- Language: English
- Genre: Literary Fiction
- Pages: 178 pages
- Format: Paperback
- Author: Nikhil Ramteke
- Publishing Date: 20 November, 2016
- Publisher: Write India Publishers
- ISBN-10: 8193298845
- ISBN-13: 978-8193298848
The 365 Days is debut novel of author Nikhil Ramteke. This story is about Shijukutty, a fisherman from Vizhinjam, a small coastal village in Kerala. Shiju dreams of a better future for his wife and son. He believes that going to Gulf and earning money is the only way to fulfill that dream. So he takes a hefty loan and like millions of other Malayalis goes to Dubai to seek his destiny.
But the reality couldn’t be further from truth. His dreams get shattered when he finally sees beyond the sparkling mirage of Dubai. He discovers the dark facet of City of Gold which is full of injustice, exploitation, corruption and inhuman behavior. He befriends his roommates, who like him are also migrant laborers. Irrespective of their homeland, all of them have similar stories of penury and deprivation from back home which becomes a common thread of bonding between them. This book will take you on a journey of 365 days and show you the dark reality that thrives behind the shimmering veil of opulence and abundance of developed nations.
Firstly, I would like to applaud the author for selecting such an unique and realistic plot line. Despite the fact that the blurb reveals too much about the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. The credit definitely goes to author’s crisp story-telling format. This book is a refreshing change from all the half baked romance novels which dominate the Indian fiction market now a days. Though the tale is fictional, there is nothing fictitious about the problems which are mentioned in this book.
The language and narration is simple and yet so charming. Throughout the book, bit by bit we feel the loneliness which haunts the migrants when they have to live without their family for so long. I specifically liked the cultural information about South Indian people and the use of regional words. It made me understand why it is so difficult for a sea-loving Malayali to survive in a sandy desert. The explicit description of unhealthy living conditions of the migrants horrified me to my core. It was traumatizing to read about the abhorring food, merciless working conditions and exploitation of laborers.
The best feature of this story is character development. It is undeniably a character driven plot. I was able to connect with Shiju from the first page itself. His hopes, dreams, worries, troubles, musings, memories and relationships are perfectly expressed by Mr. Ramteke.
I thought the author will lose his grip on the plot when the focus of the story moved from Shiju to his roommates. But I was utterly mistaken. The straightforward writing style made it easy for me to empathize with the secondary characters mentioned in the book. As the story unfolds from Shijukutty’s point of view, it helped me understand him even more. I was able to comprehend how he perceives all these characters. Because of the gradual character development, the heart-wrenching incident which happened at the end of the story had such an immense impact.
The blurb of the book is one of its chief negative aspect. As I mentioned earlier, it reveals too much about the story too soon. Also I didn’t like the cover design of the book. The title ‘The 365 Days’ is acceptable as per the plot line but it should have been more captivating considering the uniqueness of the story.
Lastly, I would definitely recommend this book to all those readers who are bored of Indian romance novels and want to read authentic Indian stories inspired from real life events.
My Rating: 4.5/5