Naga Chokkanathan

Story of a name

Posted on: November 12, 2011

Sowmya (Or Soumya)

… Being a south indian, I always thought this is a female name. Never knew it was also used as a male name in some parts of India.

When I picked the book “I’m Not Twenty Four” By Sachin Garg, that was the first surprise. I went to my twitter page and asked folks there if Soumya is really a name used by men. Many replied “Yes” and confirmed that it is common among Bengalis and few other states nearby. One of the many things I learnt from my twitter timeline 🙂

After this ‘gyan’, I came back to the novel and felt really happy about it. Because, this entire story / plot is caused because of the name “Soumya” and the fact that it can be used by both Men and Women. According to author Sachin Garg, half of India thinks its a guy’s name and the other half thinks it is a girl’s name.

This story is about Soumya Kapoor, a ‘delicate delhi girl’, to quote the author. She attends an interview and gets job in a steel company.

That’s when the confusion starts. HR people in the steel company assume she is a ‘boy’ and decide to send her to a remote village in Karnataka called Toranagallu. Even her train ticket arrives with her gender as “Male”.

Soumya is surprised, but she has no option now. It is too late to look for a new job. So, she travels to Toranagallu and tries to settle in this unusual location, especially for a city girl.

Unfortunately, the name confusion continues in Toranagallu too. She is assigned to a task that is typically a “Man’s job”. Again, she has no option, point of no return, if you would excuse the cliche.

By this time, a part of Soumya likes Toranagallu, but another part wants to get out to the civilized world as soon as possible. She tries to do the job assigned to her and the story unfolds with many more twists and turns.

Interestingly, this is not one of those pulp fictions which are supposed to be the-middle-class-indian-story. Author Sachin Garg describes a unique environment, which most of us wouldn’t have a chance to see or experience. The ‘City Girl In A Village’ theme is NOT used to ‘create’ a bollywood story, instead all the characters, their intentions, confusions and relationships are well detailed, without compromising on the racy pace of the story. You can finish this book very fast, yet will not forget it that easily.

If I have to talk about the negatives, I felt the language is exceptionally good in some places and very weak (even careless) in few others. All the chapter titles are very creative, but honestly I felt there is no need to title the chapters in this book 🙂

Another point, this book costs Rs 100/- (and is available in many online stores for Rs 70 or less) Not very high, at the same time, that can’t justify the bad production quality. The paper used is very below average (even pirated books have better paper 😦 ) and in few places, I couldn’t read the print at all, too much of ink, or too thin a paper, or both.

These small issues apart, I enjoyed the novel. Especially the fact that a name can create a full length story 🙂

***

N. Chokkan …

12 11 2011

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1 Response to "Story of a name"

[…] of years back I read Sachin Garg’s novel “I’m Not Twenty Four” and liked it. After that I Started following him regularly, via books and social […]

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