• Sushma Ramesh

Book Review- Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar by Kochery C. Shibu

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

  1. Book Name: Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

  2. Author: Kochery C. Shibu

  3. Publishers: Niyogi Books

  4. Price: 144 INR

  5. Available on: Amazon

About the Book:

A hydelpower 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 labourer 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 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 into the site life. The fury of nature and the 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 life and limb in a quest to fulfill their dreams.

About the Author:

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.

My take on the Book:

What I liked the most about this novel is the amount of research and analysis the author has done in penning down this book. It’s truly amazing. This book honestly reflects the struggles of man labor at a project site especially in an area where a normal living life itself is risky. Also, not just the main characters even the supporting characters were given uttermost importance in the book and I loved how at the end of each chapter the Dhauladhar mountain range becomes a character itself! I can never seem to take my mind off from Nanda, Khusru and Rekha’s story.

I also liked how some of the chapters were uniquely named. Since this is a technical fiction, beginners would find it difficult to read as there were many technical terminologies used. Also, there were many characters to focus on so it might become difficult for some people to learn about them and understand. But I would really appreciate the author for writing such an intriguing book. It is a complete package that has the joy of dance and music, family and its values, Indian martial art and family revenge, and not to forget about the brutal attacks of terrorism. The narration was a little slow-paced to my liking. nonetheless, this is one such underrated book that I would recommend everyone to read for its unusual content and plotline.

My ratings: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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