Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: A Free Man

So the blog is back with reviews of books read! Have read some six to eight books, just didn’t get the time to jot my thoughts down and post a review. Lots of interesting books have been read I will start with the review of Aman Sethi’s A Free Man.

When I read the synopsis of the book I got a feeling that maybe the book will run us down as Indians who have failed to address the needs of migrant labourers and how these daily wage laborers are short changed by everyone. But it also made me want to read the book as it was a topic I had not read on earlier and honestly was curious to know how they live, about their family lives, their work conditions etc.

The book turned out to be a great readand gives the reader insights into their living conditions. It at no point was critical of the system, their lives, the unfairness of it all; just a matter of fact look at the life of Ashraf who though studied till college ends up in Sadar Bazaar in Delhi. His journey takes him to Mumbai, Calcutta, Surat, Hyderabad and Patna. Ashraf takes time to open up to the author and tell him his story, his journey. His story comes out in bit and pieces but the exchange does manage to give us an insight to his life, his work friends Lallo, Rehaan., his family- who he left behind and has totally lost touch with, Kaka –the tea stall vendor and their banker, Kalyani the super smart business woman of Sadar Bazaar, who makes a living selling alcohol to the labourers, more importantly a roof to drink.

The book ends just the way it begins, leaves you saddened with the way life turns out for Ashraf and his friends. If you read Ashraf’s timeline which the author brings together in the end, leaves you terribly disheartened.

An honest confession while I never bothered to think about these migrant labourers when I saw them at work, now after reading Aman’s book makes me wonder about their story, takes me back to Ashraf. This is just how much the book moved me. These are the invisible men who silently work to make their living and struggle through their own lives.

The book makes for an excellent read. It is the story of a man you will not forget in a hurry. After reading the book it is hard to believe that it is the author’s debut book. Look forward to reading many more books from Aman Sethi.

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