A friend once told me that happiness is the noble practice of discussing sport. Knowing how often I discuss sport, football in particular, with him, I couldn’t help but agree. It was he who gifted me this book, the first and only sports biography on my shelf.
About the author:
Kiran Vijayan has a B.A (Honors) in Economics and a Masters in Human Resource Management. Besides reading and writing, he also enjoys sports and music, and is a member of the Baroda United Football Club. This is his debut offering in the book world.
My thoughts on the book:
When Kiran Vijayan contacted me and asked me if I was interested in reviewing the book, the first thing that caught my attention was the title, “Offside”. And the description where he said that the book was a mix of football and love further increased my curiosity. I thank Kiran for the review copy and congratulate him on his debut as well, a story that was humorous and quite different from any book I’ve read recently.
We see that the protagonist, Gaurav Kale is reminiscing, lying on a football pitch, not bothered with many who are staring at him. We’re taken back in time to when he first got into the game, and began playing for Vadodara United FC. The story revolves around his passion for the game, the first time he sees “his girl” Shreya and falls in love, only to realize she’s already spoken for, in the monstrous frame of the dominating captain of VUFC, Bali and his friendship with the other members of VUFC (Golu, John, Ringo, Amin etc.) that lands him in trouble and mischief. It also has pool and badminton a little as well.
What I liked:
Lovely cover design and the soccer player silhouette on the cover that also is at the start of each chapter. It resonates on the theme of this book. For me, this story is simple and enjoyable. It works. It’s not a serious write up, and the humor doused around the tale, with the nicknames and the mischief the group gets into at times, especially trying to get one of them laid; that brings smiles to me. I liked the different layers to few characters, and it worked. The football talk could resonate with the lovers of this wonderful game, and I feel that has been done well. Even those who might be new to soccer would get to know some aspect atleast, because the author goes to the trouble of describing things like formations and what an offside is etc. The love angle, though not profound, is done nicely.
What could’ve been better:
Though nothing out of the obvious in the flow of events, I liked most of the novel. But I felt with Bali getting a different layer to his character towards the end, his story in the story deserved a happier ending than what has been given. I think that to enjoy this story well, you must be a soccer fan, doesn’t matter which club you support. It’s not one that’ll appeal to a reader who is a reader of romance genre, but not a soccer fan. The last thing I’d point out is that it would be good if the price was a little lesser. I feel INR320 is a lot for a 136 page book that’s a little cross-genre.
For me, soccer is my fourth passion, after reading, writing and music. From a lifetime supporter of the Red Devils, Manchester United FC, to another MUFC supporter, the author Kiran Vijayan… well written!
Author: Kiran Vijayan
Publishers: Cinnamon Teal Publishing
Price: INR. 320
(April 19th, 2013)