Not always do you come across a book which does not speak of any story as such but still keeps you intrigued throughout. I remember reading one such book by Aravind Adiga which did not have any story but it told so much about that protagonist that I couldn’t stop thinking about that character for many days. I have got a similar feeling right now after completing “The 365 Days” written by a debutante author, Nikhil Ramteke. The book is just about what a character named Shijukutty goes through when he leaves his home to change his fortune but gets trapped in a land which looks glamorous but has a very depressing lifestyle for some people like him.
Initially, I was disappointed with the way story was moving in a very slow pace. I was waiting for some twists and turns to take place and nothing of that sort was happening. But I realized after a time that this is not about a story. It is about a human being and what he goes through for 365 days away from his home in a dream that one day he will be rich but within his horizon, what he sees is only darkness and failure. How tough it is for a person to live and survive in such a place without a single entity known and familiar to him is very beautifully described in this book.
What a migrant goes through in a totally different country in the quest of earning money is realistically portrayed by the author. As my father himself stays in UAE, I was very well aware of the situation Indian workers face in gulf after the agent fools them by showing big dreams and packages. The literary quotient in the author’s writing style is delightful to read. The characterization is wonderful. The conversation between the characters is one of the best things to read. How the people from different religions, regions, races and languages stay together in spite of differences inspires us through this book. The minute detail of every minute how a day passes is very nicely depicted in a chapter with timelines. It shows how difficult passing each day is!
The last few pages of the book are very emotional and I am still in the mindset of protagonist and feeling so dark that I have nothing to say. If the author can do this to a reader through a book of just 180 pages, it tells about the potential of both- the book and the writer. I recommend this book for all the readers who like reading dark books which tells about a character’s survival in a region where there is no scope of entertainment and pleasure. I give this book 3.75* out of 5. I wish it had little more depth and story. I am looking forward for the next book from Nikhil Ramteke now.
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