Review: Another chance at life by Shreya Jindal

May 26, 2013
Author: Shreya Prabhu Jindal
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9780143419518
Rating: ★★★½☆
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Loving, losing and moving on- that, in a nutshell, is what Shreya Jindal’s ‘Another chance at life’ is about. This process towards rediscovery, however is not easy and the characters have to clear a whole lot of issues and obstacles before finally finding happiness again.

Aditya Arora enters St Mathews college in Delhi, still recovering from the death of his childhood friend and first love, Neelakshi, due to cancer. He hopes the change of city and college will help him move on from the grief. To his horror, he realizes that one of his professors is Neelakshi’s father, Krishnan who harbours a profound dislike for him owing to a lot of misunderstandings and unresolved issues between them. With Professor Krishnan absolutely hell-bent on making Aditya’s life a living hell, Aditya attempts to come to terms with the loss of his girlfriend and Krishnan’s nastiness. Helping him in the process are his three new friends- Justin, Mausammi and Kaveri.

The novel’s major strength is the portrayal of its characters. At no point do they seem exaggerated or unreal. The emotions, the dialogue- all of it is unfussy and very relatable. Shreya Jindal is a teacher today but evidently, she has not forgotten her student days. She, very successfully, delves into the minds of students attempting to deal with academic pressures, peer relations and teacher-student equations. Jindal is also able to delve into the mind of the male protagonist quite effectively, wonderfully articulating his insecurity, confusion and resistance. He is an ordinary boy, who is dealing with a difficult situation and the author portrays him as just that, without any unnecessary amplification. Her depiction of Professor Krishnan is also well done. He comes off, ultimately, not as a villain attempting to harass an innocent student but as a lonely man, struggling to come to terms with the tragedy of having lost his only daughter. The course of the book, spanning Aditya’s first year in college, involves a lot of struggles and some important lessons in reconciliation and moving on.

Shreya Jindal is quite successful in realistically depicting the complex relationship between two people who are dealing with a terrible loss. While a lot of college stories choose to focus on the love angle of it, Jindal deals with the concept of loss and heartbreak. Read it, for you too will learn quite a few life lessons with Aditya and Krishnan.

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