Book Review: Spicy Bites of Biryani (Ashwina Garg)


Book:  Spicy Bites Of Biryani.... Because Life needs a little masala
Writer:  Ashwina Garg
ISBN:    9789380349848
Publisher:  Srishti Publishers & Distributers
Number of Pages: 225

It's halfway to the January, first month of the year, and 'Spicy Bites of Biryani' by Ms. Ashwina Garg is the first New book I’ve read this year. This is the first book of Ms. Garg, an Enterprenure and German Translator. She is a technical writer as well, and lives in Hyderabad, India, with her husband and two kids.
Usually I’m a little biased towards romantic fiction, because I often find them stories of a few hopeless creatures. But back blurb of the book is interesting enough to say “It’s not a Regular Love Story.”
Studied hard? Got the perfect job? Found the perfect mate? And Still Screwed up your life? Is it possible to do everything right in your life and still not be happy? Meet Sanjay, Aditi, Mayank and Jayshree.
Sanjay is US-returned software millionaire determined to have an arranged marriage after selling his company and breaking up with his two-timing girlfriends.
Aditi is a commitment-phobic writer who can't figure out what her next book is about but has perfected the art of break-ups Manyank and Jayshree are the perfect couple. If only they weren't dealing with rude relatives, killing deadlines, procreation pressures and those ultimate romance-killers... monotony and boredom!This light-hearted story traces the lives of these four successful, thirty-something friends who all come to the same conclusion...
The hardest thing about having the perfect life is keeping it that way!
Cover Jacket is designed beautifully. White background, and catchy title in the big red calligraphy font is able to draw attention of readers to the shelves of any bookstore.  However, I must admit that it doesn’t go well with the maturity of the story. Precisely written back blurb is the key to attract potential readers, and Ms. Garg hit the right chord by writing almost all aspects of the story on the back cover. There is a line at back blurb that says 
The hardest thing about having the perfect life is keeping it that way!”
It is completely true. And probably that’s what everyone around is trying to do.

I noticed a few changes in this book that sets it apart from Srishti’s books.This is first time in a Srishti book that author’s bio is given on the back cover,  and price has increased to 150 Rs. from usual 100 Rs. Former change is welcome, but latter is hard to figure out. When number of pages and page quality is same, what justifies the price hike? If it’s a case with this particular book, then it's an injustice to the debutante author. I know there is a lot of hidden costs behind publishing that we, the readers, don’t know at all, but still Sristi is known for reasonable pricing and matchless content. Another new thing I’ve seen in this novel. First 16 pages, including title pages and dedication page; are repeated! Probably it was the case with my review copy only, but if its the same with all copies, its biggest blunder of any publisher! Srishti, anyone?

Anyways, coming back to the story. Spicy Bites of Biryani is a story of four ambitious people, who are in their thirties, facing the mid-life crisis (not actually, but symbolically), and trying to figure out what they want from life, and what their life wants from them. They are too grown-up to look up to their parents for help, and too confused to handle relationships without having conflicts. Sanjay, a US returned software millionaire, is searching for his soul mate, and when he finds one, Aditi, a writer of two bestseller novels, she denied to get married. One the other side, Mayank and Jayshree are perfect couple by any definition, but they are not sure to have a baby or not.
Ms. Garg has used very simple language, but kept the ample amount of witty one liners and anecdotes to keep the narration alive. And I found a few of them deeper than the context they were used. Simple language makes it easy to read, and even shorter considering its two-two-five page length. There are a few editing mistakes, such as ‘You’re’ instead of ‘your‘, and few missing punctuations, but it’s a common case with almost all books nowadays. Ms. Garg’s flowing narration compensates for such mistakes.  There is a conversation on page 63, where a line has been written. It says,
“This is how it was when people had arranged marriages. You could both be reading the same book, but still not be on the same page. Eventually they would catch up with each other.”
This is one of the best lines I’ve read about arranged marriages.
The characters are perfectly crafted to fit in the story, and Ms. Garg won’t let me forget anyone. Each character is equally weighted and has given equal attention. However, I personally feel that Aditi’s character has given a little more space than others. I particularly liked her character except the way she is portrayed way too bold than usual. I found her a bit stupid, confused and immature for her age.  And she is described as a desperate woman, who is getting hooked with every next guy she came across. Independence doesn’t mean hanging out with random guys and having sex with them. Or is it?
While writing a romantic fiction, it’s a common case to have intimate scenes of love making, but I must say they way Ms. Garg has written these moments, is really appreciable. She knows the thin line between being intimate and being vulgar, and even after having a few intimate situations, none of them are vulgarly described. I’ve heard that many publishers ask writers to stuff the erotica in their novels, but there is no such ‘minutely-described-scenes’ in this novel. Some of you might be disappointed to hear this, but many of you will be happy with that. And that’s the biggest reason why I can recommend it to ANYONE!  
To sum up the the review, I would say, Ms. Garg has done a commendable job as a debutante authoress. Spicy Bites of Biryani is a good book to read in journeys or at evening, sipping coffee, or in late night listening to your favorite music, practically anywhere, anytime. And is not much complicated. However, a better climax is what I expected, something that could have gone well with the rest of the story (Sorry, I can’t spoil the fun by telling you the climax). Nonetheless, a decent read with a promising plot. I wish to see more books from Ms. Garg, maybe a woman-centric novel. I wish her very best of luck for life and her work.  

Happy Reading :)

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