Cocaine-fuelled love

Cocaine-fuelled love

 As the publishers promise you, it’s a cocktail all right but one that neither whets the appetite nor quenches the thirst for good story telling.

Bombarded as we are with mindless trivia on the lives of the rich and famous, yet another look at Delhi’s cocaine-bloated underbelly can only be mildly amusing at best, never engaging. Watching an assortment of Page 3 bimbos flaunt their toys and toy boys is tedious, and suffering their infidelities as they swap husbands, boyfriends and secrets is yawn-inducing. Didn’t anyone tell the author that ‘kiss and yell’ stories went out of fashion, a decade ago, with a certain President and a certain White House intern? On second thoughts, perhaps voyeuristic tales will always have a market.

In a world where lawns are lush, flower beds well-kept, family silver polished to a rich sheen, disruption can only come from embittered human beings who guzzle champagne from crystal flutes and suffer massive meltdowns.

Trouble, in this story, happens when the protagonists, Serena Sharma and Riya, are bored — or sober. They should really have been at College or at AA, but they enroll at neither place because they can afford a lifestyle that includes the hottest nightclubs, the best single malts, the biggest diamonds, the purest cocaine and the terrible despair that comes with it all. They have the time and money and the exotic settings to live the good life. And when they are bored with being alive, they blow up their lives. Moral: material splendour does not translate to emotional comfort.
Beneath all such clichés is the promise of a poignant tale — of daughters let down by their fathers, of women who must turn into trophy wives to keep their men, and of fairly intelligent people trying really hard to live lives layered with artifice where the chief source of entertainment could be cutting lines through cocaine heaps with platinum credit cards or playing strip-poker with near strangers.

Picking your way through the sins of the swish set, figuring out how the gears of politics and business grind, fighting the urge to moralise and negotiating one relationship disaster after another as you flip the pages of this book could have been absorbing work if only the quality of writing was higher than what it is.

It takes a special skill to write about very real and very sad situations that often cost people their love and their life. Only a gifted raconteur can take the reader on a perceptive journey through the world of celebrity self-destruction where the demons are often of their own making. Merely prowling through locker rooms of gyms will only result in a tale like The Great Indian Love Story, with thinly-veiled references to gay designers, debauched tycoons and groupies, leaving readers wondering why doomed love should have to plumb such depths.