Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Book Review: The 365 Days by Nikhil Ramteke

The 365 Days by Nikhil Ramteke

Not an easy book to review for multiple reasons.

It is a story, fiction essentially BUT it is so close to reality that it is more like reading a documentary rather than reading a story/fiction.

I have lived in Dubai around the timeline the story is taking place and even right now living here. While I could identify the storytelling, i could also easily point out (and be irritated about) the error in the storytelling - factual errors. There were one or two times, when i felt the author was making self-contradictory statements thro the protagonist which kind of disturbed the reading flow. BUT those are minor things. Important is how the book was written and did it achieve its objective of creating awareness.

Overall, the book is an insight into the ugly dark world of the laborers life in Dubai. While Dubai is enjoyed and toured by the rich, it has been built by the labor of the huge labor population which remains out of sight. The average well-to-do resident ignores their existence normally and the tourist hardly encounters them.

They have a tough life (And that is an understatement). The subject has been raised in local as well as international media several times - the conditions of the labor camps and the life of the laborer in Middle East (not just particularly in UAE/Dubai).

The author makes a good attempt at describing the plight of the average laborers and their daily struggles. Its a good documentary. Commendable.

I assume, the book's objective is to raise awareness. Which will happen as more and more people read the book. BUT people don't read documentaries. They will read an interesting story with twists and turns and surprises; even if it is a sad one. I personally feel that the story could have been made more interesting increasing the chances that it would be picked up by an average reader.

With the documentary approach, the readership is limited.

I am not saying, that the book is not written in story format and is purely documentary. Its just that there needed to be more of story telling while retaining the pain and hardships - which I must say, the author has captured beautifully. Once again, I would congratulate the author for doing a good job of capturing the underlying sentiment ... besides the conditions of the laborers. The average laborer is not afraid of hardships. They are demoralized by the treatment they receive.

I will rate this book at 3/5

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