Blogtour: The Crossover Year by Bhargavi Balachandran

Okay guys - letting you in on the big one!!

So I am hosting my first ever blogtour for The Crossover Year by the talented Mrs. Bhargavi Balachandran, a funny and heartwarming story of a twenty-nine year old banker at the cross-roads of life before she hits the big 3-O. 

About the book

Meet Sri Anuprabha, aka Anu, a twenty-nine year-old banker who is terrified of entering her thirties. She dreams of quitting her job at the bank, sporting yoga pants and traipsing around the world. Her world turns upside down when things go awry and she is faced with the prospect of spending her days watching Tamil serials. She comes up with a five-point plan for reclaiming her life back before she hits the big 30. But things are never as simple as drawing up a flowchart in real life, are they? Especially with a ghastly recession rearing its ugly head…. Anu bumbles through the corridors of domesticity and travels on a funfilled roller coaster ride in a bid to discover her passion in life.Along the way, she meets new people, experiences crazy new things and learns some hard lessons in marriage, friendship, parenting and life. The Crossover Year is a funny, yet heartwarming story of a woman in search of her identity, and a chronicle of her hilarious quest for discovering her inner mojo. Bring out a platter of cookies and a steaming mug of chai, and join Anu on the ride of her lifetime.

About the Author

I am a part-time writer, part-time entrepreneur and a full-time mom.

My Thoughts on the book

Clearly there is more to chick-lit than candy-floss romance (extra-marital affairs mostly to spice up things) and hot hunky ex-boyfriends & disgruntled nubile young things full of teenage angst and misguided I-will-conquer-the-world notions that completely go awry – all to beautifully tie and end up in happily-ever-after scenarios. As is shown in The Crossover Year by Bhargavi Balachandran, a funny and heartwarming story of a twenty-nine year old banker at the cross-roads of life. A well-deserved break from the imagined tropes (Oh the Horror!) of this sub-genre of romance. 

So the heart and soul of this story is twenty nine year old Sree Anu Prabhu, an ambitious go-getter who is pat in the middle of a “quarter life crisis”. Yeah that is a word. Bet you’ve heard of it (click on that link to be enlightened and come right back!). Second (or Third or somewhere always in the top ten!) in that rat race for word of the year after “Selfie”. Where twenty-somethings get afflicted by this strange lethargy towards life, stuck in a rut and ruing (read drinking piss-cheap vodka at some dimly lit pub) their ruined-life stuck in a 4x4 office cubicle slaving for a boss you would love to murder and stick through with a peeling knife (And you probably do that only a thousand million times over in your concocted dreams) and thinking about travelling the world, experiencing life and culture and good food. 
See that clever thing right there? The author’s got a sliver of you and me wedged in tight with our heroine’s soul. Add to that a lovely engaging style of writing liberally sprinkled with light hearted well-intentioned funny puns and stereotypical tam-brahm jokes, you’ve almost got a winner!
You get exactly what is there in the back of the book. A twenty-nine year old banker who quits her job to search for her inner “mojo” and sets out on a hilarious harrowing self-realization journey. 

Bhargavi does a bang-up job of bringing alive the Chennai city – with its rash auto drivers who spout “shishter” and curse in the same breath, the hot filter kaapi or the watered down sugary version of the same, the landmark called Spencer Plaza, the maniacal devotion to watching “Chithi” and all the further generations of this landmark achievement on the mini-screen and of course the maambalam maamis or the tam-brahm culture rage. And knowing the idiosyncrasies of this self-effacing niche culture pretty well (I am married to one after all) I was silently grinning to myself at all the lovely tropes spun in this novel. And no I ain’t complaining. It brings out the authenticity and atmosphere of the novel. 

Now being a first person narrative, for a reader to like the book, the protagonist has to be a top-rate charmer. And well Anu is. Up to a certain point in the book. Till Anu decides to stow away her well paying job to find her inner self. Hitting thirty is peaking in your life. After which life probably takes the ticket for the fastest elevator downwards. With this belief, Anu chucks her well-paying job in Analytics (Can you hurt me anymore! Being an Analytics person, I LOVE my job and I am a total brand ambassador for all things data. You know what Gartner called the “sexiest” job of the twenty-first century? Data Scientist. Yeah. Anu, sometime my heart bleeds for you for what you traded! Anyways, sigh.) Anu whiles away her time watching the serials, munching away on fatty food, hunting for deals in gym clothes, making friends with other “jobless” folks in the gym and getting down to do some extremely unconventional jobs. The pace of the book is a rajdhani express until Anu quits. The political imbroglio, the office gossip, the corporate meetings and deadlines, the zany office counterparts with their own character twists – forms the juicier nicer part of the narrative. After which we climb into the local train. The plot loses its zing after Anu hits a slump in her life and none of the characters introduced in the second half of the plot can hold a candle to the hard-ass boss or the best friend in office. 

What saved the book from getting dreary for me is Bhargavi’s writing. Lucid, clear and very engaging, she strikes the right balance between humorous and insightful, never getting preachy or heavy handed. It’s a comfort read, like a home coming for a lot of us in this age and times. A book about the one person who dreamed. And dared to follow through with her dream. It’s an inspiring journey with lessons for a lot of us. Wrapped up in the guise of a hot filter kaapi, served piping hot with just the right kind of high-quality popcorn. The perfect types I need on a mental vacation. Truly enjoyable fare, dishy and well paced throughout, the Crossover Year is a remarkable and meaningful addition to the new age books being published in India today. 

A Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Copy of The Crossover Year by Bhargavi Balachandran. Open to Indian Residents only.


Bhargavi said…
Jeez.. that is a top class review, I say :).. Thanks for taking time out, reading the book and reviewing it..
Sachin Dev T said…
Glad you liked it :) anytime! I love good book and we desperately need more of them.

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