I really liked the book. I liked how the simple writing, like descriptions of festivals and episodes with friends, painted a picture of early life. I think these parts were most vivid and enjoyable.
I thought two themes were prominent. One was change in lifestyle. It is set up really well by the initial conversation with the son, followed by the childhood story. The second was ghosts. I liked their use, their description, how they talk to you in different tongues. You are in an ongoing tussle with them, and I would have liked more details about that tussle during the college years.
".. Apart from taking us down the memory lane to those who grew up in Industrial townships like Jitpur, this book brings to surface a unique psychological battle that we all face within ourselves everyday. It's the battle which is waged by unidentified ghosts within ourselves. These ghosts are not random but a reflection & result of societal norms & thought-processes that we are exposed to while growing up. They seem to be so genuine in their appeal that we accept them as reality. The book tells you that they are NOT REAL. People with similar or less advantaged background than ours have fought against them and won successfully. The trick is simple as NILOTPAL DUTTA says: "CHALLENGE them and they would go away."
In Retrospect brings to life the ultra-small world of mining townships in eastern India. Pre Internet, Pre Cellular, Pre STD, Pre Manmohanomics, several passages brought back the gritty taste and smells of coal dust that we braved to get to school.
Nilotpal and most of his cohort today raise their kids in much better climes, but whether these kids will be able to describe their own falling in love sans the expertise that TV or Google confer remains to be seen.
Coal dust is insidious; it permeates everything and remains, much like the growing up memories Nilotpal captures on carbon, both black and white.
Written with élan....very simple words, greatly readable! Having lived in Dhanbad, could immediately identify with the story...in fact even smelt the environs while flipping....time to beat my ghosts. Kudos to Neel and waiting for a sequel about his growing son. Immensely readable book!
Jump on to this wagon and take a time trip back to your childhood. The memories of a bygone, not to be seen again era, come back in a flood vividly. This will resonate with anyone who grew up in the 70s or 80s in a small town or for that matter a larger town, as the process of growing up, realizing, is similar for the time.
You can easily identify with the emotions, aspirations, goals, internal demons, thoughts, fears, anxiety, hope, joy, approval, recognition, exploration, love - lost and found, that are fleeting across young Neel, and there is a strong sense of déjà vu, and why not, for chances are you will realize that you have experienced and lived through these very and similar situations growing up.
This book is written in a very refreshingly lucid down to earth matter of fact manner with humor, without any pretensions, making it an easy and compelling read, kept me turning the pages.
Took me to my childhood memories, days instantly.
Very interesting read...finished it overnight....took me to my growing up times...those emotions, situations that only our generation can understand & especially we, who grew up in industrial colonies, can relate to. My instant connect with the book was its forthright, on-the-face honesty...written from the heart, just as we indeed grew up...no pretensions at all. Personally, it was all the more satisfying for me as I could read out intercepts to my 16 year old son...a metro lad...who did find the snippets interesting & has promised to give it a read post his ICSE. My 80 year old father, who spent his working life in Sindri, read the book in 2 days flat...and commented that it was a happy re-visit to his times...brought a satisfying smile on the old man's face, who has really felt lost living in a metro, post retirement. Yes of course, am sure it will help me fight my ghosts too....that part is also very delicately put forth...practical as well as possible...inspiring indeed....love d the way it has been presented. I am very pleased that the book brought my entire family together, once again...discussing my times, my school, my growing up years...thank you Mr Author...thank you so very much. Please do keep up the good job...expecting many more to come....all the best.