The Coronavirus pandemic has changed people’s lives to an extent which no one has anticipated even a few months ago. The confinement of people to their homes gave them time to introspect and also decide better for their future. Sudip Banik in his book, “Hindsight 2020: Not a Political Satire” records the happenings of the present time and the manner in which people living through it her were affected.
Banik begins the book with the idea,
“Life is not meant to be occupying seats and applauding success stories, rather it should be impactful enough to be the story that others may talk about.”
With this thought, he ventures into writing the book with a prologue wherein he presents the speech by the Prime Minister in which he urges the entire nation to go in the lockdown state and asks people to cooperate in the tough time that lies ahead. Thereafter, the author begins constructing his narrative and the stories of the fictional characters who may be the representatives of one or many of the present time. He divides the book into 6 plots and through these plots he also talks of the themes he intends to address and the pandemic of coronavirus remains in the background. Through the first plot, the author talks about the decisions a person makes and its effects on the decision-maker and others. Other than that, the author tries to highlight the importance of relations, balancing among responsibilities, setting priorities and taking care of people in a person’s life. Other than that, Banik also gives an idea of the problem of depression and how adversely it can affect a person. He writes the story of Eishu and Ansh here
Plot two onwards, the author talks about the citizenship amendment bill and in the light of this, he talks about the problem of communal hatred and traces it back to the time of history when it was born and continues in the same manner in the present. He develops the life story of Junaid with a brief appearance of Fatima and their daughter, Sana.
In plot three, the author discusses another critical and deep-rooted issue of caste that began ages ago and remains prevalent even in the present. In the light of this, he tells the readers the story of the Paswan family wherein, Nandu, the third generation member is the prime focus later.
The technique used by the author to link up the three plots is interesting and by the time the readers finish plot three, they are already invested in the book.
Plot four concentrates on bringing the characters of the three plots together as a design of destiny and how the lockdown led to their unification. The author also talks about karma and its ways and how it impacts the lives of people in the long and short run.
Plot five is where the lockdown becomes the central focus point and the effects it had on the lives of other. With a brief mention of the middle-class groups losing their jobs, the author focuses on the weaker section of the economically deprived people and reports heart-wrenching stories of people struggling to make their ends meet. This is where the readers can also observe how well-read and aware the author is and since the book records events of national importance and stories from the remotest parts of India, this book becomes a text to be read and referred to time and again in the future. The misery and pitiable condition and struggles of people to meet daily needs are shown through numerous examples and leave the readers in shock. Thereafter the author does a sort of evaluation of the good, bad, and ugly effects of the lockdown which is more like an analysis by him. He does not tamper the facts or intends to influence the readers and he successfully manages to keep himself alienated from the situation too.
Plot six brings the characters back in focus and the author gives a meaningful closure to the narrative he had created.
Although the focus of the author was not completely on character development, yet Junaid comes across a helpless victim of fate where life was mostly unfair to him and his choices added to his misery further. Eishu and Ansh are representatives of any couple living in cities going through their difficulties and the injustice in Nandu’s life sympathy of the readers and since he again seems to represent any person in the country, imagining his situation makes it more pitiable. The readers are very likely to find “Hindsight” an amalgamation of not just historical events but also characters who are a victim of circumstances and their choices. The enriched knowledge of the author shows up whenever time need be and has the potential to increase the awareness of the reader of not just today but also tomorrow.