The Jeera Packer Book Review : The one liners (in modern sense profound wisdom) used at least once in every chapter do make you smile.
The first glance at the book cover intimidates you. Not because it has a gun on it; but because you see endorsements from the likes of Abhishek Chaubey, the director of Udta Punjab, Ishqiya and the writer of Kaminey, Omkara. You turn the book 180 degrees and you see the endorsements from Navdeep Singh, the director of NH10, Manorama Six Feet Under; and just a little bit down, Sudip Sharma, the writer, Udta Punjab, NH10. These endorsers may belong to a particular kind of Cinema in India which of late has become economically viable (and profitable); but still they in the age of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are a quite a celebrity. Thus a book getting thumbs up from them is great.
Apart from that there’s not much intimidation here, if there’s some then it’s for the late reviewers of the book. Here The Jeera Packer Book Review for you.
The book titled, The Jeera Packer, is written by Prashan Yadav. It’s a political fiction centered on the Uttar Pradesh Politics. Because politics in India, especially in Uttar Pradesh can never be devoid of the visible and invisible power struggles, vengeance, calculations, charms, criminal-politics nexus, power transfers, political dynasties, opportunism, sycophancies, heart-burns, missed opportunities, revenge; hence there’s no dearth of characters too. To bead together such a complex story idea; the author has chosen a Jeera Packer. This man once happened to be a sharp shooter — a trigger happy criminal who didn’t think twice before pressing the trigger at his boss’s order. Thirty years thence, today, he runs a Daily needs shop in Ghaziabad with his wife situated on the ground floor of the Apartment he lives in with his beloved wife and a college going Son. He’s a jeera packer as unlike his wife who manages the shop, he spends most of his time packing jeera in the shop’s basement.
But today, he’s not happy with his monotonous life. He has become restless. Call it God’s design or a longing for action or a desire to find the purpose of his life or plain boredom of mid-life; he pushes himself to the life he had left many years ago; but this time with a definite purpose and one last time.
He sees this purpose as the purpose of his life, something which will bring an end to the restlessness in his life, something which he requires to keep packing jeera in the dingy damp basement of his shop.
What’s Good (or Great) about the Jeera Packer
The book is 332 pages long with 41 chapters.
Barring a few exceptions, the book traverses at an even fast pace. The book follows an easy to follow plot. At no point you feel the need to recheck what you had read earlier.
There’re vivid similarities between the real political landscapes of present Uttar Pradesh. If you follow Uttar Pradesh politics closely, then there’s no reason you will not see the fictional characters resemble the real ones. You keep making instant connections between the fictional and real ones. For instance, the moment you start reading about Nawab Sahib, Lal Mani and Nanhe Samrat (the son of a former Raja) etc.; your brain starts making instant correlations. This keeps you engaged in the plot. When such a correlation gives you some extra bit of information, irrespective it being a cent percent piece of imagination, it tickles you a bit as well.
You will be amazed by the detailing in characterizations.
Another great things about the book is that it portrays a former sharp shooter quite well. I mean, you can stop being trigger happy; but you can’t become 100 percent sober. The use of tantalizing sex and expletives is very balanced. It’s not like some other books which follow the rule: The more the better.
And finally, the take away. The one liners (in modern sense profound wisdom) used at least once in every chapter, do make you smile. If the same are used in a movie, then I’m sure they will get much applaud in the form of claps, hoots and whistles — A good thing for a political fiction, which needs to be profound. Such profoundness stays with you.
What’s Not Good about The Jeera Packer
One, although it seems to take liberally from real Uttar Pradesh politics, it doesn’t care much to veil over the characters properly. This has happened with many key characters. Over time you start guessing where the plot is going.
Two, in the final 50 pages, the plot becomes hazy. The reasonings become less convincing and you start guessing the end. Though the end still surprises you, but the last steps towards the ending, could be packed with more suspense, planning.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
About the Author: Prashant Yadav runs own Company which advises start-ups. He practices Karate and holds the BTech Degree from IIT Kharagpur and Business School one from IIM Ahmedabad. He went to Stockholm School of Economics as well. The Jeera Packer is his debut novel.