Men and dreams in the Dhauladhar by Kochery C Shibu is one of those books which remains in one’s mind even long after you have done reading it. The author has weaved the story beautifully and the narrative style is quite engrossing.
Opening Lines: Nanda got out of the auto-rickshaw when he reached the Inter-State Bus Terminus, popularly known as ISBT.
Page Count: 284 pages
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2015
It is clear that the author has done thorough research, stitched together an array of characters from the feisty Indumati in Kerala to the young Khusru in Kashmir and many others.
The book is a perfect confluence of stories drawn out parallel between three different main characters and many side characters that get merged into one place. The one place where it all begins, the construction site of The Hydro-Electric Project in Dhauladhar. It takes you through so many journeys of characters’ lives that a splurge of emotions overrides the irritation its Hydel Power Project might cause to its readers.
Though I initially felt that there were too many characters to remember, in the midst of reading the book, I realized that each and every character had a very important role to play in shaping the book.
The snow-capped peaks of the mighty mountain Dhauladhar stand as a silent witness to people and their Love, Pain, Misery, Poverty, and dreams, Dream being the crux of the whole story.
As the dam begins to take shape and so does the characters.
The book revolves around three Protagonists:
- An engineer and a Kalari (famous martial art form in Kerala) practitioner, Nanda, whose family was constantly marred with the factions in his hometown. He comes to Dhauladhar for a Dam construction project, is very cautious, speaks very little, sees everything, has a mysterious past and is constantly looking over his shoulder.
- Khusro a Kashmiri youth, who is recruited by a Pakistani terrorist group to conduct a terror operation. He works as a laborer at the Hydel-Power project site.
- Rekha, a Doctor and a passionate dancer who falls in love with Khusro.
The Protagonists are very well drawn and thought of. Each has their backstory, very subtly intertwined and woven in the book.
For a first time writer, the author has been successful in creating a very engrossing book. It is this narration that keeps the reader hooked on the story and sharpens the edge of anticipation to see where the story is leading. Though I felt that the book ended a bit unexpectedly or maybe.
Overall, Men and Dreams is indeed a different read but felt the climax could have been treated in a different way. I highly recommend this book. The author’s Different style of writing was very refreshing and unique.
My Rating: 3/5 stars
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About the author
Kochery C. Shibu
Born: Kochi, India
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 an 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 by 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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