By Vipul Mittra
I had to go slow with the book not just because of its pace, but because I loved the language. And I wanted to savor each word till the very last page. What a finely written piece of fiction! The quality of writing is much higher than seen in any of the contemporaries. Commendable literary work.
Authors usually write in simple short crisp sentences to make it easier for the masses to understand the plot/story. Vipul is a brave-heart to have indulged in an intellectual usage of dominating words that are not complicated but definitely need undivided attention to make sense in the reader’s head.
The story overall is pretty interesting. It is broken in different bits that reveal Karthikeye’s growing up years; his determination to get into IAS; his will to be an idealistic officer; his disagreement (sometimes) with his conscious (selfmusing); his fantasies; his constant transfers; his married life; and his interaction and perception of other people in the bandwagon of bureaucracy and society. He is a mature, wise, idealistic, humorous and an honest IAS officer (a rarity in real life!).
The narration is interesting and the instances very relatable. The books gives a good insight to the world of babudom – the tongue-n-cheek incidents, the sarcasm, the power play by the ones in higher seats, and the ass-kissing agents (Joshi), are very smartly portrayed.
There’s emotion, satire, humor, and a bit of romance. Kartikeye, his wife Akansha, his kids (Chirag and Roshni), his conscious “Selfmusing”, are very finely sketched.
The pace of the plot is somewhat slow. But thankfully it does not have a hoard of characters. A refreshing insider’s take on the working of government office and officials, smeared with comical caricatures that reflect the “real taste” of India.
Aspiring civil services aspirants should give this a read.