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When She Smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarti
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When She Smiled

by Ritoban Chakrabarti

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A beautiful gentle tale of innocent young love, or perhaps a one sided teenage crush. The story follows 15 year old Mrityunjoy and the the person of his admiration and love, Akanksha.

Mrityunjoy, or Roy as his friends call him, has returned to his old school, after being in a all boys Sainik school for 2 years, which is 'the' school to go to if the aim is to join the army. Unfortunately for Roy injury ended that goal. He is a lovely character to follow through the story, nice and honorable, you can't fail to feel his joy and sadness at times.

As he describes his home life and the wonderful scenery around him, the simpler life without the things we now take for granted it made me smile that the thought of a being rewarded with a simple can of coke would make so much excitement. Although with harsh conditions, a strict father who saw beatings as a needed discipline to make his children stronger and who's one focus was for them to study for hours on end not everything was that good.

As Roy returns to his school, it happens, the smile of the century from a beautiful girl called Akansha. All the boys notice her and crave to be with her yet it appears that Roy may be the lucky one or is he?

An un-hurried story of the good and bad games of teenage first love, hope and heartbreak. Ideal read to relax with. ( )
  beckvalleybooks | Apr 14, 2015 |
When She Smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarti is a engaging coming-of-age story about the joys and heartbreak of first love. Mrityunjoy Roy ('Roy') has spent the last 10 years in Shimla, India. After his DAV he returns to his old school after a 2 years hiatus, discovering his class mates, the bus routes, and....the beautiful Akanksha. Roy's poems about being a confused man make her smile. The initial steps of walking together, giggling, holding hands really make Roy think he's found the one true love.
The novel however has many twists in the storyline to throw in jealousy, competition from other boys, the tragic death of Roy's only sister and a dance competition. The story's set in the scenic Shivalik hills, Indian upper class culture and the ups and downs of normal life. Will this Bengali teenager come to terms with his own destiny, get past the loss of Akanksha, or win her back and live happily after? Is there a God, and will He answer Roy's questions? The novel's elegantly written, has convincing conversation on teenage level in a pre-internet or cell phones era. It unearths the timeless passion of a young boy desperately in love. ( )
  hjvanderklis | Mar 12, 2015 |
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