Author: Asad Ali Junaid
It is Bangalore in the late 1990’s. There are tremendous socio-economic and cultural transformations taking place as a result of liberalization. How would these changes impact a group of friends in their late teens? How would they cope, find opportunities and what of their original identities would they be left with, after western ideologies are brought in and bombarded into their awareness by cable TV and new media?
Told through emails and first person account of events, And We Remained is a light and entertaining read of these friends as they experience love, heartbreak, prison, politics, drunken binges, strip clubs, sexcapades, US and Europe during their journey into adulthood.
This story is indeed different from the me too Chetan Bhagat genre that is currently dominating the romance genre. The story is carefully weaved with the past and the present. I liked how the present was told by the way of emails. It’s a reality, no matter how close we are with our friends in the college days, post college, we rarely get to meet, as each of us live in different parts of the country.
The emails that the friends send to each other, the way they interact, pull each others legs, tease each other, was extremely fun to read and raises a few chuckles as well.
I like the character development of most of the guys’ characters, especially how the college guys with their extremely one tracked mind, when it comes to girls, settle in US, and their views become more accepting and they start seeing females as people instead. I especially liked the mild overtone of irritation of guys who matured in terms of their views when they interacted with those who still held the same views.This was very fresh, new and interesting to read.
The book did lack the depth when it came to female characterization though. I felt it was a bit superficial, in which I never really knew what the girls were like, except the one girl who was their friend. There were a lot of cliched tropes, when it came to female characterization came into play, like the beautiful girl with her average looking friend (and the guys are attracted to the beautiful girl), the girls hostel which is filled with giggling girls who talk about guys, etc. There was more emphasis on the ‘looks’ and almost next to nothing about anything else. I would have liked to know more about the girl like what made her different, what kind of a person she was, what are her likes, dislikes, instead of just what she looked like.
The book fails the Bechdel Test.
I found a few editing errors as well. There were spelling mistakes as well as an entire paragraph was repeated in one place.
(I thank the author, Asad Ali Junaid, for sending me a copy of the book 🙂 )