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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review : 'Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar' by Kochery C Shibu

In the book, ‘Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar’, Kochery C Shibu’s characters arrive with a bang, and then weirdly settle in. And then, they go off for the romantic beat, and then come up again for another round of violence, and finally crawl towards the end. It is all about the characters, starting off with the main one.

Nanda who is an engineer, with the mastery in Kalari, (Kalaripayattu is a martial art, which originated as a style in Kerala). Forever, suspicious and incredibly careful is Nanda.

He would never talk too much to his fellow workers around him. He wakes up early, starts off with the Surya Namaskara, and begins his Kalari routine. His roommates and he must get to the site on time. The AM Hydro project is the biggest in Dhauladhar. As night comes on, sleep keeps away from him, and the range of mountains around him seems to talk to him.

Earlier, he goes and is suddenly struck with marriage because his brother had died and his wife was left without a husband. So, the two of them are put through marriage and another of his enemy’s incredible killing, which puts him straight in the north, in Dhauladhar.

We find the beginnings of Nanda and therefore we have to travel back in time our way across to Indumati, his mother. She comes in to the family, through marriage to Prabhakaran. Luckily for her, she has an understanding husband, who though lived under menacing circumstances, allowed her to study further. She found herself, travelling to Finland and studying there. She also had a life, quite different from the life in Kerala. She found herself studying, dating, speaking the Finnish language, and also eating the comparatively bland foods and also found herself in jail.

After all this, she managed to get out and now, that she was counted days when she would finish up her course and make her way back to India. Back home, she then gave birth to Nanda. She wanted her family to be safe, but he husband was killed and she blamed herself. But she knew that, his son would pay the price and that is why she was glad, when her son went off to the north.

Khusro, born in Kashmir is recruited by a Pakistani terrorist group. Rekha, a dancer cum doctor finds herself trekking in Kashmir when she is suddenly captured by terrorists, and actually one terrorist, Khusro falls for her.

The love story is kind of foolish in its own way. You do wonder why an incredibly intelligent and talented woman would firstly fall for a terrorist. Then you do wonder about the terrorist himself, who has been asked to kill is just looking confused and lost in love himself. But of course, there was always his main plot. To kill so many people by blowing up the dam being built by Nanda, who does not have a clue of this till now.

Plus, you have so many other characters within the story, and you have the author giving you so much, in terms of characterisation.The research was extraordinary, but the plot kind of gets lost in the middle of all these. The plot travels from Kerala to Finland to Kashmir to Pakistan, without any glitches. From the Kalari to the mountains, to the countries and to the states in India, itself, it is truly magnificent.

Kochery C Shibu
Yet, there is always the plot making its way towards the end. Would it all work out? Would Nanda manage to do away with his enemies in Kerala? Would he save his dam in the Dhauladhar? Would Rekha manage to find her love? Would she and Khusro live together in love as she hoped?

Overall, the plot begins and does find an end. But the characters are simply superb and went in so many ways. One of course, one wishes that all these had a single end and they found it, but how would it end?

You can Buy the Book, right here. 

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