Author: Vrushali Telang
Publisher: Random House
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Love is a dangerous game. The search, the pursuit, the acceptance, the one … all of it is a very tiresome and agonising affair. Vrushali Telang’s He Loves Me Not traces the journey of two youngsters in love, with very different views of how to go about it.
The book opens with an introduction of the main characters – Jimmy, Mehroo, and their respective fathers Dinshaw and Porus. Jimmy is a 25 year old narcissist who leads a sedentary lifestyle and is the leader of ‘The Stars’ – who believe that they are meant to be great and greatness will come to them without them moving so much as a finger. Dinshaw is Jimmy’s disgruntled father, who is perpetually angry and regretful about his ex-boss wooing away his beloved and beautiful wife, Havovi, and his son’s unemployment. Mehroo is an impressionable plain Jane, who worships Pizzazz magazine and is irrevocably in love with Jimmy and fails to see his version of love – i.e. the lack of it. Porus is Mehroo’s father, satisfied with his life, his earnings, and his gem of a daughter except one tiny thing….. he wants his daughter to be adventurous and live life on her own terms. ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’ never seemed truer, right?
The story traces the love, lives and relationships of the two protagonists, Jimmy and Mehroo. Unbeknownst to their fathers, Jimmy and Mehroo have clandestine afternoon rendezvous which results in Mehroo developing feelings towards Jimmy and him not reciprocating those feelings whatsoever.
Then it cuts off to the story of how Jimmy finally “grows up” – Bollywood style. He leaves home, a driven, angry young man. He strives through difficulties, and finally learns all that his father had been trying to teach him all this while. This lesson comes to him after a dramatic change in his life, obviously.
Mehroo, meanwhile, is having her own epiphanies. When she realises that Jimmy’s love for her is not the same as her love-cum-devotion for him, she is jolted into reality. She moves out of the fortress she created for herself, with her sporadic glass painting endeavours, Pizzazz magazine and good homemade Parsi food. She uproots herself and “travels the world” for some clarity and closure. Eat, Pray, Love, anyone?
Other interesting characters keep the pace of the book alive, a feat which the main characters fall short of achieving. The setting of the book hops from aristocratic Parsi building in South Bombay to the amorous beaches in Goa to the clean spread of sea in Madh Island. The end to the story is befitting and leaves the reader with a twisted and vicarious feeling of satisfaction. A real story with interesting characters; He Loves Me Not doesn’t disappoint, but don’t get your hopes up too high either.