PLOT: 3/5 CHARACTERS: 3.5/5 RELEVANCE: 4/5 WRITING STYLE: 3/4 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Often simple stories carry deep meaning and extraordinary lessons. Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of reading many books that have made me a better person on both personal and professional fronts.
Sometimes incremental learnings are the best way to go forward and I, for one, am greatly thankful to these books that have helped me grow – Jay Shetty’s Think Like a Monk, Vibhor Kumar Singh’s The Billionaire and the Monk, PC Balasubramanian’s Jujube, and Shunmyo Masuno’s Zen: The Art of Simple Living.
The latest to join this bandwagon is author Atul Khekade’s Me Ki Gai; a book that narrates a simple story of a directionless young man who finds his Ikigai. Read on to know about my thoughts on the book and how was my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect an easy read, written in a simple language and a breezy manner. Expect a book that is essentially a self-help book in the garb of contemporary fiction. Expect a book that teaches one the importance of finding Ikigai, while also acting as a guide book for the same. Expect a book that will have immense value for young adults especially those on the verge of starting their careers.
Who can read?
The language of the book is deliberately kept simple to appeal to a wide variety of readers. Further, the concepts and the story itself would find appreciation in beginner level readers.
Why is the book relevant?
Me Ki Gai is a book that ranks high in terms of social relevance, more so in the current times which is marked by disruptive technologies and rapidly changing business landscapes. It is a book that tries to address an issue that concerns not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of people around the world.
Many young people are often confused about their path. Be it parental pressure, peer pressure, varied variety of opinions, media clutter, information overdose, or their own lack of clarity – young individuals often lack the most fundamental parameter of success. They either have no clue of their own interests, passions and capabilities or lack the courage to walk that path.
By the way of this simple yet profound story, the author manages to bridge that gap, one step at a time, helping many people chart their way to success.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Parth, a fresh graduate tries to find a job, but his low grades and lack of technical know-how make him an unsuitable candidate. While most of his classmates have bagged lucrative offers, Parth is still struggling. The girl of his dreams, Ashwini is also not reciprocating his feelings and avoiding him.
Desolate and desperate, he decides to end his life, but a miraculous intervention by a mystic man propels him on a different path. A chance encounter with the young and ambitious Krisha results in the start of a beautiful and selfless friendship.
Together, Parth and Krisha under the guidance of the mystical man Prabhudas discover their meaning, purpose, and love. Me Ki Gai is the story of two young people who manage to find their own Ikigai.
How good are the characters?
Though there are many characters in the book, it is the three main characters of Parth, Krisha, and Prabhudas who manage to catch the reader’s eye.
In Parth, we see a guy who undergoes a huge transformation. From perceiving him as lazy, careless, unrealistic, indifferent, and impractical at the beginning of the book, the reader starts seeing him as the complete opposite by the end of it. His character acts as an anchor for the entire story. From pity to annoyance to admiration – he is able to invoke the whole spectrum of feelings in the reader.
Krisha is a gorgeous young woman who isn’t just a filler. She is smart, ambitious, and driven. More importantly, she doesn’t rely on her family wealth and connections to help her in her career. She wants to chart a path for herself on her own accord. As a character, she will inspire many.
Prabhudas is a mystical man who meets Parth and Krisha at a crucial point in their life. He is wise and kind, patient, and enigmatic. He remains a mystery right till the very end.
The story relates to many
On one hand, Parth’s story echoes the pain of millions of young individuals who are scared to find and follow their hearts and do what they want to. On the other hand, it illustrates the joys and successes of those who have managed to find their true calling and have started working on that path.
What I didn’t like?
There are many editing mistakes in the book which bring down the overall experience of reading and learning.
What could have been better?
There are certain things, particularly some traits and actions of characters that leave the reader in you bewildered. For example, Parth’s mother has a habit of sneaking into his room every night and spying on his phone. It’s too unbelievable to be true, and must I say, a tad scary too?
The conversations between Parth and Krisha are also quite unrealistic. They are either too cheesy or too mechanical. The terms of endearment that they use for each other also sound unrealistic – “Fresh kid”, “beauty goddess, and dashing career woman” are to name a few.
Another of my qualm with the book is that it starts on a dull note. There is a visible lack of a hook at the beginning which makes the reader skeptical. Fortunately, the book picks up in pace soon after.
What did I like? – The many takeaways
The concept of true love is explained well in Me Ki Gai. We are raised in a time and society when boys are never taught the concept of accepting rejection (in love) and moving on. It came as a pleasant surprise when the book dealt with this delicate issue with gentleness and precision. If the lady doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, stand down and move on – the message is simple but the explanation is deep and detailed. Well done!
What did I like? – The definition of success
I also love how the book differentiates between success and signs of success. The conversation between Prabhudas and Parth makes for an acute understanding of the concept of success. They discuss how many famous personalities like Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar are not successful because they own big cars and palatial houses. Instead, they are successful because they are very good at what they do. They possess all the important prerequisites to success – they love what they do, they are passionate about it, and they work hard to hone their skills.
What did I like? – not preachy but insightful
The book manages to teach a thing or two to the reader but at the same time, it isn’t preachy. It manages to teach by example, and that to me is a great way of learning.
Let’s talk about the climax
The climax though predictable and lacking thrill gives a decent conclusion to the story.
Is the book entertaining?
The book is not entertaining in the traditional sense, but the simple language, social messages, worldly wisdom, and easy-breezy manner of narration makes it a comfortable read – one that can be easily done in a sitting or two.
In the end
Like I said earlier, Me Ki Gai is much more than a ‘beginner-friendly’ contemporary fiction. It is a story that carries meaning and purpose and will come as a boon to many young readers including college students, and teenagers who want to seek meaning, purpose, and success in their professional work. It will be like a beacon of light for those without direction. I wish I had read something like this in my college days.
The final verdict
Can be read.
Pick the book if
- You are a beginner level reader.
- You want to understand the meaning of Ikigai using a simple story.
- You want to explore works by debut Indian authors.
- You are looking for a simple read that will help you achieve success in life.
Skip the book if
- You do not like amateurish writing.
- You are looking for a five-star read.
- You cannot stand editing mistakes.
- You are looking for a detailed read on the subject.
You are a voracious reader. Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Me Ki Gai using the link below