Colours of Life – Review

Book: Colours of Life
Author: Ashwani Tyagi
Year: 2013
Bookhad Rating: ❤♡♡♡♡

This is just another debut story on love, life and the lessons which it teaches us. When I received this package from the publishers I was a little wary when I saw the violently coloured cover page and my wariness increased by leaps and bounds when I finished reading it. All in a matter of 45 minutes.

Colours of life is a 106 page story which follows the life of Rishi, a regular teenager growing up in Mumbai, for a span of 4-5 years. The preface tells us that Rishi encounters various “colours” of life in his hostel in Rudrapur where he does his higher education from. He gets into smoking, begins doping and even manages to make a visit to the local prostitute for “services” which are, in fact, what the “colours” denote. The author of this story has made a valiant attempt in writing a profound story of how life gives you what you expect when you least expect it.

Valiant, yes; successful, no.

The basics of writing a story are few. One, a stream of thought to tie your narration. Two, a story to carry the narration in the intended direction. Three, a character for delivery of the story line. Four, syntax and grammatical accuracy so as not to irk the more circumspect reader. This book completely lacks the grammatical assertiveness needed and doesn’t do a grand job in the other aspects either.

Let’s talk about the stream of thought. The book is written in a third person narrative and Rishi is the sole protagonist in the story. The author’s reading of the character’s thought is of low quality and it strikes one as irrepressibly mediocre and of a forced nature.

Example: OMG… what to do, during school we used to sing daily and now at the time of real testing we can’t recollect. Shit, Girls have corrupted our minds, All the time their thoughts in mind and hence forgetting these things.

The “testing” the author is talking about is the sledging or ragging that they face by the seniors on their first night in the hostel. The point of that example is to showcase that the quality of the narration lacks potency of even the most basic acceptable level.

Now for the story. I’ve always maintained that the story is important for any book that one reads but it is not the most important thing if the other aspects that make a book readable are in its place. The story is simple. A teenager from a middle class and a financially secure background goes to another city for higher education and makes all kinds of friends and experiences things that make up the mental map of the person that he will end up becoming later in his life. There’s nothing wrong with the story line up and it is an acceptable move especially if one considers that the author does not come from a literary background and it’s his first attempt at writing a book.

The character of Rishi is half baked. Sometimes it seems over cooked though. The sudden rise and fall in his mental capacity to look through acts and to make judgments is haphazard. Sometimes he is profound and elsewhere he is insipid. The voice of Rishi is not sincere; it is not the voice of a real human being. It is obvious that the voice is that of the author and not of an 18 year old confused teenager. The confusion is there, mind you, but it is clear that it is not him that speaks; it is the author doing the talking trying to sound like the character.

Lastly, the grammar and syntax! This is where it all falls down. There are glaring errors in the sentence structure and some of them, so obvious that it would make any reader question the hard work put in by the editing team. The misplaced apostrophe, the unnecessary direct speech quotes and the needless mental retrospection (sometimes without a pause in the dialogue delivery) make it up as a God sent guinea pig ready to be ripped apart by a Grammar Nazi!

Everything said and done I would like to add this little note. The author is a professional in the field of Information Technology and he obviously isn’t a trained writer. He has nothing to do with the literary field. Writing was his dream. He wrote what he could.

Our overall rating reflects our stand only too clearly.

(03. 01. 2014)

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