~~~Pleasant meeting with a stranger~~~
Follow your dreams is a new generation mantra which was popularised by new generators writers like Paulo Coelho in the world and Chetan Bhagat in India. The genre got instantly popular. However, with time it got obsolete. It is a fact that not many new writers manage to keep the spirit nor many had something else to say to the readers than the circulated ideas. One problem for this genre was that anybody who has a bit of writing skill start believing that we can too write masterpieces where their writings even doesn't pass the basic quality requirements. Abundance of new gen publishers wanted Indian author books and with good cover and tempting names they mange to sell the books. Side effect of this trend was that average readers start skipping the new generation English books altogether. It is in this backdrop that I manage to buy and read When Strangers Meet. I found K Harikumar's When Strangers Meet is a welcome relief in the midst of many soulless books circulated around and I really liked it. Not often we get page turners which touch our heart and K Harikumar can proud to be author of this interesting book.
The book had a shaky start but as things progressed, the story picked up its pace and from there it was a good experience. Earlier, I felt the novel is going to be another Chetan Bhagat kind stuff, thankfully K Harikumar escape the trap and made the book special.
Let me quote from the blurb which well narrates the invite to the book, 'What hapens when Jai is stranded at the Metro Station with an irritating stranger called Iyer and a mysterious Pathan? How will the tale from Iyer's past affect Jai's future? And why does the mysterious Pathan keep staring at Jai? What happens inside that small room on the metro station? Nobody believes Jai when he claims that 'He was there!' People think he is crazy. But is he?'
It is the story which wins the race for When Strangers Meet. Then, we cannot shut our eyes to the author's narration skill which is evident in many parts. The story of Pathan could have been expanded a bit more and there had a good scope which author couldn't capitalise fully. A bit of editing would have fine tuned the book but never mind, the book offers worth the money and more.
I do not agree with some direct/indirect comments by the author, like the Paratha beef dangers, getting over Nokia to iphone. Nevermind, the author has a right for his opinion as I have mine and it can coexist.
The author of the book is working as an Assistant Director in the Indian film industry and a known photographer. At time we get a feel that the novel have shades from the author's life and I will say the author succeeds at that, where we get a feel that the author is talking from heart and it adds a lot of value.
The father son relation being the focus of the book the emotional attachment factor narrated and worked well. The author walks the tight rope confidently and the result is that we have an author from whom we can expect lot more in the coming years. Easy page turner with a heart touching and enjoyable story, When strangers meet is a very good read.
Oh yes, I liked the book cover design and special applauds to Hari on that. Can we expect a film based on the novel, probably directed by Harikumar itself?
Quotes I liked from the book:
"Well, it goes like this, Priya, X is directly proportional to Y, where X is the anger and frustration of a father.' 'And Y?' 'The love and care of a father"
"Words, all those words I had said to Padma took her away from me. All those words that I said to Appa were now taking him away from everybody. Just words! Words of Hurt! Why did I have to say all those words?"
"I believe that someday things will change. Just like the seasons. A lively spring follows harsh winter. Seasons change Padma, Seasons change." (Padma is Iyer's lover in the story)
"The greatest epic is your own life's story. From the moment you set foot outside your mother's womb, an epic was set into motion that will keep evolving until the day you leave this place. For some, the story never ends. Their legacy continues."
"Clothes do not make a person, dear. It's his beliefs!"