banno, dhanno and teja in bumm-bumm-bhole-land

romi & gang

I am not a boy, never have been, and I have not been thirteen since quite a while. I have never played cricket, or maybe sometimes with a rubber ball, once, twice, a few times. I don’t even watch cricket, unless Teja compels me to.

But Tushar Raheja’s book ‘Romi & Gang‘ is more than a book about cricket-crazy boys.

From the first paragraph, the book plunges you into familiar territories, even if you have never grown up anywhere near Mauji (a fictional town) and the Roomani hills (equally fictional).

There is the running with the wind, the mix of sweat and dirt that is the peculiar smell of childhood, ghosts and cremation grounds, heroes and things that could have been, and things imagined, the fear of losing, losing games, losing friends and new turns in the roads. There is school, good teachers, bad teachers, pranks and punishments, scrapbooks and nicknames, friends, enemies, your parents, your friends’ parents, your house, your friends’ houses and through it all, the absurdly disproportionate sense of importance that each moment carries, as if that was the only state of being, in that moment, and it will last forever.

Yet, Tushar’s vigorous and unfussy style does not allow you to veer off into nostalgia. The story of Romi and his friends, Sunny, Sukhi and Golu is engaging enough to keep you engrossed in their tale. Biswajit Guha’s illustrations in black and white lend an additional movement to the book. The book was perhaps written for young people, but it is a good read for old, grizzly bears too.

I read it in one go, while Teja watched the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, and both of us had fun.

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10 comments on “romi & gang

  1. dipali
    July 26, 2013

    This sounds lovely! This old, grizzly bear shall read it!!!!

    • Banno
      July 28, 2013

      Do, Dipali. :)

  2. kateshrewsday
    July 27, 2013

    Hurrah, you’re back, Banno! And with a book that sounds absolutely wonderful. Thank you! Hope all is well with you all!

    • Banno
      July 28, 2013

      Hi Kate. I have been lurking around. Yes, well, but just have been so stuck with my film, long story, tons of bureaucracy, that I’ve just been rather hopeless at writing. Anyway, we are finally finishing the film now, so that’s that.

      • kateshrewsday
        July 28, 2013

        Great to hear! Thanks for popping into mine every now and then. I wondered how the film has been going. Hope everything goes smoothly until the release :-)

        • Banno
          July 29, 2013

          Popping into your blog is a pleasure. Sometimes a much-deserved one.

  3. Satish
    July 29, 2013

    Nice to see you back here. Thanks for the book reco, sounds like to great one to be read along with the kids.

  4. Banno
    July 29, 2013

    Satish, definitely a good read for the kids.

  5. Anu Warrier
    July 31, 2013

    Thanks for the rec, Banno. Will pick it up (ostensibly) for my son and will guiltily read it myself.

    • Banno
      July 31, 2013

      Anu, believe me, you can read it without any guilt whatsoever. :)

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2013 by in books and tagged , , .
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