A soul-stirring first novel…could well be the first
of its kind in India written in English …
It is a novel difficult to put down.
What can I say? Take a bow Hari.
1. Book Reviews for the Book of "The Men Within a Cricketing Tale"
2. Book Reviews for the Book of "If You Love Some One...."
Events for the Book of "If You Love Some One..."
Dr. Ranjani, Read
As the name suggests, the book is a romance novel but as I read eagerly through the pages, I realized that is was not a romantic novel in the traditional sense. Yes, there is girl (Meghna) meets boy (Aditya) and marries boy (Pankaj) and although that reads like a love triangle, it is not a story of two guys vying for the attention of the central girl character. In fact it is difficult to label the book into a standard slot. The book tells the story of Meghna, an exuberant, extrovert college girl in Bombay. She is confident, articulate and intelligent, and very real, bringing to mind someone we may all have known in our own youth. She knows her worth and has plans for her life that are not necessarily endorsed by her doting parents. A chance encounter with Aditya, a young rebel with socialistic leanings at an inter-college debate where they publicly spar on the topic of capitalism vs communism marks a turning point in her life. This is followed by three enchanting days in his company at Goa, an experience which marks her for the rest of her life.
Meghna then goes on to have a life that seems perfect and complete in every way - a rich husband, two lovely kids, supportive in-laws, a reliable group of friends and work that makes her happy. But the emptiness that she sees in herself, the growing discontent with the status quo, no matter how comfortable it appears on the outside is what she battles with. And then comes a point three decades after that fateful meeting in Goa, when she has a chance to keep her promise to meet Aditya in Goa. The book takes a look at what happens to established marital relationships which continue solely based on assumptions about the spouse and how even the most congenial relationships falter when the past appears unexpectedly.
The book is an easy read and moves quickly though the lives of the Meghna and her family. There are some lovely, poetic descriptions of Goa and profound passages of the discussions between Meghna and Aditya. But in the second half there are places where the author hits the right notes as to how women get labeled – when a friend remarks that only one of their group of four has not “settled down” meaning married with children. At that time, Meghna, who is already blessed with two kids, thinks to herself that she is also “not settled” – her private opinion of herself, so much in contrast with the prevailing public sentiment. Much later, Meghna muses about how many women seem relieved when their husbands die or they get divorced – a thought that is not voiced out aloud by women, although pondered upon quite often. My favorite paragraph is the one where Meghna wonders how Aditya might have changed in the intervening years –“Like things lose their magic when you grow up, old schools that appear small and cramped, old homes that appear ugly and unkempt, old loves that appear ordinary, old people who have no smiles left.”
The character of Aditya is enigmatic even as the details that appear to explain his unconventional behavior are revealed. But his name is not just a metaphor for the rising sun who brings warmth and laughter into Meghna’s life but also is a symbol of what we all need for inspiration to break from the self-imposed barriers of our life. We can reinvent ourselves through a mere memory of a time gone by, a simple word of encouragement, a personal talent that brings joy, a seed of something that is already and always within us, as long as we are willing to experience it.“If you love someone…” tells you that simply, and compellingly.
Anuradha Marwah, Read
Everybody loves a good love story – and activists, feminists, professors of English are no exception to the rule. I think I would do grave injustice to the novel ‘if you…’ if I try and introduce it from a theoretical perspective. This is a book addressed to the reader and not to the specialist. So, it is as a reader I speak. Besides, a speaker who approaches her subject from the podium as a specialist is deadly boring anyway!
If you love someone is anything but boring – it is a great read. The story flows serenely through 236 pages bringing to life the 1970s in Mumbai and Goa, moving on to Atlanta, and back to Mumbai and Goa via a detour in Kerala. I use the word flow because the sea/ water is more than mere locale in the novel as is the sun – Aditya. The way Harimohan Paruvu describes it landscape is always symbolic suggesting the immensity and mystery of the cosmos and the relative insignificance of human desires, intellections and intentions. The prevailing tone of the novel is, I think, caught wonderfully in the striking cover picture.
For me the triumph in the novel is the characterization of Meghna - beautiful, intelligent, complex, extremely attractive, yet, instantly recognizable central character. Harimohan makes the reader fall a little in love with Meghna. She is an unusually bright student who matures into a formidable business-executive and entrepreneur - competent and ambitious - yet, so human. He places her in a time period that was restrictive for women in India but a woman like Meghna is impatient and dismissive of restrictions yet compassionate and loving to those who try and bind her down - parents or husband; children or in-laws. That at a point in her life, laughter should desert her, is grievous and unfair. The reader might ask herself: Why did it happen to Meghna? Were her choices wrong? Could she have lived her life differently? The answer might be yes for some; no, for others, but Harimohan has been able to take us through the process of Meghna's decision-making sensitively and non-judgementally. So, once Meghna decides to love and laugh again - we are completely in sync with her, anxious that nothing should come in her way.
A question I always ask vis a vis a book I read - especially when it is a man writing about a woman is - is it empowering? Very significantly for me, Meghna is not a fantasy woman, even though she is stunning enough to turn heads at fifty. Harimohan has portrayed a real woman with concerns I recognise and sympathise with and in a prose that is never lugubrious, always lively and witty. As an instance, I will read out a paragraph that especially made me chuckle because of the images it evokes. This is Meghna getting ready to go to Atlanta family and friends pitch in to prepare her for the momentous event: (p108-109)
This is of course pre-liberalization India. A lot has changed. A trip to the U.S., for instance, is no longer such a voyage into the unknown. But I'm sure a lot of us recognize ourselves in the doting mother, the opinionated and advice-giving friends. Many of us would appreciate the innovative idea of using a rope to prevent branded air baggage from bursting or would be in sympathy with the compulsive urge to do everything cheaply - at minimal cost to ourselves, at least!
Of such intimate, heart-warming, and eternally familiar tropes is Harimohan's novel 'If you love someone' made!
Anuradha Marwah, Introducing the book at the World Book Fair, February 4, 2010
Events for the Book of "The Men Within a Cricketing Tale"
Rathindernath, MBA 2nd year, University of Hyderabad Read
The book was given to me as an assignment and I have to provide the book review on it.
Frankly saying I don't do a task wholeheartedly if it is in compulsion. The book was with me for about six weeks and I did not read even a single page.
When I was asked to give a review by next week, I felt a need of urgency and thought of reading it. Then too I started reading the book when only two days were left. I started the book at 3: 30 pm and the book was so interesting combined with simplicity, filled with human spirit and optimism that I completed the book by 11:30 pm even though the book was of 266 pages.
It is truly said that the book is a soul stirring and the author knows about the human nature.
The book is about a coach Sampath who helps the students to realize their dream, to dream big as much as what they can achieve and the plan and ways by which one can achieve it.
It's about boys maturing themselves into men mentally.
The thing which I liked about the book is that here not only students learn from their coach the coach himself learns from them which says that one can learn from anyone and there should not be shame and ego in learning.
The book taught me many lessons in life and entrepreneurship that will be helpful throughout my life.
The things what the book taught me to be a better individual and the measures which I will take in my entrepreneurial activity are:
- Become a dreamer provided that they are the goals which are to be chased. Fill dreams with action and with detailed planning for each action and acted upon in time to take shape.
- To have a perseverance attitude
- Do the task if I feel it is right even if the whole world is against you.
- Inculcate an intelligent non aggressiveness. Be like water aware of its strength, bend we possess the greater force and can erode a rock.
- Hard work
- It taught me that results don't come without hard work and there is no shortcut in life.
- Do each task as if it is the matter of survival and death.
- Yes Factor. Do the task which makes me uncomfortable again and again until I know it's right
- Give my 100 % and I will be a winner
- How to be a winner
- Believe in myself. Losing is the worst thing that can happen; think about the best thing that can happen.
- Always be optimist and think like a winner.
- Give my 100 % and I will be a winner.
- Make a blueprint of my success and follow that to win
- Fight to win.
- Never give in, stand up and fight. Don't show anyone/opponent that I am scared, face them and they will evade.
- Focus on what I am doing now rather than thinking about finishing.
- Learn to prioritise
- Wait for the right time and take calculated risk.
- Use my strengths to the best of my capabilities.
- Focus on my strength not weakness provided basics must be in place. Strength will take care of my weakness and if I concentrate on weakness I will lose my strength and not overcome the weakness provided that I stay within my limitations.
- It taught me about teamwork
- Team interest is paramount not the team members.
- Trust your team members.
- Remove the members who don't fit in for the job.
The book has really made me a new individual and I know that if the follow this I will surely succeed in every aspect of life. Every character in this novel will teach a new approach to life. There were many aspects which I knew but this book has made me clearer about those aspects.
I have to just prescribe, grab your copy and become an improvised individual.
R SUSHIL KUMAR, MBA 2nd year, University of Hyderabad Read
The Men Within
One would wonder when they start reading the book that it is just about cricket but then as we move on, it gets much bigger than that. It is about life. What one experiences in life! What one can learn from other's lives! One might have read about dreams and goals in many books but in this case the author takes a different approach "CRICKET", which is religion in India and the most understood language than any other to send his message through.
The author has only one simple message-"How to achieve what you want the most-your dreams?" and has been successful at doing so with the help of cricket and in such a way which appeals to even those who do not like cricket. Dreams, Goals, Relaxation, Comfort, Eating an elephant one bite at a time (One step at a time), Focus, Planning, Honour, Valour, Solution- this is what the book is all about.
Could anyone have thought of relating maths, chemistry, grounds job, driving, and business to cricket? And the same to management? This is what the author does in a simple and soul-stirring manner. This is about 14 young school boys think tank-Gautam, funny-Kartik, solid-Shameem, tough-Vikas, handsome-Siddhanth, disciplined-Rajinder, intelligent-Ashish, trier-Varun, brave-Michael, cultured-Nissar, entertaining-Ramesh, energetic-Noel, dependable-Sanjay and task master-Kaleem who turn into men, their inspiring coach Sampath who gives them a dream, makes them own it, achieve what was unthinkable and create history, and the inspirational characters like Vishwanath Sharma-the principal, Mr.Pathak-the maths teacher, Mr.Ansari-the history teacher, Ms.Aruna-the chemistry teacher, Anil Agarwal-a business man, Jani Miya-the groundsman, Yadagiri-the bus driver, Dayanand-the barber that revolve around them.
The author has dealt in detail each and every aspect of a moment and a character minutely leaving no place for boredom for a reader. The author has rightly expressed his view that there is always something to learn from each and every human being. This is done in the way he deals with the characters like that of a barber. Even the language that the characters use to interact does have the true Hyderabadi touch. It remembers me of my school days "Baap" and "Rey".
Being an Entrepreneurship student and as a future Entrepreneur, I was able to do a lot of introspection about myself. The way of planning (in detail), how to make your employees own up the job, 100% responsibility of whatever I do, positive lookout towards life, respecting your subordinates for what they are, building up and concentrating on your strengths and most importantly that If I want to fulfil one goal of mine, I don't have to compromise on the other.
This book is applicable to any strata of life and for any age from 6 years to 60 years and beyond of course.
I would like to thank the author for writing such a wonderful book.
This is a must read for all those who know to read.
Paruvu's story has a wide-eyed simplicity that could
be uplifting in these trying times.
Sunday Hindustan Times, New
Delhi, April 1, 2007 Read
Sunday Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 1, 2007
Now that the real thing has become slightly
less interesting for us desis, it makes perfect
sense to dip into a novel centred around the
sporting activity of cricket. Harimohan Paruvu's
The Men Within (Indialog, Rs.225) may not
be the Indian answer to Mike Marquee's Slow
Turn (the story of an ageing English cricketer
on tour in India who gets involved with an
umpire's death and local politics) but it
still cooks up a nice wicket. Situated in
the more 'Just William' environs of public
school than in the fug of dressing rooms of
the national team, Paruvu's story has a wide-eyed
simplicity that could be uplifting in these
"Practice sessions were going smoothly.
Everybody was more relaxed now and enjoying
themselves. The batting and bowling graphs
improved and restored their confidence. In
a few days the practice matches would start.
There was a sense of purpose to the entire
effort now." Yes, this is fiction.
A soul-stirring first novel... could well be the first
of its kind in India written in English... he knows
his cricket, human nature and he can write.
Bala, The Asian Age, April
18, 2007 Read
The Asian Age, April
Struggling coach and cricket intrigue
If you are a lad from Hyderabad and played
your cricket under the inspirational influence
of M.L. Jaisimha - a true cricket playing
romantic in the 50s and 60s-a lot is bound
to rub of on you. Jaisimha was a raconteur
and not a writer. He was obsessed with all
matters cricket and maybe if he had any regret
it would have been that neither one of his
two gifted sons played for the country.
The author, who represented the Hyderabad
in the Ranji Trophy, has come up with a soul
stirring first novel and one cannot remember
there being too many on this game that has
otherwise provided such wonderful serious
literature. It could well be the first of
its kind in India written in English. Basically,
it is difficult to identify the game with
fiction because there is so much theory and
science that the artistic and, for that matter,
the human sides to the game are not given
also about frailties and extreme emotions
like love, hatred and loyalty. If a great
cricketer is the subject of a novel, there
would be facets to his character that he would
not like to be made public.
Coaching a school tea that has a tradition
of success- which was broken by something
scandalous which had to be hushed up-cannot
be the easiest task in the world. The coach
is a former student of the school who achieved
both fame and notoriety. Given a chance to
redeem himself in the form of this coaching
assignment the mission being to win the championship
after nearly two decades - the coach has to
first believe in himself that he can achieve
it. It is a struggle to get his priorities
right and then get the players to think like
him. All types of parents form various communities
figure in this tale and make for a most interesting
insight into their psychology. But the enthusiasm
of the team and the close bonds that have
been forged get the parents involved to show
that no educational institution can become
outstanding without their involvement.
It is an hour before the final that the man
who hates the coach tries to reveal the latter's
dark secret so that his players are demoralized.
Even though under severe emotional pressure
the coach provides the necessary inspiration
and motivation to his boys. There is a slightly
melodramatic end with the team winning because
of a one handed strike for six by an injured
player. Even Colin Cowdrey, the great England
batsman, could at best only defend with one
hand. One is allowed t get carried away occasionally.
Jaisimha would have been proud of this work
and this is why his wife Junie launched it.
One wishes Harimohan the imagination and inspiration
to write another novel. The good thing about
him is he knows his cricket, human nature
and he can write.
Paruvu combines lessons on how to sharpen one's cricketing
skills with personal management techniques... written
in a succinct style.
Calcutta, Friday, 20 April 2007
Calcutta, Friday, 20
The men within: A cricketing tale (IndiaLog,
Rs 225) by Harimohan Paruvu combines lessons
on how to sharpen one's cricketing skills
with personal management techniques. It is
fairly evident that Paruvu - an engineer-cum-investment
banker-cum-cricketer - is a man of many parts.
The novel, written in a succinct style, attempts
to capture the finer nuances of the game,
along with everything else that is integral
to it - the passion, drama and the glorious
uncertainties that can never be ignored. In
the end, Paruvu does not fail to remind the
reader that cricket, or any other sport for
that matter, is ultimately played "not
only with hands and feet but also with the
mind and heart".
An interesting tale that captures the thrill and uncertainty
of a game dominating the Indian conscience. Just grab
a copy to find out the climax.
Bhardwaj, Cricket Today, June
Rohit Bhardwaj, Cricket
first shot-the boardroom of Golconda Public School,
where a heated debate on ways of reviving the school's
dying status among its fellow rivals is on. While
the Chairman wants the school to utilize its green
grounds in building a coaching center and a college,
Vishwanath Sharma its newly appointed principal
wants the grounds and sports facilities to be renovated.
And the debate ends with an open challenge between
the chairman and the principal that if the principal
helps increase the school's dwindling admissions
and its exam results his proposals will be implemented
or he would have to bear with the plans of the chairman
an a possible ouster from his position. The author
plots an interesting tale that captures the thrill
and uncertainty of a game dominating Indian conscience
to drive home the point that studies don't create
a good individual; sports and recreation are require
to help in the holistic growth of one's personality.
Just grab a copy to find out the climax.
The Men Within - A cricketing tale
which is based on a school cricket team, can be applicable
to the Indian team which has seen ups and downs in
the international arena. Racy and gives an insight
into how one is shaped into a successful sportsperson.
A must-read for any aspiring cricketer.
The Indian Express
17, 2007 Read
The Indian Express
June 17, 2007
The Men Within - A Cricketing Tale, which
is based on a school cricket team, can be
applicable to the Indian team which has seen
ups and downs in the international arena.
Written by former Hyderabad Ranji medium-pacer
Harimohan Paruvu, this work of fiction, which
focuses on team spirit, is a must-read for
any aspiring cricketer.
A cricketer himself who has played with late
ML Jaisimha, the author tries to present the
game in a skillful manner. It is racy and
gives an insight into how one is shaped into
a successful sportsperson. It is useful for
the present-day cricketer. Cricket is not
all about the bat and the ball. It is a game
involving emotions, planning, hard work and
discipline. Every cricketer dreams of achieving
something big and the book shows a coach,
discarded by the same school, making a comeback
managerial skills. Taking the help of all
the team members, the supporting staff and
the principal who brought him back to save
the school's honour, the coach is triumphant
in the end. As former Test left-arm spinner
SL Venkatapathy Raju says, "It's a cricket
story written in a simple style, which touches
the heart and is a must-read for all young
An intriguing novel.
The Man's World, July
17, 2007 Read
The Man's World
July 17, 2007
Its rather strange that the country's favourite
game has never inspired a readable novel. That void
has now been filled to an extent with former Ranji
Trophy player Harimohan Paruvu's first novel The
Men Within - A Cricketing Tale. Its an intriguing
novel which has all the masala of a school cricket
match and the childlike innocence that young cricketers
exude plus a mini-conspiracy and some intense battles
for pride thrown in for good measure. In terms of
writing skills, its nothing special, though the
simple narrative style makes for easy reading.
The central character in the story is Sampath, a
former captain of the Golconda Public School, who
led his team to their first final defeat in over
a decade. Now 20 years later, the new principal
of the school, Vishwanath Sharma (who was the cricket
coach the year the school lost the famous final),
wants the school to regain its cricketing glory.
And who does he want as a coach? The proud and reclusive
Sampath who has never played cricket since that
forgettable day and who is now going though a difficult
phase, both on the personal and professional fronts.
Golconda, which hasn't won a single match in ten
years, has to win big because there's the possibility
that another miserable year would mean the loss
of the school's cricket ground to an unscrupulous
bunch, which includes a promoter, a politician and
an ambitious fellow teacher. Against all odds, Sampath
manages to rustle up a team of 14 willing players
and put them through a rigorous training session
- one which makes the boys rebel. Will Sampath be
able to lead the team to a memorable victory and
save the school ground?
A total surprise. 'The Men Within' is definitely worth
a read- not just for cricketers, but for anyone who
loves a good guts-and-glory story that leaves you on
a high. Honestly speaking, this novel should have a
good lifetime so that it inspires many more readers
in realizing that the HERO is within them.
'The Men Within - A Cricketing Tale' by Harimohan
Paruvu comes as a total surprise - the first
ever cricket-based Indian English novel coming
from the Cricket Crazy Nation of India. The
272-page book comes out as a winner and so
does the author, Harimohan Paruvu, a former
first class cricketer. As some one who has
been closely following, writing and commentating
about the game, I have been totally impressed
by the way Harimohan has convincingly depicted
the game and how it is played by his young
This novel is about a school called 'Golconda
Public School' (GPS); and its Cricket Team,
a bunch of zeroes transforming themselves
into heroes to bring back the glorious past
of their illustrious school. The author goes
on to write about how these characters go
on about their job, it is about their ride
and it is about the day-to-day
that they face along their path. So essentially,
the story becomes a realistic one that anyone
can relate to their personal lives at some
point of time.
At the start, Harimohan brings out a scenario
which shows growing disinterest in the sport
among the Board Members that run the school
and at the same time, there are a few villains
emerging out whose motive is to convert the
dusty school grounds into money-fetching coaching
centres purely for academics. There is a good
old man though and that is the Principal who
is keen to bring back the trophies back to
the School, something that has eluded them
for several years despite having a glorious
history of being the Champs for 15 years on
the trot! The task is a tough one for the
Princi as the Cricket Team, if there was any
surviving, had hit rock bottom, from being
an Australian kind of Champion Team to a Zimbabwean
The Man for the Mission for Vishwanath Sharma,
the Princi, is one Sampath, a man spending
most of his time in bars after getting fed
up with life. The story revolves around Sampath,
from changing himself as a drunkard with a
bad reputation to being a meaningful person
getting his boys to rally around him to work
towards a DREAM that of winning the Championship.
Sampath doesn't have a magic potion, he is
more of the Naseeruddin Shah of the movie
'Iqbal' rather than the Naseeruddin Shah of
another movie called 'Chamatkar'. Sampath
first finds a lot of resistance from the young
boys with half of them feeling they are superstars
and half of them not believing in their cricketing
talent. They find fault with whatever their
Coach does but eventually, the man wins the
hearts of his folks. Once they believe in
the 'processes of their Coach', there is no
looking back at all!
There are 14 players that make the Golconda
Cricket Squad and each one is different from
the other, each one has his problems and each
one has his strength or weakness which was
well-scripted by the author. Bringing out
the best out of these young kiddos is the
challenge that Sampath takes up and as he
goes along, finds lot of help right from an
old watchman to a top business magnate. It
is not just about playing cricket day-in and
day-out - there are lot of factors involved
for making a champion outfit and Harimohan,
the author, brings out all those, wasting
no character. Each of the numerous characters
has a role in the success of GPS, even if
it is that of the Bus Driver! No stone is
There is a pessimistic and greedy man called
'Madhu', the Math teacher always looking to
disrupt the morale of the cricket team which
adds up the spice to the novel. Harimohan
interestingly brings out a love angle as well
which adds up some funny moments. He has a
character that resembles Nandita Das in the
movie 'Rockford'. There is lot of reality
in the way Harimohan talks about the infatuation
young boys have over girls, women, the time
they spend on watching movies and of course
FTV!! Where Harimohan was best was when the
matches get kicking, there is lot of excitement,
and at the same time anxiety filled in to
have the readers at the edge of their seat.
All in all, 'The Men Within' is definitely
worth a read- not just for cricketers, but
for anyone who loves a good guts-and-glory
story that leaves you on a high. I hope there
are more Coaches like Sampath in real life,
the ones who involve their heart and souls
in their jobs and not the ones who come, give
a net session and push off without a purpose.
For without a proper Coach, there wouldn't
have been a Sachin Tendulkar, a Shane Warne
or for that matter any successful cricketer!
Honestly speaking, this novel should have
a good lifetime so that it inspires many more
readers in realizing that the HERO is within
them. To Harimohan, is there a sequel coming
to this or perhaps a TV serial based on this?
The book has a very easy flow with
goal setting and means and ways of achieving the same
explained in a very scientific way using engineering
, management and cricketing skills. A must read for
all Coaches irrespective of the game they preach.
For all students who want to know the real man within
them and to every one who enjoy fiction and at the
same time want their grey cells tickled.
Purushottaman Vijay Kumar, www.hyderabadi.in, July 10th 2007
Purushottaman Vijay Kumar,
July 10th 2007
Fiction and that too on Cricket which is a religion
in India. It takes a lot of courage and conviction
to push through such a subject.
Set in a backdrop of his own imaginative school
and school cricket team the author has dwelled into
his past what Cricket has taught him and cricket
as a way of life taught people.
The author has very subtly throughout the book with
cricket as the theme and school kids as the characters
tried to bring out a fact that if ordinary people
put their heart into achieving a goal can do so
with self belief, single-minded dedication and hardwork.
Through the kids the author wants the readers to
realize the potential in each individual and to
find out the real man within us.
The book has a very easy flow with goal setting
and means and ways of achieving the same explained
in a very scientific way using engineering , management
and cricketing skills.
A must read for all Coaches irrespective of the
game they preach. For all students who want to know
the real man within them and to every one who enjoy
fiction and at the same time want their grey cells
"...something Greg Chappell could have learnt from. This
novel is a simple joyride that most readers can relate
to, especially those who at one point in their lives
spent all their energies in playing a simple game.
Nihal Koshie, DNA, Mumbai,
October 7, 2007 Read More
Nihal Koshie, DNA
Mumbai, October 7, 2007
Hari Paruvu's The Men Within is an unusual
foray into the cricket-fiction genre.
Paruvu played in the Ranji Trophy-winning
Hyderabad cricket team. It's understandable
that his description of Ghanapur has echoes
of Hyderabad in it and the portrayal of Golconda
Public School could well fit the prestigious
Hyderabad Public School.
These likenesses only add to the charm of
the story, told from the heart by a cricket
lover. But this is not a tale confined to
runs, wickets, sixes and fours alone.
Rather, it focuses on how discipline, learning
to be part of a team, being aware of weaknesses
but focussing on strengths, and enjoying the
task at hand and wanting to win but not at
all costs - all taken together help build
|Sampath, the protagonist, is going
through a divorce settlement and sinking into
alcoholism. He is also an alumnus of the Golconda
Vishwanath Sharma is an old teacher and the
new principal of the school whose glorious cricketing
heritage has been ground to dust over the years.
A section of the Board of Trustees wants to
convert the large area of real estate that formed
the school's cricket ground into a coaching
centre and a college.
Sharma buys time and turns to his old student,
Sampath, the then captain who conceded the Inter-School
Trophy to end the school's 14-year run at the
The school had never reached the final since
then and Vishwanath was taking a big gamble
by giving Sampath a lifeline he is initially
reluctant to grab.
But once Sampath makes up his mind he goes about
making changes that not only help mould the
cricketing careers of a bunch of also-rans but
also inject a sense of purpose in their lives.
How the low-profile coach finds redemption through
his pupils' performances is a touching tale.
How he initially manages to win over the boys
in spite of remaining a tough task-master is
something Greg Chappell could have learnt from.
This novel is a simple joyride that most readers
can relate to, especially those who at one point
in their lives spent all their energies in playing
a simple game.
First Prize Winning Review, The Book Review Competition,
TCS, Mumbai, Library Week 2007.
Nair, Banking Consultant, Read
Shobhana Nair, Banking Consultant
Dreams by themselves are empty. You have to fill them
with action for them to take shape. Believe. Believe
in yourselves. A team of disciplined amateurs can
beat an undisciplined bunch of talented players any
day. The key to success is to relax. The key to relaxation
is breathing…. One would wonder are these expressions
from a management book, a cricketing book or a theological
book!!! This is from the soul stirring book-'The Men
Within' written by Harimohan Paruvu. The country where
cricket is a religion, this book comes as first of
its kind-A cricketing fiction with a difference.
The story is based on the innocence of school time
cricket and the fun and enthusiasm associated with
the sport. It is about a school which has not won
the championship for around twenty years and the new
principal wants to revive the cricketing team and
chooses his ex-student and one time best cricketer
to coach the team. It is interesting to read the thought
that goes behind selecting the team, the captain,
assessing the strengths and weakness of the team.
The main task of the coach is to make the team believe
that 'They Can Win!' It is a situation which we all
come across-despite being well equipped to face any
situation, at the right moment we lose our resolve.
It is similar to the 'Arjuna disease' as described
in Bhagwad Gita, where we need a Krishna, a coach
or a mentor to throw light on our strengths and enlighten
us and direct us to dream, believe, back it up with
planning, schedules and conviction.
The author has been a Ranji player, an Engineer &
a MBA-Investment Banker and he has very effectively
used cricket as the backdrop to bring about the management
techniques of winning. The author has brilliantly
brought out that cricket or for that matter any other
game of life is played not only with hands and legs
but also with mind. The part where the coach takes
the team to a classroom and makes them dream their
biggest dream in life makes the reader realize that
dreams have got no limitations. The first step begins
with dreaming - It is fascinating how the children
come out with innocent dreams of being a bird, house,
ship. Then they put down a dream for the team- the
dream gets bigger and bigger and reaches a stage where
they articulate 'Winning the Championship!' From here,
the action begins. The coach takes the help of the
school contractor, the math teacher, the dramatics
lessons and many so called insignificant people who
contribute in the way that the children comprehend.
The school contractor explains how they fix a time
frame and then plan backwards in detail. "Any
project can become very expensive if we don't get
the planning right. We all begin with raw material.
Deep down everyone wants to excel." The math
teacher teaches the children to be 100% people, telling
them-"Even if you get 99% right it is not a circle
anymore." Life is the best teacher and we learn
from every person who we come across and the author
has very subtly brought this out when the school driver
talks about responsibility that he carries while driving,
similarly the team has the responsibility of the school
while performing. The old grounds man teaches how
when you are comfortable you give your best. They
pick up cue from the drama classes and do a role building
with expectations of scores and wickets from each
team member, which is like setting individual targets
to achieve the team goal. The book reiterates that
'The indication of excellence is when the small things
are done well'.
The story is interestingly woven around each character,
their backgrounds which we all can relate to. We all
have a little bit of the daring-Michael, the responsible-Gautam,
crazy-Kartik, brave-Siddhanth, hardworker-Varun and
the energetic-Noel. The author talks about the heady
smell of new books on school reopening, the school
time infatuation, fight amongst the boys, the secret
dreams of the children, the desire to live up to parents
expectations, how lessons learnt on playground can
help excel not only in studies but also in life. The
drama created at the end, during the final matches
keeps you on the edge of your seat.
It is a book, one can just not put down with so much
of action, fun and valuable take backs. It leaves
the reader more inspired, motivated and charged up.
I would recommend it as a must read for all age groups,
all sections of people, cricket lovers, aspiring cricketers
and most of all for managers and executives. The resonating
phrase-'Slow down but don't stop! That's the one moment
that makes you champions' truly gets you bouncing