Price: INR 250
‘The Virgins‘ is a coming-of-age novel set in Varanasi of the 90s, tracing the lives of the three protagonists (Guggi, Bhandu & Pinku) as they find their way through the maze of ‘sexpot‘ escapacades. Guggi is a spoilt brat, a rich landlord’s son whose only purpose in life to have his bit of reckless fun. Bhandu is trying to cope with his parents’ separation while trying to juggle his studies with his infatuation with an American woman at the river ghats. Pinku is a failure at academics – his only dream is to marry the girl who pointed a gun at him & open a music shop in the heart of the city.
The plot is strongly paced & the writing is good (given how bad the writing often gets in the genre). The conversation between the characters is authentic & some of the characters are evocative of good ol’ school days (esp. the school don & the protection racket, though my experience was far more milder in comparison) but I was rather disappointed on the humour aspect.
True, there are some wildly funny situations but those are far & between – the summary on the back cover made it look like it would be a Benaras version of ‘Delhi Belly‘ meets ‘Rockford‘ but apart from the generous use of expletives throughout the book, I was left wanting for some more fun.
I also thought the ending was rather abrupt & the reasons behind the ‘betrayal’ by one of the trio weren’t explored fully, but I appreciate that he chose not to go with a sappy & melodramatic ending, which is often the case.
For a first-time effort, I think Siddharth Tripathi fares fairly well with ‘The Virgins‘ & I wish him luck for his future projects. Recommended for fans of Indian popular fiction wishing to soak themselves in the colours of India’s holiest city.
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here: