Raghav is an ordinary seven-year-old growing up on the ‘good’ side of Colaba in Bombay. His is a safe, protected world and he is kept well away from the ‘other’, darker side of Colaba, which nevertheless, holds a deep fascination for him with its colorful, busy alleys bustling with activity, people and mystery – the ‘real’ world as far he is concerned.
But life has other plans and Raghav’s entire world comes crashing down one day. In the space of a few crucial hours, his childish innocence is ripped away brutally, and he also loses the one person who may have made his world right again – his mother. That fateful day alters the course of his life and the ‘other’ side is the only place he can escape his now truly miserable home life and his bitter father who he resents more and more each day. He never tells even his closest friends about the horrific abuse he suffered the day his mother died, the day a fierce, burning anger took root in his very soul.
Now, 20 years later, all his peers and friends are settling down into jobs and the business of growing up. But Raghav is still trapped between his now suffocating relationship with his father, his own inability to find a job and make a life for himself and the painful memories of his childhood ordeal that still haunt him. And this is when he meets Rani one day, an orphan beggar girl who knows life on the streets of Mumbai, but not in the way Raghav does. He wants to ‘save’ Rani from the beggar mafia and give her a chance at a better life. His strong need to stand up for something, to truly help someone is fueled by the recent Nirbhaya gang rape case in New Delhi, that evokes painful memories of his own past trauma.
Set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, and inspired by true events, Diary of an Angry Young Man is a coming-of-age urban drama that explores the complex layers of humanity. And the city that engenders them. [Goodreads]
Growing up in India might as well have been on another planet. Now in 2012, Raghav is a little old to be living at home with his sister and father. Father is angry at him because he does not have a job even though he has a university degree! Raghav’s days are spent messing around with four friends.
Economic status is very important. Raghav is not among the poorest but he certainly seems to be borderline. He stays away from home all day because he does not want to be continually harassed by his father. The problem is that he has no motivation to do anything but hang out with his companions.
This story is very enlightening regarding life in India. The inter-relationships have some parallels to my own childhood. There is an establishing of hierarchy as in most societies and there are bullies and have-nots. The worst situation is that of orphans and street people.
Raghav has a very big problem though and one which he’ll tackle for himself as much as the other. He is worried about a young girl and her employment as a street beggar. Her plight brings back bitter memories of his own shattered childhood. His compassion opposes those who exploit other people. Rather than beg for their own benefit, they must beg so that a street thug can get rich while they have a bare subsistence life. The book points out a general lack of compassion as well as abuse and poverty; many of the same desperate conditions experienced elsewhere as well as redemption. 4.5 stars – CE Williams
We received a complimentary review copy of this book following a request from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Crime Fiction
Print Length: 174 pages
Publication Date: August 15, 2021
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Diary of an Angry Young Man [Amazon]
The Author: A Green MBA and Wine Specialist, Rishi Vohra has authored three novels, ‘I am M-M-Mumbai,’ ‘HiFi in Bollywood’ and ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai.’ His short story, The Mysterious Couple, was featured in Sudha Murty’s anthology – Something Happened on the Way to Heaven, and another short story, Kaala Baba, in Neil D’Silva’s urban horror anthology – City of Screams. His other short stories include The Saas-Bahu Conflict which was published in the HBB Horror Microfiction Anthology and In Your Eyes in Tell Me Your Story’s LGBTQ anthology Pride, Not Prejudice : Decriminalising Love.
To get in touch with him or for more information, please visit http://www.rishivohra.com.
©2021 CE Williams – V Williams