Author – Akash Verma
Publisher – Srishti Publishers & Distributors
ISBN 10 – 9382665692
ISBN 13 – 9789382665694
Format – Paperback
Story in a nutshell – A Dalit boy meets a high caste politician’s daughter, against the backdrop of politically driven Lucknow University. What starts off as them being adversaries, soon has love blooming. They have to ultimately part ways owing to the familial pressures and take different paths, away from each other.
The story soon takes a turn to depict how the boy’s life shapes up and how the girl influences and motivates him at every step to keep moving forward and ultimately chalk out his success path. It remains to be read what marks the end of their story – reunited or forever alone.
Take a deep breath before you are born here, my child! You take birth in a land where I struggled; gave it my sweat and blood. A land that I thought belonged to me..… Unbridled, uncompromising.
Krishna is a Dalit boy from Bihar who struggles to overthrow the chains that hold him back. Chhavi is a high caste Brahman girl fighting for the rights of others, propagating equality in a politically charged Lucknow University campus. After Krishna saves Chhavi from getting torched during a protest against reservation, love slowly blossoms, only to be ruthlessly crushed by a society that thrives on divisions of caste and religion. From student politics in Lucknow to the interiors of Bihar, from the corridors of power to the glitz of media and the film industry in Mumbai.
A Broken Man is the quest of a deprived Krishna to redeem hope from despair, love from separation and success out of repeated failures. From the bestselling author of It Happened That Night and Three Times Loser, this is a story that reinforces our faith in what love can accomplish as it pushes us to achieve the impossible, making us tap our true inner potential.
Cover – The solitary image of a man with his head hung low does justice to the book title. It succeeds in getting you actually turn the pages and start reading. Simple, yet appealing.
Title – “A Broken Man” – Kind of gives away to premise that it is going to be a sad one, though you are still intrigued to know the full story.
Plot – A Broken Man presents to you yet another classic love story of socially mismatched couple, who find their destinies being driven by the caste system prevalent in India.
Chhavi, daughter of a high caste politician also known as “Panditji”, is actively fighting for the equality in the politically driven Lucknow University. She meets Krishna, a Dalit student who at every step since childhood, has seen only the injustice being meted out to the lower caste people by the luckier ones.
Time and politically driven agendas brings them on the same platform albeit as adversaries, with Krishna trying to ruin every step Chhavi and her party – CSWI – tries to take for bringing equality. When the ulterior motives of the other party results in Chhavi almost getting torched during a protest rally, Krishna jumps in to save her in nick of time. This marks the start of their friendship which soon blossoms into love.
Their love story is glorified by the stark differences in their lifestyles. Instances like when Krishna visits Chhavi’s father at their palatial home or when Chhavi gives Krishna her birthday treat at a Chinese restaurant makes us feel the discomfort that Krishna feels about being a little out of place. It also makes us smile when the story progresses with them going to his home town, how Chhavi wholeheartedly accepts his reality and still decides to be by his side.
There are quite a few points in the story which tugs at your heart, the most prominent being the part when Krishna is narrating his life so far. The way it has been for Dalits in his home town acts as a clear depiction of the reality all over India and is successful at making you squirm.
As the tale progresses, it turns into Krishna’s sole journey in Mumbai from being a ‘nobody’ to a highly celebrated writer. Chhavi leaves Krishna due to familial pressures and a heartbroken Krishna moves to Mumbai with only a single hope – his promise to Chhavi to follow his heart and become a successful writer. Rest of the story is able to satisfyingly depict his struggles and ultimate emergence as a winner.
Characterisations – The author does justice to all the characters in the book, with no loose threads. The main protagonists are someone we can relate to. Panditji’s character being the other one I personally liked, the kind of father who dotes on his daughter but still loves the boundaries more and prohibits her from crossing the same in his own manipulative manner.
Favourite Quotes –
- ‘Amma, can I help?’ she asked. ‘Don’t bother. A Brahmin eating with us is in itself a crime; on top of it if you help me in cooking… I can’t imagine how much more sin we will accumulate. Not at all,’ she said touching both her ears.
- They would pat and touch their animals freely but not us, for we were worse; a curse to the high caste society.
- Krishna scuttled his way through them, walking briskly at first and then breaking into a run. His life ran in his mind like a film, in patches. The painful memories from his past appearing like sharp piercing lances as he ran through them, facing their hit relentlessly. He picked up his speed to run faster as the lances increased in numbers.
What I loved –
- The Hindi poetry – deep, beautifully written.
- The gripping narration about the state of people from lower castes in the Indian society. The author successfully presents to you the raw picture of how the so called high caste people keep the ‘lower castes’ under their shoes and treat them like dirt.
- The smooth transition between the past and the present – the story is based on series of the present and flashbacks, how the character Krishna tells his story to his driver on way from Mumbai to Lucknow. There are no abrupt jumps.
- The stories – nice refreshing reads in between.
What I did not –
- Even though there are no loose threads like I said above, a couple of subplots could still have been twisted instead of going the clichéd way. Case in study – Shibani and Krishna. Their subplot seemed to be a bit rushed.
- The railway station scene – when Chhavi and Krishna are meeting for the last time before parting ways. It somehow failed to evoke the emotions and get you teary eyed.
My Take – Overall, a very good book, I liked the story; recommend reading this one.
Cover – 3.5/5
Title – 4/5
Plot – 4/5
Blurb – 4.5/5
Overall Rating – 4/5
Buy it here –
- Amazon – http://www.amazon.in/Broken-Man-Akash-Verma/dp/9382665692?ie=UTF8&keywords=a%20broken%20man&qid=1472372089&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1
- Flipkart – https://www.flipkart.com/broken-man-english/p/itmegezeb5cbzff6?pid=9789382665694&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&lid=LSTBOK9789382665694ECR6MV&qH=ba7e4ec33a87edf1
Note – This book copy was sent by Writer’s Melon for an honest review.