Book Review: Polka Dots, Pony Tails and Purple Pouts

Part of Debut Indian Writers Challenge 2013South Asian Challenge 2013 and Reading Challenge 2013: First Reads

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True Friendship! The chord that comes out of no where and may go into eternity. The connection that is as mysterious as it is deep rooted. The bond that is as strong as it is fickle. Amrita Anand Nayak chooses this complex relationship amidst three girls to debut with. She weaves a tale of complexities, conflicts and camaraderie with a dreamy ending. Having spent all of my college life and the initial years of my professional life in hostels there is so much in the book that touches many a nerve, springs a nostalgic moment here or there and makes me drop the whatapp and dial numbers to hear the real voice – with the twang and slangs intact. Jasmine, Tia and Leena somewhere carry a lot of you and me in them.

Polka Dots, Pony Tails and Purple Pouts is as the cover and the blurb proclaim the story of three girls – with different backgrounds, different stories and different tastes but conjoined at the place that they currently call home. All there – Jasmine, Tia and Leena – stay together in a flat in Pune while carrying on with their individual jobs, lives and complications.

The past can never be the present yet the heart carries the past in the present.

Current state of affairs is that Jasmine is a serial dater and compulsive heart breaker, Leena is invariably attracted to her colleagues especially the older kind and Tia has her mind set to marry the man her parents select for her – no hanky panky love for her. But when has life ever moved the way humans plan. The three bonded by their friendship and tea expert Tia’s variety of tea’s, Jasmine’s non-chalant attitude and Leena’s inner strength try to face the volleys that life throws at them. They have to brave through the pain that Jasmine is waging a war against, the memories that Leena’s subconscious has tattooed inherently into her choices now and the Jat boy from a Khap governed village intent on having the Kayastha Tia in his life, come what may.

They say easier the book on the reader, tougher it is for the writer. Amrita’s writing is exactly that – easy on the reader and kudos to that. She creates characters that have always been around us. Characters that we can even put a name and face to. Be it the bindass Jasmine, the rebel Leena or the goody goody Tia, we have met them all, somewhere. Amrita uses the diversity of region and religion in India to give dimensions to her characters and she does well. She creates three people we can very well visualize. The narrative flows well and the book glides through the chapters smoothly.

On the flip side, it is a well written story with a cliché climax. The book’s ending offers nothing new – it is a conventional, no surprises ending. Infact, for people for grew up on Yash Chopra and Bollywood staple diet most of the important twists in the book will be a no surprises there too.

Climax apart it is a well written piece of contemporary women literature and should make for an easy read, when ever you decide to pick it up. With some more effort Amrita should soon join the ranks of Anuja Chauhan, Varsha Dixit and Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan in writing sensible urban women centric tales.

Title: Polka Dots, Pony Tails and Purple Pouts
Author: Amrita Anand Nayak
Publisher: General Press
Pages: 184
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.75 of 5
Reviewed for: Author

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