Author: N.S. Ravi
Publisher: Frog Books
This book is comparable to a smooth walk down the memory lanes of India dating back to the Era of 1960 – 80s.
‘Those were the days’ – a mystical title that brings the neurons back into action in order to recollect all the black and white images that were painted by our elders. Things were very different when those were the days. How much different? What was the difference? Well, the answers to these interesting questions; form the contents of the book.
Even before, I start my review; I thank the Rahul from the Word Bite team to suggest me the title. Initially, I was quite apprehensive of what it would be about? Though, the book description at the back cover page is very much descriptive and it honestly transpires the gist of the book but still there was something that made me make my calculations and wary about what does author has to share from those days? Nevertheless, I was in good mood and refreshed once I completed the book.
The book is written in a letter based conversation between the father and the children. Within these letters, the father familiarizes the kids with the days when India was nascent and naïve after gaining Independence. Starting from basic necessities to the infrastructural developments, the young minds were exploring themselves with every passing year and every new milestone achieved. Read this book as a refresher course of refreshing your forgotten memories of those days.
This is a very-faced paced read. I completed this book in just one day! Even I was amazed with the ease with which I could read and smell the fragrance. Having witnessed that era first-handedly, the memories are vivid and they refuse to let go. With a mug of tea by my side and canvas of the memories, I didn’t keep track of time and raised my eyes only after I completed reading. The author touches upon almost every aspect that an elderly person would take up to discuss with the younger generation – air travel, train journey, buses, trams and metros, rickshaws, tongas, phatphatis and autos, bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and cars, post, courier and emails, telephones and mobiles, teachers and schools, pencils, pens and ball pens, tuitions and coaching classes, radios, transistors and radio stations, music, music systems, televisions and videos, calculators, typewriters, cameras, fans, coolers and air-conditioners, football, cricket and other sports, galli games, magazines, comics and novels, astrology, pets, driving license, bosses, bank and bankers, property, visiting, disappearing brands and last – My India. Though, I refrain myself from listing the book contents in my reviews but this time, I thought it won’t be justified to author’s inputs if they are not been highlighted.
With countless books titled with same phrase, how does this book stand apart from the rest? Well, the author makes it exclusive by adding anecdotes from his personal life. He introduces the element in the beginning of the chapter, followed by his personal stint and concludes with his insight on that particular element. This very approach adds a personal touch and helps in establishing a connection with the readers. You feel as if you are yourself conversing with one of the elderly from your family. Though the chapters in the first half of the book are elaborate and engaging, the length shortens as I we approach the concluding chapters. The last chapter was a surprise for me because I expected a lot from the author after reading what all he has shared and the way he has shared. I guess his main idea was to share his experiences rather than preaching but a few words of wisdom from him would have left a major impact on the readers.
All-in-all, this is a decent approach considering it to be first attempt from the author but it holds a big potential. It could have turned out better with a few modifications and additions as well. Nevertheless, so far, so good.
This comes a recommended read for people, who wish to dive into the memories on a breezy day or who wish to enjoy a soothing breezy evening.
I get frustrated when I hear my own people criticizing India.
I feel sad when I realize that more than half of the Indian population is unaware of what we have achieved in the recent past.
It is unfortunate that we seniors along with the government have jointly failed to make our younger generation know how great the country is. We teach them about Ramayana, Mahabharata and few selected leaders during the Independence movement. We name all our new schemes after one or two leaders as if they were the only ones who did everything.
India is more than just a few leaders. India has been a movement which assimilates everything which comes into contact with it and it is people who live here who make it happen.
The last fifty years have seen tumultuous changes world over. These have had vibrations in India as well.
Let us re-live these years.
About the Author
N.S. Ravi holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Delhi and has had a distinguished and chequered career in senior positions in public and private sector enterprises dealing in jewellery, infrastructure, and textiles and apparel in Europe, Africa and India. He speaks Tamil, Hindi, English and French.
Ravi is married and has two children.
Those were the Days is his debut non-fiction work. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.