We see the world differently when we are growing up. And, once we grow up, we find the world quite different than what we have imagined. Sometimes, the people we hated in our early years became our biggest support and strengthen our backbone contrary to the people we found dependable and we did a lot for them turn out to be selfish ones.
That’s why, after considering ourselves grown up, we try to share the memories our earlier days. Sometimes they are worthy and sometimes because venting them out of our system gives us a feeling of satisfaction.
The Forever Years, the debut book by Vivek Kumar is an account of memories of a growing up young adult.
|Book Title||:||The Forever Years|
|Publisher||:||Rati: An Imprint Of Garuda Prakashan (2022)|
|# of Pages||:||274 (Paperback)|
|# of Chapters||:||10|
The name – FishBowl – might seem quite unexpected for such book. By reading the book, I came to the conclusion that it is a worthy title. As a fishbowl may contain fishes of various sizes and shapes, some colorful and some dull, some so energetic and some not so active, some attractive and some you may not want to see again. You need to keep filtering the water to keep it from smelling foul. The same is true with the memories. While you must need to refresh some of them, you need to clean it up regularly. Otherwise, your mind was clogged. The book has some incidents which are worth reading and some you may like to avoid, based on your personal preferences.
Let us take a look at the cover page of The Forever Years.
You can see a fantastic illustration of the place referred to in the book. The illustration is rich in detail and smooth in colors. The representation of the protagonist in both adult and adolescence years makes it even more appealing.
The content of the book is managed in 12 segments listed below. Apart from “The Beginning” and “The End”, rest of them are found mentioned as the chapters in the book. These chapters are also further distinguished in smaller segments.
- The Beginning
- The Tunnel
- The Eclipse
- The Scent
- The Fishbowl
- The Rebellion
- The Cracked Mirror
- The Duality
- The Dew
- The Island
- The Storyteller
- The End
Rosan belongs to a very humble family. His father brings him to a hostel so he can stay there and study as well. The hostel itself is a building that requires immediate attention. But, sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometime, making a “choice” is also a luxury, you need to do what you need to.
From here begins the story or better to say a journey. The journey of a kid to become an adult. And, it includes both good and bad experiences. And sometimes, the world is not only all black and white, some experiences have shades of grey as well.
He was taken into the hostel and he was now another member of a comparatively large room along with many other similar fellows. The first day or to be precise, the first night in the hostel, far away from your home, no matter how tiny your home is, is something you cannot forget.
Eventually, he gets into the routine. Of course, there are no helping hands there to take care of him. But, he found some caring friends who get his clothes washed for the first time and so on.
Eventually, puberty also hit them and there are some experiences mentioned in the book which could have been avoided otherwise. But, as we see even more intense things on web-series or even in the books by some popular authors, you cannot complain much. Of course, you have a choice to go for it only if you like.
I will not get too deep into the story or the experiences of the prime characters here to avoid as many spoilers as possible.
Views And Reviews:
The book starts in a really fascinating manner. “The Beginning” section is so nicely written that it raised my expectations from the book really high. And, probably that is why I didn’t find it consistently so fantastic, and even experienced some letdowns.
You will meet a hooded figure and some references that you think taking you to a Sci-fi level of experiences when reading this segment. Here is one such fantastic line from the book.
It is always difficult in the beginning but if you treat it like a tunnel, you will end up in a beautiful vista.
And when the author – Vivek Kumar – beautify compares a “window” to an opportunity, or an entrance to wonderland (in little different words), your expectations reaches to the sky.
There was no time to look out of the window. No space for wonder.
Sure, the author has potential and in future, he can write many fascinating books. And, I would like him to do so. The author has brought in so many characters in the book. And, it is not an easy task for a debutante author to manage them all, convincingly. Vivek does it effectively. And yes, you will find versatility in the name of characters too. Some of them are: The cloaked man, The little boy, Parag, Shamim, Sulabh, Kamlesh, Mr. Tapoi, Kevalnath, Achchhe, Tamzo, Dhaniram, Hole Singh, Mrs. Roshani, Piya, Praveen, Dhumal, Keshav, Rashid, Koyla,…
The author is good at exploring emotions also. For example,
He stood carrying the same expression he had entered the class with.
Early age is when you find everyone more active and enthusiastic. No matter if you live in a hostel or coming from a humble background. These days, relaxation and food are your primary source of joy. When you read the book, the “honeybee” incident will bring a wide smile on your face, if it doesn’t make you laugh. At the same time, you can find lines like the following reflecting kids’ behavior quite interestingly.
With our mouths stuffed with chickpeas there was a moment of peace.
The feeling of getting recognized found in everyone. And, some of us has that urge. And interestingly you find it more in elders too :). There is one such incident referred in the book during a “movie watching” scene effectively.
He hadn’t asked to know the answer but to get his presence acknowledged.
I found some really thoughtful lines that reflect human nature without using heavy words.
We began to parrot out secrets we were privy to and were always too willing to reveal.
Very simple, yet very deep right? Aren’t we all having the same thought-process in presence of the people who matters to us? And, there are some deep and meaningful lines in the book that stays with you, even after you complete reading the book.
Mrs. Ramini was looking at the clouds expectantly, hoping they would deliver more than just rain.
Similar, the following block, while reflecting a normal scene in a room, can actually be metaphor for a reader, based on his/her thought process.
A large piece of moon stood in the middle of the room. Rats chewing it at its ends. Breaking of a big portion, they assembled around to goggle it up. The night was deep within itself. No one would miss the moon yet…
The army incident, the game incident, the love-letter incident, there are a lot of them written quite nicely. Here is another line found quite realistic in this book.
The milkman, balancing the two large containers on either side of the bicycle, managed to pedal.
So, the book is a masterpiece? Well, no. As said earlier, some pieces could have been avoided. Also, better editing could have made the reading experience even better. Sometimes you feel disconnected while reading.
The biggest positive aspect of the book is the way “innocence” and “the loss of it” is portrayed in it.
A mixture of some fantastic highs and some lows. If you love reading about hostel days and digest some realistic stuff, you will enjoy reading it.
Around 7 out of 10.
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