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May 14, 2014

Book Review: Once Upon A Crush

Text by Nittal Chandarana

To read or not to read? Verve reviews star blogger Kiran Manral’s latest offering, Once Upon A Crush

  • Kiran Manral's Once Upon A crush book jacket
  • Kiran Manral

Hot Read Once Upon A Crush
Author Kiran Manral
Publisher Jufic Books

The Word Almost-thirty, independent, career woman Rayna is stuck in a job with a horrible boss and too much work. The one saving grace: office hunk, Deven Ahuja. Her superiors bully her into finishing more and more work in lesser and lesser time. Her parents are pestering her into getting married. The Ahuja (as he is called) is confusing her. Throw in a hot best friend and a prospective groom and the circle is complete. Will they, won’t they?

He’s The One Deven Ahuja. He’s the quintessential book hero. A misunderstood Darcy, he has the knack of playing a knight in shining armour all the time. He always seems to be wanting to drop her home or ask her out or save her from every mishap she unfailingly walks into. Where can we get ourselves one of these?

Quotable Quote “Maybe the humans needed to take lessons from the animal kingdom where all females were busy playing Prove Your Love with the hapless males of their species before they consented to get down and dirty with them. On the flip, we of the human species, were defoliating, using whitening creams, getting our fat liposuctioned, lips and chest level body parts plumped up, hair straightened, curled, tummies tucked, breasts lifted, botox injected and more in order to attract the heterosexual male of the species, of which such few eligible specimens populated the planet that we were busy swatting off other women with our handbags in order to grab the ones we had zeroed in on.” Amen, sistah!

Wait for the movie or read the book? Oh, definitely read the book. It makes for nice, easy reading and is loaded with witty dialogue.

Q&A with the author, Kiran Manral

Q1. Tweeting, blogging, writing a novel…what’s your favourite form of voicing an opinion?
KM: This is asking a mother to choose her favourite child from the brood, and the standard answer you would get. Seriously though, it depends on what kind of an opinion I want to voice. Tweeting is more immediate, and has a shorter 140 character limit which really makes you think about how to compress your thoughts and say exactly what you want to say. Blogging allows you to elaborate what you need to say, and you don’t get as immediate a response, comments could keep coming in for years after you’ve posted. The advantage is that you have no word limit and can write as much as you want on a topic. And writing a novel, well, I must honestly admit is my favourite (but, psst, don’t tell the others) because I get a chance to get into the skin of someone else and live another life.

Q2. From where did Once Upon A Crush originate?
KM: Once Upon A Crush came from my observations of late 20s and early 30s women in the city, who might be doing very well professionally but were bogged down with parental, social and self imposed pressures to settle down in matrimony.

Q3. Do you identify with any character from the book?
KM: A very interesting question, I don’t think so, I think none of the characters are me. Except for the fact perhaps, that like Rayna, I am an only child. And I identify with that sense of helplessness she feels when she realises that her parents are growing old.

Q4. Is any character inspired from real life?
KM: They all are composites of many people I know, have met, have observed unknown to them. It is inevitable. As a writer, one is always mentally taking notes, observing, filing away characteristics and personality traits and incidents to be masticated and regurgitated into a novel.

Q5. Managing a child, a house, maintaining a blog, writing novels, social awareness campaigns…how does this all happen smoothly?
KM: It doesn’t happen smoothly, I must admit, I drop a lot of the balls I juggle. The house thankfully is managed by my mother-in-law very efficiently. The blog gets terribly neglected when I’m in the throes of writing a novel. The child is now grown enough to manage himself, thankfully, I’m only needed for periodic yelling-at-him purposes. Seriously though, I enjoy what I do and I’m lucky enough to be able to have a choice in taking up what I want to do. It doesn’t feel like work. That makes all the difference.

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