Monday, 2 March 2015

Review of 'Orphan of the Storm' by 'Ravi Dhar'

Title: Orphans of the Storm
Author: Ravi Dhar
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Page Count: 227
My Rating: 3/5

Blurb: Countless griefs ago, When the ‘veth’ went red…

The air is thick with rumors. Reports speak of the molesting Pundit girls and the killing Pundit men. There is talk of Nizam- -Mustapha. Kashmiri Pundit families are fleeing the valley in wave after wave. But, one man stands unmoved, refusing to give in to this mass frenzy.

Towards the middle of one night, Nund Pundit’s house resonates with a deafening crescendo. He must pay for his faith. The fury of the mob must be quenched. He must suffer the ignominy of his daughter’s barbaric slaughter. He must suffer the dishonor of his wife and young daughter. He must suffer the mysterious disappearance of his elder son.

The December sky looks too ominous as the School Bus, carrying Siddhartha and his friends, noses down the valley. The queer sequence of events that follow inspire no confidence.

Siddhartha must outgrow his youthful sportiveness to realize the gravity of the calamity that had struck his family.

He must find answers to the barbarity of man as he struggles to build a new world of hope and comfort for his bereaved and shell-shocked parents. He must come face to face with deceit and danger in the hinterland of Nagaland. He must see the barbarity of the civilized and the civility of the so-called barbaric in the petty squabbles of the teachers at Medziphema and the murder of the Dean. In the midst of this maelstrom of events blossoms love not once but twice.

Verdict: ‘Orphans of the storm’ is the debut novel by Dr. Ravi Dhar. This story talks about the struggle of a Pundit family in Kashmir and the unhospitable atmosphere of Jammu and Kashmir.

Like almost all Blackbuck publication books this book also has similar size and nice paper quality. Starting from the cover, I felt the cover could have been designed in a better way. The blue effect is looking good but the man on the cover was making the whole look amateurish. The blurb is pretty big. One who has the time to read the whole blurb after picking it, might buy the book because it’s interesting and gives a good outline of the plot.

The story starts with Nund Lal pundit of Kashmir. One fateful day they are forced to leave Kashmir and have to live like migrants in their own land. Soon the story changes its way and the focus shifted towards Siddhartha, the youngest son and carefree son of Nund Pundit. Siddhartha was burdened with the responsibility of his family and yet he manages to complete his masters and finds a job of a lecturer in the Nagaland University. The atmosphere of Kashmir was described by the author wonderfully. The story doesn’t end there. After creating the perfect satire, the author introduces love in Siddhartha’s story. After getting almost back stabbed by the university politics and the abrupt end of his love story had hit him hard. The end was good but it could have been better. One thing I can say is that the readers will close the book on a good note.

The author hasn't described his characters well. Only the dialogs were the rescue for the readers to help them visualize the characters. There are a few characters who I think have lacked the lime light. After focusing on Siddhartha’s life, the condition of Nund Lal Pundit took a back seat, even the disappearance of the elder brother of Siddhartha wasn’t cleared to the audience till the end. The narrating style was good and goes with the flow. Short chapters always helps the readers to enjoy the book more.

Talking about flaws, the editing could have been better. There are grammatical errors which disturbs the flow of the story. The story line was good and but could have been framed in a better way. I didn't quite like the way the book has ended. Being a full time reader, I don’t think readers will like loose ends or unanswered questions at the end. Being from Kashmir himself the author has done total justice to the description of Kashmir. Overall a nice attempt of a debut author.

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