Title: It Had to Be You
Author: Anuj Tiwari
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Price: Rs. 140
Snapshot: What if you don’t get what you want from your life? Do you learn to live life with its terms and conditions?
Anuj, a young professional, is just getting by from day to day when the beautiful and vivacious Pakhi walks into his life and turns it upside down. Love blossoms and Anuj is convinced that she is the one for him. But when all is going well akhi leaves unexpectedly, and shatters Anuj’s faith in love and hay endings.
To shake off his depression and restart his life, he heads to Mumbai where he meets new people- the stunning Meera; rom-com specialist Vishal; the man of reasons, Rahim Chacha; and the lovely Anushka. With their help, he begins to put his past behind, but fate intervenes. Will Anuj be able to find the answers he desperately seeks and finally find a closure? Or does life have other plans?
It Had to Be You is a story that, in its simplicity, shows us the importance of love, life, family and friendship.
Review: The cover picture, title, blurb and then one look at the contents will lure the readers to pick Anuj Tiwari’s second book- It Had to Be You. The day I received the book and laid my eyes on it, I wondered if I will end up experiencing a Karan Johar’s movie with the ingredients like love, life, family and friendships. Technically, it had the similar sugar and spices but modified and presented in a very sensitive and poetic way.
The author has forenamed his protagonist with his own name as Anuj. The story starts with Anuj leaving for Mumbai for a job with a long lingering pain for his love Pakhi who disappeared from his life abruptly. The city and new office welcomes him in understanding the life and games of IT Industry that run inside those swanky buildings along with his bunch of new caring and affectionate friends. However, amidst everything, Anuj cannot get over his love- Pakhi. While trying to unlock the missing locks about Pakhi, he bumps into Rahim chacha, a generous kind hearted person who helps Anuj to enlighten the torch of life with his precious teachings. And finally, his journey ends when he meets Pakhi but soon life takes a turn leaving him all alone once again. Needless to mention, the last pages are strongly gripping and captivating with the intensity of his relationship as well as the beautiful memoir of Pakhi.
The first half of the book contains an extra winding and stretching about the IT industry which might hold importance in real but I believe the author could have pruned it to minimum and kept the story very crisp. The character of Payal was a chilling treat of infidelity but the author has left a question mark as to why she did it.
Also, I would like to appreciate the author for creating and evolving a simple character like Rahim chacha with profound inspirational thoughts that bloated the warm genuine feel of humanity. Rahim chacha’s entry was nice and his logic of ‘a spoon of extra sugar’ curved my lips for a sweet smile. The character of Anushka was very endearing and amiable. I just love her quick funny and witty replies. The characters of vivacious Meera, zany Vishal and charming Kavya were apt, short and sweet.
By the time I finished reading, I had a mixed and gentle lukewarm feeling about Anuj and Pakhi’s story. The second half had a complete sweep with depth, emotions and ache injected to robust the tragedy in Anuj’s life.
The writing style is lucid and some poems are really sweet and romantic but at times I found it interfering and dwindling with the flow of the story.
Positives: From love life to office life, from friends to In-laws, the book has a mix of sugar and spices that might hit a chord with Gen-X.
Negatives: An extra dose of poems and unnecessary filling of pages regarding lives of few characters could have been snipped.
Verdict: I would go for 3.5 stars out of 5 keeping it in a light romantic inspirational read shelf.
About the Author: Anuj Tiwari is the author of the bestselling novel Journey of Two Hearts, a motivational speaker and an IT professional. His books are based on real life incidents that he jotted down over the years. He gives lectures at colleges and universities, and lives in Mumbai.
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This book has been reviewed by Shaily Bhargava who is an avid reader, freelance writer, amateur photographer and a trait curious soul addicted to tea and coffee. Some of her short stories are published in online literary magazines of repute.
We thank Rupa Publications for a review copy.