Price: INR 100
Love @ Internet is the second offering from the bestselling author of “A Splash of Love”, Rajeev Ranjan. A breezy read that takes you back to the times when the internet revolution had just begun to take over the world, online dating was but a thrilling experience, and incoming calls on your humongous Nokia phone cost you Rs.16 per minute – a flashback at the generation that grew up in the 90’s, when Kishore Kumar songs were still the best way to express love, and love itself was a well-preserved, and much believed feeling.
The protagonist of the story is Rohit Mishra, a studious teenage boy hailing from a middle class family in Delhi, whose family dreams of him becoming an engineer (as was the norm in those days, and their ticket out of their mediocre life) Rohit has the balcony of his flat all to himself, the balcony where along with his books on Math and Chemistry, he also peruses lessons in teenage love with the lovely neighbour who lives in the opposite flat. No words exchanged, no feelings spoken, but the romance between Rohit and Tina blossoms and continues unabated and our hero daydreams, in between memorizing equations, until the day some of the men in the colony abuse Tina’s father and force them to leave their house. The reason being their increasing economic prosperity which the other families in the neighborhood cannot bear to see. As she leaves, Tina gives Rohit a piece of paper (with her number perhaps?), which he happens to lose later, losing his hope of realizing his first love.
Years later, Rohit is a software engineer in Mumbai; 29 years of age and his connection with the opposite sex is limited to watching girls exercise on the Marine Drive. Desperate, he turns to an online dating site – Mantraonline.com, and begins a series of mis-adventures wherein he loses his virginity, becomes almost penniless, learns a few important life lessons about love and family, goes through heart-break and finally, finds his lady-love; all, with the help of the mighty internet.
So, what gives? The story, though fast paced and simple in narration, suffers from an overuse of clichés. The author has used some wonderful metaphors (for instance when he compares the colour of the building one lives in with the sense of economic achievement one has), but too many reiterations of the same, rob the words of their intended meaning. Semantic and grammatical errors and typos apart, many sentences in the book read like a transliteration, and this, above all gives a jarring quality to the narrative. And due to this (and I’m hoping it’s only due to this) that some of the author’s attempts at humor end up falling on the other side of funny. The characters do seem a tad underdeveloped, and Rohit’s naivete is a little hard to accept (he is 29 after all), but these inconsistencies aside, Love @ Internet is a light and interesting read for all those who like their dose of the love potion.
Overall Rating: 5.5/10
Trishya’s interests would be travelling to different places and exploring them (she has a pact with the powers that they won’t let her die until she see Greece and do a road trip all over India), reading – she doesn’t venture out of home without being armed with a book, and recently her kindle, daydreaming, closet poetry-fying, and dishing out armchair philosophy to anyone who’d care to listen.