Not one to typically indulge in mindless chick-lit, especially works authored by desis, I picked up ‘Losing My Virginity and other Dumb Ideas‘ primarily because the title intrigued me. As I read the jacket blurb followed by the first two pages of Madhuri Banerjee’s debut novel, I found myself wanting to read on. Not because the story was particularly gripping (it wasn’t) but, because there was a certain simplicity with which the story was narrated.
The novel is centered around thirty year old Kaveri, a single, educated working woman in Mumbai. She is well established in terms of career but, her life revolves around the massive “problem” that she’s a virgin and she wants to rid herself of this humongous albatross hanging around her neck. A stereotypical hot-Bollywood-industry best bud sets her up with potential “devirginizers” and doles out gyaan on love, lust and men while the protagonist does little but judge her friend’s character and errant ways while placing herself on a pedestal.
However, our heroine finds her “One Great Love” in the form of a hunky “Greek God” (actual description in book) in Goa and a whirlwind romance begins with the deflowering of romantic Kaveri. In case you’re wondering just how romantic this encounter was, here’s an excerpt:
“The rain seeped through my light shimmer shirt and I saw him noticing my breasts… We had a soul connection.”
The twist in the tale comes in the form of a Missus Greek God and Kaveri’s ability to delusion herself into becoming the ‘other woman’ in our Greek God‘s life. Kaveri does what any hopeless romantic would do, she molds herself completely in order to become Greek God‘s spare muse and repeatedly ignores her savvy Bollywood friend’s pleas to look at the situation with objectivity.
Many a broken dates, fights, make-up sexual encounters, lost assignments and a ‘Rakhi ka Swayamvar‘ inspired reality show later, our heroine has an epiphany wherein she sheds her inhibitions and, gets off the path of immaturity, so to say. (Oh, and there’s also a psychic in the mix, somewhere.)
Banerjee’s writing is cheesy, to put it bluntly. She can’t really write very well either, as is obvious from the colloquial prose and appalling grammar but, her writing has an iota of honest emotion that tides her laborious story through. Furthermore, the editing is quite off – there seems to be a disconnect in the formatting of chapters and attention to detail is non-existent.
However, Banerjee’s protagonist’s reflections and brutal honesty about her own flaws is what gives the book its unique flavor and soul to the work. Kaveri’s saving grace is her willingness to acknowledge her mistakes and forgive herself for them. ‘Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas‘ is a lot of things but, it is not a good book in the literary sense. It is, however, an honest reflection of how messy life is.