Book review: Our Start-up Affair by Sheila Kumar

Book review: Our Start-up Affair by Sheila Kumar

Love in B'luru

Bengalureans will find the whole scenario recognisable with mention of familiar favourite landmarks like Topkapi and Premier Book Store and M G Road...

Fluffy, fun, frothy. A Bengaluru hudugi, Sheila Kumar gives us Our Start-up Affair. True to the city of start-ups, the protagonists are young entrepreneurs, too.

A and A, that’s Aditi and Aditya, serendipitously come across each other while commuting, which is what all Bengalureans do for a good part of their day. Aditi Pillai, part-owner of Snack Team, a food start-up, is sharing a cab from a new cab company Caboyea, and the driver is this hunk who is the hottest thing she has seen for a while.

She leches over the guy but finds it hard to believe he actually drives a cab for a living. Not only is he dishy but also speaks unaccented perfect English, is suave, with a sense of humour to boot. Too good to be true?

She resolves to take only Caboyea cabs henceforth and even looks up the driver details to find out more about the intriguing, strong-jawed driver. The picture of Raj K S, the driver, that flashes on her phone screen is nothing like the guy who drove her. Her rides with the cab company bring on other polite drivers but not THE driver, the fake Raj K S.

But well, Bengaluru being the small town that it is, supposedly brings them together once again on a typical rainy night when our ethnically skirted and silver-jewelleried and nose-pinned missy is in the same cab again! And stuck in the rain-induced infamous Bengaluru traffic jam! Not that our lass is complaining! Engaging in a chitchat during the ride, she discovers that our cleft-in-the-chin cabbie remembers she stays in Tippasandra. She also notices his strong, muscled forearms. And that he loves rock music. And that he has been with the cab company since its inception. AND, hold your breath and down that disbelief, before joining the company, he was studying for a business administration degree in the US of A. Aha !

So, if a light fun read is the call of the day, go get this.

Well, obviously, all readers guess that the drool-worthy dude is not a cabbie, duh! He is the owner of the cab aggregator company, which is a start-up, what else. And he is Aditya Shenoy, not Raj K S! Turns out that the second time she was picked up by him in his cab was not luck by chance but was arranged by him. The attraction is mutual and the chemistry sizzles.

And so the desi Mills & Boon kicks off with the meet-ups and dates whenever they can, busy as they are with their respective start-ups and the issues that come with them.

She has chef trainings, angry customers, new products to deal with, and he has investor issues while trying to carve a niche among the biggie cab companies operating in the city.

The bomb drops when well-meaning friends of Aditi discover, thanks to Uncle Google, that Aditya is the son of the local liquor magnate who has business dealings in diverse areas: aviation, beauty contests, casinos, hotels, the works! Estranged, but son nevertheless. That casts a shadow on the relationship, but temporarily. Feisty Aditi bounces back and deals with Aditya on her own terms, regardless of his Ducatis and Mercedes convertibles. Marriage-phobic that she is, she turns down his proposal, which obviously creates a distance between the two. The issue of commitment means different things to both of them.

Will they or won’t they get together again? Now that would be telling!

Our Start-up Affair is a good racy read, perfect for travel or a rainy day, complete with hot chai/coffee and a plate of pakoras. Or popcorn. It’s a great read even without the travel or rain for such times when you don’t want any heavy stuff but need a book for company. Bengalureans will find the whole scenario recognisable with mention of  familiar favourite landmarks like Topkapi and Premier Book Store and M G Road, even the ‘flyover beda’ protest. The characters come to life with Kumar’s easy language, one that can be heard on the roads and not in literary tomes.

Yes, there are steamy, stormy spicy scenes, but they are not like item numbers in films; they actually move the story and the relationship along.

So, if a light fun read is the call of the day, go get this.

Now, who COULD the flamboyant tycoon playboy industrialist be modelled after, I wonder, the one with the cleft chin!