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The 365 Days Paperback – 20 Nov 2016
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This is a story that falls through the crevices of pitiless anonymity, yet miraculously waits to be told.
Shijukutty, a Malayali fisherman, leaves his tiny hamlet of abject poverty in the coastal village of Vizhinjam on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, that picturesque vignette of searing beauty on the southwestern coast of India. Shiju, like millions of other Malayalis, seeks his destiny in Dubai, that gleaming global hub of fortune on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. What unfolds is a stirring story of distilled hardship, exploitation, identity, and friendship, and the heartbreaking choices Shiju is often forced to make. So what he sees is not what he experiences when he lands in a world of glimmering towers, fast-paced life, and unabashed opulence. For what he was not prepared for was the dark underbelly of Dubai beyond the shimmering mirage.
Shiju's life is no more the same. But he holds his ground, drawing on ancient instincts of his seafaring ancestry. As things settle down around him, he is inexorably pulled into the canyon of recession...
Will Shiju be able to hold on to his dreams? Will he able to pull out himself from the whirlpool? Will he survive against all odds? Will he redeem himself?
Nikhil Ramteke unfolds an extraordinary saga about Indian expatriates, their struggles, their alienation, and their dreams. The 365 Days is more than a story of a year in Shijukutty's life. [About Author]
Nikhil Ramteke is an M-Tech in Chemical Technology .He is currently working as a Production Manager in a leading multinational FMCG giant -IFFCO, since 8 years. Born & brought up in Nagpur Maharashtra, he currently stays in Sharjah, UAE. Apart from his passion of writing, he is a qualified painter, nominated photographer & an avid traveller. Intrigued by Indian labor's situation in gulf, he narrates a heartbreaking story & his experience in UAE. The 365 days is his debut novel.
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I grew up in Bahrain and the setting of the story is something I could relate to from the very start. Although I was fortunate enough to not face any of the hardships in the novel, the mentioned atrocities were not exactly unknown to us. I had seen women who had left behind their families to work for rich sheikhs, men who had to work on construction sites for 18 hours in the blistering 55 degree heat, amplified by the desert, throngs of aspiring people who usually went back him dejected and so on.
Shiju here is an atheist and this is the true test of his beliefs. If you don’t believe in God, whom do you blame for the hardships you face? From a seemingly boring life, entranced by his neighbour’s wealth, he decides that his future is in Dubai and leaves his wife and son behind. Ushered in to a contract with the employer, which can end any time the employer wishes, Shiju realises that the path to a better future would be crueler than the sea: Dry and tedious. Thrown in together into a small space with other workers, the golden dream slowly dissipates. The small cramped space, no benefits, atrocious working conditions only aggravate and amplify the small baggage each of them carries. Added to that, the famous depression in the Gulf that lead to millions of relocations and layoffs, he understands that a sea-ling isn’t destined to be a desert-farer.
I absolutely loved everything about the book : The characters, the plot, the setting, the stark and bleak reality, the no nonsense straight to the point language and the writing style. However, it did need a little trimming here and there and grammatical glitches were prominent. The formatting of the Ebook left a lot to be desired and the broken sentences were a turn off. But this in no way hampered the story or the plot.
Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 stars for the unique plot and the heart-tugging storyline.
Disclaimer : I received an e-copy of the book from World’s DNA in exchange of an honest review.
Shiju who is a Strong Character and the Novel is written with the Idea that “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
The Story at times was emotional and made such an impact on me.
Overall I would like to rate this Novel as one of the Best Novels, I have read in the Past. The Novel was original, emotions were very well utilised, and The title, cover and the illustrations were perfect.
I would love to read Nikhil Ramteke's work in Future. Looking forward to his Next Novel. And I hope He publish it soon.
The author has shown his proficiency in language and vocabulary. The descriptions of the conditions of the workers are heart wrenching and at times make you numb. The cultural diversity on the streets of Gulf countries surprised me. The plight of the people who belong to the lower strata of society has been aptly summed up in words. There is no over the top romance brewing or usual clichés; just hard-hitting reality.
Thousands of people predominantly from Kerala throng to the Middle East lured by the lucrative employment opportunities that await them. The book has exposed the illicit functioning of employment agencies. These agencies con the innocent people by charging deftly for visa under the pretext of employment. The people end up in getting comparatively less pay than what is mentioned in the contract.
Even though the plot moved at a snail’s pace, I didn’t get bored. My curiosity piqued at every level to know the stories of the labourers. The narrative could have been laced with humour (during conversations among the workers)to tone down the serious mood to some extent. There were considerable errors in sentence structuring which could be avoided if editorial aspects were handled better.
'The 365 days’ is a story of dreams and ambitions woven by the Indian working class in the clouds of a foreign land. It is the tale on the plight of the workers hidden in the veil of Middle Eastern lustre.This book is an ode to all artisans who work tirelessly every single day braving all odds in their life.
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Story is rather simple one yet touches hearts.Read more