“Dear, there is no good card or bad card in Tarot. All the cards are meant to convey an energy and the death card means a big transition, an end of a phase, the end of a chapter, and the beginning of another.”
– Anuj Tikku, Milli Meet Miss Lilly: The Two Women in My Life
The recent years have seen me on a constant lookout for exploring new Indian books and underrated or yet undiscovered Indian authors. Hence, I always pick up an Indian writer’s work with a sense of anticipation in the hope of stumbling upon something spectacular. One of my recent reads includes Anuj Tikku’s Milli Meet Miss Lilly. Read on to know about the book and about my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a one-of-a-kind story that combines the surreal with the real and brings to you a story with hints of magical realism. Expect a short read of under 100 pages. Expect a book that offers an all-pervasive view of the world of high-end fashion, glitz, and glamour.
Who can read?
The language is simple enough to be understood by any beginner-level reader.
The story as it goes
Fashion designer Dev Sinha is known all over the tinsel town for his quirky and high-end fashion. Currently, in his early forties, Dev is looking forward to making heads turn at the prestigious Dove International fashion show. His high couture fashion shop Razzmatazz is at the top of its game, and his love life is going strong and steady.
He had met Milli, the sultry diva-like aerobics and fitness trainer four years ago, and their bond is now stronger than ever. For Milli too, Dev is everything she could have hoped for. He is charming, successful, and rich. And most importantly, he dotes on her, splurges on her.
But little did Milli know that their relationship is about to be derailed. That very soon, there would enter a third being, who would spoil their equation and everything that they have built over four lovely years.
Miss Lilly, a latex and rubber-made mannequin that Dev stumbles upon one day will change everything. As Dev becomes increasingly obsessed with the latex doll, Milli takes refuge in the comforting words of Tarot reader Shamli.
So what will happy to the happy couple?
Will Lilly, the latex doll wreak havoc in their lives?
The plot and writing
There is no denying the uniqueness of the storyline. A latex doll as a character (and that too one who is caught in a love triangle) is something not many people can pull off. The frequent change of narration vis-à-vis the story of different characters, and the backstory of Lilly, also works well for the writing.
I also like the quick insights one gets into the world of fashion and tarot reading. Another thing worth mentioning is the peculiar and quirky names. Whether it is the show stopper Moon Moon Jaan, or the fortune teller parrot Rang Birangi, or the ace fashion designer Coco Rani, or even the latest fashion collection from Dev which seems to be a fusion of ‘French Chic with Gujrati Dhokla’ – the names used are definitely attention-grabbing, to say the least.
What could have been better?
Like always, Anuj’s latest book also lacks sound editing. There are numerous editing and grammatical inaccuracies, punctuation mistakes, typo errors, and whatnot. The sheer number of these errors is enough to bring down the reading experience.
What I didn’t like?
Though the story is unique and wildly imaginative, the writing fails to match up to its true potential. The storytelling isn’t convincing enough to make a lasting impact on the reader. The writing resorts to the easy way out by deciding to stick to the ‘more tell less show’ style of narration. And so, the reader is told everything – things, situations, characters, etc, are described rather than shown.
In the end
In the end, Milli Meet Miss Lilly narrates a tantalizing tale of a one-of-a-kind love triangle. Short, breezy, and dramatic, it comes with an interesting plot but unimpressive writing.
Pick the book if
You are looking for a short read.
You enjoy books that blend real with surreal.
You don’t mind editing errors.
You want to read the story of a love triangle between two humans and a mannequin.
Buy the copy of Milli Meet Miss Lilly using the link below.