My Clingy Girlfriend.

 

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Men would go yikes on simply listening to the name of the book, and would madly run away, far and farther and the farthest they can go, to avoid even the  manifestation of their own so-called clingy girlfriends cling to them even when all they want to do is just casually read a book.

Women. Some would get furious and lash out as they might believe they cannot be pigeonholed into a stupid stereotype and others, the breathing-down-the-neck-of-your-boyfriend-every-nanosecond types, well, they would still lash out, though secretively agreeing that they perfectly fit into this domain !

But, take note here. Don’t frame your opinions just based on its name. This book is “not” about the mess of a man’s life, written monotonously with a drab and depressing tone.

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This book is a big-time rollickingly gut-busting account of a simple Bengali boy who flocks to Mumbai to make some good money but there unfortunately (and fortunately) gets adhered to his  “clingy” girlfriend who clings on and on and on to him, smothering his life.

With a lot of side-splitting humour and some ridiculously funny punchline smeared across its pages it is a sure-fire recipe for some light-hearted chuckles, if not full-blown hysteria, all the time. With the smooth narrative, you will find yourself on the last page of the book in a jiffy! With a wry smile on your lips, ofcourse.

The stark irony of the entire writing is that it is narrated with a man’s point of view but is actually written by a woman. Honestly, as I picked up this book and read the remark it entails on its cover page, I could not totally buy it that a woman can give a take on relationships from a man’s point of view! But Madhuri Banerjee has really delved deep into a man’s conscience and successfully carved out a perfect portrait of a man’s psychology. At no point spanning these 249 pages, did I feel that I was reading a female author.

My Clingy Girlfriend – Synopsis

A Bengali boy finds a Punjabi girlfriend who both have different ideas, different ideals and different ways. (No. Don’t perceive it as the clichéd storyline designed specifically for a typical Bollywood movie, it is not about the families from two opposite cultures being pitted against each other. ) The book infact is lot more generic and strives to paint a general picture in our head. About two different sexes that has been portrayed in this comical read!

You secretly empathise with Obrokranti for putting up with his impatient, precarious, over-possessive, giving-irrelevant-excuses, throwing-silly-tantrums, mind-numbingly clingy and annoying, pain-in-the-ass girlfriend, Radha, who simply cannot work to live on her own and is banking on Obro for all her financial, emotional and physical needs and somehow still manages to put him at fault at all times of day and night.

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Sometimes you also hate Obro for just having sex in his mind for most of the times. Obro’s mentality is astounding in all respects.

This is not a simple love story. This book is about a complex relationship. That’s the beauty of this book. That’s what makes the story so tangible and distinct.

Positive points

What is so remarkably amusing is the whole Bengali feel the main character tags along with him. Well, the Bongs will easily relate to all of the precious pearls of knowledge he dishes out all the time about what Bengali men need and what Bengali men love. For the rest of the culturati, it is a great insight into the heart and soul of a very prominent culture in India.

The “Notes For Dummies” Obro ends up writing most of the times, can prove just as useful to men as calling up your girlfriend every hour (yes, I too think it sounds hyperbolized).These are some alluring guideways to sneak up on the secrets to the “success” that can only be defined and understood by a man. So click them, print them or frame them, just brush them up regularly to not repeat Obro’s mistakes and to live a happier life, before a clingy girlfriend eventually, asphyxiates it.

Madhuri Banerjee does not mince her words while outlaying the story .The brutally honest and straightforward endeavour will make you fall in love with this terrifically fierce and powerful writing, embellished with words which are bare, stark and true. Not honeycoated to be fed softly into the readers’ minds.

She has sketched lively and dainty characters that resonate with the trending Indian lifestyle and times. The characterization is so emphatic that the important message of having a personal space in a relationship that she tries to send across is received very aptly.

An overly-protective Indian mother who showers her son with too much care and concern, a boyfriend who respects women (though secretly wishing to score with as many girls as he can), a girlfriend who just cannot stop cribbing, a good-for-nothing boss, a cigarette buddy, a mentoring sister, a stupidly competitive brother and a gay-but-not-so-gay head, all put together make for this intriguing cocktail of cackles and giggles that will make you laugh, think, feel and stop and deliberate at different points. 😉

Negative points

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While Obrokranti reflects a sensible and diligent 20-something guy who wants acknowledgeable things from his life,his girlfriend Radha has been caricatured as a psychopathic maniac who seamlessly raves and rants with her insecurity and does not deter from giving 40 missed calls to his boyfriend within a single hour.
So her character feels somewhat overstated and cooked-up,not even slightyly attune with the reality of the times.FOR MOST WOMEN.So I think a little more justice to her character could have won a thumbs-up from all ladies.

Memorable quotes from My Clingy Girlfriend  ❤

 All Bengali moms think their sons are Jesus Christ and they themselves are the Virgin Mary.

 

This is the so-called fun part of my job known as ‘brain storming’. AKA ‘mental masturbation’.

 

Great insight- I always behave badly for four days every month. Every month. Period.

 

Women count the seconds while you’re away. Men count the days to be away.

 

I didn’t tell them then my secret desire was to go to Mumbai. The land of voluptuous women who wouldn’t have a problem if I stood close to them, because there is simply no space in Mumbai to stand at all anyway.

 

The time taken to have an orgasm is inversely proportional to the time taken to beg the women to be ready.

 

The good day must have happened when the final over of an India-Pakistan match was on and the entire country was watching TV while you and some chutiya were trying to see if you could reach the place in twenty minutes.

 

Yes, I did remember what she had done to me. But I also remembered what she had done for me.

Excerpt from My Clingy Girlfriend

In such a situation, a man would rather just finish his meal than make a run for it. I saw Radha walk towards me in slow motion-like the slow motion run that women did in all SRK movies, with him standing with his arms wide open to let them know they needed a point to stop at-and my balls split wide open. Instead of stepping back from the food and making a run for it, my super- brain decided that this could be the last meal I would have and I quickly gobbled up some four-five large bites of food before she got to the table. I finally looked up at her and she was glaring down at me.

My colleagues didn’t even glance at us. Bastards were too busy eating to notice if one of their own was getting murdered. I could see the fumes coming out of Radha’s ears. I quietly licked my fingers, walked to the wash basin to was my hands and followed her outside the restaurant. Only then did one colleague raise his head. ‘Eh, at least give money for your portion, bastard,’he said. Asshole. Didn’t he see that I hadn’t even made out a will yet, and this would be the last meal of my life? But since I had no Facebook friends left, I thought it would be wise to have a few colleagues on my side. So I put a few hundred buck notes on the table and left.

From its cover page, the book might be dismissed as another infernally monotonic tale of contemporary Indian love stories. The name might seem to sum up its story and kill the suspense quotient but clearly, after reading it I am convinced, that it is not just another disappointing cliche. The story has its own interesting ups and downs and is sure to keep you hooked from page 1.

Entwined with loads of quick-witted humour and words of wisdom, apparently, this book will leave you in splits and make your day (probably even month)!

Read the complete review here.

Slightly Burnt.

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Slightly Burnt.What does the metaphor actually stand for ? Well,once you are abreast of the situation the book encapsulates, you will delve into the deeper realms of that phrase than what you can make out superficially from its cover. Yes,the title is indicative of ‘imperfections’. The imperfect is perfect because that is the way life is. And that’s the setting tone of the entire story.

This book is not just another telltale story of a gawking teenager ranting about the typical complications and frivolities of her personal life. Rather, this book is an uprising epiphany. It will bring along a ‘moment’ with itself. A ‘moment’ that you will be forced to dwell upon and ponder over for a long, long time.

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Personally, when I picked this book up and started reading the first page, I initially perceived it as another categorical teenage love story spun around two childhood best friends, Sahil and Komal, fighting infatuation and hormones. Young love! Sigh. But slowly, not steadily,the surprise hits you and shelves all your misconceptions. And you are left as much astound as  Komal herself in the story. Rocked to your core, you stand there still as the towering mound of your prejudice comes shattering down in front of your eyes and you discover the truth hiding underneath all those hazy layers of adolescent romance. But what is that truth? Continue turning the pages and you’ll find out.

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Slightly Burnt – Synopsis

Komal, on the outside, is a normal teenager who rambles like pretty much any other girl in her teens, is acceptably snooty to her brother Vikram, and is strikingly vigorous in her endeavors. Her love for cooking and flair for writing embark her on a blogging feat and she is hugely serious and excited with all that there is to follow. Apart from all this cool stuff she does, she boasts of a best friend, Sahil, and a second best friend, Rashmi (of whom she would rather not boast much) !

Sahil is her bestest-of-the-best, the closest and easily the oldest and the primary friend with whom she shares all her secrets and expects the same in return. (They share a long history together from the times when they were crawling as tiny-tots).

But as she finds out that he is holding something from her, she gets more and more intrigued by his strange behavior which renders her restless, eager and impatient to unveil the truth.

Soon as her confusion turns into frustration and the truth unfolds itself, it seems hugely dark, hideous and scary upfront, unabashedly in-your-face and utterly indigestible for her tiny brain and delicate heart. She finds herself unable to stomach the words her best friend had just bared in front of her and seeks serious help to rectify the seemingly ugly situation. Ultimately what she discovers is mind-numbingly astonishing and dizzyingly enlightening.

Review of Slightly Burnt :

The writing is feisty and impetuous and quirky. The words are profound, yet liberating. Not cacophonous, but  barefaced and clear. Honestly, you will fall in love with it.

The one thing that I can totally vouch for is that you do not get bored on even a single page of this book. The story the author spins, takes you on a magical tour with your introverted-self and makes you impudently question the grim realities of today’s societal norms.

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It’s like, on the outside, you are silently reading a book but on the inside, you are screaming at the top of your voice! And what are you demanding with such brazen attempts? Some serious answers. Answers to the fates of your own brethren, may be, your own blood. You turn inside and out and reflect on how narrow and murky the mindset of most people is even today as they fail to grasp certain simple concepts that could have easily befitted the narrow lanes of their stringent minds, had they bothered opening up their vision, a slight bit, to see beyond the usual, to see the clearer truth and accept the ways of nature. But for some (and may be even you), it ain’t that easy, is it?

Payal Dhar’s writing is shoutingly-bold and an audacious take on common man’s stand making it a blatant attack on their shockingly-tiny acknowledgement of the wide variety of people that society of today is normally sectioned into.

The message she strives to deliver is right out there, glaringly loud, gaudy and transparent. The big question mark that stands against the future of the characters she has daintily sketched, prods you to think, and strive to jostle a way out of the mammoth trouble the entire situation looks headed towards, in the future.

Apart from that, the book is a breezy read. The message it doles out is some force to reckon with. And apparently, Slightly Burnt manages to linger with you unexpectedly longer than you would have anticipated while picking it up in the first place.

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Memorable quotes from Slightly Burnt:

 

 We are standing literally centimeters apart. He’s still holding me. His eyes are alive in a most peculiar way, shining, like they’re full to the brim with tears.

 

 I stared at the blank sheet of paper before me, racking my brains desperately. What sort of messed-up sixteen-year-old was I that I didn’t have a single dirty little secret?

 

 The school has a big thing about holistic learning.Oddly, that has nothing to do with godly stuff; it has to do with the importance of the ‘whole’ and how everything is connected to each other. I suspect they intended to spell it with a w, but there was a typo along the way and no one  noticed.

 

 She’d keep making pointed remarks about how she and I should hang out more and do girl things, What does that even mean? Talk about our periods?

 

He’s not the sort to say an entire sentence when a single word will do, which can be most annoying when you’re feeling chatty.

 

I’m a bit disconcerted by this new me that wants to treat my brother like a human.

 

Then the universe fixed itself, the stars aligned correctly or whatever. I don’t remember what broke the ice, but by the time Falak was born we were thick as thieves and even ganging up on Vikram. Poor Vikram, we’ve tormented him for years.

 

But in the darkness and a world of corners and shadows,even the things you know so well seem unfamiliar and alien. Like you’re in this obscure, murky reality that doesn’t quite feel like the one you live in even though you know it is.

 

I’m the worst best friend ever in the whole history of the entire cosmos.

 

‘Eew!’ said Rashmi, slapping a hand on her eye. ‘I can’t think of my cousins that way or…ugh, never mind.’ ‘Or your parents?’ I pressed relentlessly. My lunch threatened to make a reappearance.

 

The world is never going to be perfect. There will always be something to fight for.

 

I’m going to miss this. Skype might be great,  but you can’t hold hands on Skype.

Excerpt from Slightly Burnt:

 

He dusted himself off and melted into the teeming crowd. There must’ve been about five hundred shined and coiffed guests here. Yet I was the only one who had fallen off her sandals? Why? On the other hand-just as well-less chances of someone scoping me out as a future daughter-in-law.

 

Sahil soon weaved himself back into view bearing a plate laden with deep-fried goodies.Vikram followed close behind.He was all dressed up too-kurta, pyjama, jacket, with pointy-ended shoes-but he didn’t seem to be having any wardrobe fails.It struck me that he was looking rather nice.

‘What are you staring at?” he demanded.

‘Your camera isn’t going with your outfit.’

‘I don’t know why I brought it –I don’t want to photograph boring strangers.’He sat down on Sahil’s other side, stretching his legs out.

‘This fashion gender divide is so unfair,’I said.’Why is it that women’s clothes are so inconvenient and look at you two-so…so…unencumbered!’

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Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar disrupts all  former stereotypes that picking up a burning issue in today’s society and having a heated confrontation over it can be anything but fun, engaging and change-orienting. Payal Dhar has penned down a story with such keen narrative that seems to break the ice and strike a chord with all the readers. This story will leave an impact on you, somewhere so strong and deep inside, that you’ll want to keep coming back to it time and again. It will drastically change your mentality about some preconceived notions as it strives to push the boundaries and smash the ceiling. I would say it is a must-read for you and totally worth your indispensable time! 

Read the complete book review of Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar here. 💖

“The world will never be perfect. There will always be something to fight for.”  🙂