Book Review: Men And Dreams In Dhauladhar

Book: Men And Dreams In The Dhauladhar
Author: Kochery C Shibu
Genre: Fiction
Publication: Niyogi books

Men and dreams: Book review

I am back with new book review. It has been some time since I last read and reviewed a book. But I was on self-imposed sabbatical as I couldn’t find interesting books to read!

Men and Dreams seemed interesting from the blurb on the back cover.

The story is about three people very different to each other who end up at a dam construction project site high up in the Himalayas, more precisely the Dhauladhar Range. Nanda, an engineer from Kerala is running away from warring communities who are baying for his blood in revenge. He leaves his family and goes in hiding as a supervisor on the dam site. Rekha is a trained and accomplished Kathak dancer who gives up her medical profession to follow her passion of dance. She dreams of finding a man who would spark love and longing in her. On a trip to Vaishnodevi temple in kashmir her group is attacked by a group of terrorists. One of the terrrorists ends up instead protecting her from harm’s way. Khusru, is from a small village Deran in Himalayas who falls in wrong hands and ends up being trained as a terrorist and is supposed to help execute the plan of blowing up the dam site. Khusru despite becoming a terrorist despises hurting women. He foils the plan of other terrorist in the group by saving Rekha from their clutches and misguiding them leading to their capture by army. Khusru and the girl fall in a wild passionate love and escape to dam site to stay in hiding.

The story goes on to describe the life of the three along with all men and women at the construction site. While the challenges of the life in hills with changing weather, the infighting between laborers, the changing lifestyle of locals make the backdrop of the story, the story revolves around the three people; their fears, aspirations, interactions and their dreams of a brighter tomorrow. And while the men and women at the construction site strive to achieve their dreams the majestic Dhauladhar watches over the twists in tale.

The story though well conceived and written, dwells too much, for my comfort, on technical side of dam construction. I for one did not want to read so much about ‘fore bay’ or ‘gulle’ etc.

The background of each character was interesting though and built up the story of how they all reached at same destination. I would have liked to read their interaction more. The end seemed little abrupt as everything happens suddenly. The part about intelligence agency tracking the movement of terrorist is too short and doesn’t build up the anticipation enough.

The story ends in interesting way. While some dreams are crushed but some are met and for those characters of the story all ends well.

In all, story doesn’t disappoint but it could have been shorter. I liked the idea of the story but skipped some part when it became a little too much about the construction and less about people.

Read and decide for yourself.

Also read on Amazon and GoodReads .

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खतों के सिलसिले


वो दिन भी क्या खूब हुआ करते थे
खतों में दोस्तों से रूबरू हुआ करते थे
खत भी हमारे अजीब ही होते थे
लड़कपन के ऊलजलूल ख्वाबों से सजते थे
यूँ ही हंसा जाते थे, तमाम बातें कह जाते थे
कभी शिकायतें कर जाते तो
कभी शेखी बघारने का तरीका तो
कभी छुट्टियों में मिलने की तरकीब बन जाते थे
महीने भर की कहानी सुना जाते थे तो
सालगिरह पर तमाम बधाई दे जाते थे
वो बंद लिफाफे बेक़रार कर जाते थे
अब सब अपनी उलझनों में मशगूल हैं
खतों के सिलसिले लगते फ़िज़ूल हैं
अब डाकिये दस्तक देते नहीं
चिट्ठियों के पुलिंदे लाते नहीं
अब बातें पुरानी हो जाती हैं
उन्हें बांटने की बेसब्री हम दिखते नहीं
अब हम मिलने  के मंसूबे बनाते नहीं
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वो मेरा भगवान नहीं 

वो मेरा भगवान नहीं 
जो नन्ही कली का कुचलना 
यूँ ही गुमसुम देखता है 
वो मेरा भगवान् नहीं 
जो बीभत्स दुःकर्मियों  
यूँ ही हाथ बांधे रक्षा करता है 
वो मेरा भगवान नहीं 
यूँ ही जो अधर्म में आँखे मूंदे सोता है 
कैसा इश्वर है 
जो खोखले नारों में जीता है?
जो बेमतलब प्रथाओं में रमता है?
जो निरीह कन्या की पुकार 
को नहीं सुनता है? 
कहाँ है वो इश्वर 
अधर्म मिटाने को जिसने 
हर युग में जन्म लेने 
का किया था प्रण 
कहाँ है वो इश्वर 
जिसने अत्याचार से रक्षा 
का दिया था वचन?
ऐसा अँधा बहरा गूंगा और अपाहिज 
वो मेरा भगवान् नहीं
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Book Review: The Jasmine Bloom

Book: The Jasmine Bloom

Author: Rajat Narula

Genre: Fiction

Publication: Srishti Publishers

I need to apologize for finishing the book in two days flat but not putting up the review sooner.

No! I did not skip pages or skimmed through. Yes! If the first few pages of the book hold my interest, I can finish reading in one sitting.

There, I said it! Yes I liked the story.

The cover of ‘The Jasmine Bloom’ by Rajat Narula itself gives a summery  vibe. Sameer Chaddha, a middle-aged corporate guy who is stagnating in his career and hence unhappy and withdrawn all the time seems to be like some people I know….married for almost two decades, with teenager kids and unsatisfied with career graph. But the similarity ends just there…and I am glad it does.

Sameer Chaddha and his wife Kavita seem to be communicating less and less over the years with both retreating into a shell. His interaction with his teenage daughter is counterproductive leaving him more frustrated. The physical intimacy between the husband and wife is almost nil.

At such time in his life, Sameer finds himself falling headlong in a whirlwind  affair with his colleague Ritu who also is dealing with an abusive husband and an autistic child. As the two give in to their lust ignoring and ruining the fabric of their respective families, certain events bring their dream world crashing to reality.

The story however is not with the regular obvious end where each character realizes the folly and starts afresh with their spouses and all ends well. There is a twist….the characters do recollect the threads and reconcile with the changed circumstances and try finding semblance and happiness. They try building bridges and mend broken ties but with new perspective.

Am not an advocate of finding love outside marriage just because one of the partner is bored or needs some change in life. Am more of a loyal and ‘yours forever’ kind of person. So when I said I liked the story, it wasn’t to glamorize infidelity. The good thing about the story is its pace and structure. There is no unnecessary drag in the story.

The circumstances in the story that lead to torrid affair are though very clichéd and convenient yet the story reads well. The angst of a teenager is captured well. That the wife always knows when the husband is cheating is also woven in the story.

However I would like to read someday a story without these excuses of midlife crisis or boredom or abusive husband. A story bold enough to scream “I wanted this, so I cheated and I have no regrets”. Lets see how people react…

Till that kind of story gets written, we can read ones which try to reason an affair. The book is good read.

Also read on Amazon and  Goodreads

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कुछ लम्हे ख़ास होते हैं

कुछ लम्हे ख़ास होते हैं
यूँ ही दस्तक दे, छन से बिखर जाते हैं
सवाल खड़े कर जाते हैं…
वह पल पहले आता तो?
क्या यूँ ही गुदगुदा जाता?
या तब भी ओझल हो जाता ?
वक्त तब क्या करवट लेता?
रुला जाता या नशा चढ़ा जाता?
क्या बरसों की धूल से मैला हो जाता?
या अब सा नया ही रहता?
या इश्क़ बन जाता?
कि कुछ घडी का खेल?
खैर वक्त किसने बाँचा है…..
इन छोटे छोटे लम्हों को पिरो लो
तो दिल का एक कोना
हरा हो जाता है…
ऐसे लम्हों का इन्तजार रह जाता है

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तुम और मैं

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तुम और मैं
अब हम बन
नयी राह पर चल पड़े हैं
तेरे सपने मेरे सपने
अब हम बन
नये आसमां में उड़ चले हैं
अब तू अगर राह के कंकर चुन लेगा
तो रोड़ों को मैं भी दूर करूंगी
राह के गड्ढों को तू पाट देगा
तो खायी मैँ भी नाप लूंगी
ताल में नैय्या तैरा लेगा
तो समुन्दर मैं भी पार करूंगी
तेज़ हवा में लौ बुझने न देगा
तो आँधियों से में भी लड़ सकूंगी
मेरे आंखियों के मोती बिखरने न देगा
तो तेरे हर दुःख का नाश करूंगी
अगर देगा तू साथ सदा
तो हर रिश्ता मैं भी निभा रहूंगी
बस हाथ थामे संग रहना
तू देखना
मैं तुझपर कितना प्यार करूंगी

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फिर भी..

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हर दिन हों लगे चाहे सारे छप्पन भोग,
पर रस-स्वाद ढूँढ़ते हैं वो लोग,
हम तो लगाते अपने प्रभु को,
नमक-सूखी रोटी का भोग,
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

फीके रंग, कपड़ा ढीला या तंग,
इसका करते हैं वो सोग,
पुराने-फटे पिछली होली के
रंगे कपड़ों में,
साल बिता लेते हैं हम लोग,
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

रौशनी के महलों,
ठंडी हवा के झोकों में,
भी निर-निराले उन्हें
लग जाते हैं रोग,
सितारों की चादर तले
सर्द-गर्म हवा को लगा गले,
यूँ ही इश्वर को,
प्यारे हों जाते हैं हम लोग
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

इस रोटी, कपड़ा और मकान
की जंग में ,
हर दिन हारते हैं हम लोग,
फिर भी हर दिन थोडा,
मुस्कुरा लेते हैं हम लोग !!

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