Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar (ratheesh) wrote,
Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar
ratheesh

Pacha Manja Chuvappu

I have read almost all of TD Ramakrishnan's novels - Alpha, Francis Ittykkora, Sugandhi Enna Andal Devanayaki and Mama Africa, all of which are very engaging novels telling complex stories set in large canvasses spanning multiple geographies and timelines, and often involving many real historical figures appearing in fictitious premises as characters in the novel.

Pacha Manja Chuvappu, his latest novel, has Indian Railways as main point of focus. Since TD Ramakrishnan himself worked as an officer in the Railways, from the name of the book, I was guessing that this novel may be some sort of a Service Story. Indeed, the book includes around 150 page long portion presented as an extract from the diary of a station master in the Railways, which describes the corruption and lethargy in the system and the professional jealousy, attitudes and criminal mindset of some of the employees. However, the rest of the novel follows a pattern similar to the author's earlier novels, involving mystery and investigation.

The novel starts with narrating the events on the last day in the life of Ramachandran, a station master who was held responsible for a train accident that had happened in 1994, and dismissed from his job after the official investigation. 25 years later, the incident is being re-investigated by a group of people whose lives are in some ways connected with the incident (with a bit too many coincidences to digest, though). The book remains well-written and interesting for most of the part, but I felt that the last 100+ pages were rather routine and mediocre affair with a typical good-versus-evil narrative reminding of masala thriller movies and it appeared like written in a rush.
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