Yes, reading the book was fun… but there are no lasting effects or thought hangovers from this one. Not a single memorable phrase, not a single incident that could be talked about, and not a single character that could be remembered with fondness or distaste or anger or even pity! So Priya Narendra has offered us two hundred and thirty-one pages of ephemeral fun! But fun it was. This novel had its own ticklish moments… and there aren’t many chick lits who’d qualify even for this praise.

Priya does swerve into a Wodehouse way of writing without a warning but somehow slides back into the conventional chick lit cruise road fast enough. So the fun begins and ends without it having created a long-lasting effect… if she just focuses on this funny runny style she might actually get over this teenage obsessive infatuation and fix a place for herself in a more evolved genre. She deserves it. Read these examples and you’ll agree:

Her rather pudgy and hairy toes, squished into strappy sandals, looked like two iguanas cramped together inside a silver cage. 


He reached out and took my right palm in his hand. The butterflies in my stomach hurriedly soared into the stratosphere and the music of the band as well as the humming of the thousands of guests receded to their rightful place — and island far, far away — so the two of us could be alone under the stars on that crisp December night. 


But given my klutzy genes, the oyster went flying right off the tongs, just like in Pretty Woman, and landed inside some guy’s drink at the next table. 


There was no scope for taking notes, unless I could write holding my notepad between my teeth, a feat that I have tried many times since then without success.

These examples, as I said earlier, are few and far between and need to be more and denser. Hope the author reads this review and tries to adapt to this more difficult to work with but with a much better ROI.

This novel is otherwise the story of Kajal, a copywriter who is sometimes klutzy, sassy, always in search for the right idea, and one who has a compulsive destiny to go stumbling into men. Men who presume they’re the right ones for her, those who want to be the right one for her, and the one who actually ends up being the right one for her! The book travels into the heart of these momentous events and also hops on to her trials and travails at her office. Obviously, this sort of a plot and story idea gives a writer immense scope to build up a funny and witty narrative. But the author, it appears, was hell bent on converting this absolutely charming idea into a slip-shod chick lit! Just imagine how much humour lies hidden inside an ad agency, what with all the amusing people who happen to be the rich clients or their hilarious managers. Not that the author loses all the opportunities that the story drops in her lap… here is one where she is talking about the main traits of any sales team:

The designs would be shown to all their sales people, and since each one of them was a closet creative director with many inane suggestions up his sleeve, nothing would get decided till the last minute. Then, like a pack of wolves, they would start baying for our blood and we would have to literally work overnight to get things done.

I really wish Priya should’ve gone ahead full steam in this vein and not thought about converting her work into something that only a dumb teenager or those in a hurry to flip pages would like.

Well, there are a couple of really nice things about Priya. One is that she has made sure to stay away from a preaching attitude. No moral lectures, no challenge-the–brutal-society stuff, no pretences anywhere. The only time she succumbs to going this way is a single sentence in the entire book:

You have the talent, now put in the perspiration.

Now, doesn’t this one little fact make her so dear to all of us? Priya is indeed a charmer to have deliberately stayed away for moralising or moral policing which is what even quite a few chick lit churners do so often.

Another absolute winner in the book is the title. I just fell in love with the title and I’m sure this is one thing that is going to bring in a lot of sales. So obviously I would have tried to find why and how and where she decided to insert her explanation for this challenging title. Yes, I did come across the answer and it was Kajal who use this sentence in a campaign for condoms! Again, what a situation the writer had in her hands!! Absolute cracker of a an idea for a non-stop witty burst… but we know she didn’t do it!

I thought the brand name Lucky sounds good — “What do you think? Quite tongue-in-cheek. And we could do a cool campaign about it too — ‘You never know when you’ll get lucky’? What do you think?”

I’m sure other readers will find other parts that they feel are hilarious enough… but if someone is looking for some mushy reading, this isn’t the right book. There are a couple of steamy scenes but you see them simmer and no more. I also saw the scenes rush into a potentially comical act but the writer was intent upon pleasing the lascivious tastes of her readers at this point. And so the incidents move on until Kajal finally manages to hold on to the one she had once stumbled upon… and the novel comes to an end.

I have just two questions for the author: The first is very obvious and it is to ask her why she did not favour a predominantly comical way of writing towards which she seems so inclined. The second is to ask her to remember to avoid emoticons as they can never make people laugh… and they are never a good substitute for good old sturdy words that create an image!

I’d say the book is hilarious in parts, not un-put-down-able always, witty with one of the Ts missing, racy in a girly way, and quite a tough task for a reader who is looking to read some intelligent text!

The book with me!

The book with me!

Details of the book:

Title: You never know when you’ll get lucky!
Author: Priya Narendra
Publisher: Fingerprint
ISBN: 978-81-7234-400-9
Pages: 231
Cost in 2012: Rs 150/-


Screen shot to show the response evoked on my FB page by this picture of me reading this book

Screen shot to show the response evoked on my FB page by this picture of me reading this book


Arvind Passey
17 July 2012