Author: Meghnad S.
Publisher: Harper Collins
About the author: Meghnad S.dons several hats. To begin with, he’s a public policy professional who’s spent almost 8 years in and out of the parliament, working with several MPs cutting across party lines. Not just that, he’s an ex-LAMP who’s addicted to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV. The experience he’s gained through all of this reflects in his writings, his tweets and YouTube videos. Parliamental is his debut novel.
About the book: The first thing that struck me and something that will attract anyone is the title. It’s not too unusual, yet it’s catchy so you actually want to pick it up at least to read the blurb. And then, there’s no stopping. You start flipping through the pages, find a quiet corner and simply settle down with the book. This is exactly what happened with me. I was very intrigued by the title and the cover. I knew what to expect and I was not disappointed. Through two main characters and others on the side, the author has given us a picture of how the parliament in India actually functions on a day-to-day basis. Prabhu Srikar, the accidental MP, takes Raghav Marathe, his graduate neighbor to Delhi to assist him with the paperwork and speeches. Through their eyes we witness the drama that unfolds everyday at the parliament– how bills are passed, how laws are enacted, how netas really feel about extremely important bills, how media manipulates news and how netas hire and fire their assistants and in some cases how they themselves land in the line of fire. As Prabhu Srikar and Raghav manoeuvre their way through laws and nepotistic party heads, they come to realize that you need to always choose politics over idealism, simply to remain. A journalist, a lawyer and a YouTube star are thrown in the scene to show how ‘inside news’ gets circulated around to attract people about issues and garner following in social media. Ultimately, everyone is out there to save themselves at every cost and has a mask that is hard to look through.
What I loved about the book: As already mentioned, the title. The book was a breeze; you can read it in one go, if possible. You don’t get lost in political jargon or complex processes. It’s simple, very easy to understand and you don’t digress or lose track anywhere. The climax is quite a surprise, something you would never expect.
Each chapter title has a hashtag and it just shows the author’s obsession with twitosphere. The scenes depicted look very realistic and you can actually feel the drama unfold in front of your eyes and the emotions that the characters go through.
What I didn’t like about the book: Nothing much to say here. As I continued reading the book, I felt it’s too plain and much of it was expected, until I reached the last chapter. But I suppose the author wants to reiterate the fact that the netas we elect and adore function very differently when they are in their ‘own space’.
Overall Review: On a scale of 10, I would rate this book at 7. For a very close, inside story of the working of our parliament, this is a great eye-opener. Grab the book and get ready to loose yourself in the maze that the book opens up for you.