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Amrish Kumar’s Gods of Willow cricket review is a coming of age story in Mumbai Hyderabad

The story draws an arc from Hyderabad to Mumbai, and through the protagonist, we observe India in the 90s and early 2000s.

The story draws an arc from Hyderabad to Mumbai, and through the protagonist, we observe India in the 90s and early 2000s.

Sport like art often becomes a memory-marker. Listen to an old song and it may remind you of a time in college. Watch a YouTube video of Vivian Richards or Serena Williams and you’ll remember where you were when these incredible sportspersons did an amazing feat.

With Indian cricket as the backbone, Amrish Kumar tells a coming-of-age story in his book Gods of the Willow. The story draws an arc from Hyderabad to Mumbai with the protagonist Kabir Menon going through a series of life changes. Through him, we observed India in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The broad gaze reflects on everything, be it politics, cricket, media, communalism and then compares it to personal aspects like adolescence, first love, childhood friendship and even the miserable politics in office The first part deals with Kabir’s college days with its underpinnings of cricket and a tender romance. A batter who wants to play for Hyderabad, he realizes that life is not easy.

A test of choice goes awry and Kumar’s words define Kabir’s agony: “After all these years, it is hard to imagine that the greatest desire of his life can be determined by a passing glance and a few minutes of inside a cricket.” As Kabir grapples with matters of the heart and the treacherous nature of university politics, the author brilliantly carves out this micro-world, both on campus and in the bylanes of Hyderabad.

Gods of the Willow

Amrish Kumar

Roli Books

₹495

Once the setting shifts to Mumbai with shades of corporate boredom and media angst, Kabir’s links to cricket become sporadic. But at all major points in his existence, Kabir’s life reflected events on the field — from Tendulkar’s ‘desert storm knocks’ to the match-fixing crisis. It was only fitting that when his redemption song played, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid were running the Aussies wild at the Eden Gardens. There are life lessons on the way — Kabir’s interaction with his grandfather especially has shades of Mitch Albom’s Tuesday with Morrie.

This is a book that will find resonance with those who wistfully look back on an India of the past where cricket was always a shadow.

vijayakumar.kc@thehindu.co.in

Sovan Maity

Sovan Maity is born and brought up in Kolkata, West Bengal. He is Content Writer in World, Entertainment and Sports. He has experience in digital Platforms from 2+ years. He has obtained the degree of Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University Kolkata . official email :- digitalsovanmaity12@brnews.co.in, Author, Content Moderator and Fact Checker at BrNews. Our enthusiasm for writing never stops.

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