Book Review — The Cloudburst by Rajesh Naiksatam

Book Review — The Cloudburst by Rajesh Naiksatam

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Publisher: Story Vision Magic Inc

Pages: 184

Price: Rs. 250 INR(Paperback), Rs. 120 INR (Kindle Edition)

ISBN: 978–1732711518

Buy here: https://amzn.to/32SovVD

After fifteen-year-old Ganpu Aapla and his parents lose everything they own, including their beautiful ancestral home in Katalveldurwadi Dabhol, India, to a forced takeover by America’s Enrone Corporation, they move to Mumbai in search of justice. Ganpu’s family takes up residence in a temporary shack that doubles as a chai shop near the Bandra Kurla Complex in a Mumbai suburb.

One day during monsoon season, when Ganpu’s parents are out working, a harmless drizzle suddenly turns into a torrential downpour, which quickly floods the streets.

Julie, Rick, James, and Saira, four international students whose parents all live in India, are supposed to be taking a boat trip to the Elephant Caves, but the unexpected cloudburst dampens their plans. After the tour group heads back to land, their guide leaves them with a stranger — a local teacher named Anu — at a bus stop while he looks for help.

Local teens Siva, Javed, and Xinmin, enthralled by the Mumbai rains, decide to venture out into the city instead of going straight home after school and find themselves also stranded at the bus stop.

This ragtag group of mixed classes, races, and genders is forced to seek shelter with one another in Ganpu’s family’s shop. While they wait, the intensity of the rain increases, threatening their survival. With no way of contacting their frantic parents, the group reluctantly waits together to be rescued.

When it appears an outside rescue might be impossible, Ganpu wholly commits to saving the lives of his guests despite their distrust of him, a lowly roadside hawker. In order for his plan to work, though, he must destroy his family’s only home and livelihood, while each one of the stranded must overcome personal demons and prejudices.

Terrified and left with no other way out, Anu must conquer her own fears and motivate the kids to work together, or else the whole crew will face certain death.

This thrilling, edge-of-your-seat story demonstrates how courage, heart, and integrity is necessary to change our lives and the world around us.

My take on the book:

Ganpu, a smart young boy and his parents, migrate to Mumbai after losing their own land in a distant village due to the greed of some businessmen. They make ends meet by running a small tea stall which doubles as their home as well. On one uneventful day, Ganpu’s parents leave him at the stall and go out for work, when a small drizzle slowly grows into a heavy rain.

A group of kids out on a picnic with their tour guide, few kids from a neighboring school, a teacher from the same school, all get caught in this sudden thunderstorm and coincidentally reach Ganpu’s tea stall to take shelter. Each of them also have to overcome their own past insecurities and apprehensions to stay alive in the middle of this tragedy. All those who start off as strangers become life time friends when death seems to be staring in their face. Will the kids be able to survive and accomplish such a herculean task of escaping this sudden cloudburst? Is there a message for their parents at the end of this evening, forms the rest of the story.

This is the story of human emotions, ability to handle crisis, selfless attitude and how common people turn heroes in the face of adversity. The backdrop is also unique, as the writer picks a past real incident of cloudburst that happened in Mumbai a few years ago and weaves a thrilling story with fictional characters. The process of trying to stay safe by the main characters has been beautifully illustrated which adds greatly to the narration.

The main protagonist Ganpu has a wonderful characterization and a beautiful graph that only keeps growing on the reader. During the initial few pages the writer keeps giving a very detailed description of each character which at times sounds redundant and could have been edited in a better way. Pick this one for a unique but relatable story based on true incidents which keeps the reader hooked till the end.

My rating:

4/5.

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