Author: Nikhil Ramteke
No of pages: 178
Publisher: Write India Publishers
About the book:
As the tides rise and fall life moves at a monotonous pace for Shijukutty in a small coastal village. He wishes to fulfill the dreams of his beloved wife Dhanya and his son but alas a fisherman fate does not give him the ability to do so. Lured by Dubai the land of dreams, where many from his community have tested their fate and changed the fate back home he plans to leave for Dubai as well. So with a heavy heart but hopeful eyes he leaves to a land which he knows very little about and steps towards uncertainty. Like most Shiju lands a job in Dubai through an agent and takes a hefty loan for this.
As Shiju arrives in the dazzling Dubai things look far from the truth. He is aghast with the living conditions and nothing seems to be right. While deep down his soul wants to shout out with rebellion yet his mind reminds him of the burden of the loan and the hopeful eyes of his wife and child stop him. Shiju befriends many other migrants labourers at the camp all of whom have a similar story to narrate. Will Shiju be able to survive this ordeal? Will the many migrant labourers be able to fulfill their dreams? Is Dubai truly as mesmerizing as it looks? Well, this book takes you on a journey and lays bare the life a migrant labourer.
The author has a crispness in his writing and has the ability to build a strong imagery. While the language is simple it still captures your attention and makes an impact. He has beautifully crafted the life of a migrant labourer in a distant land and there is a sense of traveling along with the characters. Characters building is the highlight of this novel as it is done beautifully. Though it is a simple story at heart it conveys a lot of messages and touches upon many sub-themes of labor rights and the problem of migrants who are not well educated and do odd jobs at times.
The author has written this novel more from the perspective of the Malayali community which is justified as they form the majority of the migrant workforce in Dubai. Yet a problem that I had was the author keeps on talking about the Malayali community at length across the book which at times feels repetitive. At the end, the author is able to give you a kaleidoscopic view of the life of a migrant labourer and takes you to the heart of Dubai.
Often while reading the newspaper I read news about agencies duping people in lieu of good jobs in foreign lands particularly Dubai. There is news of exploitation of people and how passports are confiscated. I read through them, feel bad about it for some time and then it vaporizes from my memory. This book made me realize the magnitude of the problem and lay bare intrinsically the reality and hardships faced by the migrant workers particularly those who are unskilled workers. I loved the fact that the author in the novel pointed out that while rules and laws are there often people do not utilize it or at times are ignorant about it. This book made me realize that I as a member of society can help in my own small way by helping such migrant workers and informing them about the malpractices that are happening around.
I received a review copy from the author and publisher for an honest opinion and review.