"IF A CRIMINAL WAS ONCE A SAINT & A SAINT WAS ONCE A CRIMINAL, THEN WHO IS THE CRIMINAL AND WHO IS THE SAINT?"
When I read those lines on the back cover, I knew from that time, I am going to read something very exceptional. But I must say, this story gave more than my expectation. And here I go......
BLURB WITHOUT SPOILERS: The complete story is revolves around three friends in 1990 in Kashmir. For some sensitive and unavoidable circumstances ' The place they called paradise becomes a battleground and their friendship struggles when fate forces them to choose sides against their will. ' after 20 years Destiny started to play again with them ! Wait here! Grab the book and read to know where the last fullstop will be ended. 'The tree with thousand apples' is a thriller with tugging excitements of mind and heart at a same time. This book consists emotion, friendship, actions and so on. Plot is unique and much fascinating. I never felt bore during reading and was hooked with pages constantly. Storylines are perfect itself.
Characters Bilal, Safeena, Dewaan are very well developed. All sub characters are defined and ploted very finely. This story talks about the life of kasmirians, how Muslims are constantly asking for joining Pakistan, how it impacts badly on regular life and so on. I must appreciate author's effort for this book how perfectly he knotted every insight with threads of fiction. Writing style is very classy and steady. All words are not easy and known but they are helpful for my vocabulary speed but have gripped by reading speed. This book is hardcoverd with beautiful royal blue. Title is thoughtful. Overall it was great time with this book.
We have got our own Khaled Hosseini as Sanchit gupta, hats of to this excellent work. I am really happy that I have read this wonderful book, if you have not read this book about Kashmir than you have missed a good literature.
Kashmir is a sensitive issue right from independence of 1947; whenever Kashmir is said the first thing that came to our mind is mountains, valleys, beautiful landscapes, heaven of India and terrorist. Recently I have read an article on how Lord Mountbatten with her wife Edwina Mountbatten changed the decision and life of Kashmir’s by forcing Nehru to decide the fate under UN Security Council.
Now about his book, this is a story of three close friends Deewan Bhat, Bilal and Safeena, how their life changes after 1990 riots in Kashmir. The journey from childhood to the adolescent of three friends and how Kashmir conflicts affect their life is portrayed by the author, I don’t want to reveal the plot, the blurb itself says much.
The writing style of author is too lucrative; he has conveyed the message in very simple way, also the life and culture of Kashmiri Muslims and Pundits is perfectly articulated by the author. In the book author has highlighted many such events where it show that army is misusing their power, which is a message to the government. The book has everything in it love, redemption, pain, revenge, loyalty of friends, etc.
Nice sentence from the back cover of the book “If a criminal was once a saint and a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal and who is the saint?” I liked the entire episode when Ravi was gambling with his friend and got three aces but losses his life against terrorist in a bomb blast.
Poetry, character buildup and the entire plot is the best ingredients and it’s a plus point for this book, the book has lots of interesting twists and turns which makes un-put-down-able.
This is one of the best book I have read in 2017, I highly recommend this excellent novel to those who wants to know about Kashmir, life of Kashmiri’s youth and true situation over their.
In a time when Kashmir is perhaps the highlight of every news channel or discussions happening at college canteens, office premises or even while chatting with friends and families, this novel “The Tree with a Thousand Apples” seems very relevant and close to life. Lately, a number of books are being published with the central theme revolving around Kashmir; but this one perhaps has gained the maximum attention by readers and reviewers.
The story of The Tree With a Thousand Apples revolves around three friends Bilal, Safeena and Deewan, whose paths cross twenty years after they witnessed the ‘Paradise on Earth’ shatter before their eyes. The lives of these three childhood friends suddenly changed on the night of 20 January 1990. How their lives take dramatic turns and what happens when their paths cross again after 20 long years? Well to know this you will have to read this book which I am sure will intrigue you with its language, narration and the story.
The author Sanchit Gupta has treated the subject very sensitively and has successfully explored the loss that humanity is facing in Kashmir due to the unwarranted violence and terrorism.
This book is written so beautifully that it evoked so many emotions within me. When I was reading it, so many incidences started flashing in front of my eyes. The beautiful locales of Kashmir (we had visited in 2014), one of our Kashmiri family friends and stuff like that.
One of my ex-colleagues is a Kashmiri Pandit who had to flee from her native place along with her parents. She took a job in Delhi where I happened to meet her. I still remember (this happened sometime in the late 90s) how she prayed every day that their house gets burnt so that they can claim the compensation. It was pathetic to see someone praying for their house to get destroyed, just for the sake of survival.
The book blurb questions, “If a criminal was once a saint and a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal and who is the saint?” What do you think? Now, this is a tough question to answer? Is it about the perspective or the situation? Is it about the challenges or the changes? How does this change happen? Well, these are some of the questions to ponder and to know the answers, you will have to read the book.
The Tree with a Thousand Apples is a brilliantly written novel that weaves the world of Kashmir beautifully. The author has poured the emotions of Kashmir in this book. The helplessness of its innocent people who are gullible and whose lives have been devastated due to the unrest in the valley have been beautifully described in it. The three protagonists and their stories showcase the miserable condition of the people who want the world to listen to them, understand them and help them. This book is a great piece of work which gives an insight of the Kashmir issue, the condition of its people.
The cover of the book is simply amazing and draws the attention at the very first glance. The binding and quality of the book is also superb. And what about the title? The moment I read the title, I was desperate to read the book. Need I say more?
The plot is fresh and full of twists and turns. The character building is brilliant and the narration style is simple and captivating. This is a book that will stay with you for a long period of time. Very different from the run of the mill mushy romance books that are available abundantly nowadays. Highly recommended to readers who want to read a good book. The book is a sincere attempt by the author Sanchit Gupta to capture the heart and soul of the Kashmir valley, the people living in Kashmir and the historic struggle going on there since the partition of India.
‘The Tree with a Thousand Apples’ is a heart touching tale of 3 childhood friends living in the beautiful & terrifying valley of Kashmir. It is an account of 3 innocent lives, who suffer at the hands of destiny & end up becoming ‘collateral damage’.
*A Tale of Thousand Shattered Dreams
The novel revolves around the the lives of 3 freinds- Deewan Bhat, Safeena Malik and Bilal Ahanagar. It is set in the land of Kashmir, where insurgencies (rebellion against government) are a common phenomenon. Deewan is a Kashmiri Pandit, while Bilal & Safeena are Muslims.
The 3 of them are ready to do whatever it takes for the sake of their friendship. Their dreams as well as their lives are shattered during an insurgent night. Deewan has to leave the land, which is no longer his. Safeena’s mother has to face death without any cause. Years later, Bilal too, finds his life crushed.
The circumstances change everything & they are forced to make choices against their will. 20 years later, when destiny brings them together once again, each one is caught in a separate turmoil. Lying in front of them, are the two paths- one leading towards crime & the other towards sainthood.
“If a criminal was once a saint and a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal or who is the saint?”
The novel has a beautiful story & a fast paced plot. It keeps us engaged from the very first page to the last one. It offers a moving account of the wrongs done to people by the military & the consequent attitude of those people towards army. We also get to see how soldiers, sometimes, have to obey the orders of their officers & do something that they know is wrong.
Though the army is doing it’s task well by suppressing the rebellions but it lacks a sense of responsibility towards the citizens. They forget that all Muslims are not militants. And similarly the militants too forget that Hindus are just like their Muslim brothers & sisters. The two groups continue to battle against each other, while common people- who have no issues with each other, keep suffering.
The author has beautifully penned the beauty of Kashmir, the emotions of people & their inner turmoils. The narrative offers a vivid picture of the land. The book also offers an insight into the Kashmiri Culture. One thing that I loved about the book is that the meanings of the regional words have been given as footnotes. There’s also a glossary of such words at the end.
In the beginning, I didn’t find myself connected with the characters. But as I moved on with the book, I found myself becoming a part of their lives. At several moments, the writing gave me goosebumps.
I loved this book & enjoyed reading it thoroughly. It is just the title, that is not somewhat clear to me. Perhaps, that indicates a failure on my part. There’s actually a tree of apples, which is common to Deewan & Safeena’s house. So, the tree can be a symbol of love & the bond that the two families share, which in fact is a reflection of the bond between people of two different faiths. Or the thousand apples can be a symbol of the dreams that these children & their parents holds in their eyes. The book has a lovely ending & leaves one teary eyed. It is one such book that keeps you immersed in it even after finishing it. I would recommend this book to everyone out there. And I’ll be looking forward to more by this author.
My Rating: ***** (4.5/5)
I received a copy from Writersmelon, in exchange for an honest & unbiased review.
"If the criminal was once a saint and the saint was once a criminal; then who is the criminal and who is the saint?" . I must thank my friend for recommending this book to me. It's one of my favourite read of the year. The tree with a thousand apples is a book about the beautiful but tormented valley of Kashmir and 3 families in Kashmir. About innocent children who are forced to grow up too soon, to see too much too soon. It's a fight for justice, home and redemption. A side of Kashmir which is seldom glanced upon. A perspective which is often thought to be sinister, and ways which are often considered just. The book is woven with innocence and shrewdness, with happiness and tragedy, with hope and despair and always with genuine emotion. I just finished reading the book, and I don't think I can sleep tonight. I don't have words to express what is going on in my mind right now... . But do read The tree with a thousand apples.
Thank you for a very good book. This is a story of friendship, love, atonement, sacrifice and revenge, of people who are innocent but caught between the circumstances around them to become criminals. The line in the beginning of the book- 'if criminal was once a saint and saint was once a criminal, then who is a criminal and who is a saint', touches the heart and haunts you after you have read the last page.
There is so much about the valley of Kashmir that we are yet to understand! The author has painted a beautiful picture of the 'Jannat' Kashmir. An engrossing read, which makes you ponder upon your prejudice and perception of things.. If the criminal was once a saint and the Saint was once a criminal, who is the criminal and who is the saint? Well done Sanchit Gupta!!
This is not an ordinary novel with romantic events and affairs of the heart or things like that .
It is rather a sincere attempt by the author Sachin Gupta to capture the heart and soul of the Kashmir valley..the people living in Kashmir and the historic struggle going on there since the partition of India. The author actually toured Kashmir, spoke to the people over there captured their emotions and put those emotions before the reader in black and white in the form of this book. The author dedicated this book to the people of Kashmir-- People who live there, who used to live there, and those who will continue to live there.
This book is like a biography of typical men and women who are living in Kashmir.
This effort by the author is really laudable for bringing before the general public a book describing the real life scenarios in Kashmir.
By the way,the author Sachin Gupta has many facets to his talent, a copy writer, owns a theater-group, screen-play writer for films, talk-show host on All India Radio (AIR)brand building and brand manager across FMCG,automobile and media industries.
The book describes the story of three innocent children whose lives were shattered during an insurgent night in war-torn Kashmir. Twenty years later when their paths cross again, an innocent civilian is fighting for justice, an exile Pundit longs for belonging, while a ruthless rebel aches for redemption.
There are pertinent questions asked throughout this book,like "If a criminal was once a saint, and a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal and who is the saint?"
The point is circumstance change people..a saint into a fighter and a fighter into a saint. Only personal experience can describe how that happens; or a book like this.
"Bilal would come, anytime now, in front of this moving car, and stand with Safeena at his side, and then these rumbling wheels would have to stop. He would then walk out and drape his arms around their shoulders, which would support him home, and they wouuld say " for us,Deewan bhai,whatever it takes."
The writing style is of a different genre, with a third person description of the events. For instance: a bomb making scene is described like this:
"Bilal has emptied the four cold drink bottles and half-fills each of them with the dirty yellow liquid. He must ensure his measurements are exact;a mistake with the ratios could be lethal. He has a trained eyes.His fingers move with precision.He lifts the dark brown liquid and measures out one-fourth of the bottles's volume.Cautiously , he mixes the two fluids together leaving the remaining one-fourth of each bottle empty,filled with air....carefully pulling out a foam-like cube and a green bar, he shreds them both into small pieces and sprinkles a little into each of the bottles..He puts the cloth belts back in his back pack..."
......at another place:....
"we don't know Sir, honestly," she pleads.He had run away from his home years ago..We hadn't seen him since." He cups her face in his hands and peers into her eyes.."I will leave you here alone, to think.Don't be a hero.. you are only helping your country.I will come back later.Try to save your family".
The officer walks out and asks Bilal to go home.
........yet another scene......
Bilal holds the detonator in his hands. his thumb steady over the red button.He lies on the ground, his eyes staring at the bridge. Vehicles come and go. Buses full of passengers :men, women and children.... a little flex of muscle and he can blow them into pieces.Anyone.Their broken limbs and burnt pieces of flesh will fly into the Jhelum, may b e to where Didi's dead body lies submerged and rots in the river.
"Bilala" asks the Captain lying beside him. "do you love her?" .............................................................
The story is set in Kashmir and the theme is the fight going on there since 1947. This book is full of realistic description of the emotions of the characters involved.: their aspirations, anguish, despair.hopes.
what are they fighting for? who are they fighting against? who are the people fighting? are they "militants"?Insurgents? common-folk?
This book sheds real flood light on the perpetual struggle in the lives people living over there..in Kashmir. How difficult their lives are.. you must read this book to know the real Kashmir.
This book is for every one any one who cares about his/her fellow country men and women, especially the people of Kashmir...for anyone who wants to know first hand account of the real story inside the Kashmir valley.
It is inspiring and saddening at the same time.
Reminds me of Sri Arabindo Ghosh, a revolutionary turned saint.and his writings.
Highly recommended to all the patriotic hearts out there! (The book is hard bound (top notch quality binding) and printed on high quality paper.)
Please visit my blog, Errors And Kaushal to read the complete review of the book.
If you ever decide to create a word cloud of the answers that you receive for the question, "Where is heaven on earth?", out of the many answers that you will get, Kashmir would definitely be a big bold word in it. Why do people call Kashmir a heaven? What makes them still say that? We all know that it is mainly because of the beautiful landscapes that it has to offer, the snow clad mountain views and the picturesque settings that one longs for.
The book blurb questions, "If a criminal was once a saint and a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal and who is the saint?". What do you think? A tough question to answer? Is it about the perspective or the situation? Is it about the challenges or the changes? How does this change happen? Does it happen over a period of time or it is the burst of everything erroneous that has happened? The Tree With A Thousand Apples is an answer to this.
I would recommend this 279 page long book to anyone interested in reading a realistic fiction with thriller and a close to reality story.
"If a criminal was once a saint & a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal & who is the saint?" - a wonderful line from a wonderful book. I am glad I got chance to read 'The Tree with a Thousand Apples" by Sanchit Gupta.
It is a story of Deewan, Bilal, and Safeena. A Kashmiri pandit family of Deewan has to leave J&K within a day. It is like you get only 20 minutes to pack things which you have gathered or nurtured for life. Bilal, a Kashmiri Muslims, who turned into terrorist due to mishap of the military. Safeena, a peace loving girl, fights for missing people in her locality. No matter how chaotic situation became, people were adjusting to circumstances. But it gave birth to revolution when circumstances became unbearable. Each of them met such circumstances which forced them to take extreme steps.
"The Tree with a Thousand Apples" is not a story, but a journey. For people living away from Kashmir, it is a place for which our country fighting for years to keep away from Separatist or Pakistan. But we hardly think about the people who live in Kashmir. It is the same place which was known as heaven on the earth. Their culture was peace oriented Sufi sect. But today it is turned into a battlefield. Those who don't know the reality simple curse Kashmiri. Sanchit has tried to show about real peace loving spirit of Kashmir.
Things I liked in the book are Poems, Story telling and Characters.
If you really want to enjoy this book. Spare 5-6 hours aside. Have cups of coffee on table. Finish this book in one go.