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7 Nov 2011

Parinda Joshi's London Tale

Author: Parinda Joshi
Publisher: Rupa and Co
ISBN: 978-8129118233

Genre: Fiction

‘Live from London’ is a chick-lit(?) by Parinda Joshi set in hip London and society Mumbai. It’s quite a simple tale of a girl, her dreams, career, disappointments and how she gets over them to make it big. 

Starting with an epic fail on the stage of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, the author takes us through Nishi Gupta’s quest to get her big break and find her niche. Her internship with a big record label company crosses her paths with those of Nick Navjot Chapman, the handsome American Idol runner-up, and the seemingly surreptitious affair that ensues adds another dimension to her life. Though, contrary to claim, it is far from steamy.

Life teaches her some lessons in friendship, trust and broken hearts before she decides to follow her parents back to her roots. She is surprised to find India so much more advanced than when she left. The ensuing events, including a larger-than-life, unfazed ‘Mom’s friend’s son’, a series of half-hearted attempts to find work, social mess ups, a couple of fashion disasters and an unexpected visitor, put Nishi where exactly she wants to be.

Nishi’s characterisation makes me think of the new breed of young, strong, independent women trying to break free of the shadows of parental concern and the shackles of the tag of a newbie in the workplace. Though she breaks down at failure, she is quick to bounce back, that too with The Plan. 

What I admired is that she asserts herself as one not to be cuckolded in love. When she finds out what Nick did, she is quick with her dismissal. No moaning and groaning and whiny dialogues or all-night-over-ice-cream-bitching to friends. But at certain points she does come across as slightly teenager-ish and air-headed.

While some other characters have distinct quirks and traits like the blunt Sarah and the over-protective thoroughly Indian mother (who reminds me of the line “you can take an Indian out of India but never the India out of an Indian), most others seem dispensable. The fact that she doesn’t go to her friends at the darkest times of her life even after she has repeatedly reinstated that they are her support system, irks.

The climax wraps up most of the loose ends, but fails to impress without scope to even second guess. What could have been a very different tale of contemporary feminine victory ends up being just another story of the princess and her frog (of sorts). But maybe I expect too much.

The writing style is simple; the lingo and intended(?) clichés add fun. The fashion and music references hold value to an enthusiast. 
The cover is interesting (there are three, as I understand) but there are no illustrations in the entire story, not even caricatures or sketches (I’m very partial to pictures in a story, call me juvenile).

Overall, Live from London is a read you’ll get through once when you’re stuck in the hostel with nothing else to do and your Agatha Christie has been stolen by your stupid friend.
I would give it 5.5 out of 10.

And I can’t help admit that I’m jealous of Nishi Gupta’s red guitar. But that's just me.

Thank you, BlogAdda, for the opportunity.
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