Sayali Phadke is a dear friend. I knew her as an infant and as the youngest amongst our circle, we still consider her a baby (though she is a hotshot statistics expert today!). When she read Imperfect Mr. Right, she sent me an heartfelt email. It was special for two reasons. One, that she enjoyed the book and had very articulate, constructive and valid criticism to offer. Two, because here is a little girl who grew up in front of me and had written me a letter that made me realise that she is a big girl now… The letter is something I will treasure forever. And since I share things I treasure on the blog, I am going to share Sayali’s letter with you all.
I am no writer, neither do I understand much of viewer psychology nor readers’ minds. But ‘predictability’ is surely one hell of a thing to take care of. And in my opinion, you have done a fantastic job! In terms of characters, it would not have been surprising if the whole power gain dynamic had played in Rahul’s behaviour. It would have been only been boring if Tanya had ‘fallen’ for the whole thing and become a girlie girl. I think this comes essentially from how you wanted the story to ‘be’! After all it is all about choices and you have let the story choose its own path. But yes, your identifiers (Raj, Rahul, Karan, Karjat house and everything about it, Konkan, I wonder why no one drove a Santro in the book 😛 ) on the way just made me smile.
Just a few disclaimers before you decide whether to read the blabbering that follows. One, I am new to English literature. Two, on account of my defences I do not enjoy people talking about actual living people who are not a part of the conversation (I guess that is what they call gossip) but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE listening to/reading/watching stories unfold simply because I find a life in that entirely different world. Three, I am a highly visual person and even right now I have in front of my eyes each and every location in your book. Four, as I put down my comments I shall try to relate as much as possible to your frame of reference. But you will please forgive me for all the assumptions I might be making and thrash the comments accordingly.
There was a time I didn’t ‘know’ you at all. I grew up feeling that you are someone with a lifestyle entirely different than mine. And lately as I thought, I came to realise that you are simply another thinking and interesting human being! And weirdly enough, I was acquainted to your novel in a similar fashion. Initially I did not understand some of the lingo, could not relate with the kind of socialising structure you were referring to, I am not very good at perfumes. But eventually it all came to the basics of it being a story of humans and human feelings and the story became so much mine and yours and everyone’s. Yea, they are the typical so-much-better-than-I-initially-thought characters but it is fun! And any way, that is how we understand people in real life as well. Coming back to the point about predictability! Anyone could have thought that Tanya will be the show winner, and everyone will think that knowing this possibility Shakti will not make her the winner, and I don’t know what you thought but this game can go on and on. Frankly, I am not sure how I am feeling about this. Somehow it did not come as a surprise that Khushi won although I quite enjoyed how you built the story till that point but then it just ended too fast. I would have loved there to be an elaborate end. No, not in terms of progression of happenings but may be a little commentary. Probably a paragraph as a third person! Don’t know.
Oh, I loved the fact that there was no melodrama. Needless to say, you had huge scope for it. I loved the basic idea; the game show and random trajectories people’s lives are shown to follow. Although it was a very basic cute little shtolly, it was amazingly refreshing. And having it in book form made it all the more appealing. The needs(??) of the silver screen make these stories way too heavy; unnecessarily. Oh but a few things here and there. Firstly, with all the due respect to the plot of the story which had to confine our characters to one place, I would have loved it to have more spaces. I cannot construct how but I had this restrictive feeling. Or however typical it may sound, some clues on the Konkan house might have made it a little homely. Raj would want the swimming pool etc., but did Rahul see the coconut trees and think something? Or I am sure you had thought through it but the snippets of audience reactions could have been a few more lines. Ayesha could not establish herself to be curious enough a character. What happened to Rahul’s guitar playing? And the irony of ‘reality shows’ being farthest from one and the whole farcical nature of those could have come out stronger.
Any way, these are all the random cribs. In all, I had super fun reading the story. And this is one of those novels that I will read again! Oh and the cover. God, I hate this pink but in this matt finish it looks really attractive. Let alone the way it stands out; be it on our book shelf or on Facebook. And the design of ‘Imperfect Mr. Right’ on the cover page is so cool. (You can kick my butt for this but is the size of M in Mr. and T at the end of Imperfect unequal?)
One last point, perfumes! On a lighter note, this was a very good teaser for me. I smell ALL THE TIME but perfumes till now only had two categories; you smell good or you don’t so much. In last few months of being around someone whose nose detects smells as much or more than mine, is choosy about his fragrance and for whom I tried to choose a perfume (hell, I loved doing it); this was a timely teaser. And on a serious note, I had expected you to finish on that symbolic note. The whole ‘a particular scent and a person are meant for each other’ was a fantastic idea. Till Sherry’s it was well used, you played with it for a while with Tanya but then it somehow got lost!
Okay, I feel I have written way too much and too critical. I am sorry, I just wrote what I felt like. Hope you don’t mind it because they were only instinctive. Simply put, I loved the book and I think you are a great storyteller!