‘And We Remained’ is the debut book of Asad Ali Junaid, who is a design professional in Bangalore working in the area of ‘human-machine interaction’. The book is about a bunch of college friends and all the drama that surrounds a college life. There is bunking of classes, canteen food, lounging with friends, running after girls, college elections, cultural feasts, grade troubles, and career dilemma. And, yes, the story also has heart breaks, an important component of college life. While the backdrop of the story is an engineering college in Bangalore, reading this book takes you back to your own college days.
The book has a beautiful title, wrapping a sense of incompletion to it. It certainly rouses one’s curiosity. The cover of the book is brilliantly done and without doubt gives a different feel. A cover like this will surely stand out from the crowd of love stories filling the bookshelves on a regular basis now days. At the same time, it will not be wrong to say that the cover, in a way, sums up the contents of the book. Read the book and you will find that out. The cover has been designed by the author himself and clearly reflects the designing talent of the author. I should complement the author for coming out with such an innovative idea for the cover.
Coming to the plot, the story follows the lives of five close friends – Sahir, Sandeep, Gopal, Anand and David. Three of these friends fall in love with a beautiful girl Wardha, who becomes an important part of their lives. So, what happens? Do these friends fight with each other for that girl? And, who gets the girl in the end? You will have to read the book to find answers of these questions.
I liked the narrative technique the author has attempted in this novel. The story has been narrated in two different ways to pen down two different phases of time- past and present. While there are first person accounts of events by the main characters, alternate chapters are told through a series of emails exchanged among these friends (much like quick conversations). First person accounts take us to the past and email exchanges brings us back to the present. Though the author has very carefully framed the story line, some readers may not like the idea of putting email exchanges as alternate chapters.
The tagline of the book says: An absorbing story told differently. So, was it really different? If we talk about the style of narration, it was certainly different. However, as mentioned earlier, the same may be irksome to some readers. Talking about the storyline, I did not find anything new. It was a usual college love story with a slight twist in it. Additionally, in my opinion, more attention could have been given to Wardha. After all, it was her story too. There is one chapter at the end of the book where Wardha has been given opportunity to narrate her side of story. Still one feels that few more pages could have been devoted to this chapter as one would certainly like to know more about her side of story. To me, Wardha fails to attain any significance in the book. In other words, the character of Wardha fails to make any place in my mind. Another point that deserves attention is the way depiction of different characters is done. While author has attempted a unique way to put across his characters, characters seem to merge with each other. I did not find any individuality among different characters.
Overall, this book is a light and entertaining read that reminds you of your college days.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.