Book review: Tick-tock, We’re 30

Publisher: Westland Ltd

Category: Fiction

Price: Rs 250

Pages: 402

Author: Milan Vohra

The Sarva Niketan( S.N) gang is back together after a decade, and they're all camped in pajama-wala uncle's house, whose most enduring image is that of a 'mad' dog barking its head off. 

Lara Bagai of the S.N gang in Delhi is the last to turn thirty, and this ragtag bunch is here for the reunion they'd planned for when the last from their group would be hitting the big three. Like Sita calls it, the OTWT,' Oh Teri, We're Thirty!' event.

The reunion has Lara upbeat and all prepped up. But there's another pact that, sadly, coincides with this one. Made one evening when Lara was sure she was wasted, the pact had both Nishad and Lara agreeing to marry each other if they were still on the shelf by the time they had both turned thirty.

The last thing Lara would have thought then was the possibility that this could ever come true, so besotted she was with Ranndeep, her alpha male biker boyfriend. What hope in hell did Nishad, the ever so correct guy, have with that stud around? But heck, she's thirty in a few days' time. She's single. Ranndeep turned out to be a douchebag. Nishad is single too, and, worse, hasn't forgotten about the pact. Something has to be done because Nishad is "completely wrong" for her.

Bring on Perzaan. The dishy Turkish bartender and flame eater. Lara's ersatz boyfriend. For the week that the SN gang is in the house, Perzaan will play the no-nonsense, suave, deal-clincher banker. If Lara's spoken for then the pact comes undone. Or does it? Does she pull it off? Does Perzaan? Or does Nishad see through this charade? But that's only the main story; at pajama-wala uncle's house there are plenty other sideshows playing out too. Old flames are fanned and rekindled, strange pairings happen, sexual orientations get defined, and sexual dysfunctions get corrected! A full house, in short.

Then Sita foists Kalyani on the reunion team, and the latter drives the rest up the wall. Except Sita, of course. He doesn't get it. Aunty Nair, ,however, seems to know what's best for her son. Only Coconut Kumari for her Sita is her constant refrain. But, who is she? No one has the foggiest idea who Aunty is referring to. And, given Aunty's fragile mental condition, they even wonder if Coconut Kumari is for real. Then the penny drops.

Full of hijinks and hysteria, whisky and weed, food orgies and trips down memory lane, pranks and showdowns, Tick-tock, We're 30 proceeds at an amazingly brisk pace.

There is enough happening in these 400-odd pages. The characters are splendidly sketched out---from the perennially constipated Thin Rita to glad eye, Sai. Chances are that you'll have a visual profile of each one of them in your mind's eye while reading this book. High on humour and vernacular colloquialisms, you will somehow not grudge the fact that the book is a tad too long. After all, you'd still want to know who each one will end up with and how. You'll also wonder how such a disparate set of characters can be so cohesive too.

Milan writes simply and for India's first Mills and Boon author, her prose is surprisingly devoid of maudlin mush and syrupy sentimentality, though given the theme, it could so easily have gone down that road.

I hope that Oh fuck, we're forty is in the cans too. On the downside, if this book has any serious flaws, it is the way Faviyo is made to sound so permanently horny. Unnecessary.