Book Review : Resident Dormitus

Title: Resident Dormitus

Author: Vikas Rathi

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Price: Rs 195

A new author, a new book. Unfortunately, this one does not meet my taste in books.

The book opens in the present, with 4 friends blaming each other over another friend’s untimely demise.

The scene then shifts to the past, and is narrated through the eyes of Achet, the protagonist of this story. He keeps speaking in riddles

The story revolves around Achet and his friends – Arjuna, Dev, Alex and Bala. They have all managed to be employed by an MNC and the story keeps shifting between India, Singapore and Malaysia. Achet is an Indian small-towner who has made it big (apparently the first to do so in his family). Arjuna is the son of Sri Lankan immigrants – turned- Australian and keeps jarring out “Hey Mate” in every few sentences. He seems to be the most sensible of the lot. Bala is an Indian, who is considered a slut by almost everyone (including herself), and is trying to climb the corporate ladder to prove her self-worth. Alex, a Greece-born Australian is another character in this unmelodious melody. It dwells on the young professionals who have stepped forth into the corporate jungle and are trying to make it big out there, the various traps (or enticements) each of them fall for. It depicts how easy it is to stray from the trodden path once you get complete financial freedom.

The jokes are off-colour and I felt as though the narrator kept trying to moralise his own and others’ behaviours. The book just bored the hell out of me, and irritated me to a great extent. A book ought to entertain, or atleast be a stimulation to the senses, forcing one to think and imagine. Vikas Rathi’s Resident Dormitus fails in both aspects – the moment you start reading it, you are left trying to find a reason why you should just not burn the book. Maybe that’s coming down a little too heavily, but it was precisely what I felt like doing.

The tale reads like some intellectuals trying to figure out themselves and the world with highfalutin language which is a definite no-no to a reader who reads for leisure. This book gives absolutely no pleasure to the leisure reader.

While reading the book, I felt like I was watching an art movie and trying to make some sense of what the characters were talking about. Most questions are answered with another question, which sends the reader into a deeper muddle trying to figure what they hell they were trying to convey. The narration is abysmal and sends the reader scampering to the far corners of the room just to get away from it.

It was with a great deal of difficulty that I managed to finish this book. And even now, I am not certain what the story is actually about – or why it was even written in the first place.

A book I will never recommend to anyone. As for the author, I would never recommend him now based on this story (if I can even call it that).

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