Hi, Pooja. I continue to be interested in your long-running and multi-part story about Anurag and his path to adulthood. In this story he still sounds young, but about as sensible as a person can be at age eighteen or nineteen.
You have written him as different from many teenagers whom we see in fiction, who are impulsive and heedless, and do not look more than about five minutes ahead. Your main character is more organized, more determined, with his eyes on future goals, even though those goals are no more than to finish medical school, earn a good living, find his soulmate by a particular deadline, and win the prettiest girl in his class. That’s enough to keep a young man busy! I appreciate that he is different from the usual James/Sirius rapscallions.
Your story covers a lot of time, and that is good, because the kind of maturation that Anurag undergoes takes time. He starts off as vain of his looks, judging girls by their looks (because he just likes to look at pretty girls or because he thinks a plain girlfriend would lower his status in the eyes of his friends?) and feeling ego-bruised because he is not the top student in his class. He has not yet learned that there will always be persons greater or lesser than himself. But by the end of the story he has learned that these values (being the handsomest or prettiest, being the very top student) are not worth much, and that other, harder-to-quantify qualities are worth more. If you had written him as learning this lesson in just a few months, it would have been less realistic.
In your story I seem to pick up elements in which Indian culture differs from western culture. There seem to be closer ties with parents and family, so that when a child goes away to school, family members move to the same town in order to maintain close and frequent contact. The mother in your story feels as if she has to continue taking care of her child, even though he is an adult.
And asking a girl to go out with you seems to suggest a more serious commitment, not as much as asking her to marry you, but more than a casual date. But I notice the absence of matchmaking or semi-arranged marriages that seemed to be common among my Indian friends of my own generation. Anurag’s mother is not doing that in your story; perhaps times have changed.
There’s not a lot of plot in this story; it’s more like a slice of life, but it’s very interesting nevertheless because it’s about a different culture. My only comment on the writing is what I said about your story “At The End Of The Tunnel”: there are places where adjacent shorter sentences could be combined to make a longer, more complex sentence that might increase the fluidity of the writing. But that’s not a very big issue.
I see you have a fair amount of stories on your author page about these characters. If I get some free time this winter, I might read some more of it! Thanks for writing.
Author's Response: Hey Vicki! Good to see you again! :)
Like I said in my previous response, Anurag is a brat I'd hate, had I known him for real. But that's why I like writing about him, ha. He is impulsive and heedless, but then he's also career-focussed (or nerdy) so you have that. And he isn't looking for a soulmate -- he's just looking for a girlfriend, whom he can have fun with, which is why he looks at Rashmi, but then his mind changes, as you can see. But he's a scumbag there too. He makes a bet on Rashmi and everything, so I won't say he's at the best of his behaviour here.
He is still immature at the end of the fic -- he just understands a bit more about how these things work -- like companionship and all. He wants the pretty girl in the beginning -- has good legs, nice to bang, y'know, and then he falls for someone else because of the person they are. He doesn't learn that people can be better than him -- for a long time, and when he does, it's under really sad circumstances.
Well, Anurag's parents didn't move to the same town but yes, in India, the parent-child bond is very different -- as in we're their babies for a long, long time. This I wrote from my own experience -- I've been so protected, when I started college, I was in a different city, and I was very naive and I had to grow up fast. My mum still cracks this line to me, "you're my baby girl, no matter what." And that's funny, as I'm really a grown person now who is perfectly capable of taking care of myself. :) And this is not just me -- this happens everywhere, and I just took pointers.
Yeah, Anurag is about two years elder than I am, in my canon, and when I was about his age, that's how things would work. They've changed now -- people are more open to casual dating and everything, but at that time, it was more like there would be no dates until one person 'asked the other person out' which meant that they were officially boyfriend-girlfriend starting then. At least, that's how it was in the middle-class, upper middle-class society, and Anurag in my head, is of the latter. And yes, the term for two people going out used to be 'they're committed', Break-ups have always happened of course, but a few months of relationship was considered a short time period, and people wouldn't even lose their virginities unless they were in for long-term commitment, or were married. But it's changed, like I said. :) Just societal differences lol. The semi-arranged marriage thing is still there, but nowadays, that's like the parents setting you up on a date with someone. You can court and dump each other and look at another guy, or the relationship continues and you get married in 2-3 years. It isn't the 'saw him for the first time at the wedding' thing lol.
This is just a lesson I wanted Anurag to learn. He has to make a lot of compromises later in life, and he needs to know that you should give everything a try. :)
The other stories that include Anurag are 'Mum's the World' and 'Where Are You?' WAY is a story that's a sequel to another one, but it works p[erfectly as a standalone, and I'm more or less revamping the prequel, Killer Instincts, so please don't read that, unless you want to be bludgeoned by epically bad writing from my teenage days (I am serious about it). LOL. Otherwise, you're welcome to look through WAY and MtW at your leisure. Thank you for the lovely review! :)
I liked this and is companion piece very much.
Author's Response: Why, thank you so very much! :) Your review really made me happy!
I really liked this! The chracter developement was fabulous, the plot was focused, and the writing was amazing as usual. :) My favorite part was when Anurag and his mother were arguing over pillows...even though it was sad it was something that my mom would do, and I could relate to Anurag's frustration. ^_^ At the same time, though, he seems to really love his mother.
I felt kind of sorry for Rashmi at the end, even though I am glad that Anurag learned such a valuable lesson. :P
Author's Response: Aww, thank you, Julie! The writing was so last-minute, you wouldn't believe it. I finished this ten seconds before deadline and started it two hours before said deadline. >.< Anurag and his mother have a special bond-- if you've read Mum's the World, you'll know. I was just continuing it in my story. :D And you're feeling sorry for Rashmi now? This is one of her best moments, lol. She's very unlucky in 'Where Are You?' Thank you, thank you sooo much for the fantastic review Julie! *hearts*