Review – “A Story and The Man” by Harsh Vardhan Dutta

Do you have a story? Yes, you must have, even if you aren’t aware of it. Everyone does have. A story. My story is different than yours, and yours is different than the person’s next to you. But all our stories arise from the same point and move towards the same end, only our paths vary. And there, lies the beauty of our stories.
This is the story of a young man and many more like him, who have dived headlong into the pool of life without knowing its actual depth, and now, are struggling. Because neither the shore is near, nor the bed is visible.

The protagonist had a troubled childhood. As a struggling student, it made him the focus of his mother’s wrath, and lashings. Despite enduring corporal punishments all his school years, the protagonist finds his ability to fight back only when he is a young adult. But the harm his mother had inflicted remains etched forever.
As a graduate, the protagonist worked with what I call “a Lala company”. No rules, only Lala rules. There, he rises to the opportunity and manages to become the right hand of his boss, the owner. It doesn’t come easy though, he works his ass off. And with this kind of working comes pleasure after work, his flings, for love and lust.
Now the protagonist, a man in his late twenties is troubled by a personal crisis. He hasn’t found his soulmate yet despite braving numerous love and lust relationships, and also he has given up working under a boss to be his own boss. To whom does he look up to for guidance? The Man? Who is this, The Man? Will this Man show our hero the way, or will our he end up in a maze?

A Story and The Man by Harsh Vardhan Dutta is an eccentric book. You probably would wonder why am saying this, what can be so different about a book for me to call it unconventional. For starters, the writing is bang on. The author’s hold on the language is remarkable and so is the editing. It felt so good reading such a “language-pornic” book after so long. Having included such a myriad of emotions in a single story, the writing doesn’t flounder. In fact, the division of the parts helped. From the kaleidoscope of love and romance to the dark alleys of childhood trauma, the author’s tone moves seamlessly. Along with this, the major feature was digging into the realm of human reality and hypocrisy by the means of divulging sensitive information. Secondly, neither the title nor the blurb gives away even remotely as to what the story is about, which, is quite unlike traditional notions. And thirdly, the way with which the author has dealt with the main plot is absolutely out of the box. The author is reticent throughout the story, revealing the take away only in the end, which was impossible to imagine and relate with the rest. I found it disconcerting. Like something was missing, a link or a bridge maybe, which I forgot to cross. A sense of being transported to an entirely different book engulfed me. I would have liked some sort of bonding between the two parts, something that could have been the lead to the end and not something unforeseen that comes in the face.
What begins as a done to death genre of romance/coming of age takes a sudden drastic turn when the author shifts the focus to things that are otherworldly, metaphysics in particular. From there he takes the reader on a path to discovering the joys of being unattached, and with unattachment comes happiness. I have to admit, I have zero knowledge of this branch of philosophy and even after reading the author’s in detail explanations, I am no wiser.
What is your take on mind and matter, and the existence of man in the first place? What is your wisdom?


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