Of Course I Love You… Till I Find Someone Better by Durjoy Datta and Maanvi Ahuja is one of the first novels that I had subjected myself to, as a teenager. Well, I did not like it back then. But now, I detest it from the core of my being.
The deadly duo (Datta and Ahuja) unintentionally packs multiple genres in a single novel. The first page reads “Based on real-life incidents,” a warning we usually associate with horror stories. But the premonition is as apt as it can get. I might as well take a couple of days to recover from this scarring experience.
Of Course I Love You: Till I Find Someone Better (Review)
There is a table of contents for this (mystery) novel. The purpose of including chapter titles like “Dumb Girls, Drunk Girls, Hot Girls” still remains a suspense to me. Another chapter is titled “CATting and cutting” and rightly so. If there is anything the authors seem to be obsessed with other than smutty shenanigans, it is CAT. You read that right. Each and every character is taking this exam, when they are not busy cutting ties with logic.
But hold on. It is not like Ofcourse I Love You… does not have anything good to offer. The novel can arguably serve as a great source of motivation for first-time readers. You might end up feeling inspired enough to publish your own book after reading this one. Because if Datta and Ahuja can write, anybody can! A catchy title and cover top the list of things that work for the novel. Unfortunately, the list begins and ends there. The novel is full of grammatical errors, but trust me, it is the least vexing factor. I am in no way an advocate of canonized literature. I enjoy the easy-to-read, simple stories just as much. But for that to happen, there should at least be a storyline in the first place.
The linear narration runs for 224 pages… but the publishers could have easily done away with a few pages. About two hundred of them, I think. Debashish Roy, the blurb claims, is any girl’s nightmare. And the authors leave no stone unturned to establish this not-so-subtle point."The novel can arguably serve as a great source of motivation for first-time readers. You might end up feeling inspired enough to publish your own book after reading this one." Click To Tweet
Self admittedly, Deb suffers from the “nobody-is-a-stud-except-me phenomenon.” But that is all there is to his one-dimensional personality. This sorry excuse for a man (man-child would be a better term!) places his girl (friends) on the same pedestal as the “four avenues for time pass – porn, movies, sex talk, and alcohol.” Statements like “I paid for bad breath” about one of his drunk girlfriends, reek of Deb’s own chauvinism. “It takes a brave man to pretend that he is wise when he is not,” he says. And this was probably the only time when I could agree with him. To retain my sanity, I assumed this statement is directed more towards the authors than to the protagonist himself.
The humor gets a tad bit better in the second half. “He had already picked an accent. An American one from Germany”, Deb says about Shrey (his best friend). Or maybe this expression just worked as a whiff of fresh air amidst all the sexist stench. But just when you are about to appreciate the use of the “aisle and window seat” metaphor for the concept of growing up, the rape jokes return. Datta and Ahuja indulge in stock characterization to an excruciatingly painful degree. The female characters are so easily interchangeable that I had to constantly remind myself about the girl being referred to. (Purvi, who?)
Even Deb’s ultimate love interest, Avantika (who is “supposed to be” different), is problematic on so many levels. She lets go of a major job opportunity, gets transferred to another city, and pulls off a cancer(ous) prank… all for our doltish Deb, and ultimately gives up on him too for some god-man (smh). To be honest, I am a sucker for mushy romance. But what exactly do the authors wish to attain by grotesque garnishing of exchanges like “Who is more important? Baby or the job at D.E. Shaw?” is beyond my comprehension.
Even when not based on immature innuendos, the wordplay is not strong enough to induce even a snicker. “We had four years to kill. And we were killing it”, reads one of the multiple unwitting dialogues. To sum it up, I would describe the novel just as Avantika had described Deb’s blog, “I did not trash it. I just said I felt that what you wrote was dragging in parts… most parts.”
While I did not get bored even once, I clearly lost count of the number of times I sighed or rolled my eyes. Full marks to the authors at least for consistency because the readers’ willpower is tested until the last page. In Chapter 22 (the much-awaited last chapter), the characters try breaking the fourth wall. But by that time, cracking open their heads is all I could think of. “Imagination seldom runs wild, but when it does, you have a book,” sounds like yet another warning. I almost found myself praying for some god-man’s intervention to never let anyone’s imagination run SO wild again.
Goes without saying, unless you are a masochist, please steer clear of this novel!