Book: Like it happened yesterday
Author: Ravinder Singh
Reviewed by: Suprakas Lahiri
I just read a book “Like it happened yesterday” by Ravinder Singh. At the very outset in Author’s note Ravinder has stated “I have related this story with all my heart and I hope that in my experiences you will find a bit of yourself on every page”. He further says “my wish for you that you too go back to your childhood and trace your steps to today with me …… I want you to discover your joys, your fears and your tears”. The author is true to his words. He starts from the first day of his school, a reluctant infant stepping on the rat race of life. The hopes and frustrations of his parents as they rise and fall with every step of the child are very painstakingly brought out with a sense of humour with a touch of pathos. His transition from a smaller school to a bigger one is depicted with the wide eyed wonder of small town child. I find the Chapters relating to the biological secrets of birth, otherwise considered to be a taboo for a small child, to know are very hilarious. You cannot control your laughter when Author’s classmate (a girl) informs him that he came from his mother’s stomach. The process preceding the placement in the stomach still remains an unresolved mystery.
Author’s first crush was on a teacher who taught English to the primary sections of a school. Her presence transported him into a world of happiness. Ravinder describes it beautifully in the following words “she looked into my eyes. I felt shy and blushed …. my heart was beating fast enough either to register itself in the Guinness Book or to get admitted in the local hospital”. This fancy crashed with the teacher’s marriage. Author found it difficult to root out from his mind his sorrow.
The intense competition between himself and Author’s classmate 6’1″ Nitin Ramchandani over academic top slots is described with a dose of humour and points at the pitfalls of a relentless rat race. It breeds jealousy and anger even between good friends.
The book by Ravinder Singh is a storehouse of memories which he dishes up for the readers. They have both sugar and salt in them. Can any honest reader deny the longing for skirt wearing girls from the convent schools as classmates in the sanitised atmosphere of a puritan desi school! Or is it forgettable when author finds himself in half-pants while the rest of the class is fully attired not to expose bare legs.
Ravinder’s approach is direct and sympathetic. Language is simple and fluid. One should read the book for pleasure if not for anything else.