When She Smiled, First
His world changed…
…When She Smiled, Last
His world changed forever!
The book ‘When She Smiled’ by Ritoban Chakrabarty can be best summarized in the couplets above and everything else falls in between. The story of a young teenager Mrityunjoy Roy is like a breeze of cool air amidst so much stress surrounding our day-to-day lives. It transcends us into the by-gone era when ‘Romance was in the air’ which has become ‘quite in your face’ today. We relived those moments when we were teenagers and had gone through such emotional and physical turmoil like Roy. Strict and rigid parents were the norm, for them academics was everything, entertainment was nothing. Roy’s parent’s portrayal is quite believable, in that sense.
My last read by Chetan Bhagat’s Half –Girl friend is in quite contrast to this one and I could not resist drawing parallels between these two. When She Smiled is touching, tender, melodramatic and quintessential love story of two teenagers, where boy suffers no end and girl takes it cool…is in sharp contrast to sex-laden adventures of Half Girl friend’s Madhav and Riya.
Till now, I have been living in the belief that boys can never be romantic, forget love – lorn, they just take girls for a ride, but reading this book changed my perception completely with Roy. Beautifully narrated from a young teenager’s perspective, Mrityunjoy goes through so much owing to his love life as he is an intense lover, whereas Akansha is easy going in love, life. Happens, when you fall in love with a person who doesn’t share your personality traits. In his all of 15 years, he experiences it all…love, life, tragedy, comedy, betrayal…what not. This makes me curious to know more about him, the person Mrityunjoy has evolved today.
The characters surrounding Mrityunjoy’s life like his siblings Sid, Ashima and friends like Raj, Aman, Simran and teachers like Karan Sir and Sudhir Sir are drawn from day-to-day lives. Being a young author, credit must be given to him for so convincingly sketching era of 70s in Simla. Here Simla is a character in itself providing the most beautiful, scenic, serene back-drop for romance to bloom. Simla is indeed walker’s paradise.
When Mrityunjoy falls rather tries to fall in love with Akansha, the confusion, the mental turmoil, the dilemma, the torture he undergoes makes us fall in love all over again. Akansha’s character of a beautiful but dumb-belle could have been better, it is difficult to relate with such character that is quite insensitive to love. All relationships in the book are intricately interwoven. The description of DAV school took me to my school days in Bhopal where morning assembly, library, periods, annual days, fun-fairs, lunch time were our lives. We did not know life existed beyond that.
Author could have avoided long narratives, detailing of Akansha’s beauty, stereotypical characters but never mind all this! It is a commendable effort on the part of young and first time author.
Book is a slow starter, but really caught me mid-way and I just could not leave in between. I wanted to know about what is the big deal about Akansha’s smile?
Go grab your copy today and indulge yourself in true, sensitive and mesmerizing teenage romance.