35 and Sexless in Ahmedabad

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About the author: Robin David is The Times of India’s resident editor in Chandigarh. He previously worked with the newspaper in Ahmedabad, the city that forms the backdrop of this novel. He belongs to its small Bene Israel Jewish community. His first book, City of Fear, an account of how the 2002 Gujarat riots affected him and his mother, noted writer Esther David, was shortlisted for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2007 in the English non-fiction category.

Blurb: Anant, a thirty-five-year-old small-time photographer in Ahmedabad, has a recurring nightmare. In it, a three-legged bitch is chained to his ankle, slowing his step and dragging angrily behind him. Try as he might, he is neither able to free himself of the mongrel in the dream nor the dream itself. What does the dog signify? Raashee, his one-time lover who now exists only in online chat windows? Or Diane Arbus, the legendary 1960s’ photographer whose groundbreaking ideas have no takers in Ahmedabad? Or his father, with whom he has a strained relationship? When psychologists and Google fail him, Anant embarks on a Kafkaesque journey through the city to find the answers that elude him. 35 and Sexless in Ahmedabad is a darkly comic story about a lonely man’s quest for real connections in times of virtual connectivity – a misfit artist’s alienation in a conservative city, here Ahmedabad but could be any other. But the most hopeless of situations often have simple solutions. As Anant discovers, his three-legged dog is actually a profound problem with a surprisingly primal answer.

Review: ‘35 and Sexless in Ahmedabad ‘ is story of Anant a struggling photographer living in Ahmedabad tormented by a female dog. Anant named it – ‘ Tripod ‘ as she had legs and three legs symbolised Diane Arbus – a photographer, Raashee – beloved cum friend and his father with whom he had tough relationship – three different people who bothered him. ‘ 35’ in name of the book talks about age of Anant while ‘ Sexless in Ahmedabad ‘ defines Raashee who lived in New Zealand with her husband and called him at peculiar hours when she was usually drunk defines her sexless life. The story gives interesting sketches of Anant’s life, his loneliness and his sex craving. The language of book is simple and narrative is in flow with the pace of the story. It’s interesting how author easily switches between real and imagination of Anant’s mind. In the story I had few favourites reads such as Anant’s flirting with Japanese lady, erroneously called a proctologist instead of psychologist and his conversation with Mrs Patel when he gave up his job as a photographer of Children International Association. It is a very light and pleasing read. The texture is squashy and a bit obvious. In addition, the author made a stylistic multipart narrative, which looked great, typical of many writers who use descriptions, multifarious language, regular monologues, and many anonymous characters. The author has an engaging and compelling writing skill, and carefully digged into the psychology of the characters, delineation particularly the advises and hesitations, thoughts and conduct of life. I found sexual references at some places in the story as inappropriate. Those engrossed in photography would learn a lot about it from this book.

Publisher: HarperCollins • Published: May 2015 • ISBN-13: 978-9350298459 • Language: English • Binding: Paperback • Pages: 224

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