Tag Archives: medical

Book Review of “The Other Side of the Table” by Madhumita Mukherjee

The Other Side of the Table
Madhumita Mukerjee

The other side of the table

The other side of the table

When the book arrived, I was overtly excited to begin reading, given its soothing cover page and quite an appealing format (letters).

The book format quite unusual for a debut writer – in the form of letters, exchanged between two friends – Abhimanyu and Uma.

Spanning almost a decade, the letters reflect the friendship (and eventually the love) shared by the two protagonists. Uma is about 10 years younger to Abhi and is studying medicine in Calcutta, while Abhi is a practicing surgeon in London.

The ten years of their lives, captured through the letters exchanged, make for decent read. With each letter exchanged, you peep a bit deeper in to their lives and discover more about their personalities and surroundings. Their experiences, their joys, their sorrows, the challenge faced, the hurdles overcome, the dreams cherished and the ambitions brewed.

The format definitely is new and gripping but the language got me a little disinterested.

Given the fact that I can’t get myself to put a book down once I begin reading, saw me struggle through certain portions.

There were places where the language was overtly sweet, as if Abhi was trying to “impress” Uma. I personally do not like “sweet talk” or as you say “buttering-up”- for as far as I know, no one in the real world indulges in such verbose as used in the letters. No wonder I was immensely turned off to the extent of wondering if such people do still exist (and if they do, please steer clear of me!)

I agree that the premise of the story, though ordinary, does have a grip. I appreciate the fact that the author did not use medical terminology extensively at the risk of losing her readers. And the emotions, quite relatable, bring you closer to the protagonists.

Overall, it is a decent story of love, loss, friendship, overcoming difficulties and taking a stride in life to bring out the real you.

The story could have been more gripping, personally, had there been less of “jibber-jabber”.


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Book Review of “The Long Road” by Dr. Vivek Banerjee

The Long Road

by Dr. Vivek Banerjee

There have been umpteen books around college life, or professional institutes (IIM, IIT, etc), and the corporate world, but not any about medical colleges and the lives of students there (at least I haven’t come across any, except The Long Road).

Though I really wasn’t impressed by the cover page design, I kinda loved the story.

No great guns surely, but the way it is put simply captures your heart. Yes, there is something about the way the story is written that it makes it extremely difficult to stop mid-way.

The book opens with a bit of suspense (with a link to the Mumbai attack) and goes on to describe the characters and gives quite an apt description of their background.

The story is about 5 people pursuing their PG in medical science in a reputed medical college of Mumbai.

The intelligent, sweet, and innocent Hina; the rebellious Ranjiv; the ambitious Sarika; the love-struck Rahul; and the simple Sagarika –all who make their place in the sun after undergoing their share of troubles. Their varied backgrounds and diverse upbringing add color and life into the story.

Rahul is head over heels about Sarika but her overtly ambitious zeal drives them apart, only to connect again when she experiences pangs of jealousy arise. Ranjiv and Hina eventually get hitched, given their love for their work and of course each other.

Their personal life sometimes clashes with their professional obligations, and how they deal with it makes up the crux of this story.

Let’s not deny there is a bit of faltering in the middle. The flair and ease and grip that the author commands in the beginning seemed a bit lose in the middle, only to catch up again towards the end.

Yes, career always isn’t the most important thing in one’s life. It is the people who love you.

A good plot ideation and execution.

The experiences at the medical college were very interesting to read.  I liked the parts describing medical college, its environment and procedures in a language simple enough for a non medico like me to understand. Not bad for the first book of an author.

The individual stories of the characters (except one) are quite finely depicted. It makes you connect with the characters and relate to the situations they are faced with.

There is love, romance, friendship, marital bliss and its hardships, temptations, struggle, and a plethora of emotions that people experience. All well scripted.
But also, all that glitters is not gold. There were just a couple of points I didn’t quite connect to.

Firstly, the similar sounding names of the characters got me a bit confused initially

Secondly, I didn’t quite understand the role (and character) of Sagarika in the story. It feels the story could do well without her too. She got a mention towards the beginning somewhere and then went amiss in the middle only to pop back up towards the end. That was one character that (I feel) added no value as such to the story.

The chapter titles weren’t not all that inspiring. I don’t think I paid attention to them. For all that you notice they end up disclosing the chapter highlights.

The narrative could have been a bit more engaging. Its simplicity may put off some readers. The author, at a point, narrates as if stating facts from a report.

Overall the book scores well.

Quite a refreshing approach and style. Crisp and short chapters. Nice narrative. Well researched and etched characters.

Fast flowing and totally believable, the book ended too soon for me.

There is a unique flavor to the book- I guess it’s because the author is a doctor himself. It is quite commendable how he has managed to balance the language (for non-medical people to read and connect with) quite well.

I hope there is an undisclosed (or unthought-of) sequel that follows (soon) with all points considered. There is immense potential in Vivek’s writing, and I wish he goes that extra mile in his next run.


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