Review Time - The 365 Days - Nikhil Ramteke

The 365 Days
-         Nikhil Ramteke

Unlike any other stories of the time, ‘The 365 Days’ is a novel which portrays the life of a fisherman, who flies to the Gulf in seek of a better life for himself and his dear ones, back in Kerala. It’s in the year 2007, like millions of other Malayali’s, Shijukutty, the protagonist of the tale, dreams about digging fortunes from the sands of Arabia. Leaving his land and being an immigrant in the foreign land is not an easily acceptable one, unless one’s situation is worse back in his own land.

Shijukutty, being a born fisherman has breathed through the sea and has lived along the waves. Fishing is like sport, as said by the author; winning and losing are part of the game. It’s the only way he can make a living.

“Every night I would go to bed daydreaming. The morning after, in the light of reality and logic, everything would seem meaningless. Life was predictable and mechanical. Life was a handful of sand”

Kerala, known as ‘God’s own country’ has its own Malayali migration story, dates back to more than 50 years. The migration story of them to Dubai is also said along with its history. Shijukutty realizes that half of his village and the rest of Kerala are already in Gulf.

With no other option left to make his living a better one, Shijukutty plans to leave to the Dream City, Dubai. Though he is broken from within for leaving his beloved wife and son for the first time, he hides it with the pinch of hope that everything is going to be good soon.

In Dubai, he is put in the Labor Accommodation Camp along with the other male workers from different country. From here, the story is penned soulfully with explain of each scene in the camp. About the camp, the work hours, the work place, the men living there, their habitual, the roommates of Shijukutty can be witnessed through the eyes of the protagonist. The life in the camp is completely far away from his imagination and it teaches him about the pain that he shall bear for the leftover days.

Each man living there has his own sad part of life, which has left him in this worst situation. But on base, everyone is there for one common reason, to make money. The pains, the tolerance, the hunger of the soul, the emptiness in the heart, the wounds to be hidden are narrated in such a picturesque way.

With turn of each page, we are introduced to new sort of pain to be hidden and problem to tackled by the protagonist. The way how he has accepted the living can be judged easily, which he does for his family. The only hope for him to put up with all tortures is that he can live a happy life with his family in the distant future. The roommates of Shijukutty, though they are from different lands, share a bond of understanding and friendship.

The connotation between the protagonist and Thavamani, one of his inmates, is nailed so deep. The longing of the protagonist to go back to his land, the numerous colorful dreams of each soul in there, the yearning to be with the family, the good old day memories add crisps to the tale. Each character in the novel is portrayed in a picture-perfect way that the story behind each of it realistically opens up with the choice of the words. The differentiation between the life of laborers who toils the pain to construct the buildings and that of the rich ones in other side, who has never felt those pain beneath those buildings, living in the same city with different dream is touchwood.

A big applause to the author Nikhil Ramteke, to have chosen an inevitable theme and has explained realistically. The way of narration makes the reader to get sensibly affected by the story and the choice of words adds topping to the cake. The painful truth clustered in the hearts and minds of the immigrant laborers in unclogged in this novel.

The 365 days – lived through each day!!


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