Monday, 15 September 2014

Book Review: Just For You by Rahul Saini

Rahul Saini's Just For You reminded me of a story I read for my English language class as a high school student. An important football match is about to take place (somewhere in England) and the famous referee Mr. Potts is yet to arrive. One of the organisers gets a relative (his brother-in-law if I remember right) who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Potts, to don the referee’s uniform and do the honours. The makeshift referee does not have a clue about the game and he calls foul more often than necessary, declares a legitimate goal to be an offside one, shows the red card frequently and sends a record number of players off the ground. Naturally there is a furore. When the real Mr. Potts turns up towards the end of the game and finds out what has happened, he is angry and threatens to expose the masquerade. However, a famous sports writer saves the day for the organisers when he declares that Mr. Potts has stuck a blow for the future of the game by going out of his way to expose the dirt and scum which had crept into the game over a period of time.

In Just For You, Saini too goes to extreme lengths to poke fun at the latest trends in Indian writing in English – twenty somethings churning out light reads in atrocious English with plots and storylines revolving around hackneyed themes. Some of the books are co-authored. A host of literary agencies and editing services are in the market, in some cases these services are offered by the same agency.

I do not wish to spoil the story for my readers and so this is all that I will say: Protagonist Rohit Sehdev is a successful writer, thought not so young anymore, with a pretty live-in partner (Nisha) and a new book about to be launched. Rohit has a teaching job which leads to its share of hilarious situations. The award for the most popular work of fiction is up for grabs as is the possibility of being chosen by famous film maker Ravi Kapoor to provide a script for his next movie. A host of writers, younger than Rohit, such as Karun Mukharjee who detests Rohit and the Jeet-Neeti duo who are willing to even release (anonymously) a video of their love making to stay in the limelight, are snapping at Rohit’s heels. Rohit is brought down by his rivals and by D. K. De, a publisher who Rohit supposedly insulted in public. D. K. De made it big recently and his success allows him to indulge in his gayness with young writers such as Karun. To make things worse for Rohit, Nisha leaves him after a tiff about something which I’d rather not disclose here. Does Rohit manage to weather his storm? Can he make a comeback? Please do read this novel to find out for yourselves.

Just For You is well-written and is a good, light read. Published by Penguin Metro Reads, Just For You is definitely Fun, Feisty and Fast, and ideal for the Reader on the Go, as advertised on the Metro Reads’s website.

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