Men and Dreams in the Dauladhar
Author: Kochery C. Shibu
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Genre: Indian Literature, Fiction
Blurb (as on Goodreads):
A hydro 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 labour 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 realize. 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 watches as men risk their limb and life in their quest to full fill their dreams
A book that encompasses diversity, not just in terms of people or places, but in terms of knowledge, which is both a strength and a weakness. A lot can be known and learned from the book, techniques, history, and life in general.
Circumstances bring Nanda- an engineer, Khusru- a laborer, and Rekha- a doctor/ Kathak dancer under the Dauladhar range. That’s where their lives intersect, and that is where we know about their dreams and aspirations and the problems they face. The author has beautifully captured life in the mountains, it’s beauty and it’s hardships. There are extensive details provided regarding the geography of the place. There is also a vivid description of the Dam construction site, the mechanisms, and procedures.
“Nanda looked at the mountains, he didn’t know what they had in store for him!”
The plot is a mixture of suspense, drama, and romance. The book is extremely realistic which makes it easier to connect with the characters and the events. Most of the book is about the past and how it has shaped their destiny. There are different angles to the story and plot twists, each of which is distinct.
There are a few things that didn’t work for me.
- Font: I have taken innumerable breaks because of the font size.
- Too many characters: I usually have a tough time remembering names, making it difficult to follow
- Technical jargon: more like textbook stuff.
- Glossary missing: There were a lot of words in different languages which sent me looking for help.
Overall, it’s an interesting and refreshing storyline, entertaining and heart-breaking sometimes.
Did you read this book? Thoughts?