Monday, 19 February 2018

#BookReview: Men and Dreams In The Dhauladhar by Kochery C.Shibu

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Title: Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar
Author: Kochery C.Shibu
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Published on: September, 2017
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 284
ISBN: 9385285009

“He noticed the importance of names in the short time that he was there. Everyone had a nickname, and every place, every event, everything, a colorful one. The dreams of the men were hidden in many of these names.”


A Hydel 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 for his dear ones, and the kalari code of revenge. 
Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot that threatens to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.

Rekha, a kathak dancer at 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 campsite 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. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about the aspirations of these people, with their cares and worries woven to the site life. The fury of nature and hardships of project life have no mercy for the weak and no time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their lives and limb in the quest to fulfill their dreams. 


The cover page of the book Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is simple and mesmerising. It has a beautiful picture of Dhauladhar range covered with snow and few people working on the Hydel Power project. The  cover has very subtle colours of white, light mustard yellow, blue and black making it very attractive. I loved the cover page.


Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar by Kochery C.Shibu is one of the finest Indian fiction that I have read so far. It basically conveys about the dreams which a man wants to achieve in life.  It is binded in a tight, interesting as well as a complicated plot which takes the reader to the Himalayas where a Hydel Project is going on where lives of different people get connected to each other such as of Nanda, Khusru and Rekha who work for that project. The plot of the book is very engrossing which can easily make a reader stick to the book. The narration is a bit slow in the initial chapters but it picks up pace as the story progresses. The writing style of the author is simple and easy which connected me a lot to the story. The language is clear and is very convincing but at various points Hindi language is used and the author has a good command over the language of the book.
There are many different characters introduced in the story and few chapters in the starting focus on the lives of each character which made it difficult for me to read in the starting but as the story started I was not able to keep my eyes away from the book. Overall,the characterization is powerful and well developed and each character is talked in detail giving the background and other information about them. 
The emotions of each character is very marvelously penned down which made me empathise with the characters a lot and it made me curious to know a lot more about them. Like I really liked how Nanda used to look at the Dhauladhar ranges thinking what they store for the people. Each event in the story is very well described in detail making the book very intriguing such as the technical details of the projects and the ISI issue. I really loved how the author has described even the minute detail and the culture of the Himalyas which connected me to the story a lot and helped me in visualising various events while reading the book. The story also has a slight dose of romance. The book is a blend of different elements of drama, suspense, culture and traditions.
Overall, it is a very fine fiction focusing only on the lives of people who want to fulfill their dreams. I loved the book but was quite a heavy read so, took time to finish reading it. It was different and was a satisfying read. I would highly recommend this book to all the Indian fiction lovers.

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Kochery C. Shibu is a retired naval officer. A graduate from the National Defence Academy he has held several important posts in the Indian Navy. Post his retirement he has executed hydroelectric projects in the Cauvery river basin in Karnataka, Beas river basin in Himachal and lately Teesta river basin in Sikkim. He holds a postgraduate degree in Defence Studies from Chennai University, and MA in English Literature from Pune University. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is his debut novel. The technical content of the novel, namely the setting up of a hydro-project is drawn from his experience in these projects since 2005, as are many of the characters inspired from those whom he encountered at the project site. Kochery C. Shibu was born in Kochi and now lives in Bangalore with his wife and daughter.

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* I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange of a review.

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Happy Reading!

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