Book Review: I am Always Here With You by Himanshu Rai

My notion of immortal or undying love is that it’s a sort of a cheesy, overdone concept that people just can’t seem to get enough of writing about. In literature, at least. It might have happened to people in real life – I’m not denying or mocking it. But the number of times that people have used this idea actually boggles my mind. Himanshu Rai’s I am Always Here With You is yet another story that uses this timeworn concept and tries to bring some iota of unseen emotion to it.

I am Always Here With You is a love story – as I’ve mentioned before – of Kartik and Ashima, two people whose character sketches are barely distinguishable from each other. When Kartik moves to a new school in Delhi, his thoughts are like that of any other kid – how will I adjust? But on his first day, he makes Ashima’s acquaintance and is immediately besotted with her. As days pass, they begin to spend more and more time with each other and it is not long before they fall in love.

Kartik, being an only son, has a best friend in his father, who has high hopes that Kartik will study engineering, which the son wants to do, too. But when Ashima comes into Kartik’s life, his priorities change, much to the fury of his usually friendly and accommodating father. A rift begins to break them apart and even though, a few years later, Kartik and Ashima are happily married, this rift still hurts him to no end.

What happens when something happens that will break the family apart in ways that they never thought were possible? Will Kartik be able to repair these bonds or does fate have something else in mind for this family? This forms the rest of the story.

I have a couple of points that I did actually quite like about this book.

There are places where you actually feel the pain and the heartbreak that the characters are going through. So much that your brows knit up and you are on the brink of heartbreak. But then you just want the sadness to be over.

The concept of a love such as the one between Kartik and Ashima, I’ve seen in just one couple so far in my life. But it is such a compelling notion that it warms me up from the inside and simply makes me want to curl up and dwell on it for a long time.

And that’s it.

While the plot and the concept are bearable – good even – there are a lot of things about this narrative, about this story that could have been improved.

LanguageI’m all for more people trying their hand at bringing out different stories to the masses. But when the language is merely okay, there isn’t much that it is doing to help forward the intention of the book.

Writing styleThere is a childish quality to the writing style that prevents the story from being called a piece of literature. Even for a piece of emotional yet light reading, the style isn’t something that I am a fan of.

DescriptionsWhen a man describes a woman – and it is not just in this one – he usually tends to describe that “she is so beautiful, her lipstick was pretty, her nails were artfully done, her hair was combed et al”. This is a vague description of how a woman looks. Not what a woman is. Talk about her strengths. Talk about how she talks. Talk about how she makes you feel. Describing just her beauty is passé.

Plus, this book is written in first person and a couple of times, when there was a hug, it went something on the lines of “she threw her arms around my perfect physique.” No.

Spelling mistakesThere are so many spelling mistakes peppered throughout the book, I wonder – what was the editor doing?

LogicIn many places, this one important quality is missing. They might be calculation mistakes, but when you’re writing a book and putting it out for the people to read, you have to be very careful. For example:

Kartik was in his tenth class, and it was his first day at school.

Sanjeev and Rashmi are the same age as Kartik and Ashima – 24 years old. And yet, Sanjeev is an accomplished surgeon and Rashmi is a practicing gynecologist. Nope, nope, nope, nope. I’m not going into explanations here, unless they are coincidentally prodigies.

Contradictory sentencesI parked my car on the side and asked her to step out. I rushed to the other side to open the door. I took her hand and helped her to step out of the car.

Plenty of sentimental quotes – misplaced: I appreciate the effort of the author in trying to bring sentimental explanations everywhere. But the problem here is that inserting these quotes in the middle of a narrative do not make them great. Instead, they become pretty annoying.

Quite a few clichés In addition to the undying love trope, even the one about bereaved better halves has been overdone in Indie literature as well as in Bollywood. This is another book that reinforces those stereotypes.

But despite having so many shortcomings, for me, those chunks of feel-worthy paragraphs made me like this book a little, elevating it from a 1.5 or 2 to a 2.5 star book.

If you’re looking for a moderately touching love story and don’t mind these above negatives (that are from my perspective), do give this one a try.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Amazon India

If you’d like to buy this book after reading my review, please do so by clicking my Amazon Affiliate link given below. The price remains the same for you but I get a small commission off of every purchase you make.

Here’s the link: I am Always Here With You

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