Author: Oswald Pereira
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Chaddi Buddies is a tale set in a village on the outskirts of Mumbai in the 1950s & 60s. The story is a beautifully written as a memoir of self realisation and discovery of the protagonist Robert Pereira. The story covers the journey of how a little god fearing kid goes through various stages of teens to emerge a confident young man on the other side.
The book is set in, what is now the Thane suburb in Mumbai with the story of Robert, his best friends Anand and Baloo, and his hero Dattya. The book delves into his early relationships with his family, teachers, hero and friends. The book depicts the choices and struggles of the protagonist to overcome his personal difficulties to evolve as a better and a stronger person, in the backdrop of an unusual bond of pure love and non demanding friendship. The book also very well covers the contrasts of the religion, poverty and priorities of a middle income household during the era.
The characterisation of the book is the strongest part of the story telling. The author has managed to bring out the contrast in characters extremely well while maintaining the authenticity and realism around them. Even the characters like Dr. Alex which appear only for one or two chapters leave an impression on the reader. The book is slow in pace and the plot is a simple one without many dramatic twists and turns which might appear a bit drab to some but this simplicity and realism makes the story endearing.
Summary: Overall I felt this was a very simple and honest book reflecting on some harsh realities of life and people. A very simple story which surely will invoke nostalgia and reminiscence while giving an insight on how people change with time.