Title : Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar
Author : Kochery C Shibu
Publisher :Niyogi Books
Length : 284 pages
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.
A Hydel 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 for his dear ones, and the kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village 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 at 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 to the site life. The fury of nature and 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 their lives and limb in the quest to fulfil their dreams.
The story is inspired out of author’s personal experiences. He had beautifully explained his experience of working at hydal power project and the characters those whom he encountered on site.
It is the story of three different people who met each other in the Dhauladhar. This story starts when a hydal power project was approved and a dam was to build in Himachal Pradesh near Dhauladhar range. Nanda, Khusru and Rekha are main characters. These three have a secret past and all of them were hiding it from everyone.
This book is something beyond the usual subjects that Authors were selecting. Several never before touched topics ha e been put forth in the novel. Every chapter conveys how much research the author has done. The description of beautiful landscape of India and culture was highlight of the story. It has a pure Indian vibes. With the mixture of languages, the story enlightened the diversity of our country. Story carries you to different places. The story has some traits of both southern and northern India, that the respective reader will able to connect.
This book talks about the dreams, the hopes and the intricate plot of human complexities. The story of all the characters seemed totally separate in the beginning but the author beautifully brought them in the same track. Language of the book is lucid and written in a simple way to comprehend for any kind of reader.
Initially I was bored by the slow pace of the novel. Being a character driven book the author elaborates a lot on the past and present of the characters, sometimes even the history of the ancestors of the characters. This can be irritating for a few readers. If you are not from a an engineering background then the technical part may be tough to understand. Still you can enjoy the reading by skim over the technical aspects.
With a strong plot and characters the author’s debut novel is fanatastic.