“2 Peg ke Baad” is undoubtedly one of the best works of fiction I’ve read in a long time– especially from the ‘new-age’ Indian authors.
What sets it apart?
I’ll start with the nuances first, which lead me to write the opening sentence above:
Not only is the grammar good and error-free, but a considerable effort has also been put into making the sentences engaging for the reader- as visible in the extra-ordinarily good sentence structuring.
Dr Nikita Lalwani, the writer-turned-dentist author, pays attention to all those small elements- keeping the right pace and flow, removing ‘kinks’ from the story-arc, keeping the length right etc.- that differentiate between a good literary work, and a bad one.
Unlike many other authors, she doesn’t seem to be laboring under the delusion “if the story is god, rest of the other things- grammar, good vocabulary, relatability etc.- do not matter; and that’s what sets this book apart from most of her contemporaries- including some of the ‘best-selling authors’.
Comprising of 14 different, independent short stories “that happened after 2 pegs, in an inebriated state” (from the opening sentence of the blurb on the book’s backside), the best thing about the plot is that it doesn’t unnecessarily try to ‘prove a point’- neither in favor of, nor against anything- which is rare for more than 90% of ‘authors’ coming out today!
Most of these stories follow a flashback narrative though, which indeed might start to annoy if you aren’t a big fan of it- there’s only so much you can handle, of something which you detested, to begin with!! But do not give up yet!! The stories themselves are good enough to more than make up for it..
You’ll find every sort of story here- roaming around the street of Singapore with a prostitute, making your best painting ever and then bleeding to death over it, keeping on spurning the one who loves you with all his heart while pining for a hardly-known womanizer, fighting out the ‘matters’ in the engineering college- I could go on for a long while, and yet there won’t be enough spoilers to stop you from reading it!
There are indeed weak moments of the book-occasional not-so-interesting sentences, a couple of stories unnecessarily stretching over a couple of pages- but fortunately they are rare instances, and spread far enough from each other to break your concentration, or ‘spoil the feel’ of the book!
I usually do not cover the covers, but this one does force me to make an exception.
The unusually large rose, seated inside a cocktail glass..
Not really being the one to do proper justice to art-appreciation, I’d contend myself with just stating that it was “simply W-O-W!”.. There aren’t many books with cove
rs as aptly matching the title, as well as the content.
In the present, despairing scenario of contemporary Indian fiction writing, engaging writers like Nikita Lalwani are indeed a wonderful read.