Book Review

Book Review: Mango People in Banana Republic by Vishak Shakti


Ravi Bhalerao is a top of the rung business strategy consultant struggling with two disquiets in life – a festering career disillusionment and a festering wound in his posterior. Stung by an unfair performance appraisal, he pulls off an outrageous stunt at his workplace, drops off the urban map and reaches his ancestral land, a village in drought-prone Vidarbha. There he encounters India in its elemental form. Convinced that his destiny is somehow entwined with that of his country, he sets off on a truth-seeking mission. On that mission, he finds love, revolution and most importantly, a redemption for the disquiet in his rear.

Anand is a former physicist on a spiritual quest through esoteric India. He realizes that the path to realization is beset on all sides by gurus, their cults and their boundless quirks. As he hops from one ashram to the other, he grows convinced that liberation does not come with a user manual in a neat little box.

Wrapped in light-hearted, almost tongue-in-cheek prose, Mango People In Banana Republic is a tale of an Indian’s search for personal identity, against the backdrop of a country divided along fault lines of countless social identities. Teeming with a cast of characters and ideas that encapsulate modern India, the tale ascends from the gross to the sublime, much like the Kundalini powers some aspire to acquire. With a steady pace, and gentle mocking humour, this book is an absorbing read and a laugh.


Cover: 4.5/5
Title: 5/5
Blurb: 4/5
Presentation: 4/5
Plot: 4/5

Final Rating: 4/5

When I picked this book, I couldn’t get the context about the book, but as I progressed with the story, I understood what it meant exactly. The cover depicts a Common Man (Mango, which translates to Aam, and in Hindi, Aam means Common) who is blinded by an Product Bar Code, which simply means focusing on the material world, and losing the purpose of our Life.

The Title too seemed very peculiar, but the plot made it clear how common people struggles in today’s world. Banana Republic simply suggests the variety of social people with different personalities, backgrounds, and mindset.

The protagonist of the Story, Ravi was working in an MNC with a very bright future, leaves his job to find the purpose of his life. He visits his Ancestral house, then keeps on wandering here and there, Jungles, Mountains, Metro, and many more places.
The twists and turns in Ravi’s life at some times were funny, at sometimes totally unimaginable.

There is one more important character, Anand, who too leaves his Job with NASA for spiritual journey of life.

The Plot in someway or the other is completely relavant to the context of India. The author Vishak Shakti has done a really good job with the Book, this efforts are reflected with his research of Rural regions of the country.

The Book has all the elements, it has sarcasm, imagination, funny punches, incidents close to reality. Some good vocabulary was used throughout the novel.

The Narration was absolutely perfect, it kept me hooked throughout.
I liked how he has tried to explain many things through his novel, “High Paid Jobs of Youth can’t keep them happy and Satisfied”, “Real situations of the rural regions”, “How politicians does everything out of their malice and agenda”.

All in all it was a good read. It was somewhat a good blend of reality, spirituality and attitude of politicians.

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