Title: Delhi via Lucknow: Once, love travelled this route
Author: Ashwini Rudra
Publisher: One Point Six Technologies
First Publication: 2022
Book Summary: Delhi via Lucknow by Ashwini Rudra
When Himanshu (aka Guddu) Shukla, a middle-aged investment banker, encounters his early twenties’ infatuation Rimjhim Singh at the Lucknow airport, it evokes his unrequited love. The sedimented reveries of his memory make him realize that he was going to take the most decisive journey of his life.
Rewind to the transition period of early 2000, when the 90s mindset was fading and a new generation’s thinking was emerging in the bustling Kanpur, Guddu Shukla, a student leader of DAV college, finds himself a nemesis in Bechu Mishra, a CA aspirant and local goon. Surrounded by comical and pugnacious friends, their rivalry is over the most stunning girl in town, Rimjhim Singh. As they fight for what they believe is right and of course the girl, the big question remains who eventually gets to be with her.
However, this is no typical love triangle. At an age when romance was experienced far from Tinder matches and WhatsApp messages, fate intervenes, reality happens, and an unexpected turn of events takes Guddu, Bechu and Rimjhim on paths very different from what they set out on. Years later, when these paths cross again, what else could it be, if not a second chance?
Piquantly funny, engaging, and taut, Delhi via Lucknow is a debut novel by Ashwini Rudra about unforgettable characters, their love stories and life goals. It is a desi young-adult story that will evoke nostalgia and romance in everyone who reads.
Book Review: Delhi via Lucknow by Ashwini Rudra
Delhi via Lucknow by Ashwini Rudra is a second-chance love story told in alternating timelines about two people who met while growing up, parted ways, and then reunited years later. Himanshu Shukla, aka Guddu, is settling into an ambitious, if emotionally tepid, routine: working hard as an investment banker, keeping his head down and heart tucked away. The carefully created bubble that he has been living in starts to burst, however, when he has a chance encounter with Rimjhim Singh, the first love of his life from college. They haven’t seen each other in a long time and have become strangers until a fortuitous meeting brings them back together.
Once upon a time, Rimjhim used to be Himanshu’s entire world. During his college days, Himanshu was an influential student leader. The local thug and aspiring CA, Bechu Mishra, becomes an adversary for him. Aside from their ideological differences, their competition is for Rimjhim Singh, who is considered to be the most beautiful girl in town. Guddu, Bechu, and Rimjhim find themselves travelling down completely different paths than they had originally planned to follow after an unanticipated twist of fate.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, the narrative of Himanshu and Rimjhim will trigger nostalgic feelings in the 90’s generation. Within the pages of this young adult romance book written by Ashwini Rudra, love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all come into conflict with one another. It comforts you, it soothes you, it gravitates towards you to continue and enjoy the chemistry that Himanshu and Rimjhim have.
The fact that Himanshu and Rimjhim have a history together is the same reason that makes this book so worth reading and being charmed by it in ways that one may not anticipate. There’s always that nagging curiosity of “what happened to them?” that keeps you turning the page and contemplating their past. Even though they haven’t seen each other in years, Himanshu and Rimjhim are still able to find contentment in one another’s company. There is still a sense of warmth and familiarity between them.
Oftentimes, I find romance novels tend to not go beyond the surface and are often just formulaic. Delhi via Lucknow by Ashwini Rudra is a little formulaic, but what makes this so enjoyable is that the characters have depth. While they have their flaws, they are both likeable and I liked reading about Himanshu and Rimjhim’s past and present. There is also a level of emotional intensity that I was not expecting. While there is a happy ending, there are some unexpected tragedies. With adorable characters, a lovely plot, and a sense of intrigue throughout, Delhi via Lucknow is a great option for all readers, especially those interested in romance.