Sunday, May 11, 2014

Keeping the Promises - Book Review

Keeping the Promises
By Dhruv Gajjar
Review By Ila Garg

Keeping the Promises is a novel by the writer Dhruv Gajjar. The cover art is beautiful and clearly puts this book in the category of romance. The concept of cover itself is so compelling that one would pick up the book. The font of title adds beauty to it.

Dhruv Gajjar, is an MBBS from SBKS Medical College and Research Centre, Vadodara. Currently residing in Ahmedabad, in his own words he is a nocturnal Amdavadi, a humble Gujrati and a proud Indian. This book is a work of fiction inspired by his true life event. The first edition of this book was published while he was in final year and this also marks his literary debut.

The blurb of reads as, ‘WORDS are mightier than anything else in this world. Sometimes they serve as liaisons between two distinct hearts, and sometimes they shatter two people irreparably apart. But when they are woven into promises and hopes, they give rise to something that lasts forever. They change lives.

I had almost lost myself, when she brought me back to life - with her promises. She was dying with a dreadful tumour, but she had the authority to pull those last strings that brought me back to her. She was gradually dying, and every night before going to sleep - she would take a portion of my heart, my soul and my words. She would take a promise from me every night that made me who I'm today. She gave me a new life.

One of those promises was to compile this novel that took me to an eventful journey in which I discovered several people, like me, who too were keeping her promises.

What were those amusing, surprising and horrendous promises that they all kept?

Who else other than I were bound to her promises?

Would she be able to redefine love and sacrifice with her plans?

Can grief completely redefine who you are? Can a broken heart be healed?

Can you fall in love with the same person all over again?

Can you live and die, both at the same time?

Be a part of my story, about a girl, who - through her promises, changed the lives of the people she loved, including mine.

This is my journey. This is the window of my past, and the view to my future. It is yours now!

Initial impressions of the book from the title, cover, and the blurb - It’s gonna be yet another love story – that too a typical one. Girl and guy meet in college, fell for each other at first sight, and so on. And yes it is a story of a two couples (no doubt), but it is based on real life incident of the author himself. This will leave the readers intrigued.

This is the story of Dhruv Gajjar (Gajju) himself and his lady love M, and also it is a tale of Angel Shah (Angie) and Anshul Bhatt (Ansh). Most amazing part of the story is to see how love can change the course of your life, how it actually gives you a purpose to live life in the right stride. It’s a narrative of sacrifices, friendship, unconditional love, true love, and togetherness above all. 

The story begins with two best friends coming together in the same college and same hostel room, how they used to have fun and ended up falling in love. The love between Dhruv and M, the mystery girl began rapidly, unexpectedly and took a vigorous turn. Everything just happened too fast giving the readers tinges of jitters.

It is therefore a story of a girl who from her death bed, planned a new life for all the people she loved and remained a mystery throughout. She made sure that everything happens exactly as the way she thought and wanted. It is about a boy who stood by his love during the time she was distressed and tormented by a life threatening disease, Neurofibrosarcoma, and never gave up on her even after she died. It is about the promises that the boy gave her in the last eleven days of her life, and how he kept each of them as he kept his lady love alive in his heart and memories. Those eleven days, the last days of their togetherness were special to both of them.

Their tale comes in front of the readers through partial nostalgia and partially in present. From cooking for his love, fulfilling all her demands, to giving her orchids with envelopes filled with short poems or quotes, to writing their story and narrating it to her every night, the boy left no stone unturned to fill his love's life with innumerable joys. The girl too promises from him every night, the promises that later helped him to become a better, successful and a happy human being. 

The best part of the book was the conversations between Dhruv and M in those eleven days, and the promises that M took from him. It leaves the readers teary eyed for sure, unless you have a heart of stone. The author has done a laudable job in that respect.

Quoting lines from the book - “Nilu! I know you are doing things for me which no one can ever dream of doing. Knowing my dark side, you still love me for who I’m. In fact, I love you too – I really do. But when I think of us being together, a thought of cheating comes across my mind, I still love M and I love you too, I just can’t understand the feeling I’m having inside. Is it possible to love two people at the same time?”

The 212 page book is a beautiful, romantic, heart-warming story that surely will leave you crying in the end. The book has sheer realism which is the USP according to me. The narrative skills of the author are commendable. It takes you on a journey and a plethora of emotions. It’s surreal, almost magical. The language and pace is comfortable for all the readers, however there are some points where the story becomes dragging.

The too many dilemmas of Ansh’s and Angie’s love life is just one of the reasons you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens in Keeping the Promises. It is not every day that you encounter a love story where the father of the girl is supportive and yet they remain apprehensive about marrying. The story of Dhruv and M, is another reason that will keep you hooked till the end.

To find out whether Ansh and Angie marry or decide to go with the wind, what is their future, whether Dhruv succeeds in fulfilling his promises given to M or fails, how does the life threating disease M suffers from affect both of their lives, how M reacts to her approaching death, how Angie faces Ansh after deciding to marry someone else, how Angie’s father takes a step further to ensure the happiness of his daughter, how everything planned by M falls in place; you will have to read the novel, Keeping the Promises.

'Yay' Factors:
 Angel Shah and M, the mystery girl. Also, the last letter and the promises, ofcourse.

'Nay' Factors: Ample editing errors, the unnecessary italicizing, some descriptions which could have been written differently to enhance reader interest, etc.

Message for the readers: Promises are meant to be fulfilled and not merely to be kept behind a veil... This novel compels you to realise the importance of keeping the promises. So go ahead, pick it up, read it and then start to fulfil your promises too gradually before it’s too late.

P.S. I loved the last letter. Quoting from it – “See, as I promised I sent a girl for you. What did you say? Don’t make the promises you can’t keep. See I kept my promise.
P.S. I’ll always be with you – and you know that.”

Rating: 3.5/5

Buying Links: Homeshop18 | Amazon | Infibeam 

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