1. Author:  Kochery C Shibu
  2. Release: September 19th, 2015
  3. Pages: 397
  4. Genre: Fiction, Adventure
  5. Publisher: Niyogi Books
  6. Language: English
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A Hydel project in the remote Himalayas- three people brought together by fate.

Nanda an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site, hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love for his dear ones, and the kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot that threatens to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.
Rekha, a kathak dancer at heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.

All throng the campsite like moths to a flame, some escape untouched,successful;some miss a step and perish. each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about the aspirations of these people, with their cares and worries woven to the site life. The fury of nature and hardships of project life have no mercy for the weak and no time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their lives and limb in the quest to fulfil their dreams.


Focal Point of the book Men and Dreams in Dhauladhar is a Hydel Project for construction of dam in Dhauladhar. The story revolves around several characters who are currently working at this construction site, or will arrive here later in the story. The characters form the essence of the story and they range across the vast social spectrum of the society. Primary characters include Nanda, who is an engineer over looking the construction of dam, Khusro who is a young man from Kashmir involved in terrorist activities and Rekha, a well respected Kathak dancer in search of true love. 

Other characters include the natives of Dhauladhar who are having impact on their lives due to construction project, family of Nanda, several people who interact with Khusro etc. The author also included the environmental impact that such huge construction projects have on the local flora and fauna and lives of the local people, which was very refreshing. Located in the beautiful setting of Dhauladhar mountains, the author also bought into light the mortal nature of human life and brutal truth of how life goes on once your perish.


Since there are several characters in the story, I will not be elaborating on each. I am discussing only three main characters which are also mentioned in the blurb. First is Nanda who is an engineer from Kerela. He is overseeing the construction on dam sight. He is doesn’t like to talk to people about his personal life and is very guarded while many people try and talk to him, he likes to keep to himself and not interact. This is so because he is hiding from law since he is being hunted for revenge by a rival family. So in order to keep his wife and children safe. Then there is Khusro who was born in a small remote village in Kashmir. He and his family were displaced and became refugees. He was hired and trained by terrorist organisation where he becomes a part of the plan of blowing up the dam in Dhauladhar. The third character is Rekha, who is a doctor by profession but dancing is her passion. She becomes a professional Kathak dancer and travels the world, is very well known and respected. Her family is pressurizing her to get married but she is looking for true love. By a strange encounter, she meets Khusro and falls in love.


The language is sophisticated and not very easy. A good hold on language and vocabulary is required in order to enjoy the book fully. The author have used a lot of technical jargon throughout the book describing in detail the process involving construction of dam. It was difficult to understand these parts of the book. Since I have no knowledge in engineering and I am not familiar with these terms. Hence, I tried to skim over these parts.


There are multiple narrators of the story and the expressions are in the form of inner monologue. The major part of narration is done by Nanda, Khusro and Rekha and reader can read their thoughts as inner monologue. The writing style is slightly monotonous due to usage of technical jargon. 


The plot line and story is very unique. I have not come across any plot or story that is similar to this one. The story progresses in a very unpredictable manner which helps to capture the interest of the reader till the end.

Final Thoughts

Men and Dreams in Dhauladhar is a good book. It does an excellent job in terms of plot and character development. Being a character driven book, the author elaborates a lot on the past and present of the characters and sometimes even the history of the parents and grandparents of the characters. This can be frustrating for a few readers since the book takes so many tangents away from the plot that it gets difficult to keep a track of protagonist. The fate of one of the protagonist if left on a cliffhanger and I really want to know author’s point of view on what actually happened to him. The description of the beautiful landscape of India and the culture and cuisines was a highlight of the story. These small details helped to make the story relatable and personal to me as a reader.

This is a wonderful read for anyone with some engineering background. Other readers will also enjoy it if they are willing to skim over the technical jargon and details.

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