Sometimes we tend to drop in on a conversation determined to step out as early as possible. On the contrary that conversation turns out to be one that is akin to a steadfast relationship that grows sweeter with time, gripping and pulling you to itself; like the famous lines ‘you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.’ Well… Aashisha Chakraborty is the mastermind behind one such conversation. And, that conversation is Mis(s)adventures of a Sales Girl.
The story is that of Enakshi Chatterji, a young MBA student from Delhi who is sent to Chennai for her internship. She reaches Chennai with apprehension, for she doesn’t know the language or the culture of Tamil Nadu. The plight that she is thrown into is worsened by Chennai’s heat, the complexity of the language from Enakshi’s point of view, the callous nature of most of her colleagues, and not to mention a Dragon breathing down her back. Yes, you read it right. There is a dragon flapping its wings among the pages!
The plot is quite simple and could happen to anyone. But it is the narration that holds the reader in its hook, slowly, but surely. Aashisha is brilliant in portraying the life of Enakshi in such a way that one can feel frustration building up within oneself. Her appropriate choice of vocabulary helps the engine of her book to keep thumping. The sixty days that Enakshi lives in Chennai is given as a slow burner for the readers. The lazy beginning of her internship slowly builds up crescendo and ends in a mad rush. While most of the exchanges that Enakshi shares with a few who can understand Hindi or English is presented in simple English for the readers, the battle of wits that she undertakes in dealing with her failures, the creeps of her business and personal lives and her frustration, have undertones of scholarly diction, with some choice words thrown in for good measure. The four-letter word has been used liberally, too liberal for the taste of some.
The readers remember the characters long after they close the book covers and emerge out of Enakshi’s world. The Dragon, the Komodo Dragon, Ramanujam Reddy, Pavan… they all carve their places in the niches of our minds. Who can forget the dear old Efsees? That is a touch of brilliance in Aashisha’s creativity. The possibility of such a misunderstanding happening is very much high and the author has skillfully weaved humour into that. The Efsees and their motorcycles, with Enakshi in her business formal wear hanging on for dear life as a pillion rider, a big rucksack on her shoulders in the hot, hot, sun of Chennai is an image that just refuses to fade away. The beginning of romantic under-current that simmers when Ram and Enakshi meet is a delight to read. The author has managed to keep it under wraps and yet tease the readers. Can’t wait to see how the relationship would turn out if a sequel is planned. Abishek is a larger-than-life character with whom the reader shows pity and is also in awe of. One doesn’t come across such people often!
Aashisha has taken a common occurrence and turned that into a story. The story does not lie in the story at times, but at the hands of the one who writes it; the ‘how’ matters. And the author has done justice. The strength of the novel is the narration. Best wishes for Aashisha’s next work. The lines below give a hint that there could be a sequel, with Ram and Enakshi in the middle of a romantic triangle.
“Time, like light, decides the way it moves around people. Sometimes, it moves in a straight line. And at times, it bends around certain obstacles to reach where it wants to reach.”