Romcom in the storm

With her second book, After the Storm, journalist-turned-author Lakshmy Ramanathan forays into the world of fiction with apparent ease. The romance novel is a world apart from her previous work, For Bumpier Times: An Indian Mother’s Guide to 101 Pregnancy & Childcare Practices. But she seems equally adept at creating a fictional world as she was at advising expectant mothers.

The protagonist Meenakshi Iyer aka Meano is a 22-year-old journalist trainee at a Mumbai newspaper. She is a very relatable character, especially for the millennials. Meenakshi is determined to build a career and find love on her own terms, but she has to manoeuvre her way around her Tam-Bram mother’s attempts to find her the perfect suitor. In an interesting twist, this is despite the fact that her mother had herself eloped, but with an Iyer boy.

The book never once loses its tempo in the first half. The story around the newsroom is highly enjoyable. Meenakshi’s growth as an individual, as the story progresses, is presented with great clarity, and we cannot help but support her in her decisions. The book is definitely an entertainer and it almost feels like watching a slice-of-life romcom.

As the story moves from Mumbai to Meenakshi’s native Chennai, there is a slight lull. But disaster strikes soon and from there on the author takes us on an emotional and engaging run to the end.

Though the plot is generally tight, it must be said that one of the relationships seems a tad bit rushed. Maybe the author could have taken more time in developing it. But to Ramanathan’s credit, the second relationship is beautifully crafted. Particularly brilliant is the author’s take on the suitor’s insecurities. The writing style is original and witty, with some memorable laugh-out-loud moments.

After The Storm

Author: Lakshmy Ramanathan

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 226

Price: Rs 250