Monday, June 26, 2017

The Tree with a Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta (Book Review)

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Book details

Title – The tree with a thousand apples
Author – Sanchit Gupta
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – Niyogi Books
No of pages – 282

Main characters – Deewan Bhat, Bilal Ahanagar and Safeena Malik

Other characters – Malik chacha, Kamalpreet Singh, General Chouwdhary,

Kashmir, the heaven on earth! The first thing that comes to one’s mind is freshly plucked Kashmiri red apples and floating shikaras on the lake. The tree with a thousand apples aptly represents the beauty of Kashmir and the peace in question on this intriguing plot by Sanchit Gupta. 

The plot
The story unfolds the mystery of Kashmir with its strong suspenseful storytelling. The first chapter itself leaves a tight grip on the reader as the author commences the story in a suspenseful manner. Inspired by true events, the tale is about three childhood friends named, Deewan, Safeena, and Bilal who grow up in a friendly, peaceful atmosphere of Srinagar, Kashmir until the night of January 1990 changes their fate forever. 

Three childhood friends are forced to change their paths. While Deewan and his family are forced to leave Kashmir in order to save their lives, Bilal embraces a life of terror and poverty. Safeena’s family is no exception when the place once called a paradise turns into a cruel battlefield. Many become homeless and people become heartless. Socio-political consequences affect everyone forced to live a life of terror. 

Call it luck or fate, after 20 years later destiny brings them together but in a condition where everything becomes questionable and insane. Three childhood friends separately by demeaning fate are reunited after 20 years only to meet another fateful incident where Bilal loses life in the name of true friendship.
The story is about Kashmiri people, their life’s struggles, relationships and much more. Will these three friends ever find peace in their life? Will they live a life of purpose? Or will they continue to suffer revengeful life? 

The tree with a thousand apples is a must read and I have a thousand reasons to tell you why: 

My review
The author’s vivid narration and suspenseful storytelling grip a hold of a reader as soon as you read the first chapter of it. The Molotov Cocktail opens the first chapter of the story introducing you to Safeena and Bilal. Each title is quite intriguing that makes you read further and faster. Firstly, the author lets you peep into the world of these powerful characters of the story – Deewan, Safeena, and Bilal.  The sentiments of nostalgic childhood by vividly describing the Kahwa recipe, Safeena’s attraction with blue jeans and her aspirations in life; Bilal undying love for Safeena and his rugged personality and lastly, Deewan’s fearful yet determining nature. 

As the plot develops, the author ensures that you know well each character of the story. His explicit description about Kashmiri culture, its beauty, and its people takes you to Kashmir in a day. You’re instantly connected and engulfed with Kashmir even though you’ve never been to. 

I loved the way the author has portrayed the character of Safeena, a Kashmiri Muslim who also imagines a life of a normal teenager who would love to wear jeans. 

The novel is not just a story but a journey of Kashmiri people, their struggles, their ambitions and their fight for peaceful life. Throughout the novel, the author gently raises out sensitive matters like differences between Kashmiri pundits, Muslims, and Army. The author successfully touches the core of each issue without any bias. 

His depiction of socio-political and cultural turmoil in the story makes the novel, a gripping read. He balances out the heavy story by infusing light-hearted words and poems.  The story indeed becomes an authentic read due to its vivid yet simplistic narration and conversation style. There is no single dull moment while reading the story despite some unfamiliar Kashmiri words. In fact, his conscious effort to understand the Kashmiri language can be noticed in the novel.

Small details like describing Safeena’s tears as ‘Diamonds and Emeralds’ or Kamalpreet Singh’s two sharp dimples on his cheeks ensure that you’re never forgotten the characters in the story. 

Last but not the least; the author ends the story with a dialogue reminding us powerful character like Bilal who says, “For us, Deewan bhai, whatever it takes.” 

The tree with a thousand apples is a refreshing read for all those who love Kashmir and also those who would again fall in love with Kashmir.
The author, Sanchit Gupta has done a fabulous job by writing the story which is as beautiful as Kashmir itself. It’s a must-read book for all! 

The Best Part
Not another typical love story or socio-political drama, rather extremely refreshing story! 

The Not-So-Good Part

The writing style
A detailed and descriptive writing that makes one visual treat for all the readers!

The book cover & the title
This blue book with hardcover and an illustration of a big tree with countless red apples is an enriched example of Kashmir. The title is very apt as it instantly recalls you about Kashmir. 

My rating 5/5
Yes, an absolute must-read! 

About the author
Sanchit Gupta
Sanchit Gupta, born and brought up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, he began his career as a part-time copywriter with an advertising agency in Mumbai. He went on to co-find his own theater group, worked as a freelance film screenwriter and as executive producer–fiction for a leading television network.

His short stories have been published in several esteemed publications and literary journals, and have won acclaim in leading literary festivals and online forums. To connect with this multi-talented and acclaimed writer, visit his Facebook page or Tweet him now!

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