Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review - Spicy Bites of Biryani by Ashwina Garg


Genre: Romance/Fiction

Publisher: Srishti

‘Spicy Bites of Biryani’ is the first novel by Mrs. Ashwina Garg. It is the sweet and spicy tale of four completely different characters – Sanjay, Aditi, Mayank and Jayshree. Sanjay is a US returned software millionaire, who has returned to India, after selling his company, tolook for a perfect bride. He is already into his thirties and feels that his life has reached a point, where he should have a wife. Moreover, he recentlyhad a breakup, when his girlfriend, Sheetal, ditched him. Aditi is a young, beautiful, but a commitment-phobic writer, who has switched boyfriends constantly, and has perfected the art of breakups. She is chirpy, fun loving, outspoken,a typical girl next door, who is going through a horrendous writer’s block. Mayank and Jayshree are married to each other, a picture perfect couple, at least in pictures. Their wedding is marred by the expectations of the relatives and families, monotonous work and hectic schedule, which leaves them with no time to enjoy their togetherness. They work. They fight. They love, and they fight again, and they work!

Now, when Sanjay lands up in India, after selling his software company, he meets Mayank, Jayshree and, their friend Aditi. Sanjay was senior to Mayank in their college days, and he was senior to both Mayank and Jayshree when they worked for Apache. Sanjay befriends with Aditi, and the latter takes up the responsibility to find the perfect match for Sanjay. She even fixes his date with one of her friends, Sujaya. But Sanjay finds the calorie conscious Sujaya completely opposite to his choice. Meanwhile, the relatives are too excited to see an eligible bachelor, and they all get busy in the match-making. But, Sanjay slowly gets attracted towards the bubbly Aditi, who is afraid of any sort of commitment. They both then decides to enter in a contractual-based relationship, where there will be love, commitment, but no future. They all then go on a vacation to Phuket, and the relationship between Sanjay and Aditi, and Mayank and Jayshree goes through all sorts of ups and downs. Aditi tries her best to prove the perfect companion to Sanjay, shedding her change-boyfriend-everyday image. She takes care of him perfectly, and also tries to change herself, just for him. Sanjay, jolted by a breakup, tries his best to keep Aditi happy, but his over-possessive nature results into constant fights. Mayank and Jayshree’s marital life goes through a lot of ups and downs. Mayank wants to have a baby, where Jayshree is not ready. Moreover, their hectic work schedule leaves them with less time for each other.And, the constant nagging from the relatives adds icing on the cake of their marital woes. Now the question is – Will Aditi overcome her phobia, and agree to marry Sanjay? Will Sanjay be able to shed his over-possessiveness and accept Aditi, as she is? And, will Mayank and Jayshree solve their marital issues, and will truly be a perfect wedded couple? To find out, savour the spicy Biryani of their lives, by reading this book.    

Now, the REVIEW...

‘Spicy Bites of Biryani’ is a well-written fiction, a bit different from the usual college romances. It is matured, it is humorous, it is witty, and it will definitely make you laugh. I loved the extent of detailing Ashwina has done. Be it the clothes, or the food, or the surroundings or the mood, the authoress has detailed them to the perfection. I also loved the way she has portrayed Aditi's character, showing various layers.  She is sweet, she is bubbly, she is outspoken, she is adorable, she is bold, she is innocent, she is caring, she is dumb at times, she is protective, she is cooperative, she is friendly, and she has shades of fragility too. Without a doubt, she is my favorite character in the book. The narration is another highlight of the book. Ashwina has a very good control on the language, and I congratulate her for this. The book is lighthearted, and some of the scenes (and lines) will definitely make you smile, or even laugh. There is a scene when Aditi asks Sanjay if he will wear anything she buys for him, and conducts marriage as per her own choice. To this, Sanjay agrees, with a fear that she might buy a green colored Shervani, with belly dancers shaking their hip at the wedding mandap. And then there is a scene, when Aditi is afraid that someone will rape her, but she thinks that she is not even dressed for the occasion to provoke anyone to rape her! And one of my favorites was –when Sanjay tells Aditi that he was imagining her in a monster truck(because Aditi owns a small car). To this, Aditi sadly mutters, “Most men imagine women in lingerie!”

I can assure these situations will look much better when you will read this book. Apart from humor, the romance and the drama has been highlighted and expressed decently well. As a first time writer, Mrs. Ashwina Garg has done a good job. It is a decent read, a quick read, and will definitely make you smile. Aditi’s character stays with you, even after you are done with the book.

A few negatives...

The book starts off very slowly, with too many characters thrown-off instantly, and a reader may feel confused. The book takes time to grow, and picks up after Aditi and Sanjay decides their relationship rules. Apart from Aditi, I personally felt that rest of the characters were under-developed, especially Mayank and Jayshree. There are moments when the reader misses them in the story. Continuous reference to sex was also a put-off, and reminded me of earlier days of Durjoy Datta. The first kiss scene between the lead couple is always important. Somehow, the first kiss scene in this book failed to ignite any spark, though the romance scenes in the later part of the book are much better. Although, the authoress has successfully thrown the humorous quotient; the story somehow fails to grow in the reader’s mind. The story moves at a single pace, which is neither too exciting, and nor too boring. But, the major negative, which I personally felt,was the predictable story line and uninteresting climax.

On the whole, Ashwina Garg’s ‘Spicy Bitesof Biryani’ is a good and impressive debut attempt. It is well written, well narrated story (ignoring a few editing flaws), and is humorous in parts. It is different from the usual college romances, but still remains predictable. I had actually planned to give it a bit higher rating, but the climax spoiled the fun, for me.I am going with 3.25 out of 5 stars  for Ashwina Garg’s ‘Spicy Bites of Biryani.’ When most debut authors are writing college-love-breakup-boring stories, Ashwina has delivered something different - a lighthearted, humorous and witty story. I will definitely buy her next book, for sure!

Verdict: It is Spicy! It is Humorous! But,in parts! Recommended for chiclit lovers.