One of the latest entries in the bookshelf is This Can’t Be Happening by Dr Neha Singh. A novice in the field of popular fiction, Dr Neha tells us the story of a research student in north India - Lavanya.
The lead character, Lavanya, fits perfectly into the shoes of a middle-class desi girl, who is focused on her career and work. Cupid has not looked in her direction yet and that has got her small-group of friends worried.
Soon, another research scholar Sidharth (Sid) lands in the university and Lavanya or Luv, as she is called by her dear ones, finds her heart beating faster than normal. Sid and Luv bond over paper presentations and lab sessions, but friendship doesn’t immediately bloom into romance.
Lavanya’s own past and Sidharth’s present come in the way and the hapless couple have to find a way to break through.
This Can’t Be Happening written by Dr Neha, who has a doctoral degree in biotechnology, looks largely autobiographical. The life inside a university campus that becomes a world in itself for its inhabitants has been depicted more or less accurately. The frequent chai breaks, hostel mates who become soulmates and the inordinate amount of time spent at labs and classrooms, have all been decently presented.
As these are research students, you also get to hear lot about transgenic plants and polymerase chain reaction, but the author has explained most of these terms for the benefit of the uninitiated.
The language used is simple and lucid; pretty much like the everyday conversation style adopted by new-age authors, including Ravinder Singh. However, Dr Neha could have left out some of the namesake conversations between the characters and compiled a few instances that would have made the book more of an easy-read.
You may not be blown away by This Can’t Be Happening, but the book is sure to make you long for your good old university days!