After writing two thrillers, Television journalist Abhisar Sharma released his third novel, A Hundred Lives For You. The book revolves around the life of a young boy who had survived turbulent relationships in the backdrop of the heartless riots of 1984 in the very heart of Delhi to finally achieving peace and getting due justice as a successful journalist.
The book subtly explores a theme already explored by movies like Three Idiots and Take it easy Parents – parents’ overbearing, imposing unrealistic and unsuitable expectations on their children. Each child has his/ her own ambitions or dreams in life. Some are fortunate enough to fulfill their dreams/ ambitions while other are not.
Every child must have the freedom to chose a career of their choice. A parent’s choice might not be the best for their children all the time.
The book describes Abhimanyu’s tumultuous life with his unsupportive father. ‘I wish we had the courage to have a second child’, words of his father that haunted him all the time. A supportive grandfather was a great asset but unfortunately Abhimanyu loses him at an early age, which forms the saddest part of the story. And a mother, who is forever confused whether to agree with her husband or support her only child. Only for avenging his father for all the cruel words he said to him, Abhimanyu decides to pursue his dream of becoming a writer instead of joining the IIT.
Abhimanyu worked with The Times newspaper, which later helped him climb the ladder of success and become a seasoned reporter. A sting operation done by Abhimanyu while working for the newspaper turned out to be the best and the worst part of his life.
The anti-sikh riots of 1984 form a crucial part of the story. A lot happened before and after the riots. A sardarni, whom he loved immensely got married to someone else before the riots. But she soon got murdered, during the riots, along with her husband leaving behind a child she was pregnant with.
Abhimanyu took the responsibility of parenting the new born girl, Simran, who later gave a new meaning to his life. She brought out a lovely side of him that no one else knew. While trying to protect Simran from all kinds of pain, Abhimanyu unknowingly created trouble for her. The victim of his sting operation tries to kidnap and harm Simran. This forms the most thrilling part of the story as Abhimanyu finds himself on the verge of losing his only happiness in life but to his utter amaze she gets saved by a mere stroke of good luck. Abhimanyu’s decision of not disclosing the story of her real parents, turns out to be a bad idea as she comes to know of it from friends and neighbours.
These events started scaring Simran and she is taken to Santpur, the native village of Sharmas, where his grandfather lived and died. This journey to Santpur proves to be a huge healer for Abhimanyu more than Simran, though the rides on the bullock cart, visit to the agricultural fields and unprecedented quietness fascinate Simran and distract her from the tensed city life. Simran discovers the The Girl by the Hut, a story that Abhimanyu wrote in his school days. The story mentioned a young girl Rupali, who loses her parents and in the hope of a better life, finds solace in a stranger. The story of Rupali and the ‘stranger’ posed an uncanny resemblance to the story of Simran and Abhimanyu.
Simran acted more than her age and said the most consoling words to Abhimanyu to rescue him from the burden of scarring her. She rescued him in time just as he rescued her. Overall, the book is a light-hearted read for people who are not game for something overtly emotional or funny. It’s an interesting mix of emotions and ends in a pleasant manner.