Man of her Match by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

51uWkrPA26L._SY346_Usually books take off from where the previous one left off, but here we have a book, the characters of which bear some resemblance to a previous one by the same author. A prequel to her book, the bestseller, The Wedding Photographer, is Man of her Match by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal. This book is set in Delhi and is the story of twenty six year olds Nidhi Marwah and Vikramaditya Singh Walia.

The blurb:

Kicked off the team for a series of misdemeanours, Indian cricket’s bad boy Vikram Walia finally has a chance at redemption. The only problem: it involves collaborating with his childhood best friend turned sworn enemy, Nidhi Marwah.

Once a tomboy, now a gorgeous, self-assured marketing professional, Nidhi must put aside her personal dislike of Vikram and leverage his unparalleled fame and poster-boy good looks for her latest campaign.

But the ensuing battle of sardonic jibes and veiled slurs only heightens their blazing chemistry. Soon memories of their past fill their present, pulling them back to that fateful day when a heartless act destroyed their friendship.

Can Vikram and Nidhi put their stormy history behind them? Will their partnership have a second innings?

The story:

Eight year old Nidhi Marwah lives in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi with her workaholic lawyer father, Balraj Marwah; her dog, Odie and her trio of comrades Mahendra Rao, the driver, Mangal Singh, the cook and Bhimsen Thapa, the guard. Growing up with them, she is a tomboy and that makes her an outsider with both the genders. She is always on the lookout for a new face in the school as well as the neighbourhood and pins her hopes on them.

So one day, while playing with her trio of comrades, she sees a Maruti van drive into the house next door. And in the van is a child of her age and to her delight, the child has a cricket kit with him. She feels she is finally going to have a friend and is determined to make friends with him. Vikram Walia, the grandson of her neighbor, Mrs Walia, has moved from Mumbai to Delhi after the death of his parents, and is not on the lookout for company.

It takes a whole lot of persuasion and a month on her part that he finally relents to becoming not only her friend but her best friend. The trio welcomes him with open arms. He has always been there for her in the six years that they are together, playing with her, fighting for her, when her father tells her that she cannot be the captain of the girls’ cricket team and also while burying Odie.

Till they turn fourteen. When she felt that he had broken her heart and walked out of her life and he felt that she had ruthlessly crushed his heart. And they hate each other.

Twelve years later, Nidhi Marwah is the Senior Brand Manager of News Today. She is an ideal daughter and is also very passionate about her job. Risha Kohli and Tanvi Bedi are her best friends and she shares a healthy professional relationship with Sameer Singh, Sam. Dibakar is her boss and runs the marketing department with his own whims and fancies. In the long run, her goal is to move away from news media marketing to social marketing and when the EducateIn project comes their way, she feels this is her opportunity to put her best foot forward. What she has not accounted for is Aamir Khan, the original Brand Ambassador having other commitments and Vikram Walia being the replacement.

Vikram Walia, the boy who led the under 19 team to world cup win has never looked back since. He is obnoxious, self centred, spoiled and is known for offensive language foul temper both on and off the field. He has been banned by BCCI and a disciplinary hearing has been scheduled, so his manager Monty Bhalla feels that doing this campaign for free would present him in a positive light and restore his reputation.

So Vikram moves to Delhi, to his old home in Lajpat Nagar and goes to the News today office for a meeting. Nidhi tells him that he is not a suitable candidate for the campaign.

My take:

I loved the book especially the way it has been presented with timelines, flashbacks are in italics and diary entries in a cute handwriting.

The story is simple with well developed, relatable and realistic characters. The scenes have been described in a way that it was very easy to picturise them. The story has everything, friendship, romance, family drama and humour. The flow is good and the book is unputdownable.

Waiting for Tanvi’s story next.

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