Characters come live in "Men and Dreams In the Dhauladhar”

The inspiration of writing which was kindled in the school days stayed alive through the life of Shibu. Even as a career soldier commanding a warship in blue seas or bringing to life hydroelectric projects in white snow-covered Himalayas writing was always there with him. One of the well noted writers of modern  India, Shibu has carved out a place for himself in the world of English literature through his unique style of writing and storytelling in his debut novel Men and Dreams In the Dhauladhar. A graduate from the National Defence Academy, Shibu has combined the elements of Literary, technical and thriller genre in his novel. The style of writing is unique that has the characters conversing with the readers. 
Not very many Indian authors can be credited for venturing into this genre and this particular style. In this book, the Kerala-born Shibu wonderfully weaves the different genres and characters, which inspires continuous reading without break. This, despite the use of vernacular jargon and references. Shibu is an MA in English Literature from Pune University and a Postgraduate in Defence Studies from Chennai University. He has clearly used all his experience and education to make this novel a bench mark for truly Indianizing of English in fiction writing. 

Glimpse of “Men and Dreams In the Dhauladhar”
 
“It is not to make mansions, nor to sleep on the terrace, but to live in your birthplace for a few days that this struggle is all about. ”

The vastness of this book is its strength. The theme of the book which combines the elements of technical literary and thriller in one novel is a marked departure from the beaten path of Mythology and Love triangle based novels. The research into vast sub-regions of the Himalayas, the pulse, aspirations of the people, and the driving phenomena & forces on their culture, life styles, prejudices and loyalties are very telling by the quality of the narrative. The research done is evident - very detailed description of local customs, language peculiarities , puns and social order. When he writes about the Kerala life one gets engrossed in the daily life of feudal lords and how revenge killings operate. When he writes about the Bakarwals , one feels as if one is actually in Kashmir experiencing the snowfall , local life and one gets absorbed in the daily life of Kashmir and feels as if he is really part of the nomadic sheep-herding community. When he writes about the terrorist trainings, one can visualize the operations and the terrain the character keeps travelling. When he writes about the on-site work and the relations between the different labour camps, ‘pahadi’ locals, women and Nepalis all political-correctness slips away & one can feel the actual conditions in daily Indian life.

Raising Curtains from the Characters of the Novel
 
It is the assortment of characters that makes a novel famous. No wonder, the three key players -- Nanda, Khusru and Rekha – played their wonderful roles in making Men and Dreams In the Dhauladhar a  success. The author has etched each of these characters in convincing detail and, notwithstanding his disclaimer that this is a work of fiction, there is a ring of authenticity to the characters. This is in no small measure due to the local flavour he has given to them by skillfully using words from their native language(s) to emphasize dramatic moments and by situating them in several well-known episodes of recent Indian historiography.The brilliant and the well-rounded descriptions of technical operations of hydro-plant engineering that have been well balanced with the stories of grime, sweat and transience of lives of the characters, who make it all happen and are forgotten. It is this convincing narration that keeps the reader hooked to book and whets the anticipation to see where the story is leading. 
Kochery C Shibu’s "Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar " is a watershed book in fiction with many firsts to its credit. This book is the first Indian fiction novel which dwells in commissioning a Hydro Project and the nuances associated.  This is also one of the rare fiction books in English which gives a glimpse of the society dynamics of Kerala and the pressure it asserts on individual. The churning of terrorist both in terms of character’s internal strife and the surroundings trapped in their era has been well captured. The philosophical reflection and entreating the Dhuladhar Mountain range at end of chapter is uniquely Shibu and he is well on his way to be one of the great story-tellers of the twenty first century.
 

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