Author: Kochery C. Shibu
A hydel power project in the remote Himalayas.
Three people brought together by fate. Nanda, an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love of his dear ones and the traditional kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a boy displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot threatening to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.
Rekha, a Kathak dancer in heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.
All throng the camp site like moths to a flame. Some escape untouched,successful; some miss a step and perish.
Each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. The fury of nature and hardship of project life has no mercy for the weak and time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar wathes as men risk their limb and life in their quest to full fill their dreams.
This is definitely one of the best books that have been published by new authors of Indian origins.
The story line is quite complex and the writing style, although poetic, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for me, the different writing style and the way the whole story was presented added to the allure of the book.
The best part of the book was its characters. I loved how the author gave out information and history of the characters between the story. Not only did it provide an interesting break from the main story line, it also helped build a rapport with the characters. Some stories in itself were so interesting that I would have been interested in reading the whole book on those characters..as they say..you can never have enough of a good story.. I especially loved the second chapter where the author provides Indumati’s story..I was so invested in that chapter, I actually felt sad when it ended..but not for long..as the next chapter was quite quick in grasping my attention. You know the author’s characterizations are excellent when you notice and admire even the passing characters.
Additionally, the author is not too judgemental of his characters and gives them room to grow and explore themselves. So, each character has their own experiences which shapes their mentality and actions. This is a rare talent that the author posses. This is especially true for his female characters. A very mature and realistic portrayal of all characters.
The author weaves different characters and stories and it is around the middle of the book that the main plot of the book begins to make sense. The story line is character driven.
One thing that stood out for me was the diversity of the characters. The author actually adds vernacular language of that character in that character’s speech which brought out authenticity of the writing and made it more believable. Also this is one of the rare books where there is diversity in a very Indian context. Which I personal have hardly come across. Yes, you do come across diversity when there are books that are based on International shores, but we hardly see the diversity that is in India represented in books, at least the ones I have read till now.
Coming to the writing style, I found it quite poetic. The descriptions of the different places were so realistic that you find yourself longing to visit those places.
The only flip-side was there were extremely few grammatical errors in the book that could be looked into before publishing the next edition and it would totally make this a perfect book.
Definitely a recommended read!