MEN AND DREAMS IN THE DHAULADHAR BY KOCHERY C. SHIBU
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.
With the exceedingly rare Indian Literature, a debut novel from Kochery C Shibu is a milestone in Indian Literary. Men & Dreams in Dhauladhar is not just a tale about the Hydel Power Project, the author has successfully evolved exceptionally in structuring the story.
The story mainly focuses on three characters; Nanda, Khusru & Rekha. Nanda is a site engineer working at Dhauladhar for the dam construction, who is carrying something danger from his past. Khusru is a Young man on some mission, involved in terrorist activities unknowingly. Rekha is a doctor, but she has her heart towards Kathak. What happens when their paths cross each other is the rest of the story.
The story has many other interlinked short stories which are fascinating to read. The author has explored almost all the parts of India in a single book. He talks about kalaripayattu (Marital Arts), things happened during the partition of India & Pakistan and how it affected the lives of the people. The main highlight of the story is Khusru's evolution of the characterization which is brilliantly handled by the author. Overall, Kochery Shibu is sure to win the hearts of all those who appreciate a smart, elegant written story, and the tale remains fascinating till the end.
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