Blurb: Architect Jai Dubey trusts in reason - not for him the faith and prayer so firmly ingrained in his fellow countrymen. When fortune deserts Jai and his carefully ordered life spins inexorably out of control, Jai stands on the brink of ruin. Only a delayed monsoon can save Jai’s biggest project from disaster, but there are millions across the land praying for the exact opposite.
Reason seems to have its limits - the weather defies all prediction, let alone control.
Will Jai relinquish the beliefs of a lifetime? Will he reconcile with the awful ambiguity about his past? Will he be able to save his crumbling marriage?
Before I proceed to critique the book, let me provide some context. The day I started reading the book on my smartphone, we were moving from Goregaon to Kandivali. The entire day went buy in getting stuff packed and moved- you can imagine the chaos. And yet in the middle of this chaos, I finished to read the entire book in a day! All 200 pages of it were done by the time I went to sleep. I was helping my mother with the movers, and then reading in breaks. The book was so interesting I couldn't put it down.
This is the story of Jai Dubey and his 'different' ideals- how he has his own construction company, a small entity working for small time businesses and staying afloat. Jai is very particular about sticking to his guns- he won't work for many clients at a time so he can give each project his best instead of taking on numerous projects and doing most half-baked. He knows he could make more money with more clients but quality matters more to him. He loves his wife who has a job of her own, and supports her career. He puts up with his shrill, nasty mother-in-law and brother-in-law Ashok who's a wily politician, jams with his scientist father-in-law and takes care of his employees and friend-cum-business partner. He's an atheist who doesn't fall for the religious mumbo jumbo of his Marathi in-laws.
I found Jai quite relatable because I found a little of myself in him- independent, rational and solid personal principles.
All this falls flat when his mother in law challenges him to build a proper home for her daughter and not make her live in a rented apartment. Jai goes on to make some major choices...unusual ones that cost him a lot- his friend and business partner Ravi, his business, and most of all threatens to tear apart his marriage. At the same time he's dealing with demons from his horrible past, most of which he has blocked out and is trying to recover. Then he makes some really drastic decisions and they change the way he looks at life itself.
The characters are all well fleshed out, but the best is Jai's. His ideals and how they come in conflict with his situation, how he changes his way of thinking overtime, how he fails to make the right choices at the right time...Jai is endearing in his fallibility, his self-doubt, his making poor choices.
There was also a constant thread of suspense in the book, all created by Jai's actions. What will he do next, and where will his choices take the plot?
Sriram writes extremely well- the prose is of high quality and he doesn't let up once in language and grammar. The editing is excellent and his skill as a wordsmith shows in the fact that he has managed to write evocatively without using one big word throughout. That's true craftsmanship. That stuff takes practice- reading a lot, writing a lot and then getting your writing critiqued by neutral parties who will give an unbiased review.
I was a little eager to get through the philosophical parts, and some of Jai's actions are really weird. Enumerating those would mean providing spoilers so I won't talk about them. But needless to say the bumps are few and don't affect on the overall appeal of the story.
Sriram has obviously been through the proper whetting process and come out shining. In a scenario where people who have never picked up a novel in their life before are venturing to write books and become bestselling authors, and where authors deliberately dumb down language, grammar and content to appeal to the mass market, Sriram is a noteworthy exception. In refusing to compromise on quality, he has shown his mettle, his integrity as an author who respects his craft and whose work will endure the ravages of time.
RAIN is a touching story of a man confused in his ideals, fighting his personal demons, and coming out victorious. This book checks all the criteria for quality literature. Go buy your book and encourage authors like Sriram: RAIN