Book review: Everyone Has a Story-2 Savi Sharma

Syrup, anyone? The characters live in their two-dimensional world with their inherent steely grit and determination, writes Vibha Ghai

Everyone Has an Story - 2

Yes, everyone has a story. But not everyone puts it down for the world to see and possibly read. And Savi Sharma, after her first Everyone Has A Story, is confident enough to weave another one with the same characters in Everyone Has A Story – 2. The characters remain the same. They have moved on in their lives from the starter book in what may be a series in times to come.

The four main cardboard characters — Meera, Vivaan, Kabir, and Nisha — continue to live in their misty rose-tinged world. Their friendship is one to die for: the ye dosti hum nahi chhodenge kinds (pardon the filminess!). They are so in tune with each other that not only do the couples know what is going on in the other half’s mind but they can also instinctively understand what is happening in their friends’ minds. Incredible! Some dosti, this.

Anyway, they all have their dreams and related stories. Kabir has his café which is a home away from home for his eclectic customers who have become his extended family. Nisha raises their daughter while being the cliched support for her husband Kabir. Meera, the talented writer, is working on her next book for which she has a contract with a renowned publishing house. She continues to be in love and a serious relationship (but with no strings like marriage attached) with Vivaan who is very excited and gung-ho about his new venture, a travel agency with a difference. Yes, all of them have a story!

Of course, in this whitewashed, squeaky-clean, alternate universe created by the author where there are only sweet, kind people with beautiful eyes, there has to be a villain. And here it is Fate. Just Fate. Who deals them the worst cards possible. Kabir’s café burns down and he is in hospital with serious burns. Vivaan’s dream collapses on his first outing with his new agency when he is hauled up for possessing drugs that have been planted in his bag by a customer. And the women? They bravely stand like staunch supporters behind their men with nary a thought for themselves. Bring out the tissues, readers!

Each chapter is presented through the perspective of one character, and that includes Fate, who laughs and mouths platitudes while flexing its muscles to deal yet another blow to the protagonists. But it does not know our characters that well, and is not aware of their ‘we shall overcome’ spirit. They persevere and persist and continue in their efforts to get their lives back on keel, helping each other, since we don’t see any families on the scene even when the characters are in dire straits. Talk about strangeness! Alternate universe, remember?

The young author apparently started reading books in her youth, not her childhood. And she discovered the magic of words by reading contemporary fiction of the Chetan Bhagat and Ravinder Kumar genre. Now that inspired her to such an extent that she decided to write herself. A love story, yes, but one that would be motivational as well, keeping in mind her role models Paulo Coelho, Robin Sharma, and Mitch Albom. And thus was born this treacly, saccharine-sweet story of four friends.

All of them do have a story, but a hackneyed one, and is narrated with platitudes and metaphors that are spread like toys in a two-year-old tot’s room: too messy. A serious purging would have made the tale tighter; the seriously generous sprinkling of similes and metaphors jars and takes away the effect they are put in for in the first place. And clichés abound! Look at this description of Nisha by Kabir: “Nisha was the most reliable woman in the world. She was so steady, my rock. After a long day at work, I knew I could go home to a warm, delicious-smelling house and ease myself into her arms. I loved how she took care of me.”

Syrup, anyone? The banalities and mawkishness distract and there are times when one skims over the passages with a glazed eye. “I was raised to be strong, to say what I felt, unapologetically. But here I was, a crumpled pile of wilted crepe paper made up of tear-stained nothingness. I despised the feeling. “I am sorry,” I said. “Don’t be. Crying yields a force within yourself that will allow you to do many things — healing, forgiving, or sustaining. Allow those tears sometimes, and one day you won’t need them anymore because you will have healed.” The new guru in the making!

The characters live in their two-dimensional world with their inherent steely grit and determination. All of them have hardly any greys; they mostly come out white. It’s as if they are inhabiting the faerie world atop Enid Blyton’s Wishing Tree. Can you imagine a set of students at a college all agog at a new professor spouting philosophy, all of them going ‘wow’ at the deep thoughts being presented in the teacher’s very first class? Some youngsters, these! Oh, well.

The earnestness of the author comes through, and full marks for that. However, a serious culling of the metaphors and homilies would have probably made the story more heart-warming and real.

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Book review: Everyone Has a Story-2 Savi Sharma

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