Though this article is about Ravinder Singh, the author who has suddenly realised that India is intolerant and the democratically elected government doesn’t have the rights to legislate, let’s get introduced to the background first. Contemporary Indian English writing has a common trend – where most of the authors are coming from engineering background rather than any literary background and that’s why we have been failing to produce any universally acceptable piece of literature that could represent us, the Indians, on the forums where great literary personalities gather. Though it is not right to say that authors from backgrounds other than literature cannot produce quality literature. It would be a general remark that should be delayed or denied completely. Nevertheless, exceptions are exceptional in this case and a general remark can be defended very easily by those who are vociferous debaters.
In modern Indian English writings, the only thing we can find is reading pleasure that in turn gets its fuel from sensuality and erotic romance spread on the pages of the books we read. Or, in plain words, I will be safe in saying that this trend was set by Chetan Bhagat and rest just followed him with a dream to be the best seller like him. Fortunately for many and unfortunately for many others, many have done so and many failed as well. Many try to be either among the best crime thriller novelists in India or the best romantic novelists in India. Ravinder Singh is an author who can be said to be the one that sits next to Chetan Bhagat. He made his mark with his debut novel and become the best seller in just no time. I too Had a Love Story was the title that shot Ravinder to fame and he became a sensation among the readers who will read anything that entices them and provides them with the respite for a while.
He is a small-town boy who was born in 1982 in Sambalpur, a town in Odisha state. He has spent most of his childhood there and did his schooling in the same place. He moved to pursue software engineering from Karnataka. He worked as an IT professional in Infosys. However, to widen the dimension of his career, he pursued an MBA from ISB in Hyderabad. While pursuing his course, he started writing his first novel. He was in love with a girl who died in 2007 and he translated his experience into a novel and that becomes the bestselling piece of literature in the form of I too Had a Love Story, published in 2007.
To be very frank and blunt, I failed to find any writing skill that Ravinder Singh may put on the table where serious writers meet. Writing is a ‘serious business’ and most of his novels or rather all of them are just based on some guy and some girl and their desires to be together. I get the Platonic urge but where is the novel? His first novel shares the glimpse of his love life but lots of fantasy were included in this and that was an essential thing to do with the novel because no one would be reading a plain rendering or one’s episodes in life. And being a romantic novel, appended with a tragic ending, the novel worked upon the youths and they enjoyed reading it and felt sad for the author who, in turn, asked them another question – can love happen twice?
In short, we can say that Ravinder Singh is an author who knows very well what the taste of modern readers is. He produces his writings for that section of readers and skillfully skips writing any serious work that could be scrutinised by the serious critics. And that is why if you sit to find anything other than love fulfilled or love denied in his books, you will end up with frustration and depression as well. He believes in providing reading pleasure rather than dealing with substantial issues that responsible authors should do. In the novels by him, the usual set up is repeated most of the times. Tom meets Stella and they fall in love. Stella may go away or Tom may disappear. Tom may meet Leda or Stella may end up with Harry. The novel ends on such notes. And the young audience has the share of juvenile fantasies textualised. If not all, I am sure that the readers who are from the background of literature or had English literature education at some point of time, would understand that I am referring to the structure of Singh’s novels (in general).
List of His works:
- I Too Had a Love Story (2007)
- Can love happen twice? (2011)
- Love Stories That Touched My Heart (2012)
- Like it Happened Yesterday (2013)
- Your Dreams Are Mine Now (2014)
- Tell me a story (2015)
- This Love that feels Right (2016)
- Will, You Still Love Me (2018)
- The Belated Bachelor Party (2019)
I failed to understand from the titles of the books whether it’s his bibliography or discography. 🙂
Ravinder Singh can be concluded as just another novelist on the list of best selling ‘bad’ authors. I don’t mean any offence with the word bad as that was first used by respected author Jeet Thayil. He told in an interview that people are reading, these days, bestselling bad literature in India. Authors like Ravinder writer semi-obscene literature that could change hands easily. If they offer something serious to think to the young readers, they will not recommend their books to friends and family as ‘weekend reads’. Is that wrong? By any means – NO! That is perfectly right. And Ravinder Singh or any other novelist is well within their rights to do anything they want with his works. However, as a reader with a critical faculty working the way it should, I do find his novels lacking the literary courage and a sense of depth for the themes he deals. He only offers shallow perspectives which are ephemeral and transitory. Romantic novels can also have great vigour and a very great deal of responsible depth. For example, if you juxtapose the novels by Singh with the novels by Austen or Hardy (for some, it may be a crime as well), you will find that the novels which were more limited in terms of a set of characters and vividity, did well – Hardy’s and Austen’s. Whereas, the novels by Singh, in spite of having the liberty to explore many wide-open themes, falter and die the unnatural death in a hurry to be concluded with an extravaganza of pathos or humour or pleasure.
written by Amit Mishra for The Indian Authors
You have covered the life and work of Ravinder Singh in a detailed manner. I really loved the ways you have explained his style of writing.