Sunday, April 3, 2011

Realism in Romance

I'm not a big fan of the romance genre. A chance sms from a friend fuelled my thought processes on this topic today, as to WHY I don't like it. WHAT exactly was wrong with it, and how would I correct it, If I really had to.

This started off as a random string of thoughts but wound up becoming a short story. Initially it was just a boredom thing, but as it grew in length, It became more like a challenge to myself. To prove to myself that I could still swing a mean pen.


Too often I hear of crappy love stories-ridiculous, over the top tales filled to the gills with every cliché imaginable. It’s very nearly unbearable to a reader like Yours Truly, and what really annoys me is that I know it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be that hard to write romance with realism in it. All you do is actively ignore the standard tropes of the genre, and you should be good to go.

Unfortunately, I haven’t come across something like this as yet. Which is why, I’ve decided to type out the gritty, hard hitting record of the personal life of one Sunny

Keep in mind, Dear Reader, that when I mean realistic, I don’t mean shaky cameras and grayscale color schemes. Things may not go the way you’d like them, especially if you’re a fan of the usual fluff. This is chiefly because we’re dealing with realistic relationships here, and realistically, sometimes people do strange things because, well, that’s just how they are.

Our journey begins with Sunny Spoonwaala, at the sprightly age of 22. Vijay represents

that vast stratum of society who one usually wouldn’t notice. Ever.

So plain in terms of looks that it wasn’t even funny, he looked like basically 70% of society. Average height, weight, intellect, physique. He was Mr. Average. The Mayor of Plaintown. The King of Normal-ia.

Downright boring, he was.

And so, Dear Reader, what we have here is a stock character you may no doubt recognize from works such as ‘The Purple Headed Soldier’ or ‘Scarlet Wayfarer’ or whatever the hell they’re naming women’s porn nowadays. Those in the pulp novel industry call it the ‘Straight Man’ type character, and pair him off with a contrasting female character, usually ‘The Psycho’ or ‘The Shrew’.

But it’s not quite cliché yet. It’s justified, in this case, by the fact that it’s realistic to be normal.

So Sunny, at his new workplace, meets an attractive young lady named Sharmili. She too, was a fresher, at looked pretty hot.

I’m not going to say she had eyes like pristine lagoons or hair like black velvet, cause she didn’t.

Hell, nobody does.

All I’m saying is that she was pretty hot, a 7 on 10 in my book.

Also, a word of caution, Dear Reader, if you’re starting to read too much into the character names. Maybe you’re starting to think that Sharmili is the shy type or that Sunny is a cheerful young lad who’ll win over the lady with his exuberant charm.

You Are? Are you challenged or something? Names don’t work that way, you dumb fuck. If they did, I’d change my last name to WIN and name my three kids ‘Somuch’, ‘Madeof’, and ‘Epic’. This isn’t James Bond, where a guy with a name like Oregano Angercock is a Mexican bull wrestler, or chicks have names like ‘Miwana Bangbang’.

It’s just a name.

So anyway, Sunny falls in love at first sight ( If you expected this then you obviously can’t take a hint)

Gets to know Sharmili over the course of a few months and strikes up a friendship. This was easy since he wasn’t at Marylin Manson levels of creepiness, and also because they had been assigned to the same project (Their first project teams were based on alphabetical order of last names. Sharmili’s last name was Sparda. Still realistic!)

Eventually, Sunny gets a serious case of boneritis, understandably, because, you know, 7 on 10…

Gentleman that he is, he decides to win over the lady’s heart with all the charm he can muster.Which, as he eventually realizes, is not much.

So he takes up a different approach, shock and awe.

For weeks he spent his time talking to Sharmili, trying to figure out her interests and tastes. He was pleasantly surprised to find that they both shared the same taste in Music, Movies and pencils (They were both into 2B’s).

As time went on, and he got to know her better, Sunny realized that he was developing real feelings for this woman, distinct and separate from the ‘Dayyyuum look at that ass’ category of feelings. It was at this point that his story went from a quest for booty to a labor of love.

Now, if I was writing a novel to be published by Rupa or somebody, I would have a 62 page filler arc right about now involving a convoluted series of misunderstandings or a long drawn out faux philosophy lesson. Fuck that. I’m going to do what I do with those books and just skip to the end.

His final expression to her, after months of preparation, simply defies description. I would probably include the lines of the ballad he had composed for her, or describe his glorious speech where he confessed his undying love, but I totally wouldn’t do justice to it. Suffice to say, it was pretty heavy. Their co-workers had tears in their eyes, going so far as to say that here was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen one creature do for another.

Sunny was then rejected, because Sharmili said she wanted to focus on her job. In reality she just wasn’t into him. Even though he loved her around 10 tons, she wasn’t interested because, well, that’s just how it was. No reason.

Sunny was kinda totally devastated with this shit. But he still held on to hope.

He thought to himself ‘I won’t give up, one day I’ll make her understand how much she means to me’.

Buuut, that never happened. He basically stalked her for a week and then got tired of the whole thing. He got married a few years later to some Wheatish Complexion B.Ed First Class girl his parents picked out for him, and forgot all about Sharmili. Even though he had been ready to give his left ball to be with her a couple of years back, because, well, that’s just how it was. No Reason.

As for Sharmili, she met someone herself a few months after the big rejection. An old classmate named Anirudh.

Now, surely you’re thinking, if she picked him, he must probably be 10 times the man that Sunny was. Smarter, probably? Or more Sensitive? Or more Rugged? All of the above?


He basically had a nice car and a shitload of money. Also a nice house. And a nice car.

Did I mention the car?

‘Surely’, I hear you say, Dear Reader, ’The man must be a total douchebag. No doubt she’ll dump him once she realizes that’.

Buut no. Anirudh surprisingly wasn’t that bad a dude. Just because he used his immense wealth to get with the ladies didn’t make him a douchebag.

They finally settled down together and lived happily ever after.

Until they died.

And so ends the story, with Sharmili dying at 39 from a heart attack. I guess a rich lifestyle isn’t what it’s cut out to be, what with the increase risk of heart disease. But I kept all of this in, all for the realism. Life can be like this sometimes, because, well, that’s just how it is. No Reason.*

*Wait a minute. There is a reason. It’s high cholesterol. Ignore that last line.

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