Feb 8, 2011

Bala Takes The Plunge - Book Review

I was a bit surprised when Melvin Durai sent me his book to be reviewed so many months after it was published but never one to miss reading a new book I readily agreed. Besides I have been reading his blog on and off for quite some time and was curious to read his first book.

The book is about Bala, a mediocre student, who would rather direct Rajnikant movies than become an engineer. His parents, not surprisingly thwart all his dreams of becoming a movie mogul and he finds himself studying engineering from one of the lesser known colleges in South India. Soon he finds himself working in the Golden Land for engineers – America. He loves his new country so much that he has even named his dog America, though he sometimes still yearns to go back and become a film director. Although Bala is Happy in his new country, he realizes and that he is lonely and decides that getting married won’t be such a bad idea. Plus he is fast approaching the big Three-Oh. He wants to find a wife on his own rather than settle for what his Amma might find for him back home. Thus begin the hilarious escapades where he tries everything from trying to chat up the girl behind the cash counter to joining cycling clubs and book clubs in quest of meeting girls to even buying a book titled “How to find a wife in thirty days with no help from your parents in India”
My Take on the Book :
Melvin Durai is a extremely witty blogger and he has done justice to his first book. Bala takes the plunge is entertaining and extremely funny without going overboard with the humor. The best part about the book is the way Melvin Durai has played with words. He has twisted and turned them to create such subtle wittisms that you have to read the sentence carefully lest you miss them. On reading for the first time the sentence would just seem normal and boring till you read it again to catch the hidden nuances.It’s also amusing how Melvin Durai hops from one witty repertoire to another in quick succession, before coming back to the topic at hand. Although this topic –about Desis in America has been written about many times, this book is still a refreshing read. The book is sprinkled with quotes from Rajnikant movies – although Melvin has provided translations I think someone knowing Tamil might enjoy them much more.My only complaint is that the book dragged slightly the middle and sometimes the humor became rather predictable. The only thing I really didn’t like about the book was in fact its cover. Its dull and boring and does not do Justice to the book at all!

Bala takes the plunge a Good Read especially if you are a Rajnikanth fan. Even if you are not, this book is sure not to disappoint you!
My rating - 3.5/5


  1. A good attempt on his book by Melvin.
    My review here :-)


  2. The book, sounds like a good, light read…but I’ll pass. Of the ones that touch on Desi in America, Inscrutable Americans is my fav — all others have disappointed me too badly :D

    btw, whts his blog address?

  3. @prats - I had read your review and commented on it too !
    @alphabetworld - Anurag Kashyaps book is about the protagonist trying to adjust in America - Yes I agree it was one fav read ! Melvins book basically talks about the guy trying to get married! His site - http://www.melvindurai.com/
    Book on Desis – I absolutely loved the Namesake. But then Jhumpa Lahiri is a class apart !

  4. I'd love to read this book. If only we got it here locally. I think I'll ask a friend to bring it from Bombay next time. That was a very good review, btw, very balanced and interesting.
    U do have a lovely style of writing, and I'm going to be a regular from now :-)

  5. @writerzblock - thanks a lot ! you've really made my day !

  6. I am a regular at Melvin Durai's blog. I will surely read this soon ;) Thanks for the review :)

  7. @shail - yes, if you like his blog, you'll like the book !

  8. should surely check it out... thanks.



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