Story of Tublu, a life journey of a young boy that started with a heart wrenching tragedy & ended on a positive note, is youthful engaging read. The tittle & cover give you the impression that you are in for an interesting ride, which stands true to an extend.
This is the debut novel by the author, Jahid Akhtar, who is a software developer by profession. The highlight of his work is his sincerity towards the craft. He is genuine & straightforward. He used simplicity to communicate his thoughts or rather the Story of Tublu than lacing the work with unnecessary heavy words. From a reader’s point of view, it is a great thing.
Story Of Tublu starts from a tragedy, progress along & ends on a happy note. The transformation of Tublu from a naive boy who lost his mother at three, his father’s property gets destroyed in the natural calamity, studied in a government school that didn’t even have the basic infrastructure to someone who landed up a job in Berlin, Germany, has been enthralling one. At a glance, it seems like a rags to riches story, but the transformation is natural & well justified. There is hardly any dramatic moment or over-the-top narration.
The depiction of the hostel life was spot on. This is how teenagers live, carefree, loud, bit apprehensive & abusive :D. . The author managed to capture the essence of student life well. It clearly shows that he has taken a leaf out of his own life or depicted someone he has closely watched. For the same reason this has been my favorite part of the book
I got a sense of Deja vu reading about the VCR, rented video cassettes, chitrahar, Sunday evening movies etc. I was literally reliving my childhood. I would like to quote a popular meme from social media these days “Only an 80’s & 90’s kid will know it”. Life was so simple back then. With limited entertainment & communication sources, we were still well entertained & well connected. Or so I would like to believe. We had friends for company, played outdoor games, wrote letters & were shy. Talking to the opposite sex never came easy. But that was the beauty of it. The author regaled us with his references & all those wonderful childhood memories came rushing back.
Tublu aka Tanmay Bora, the protagonist, is a laid back, hardworking, shy to death & determined lad. He never had the courage to walk up to a girl & strike a conversation. This pretty much remains the case throughout his life. The interesting fact is he got ‘lucky’ twice & both the times it were the girls who initiated. You instantly fall for his innocence & honest-to-goodness persona. He lost his mother when he was hardly three, had a difficult childhood. In spite of all these adversities, his abilities & intelligence took him to new heights. He stretched his wings & took a flight claiming his piece of sky.
Maina aka Sujata Sharma, is a bright girl who has many dreams & knows what she wants from her life. She is the love interest of Tublu. He never expressed his feelings directly to her. But it is said that the girls have a sixth sense. They can sense the emotions pretty well. Likewise, she knows Tublu’s affinity towards her from the beginning, but never make it obvious to him. She is modern, has shoulder firmly placed over her shoulder & knows where her lie is headed. Apart from one unfortunate incident in her life, which she thinks happened because of her only to discover later that it wasn’t her who caused the damage, rest everything was hunky dory. The illness of her father & her career ambition brought about the major twists in her life.
The rest of the characters were introduced as & when the need arise, to carry the story forward. I would like to especially mention Shilpa, a free spirited girl, who had a brief encounter with Tublu, was an interesting character. She is portrayed as someone with a devil-may-care attitude. She comes across as somehow for whom the life is just about enjoying. Her character, although had a brief part & hurried exit, makes the story more appealing.
The core of the story had been the life events of Tublu yet it hasn’t shined through as expected. The author has given equal weight-age to majority of his characters & their life sketches that pulled away the focus from Tublu.
I wished it had more references from the beautiful land of the northeast. Although it had few here & there. As a reader, I wanted to imagine the beauty of the land, the local dialect, local food some more. It was as if I have touched the border & came back. It left me wanting more.
I always like unpredictability & drama in all my reads. Somehow Story Of Tublu was one dimensional for my taste. The characters, events & the end were all woven together well, but lacked the punch. It’s very much like, when you watch a love story & know that it is going to have a happy ending (Karan Johars of Indian film fraternity have turned us into an eternal optimistic movie monger who expect nothing but the ‘Happy-ending’ ;))
A young, peppy youthful story that has the rustiness of the north east. Story of Tublu makes a good read if you are not looking for the a literary genius. It is surely going to connect with the readers. There is nothing extraordinary about the story. You would find many similarities in the events & characters with the other fictions you must have already read. However, what Story of Tublu offers is a sincere effort of story telling. If you are in for a feel-good read, this one won’t disappoint you!
( The Views are my own. The review is commissioned by the author )