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शाळा Ever been to school? YES Then this book is definitely going to set your heart racing at points and leave you wanting for You would actually start wishing for the protagonist's love story to meet a successful ending The setup unfolds in a small town with Mukund Joshi as the central characterNot only then you fall in love with the naive imagination of the kid but start remembering your own school daysProbably those who had done their schooling 'Marathi medium' can relate to it MukundAmbabaiSuryaChitrya and Shirodkarthere are enough number of colorful characters in this voyageEvery character shapes up and end up contributing to 'Mukund and Shirodkar' Love story which subtly matches with the central theme of the book 'SHALA' About the AuthorMilind Bokilhas done a great job depicting the 1975 76Mid Emergency era and amalgamating a common man's lifeSo swiftly one feels like going along the flowKudos Mr Bokil Finally I would love to uote Mukund 'Shala sampliyeata rahilay te fakta dahavi navach Bhayan warsha' Awesome book Takes you back to school days Although the end is tragic and a big disappointment –“That day I realised the real fun of school There are classrooms benches students and teachers There are subjects – maths geography and even civics But I am not into any of these I am free – like that white bird sitting gaily on the back of a cow I am sitting in school but I have a separate school of my own That school does not have classrooms walls black boards and teachers; but the lessons it teaches me are really beautiful”Review –Shala is a beautiful novel that took me on a nostalgic journey back to my school days It is about a group of friends and the story spans one year of their life – 9th standard the best year of our school life Set in the 70s during the emergency period in India the story is narrated by the protagonist “Joshi” It is a story of a bunch of friends around 14 years of age just on the threshold of adolescence – a story of their school friends their “bhankas” competitions cricket matches scout camps those “butterflies in stomach” before exams first love and their coming of age Bokil has a lucid style and the book simply casts a spell that takes us straight back to our favourite bench in the classroom from where we can steal a glimpse of our first crush The main story line revolves around Joshi’s first love and his attempts to catch her attention Those were the days when “He talks to girls” was an adjective seeped in either derision or jealousy mostly both So Joshi has to be very discreet in his manoeuvres not even letting his best friends in his secret I know this sounds ridiculous today but this was fairly the state of affairs in most schools even in metro cities till early 90sOn a different level the book talks about love infatuation schooling system discipline those wonderful days when we wanted to be care free as birds but were caged by the system society and their so called ethics and morals It is about despair and loneliness of a young boy in love It is also about inseparable friends who will soon step into a new adult world waiting for them outside and may never see each other again Bokil has captured the urban middle class and its outlook succinctly What makes this book highly enjoyable is that this could well be your own story We all have a “Joshi” hidden in us somewhere and Bokil through his perfect portrayal of the school its atmosphere and different characters I am sure you will identify most of them in your life pokes the calm surface sending ripples that bring back the bitter sweet memories of the good old days once again This heavy dosage of nostalgia by Milind Bokil is set in Sukhdev Namdev Warhadkar Madhyamik Vidyalaya a school in a small town near Mumbai The story of this novel focus on the students of ninth standard who are living the best days of their lives the golden days of school It is told through the perspective of Mukund Joshi who is newly in love with his classmate Shirodkar The way the story is narrated is one of the plus points of the novel the writing style language and setting are true according to the phase the lead characters are going through But the biggest triumph of this book I think is that the author successfully envokes  the feeling of nostalgia of the school days and all the incidences in the novel seem like they are written by the author entering a teenager's psyche these two things are enough to keep the reader glued to the book The characters are completely believable and than that they are relatable We have been or have seen Joshi Surya Chitre or any other character of the book The pace of story was very good especially during the first half of the bookThe time period of the book is the time of emergency ie 1975 and the world of Joshi and his friends is almost like a parallel world where the biggest problems of their lives is getting good marks in examination to cope up with Bendre ma'am's​ peroid and to impress their sweethearts The world of Mukund Joshi and his school seems to be untouched from the dark times the nation is going through But as the novel proceeds the effects of happenings of the outer world become evident on this world The author narrates an emergency which is in our society through ages an emergency which is has been there since time immemorial and may be there for time immemorial an emergency where everyone should act in accordance to the rules and regulations of the emergency an emergency which does not allow anyone​ to express his feelings an emergency which makes you slave of a deteriorating and blind system The most important thing about portraying emergency is that the author has not portrayed this through some big or groundbreaking incedent but he portrays it very subtly through the world he has built around his characters The end was heartbreaking Although being a great read the book has some shortcomings the most important of which I think was editing and repetition of events There were parts especially in the second half which had nothing to add to the story other than delaying and decreasing the impact of the incident and dragging it When it come to describing a particular location the author has nailed at it but that description comes again and again which was not needed at all it was enough to describe that location only once There are events taking place in the school which were repeated way too much Some of the incidents which were few in the first half and a lot in the second would have been edited out to provide better pace to the second half and to make it crispier 4 Stars Just one word Truely Nostalgic This book took me to my school days All mischief feelings amateur crush in school tension of exam books classes Middle class family friendship values teenager things etc etc Must must read for everybody as everyone has gone to school and undoubtedly is missing all the fun we had in school Kudos to the author who through his writing makes the school live in your imagination It keeps you entertained all the time Its enjoyed a lot as it connects to your heart wherein you have so many nostalgic moments you embrace them from time to timeLooking forward to watch national award winning movie based on this bookyes I experience my Shaala again through this reallyits amazing book I really felt like again going back to school and have that life again I wish I could give 'Shala' six stars because this is easily the best novel I will read this year and of that I am bloody certain Where generally books take me 2 3 days to read this one took the better part of a month to enjoy and finish but what a ride it was Joshi Surya Phawdya Chitre and Shirodkar these aren't just names They are heartfelt characters whose memories and antics will be hard to forgetI have never agreed with a blurb Set in the suburbs of Mumbai during the Emergency in 1975 this book is a heartwarming novel about adolescent struggles that are as torturous in real time as they are amusing in retrospect Mukund Joshi is fourteen and newly in love He attends the same private tuitions as his classmate Shirodkar just for a glimpse of her and follows her back home every day Sadly she has not a clue that he is pining away for her because in their society boys and girls don't interact freely much less talk about love When he's not negotiating the tricky alleys of love Mukund sits around the school field or loafs about town with his close friends Surya Chitre and Phawdya railing against the education system and debating ideas such as discipline and Bohemianism Set in a small Maharashtrian town during the Emergency of 1975 Shala is a heart warming nuanced novel about the adolescent struggles that are as tortuous in real time as they are amusing in retrospect I read this book back in my 10th when they were not even remotely near planning a movie about it This book was referred to me by a very precious and interesting friend Nikhil MoholkarThe Book has rightly put emotions of a Boy in Maharashtra's Small townsA delicate love story which goes smooth and steady along the entire bookThe story is from the times of emergency and gives appropriate focus on the situation regarding the emergency as well as has sound touch of typical dialogues and happenings of school lifeIn a nutshellA must Read 1st thing 1st this book reminds me of my school days Being brought up in marathi medium school with same kind of friends and environment brings all memories come alive This book involves a group friends with a macho man an einstein a street smart and mukund who falls in love with his classmate and their love story blossoms for a while But i wish this story had a positive ending Nevertheless a good book to read

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