Dada Book Review: Dreams do not catch fire. Places Do!

Dada Book Review: Most writings by engineering graduates become endearing because of their dislike for tough language and keeping things crisp and precise.


On 24 July 2001, something changed in the young adult population of India. A change that a generation of people have treasured ever since. Farhan Akhtar’s iconic “Dil Chahta Hai” was released on that day. Watching that made me yearn for the days in the medical college, those friends, those irresponsible late nights and all that nostalgia. I believe it did the same to many people since and we saw “3 Idiots” and “Kai Po Che” and such movies about friendship, bonding and love.

dada book review-vibhor Tikiya IIM AhemedabadVibhor Tikiya, a second rank holder in Electrical Communication from IISc, Bangalore and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad seems to be struck by the same ailment — the bitter sweet pain called nostalgia. His first non-ngineering publication, Dada: The Journey of A Friend. A Fighter ?. A Believer published by Indra Publishing house is full of bonding, nostalgia, mirth and alcohol. It is a well written and well packaged book spanning 301 pages.

What is it about ?

It is about a guy called Aditya and his friendship with John, a maverick and alcoholic Malayalee genius, Vivek, a lovable geek and a radiating beauty with brains called Divya forged at an Engineer college named Premiere Institute of Technology. I wonder if they liked the acronym, PIT !

Aditya is branded “Dada” or big brother by his contemporaries thanks to his big frame and erratic ways. He is shocked by sudden demise of his father and grows up to be a rebel without a cause, with no aim, dream, goal or ambition of his own. He manipulates in every possible way to end up in engineering college and uses his friends, teachers and even foes to attain his mother’s dream of an engineering degree.

Then he manages much more scheming and ends up as a Professor as dreamt by his late father. All through the scheming and manipulating, he remains noncommittal in life to any cause including love till he meets his match in Priya, whom he used to pass a course during his engineering days. How the reform happens and the hiccups there in … the book packs all this and more, quite well.

What is immensely likable?

It has 33 chapters and short paragraphs making it an easy read. There is alcohol flowing in abundance throughout and a lot of fun during the four years Dada, Vivek, Divya and John are together. There are some really brilliant moments. The love story of Divya and Vivek. The male bonding between John and Dada. The North vs South divide in the hostel, fondly referred to as dorm. The Dustin “Dada” Hoffman episode out of nowhere and the Best Professor Dada ever knew who managed to give him a ‘D’ in his subject after a lot of manipulation.

What I think about the Book?

It often appears Vibhor Tikiya is the Vivek in this story and he has written the story of his life and that of a person whom he hero-worshiped as Dada. Narrated in first person by Dada, it is tough to imagine someone not writing about himself in the manner Dada comes across in the book. Most writings by engineering graduates become endearing because of their dislike for tough language and keeping things crisp and precise (a trend started by satirist Jaspal Bhatti, Rapper Baba Sehgal and Author Chetan Bhagat, in their chosen medium). Divya Tikiya being Vibhor’s wife also is a giveaway.

How the story culminates for these four friends and whether the aimless Dada brings or gets meaning to his Life, is revealed by the final pages of the Book.

What leaves me wondering?

Is it possible for normal middle class kids to do the kind of bartending explained in the engineering colleges in India ? Is there so much of money and freedom to carry large amount of liquor to the roof tops ? Is it so easy for girls to enter boys hostels and vice versa ? Well, I belong to another era and to another field altogether. But to me this appeared a bit artificial.
So I can’t judge on this but just wonder how !

Is it really possible for anyone with just 45% marks to enter an engineering course in a reputed college with sheer manipulation ? What about reservations ? I don’t know but I suspect exaggeration or perhaps the cinematic license (creative liberty) being overused. Do we see a bar-tender version of Phunsukh Wangdu of “3 Idiots” in Dada ? Is there a ‘dream’ to make another movie in the lines of DCH and 3 Idiots ? Or is there a dream to repeat the Chetan Bhagat Here?

[From Editor’s Desk: Talking of Creative freedom, even the name Phunsukh Wangdu of 3 idiots seems to be inspired by a real world Venture Capitalist, having investments in top startups of today.]

What message does it leave ?

To be fair to the writer, I believe it has and I won’t be a bit surprised if they do make a Bollywood movie with this. Every being born is a genius. If you evaluate a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live all life feeling a useless stupid.  Aditya ‘Dada’ found his bearing in fine-arts after being on the verge of getting thrown out of his engineering course at NMU in United States.

So what is the meaning of God ?

GOD means Generate, Operate, Destroy — the Indian trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. An engineer has simplified the description of Indian Gods. Though I am no believer in gods and religions, I liked the simplification. The definition is:

“Dreams do not catch fire. Places do !”

Do read the Book to experience the lives, feel the pulse of Vibhor Tikya, Divya Tikiya, Aditya ‘Dada’, John and Priya !


Title: Dada: The Journey of A Friend. A Fighter ?. A Believer
Author: Vibhor Tikiya
Price: Rs 149
Publisher: Indra Publishing House
Pages: 301, soft cover
Genre: Fiction
Published: 9 August 2013

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  • Vibhor tikiya May 9, 2015, 9:00 pm

    Kindly give your address to send the second book for review