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Book Review: A Maverick Heart between Love and Life

Diwash Gahatraj

Chetan Bhagat, ‘Five Point Someone’ and ‘Three Idiots’ - author, book and movie - all three became super hits. ‘Five Point Someone – What not to do at IIT’ was the debut novel of Bhagat which became a bestseller and later the blockbuster movie ‘Three Idiots’ was inspired from the book.

‘Five Point Someone’ was published in 2004 and was an instant success. Critically it was not that well received but the Indian youth loved it because it had the semblance Bollywood masala film. It also became a trendsetter because dozens of writers started penning their own versions of Five Point Someone – ‘Zero Percentile Missed IIT Kissed Russia’, ‘Heartbreaks and Dreams’, ‘The Girls @ IIT’, ‘Anything For You Ma’am - An IITian’s Love Story’, and ‘Above Average’ to name a few. All these books are based on the life of individual/group of friends in and around the campus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Similarly, ‘A Maverick Heart between love and Life’ by Ravindra Shukla definitely has the ‘Five Point Someone’ hangover because of the story line that talks about three friends in IIT and their life after college. However, the book has its own interesting twist and turns.

The author himself is from IIT, Mumbai, hence the description of the campus lifestyle, thought process and the mannerism of IIT students has been captured quite well.

The story is based on the life of three friends who are studying at IIT, Bombay - Rahul, Richita and Neerav. These three young students meet each other in the campus and gradually become ‘friends for life.’ All three characters are different from each other with different goals and approach towards life.

A maverick heart - surely all three of them have it but in three different ways.
Maverick number one: Rahul is a small city guy who has a brain like Ramanuja and a heart like Mother Teresa. He stuns the world by declining a million-dollar award in the field of mathematics equivalent to the Nobel for reasons unknown. He decides to stay back in the country and fight against corruption, while his friends move on to foreign countries for better education and life. He is a dreamer, a romantic and a rebel.

Maverick number two: Richita is a beautiful girl from a family which has stronghold in politics. She loves Rahul. She suffers a lot in the story with heart breaks, traumas and compromises but in the end listens to her heart and does what she feels is right. Ultimately, she leaves her million-dollar job in the US for her beloved in India.

Meet maverick number three: Neerav. For Neerav friendship always came first before anything else. He could do anything for his best friend Rahul. He is successful entrepreneur and a man with a big heart. In the story, Neerav rushes to India from the US to help his friend who is in trouble. Rahul is leaving his business at a very crucial stage.

Shukla has etched the characters of Rahul and Richita very well but has missed to do the same with Neerav. One feels that Neerav’s character could have been written better.

The author has cleverly intertwined the current happenings around the world like the recession in US and India’s awakening for a corruption-free nation into the plot.

Language of the book is very lucid and it is an easy read. One should read this book in one go to enjoy it better. And if you like campus stories then this 383 page book will be fun.