That Thing About You — Abhaidev
Publisher: Write India Publishers
Price: Rs. 176 INR(Paperback)
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2xp3ZgL
What if, to the heavens, our lives are nothing but rows of dominos ready to be put into action?
What if we all are mere pieces of pawns carefully played upon by a cosmic chessmaster?
‘That Thing About You’ is an uncommon story of a common man rejected in love.
This is a story of a man walking on the path of self-discovery.
Subodh, a regular IT employee, is perceived as an immature man by everyone, but he isn’t bothered until his love interest rejects him citing the same.
Although dejected and crestfallen, he soon befriends an unusual, mysterious woman who knows everything about him and seems to have all the answers.
Soon, his life goes through a lot of unexpected turns — from doubting his sanity and visiting a psychologist to a failed arranged marriage attempt made by his parents.
Everything in his life seems to be in fast-forward mode. One thing that does not change, however, is this unusual “friend” of his who refuses to reveal her identity and chooses to appear at her whim.
Who is this mysterious woman? Why is she prying into his life? Where will this strange friendship lead him? Is some impending danger awaiting Subodh or is it something else altogether?
Abhaidev is the pen name of Mayank Chandna, an MDI Gurgaon alumnus. After working for a while in an investment bank, he took the plunge and quit that boring job of his to venture into the exciting world of writing, something he always wanted to do.
His penchant for continental philosophy and craze for progressive house music has nettled his simple parents.
He is an avid reader and devours classics and science books.
My take on the book:
Subodh an introvert by nature, employed in an IT firm in Mumbai is termed as immature by his colleagues and is often the center of their jokes and teasing. Ishaan who shares room with Subodh also works at the same firm who is cause for tension with the constant comparison between the two and Ishaan unintentionally spilling beans about Subodh’s life with his teammates. Sneha whom Subodh admired from the day he saw her at their workplace, also has similar thoughts about Subodh’s personality which he overhears one fine day. Thus Subodh’s world comes to a halt as he finds it difficult to cope with this indirect rejection from Sneha and the fact that everyone around him only criticize him.
As Subodh tries to come to terms with his heartbreak he starts hearing voice of a mysterious woman, whom he starts calling as Kalpana. While Kalpana, the voice without a face helps demystify life for Subodh, people in his flat premises, Ishaan, and slowly Subodh himself finds it weird to be speaking to this mystery voice. Kalpana becomes Subodh’s fascination, obsession and a month later, weakness which he finally wants to avoid. Is Kalpana just a figment of Subodh’s imagination, his inner voice or a much deeper destiny waiting for him forms the rest of the story.
The prologue itself is intriguing; the story starts with just the basic introduction of the main characters and soon enters Kalpana who explains and teaches Subodh everything he knows about himself but was stubborn to accept all these years. Kalpana gives Subodh valuable life lessons with the right amount of criticism laced with empathy. And as Subodh summarizes later, he was curious to know her opinion about him and was enthusiastic to accept her lessons because of the mystery around her which also makes Subodh obsessed about his daily conversations with Kalpana.
The concept is very unique and fresh, the narration flawless and gripping till the very end. Just when the reader concludes where the story might go next, the author throws another surprise, keeping the reader hooked all through. The imagination and intelligence of the author shows up in the multiple twists and how the start and end of the story are tied up. The story is a mix of mystery, life lessons of Kalpana, coming of age of Subodh and hidden fantasy element. The author’s commentary on contemporary human behavior and subtle way in how the main characters are portrayed is appreciable.
The title of the book and the cover also have a deeper meaning and connect to the story. That Thing About You is a complete package filled with entertainment, mystery, and a message on how life has to be perceived against how the society might treat individuals. This is a must read and one of the most fulfilling reads in recent times.