When a Lawyer Falls in Love by Amrita Suresh
When a Lawyer Falls in Love – this interestingly titled book is the debut offering of Amrita Suresh, who had decided she wanted to be a novelist while she was still a bespectacled twelve-year-old, and finally managed to pen this one as a bespectacled twenty-two-year-old. So all credit must go to those spectacles, I presume.
It makes for a nice breezy read … and nowhere does it in any way suggest that a lawyer (including one in the making) should not succumb to the matters of the heart. So lawyers and budding lawyers need not to worry! Come to think of it, there is no law that forbids a lawyer from falling in love too; therefore it is safe to infer that indulging in this activity is constitutionally validated and very much legal – for lawyers that is.
There are lawyers (read: law students) galore in the book, coz it is set in a law college – the All India Universal College or AIU – one of the best in the country; I leave it to your discretion and imagination to infer which one *Smile*
The college also has a great canteen and nobody ever complains of bad food and nobody ever succumbs to exam fever since there is very little mention of it. Their worries – and there is plenty of it – are of a different nature. Also since all the students resides within the college campus, we barely get a glimpse of the city or the state – except for some ice cream or bhutta or chat stalls – outside the campus gates.
The main characters are all third year students, but we do get some amount of flashback into their lives that serve to add and enliven the storyline, as well as aid in kind of fleshing out the characters – sufficiently enough for sustaining the tale.
The Laurel and Hardy pair of the chubby, diminutive, baby-faced Arian, Ankur Palekar and the bean-pole-like six-footer, Vyas Rao; the romantic-at-heart Bengali – Souvik Bose, the linguistically advantaged, brainy Malayali – Pavan Nair, the brawny Rohit Randhwah, the shy monosyllable loving Tamilian – Jaishree Subramaniam and the star-sign and palmistry guru-cum-Gujarati ‘lioness’ Sonali Shah; their collective trials and tribulations – mostly about their affairs of the heart – real and imaginary or hoped for, and a wee bit about their life in the classrooms or libraries.
There are a few other characters too, like, the graveyard obsessed Caroline D’Silva and her cousin, the would-be electrical engineer – Bhoomika Shetty, Souvik’s mother, etc. that serve to garnish this tale that is ostensibly about budding lawyers; but which is in essence a pacey and humourous tale about those distant and not-so-distant carefree salad days when we reveled in our inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, and yes indiscretion too.
The lawyers bit is secondary, since we hardly get to read about them being lawyers; it could well have been a tale about a bunch of budding engineers or doctors or management students or history/economics/literature students for that matter. If one were looking forward to those tidbits or nuggets of detail that is specific to law schools and the species that study there, those tales of moot courts, of intense competition and rivalry, of the shenanigans and/or idiosyncrasies of senior lawyers, etc, one would be disappointed. However, we do get some insights into astrology and palmistry and that grabs our attention completely. It is interesting and informative and apart from blending well with the storyline, makes us ponder and wonder.
There isn’t much about the “culture” that these characters that people this book come from – real or Bollywood-ized; but generous amounts of the ‘variations’ that their respective tongues are capable of producing, like: laarn, aarn, sh-ave, po-lees, saw-site-ee, curry-er, kapi, lawyer, whaaire, vary open minded etc. generate a good-natured smile on our lips from time to time. And that, I mean the smile, shows up quite regularly; since the story is a humourous one and the writing style is simple yet breezy and quite easy to connect with. One can get a whiff of Five Point Someone or even its celluloid version 3 Idiots in it.
Book blurb: Ankur Palekar, a third year law student believes his life is quite sorted out. Except that he does not want to become a lawyer, has a family history of lunacy and has actually fallen in love. Vyas, Ankur’s roommate and best friend, has no such problems – only a girlfriend who emerges from a grave yard of all places and who insists on visiting him in his boys’ hostel. Add to it, a Malayali friend whose car never starts and vocal chords never stop, a law festival that is not completely legal and an arranged marriage which is more deranged than arranged.
My rating: I don’t plan to reveal any more than I have already done coz that will be akin to playing the spoiler, and I’d much rather play Santa instead!
There are very few grammatical or editing errors and that makes the reader’s journey that much smoother. The book jacket cover is quite well done and attractive and all credit to the author for not opting for a cheesy one instead – the kind we get to see dime a dozen these days. This one is a book that you would love to curl up with, if you are in the mood for a light, breezy read, that is. Don’t go looking for insights into the lawyer fraternity or wanting to figure out as to how a hard-nosed, dyed-in-the-wool lawyer could actually manage to fall in love (!) of all things, and you would enjoy reading this book.
I am going with a 3/5 for Amrita Suresh’s debut effort.
Details of Book: When a Lawyer Falls in Love/ Author: Amrita Suresh/ Pages: 230/ ISBN: 8183282059/ ISBN-13: 9788183282055, 978-8183282055/ Publishing Date: 2011/ Publisher: Offshoots/ Binding: Paperback/ Price: Rs. 100/
Photograph: The book jacket cover of When a Lawyer Falls in Love.