By Nasreen Khan
Just Another Fan (JAF) is a simple story told very simply. Yes, the one thing that stays with you after you finish reading the book is its simplicity. The first person narrative by Jayeeta Ganguly and for a little while by her best friend Tapati, flows like an homespun, endearing, conversation. It is direct and straight from the heart. Effervescent and full of positivity, it narrates the tale of the author’s quest to meet her idol, the cricketing legend Imran Khan.
What starts as a case of infatuation transcends limitations of a fan and idol story to talk about the author’s discovery of self. What could have been a regular chatter about Imran and cricket turns out to be a tale of beliefs and values lost in the midst of the past. As Jayeeta narrates about how everything in her life propels her toward her goal, so to speak, she talks of her family, her sibling, her neighbours, teachers and friends. The simplicity of relationships, the depth of emotion is palpable despite the author touching only the tip of the familial bonds. For those who value those ‘Wonder Years’ it is bound to tug at your heart, even though the story is targeted at a very different objective. The novel is about the ennobling effects of being a fan, a value that firmly  militates against the present culture of violent hero worship, vandalism and roguery. 
But the biggest achievement for Jayeeta as a fan is the way her idol became her guide and mentor without actually being present physically. Her biggest tribute to Imran, it is apparent, is the way she grew out of her setbacks and went on to become a successful woman. The one constant factor in her life, since the age of 10, was her idol. It is also interesting to note how she handled everyday situations and difficulties the way “Imran would have done” or stuck to the truth in “Imran’s name”. But what also stands out, particularly relevant to today is the complete absorption of secular values. The way Jayeeta includes Jesus and Islam, the religion of her idol, in her pantheon of gods, and the manner in which she narrates it deserve mention. There is no preaching, no talking about it as an achievement. It is just a way of life. And it is that very way of life that makes the read pleasurable. Not bad at all for a first time author.  Two notes of dissent: the editing could have been smarter and the price more competitive.

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