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Review: Kismet 3.0

books Updated: Jun 22, 2012 18:42 IST

Antara Das, Hindustan Times
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Kismet 3.0

Chandi Rout Ray

Aardvark Words

Rs 140 pp 129 (on Flipkart)

Chandi Prasad Rout Ray, the narrator-protagonist of Kismet 3.0, was born in a middle-class family in Orissa in 1985. As the writer Chandi Rout Ray (the autobiographical cord thus established) informs us, our hero had an “odd name and not-so-sweet face”, and was “not very bright, academically” (though he improved later on). Small wonder then that he would end up among that rag-tag bunch of young people who manage to find decent employment in companies in and around Bangalore, their lives spent working, partying and ogling women, in no particular order. None of which is reason enough for anybody to try telling their stories, no matter how compelling the narrative.

Chandi’s life, and those of his close friends, comes to be defined by wealth, wine and women, the three Ws that “predominantly shape, motivate and sometimes make a guy’s destiny”. They call themselves CBL — Capable But Losers — the sort that gets “screwed” by the boss at work, marry at 28, and take a housing loan at 31. Their story moves ahead completely shorn of finesse or literary nuance; a colleague is described as a “hybrid maal”, the reason for visiting another’s housewarming   “was only for the food”.

At a time when the least a would-be writer can do is to show for himself/herself a childhood fashionably spanning a few continents, one cannot be faulted for wondering why Aardvark Words, a new indie publishing venture on the block might decide to launch its maiden run with a no-frills, gut-inspired account by a writer of absolutely uncertain literary pedigree. “These are books we would like to read, and there is an audience looking out for these stories,” says Sandipan Deb, former journalist and co-founder and editor of Aardvark Words. “It also taps original literary voices who might be slogging away at banking jobs”.

As of now, Kismet 3.0 is selling on Flipkart and Amazon. It’s electronic avatar is ready too, an area of publising where Aardvark, which plans to publish one title a month, intends to increase its presence over the coming days and years.