Book Review: The 365 Days by Nikhil Ramteke

The 365 Days

Author: Nikhil Ramteke

Publication: Write India

Genre: Fiction

33959316clipart-bars-dividers-1Blurb (as on Amazon.in)

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 southwestern 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? 
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. 

gold-dividerMy Take

It’s hard to imagine Gulf without the Malayali.

Dubai is the ultimate goal of any Malayali who wants to make money. This is a common concept we all have heard and talked about. There are people from other communities too (maybe a small population).

Everybody has an addiction there—-the Bengali had the paan, the Pakistani the naswar, and the Malyali the paisa.

Shijukutty, a fisherman from a small village in Kerala aspires to make some money. He is sent to an agent by a friend who recruits workers for a construction company in Dubai.

Dubai is a metaphor.

Dubai, an extraordinary desert, dominated by the extravagance that the city has to offer. But behind the scenes are conditions worse than we can ever think of. The first thing that Shizu realizes is that there’s nothing decent about the living conditions and the food that’s being offered. Second is the pay- which is much lower than the amount mentioned in the contract. Complaining won’t help because no one cared. Thousands of people are forced to live under such inhuman conditions. They are scared of deportation and cancellation of visa permanently, as each one comes with their own set of responsibilities and debts.

Being buffeted by wind or tossed by the waves after a while becomes routine, so much so that anything other than that can be alarming.

Shiju’s life takes unexpected and painful turns. But his will helps him survive through all the tribulations. Each character has a story and the writing style makes us all empathize with them. The plot is devastating at some points and makes my heart ache. But such is fate. Shiju’s positivity helps recover and look forward to a better day.

We were the deracinated underlings, the disembodied voices, the buried-in-oblivion low life.

There’s is nothing extraordinary about this book. But the ordinary is going to touch your heart is so many ways. This book is a rollercoaster of emotions. The writing style is extraordinary, the feelings and emotions perfectly captured, humor and satire intact.

The 365 days in Shijukutty’s life is a collection of unfortunate events. And maybe that’s the truth of many such workers who are struggling in Dubai– to have a different life, or at least a better one from the life back home.

gold-dividerRatings:

5-heart-rating

Buy your copy here 🙂

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Would you read this book? I would totally recommend it, mostly because of the writing style 🙂

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One thought on “Book Review: The 365 Days by Nikhil Ramteke

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