A Poem From The Book
'Stand for your right',
You tell me,
And when I do
You beat me down
Break my bones
And crush my soul?
I may raise my voice
Close my fist, and demand;
Or seek and desire
With polite words and a patient heart
So that you and I can live in peace
Forever, I wish;
You should pray
I choose the latter
The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta (Niyogi Books) is my third book that's based on Kashmir and its people, their lives.
The author says the incidents are inspired by true events, and he has visited Kashmir and met people to know the culture, lifestyle and their problems. It shows. The book seems well researched.
The Tree With A Thousand Apples is a poignant, heartbreaking story of three childhood friends - Deewan Bhat, Safeena Malik and Bilal Ahanagar, living in Kashmir - their families so close - at the time of insurgency.
'For us, Deewan bhai, whatever it takes,' says Bilal.
As the conditions in Kashmir worsen, Deewan and his family have to leave Kashmir for the sake of a safe life while Safeena whose mother becomes a 'collateral damage', and Bilal are left with no other option but to learn to live in the dark battlefield that the paradise, Kashmir has become.
After 20 years, Destiny brings them together and they try to fix things in their own possible ways. And then one day, a *letter* - a dangerous letter - comes that brings sea changes in the circumstances and eventually their lives.
So, what happens? What this letter is all about? How their lives transform? What about their friendship? What about the brewing love? You will have to read the book to find these answers. Finding these answers would be a moving journey, I can say that.
The author has an interesting writing style. The language is beautiful and clean, narration quite smooth. The life of Kashmir is very well described. The atmosphere of insurgency, every aspect and impact, is captured well. The story is peppered with regional language but it has a helpful footnotes (plus a glossary).
Here are some thought-provoking quotes :
'You brought your Indian Identity Card? It proves that you are an Indian.'
'Who else am I?'
'Why do you worry, the curfew is over.'
'You foolish children! Curfew is never over.'
'It was too ambitious to think ahead. It was too luxurious to be alive.'
However, in order to capture the essence of Kashmir and rage of insurgency, the author has missed the protagonists' personal feeling (and its development) for each other. Also, the *letter* (I mentioned above) confused me. I wondered (and wanted to know) what caused that sudden provocation.
But over all, it was a beautiful, thought-provoking and engrossing read. Very well written. Recommended to any book lover, no matter what your preferred genres are.
I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.