Book Review: ‘After That Day I Never Saw Her Again’ by Arun Bhimavarapu

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“ No Will, “ I said in a low tone, and he turned to me. I looked straight to his eye, letting him know what I was going to say now was something he should seriously think of, “ I don’t run for my own self. I run for Neo. If not, I would be in my country, with my family now.”…….After few minutes of silence, he turned to me again, and the question that followed, turned out to be the most unexpected.
“ Neo,” he said looking deep into my eyes, “what’s your real name?”

Too many questions in the blurb, and my first impression of ‘After that day I never saw her again’ by Arun Bhimavarapu was that of a romantic suspense thriller. My conjuncture was well supported by the dark cover of the novel, and I embarked on a leisurely read. But, whether this novel stood tall on my exceptions, or it was just another average read, let’s find out in detail.

‘After that day I never saw her again’ opens in the year 2050. The scene- Neo Able, one of the richest guy alive on this planet chats about the socio-political scenario of the world. And just then, a question is popped up by his friend- What’s your real name?” And a plethora of unanswered questions start streaming in front of him. Till here this novel held on to the suspense well, but in the subsequent chapters it just fell like a pack of cards. My second impression- which movie this plot is borrowed from? The uncanny resemblance of the the scenes catapults you to dig deep into the 70s and 80s and draw parallels. Bhimavarapu’s novel is hopelessly  Bollywood-ish, frame by frame. The story unfolds in a flashback- A rugged life, bankrupt father, a child relinquishing childhood, a quintessential mother and their struggle for existence. And, amidst all the hardships, how this child builds an empire under a disguised name, and goes on to become one of the richest guy around. Not to forget a unrequited love story in between. Arun Bhimavarapu has offered absolutely nothing new. The story-line is humdrum, predictable and tediously melodramatic, to say the least.

The writer has not dabbled with too many characters and restricted himself with few. Relatable, down home and easy going men and women, whom you will find in every nook and corner of your life. You know them well. The characters also blend well with the plot, but inspite of that, I could only connect with them in patches. The eminently predictable strokes in the character left them bland, and hence grossly innocuous. A little twitch and tweak in their shades would have given a completely new contour to the plot. But, sadly Arun Bhimavarapu’s tendency to toy with predictable ethos ends in a drab.

This novel could have salvaged easily if it had the narrative rightly laid down, and strongly backed by a potent language. The narrative runs chronologically giving the story a seamless flow. But, it is anything but compelling. It lacks the much needed pound and impact. Read this, “ We kissed like mad lovers burning in eternal lust until we ran out of our breaths, and found finally ourselves with our forehead attached and panting, taking deep breaths and leaving them out.” This is nothing but an utterly immature, amateurish and fickle display of language, where there are umpteen opportunities to take the gamut emotion to another level. Some of the beautiful scenes fell flat because of its stiffness and lack of expressions. The wistful language in ‘After that day I never saw her again’ is one prime reasons for its glum texture, at large.

Also, I would not have any qualms in saying that this seems like an unedited literature. And, if it has been edited, it is utterly sloppy and deficient. Technical blunders such as incorrect grammar, punctuation and overall syntax is strewed all over. And, as a result the narrative wobbles precariously all through. Much of the powerlessness in the narrative stems from the absence of an emphatic language and skillful editing. I wish Bhimavarapu had paid more attention to this indispensable aspect that helps create an acceptable literature.

And lastly, where is the connection between the cover of the book and the title of the novel – ‘ And after that day I never saw her again’ ? I also feel that the title itself is grossly inappropriate in many ways. This novel is certainly not an unrequited love story. It has many other elements that forms the basic fulcrum of the plot. And in that sense, the cover image, title and the story are in complete disarray, which leaves you more perplexed than anything else.

‘After that day I never saw her again’ by Arun Bhimavarapu is not an impressive debut, but most certainly an honest one. It is comfortably old fashioned, but I wish it was equally mainstream with all the technical apparatuses well in place. Read it if you are a lover of bollywood-ish stuff. Or else wait for Arun Bhimavarapu’s next offering !

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