Adulting by Neharika Gupta, is a book about love. About loving your friends, loving your family, loving your career, loving yourself, and loving your life. It is a story about millennials Aisha, Ruhi and Tejas, ambitious twenty-somethings living in New Delhi who are eager to succeed in the cutthroat world of publishing.
The characters in Adulting are accurate representations of Delhi’s youth. They are less characters constructed for a plot and more real people who have been mirrored within pages of fiction. Though they may play into stereotypical moulds sometimes, they’re frustrating and endearing, relatable yet surprising.
The simple diction and syntax work well to establish high points of conflict – one of them being when Tejas ends his romantic relationship with Ruhi because he finds himself attracted by Aisha’s charms. The book is written in first person, chapters switching points-of-view between the three characters. This works well because the reader is able to get a look inside the mind of every character and know them on a personal level.
The plot played out in a somewhat predictable manner, following a clear and discernible story-line. Although there no apparent surprises, this worked well because of the character consistency Gupta established for her protagonists. However, a sour point for me was the unexplored plot lines that resulted in the core characters’ main traits. What motivates Farah’s antagonistic behaviour toward her daughter Ruhi? What caused Aisha to have such negative ideas of body image and health? Why does Tejas write?
Ultimately, the strength of the book lies in Gupta’s unpacking of the essential themes that plague today’s youth. Through her characters, she talks about body shaming, identity crises, poor mental health, unhealthy relationship dynamics, and fame-seeking tendencies. Aisha’s struggle with her body image and her self-involvement with her online presence brings out people’s obsession with social media fame and becoming online influencers. But her eventual realisation that being healthy is more important than being thin develops her character arc really well. Tejas and Ruhi’s story challenges traditional views of love and relationships and promotes a more westernised outlook on dating. Ruhi’s commitment to her job advocates for the priorities of a modern woman who leads a balanced and
The book is a good and easy read for rainy afternoons or late-night indulging. As a Delhi girl personally, I enjoyed the familiar setting and friendship dynamics in the story. The chapter titles were a rare highlight during the course of the book. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for a light and insightful take on adult life in contemporary New Delhi.