Men And Dreams In Dhauladhar: Book Review
‘Perks of living amid Mountains, you always have a listener with whom you can share your darkest secrets.’
Men and dreams in the Dhauladhar is a story woven around people of diverse origins who due to past deeds or aspirations, willingly or reluctantly, eventually gather in Dhauladhars where a dam is being constructed.
Those who don’t know Dhauladhars, these are the mountain ranges in the Inner Himalayas in Indian State of Himachal Pradesh of which I am a domicile.
The characters in the story, however, physically present in Dhauladhars, their minds always wandered, remaining not in sync with the tounge. Their dreams differed from each other.
Some of them are running from past, some are running after a mirage, whereas others are chasing alluring targets for a meaningful future. Everyone is putting their best foot forward to fulfill their dreams whether it’s by hook or crook, without realizing that Uppar wal sab dekh raha he (Dhauladhars are watching).
There are plenty of them.
Mangu Ram-The representative of denizens and their ways of life in the story who like every father wants his son to follow suit.
Nanda: The silent sam. A South Indian lad, and a kalari practitioner flummoxed by the mindless killing tradition in his nether land.
Khusru: Without a doubt, the Hero of the story. Kashmiri hunk, handsome to the extent of being irresistible. Abandoned by parents in childhood. His desire to meet them bring him to a tryst with terrorists in Pakistan. His journey is loaded with hardships, bravery, and women.
Rekha: A woman with convictions. A danseuse at heart, chooses medicine to please her grandmother, but ultimately manages to beg time to pursue her passion. Very determined and strong-willed character.
Then there are labours from different regions -Khans, Jharkhandis, Nepalis. Officials from overseas, and working class from different strata of the society.
What I liked most in Men And Dreams In Dhauladhar
The way book opens, it begets curiosity of the reader, in this case me. Being a native, I am somewhat aware of the terms, slangs, and way of life here, today and years ago. The description of nomad life style, the challenges, hardships associated with it, the expectations of older generations, and the dilemmas of younger to follow suit, are all marvellous.
The routine hustle and bustle at the dam site, the saber-rattling, the usage of swear words is pretty apt. Men here (or anywhere) have a tendency to use prefixes. The mentions of chores like ‘oon ktai’, the involvement of ‘devi mata’, the hard snowfall times, all are absolutely unfeigned. Story in total is interesting. There are moments when you feel like a movie is being played in front of your eyes. You want to know more but curtains raise at appropriate time.
What I found hard to swallow in Men And Dreams In Dhauladhar
Portrayal of women
No doubt, important female characters completed the book but as a reader, what message did I receive…
‘Allah has made women for the comfort of men‘.
All paths eventually converge to the dam site but somehow it is the detailing of this part that made me yawn.
After reading 270 plus pages, the journey of the main characters ends abruptly!
Either it is done intentionally to leave a scope for the sequel or… there is no or. Some of the things disappeared from the picture just like that. I wonder what happened to them!
Men And Dreams In Dhauladhar is a very well researched long read and shows the expertise of the Author in his area. Read if you don’t mind technical words, and get a lot of peeks in to lives of people who struggle for living a life of honour.
Note: The book has been sent by the Author in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.