Arjun Dutt’s The Last Seen Romantic is a tale of the virtual world, love and distance combining as a recipe for almost – disaster for its protagonist. Exploring being overwhelmed by social media and being caught in the throes of loneliness despite being connected to people on the interweb, the book certainly deals with themes that are very relevant today.
The book begins with a bang as the reader is swept right away in the flow of things without any dawdling. Aryan, a young professional, is enamoured by Tanvi Kapoor after meeting her at the office elevator one Monday morning. The woman in question is portrayed as captivating and having a strong presence about her. This catches Aryan’s eye and makes him fall in love with her despite barely knowing her. To Aryan’s dismay, he discovers that Tanvi is relocating to UK for a year-long project. Despite the odds being stacked against him and his best friend cautioning him about his unrealistic passions, Aryan decides to pursue Tanvi. So begins the tale of constant untimely Friendsview (read: Facebook) messaging, brooding about calls that never come and Aryan’s entire life centering around the ‘Tigress’ that is Tanvi Kapoor and his unnaturally strong feeling towards her. With social media and long-distance phone calls the only way to communicate, will Aryan win over Tanvi? Or will he lose her to the omnipresent men in her life, specifically her roommate and colleague Raghav? Most importantly, will Aryan’s everyday life be able to bear the brunt of him being caught up in the virtual world? These are some of the questions the book deals with as major plot points.
Readers might find Aryan’s lofty and unrealistic ideas of love slightly off-putting, especially since it is written from Aryan’s perspective. Believing in love at first sight, forming his attachments too early and claiming to be ‘the last seen romantic’, his views are somewhat balanced by his best friend, Vikram Nath, who comes across as more sensible. Other characters in the Aryan-Tanvi mix are Aryan’s colleagues and Tanvi’s many male admirers, the latter causing Aryan much chagrin and forming a major plotline in the book. A reader would get worried about the harsh, and frankly unfair, possessiveness that Aryan shows towards Tanvi and his harmful observation, almost stalking, of her every move but this only proves the point of the kind of paranoia some modern relationships come along with. The ending, a tad abrupt, is also quite unexpected.
About the author: An alumnus of Delhi College of Engineering, Arjun Dutt works at a start-up company in the world of technology and finance. The Last Seen Romantic is his first book.
Feature Image: Cover of The Last Romantic