The way it has been put up is also unusual. 

The story starts off from India with love in the air between Kabir & Myra and their careers on high. The respective families are convinced for their wedding and what follows after that is a status shock for both the families. Their altercations, silent snubs, disapprovals, arguments, typical show offs is the flavor of the story until Kabir is posted to Sydney. Then it's all about life in Sydney and his Satyamev stint and the the moral values which he realizes along with time. It's about feeling that love with your parents, never forgetting your responsibility, being patient with your wife and in laws and lots more. It's a family entertainment with some NRI tadka in it. 

It's an unusually long story. It has flavors of Delhi, fun & frolic of two families, their lifestyles, their exchanges and an ever charged up characters like Mama Ji and Kabir's mother. A silent and understanding father in Kabir's dad and Myra's father. A typical show off  and a middle class family problems. Ever nagging relatives, numerous family advises, love of Myra & Kabir and a trip to Sydney and a western culture shock too with some dirty office politics towards the end. In addition to all of this disagreement between Myra & her mother in law, forgotten ties, helpful friends like Ramesh and office commitments and Myra's constant rant about Kabir's ignorance towards her and her hatred towards his mother. It's all been put together in the story. Vishy will play a major role in Kabir's life. It's a fun filled story with humor at few places. A nice little surprise towards the end will lighten up the mood of the readers. 

The book should have been kept shorter by 100 pages approx. It has been dragged too much especially with the office politics and Nadia's character. Too many office parties and too much importance to Parry & Nanak & others has taken the charm away from the story. Sydney part of the story is marred by repetitive things happening and the story is completely out of sorts there. The personal and professional life and the the comparison of lifestyle of two countries has been jumbled up too haphazardly which might confuse the readers.  

Overall it's a good NRI outing story but overstretched too much with office being the central point of the story. Human emotions and values have been handled well in parts towards the end and in the initial chapters of the book. It's an unusual story which might delight a few and might turn off a few. The glimpses of a developed country will look good only up to some pages and then become a burden for the readers. 

It had an unusual potential to do well in terms of the plot but falls flat on expectations. It has a purpose which has not been served well. 


2 OUT OF 5. 

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