Kashmir, the lost paradise, was once as peaceful as sleep. Capped with lush green trees and meadows, this land offered serene and tranquil time in the lap of nature. However, the entire scenario has changed now. Amidst political altercations and physical rampage, Kashmir has now become the bane of many lives. People who once lived happily there, are now living a miserable and fearful life. Many Kashmir expatriates were moved to Pakistan at the time of Independence. But that is not the concern. The cause of worry is the war of territory that has set ablaze the hearts of millions.
In such a setting, when peace and harmony seems like Achilles heel, ‘The Tree with a Thousand Apples’ comes as a heart-wrenching novella that not only makes the readers foam at the mouth but also exposes them to the grim reality of the country’s most beautiful land. The book comes loaded with thrill and adventure- making it a complete pot-boiler.
Set in the late 1990s, this is the story about three close friends- Bilal, Safeena and Deewan. The fragile bubble of their happiness is punctured brutally when Deewan is forced to desert his home, Safeena loses her mother and Bilal is exposed to the dark side of life- the life of poverty that can perish anyone. With time and more vengeance in their heart, they grow into individuals who are very different from what they thought they would be.
With a finely woven plot, the author’s prowess to answer the questions printed in the blurb can be acknowledged. He clearly makes his point. The effort and the research has been put to an efficient use. The characters complement each other and their roles are justified.
However, the use of simple present tense in the narration (throughout the book) was a turn off for me. It tends to put the grammar skills in jeopardy and that has happened here too. Time and again, I encountered descriptions and dialogues that had incomplete sentences and incorrect tenses. For an instance (Pg. 165), when Deewan recalls the events in the book “The Kite Runner” and compares the storyline with his own life, the tense switch there makes the text baffling.
Intriguing, identifiable and rational are the words that I use to describe the storyline. Unlike the mundane romantic stories, this plot piques interest and the author’s attempt to live up to the expectations of the readers does not go in vain.
Like a silver lining in the grey clouds, this book has a lot to offer- perceptions, truth and experience. Overall, it is a good read and should be added to the reading shelf.
Best Wishes to the author.