Love stories are often predictable – rich boy poor girl, poor boy rich girl, different castes, different states, different countries and/or different cultures, and so on. But one doesn’t frequently come across a love story that touches upon the topic of difference in age groups, especially one where the boy is younger and the girl is more than a decade older than him. This is a subject that is as taboo for discussion in India as is sex or menstruation, and when it does take place it is discussed by everyone behind closed doors in hushed whispers. In such an atmos it is refreshing to read a story that treats this subject without derision, normalizing it and not making it sound like an out of the world phenomenon. Karan Sharma’s “It Happens” falls into this category.
“It Happens” is a love triangle – the cover makes the fact amply clear. Gautam is a young man who has just stepped into the corporate grind mill, with a fresher’s passion to prove himself. He falls in love with his VP – Roshni – a woman twelve years his senior, single, every bachelor’s dream woman and every girl’s envy in the office. In turn, his colleague and batch-mate falls in love with him. Threading together all these characters is Gautam’s best friend and confidante, who doubles up as a sutradhar, and acts as Gautam’s sounding board.
The book navigates through Gautam’s struggles with society and his inner self on marrying a woman much older to him. It also gives us a peek into Roshni’s dilemma, of how she would cope with a life spent with someone much younger to her, when she has already reached a stage in life where she wants nothing more than a simple, relaxed life. More worrying is the issue of progeny, the most crucial part of marriages in India, and how they will handle kids with their vast age differences.
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What sets “It Happens” apart from other love triangles is a story that expertly weaves a taboo topic with a often-used narrative and setting. The resultant story is light-hearted, at times bordering on comedy, very relate-able and takes our society one step closer towards acceptance.
The narrative flows easily, with simple language, yet does not fall into the trap of being overly conversational like most of the self-published works currently in the market. The editor has definitely done a good job there. The book length is short – feels more like an episode of a TV series than a movie – and could have been slightly longer, by giving more space to building up the characters’ back-stories. The cover is passable, and slightly disappointing.
We give the book a 4 * rating out of 5, for its excellent treatment of a sensitive topic and a well-written narrative.
Recommended for: Short reads, ideally travel-time.
Goodreads rating of It Happens – 3.7/5
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