I was intrigued by this book ever since I read the back cover. Reading about a homeless guy who has lived in 6 cities in different parts of the country; seemed like a story I could connect to; having lived in 4 cities myself. The concept of home is elusive for those who have been travelling throughout. Often what happens, before you can develop roots, your new destination beckons.
Mohammed Ashraf, the protagonist is an ordinary man who you can easily relate to. You may have bumped into a million times, you will come across the likes of him every now and then. He is a regular guy who is trying to stay afloat in day to day mundane life. His story can easily be the story of those hordes of people we brush past on a busy metro or a bumpy bus ride to work. These are those countless of people who are there but we are oblivious to. They lead a nameless and invisible lives.
Sethi’s book is a complex narration that revolves around the lives of people who struggle to pin the word ‘home’ to just one place. They cannot relate to their past or are uncertain about their future. Every urban or rural individual living in a different city for their daily sustenance will relate to this book. The books is a detailed study of ‘rootlessness’ that most of us feel from time to time. It explores the intricacies of a live where we don’t somebody to worry about you if you went missing or died in an accident. I simply loved the book as it was very well written and has a steady pace. It was totally unputdownable!
Aman Sethi, who is also The Hindu’s correspondent in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia won ‘The Economist Crossword Book Award 2011’ in the Indian non-fiction category for his book A Free Man. This is a book you would not want to miss out on.
My rating 4/5
This review is for Random House India; however the opinions expressed here are my own.