Thursday, October 2, 2014

Helpline by Uday Mane


Helpline


by Uday Mane





The Blurb
 Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things: 


What is The Helpline? 

Who is Rachael? 

What is Samir’s own identity? 


Every year, several teenagers in India attempt suicide because of failing relationships, dwindling careers, parental pressure or the competitive world. This story is about one such teenager, his early problems and the hurdles to cope with them. This story is about finding hope in the struggle. This story is about fighting for what you believe in and discovering your true identity. This is not a story about falling in love. This is a story of rising from a failed love story.

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Review 

Helpline by Uday Mane,  has got many controversial reviews. Some love it and some hate it. I resonate with it.  On one hand the reader in me wants to stay glued to the story and on the other hand, the editor in me (don't snicker !) wants to nitpick all the editorial Harakiri the author and editor of this book has committed. But since the editor in me often takes a nap when I am writing, I guess I will sing my lullaby and put it to sleep again. 

Suicide is a very controversial subject. The sudden demise of  Robbie Williams  made me enter into some controversial, heated discussion with some of my loved ones. Everyone knows I have no sympathy for those who even think of committing suicide. God gave you one life as a gift and you don't have any right to squander it. And phuleeze, if you plan to still do it - donate your organs before the act. The world needs all the spare parts!

Ok. That is not a review, but ranting and it feels good.

Coming to Helpline by Uday Mane - this is not just the story of Samir but also Riya and Siddharth. The first thing that caught by attention regarding this book is the relationship between the bro and the sis. I resonated with Riya for issues personal to me. A young girl, motherless, becoming a sis-mom for her brother, who is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. 

The little girl Riya grows up fast enough to become the kind and gentle person she turns out to be.  As a writer, Uday Mane has not held back at all. Every relationship is nurtured. Whether the friend ambitious Rajesh, coming out of his village, using any means. (Read it as pain in the ****)  or a young lad Samir, struggling with his engineering classes. So many students will recognize the trauma of Samir. While parents are not wrong in thinking that they know the best for their kids, sometimes we tend to cloud our judgement in accordance with our own ambition and our failure. 

The small-small stories of Riya and Samir are very cute. Especially about the Barbie and Ken.  Riya is too forgiving - I would have court marshalled that guy :P 

Thankfully Uday Mane shows the silver lining in every dark cloud and this book does not, in any line, justify the act.  The question does arise why is the protag so weak? He had everything good going on his life a and a great upbringing and family background. So does love mean so much to him that he is contemplating suicide?

I don't think so. IT WAS NOT THE LOSS OF A LOVE THAT MAKES HIM WANT TO COMMIT SUICIDE now was it? If this is considered a spoiler and the author thinks so,  I will remove it - but it was more than that. It was the survivor's guilt. It was the guilt that he was the cause of her going away. Maybe you and I, the strong ones, won't react like that. But a 20 year old? They can. 

If you want to pick you this book based on a love story... then don't. This book is not a love story. In the author's words, " Love is a companion not a company". It is a hit against our Indian education system. It is a hit against our Indian parenting system and above all it is a message to all those who are in a dark zone--- that your life is meant for something. All you have to do is look for it. Kudos to the author for that. 


Now for the weak points. This book will be a dart game party for the editors, who are also reviewers, out there. I cannot stress enough to all new authors and self published authors out there - you need an editor - a professional one. Not friends and relatives who love you.  Someone who will insult you and make you want to throw the MS away. I sincerely hope you find one Uday Mane, for you have all the qualities of becoming a bestselling author. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. At the cost of being called partial, not a good reviewer, too soft, not looking after the interest of the readers and the whispers of paid review .. I do recommend this book. 

Reasons:
1. The book has some hard truths about our society.
2. The characters felt real and touches your heart. 
3. The stories and the anecdotes of Samir and Riya are too good. 
4. The ending had to be read to be believed. 
5. Sometimes even with very good English - writers write crap stories and get 5 stars don't they? So if editing is one facet of reviews, then the other side should be the story itself. Here I recommend the story. 


Watch It 



Meet the Author


Uday Mane was born in Pune and raised in Mumbai. He works as a marketing professional during the day and a storyteller during the night. He is an avid reader, and loves to collect classic books. 


The Helpline is his debut novel that was launched in March 2014 at the hands of Padma Shri Paresh Rawal.





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3 comments:

  1. Excellent and balanced review Rubina. I agree with all your points. Even regarding editing, I wouldn't believe it's the author's fault as he is not self-published. He has got himself a traditional publisher that has not done justice to its work. I only wish the author had taken more interest and re-read the finished product before it went into print. But I suppose we live and learn.
    Then again editing is not just proofing - its doing away with repeated scenes, dialogues and descriptions; it's removing the sluggishness in the presentation and making the story more gripping. 'Suicide' can be a gripping subject. It talks about how circumstances affect a person's psyche and that one terrible moment that makes a person take a terrible decision to end his life. It's traumatic. While the traumatic impact is there, it tends to lag with prolonged explanations. The author is too close to his work to notice this. It's up to the editor to guide him. Editorial guidance is 'zero' for this book.
    Diamonds need cutting and polishing to bring out the shine. I rest my case :)

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  2. Wow! Great, gutsy review, Rubina! Very fair!

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    1. Thanks Reet. Some books get to me. This was one of them :)

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