Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

Rated 4.00/5 based on 6 reviews
In a project site in the remote Himalayas where superstitions and religious beliefs are as important as the engineering Nanda, Khusru and Rekha come together through a series of twists and turns in their lives..Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about the aspirations of people with their cares and worries woven to the site life. Each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. More

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About Kochery C Shibu

Kochery C Shibu- Bio Data

Kochery C Shibu graduated from the National Defence Academy in 1981. He served in the Indian navy and commanded two warships. Since retirement in 2005 he has been working with the hydro electric power sector. He has executed Hydro projects in the Cauvery river basin in the South of India, the Beas River basin in Himachal Pradesh and the Teesta River basin in Sikkim.
He holds a post graduate degree in Defence Studies from Madras University, and MA in English literature from Pune University.
Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is his debut novel. The technical content of the novel, namely the setting up of a hydro-project is drawn from his experience in these projects since 2005, as are many of the characters inspired from those whom he encountered on site.

Kochery C Shibu was born in Kochi and now lives in Bangalore with his wife and daughter.

Learn more about Kochery C Shibu


Sakura Subinita reviewed on on Nov. 14, 2016

“Suddenly he tensed. The sound of shuffling feet behind him had alerted him. His hands tightened on his belts…”

The moment we read this our interests perk up.

“There was a dam being built there. Allah’s men will come flying from the skies and blow up the dam”.

The sinister words keep us frozen.

“Whole of Delhi would be flooded.”

We swim in the sea of anticipation and fear of the impending doom.

Kochery C. Shibu is a debutante author has published his first work “Men and Dreams in Dhauladhar.”
A story of violence, retribution and at last peace.

My thoughts:- The main plot is a Hydro-Electric dam is being built in the hilly area in Jarthu near Dhauladhar range. And a group of terrorists are trying to blast the dam.
The story revolves around three possible main characters. Nandakumar a.k.a Nanda, Khusru and Rekha.

Nanda is an engineer of Kerala origin, the son of a renowned Jaminder and a master of Kalari arts. Living a childhood amidst violence his mother wanted him to have a different life. But unfortunately to save his cousin Dileep he had killed a man. After that the rival gang is after his blood for retribution and he fled his home and took a job in the far Himalayas.

Khusru, a young Kashmiri boy is the next in line. His parents left him to his uncle and left to another place. The boy was brought up by his uncle. Unfortunately his uncle died in a mine blast and he jumped into the river to save himself. He was saved and later taken in by a group of terrorists. He was trained by them and was made a soldier for Allah’s purposes.

Rekha, granddaughter of a renowned Kathak dancer, a doctor and an eminent dancer herself, went to Amarnath yatra. Unfortunately was kidnapped by a terrorist (who happens to be Khusru) and later fell in love with him. She finds her heart went away dancing "dha dhin dhin na" .With him she wants to have a family and has a dream to set up s hospital in Khusru’s home village Deran.

There are myriad other characters in this book. Every type of people regardless of their country or religion has been portrayed deftly.

A huge area has been covered in this novel. From Kerala to Kashmir, Afghanistan even France and Russia. But at last every person comes and their lives merge into one place, The Dhauladhar.
The author has sketched a picturesque description of Himalayas. The rough lifestyle of hilly areas and the people has been well described, especially the transience of life. The young labour men are dying and there are no guilt feelings in the hearts of their seniors. They are just compensating a life with money.

Dhauladhar range is symbolic of Fate and God. A silent observer of human hardships and toil, the Dhauladhar speaks to them who tries to listen (and mostly it is Nanda).

“Nanda looked at Dhauladhar peaks. He thought the snow the snow capped peaks were shedding tears. He was not sure what it meant and for whom.”

At the end police intercepted and the blast never happened. Rekha went with her grandmother. Nanda too went to his home. What happened to Khusru remained a mystery. It would have been better if we knewthat.

The treatment of women has been portrayed horribly. The foreign men have taken the Nepali girls as paid women. Zohra has been described as “men’s comfort” by Mohammed. An innocent girl is tortured by two terrorists. The wives of dead labour men were sometimes kept as paid women or sold. I felt sick. But then realized that this is the truth even the real world and my heart was broken.

But at the end when Rafiq stops Dhoni from selling Maya to the red light area of Mumbai and marries her I felt overjoyed and was cheering inside like the others characters “Badhai ho, badhai ho!”

The writing style is well, keeps us intrigued now and then. A little bit profanities are there but when labour men speak…well…they speak slang.

Drawbacks:- I had been warned by the author himself that the ebook version contains some hundred pages more.

Still that aside the main drawback of the story is its slow pace. And there are too many details which seemed unnecessary. I believe some things should be left to the reader’s imagination.

And another drawback is multitude of characters. Every now and then a new character is presented. Why is he there and what is his purpose in the main plot is remains unknown for a long time. And we find one particular character after a long absence and it is natural to forget where we finished with him last time.

But still it was a very good read. 4 stars out of 5. Recommended strongly. You will like it.

Thanksgiving Thanks to the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
william joseph reviewed on on Oct. 31, 2016

Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar was sent to me for an honest review by Kochery C Shibu.The book is easy to read.The story revolves around not only the 3 protagonists but also highlight the situations and people around them. The clear description of the daily lives of these people and their past have been nicely described .Overall i liked this book :)
(reviewed 56 days after purchase)
Suchismita Samanta reviewed on on Oct. 29, 2016

Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar by Kochery C. Shibu is a great novel. I liked it so much. The storyline is very interesting and unique. The story follows three main characters who have been brought together by fate at a dam construction site near the Dhauladhar Mountain Range set in India. This is a story of the lives of common people of India from different cultures and backgrounds, their dreams and desires and also their hardships and struggles.

A very important part of this story is the diverse characters, beautifully created by the author. This is a perfect example of character driven story and I loved that aspect of it.

The story follows three main characters and many side characters, whom the author has created as beautifully as the main characters. Nanda the main protagonist is an engineer and he is from Kerala; Khusru, a Kashmiri guy who has a shady past; Rekha, a doctor but who is a dancer from her heart. All of the characters has their own story to tell from their past and that is brilliantly told as the back-story.

I was impressed with the fact that how much research the author had done to create such interesting characters and such unique plot. We get to know not only the characters but also their whole family history and background from the back story which was very fascinating to me. Also this book gives detailed information about diverse cultures of India and information about daily lives and chores of common people from different parts of India, which is beautiful.

I also liked the use of local languages in the story, which added a different level to the story.

Overall this a very well researched book. The story is thrilling and adventurous and beautifully told. It was a great read for me. I highly recommend it.

A gifted copy was provided by the author in exchange for a honest review.
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)
huseinalove reviewed on on Oct. 29, 2016

I really liked the book.. The storyline is different from other books I have read.. It may be though that the book is based according to a different background than what I normally read.. the characters are linked quite expertly with their stories.. the chemistry very good...

All in all I liked the book.. an engaging read..!!
(reviewed 46 days after purchase)
Dhwani Swadia reviewed on on Oct. 28, 2016

This is definitely one of the best books that have been published by new authors of Indian origins.

The story line is quite complex and the writing style, although poetic, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for me, the different writing style and the way the whole story was presented added to the allure of the book.

The best part of the book was its characters. I loved how the author gave out information and history of the characters between the story. Not only did it provide an interesting break from the main story line, it also helped build a rapport with the characters. Some stories in itself were so interesting that I would have been interested in reading the whole book on those they can never have enough of a good story.. I especially loved the second chapter where the author provides Indumati’s story..I was so invested in that chapter, I actually felt sad when it ended..but not for the next chapter was quite quick in grasping my attention. You know the author’s characterizations are excellent when you notice and admire even the passing characters.

Additionally, the author is not too judgemental of his characters and gives them room to grow and explore themselves. So, each character has their own experiences which shapes their mentality and actions. This is a rare talent that the author posses. This is especially true for his female characters. A very mature and realistic portrayal of all characters.

The author weaves different characters and stories and it is around the middle of the book that the main plot of the book begins to make sense. The story line is character driven.

One thing that stood out for me was the diversity of the characters. The author actually adds vernacular language of that character in that character’s speech which brought out authenticity of the writing and made it more believable. Also this is one of the rare books where there is diversity in a very Indian context. Which I personal have hardly come across. Yes, you do come across diversity when there are books that are based on International shores, but we hardly see the diversity that is in India represented in books, at least the ones I have read till now.

Coming to the writing style, I found it quite poetic. The descriptions of the different places were so realistic that you find yourself longing to visit those places.

The only flip-side was there were extremely few grammatical errors in the book that could be looked into before publishing the next edition and it would totally make this a perfect book.

Definitely a recommended read!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
giridharpai reviewed on on Oct. 30, 2014

I have read the book. Not a boring moment. The stories of Khusru, Rekha, Nanda, Mangu Ram and Mukesh are very good. When you go in detail about the project that part becomes slightly boring. The role for Khusru and Rekha in the main project seems to be limited but their life stories are very thrilling and interesting.

Overall I get the impression of a collection of life stories of different characters even though it has been told very well.
Wg Cdr K G Pai
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)

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