WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
While hockey is the national sport of India, it will not be unfair to say that cricket is the unofficial national sport of the country.
Sat, Sam and Trib are also sharers of a strong instinctive passion for this joyous sport. They form what is called the triple sundae gang. They are teenagers and they love cricket. They spend most of their time watching or playing it.
Not just that but they also dream of making their living in this sport some day. However, fate has other ideas for them.
Life in the Sunshine claims to be the autobiography of an unknown cricketer. This unknown cricketer is Sat who breathes and lives every moment of his life for cricket. He is an uncanny follower of the game and shares a fervour for the sport with his friends.
The story follows in a chronological manner from the first person narrator’s childhood days when he began playing gully cricket. The group of boys go about collecting donations from all the residents of the colony to buy a proper bat and ball set for their playtime. They follow every move that the Indian players make on TV and try to copy them.
The narrator notes, “As my gang got formed, the Indian cricket team had the time of their lives.”
The Indian team had put together a lot of successes and won the 1983 World Cup. This was back in the days when there were few colour televisions at home.
Sathish notes down each and every memory that he has of those days in a well-organised manner.
French Cricket was another of the variations to regular cricket that the narrator learns to play in his childhood.
Things go on smoothly until one fateful day when a storm named Javed Miandad intervenes into their idyllic lives. It is on 18th April 1986 when Javed Miandad hits Chetan Sharma for a six in the Indo-Pak match held in Sharjah and shatters their cricket life forever.
The after effects of this incident haunt them for the rest of their lives. As a result, they conjure up a ghost from their imagination of the Pakistani team who hovers about them all the time and acts nosy when they view cricket matches.
They name him Abdul and at first, they think that he’s simply around but it turns out that he is only jeering at the boys and making fun of their losses.
There is a lot of humour in Life in the Sunshine particularly in the dialogues that are really funny.
One such episode is the talks that the young boys imagine must have taken place between the team members of Pakistan when they needed a left-handed batsman to counter India’s spinners.
The dialogues could have been better constructed but Sathish beautifully captures the innocence of the young minds and their simplicity.
The language is simple and easy to read. Life in the Sunshine can be read by both the young and old alike.
However, since the characters are all young adults, it will be a better read for teenagers who enjoy cricket in particular or any kind of sport in general.
Sathish is also very scrupulous. He mentions all the players of each and every match in a box at one end of the page so that readers can easily visualise the whole setup for the match.
The book also comes at the right time just when IPL is about to begin and the excitement in the pages gives a sports lover the joy of watching a game live in the stadium.
The ghost of Abdul is not their only problem. Sat fails to qualify to state-level cricket from his school. He is left with a broken heart and in low spirits. Added to that he faces an identity crisis for a while.
This coming-of-age story is, at heart, the narrative of the journey of a young boy from childhood to adulthood. How do the boys solve their problems is all this heartwarming book is about.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Life in the Sunshine from the link below.