Book review | In Search of Another Life by Chirag Jain
Author: Chirag Jain
Genre: Philosophy, Contemporary Fiction
No. of pages: 177
Published by: White Falcon Publishing
Published on: 9th November 2020
My rating: ★★★☆☆
"Remember! We all have that uncomfortableness in us, urging us to walk away; away in search of another life; away in search of things mightier than us, only to make us realize that these mightier things dwell in ourselves, not in society.
They lie in deepening of the valleys, shallows of the brooks, narrow stretches of the trees, voids of the wilderness. They lie deep inside you; on the plains of the knowledge, in the vastness of the love and fountains of the youth."
This is the story of finding freedom, of breaking shackles, and of how life experiences are far beyond enriching and educating. This is about a fourteen-year-old boy, inspired by Tolstoy and Twain, staggering in search of another life. Leaving a miserable life full of unanswered questions and loneliness, an orphan begins a journey. A journey traversing through the hilly terrains of Pachmarhi - the Queen of the Satpura, wherein a child gets lost and finds himself as a grown human.
This travelogue cum diary is written from the perspective of a child who has nothing and no one to rely on. And how the words of long-gone authors etched in ink, inspire him to set his foot out of the boundaries created by society.
Walking with Roli, join him on his journey between life and death, happiness and sorrow, societal and secluded life.
For 14 year old Roli, growing up in the orphanage has been tough. He has been living with an abusive caretaker who is referred to as 'Aunty', with no proper schooling, nor friends. His only companion being the books of great adventurous souls of the past like Tolstoy, Marco Polo and Twain; and a diary he fondly calls 'Mark'.
Roli yearns to go outdoors, to feel the breeze and the vastness of the sky, but he is bound inside the orphanage home in Indore. When an opportunity arrives, he decides to pursue his calling - to the mountainous region of Pachmarhi - and travel 300 kilometres on foot, with a meagre saving. Thus starts Roli's adventures, to discover himself. With only his diary entries as a witness to his journey, he sets out to find his happiness.
This is a moving tale of a young boy struggling with his loneliness. Written in a diary format, from Roli's perspective - this book glorifies a young boy's desire to know the world outside, to feel the world outside, to know the reason behind his very existence, and his desire to fulfill his wishes. Throughout the book, I could empathize with him. The author masterfully romanticizes the great outdoors. We get to see the world through Roli's eyes and his dreams and desires.
I loved the descriptive style of the book. The author does justice in giving scenic descriptions of Roli's journey. What he sees, how he feels about the places, and his little interactions with the people he meets on the road. Roli's character is a brave one, it resembles many a famous literary characters with the likes of Oliver Twist or Gulliver, who set on their own adventures. And it does make sense, because Roli grows up reading about these heroes until he decides to become his own hero.
The ending of the book has a twist so massive it can break anyone's heart. But I feel it was necessary. It was a hard hitting truth for us readers - that life is unpredictable.
The writing style did fit a 14 year old boy's perspective but the book was interspersed with a few complicated words for which you might have to refer to a dictionary. It somehow doesn't make sense in the book because it's a 14 year old's diary, but I remember being of the same age and writing diaries where I used to write fancy words I discovered. Even if it might make you wonder why such fancy terms are used, I was able to relate. Also, let's not forget Roli did read tons of literature, so its reasonable.
As already mentioned, the book has descriptive writing and very less dialogues, making it a bit dull at times. Otherwise, the book does an amazing job in capturing Roli's dreams and desires.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.