It was last week when I received the book and was supposed to give it to our in-house book reviewer. She is a voracious reader and good with words, hence she always did the reviews.
It skipped my mind to hand over the book and one night, out of boredom I started reading Child/God, promising myself that this would only be a one chapter read.
One led to another and that led to more chapters thereafter. Soon I was 100 pages in when I tweeted Ketan Bhagat that am loving his work and also told the reviewer that I’d be writing the review for this one.
Now, the book is 350 pages long and also the page size is bigger than the usual. It has reviews printed on it by Bollywood celebrities whom I don’t trust for a literary advice but thanks to the boredom that night, I was pushed (or preferably ‘pulled’) into reading this brilliant novel by Ketan Bhagat.
First off, this is neither a literary wonder where you should drop all your work and rush to the nearest bookstore nor it’s a mystery, thriller, romantic piece that we often call as ‘page turners’. Reading this book is like sitting with a glass of red wine after a long temperance where when you start, you are greeted with the familiar taste of writing that you usually read. Further in you feel something is different and deeper down, you start feeling a pleasing high that is what you aimed for all this while.
With every chapter I finished, I was left wondering on how falsely we are living and I am pretty sure that in some other corner of the world, Ketan would be smiling because this exactly is what he aimed for with his novel.
Firstly, this is not usual ‘Oh, Children are Gods – Praise them, Love them’ literature; this is rather a piece where a ‘Child’ is simply a tool to let you know that what you thought was ‘right’ is just an illusion. The world we live in, deal with, hate, love and abuse is actually a simple phenomenon where instead of ‘pushing’ you should start ‘pulling’ (Novel reference).
I am not a voracious reader and am not a religious/spiritual kind so you can be assured that I’m not urging you to read this novel on ‘Let’s read about how Child is a God theory’. Rather, if you are a parent, a businessman, a working guy, a struggling artist, a sibling, a celebrity or even a budding writer – you should read this.
You should read this if you’ve lost something precious, clinging onto something surreal or running mad towards a goal just to prove yourself; if not transform you, Child/God will at least turn your mind towards things that you nonchalantly ignore.
This is one of the books which not only has the plot of a good book, but also makes you pause for a while and contemplate and think over your flaws, making you question yourself why you never thought of the simple things before, that the writer is conveying.
Second, I am a sucker for detailing and I don’t discriminate the words based on person writing it. I love how Dan Brown details streets, churches, alleys of Vatican City that you find yourself to be the hero of the novel living the adventure and on the other hand I adore how Durjoy Dutta explains Avantika in his novels; so craft fully that you wish she were a real person and you can know her more (even after you know everything about her).
Here, Ketan has done the same brilliant treatment with ‘Raghav’, the main character in the novel. As soon as you are few pages in your mind explicitly puts a face to the character because he is just another middle class guy with moments of happiness, moments of sorrows, has a blood sucking job, love-hate relationships and constantly urges to do something with life. You not only read, but get in the adjacent seat with Raghav on his life transforming journey through 350 pages.
As I read the last page of the novel, I felt a tinge of guilt that I compared the author to his famous celebrity brother even before reading the first page. I thought, how a book titled Child/God can be a page turner and I raised an eyebrow when I looked at the size of the novel. But, I was wrong, this indeed is a must read.
To sum it all, Child/God is an anecdote of a common man which first revolves around his family then around himself and gradually takes a turn where you find yourself walking the steps of the main character, driving towards a transition. Ketan Bhagat may not have written many books till now but this one sure will be one of his finest works in times to come.
P.S. Not exactly a spoiler, but the book ends with a quite unexpected ending which will make you smile and appreciate the author as the ending demands a sequel; a sequel that I won’t think twice before buying and engrossing myself in.