Publisher: General Press
Source: Review copy
Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life.
Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up.
She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines.
He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’.
They meet each other quite by chance.
And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives:
For Zayn, it’s a 'Partner-In-Crime'.
For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her…
When their worlds collide,
It is not what either of them expected it to be.
Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him.
What happens when these two become friends?
The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak?
What happens when two completely different people collide?
Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start?
'When Our Worlds Collide' is the story of two twenty-three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world.
A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances,
Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after!
I remember reading Aniesha Brahma’s debut. It was a colourful and well written novel, though a little rough around the edges. While reading her latest novella When Our Worlds Collide, I couldn't help but notice how far she’d come along as a writer. The dialogue flowed smoothly and the humour was subtle but made me laugh out loud. I read it without stopping for a break, and cried so much towards the end.
When Our Worlds Collide is the story of Akriti, a twenty something girl managing her mother’s café in Kolkata. She was a wallflower in school and college, preferring not to let her guard down. Her family situation was complicated, and she preferred having no friends to letting people into her life. Fast forward a few years, and she’s still as much of a misfit. The only person she talks to is her co-worker Ayoub. Then she re-connects with Zayn, a boy she once almost spoke to in school through his girlfriend Nimmi, a girl she’d reluctantly been friends with at one point. Their worlds collide, and Akriti finds herself crushing on someone whom she knows is taken.
The novella is packed with sweet, teary and some surprisingly real moments. It does not take the easy way out; loose ends aren't tied together with a frilly pink ribbon. Akriti’s at a phase of her life a lot of people in their twenties will be able to relate to. She has dreams, but hasn’t yet realised them. She has hope, but is too scared to pin it on anything. She’s too young to be defined by her past, and yet it isn’t something she can neglect. She’s transitioning, and every step she takes in any direction opens up so many possibilities. There’s freedom and then there’s responsibility weighing in on the consequences of every “free-willed” choice.
The author does a great job exploring these conflicts. She’s not afraid to have things take a raw turn, allowing the protagonist to grow in a more than superficial way. There’s more than enough quirk in it too. Poetry slams play a huge role in the story, but in a different way compared to Colleen Hoover’s Slammed. I could feel myself rooting for this girl, and I found the not-so-clichéd ending satisfying. When Our Worlds Collide is as much a story about personal responsibility as it is a story about a “hopeless” crush. I found that refreshing, as it was something I could relate to.
A post-script on the novella's cover design: If there was one thing that bugged me a little bit, it was the cover. The cover could've been so much more representative of Akriti and Zayn or Akriti's life, or even just...Indian. Hopefully, future editions come up with a design that is more true to the book and the ethnicity of the main characters.