Bangalore in the late 1990’s. There are tremendous socio-economic and cultural transformations taking place as a result of liberalization. How would these changes impact a group of friends in their late teens? How would they cope, find opportunities and what of their original identities would they be left with, after western ideologies are brought in and bombarded into their awareness by cable TV and new media?
Told through emails and first person account of events, And We Remained is a light and entertaining read of these friends as they experience love, heartbreak, prison, politics, drunken binges, strip clubs, sexcapades, US and Europe during their journey into adulthood.
Different and entertaining, that is how you will see this book being promoted. These adjectives pretty much sum up the experience of reading this book. An amalgamation of five different point-of-views, the story is also interspersed with each character sharing some of their past memories.
The story has an easy drift between the past and the present, a web woven so clean that getting lost into it is a pleasant experience.
The story is about five friends from an engineering college in Bangalore/Bengaluru who, even after long years of graduating and being placed in different parts of the world, continue to keep in touch through email.
Their present day journey, from fresh graduates to responsible young men is captured through email updates shared with the rest. The joys and travails of their college life, the coming of age stories have all been captured through flashbacks.
The language is easy as is the flow of the story. The author’s decision to adopt this style of story-telling has paid off well, for it allows his reader easy shifts between the past, the present, and the different point of views. The maturity and rationality that the lead characters show during a difficult situation in college is presented well and is inspirational, to an extent. The end, with a sixth point of view coming in is a little open-ended in the beginning, but manages to pick up later, giving the book a realistic end.
Although the storyline is something that has been written on for quite some time now, the author’s writing style does make it a different and entertaining read-definitely a page-turner.