Title: The Tree with a Thousand Apples
Author: Sanchit Gupta
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Genre: Literature, Fiction
Page Count: 284
Published: November, 2016
Inspired by true events, this riveting narrative traces the lives of Safeena Malik, Deewan Bhat and Bilal Ahanagar, three childhood friends who grow up in an atmosphere of peace and amity in Srinagar, Kashmir, until the night of 20 January 1990 changes it all.
While Deewan is forced to flee from his home, Safeena’s mother becomes ‘collateral damage’ and Bilal has to embrace a wretched life of poverty and fear. The place they called paradise becomes a battleground and their friendship struggles when fate forces them to choose sides against their will.
Twenty years later destiny brings them to a crossroads again, when they no longer know what is right and what is wrong. While both compassion and injustice have the power to transform lives, will the three friends now choose to become sinful criminals or pacifist saints?The Tree with a Thousand Apples is a universal story of cultures, belongingness, revenge and atonement. The stylized layered format, fast-paced narration and suspenseful storytelling makes for a powerful, gripping read.
Since Independence, Kashmir has been a sensitive topic in terms of politics. When we hear the word Kashmir, we think of the hills, lakes, valleys and serene landscapes, but along with that we think about the attacks and militants as well.
Few days ago, I read Ayaz Kohli’s Snakes in the Meadows, which was also based on Kashmir and now this book, too.
Sanchit gupta has done a great work in bringing all the issues of Kashmir together. The book is based on a true incident. The story is about 3 friends; Deewan, Bilal and Safeena. All three are very close, and they don’t think or care much about the politics or religions. For them, their friendship is way more important than all those things. The book is their journey of growing up with each other, and how the issues of Kashmir affected their lives. I won’t say much about the plot, as the author has tried to deliver a really deep message with the story and I don’t want to ruin it.
There are few lines at the beginning of the book that I really liked. It says that
“If a criminal was once a saint
And a saint was once a criminal, then who is the criminal and who is the saint?”.
The pace of the book is fast, which keeps the reader hooked. Each and every page of the book is absolutely gripping. It has everything one would ask for, it has friendship, love, revenge and thrill. All the ingredients to make it even more interesting.
The author has done a great job in explaining all the characters and scenes. You won’t get tired of any character of the story. Hats off to his excellent writing.
I would recommend it those who have doubts about the people of Kashmir. And, I wish more such books come in future so that people understand what is really happening there and how it is affecting the lives of common people. And I really wish the things get better in Kashmir, so that it can be called heaven of India again, and not a terrorist’s place.
About the Author:
Born and brought up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Sanchit Gupta began his career as a part-time copywriter with an advertising agency in Mumbai. He went on to co-found his own theatre group, worked as a freelance film screenwriter and as executive producer–fiction for a leading television network. His short stories have been published in several esteemed publications and literary journals and have won acclaim in leading literary festivals and online forums. One of his film scripts (fiction) has been long-listed in a globally reputed screenwriters’ lab. He has worked with All India Radio as a talk show host and regularly features in poetry recitals at Prithvi Café, Mumbai. This is his debut novel.
Apart from being a writer, he is a brand management professional with a wide range of brand building and communication development experience across FMCG, automobile and media industries. His works explore his fascination for global cultures, societal structures, vagaries of the world and the human mind. He welcomes interaction @sanchit421. Find out more about the author and his work at www.sanchitgupta.in .