Book Review: When Strangers Meet, by Hari Kumar

when_strangers_meet_hari_kumar

About the author:
K Harikumar is working as an Assistant Director in the Indian film industry. He has written, acted and directed four independent projects that have been screened at various film festivals. This is his literary debut.

Thoughts on the cover:
Perhaps this might be a story of three unlikely people taking shelter at a railway station, and a friendship developing afterward. The title definitely indicates they are strangers to begin with.

Impressions from the blurb:
A drama that has a lot of genres in one plot, and that revolves around a father-son relationship. Sounds interesting, especially since the three protagonists are strangers. It’d be interesting to see how the three stories gel into one. There’s a little mystery afoot too maybe, though that is uncertain.

My review:
Right at the start, we are introduced to hot-tempered Jai, a young lad who has just had a breakup with his girlfriend Tania. Fast-forward and we’re at his home the next morning, where his father, a renowned Mathematics professor drags him to an engineering college where he wants Jai to study, giving Jai’s dreams of doing animation no regard at all. On finding out that the college wants a hefty amount for his enrollment, and his friend had been given entrance without any fees, Jai tries to talk some sense into his father, who still is adamant about his son’s future. Realizing that he is probably going to be forced into a future he’s not interested in, Jai decides to take a big step, and runs away from home. When he finds out the metro has been halted because of an accident and trains are only going as far as Ghittorni station, he takes a ticket and ends up there. Till this point, we are also given a little insight into the life of Hussain, a Pathan who has big dreams and knows he’s just won a lottery that could make all those dreams come true. He too ends up at Ghittorni as he has to go to collect the amount. At the resting room in Ghittorni, Jai tries to be by himself, but a talkative, pot-bellied Iyer comes sits with him and begins a conversation. This is the beginning of the Iyer’s story, which is really what the author wishes to share with the world. So this is where I leave my summarizing.

There are many reasons why a book appeals to a reader. Some like the cover page, some are piqued by what the plot may offer and some even take the book because it is fresh on the bookshelf. A new author definitely brings something new to the literary world. I think this book appeals to me because of its realism. The plot appealed to me personally with a father-son relationship being involved. And it touched me. What I like in this book is Hari’s narration. As a reader, I love it when I can get lost in the tale and let it take me away into its world. His narration does that. The characters I can relate to, and the story seems familiar. It’s not a big unique plot that one will make one go “Wow, I didn’t see that coming”, but even its familiarity, its simplicity keeps a reader engrossed. The twist in this tale might make one say those words though. It may be a light-hearted drama according to Hari, but I find it heavy with emotions.

The book needs some proofreading. Though the story flows fine as it is put, it’d have been even better with some editing. Also, I can imagine a father calling his son a fool, stupid, worthless or such, but I do not feel he’d call his son a bastard, or SOB (he almost did) no matter how angry he is, or how much he is irritated by the son’s actions. If I could tell Hari a place that perhaps could have been done differently, I’d ask him to give Arshad’s dream a happy ending. I know that that’s where the Pathan’s ending was headed, but a scene or two for that would’ve been nice. Jai meeting Hussain at the end wasn’t a necessary scene perhaps.

I could understand the emotions woven into the tale quite well, and I enjoyed the book a lot. I look forward to his next novel. At this price, it’s a steal I feel.


A rating of 8/10

A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: When Strangers Meet
Author: K. Hari Kumar
ISBN: 978-93-80349-93-0
Publishers: Srishti Publishers
Genre: Fiction
Price: INR. 100

 


This book was given to me for review by Srishti Publications. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills and 3) Debut Indian Authors Month at Tales Pensieve.


(May 20th, 2013)