Book: Ponytail: The Love for Revenge
Author: Pradip Chauhan
Publisher: Hrc Publisher
Genre: Fiction of revenge and deceit
In One Line: Too many deaths of different types happening throughout the book
Characterisation: There’s a central character and three women. I handled that. But there were so many other names that were just names with not much else added to them that they turned out to be just an irritating distraction for the book.
The main protagonist of the book, Prabudh, is not-a-run-of-the-mill lover boy despite being a handsome fellow. It’s nice that he has been depicted differently. However, two of the three female protagonists combing his hair to tie his ponytail (and one even does it using a butterfly band) does nothing to up his persona. If he is a workaholic who has grown his hair for a reason, it should have been kept that way. More detail to the ‘reaon’ and lesser to ‘hair dressing’ would have made the read a better one. A man with long hair who doesn’t know how to tie it into a ponytail is unbelievable as well. My mind kept flitting to the image of Draupadi who had promised to keep her hair open till she could dip it into Dushasana’s blood! No, as I write I am sure now that while I don’t mind the long-haired Prabudh, I do have immense objection to the huge attention that has been given to his ‘hairy tales’.
I found the relationship equations garbled too. For instance if he cuts his hair for Amita because he wants to start afresh with her, and Kaumudi was just a bait for his mission all along, then why does he cry for her? For instance, when I was analysing the story, this paragraph toward the end made no sense to me at all: “ I promised to spend my entire life with her but she did not respond. I realised she had left me alone. I was alone in this world. I cursed God for snatching away everyone I loved – my parents, Tapasya and now Kaumudi.” Suddenly where did these emotions come from? And ultimately naming his kids over the two women who he used for his mission is really not acceptable. Or was this Prabudh’s way of doing penance for using two innocent people?
As far as the characterisation is concerned, in the effort to create a personality who is a mixture of Shahrukh Khan from ‘Baazigar’ and Draupadi from the Mahabharata, the author seems to have gotten confused with his own writing. Some extra reference notes or a lot of re-reading or asking the self questions would have done him good to plug these mismatches. The disappointment is more because the story line is a nice one.
Language: I have never been an advocate for heavy words and superfluous language. And so, this novel doesn’t disappoint on that count. The language stays simple and easy to understand.
However the errors make me frown. The author should have definitely got a better editor. Especially since he admits in the “About the Author’ section that English is not his forte.
Some examples for instance:
- Page 6, second paragraph, why is ‘myself’ in caps lock?
- Page 10, second paragraph, why is ‘love’ written in caps lock?
- Page 14, “I was merged with my work” doesn’t sound right to the ears.
- Chapter 13 starts with ‘Once in a Delhi’. Why the ‘a’?
- “After all this….” in the beginning of Section 3 missed a ‘,’ after the ‘after all’
- – Many a times after the girl finishes her lines and the inverted commas close, the thoughts that the man is feeling begins just after that. The paragraph gap comes after that. While reading my mind said “this is what the girl said and this was her reaction thereafter.” It gets confusing. One hit of the ‘Enter’ button would have solved this problem.
Plot Setting: Like the number of players in the story, the plot setting also ‘flies’ around. I don’t have an objection to that. After all it’s the author’s prerogative to set the tale. But mistakes while describing places is an absolute ‘no-no’. Since I stay in Delhi, this one I caught. Chapter 25 says that Lodhi Hotel is in Pragati Vihar! A simple Google search would have revealed that it’s on Lodhi Road. Also I would have liked it if it was called ‘The Lodhi’ instead because that’s what the real name is. I didn’t back-check the other names that have been mentioned that is present in the other cities. Not because I couldn’t, but because the author, who has tried to give us an interesting story that is not one of those usual college romances, should be given a chance to rectify.
Book Cover Art: I’m sure the red colour of the book is symbolic of both blood and love. But the water drop splashing into the red? I’m still scratching my head to figure this one out. Could it mean that love which is something as pure and unadulterated as water can splash into a heart even when the heart is filled with only thoughts of blood, gore and revenge? I’m giving myself a pat on my back for this analogy for sure!
How’s the Title: The title and the tagline don’t match. When read together it feels like two puzzle pieces from two different games forcefully joined together. The word ‘Ponytail’ in the title is alright because it’s an important aspect in the story. Rather ‘long hair’ is. So maybe titles like “The revenge of the pontailed man”, “Ponytailed! Till I get you” would have been more dramatic?
Is The Blurb Catchy: Grammatical errors in the blurb! This has got to be done away with if the book’s going in for a reprint. Other than that, it is only a couple of lines long! That doesn’t garner much interest and as a reader I wouldn’t spend my money buying this book of the shelf after reading the blurb.
Learning From The Story: I am still hunting for this one.
Areas Of Improvement: I’ve already pointed out the flaws that I felt existed in the characterisation and the improvement in the editing that is needed. So, not going down that path again.
Here’s one more that didn’t quite strike a chord with me. The author is saying what he is is saying as he tells the story, but none of it warms the heart or boils the blood. Except a tiny portion about his grandmother’s painting of him. What the author has written continues to remain just words that have been put together in coherent sentences. Since this is a story about revenge, as the title too suggests, the words should have at least made me feel some emotions. Be that rage, anguish or ‘well done, finally the bastards have been screwed for what they did to him.” But I felt nothing. The word play surely needs to be notched up.
What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: No matter how many skeletons you have in the cupboard, when you find true love, it is advisable to lay yourself bare before him/her and start with a clean slate. If the other loves you back with equal honesty, he/she will accept you as you are.
My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book:
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