Yesterday Once More - Book review by Puja Ahuja,

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“Those were the days, my friend. We thought they would never end….. We would live the lives we choose……For we were young and sure to have our way ……”

As I read Parul Mittal’s Heartbreaks and Dreams on her college days at IIT, I can hear the words of this song, fill up the corridors of my mind, bringing with them the heady fragrance of yesterday. Told directly and honestly, in very simple words, the tale of Tanu and her friends is sure to drive you down the memory lane. Who, amongst us, has not felt the yearning for those days of our youth when all our dreams seemed a step away from reality? When passion, focus and action were the only things we felt were needed to claim our place in the world. When we were yet to grow up.

The female protagonist, the only girl in her class, allows us a refreshingly different peep into hostel life, study schedules, exams, tournaments, college festivals and even crushes on seniors. The view from the eyes of the minority population, the few girls among the many many boys. While stories about the challenging years at IIT abound on bookshelves today, Heartbreaks and Dreams is the sole representative of the female perspective. The only book on IIT, by a girl, as the author claims, sheds light on the demands made on the hearts and minds of the female students, ensconced in the Kailash hostel, a stone’s throw away from the faculty residence. The boys, in all unfairness, have enough breathing space.

So, we have Tanu, a shy and brilliant girl who detests being average, thinks quite a bit of herself even though she may not like to admit it and predictably sets out to outshine her batchmates and we also have the spunky Divya, the pretty Puja and the rich Charu each a distinct personality in her own right, but with a common thread that runs though all of them, their brilliance. The brilliance that grants them a place among the super brains of the country. The story unfolds over various semesters and the girls ride the ups and downs rather well, be it a low score in the exams, being in love, breaking up, losing in love or even running for office. They deal with the shock that follows a suicide, the grief that accompanies death, the pain that is felt when cheated in love and emerge shaken but not beaten!

An innocent coming-of-age story, Heartbreaks and Dreams may seem ‘cotton candy and fluff’ to those among us, who, in the many years after graduation, have acquired a jaded view of the world but will greatly appeal to others who remember the days gone by with fondness and childish glee.

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Parul Mittal (maiden name Parul Agarwal) is the author of a national bestseller novel “Heartbreaks & Dreams! – The Girls @ IIT”. Her second book “Arranged Love” captured the hearts of Indian youth. Let's Have Coffee is her third novel and promises to be a humorous and fun light read.

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