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Book Review: Once there was me by Bobby Sachdeva

Once there was me

About the Book

Caught in the web of communal violence repeatedly, Bobby Sachdeva stares at his burning house set afire by the bloodthirsty mob of the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. As a fourteen-year-old, his world turns upside down, exactly at the age his father had escaped from Pakistan during the Partition of India. Recovering from the trauma, Bobby re-builds his business and journeys across the US and China, experiencing a life unhindered by religious animosity. Having experienced both sides of religion – of immersion and detachment – he starts questioning the role of religion in our lives. Based on his vision of an emergent India, Bobby finally submits a PIL in the Supreme Court for religious shrines to distribute their excess income for the downtrodden. What happens next as religious hardliners turn against him?

My Take on the Book

Bobby Schdeva's ‘Once there was me’ is about the communal riot of 1984. The book is partially autobiographical narrated from the author’s POV. The narration of the event is clear and vivid, it talks about the author as the protagonist who tried escaping the communal clash. As a fourteen-year-old, his world turns upside down, the exact age his father had escaped from Pakistan during the partition of India.

The author’s family happened to be affected and became the target of the bloodthirsty mob  after the murder of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, where all the Sikhs were attacked brutally. The author narrated the painful memory of his past with detailed narration of his escape with his father. The book is raw and straight from the narrator's experiences. It gave a very vivid picture on the lives of the Sikh people and the torture they went through. The author has boldly stated his experience, taking the reader into the brutal situation that changed the lives of many. Initially, it was hard for me to finish the book as I felt it was disturbing reading through the harsh reality, but as I kept reading further I was hooked till the last page. The book is an emotional yet a very powerful read, you may consider giving this one a read if you are interested in understanding what went through during the communal riot of 1948 through the eyes and the writing of Bobby Schdeva. 

Book Details

Title: Once There Was Me

Author: Bobby Sachdeva

Paperback: 427 pages

Publisher: Pan (30 June 2020)

Price: Rs. 347

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9389109558

ISBN-13: 978-9389109559

My Rating: 4/5


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