Manoj V. Jain is a businessman who loves writing books. His books are always thoughtful and mostly fall in the inspirational/self-awakening categories. We came to know about him through his book Dystopia. Eventually, we got a chance to read his book, A Man From Mandu and we’ve had an opportunity to have an author interview with him as well.
- Dystopia | A Thoughtful Book About Parenting
- A Man From Mandu | A Book About Self Realization
- An Interesting Author Interview With Manoj V. Jain
After we’ve had our author interview with Manoj, he asked us about his earlier book Balraj. He assured us that we will find it interesting, and he provided us a complimentary review copy of the same. Upon receipt, we have added the book to our review queue. Recently, we’ve decided to read it “out of turn”. From our team, I got a chance to read it, and here is my personal and uninfluenced review for the same.
|Author||:||Manoj V. Jain|
|Publisher||:||Notion Press (5 May 2017)|
|# of Pages||:||
2023 KB 150 (Paperback)
|# of Chapters||:||7|
Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.
How many times did it happen with you that you are impressed by a book by just first look at it, and you gave it a shot? It happens with almost every one of us. By nature, we are wired to appreciate beauty. That’s why there is a whooping billions of dollars market for grooming products! A book cover plays a very important role in making the first impression of the same.
The book explores the story of Balraj, the protagonist. And thus, it is obvious to have an illustration of a male protagonist on the cover page. Balraj is on the way to find himself, to find the purpose of his life, to find and do the things that make him happy, content and satisfied. The designer has made an interesting and simple cover page for this book. You can see a person running somewhere. From darkness to the light. In a sense, the cover page reflects the theme of “तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।”. Of course, it doesn’t make the book stand out in the crowd but is moderately good and faithful to the plot.
It starts at the new year’s eve. Inder is celebrating it with his wife Ramona. Their son Shourya is currently in a different city. And, they are in contact with each other via phone.
Earlier, Inder was not very enthusiastic to go for the party that day. His wife, however, convinced him to celebrate the first day of the year. As it is one of the rare occasion they got a chance to have an outing and enjoying some time together.
Balraj is a hard working person. And, in the era of cut-throat competition in corporates, he needs to work hard to sustain and keep progressing. And, the new generation that is “better-in-sync” with the modern technologies kept him at the toe. Eventually, he started spending more time at work.
The way his personal life is moving ahead was also a reason that he started getting away from his wife Ramona and son Shourya. Ramona and Shourya both were having their own lives and they are more faithful to their individual lives. Inder also didn’t like the way his parents were treated in his home and had to live in Pune, with Inder’s sister.
One day, Inder decided to do something he wants to. He wanted to explore his life as per his vision. Not based on the social and economic setup and circumstances. What is that he was thinking to do? And where does Balraj come into the picture?
Well, it is better to explore the rest of the story by reading the book. On the course, you will meet Balraj Singh Rathod, Dr. Sarin, Bani, Monish, Chandu, Princess Shana, Baba Ek Prashna,… and many others. The incidents take place in Jaipur, Banaras, Ahmedabad and other places.
Views And Reviews:
At the beginning of the book, the author confirms that this story is a real account of the life of a person. Of course, he had to fill some gaps by adding stuff based on imagination. Only Manoj can differentiate the real-fictional stuff though.
While the content of the book is managed in 7 chapters, you can clearly distinguish it into two persons’ journey; Inder and Balraj. The initial segment of the book explores the mid-life crisis an average middle-class or upper-middle-class person goes through. His job gets demanding, his family requires more time from him, his energy levels are reducing, his daily schedule gets monotonous, his parents are now at the receiving ends for the care and finance both. Life gets challenging day by day. The kids are no more kids but are grown up as adults and want to explore the horizons as per their vision. That is really good, however, sometimes they don’t want to consider genuine guidance by the elders too, that is dangerous. In the wake of pseudo feminism and decreasing tolerance, the householder ladies (often, not always) don’t want to do efforts to serve their responsibilities towards the elders, and despite knowing everything, a man cannot do anything here. That is disheartening. It often breaks him.
The author beautifully covers these situations in the book:
But men are naive in this respect and do not understand the delicate imbalance in the relationships between their mothers and wives. They look to please each woman (very often at the cost of the sanity of the other), they try not to take sides, but then they have to, they placate one of them, they gently explain, they throw temper tantrums but in the end, it is futile.
Their marriage was like a piece of cloth riddled with holes; every time they stretched and pulled it, the pressure made the holes bigger till there was nothing left of it but a few shreds.
One needs to consider one’s age, one’s responsibilities. It is important to be realistic; there is a general decline in the mind and body that one must accept. In fact, acceptance is one of the best ways to battle a midlife crisis. One cannot be extreme in one’s action and you have to take the via media.
He knew that sons unconsciously use their father as a yardstick; they need to “beat” their fathers to be able to prove themselves. They do not realise it but their father’s admiration is what a boy seeks, not realising that the father is competition.
Of course, the situation is different in different families, and we cannot generalize things here. We are simply talking about a visible trend. And, the book talks about wisdom and positive attitude too. The book is no way a sadistic one.
A happy man is the richest.
The way the author links some incidents with Siddhartha’s leaving home (to become Buddha) and how no one has talked about “what the family he left might have felt?” is interesting.
… He was amazed that there was little mention of the suffering that the family must have experienced.
The book has some really fantastic scene explorations. The author writes it very beautifully and you often can imagine the scene(s). Here is an example:
Today, the late afternoon sun dodged the blinds and managed to burst through the slats forming abstract designs on the white walls.
The conversation about the Taj Mahal is small yet thoughtful. The author touched the facts by the medium of a Fakir’s character that others often shy away in mentioning. The book also talks about returning “what you have got from the society” by doing service to others.
Beta, sometimes the best way to find oneself is to lose oneself in the seva of others.
Sometimes, we see people put a full stop to their lives in certain aspects, instead of putting a comma there and moving ahead. Often, when you get support/guidance of someone with a positive attitude and approach, things start flowing smoothly. The incidents associated with Bani’s life elaborates on this fact.
Here are some of the wisest things one can learn from the book:
A man should keep his heart and soul clean first, if he wants to be happy.
The past always catches up with us and it is impossible not to let it interfere with the present; that’s probably why history is so important.
He realised how important it was to meet new people, make friends at any age, or any age and give yourself to people.
Families not necessarily born in the same house.
If I have to choose a single line from the book, I would like to settle down for the following:
A person smiles when he is happy but what is lesser known is that the reverse is also true.
The incident at a Ghat of Banaras reminded me of “Panditraj Jagannath” (who wrote Ganga Lahari). I cannot tell more about this incident though, to avoid spoilers.
You must have got an idea about the nature of the book and the quality of writing through the quotes mentioned above. The quotes are just an effort to provide you a glimpse of various aspects of the book without including spoilers.
The story moves ahead in a simple and crisp manner. There is no unnecessary melodrama. The characters grow gradually and they have their strengths and limitations. These attributes make them real.
Of course, this book requires your attention. You can keep it as a travel companion only; but then you will not get the essence of it. Sometimes, it falls in a spiritual/motivational genre and sometimes in a simple thriller.
The book has a sequel, that explores Ramona’s perspective. I feel, it must have been an interesting book and should be read in conjunction with this one.
If you love reading thought-provoking books about self-realization, you should go for it.
Around 7.5 to 8 out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy Book From Amazon India – Paperback
- Buy Book From Amazon India – Kindle Ebook
- Buy Book From Amazon US – Paperback
- Buy Book From Amazon US – Kindle Ebook
Over To You:
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