Authors: Anubhav Shrivastava & Shreehari H
Do you want to read a book that strikes a chord with your heart with a delighting story about friendship? Do you like books which catch the urban-rural amalgamation with its inherent ideological divides and subtle similarities? Does clichéd writing bore you and you are looking for something refreshing to read? Do you like books that have a scathing practicality in seemingly emotional storylines? Then the book “One Last Time” is for you.
The storyline follows Nakul, a fifteen-year-old boy from Delhi, who has been raised in the lap of luxury, visiting Bhadroli, a little village in Madhya Pradesh. The contact with the village life changes many things for Nakul and he starts to view various aspects of life from a different perspective. He also befriends Prakash, the son of a paddy farmer, and their friendship grows both due to the commonalities and differences that both the lads share. There is also Aakanksha, a charming and talented girl, who lives her life according to the perceived ideals of society, consistently feeling a void, for she lacks a genuine friend. The story is thus an eclectic and delectable fusion of Nakul’s superficial urbane sensibilities, Aakanksha’s confounded solitude and Prakash’s rustic but sagely naivities- one that will change their destinies forever.
The book cover is a panorama, and the front cover shows a boy standing and the back cover shows another boy sitting, both looking at the sunset in the village. The contrast in the characters of Nakul and Prakash, with all the inherent bonding and accompanying intricacies, is shown here along with a stunning crimson sky. I absolutely loved the blurb at the back cover, which is lyrical and makes the story sound interesting for the reader who wants to pick up the book.
The narrative is weaved well to bring out a contemporary tapestry, and the frequent mentions of history and science questions and topics go well to show what occupies a teenage mind at this stage. However, these can also prove to be a hindrance and be overbearing for some readers. The descriptions of the scenic beauty of Bhadroli are also good, and the storyline also incorporates various aspects of the urban, rural and mofussil landscapes to give striking shades to its characters, which later gets intermingled as the characters evolve.
This is a book that should be read for its fresh take on the friendship of two well-portrayed characters, who are so much of a contrast as well as complementary, and the bonding and respect for each other and the places they come from is tangible in the story. Aakanksha’s storyline also gives new dimensions to the story, and the book at 143 pages and with a good heart is a refreshing and short read.