These days, every other novel that gets published in India is of romance genre. And, to be frank, there is not much romance in those novels. So, when I first saw the cover and the title, Hiccups, I believed it was just another love-story with some glitches/misunderstandings/fights in the relationship and how they overcome it. Am glad that I was wrong. It is not just another love-story, but, as the caption says, it is A love story with a difference.
Book blurb :
HICCUPS is a tender love story that leaves you with a happy feeling. The story revolves around the life of the protagonist, how he struggles through life as a student taking care of his mother; paying for his engineering expenses with scholarships and awards. Enclosed in a wall of priorities doing well in his studies was paramount to him.
What transpires when he meets a beautiful, witty and intelligent girl with a penchant for the good things in life?
Destiny brings the two of them together under the unlikeliest of circumstances. What follows is a fascinating journey that will change their lives forever.
The novel starts with a hospital scene where our protagonist stands outside the ICU room while his mother battles life and death. The intent of the author is clear in the very first page, he wants to make us cry.
He just passed the entrance examination for engineering but there’s no one to look after him. His father passed away while he was just 11-years old, his mother is in comatose state and he has no roof to take shelter under as he sells off their only home to meet the expenses of the medication and his education.
Understandably, the tragedy takes a toll on his life in more than one ways. He begins to lead an austere life and get’s so engrossed in studying hard that he has no time for his old friends or to make new ones in his college.
He participates in the quiz competitions that have cash as the prize money and tries to win as many as possible to help him with other expenses. Educational expenses are taken care of by the scholarships that he earns.
He manages his life on frugal expenses, forgets about the terms “enjoyment” or “celebration” and never socializes with anyone except his lecturers. Nobody has ever seen him even for 5 minutes in the premises after the college-hours. Quite understandably, his classmates consider him aloof, arrogant and selfish.
Then we are introduced to the female protagonist and we know that author has more intentions than just making us cry.
She’s beautiful, hot, intelligent, full of zest and wants to enjoy each and every moment of her college-life as she knows that these 4 years are the last years of her independence. After which, she would be trapped in a jail of corporate world and later marriage. Although, she doesn’t have an inclination to study much, she manages to get top grades in the examinations.
Predictably, these two meet and their lives are changed forever.
She is the one that every boy of the class wants to talk to, but nobody manages to muster up enough courage.
He is someone who’s so detached and aloof that nobody knows anybody about him and nobody bothers to know either. Except her.
They both become friends much to the shock of all their classmates.
And, now we realize that the author also intends to make us laugh, feel and fall in love.
If you have grown-up reading romantic novels or Bollywood movies, you would already know that they are destined to fall in love.
The rest of the story is about their journey of love.
How the friendship blossoms, how some misunderstanding and a couple of goof-ups almost breaks their friendship, how one birthday party changes it all and how they become thick friends again.
Whether his mother makes it or stays in coma? How do they fall in love? What troubles do they face in the love-life? Whether her parents agree for their marriage? Answers to these and few more questions forms the rest of the story.
The best part of the novel, although quite hard to pick just one, is the “Fastermind Quiz Competition” where they first talk as they become the team that is to represent their college.
We know it is fiction and we know that they would win the competition anyway, yet the author has penned the whole affair, which constitutes a considerable part of the 1st half, in such a way that you get goosebumps out of anxiety. Especially, the penultimate round where it is next to impossible to get a lead, because of the her goofing-up, he fights back and strongly so. The difficulty levels are so hard and when he answers question after question, you admire him with respect and almost give him a standing ovation with whistles, along with the audience.
The next amazing aspect of the novel is the humor. We discover the quirky side of him as he shows his wit and sense of humor when he loosens up a bit and opens up to her after much persuasion, which is so funny and makes you laugh.
Their occasional sarcasm, their funny conversations, their antics, and some situations actually make you laugh so loud that your parents/siblings might consider you mad.
The next amazing aspect is romance. Reading the novel makes you want to fall in love. For real. The sweet and mushy conversations, the passion, the feelings, the setting, everything is just so romantic. Also, the physical activity surrounding the romance is also so aesthetic and not put in just for titillation unlike many other Indian romance novels.
(If you think I am exaggerating on the above 3, read the novel and see for yourself.)
The poems that feature now and then in the novel also deserve a special mention. Boy, not do they just rhyme, they also move you.
There is lots of maturity in the characters of the novel. They have their own set of ideologies and philosophies.
He philosophizes so often and gives his gyaan on various topics. From professors’ attitude to being courageous to not letting few minor setbacks affect our attitude towards life to Bollywood to music to love to life.
She has her opinions on the freedom/independence of college life, on how fake and mechanical the corporate life seemed. She is a strong-headed woman and is willing to go that extra-mile for her love and gives ample support to him even without his asking.
His mom and her dad’s thinking and ideology are so strong and acceptable too.
For instance, his mom says, “We are not here to question God or our Destiny on all the hardships/troubles we face. We should simply face them, move on and live our lives. Life is all about finding out what happens next.”
Her dad says, “I know she loves you, but I don’t think that you both can lead a happy life together and this is why I think so…” and her dad lists out all the points for which he has no answer or a valid point to counter.
On the flipside, sometimes, the gyaan seems unnecessary or it seems that it should have been cut down a little.
Although, Hinglish in novels is totally acceptable in India, sometimes it seems artificial or over-done.
A “your-you’re” error in a novel is just inexcusable. There are also few more grammatical and typing errors which could’ve been avoided with some proof-reading.
On the whole, a wonderful read. It makes you cry, laugh, smile, feel, root, love, learn and enjoy. A must-read.
P.S : Oh, I didn’t give you the names of protagonists itself. They are a team and the name is “The Nameless Victors.”
The author doesn’t give them a name.