Monthly Archives: March 2017

BOOK REVIEW : The 365 Days

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TITLE: The 365 Days
AUTHOR: Nikhil Ramteke
PUBLISHER: Write India Publishers
GENRE: Fiction

THE BOOK

 

The 365 Days

 
 
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This is a story that falls through the crevices of pitiless anonymity, yet miraculously waits to be told.

Shijukutty, a Malayali fisherman, leaves his tiny hamlet of abject poverty in the coastal village of Vizhinjam on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, that picturesque vignette of searing beauty on the south-western coast of India.

Shiju, like millions of other Malayalis, seeks his destiny in Dubai, that gleaming global hub of fortune on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. What unfolds is a stirring story of distilled hardship, exploitation, identity, and friendship, and the heartbreaking choices Shiju is often forced to make.

So what he sees is not what he experiences when he lands in a world of glimmering towers, fast-paced life, and unabashed opulence. For what he was not prepared for was the dark underbelly of Dubai beyond the shimmering mirage.

Shiju’s life is no more the same. But he holds his ground, drawing on ancient instincts of his seafaring ancestry. As things settle down around him, he is inexorably pulled into the canyon of recession…

Will Shiju be able to hold on to his dreams? Will he able to pull out himself from the whirlpool? Will he survive against all odds? Will he redeem himself?

The 365 Days weaves a captivating tale about the countless Indians and other South-East Asian migrant labourers, who, in seeking to forge their destinies on that gleaming promontory of dreams, end up colliding with forces beyond their reckoning.

Nikhil Ramteke unfolds an extraordinary saga about Indian expatriates, their struggles, their alienation, and their dreams. The 365 Days is more than a story of a year in Shijukutty’s life.
 

REVIEW

 

STORY-LINE:- A simple plot told from the point of the protagonist a simple and humble soul, a fisherman, ‘The 365 Days’ is the saga of a major chunk of Indians working in the Middle- East. The fact that the story is nothing but the truth makes it endearing and at the same time opens our eyes to the untold miseries suffered by those who go there with high hopes only to find their dreams shattered.

There is a saying in Malayalam, “ ikkare nilkumbol akkare paccha,” meaning the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Same is the case with us Indians who believe that those working beyond our shores are well- off just because we happen to see their family suddenly lap in luxury, build multi-storeyed houses, go in for the latest gadgets, etc., etc. But how many of us are aware of the sweat, the tears and the toil that has gone into the ‘sudden rise in their stature.’

Shijukutty’s story also reveals another truth that is staring the face of all immigrants to the lands beyond our shores, the truth that one day they may have to return home, to unemployment and worse still debt not repaid. Some may have money to tide over a few months but the majority may return to a life worse than hell. Shijukutty was lucky that he had a loving wife who valued him above the money he sent home. Not all are that lucky. When dreams fall apart, palaces crumble like a pack of cards; relationships are bound to be the first casualty more so in today’s world where money rules and selfishness overpowers love.

There are dreams, there is truth. There is love, there is deceit. There is enmity; there is a sense of hopelessness. In fact ‘The 365 Days’ holds in its bosom a wide range of emotions. It is a saga of dreams unfulfilled, a saga of lives tossed to fend for themselves in the desert sand, a saga of tears and turmoil. It is a saga of the helpless immigrant trying to make a better living by making many a sacrifice only to find that his trials and tribulations are never ending. The light at the end of the tunnel is far from sight.

CHARACTERIZATION: – The characters are well- developed with all their imperfections. One can easily relate to the emotions, the actions and reactions of each one of them. They are not only relatable but reflect the various shades of human emotions naturally. While Shijukutty represents hope, Thavamani represents despair. Jabbar chettan comes across as a seasoned veteran who yearns for the love and care of his beloved ones, Chacko is the cynical one. In short the labour camp is a world in its own, a world where people of different shades, different virtues, different vice are thrown together, a place where people struggle to survive yet often do not lose that one attribute called humanity. You can be sure that there will be at least that one being that you can depend upon to give you a shoulder to weep upon.

LANGUAGE: – Simple and easy. No hard nuts to crack by way of unnecessary jargon. This is a great relief.

STYLE:- Fine.

PACE: – This is the only point I had a problem with. Too much of unnecessary detail at places slowed down the pace at times.

EDITING:- Needs to be tightened at places.

VERDICT

A well- researched book within which life in the coastal belt of Kerala is captured beautifully and the Malayalam dialogues, etc. are spot on. I’ll give the book a 3 on a scale of 5.


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BUYING LINKS

amazon.in II pustakmandi


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THE AUTHOR

NIKHIL RAMTEKE

Born & brought up in Nagpur Maharashtra, Nikhil Ramteke is an M-Tech in Chemical Technology and is currently working as a Production Manager in a leading multinational FMCG giant -IFFCO, since 8 years. A multi-faceted personality, Nikhil Ramteke is a qualified painter, nominated photographer & an avid traveller. The 365 days is his debut novel.

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#BookReview: 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale

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TITLE: 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale
AUTHOR: Vandana Shanker
PUBLISHER: Amazon- Asia Pacific
GENRE: Fiction ( Historical)

THE BOOK

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1857. The rebellion erupts in India. Despite its attempts to stay aloof, NAVGARH, a small town near Delhi, is drawn into the conflagration. And at its heart are Princess Meera and Captain Richard Smith, with their strange alliance made for the throne of Navgarh.

2016, Shiv Sahai, a young Indian art historian and Ruth Aiken, a British scholar discover an excerpt from the journal of an anonymous British soldier, searching for his wife in the chaos of 1857 Delhi. As they begin investigating the scandal, they become aware of the vague rumours that are told in the bylanes of Navgarh – about a princess who married a British soldier to save her kingdom

MY TAKE

The story a short read, told in two different timelines is well-spun and riveting from the word ‘go.’ There is history, romance, intrigue and rebellion but……… the end is abrupt, meaning the reader will have to wait for the sequel to know more of the protagonists, their strange alliance, the fate of Navgarh, the result of Shiv Sahai’s research, etc., etc.

The character of Shiv Sahai and Ruth Aiken the Indian and British Scholars are well fleshed out. While Shiv comes across as one not easy to comprehend and a person who fiercely guards his secrets, Ruth is shrewd.

One gets only a glimpse into the characters of Meera and Captain Richard Smith the protagonists of the story of the strange alliance. Hence it’s premature to comment on them.

The language is simple, crisp and lucid while the style of narration and pace are perfect.

VERDICT

A simple read, one that’s sure to arouse your curiosity and leave you hungry to gorge on the sequel, 1857 Dust of Ages Vol 1: A Forgotten Tale scores a 3 on 5 from me.


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BUYING LINKS

amazon.in II amazon.com