Monday, July 20, 2015

#JTWYAReadAlong Discussion Post #1

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the first ever discussion post for our Just The Way You Are read-along

As decided, this discussion post is based on the first part of the book, i.e., from page number one up until page number ninety four. Those of you who have read the book till there, do share your thoughts so far in the comments below and please feel free to answer all the questions I have come up with. Those of you who are yet to finish reading part one, beware of spoilers! And don't worry at all. You have until Friday, before we start the next discussion post. So take your time, read and share your thoughts as and when you like. 

Coming to the book, I have planned on dividing this discussion into three parts and those are: writing, character(s) and story. So without much ado, let's get started.

Writing: I quite like the simple writing style of author Sanjeev Ranjan. There were a few points like ridiculous typos and the mix of Hindi and English that annoyed me, but if I put that aside, I must say that the writing is easy to follow.

What are your thoughts on the writing? Is it a positive or a negative for you when there's a mix of Hindi and English, not just in writing, but perhaps in speech as well?

Character(s): For me, from the very start until the part till I'm done with, the main focus is Sameer. This is his story throughout. I admit that it was shocking to see him leave it all behind and go to Switzerland within a few hours of his marriage. While his need to fit in, groom himself just because his friend said so and befriend girls was a complete turn off for me, I liked that he still believes in being kind. When he was so against tradition, I didn't see why he had to submit to it in any case. Anyway, he seems pleasant as a person and that was nice. 

As for the family mentioned in the book, it was over the top like I've come to expect from Indian writers. The drama adds some fun and comic elements to the story. 

Are you liking Sameer? Are you hoping for some major character development with him or do you believe he will be the same throughout the length of the book?

An additional question, if you were married and your husband/ wife did what Sameer did and left for a job in a foreign country on the day of your marriage, how would you react?

Story: As far as the story is concerned, there was a mix of past and present which at times was confusing for me, as a reader. While the whole idea of Switzerland was oh so exciting, I would have loved to see more of that, but Sameer kept taking us back to his past. Not like I mind, and on top on that, I guess the past is anyway important to understand the present. One aspect of the story that I'm looking forward to the most is how Sameer meets his then girlfriend now wife Shagun (what a name), and I hope that story comes up soon.
Is the story engaging for you? Are you looking forward to what happens next? What are you expecting Shagun to find in Sameer's diary?

Please share your thoughts with me, guys! I am looking forward to you responses. I hope you liked this post just as much as I liked putting it up for you. If you have any questions regarding the book or the inspiration behind it or just anything really, don't forget to Facebook or tweet the author, and he will gladly answer you.

My question to Sanjeev is: If Just The Way You Are were to be made into a Bollywood movie, which actor and actress would you like to see play the role of Sameer and Shagun?

Thank you so much  for stopping by, and until the next post, happy reading!


  1. Seems like my last comment could not be posted due to poor wi-fi connectivity. Rewriting it again -

    Well, yes there are a few typos and grammatical errors here and there and it seems that the book has not been proofread. But that doesn't make it any less interesting. I can bet on that. The story is quite engaging except for one part - the journey to Delhi. And I cannot blame Sanjeev Ranjan for this because any journey courtesy Indian Railways can be drag - whether experienced first-hand or a second-hand account of the author. His journey up north reminds me of my journey down south a couple of years back after which I swore to myself to never travel long distance by rail. The lingo he uses is just appropriate and so is a positive for me. Well, that's how our generation talk. I have heard the connoisseurs of English say that we Indians think in Hindi and speak in English and hence the grammatical mistakes. You can spot a few in the way I write as well. We aren't living in the Shakespearean era nor are we Brits. We really need to popularize the Indianized English ;) What say?

    Sameer seems to be quite an interesting and normal person. Definitely not a character out of some fairy tale book and that's what pleases me. We are here for some real stuff. From what the gist suggests Sameer would be faced with the problem of keeping up to his marriage vows amidst much burden from his new employers. How he saves his marriage, how he lives up to his woman's expectations and how he balances his life and work is what I am looking forward to.

    Apropros your third question let me tell you - I secretly wish to marry an Army brat. (Not a secret anymore ;) ) But that answers your question. If an Army wife (that's how they refer a soldier's wife in India) can be prepared to let her man go and protect the dignity of the country and his job at any point of time, then why can't a civilian do the same? It is only the nature of job and the risk factor which differs. If we treat each job with equal dignity and if my not-so-better-half :P would want to go abroad for his dream job, I would probably support him and his dream. Because in my heart of hearts I desire to chase mine too and would want him to be equally understanding of me.

    Yes Yes Yes! The story is indeed engaging. I am just hoping there's not much of a travelogue in the second part as that's gonna put me off – I just hate travelling by train. I am actually looking forward to a lot of drama and 'masala' in the story. I guess, Shagun might not take Sameer's journal in the right spirit and might want to break away from him. If that's so, then Sameer will have to brace himself up to save his marriage from falling apart while fulfilling his work commitments. What will she read that upsets her? Well I leave that to your imagination and for the author to describe. I really don’t want to take a sneak-peek at the future and spoil the fun for myself :D

    A few things that caught my attention - 'Good boys get heaven, bad boys get women' (Pg 93). Well, I guess the author has stirred the hornet's (read a lady's) nest by saying that. I seriously hope he undoes it by saying something really pleasing to a lady's ear.
    His brief description of scoring well in CAT 2011 struck a chord with me. Today I am in a similar situation and can so well connect to Sameer who is caught between career and love. It makes my faith stronger in the fact that such problems are universal as long as you define India as the universe. :P

    There is something about Patna that has caught writers' attention these days and am glad it finds a mention in this book too because I am based in Patna as of now. The mention of your hometown is something that will make anyone’s heart skip a beat, no matter how good or bad that city is.

    Overall an 8.5/10 :)


Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time out to share your thoughts with us. We really appreciate it!