The story is told mainly from three POVs; Nanda, Khusru and Rekha. A Hydel project in the remote Himalayas brings them together. Nanda, an engineer from Kerala, works at the dam construction site. Running away from his past, leaving his loved ones back home and hiding from the law, he’s struggling to find some peace. Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village Deran in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot that threatens to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site. Rekha, a Kathak dancer, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru. Apart from these there are other significant characters as well. Each character has a unique story to tell. So Men & Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about their story and the things that happen at the camp site.
THINGS I LIKED:
- It is a unique story, and is set in a beautiful place. I really liked the way the author described the snow-caped peaks of Dhaulander range; makes you want to visit them someday.
- I really enjoyed reading about Kalaripayattu. It is an interesting addition to Nanda’s story.
- Few of the backstories are written so beautifully. Rafiq Muhammad’s story is so tragic and it will definitely break you. Another character that I really liked is Mangu Ram.
THINGS I DISLIKED:
- There are way too many characters in this book. It was practical impossible for me to remember all of their stories. Towards the end of the book I was overwhelmed with all the facts. I enjoy books where I get to know the characters well, but this had too many details that I felt were unnecessary. It hindered my reading, and I was almost about to give up after 100 pages. I was not able to see the book progress at all, it felt like reading short stories one after the other. Though few stories were interesting, I really wish the author had taken up a different approach with the character development.
- Not all the characters were great. I was not able to understand/connect with Rekha’s character at all. Few of the characters had no significant role to play in the story. I felt if there were limited characters this could have been a much better read for me.
- There’s a lot of technical details about dam construction. Almost 30-40% of the book is dedicated to it. I didn’t really understand a majority of it and towards the end I just skimmed through the technical details.
- While reading books that are set in India I do enjoy when there are few Hindi or any other regional language words thrown here and there, but I felt there were a LOT of pahadi words(confirmed it with a friend 😉 ) used in this. I wasn’t able to understand a lot of words. My mother tongue is Tamil and Hindi is something I can understand and manage to talk, for a person like me it was kind of a let down.
All these are just the things that I didn’t enjoy much. Maybe that’s just me. I feel this is not the right book for me. Though I enjoyed a few aspects, I wasn’t thrilled about the book. If you enjoy books like this, do pick it up.
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
** I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review**