After reading “Keep off the grass” i must admire Karan bajaj for the kind of writing he has, which is mature logical and dark. yes the author himself says in his interview that movie like old boy (Korean) were his inspirations.
Johnny Gone Down is a complete story of Nikhil from his appointment letter in NASA to being ending up first as a monk, then an accountant to a drug mafia and then a software mogul. The story starts with the graduation day at MIT where Nikhil is with his best bud sameer. Nikhil has just landed up with his dream job at NASA and is expected to join by next month. Suddenly sameer lands up with an idea of leaving to Cambodia for vacation. Everything is well planned except that when the two reach Cambodia they find themselves in the midst of a war. Nikhil in his act of selflessness saves Sam and he in turn stays there only to be caught by the revolutionists and for many a years being in jail he escapes back only to find himself in Thailand and hence becomes a monk even when his heart still wants him to get back to US for his dream job. He continues with monk for full 10 yrs and finally on a trip to Brazil decided to move out and now he finds himself in Brazil being an accountant to a drug mafia. falls in love with a Brazilian actress and gets married. but now again circumstances forces him to flee to US where he becomes a software giant but life comes as a full circle and now he returns back to India to complete the full final journey whose destination is “Death”.
With the above synopsis with very li’l spoilers included, the book continues to move at a pace of its own not forcing its reader to be lost somewhere or feel sleepy. An extraordinary journey with little philosophical touch and a time frame covering more than 25 yrs and 6 countries. this is an extra ordinary journey of a man. While reading the book we can still feel the touch of Bollywood in the narration. of course the book and the plot make up a spicy Bollywood movie. A sense of realism brought in few portions were just remarkable.
But still the character Nikhil tries to arouse curiosity among the readers. he might well be regarded as a superhero but a hero who is about to die in the first chapter of the book, looses his hand in the first 100 pages of the book and a dedicated monk lived up in monastery for 10 long years and still ending up in drug business. How do you rate this hero. may be the one which is not seen much in literature. a very difficult book to lay off, that’s precisely the reason why i finished the book in one go.
A word for the author Karan Bajaj: Take a bow. In line with the current Indian writers i admire him just because of the style of writing covering almost all aspects: philosophy, thriller, darkness. just like his former book the character is confused and almost wants to take up whatever the life is offering him not knowing of the consequences. In recent days never seen a writing so true and dark.
Lessons learnt: Live life king size, live the life as its a canvas and paint it with bright colors, live the life at present and never to think whats gonna happen next. A life which we regard as a perfect could change overnight and yet instead of pressing the panic button we must continue on whatever life offers us and be patient enough to get the correct fruit.
For me to sum up with the book and the character: “A life once lived, but fully lived”
My Rating: 8.5/10 for good writing and a fantastic plot.