It was a long journey with this book, longer than most of the other readers of this same novel. I was following this novel ever since the cover was released, and the synopsis shared. It promised excitement, and a lot of textured storytelling. It was hinting at a rags-to-riches story, a rural-to-urban story and a unique boy-girl love story.
I Love You Too* Conditions Apply is all that, and still not all that. The book starts with the male protagonist Imaan Siddique and his live-in partner Nikita Modvani. They have a different sort of union. They love each other, quarrel, shout, abuse and then go silent. A volatile relationship which is based on some conditions between them, put forth by the Nikita which Imaan has to fulfill in order to show his commitment towards her.
One of the commitments was that Imaan will tell his story and everything about him by writing about it. Strange, but let’s just go with the flow. Then starts a barrage of intricately detailed, lavishly explained but poorly expressed journey of Imaan in this biographical narrative. It gets heavy after a while, the story, with its sometimes useless thought-flashbacks and a lack of proper dialogue structure. The book is already heavy at an epic 354 pages!
The book turned out to be a long prologue for the story it promised, which was wrapped up quickly in the last few pages, citing ‘lack of pages’ as a reason. 354 pages, let me remind you. A lot could have been trimmed to make the flow much smoother, but no effort seemed to have been made. To read through the book sometime felt like a huge task, an effort which I feared would go in vain.
A significant part of it did actually go in vain. I felt cheated at some point. This was supposed to be a ‘tribute to all Indian lovers whose love stories become victim of certain tangible and intangible conditions in our country’. It was not. It was a rant of a frustrated mind which diverged from social issues to office politics to his constant angst against his poverty. That too with too many, way too many ‘Fucks’ and ‘Shits’ than needed. Much more than probably any D-grade Hollywood film also. ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, Fuck this shit! Apart from that, it was the self-centered story of a boy from a small town who goes on to become a successful businessman and happens to fall in love twice.
That’s all about the love. Nothing epic, as the size suggested. This is like a taking a long car route to a short walking distance which could have been a memorable walk. I liked the textured character, the plot-connect and how episodes from the story were used in different parts. I wished it was throughout, and it was edited better. Therefore it breaks my heart.
It’s not that bad, I just had a lot of hope from this. Okay, I can say I liked it. But yes, conditions apply.
Book: Love You Too* Conditions Apply
Author: Syed Faisal
Price: Rs. 195
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication