Goodreads blurb: ‘Anushtup Chatterjee, I am really sorry to have to tell you this. But you have died.’
Anushtup Chatterjee is thirty-two years old.
He hates his mother. His job is a dead end. And his girlfriend has left him.
Then one silent moonlit night, he wakes up in a deserted field in the middle of nowhere, with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. His wallet is gone. So is his cell phone.
He is not alone though.
There is another man there, a stranger with a gentle voice and a humble mustache, who has something rather unbelievable to say to him.
That he, Anushtup Chatterjee, has already died.
Mysterious and achingly poignant, Arnab Ray’s Yatrik is a story about hope and aspiration, love and regret, of the choices we make and those that life makes for us.
Every once in a while we tend to come across that one piece of writing or art that forces us to introspect quite a bit, and ask a few uncomfortable questions to ourselves. Yatrik by Arnab Ray (who blogs at greatbong.net) is one such book which will surely force all its readers to look back at their lives and question some of the choices they have made so far.
As the blurb above states, this book deals with the protagonist Anushtup Chatterjee finding out that he is dead and also being given a choice to revisit three situations or occurrences from his life where he wasn’t physically present but were pivotal enough to have changed his life for better or worse.
Initially skeptical and thinking that he was in a lucid dream, Anushtup plays along and first selects to see why he managed to score only two marks out of hundred in the Mathematics paper in his Board Exams. What he sees there manages to provide him with some kind of closure in the sense that at least he finally came to know the true story behind the same.
Next he chooses to see how his father died and this proves to be the point where he starts taking his lucid dream somewhat seriously and begins to consider the fact that he might really be dead and whatever is happening right now might not just be a lucid dream after all.
The rest of the book deals with a natural progression of his life and how he finds love and how it manages to change his life forever.
What struck me about the book was that this was the story of an everyday man like you and me, the problems he faced, the choices he made, the thought process of the protagonist, all of these were extremely relatable. While some small parts of the book were a little fictionally plotted, the fact remains that by and large this book dealt with normal issues that all of us face in our lives, and that endeared this book to me quite a bit.
In Anushtup, the author presents a protagonist who strongly believes in his ideals and lives by them even at the cost of making more than a few enemies and landing in trouble due to them. In fact, he finds himself in his current predicament primarily due to his idealistic choices only, but that does not deter him from his chosen path.
All in all, a book which probably falls squarely into the ‘self-help’ genre albeit delivered in the fiction format. While the author does not get preachy at all, he still manages to deliver quite a power packed punch in terms of getting all of us to introspect about our lives so far. And just for that, this book is a sure-shot read.
Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers, but the review itself is unbiased.