Life is an adventure filled with unexpected highs and lows.  While there isn’t a single handbook to help you navigate life’s ups and downs, wisdom passed through the ages sure helps. 

The author, Rajiv Bakshi, has written about diverse happenings, places and events revolving around his life and official career as a banker that affected him substantially. This pocket size handbook is basically a memoir by the author.  A memoir is a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge. On the day of his retirement as senior manager of Punjab & Sind Bank, he decided to pen down his memoirs of 35 years starting from Guwahati in North Eastern India to Machhiwara, a historical place in Ludhiana district. 

The book is available for INR 200/- paperback and INR 159/- for kindle edition.  Published by Notion press in January 2015, it encompasses short stories from the author’s life compiled in 135 pages, in a handy convenient size book.  There are 20 chapters or short stories each of which convey a beautiful life lesson in a simple form.  There are illustrations and pictures to give support to the imagination of the reader and to help him resonate with the book.  A separate page each for dedication, for thanks, for foreword and for preface is given.  

The TITLE is very elaborate and descriptive on its own and does its job well of giving a sneak peek into the content of the read.  The COVER is also perfect for the subject matter wherein a person is depicted, sitting on his desk, penning down something in his diary while looking out of the window thoughtfully, maybe reminiscing on his life’s journey, precious moments and memories. The FONT and the colours are also apt for the book.  The BACK COVER of the book carries a short note on the author, his picture, other mundane details like price, ISBN code ex cetera in addition to the BLURB which gives a concise insight to the work of the author plus the memoir. 

This book is a beautiful mixture of short stories or anecdotes. The writing style of the author is very simple, following an easy narration, giving a feel to the reader as if he himself is chatting personally with the author and the author, Rajiv is giving an insight into his life gone by.  An anecdote is a short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person and that’s exactly how this book comes through to the reader. The language is very easy to understand and has humor peppered all over it.  This is actually the USP of the book because memoirs can get very lengthy and boring at times but this one is short, crisp, easy to grasp and has a funny side to it.  It is actually a very innovative and smart approach taken by the author.  

The Journey depicted in the book is exceptionally inspiring and gives an insight into the various shades of life. The storyline takes the reader along on the voyage of life and its actual meaning. The narration is captivating as the style is very unique of presenting the mundane realities of life in an interesting way.  He has very meticulously attempted to impart a lesson with each chapter and it comes as a satire at the end of each story.  Each story is so different and unique and spans from the time the author got his first job till he got his retirement that a reader of every age group will relate to it at some point or the other. Some chapters are thought provoking while some are hilarious and some are sad but they all are heart touching. The author needs to be appreciated for the intricate details he has remembered and put in the stories which are actually the timelines of important events in his lifetime.  You get to know many things which were popular in the 90’s and also that Guwahati used to be called Gauhati back then. 

He has entailed all his professional and personal experiences, very efficiently and effectively in this handy book.  The book is definitely going to resonate easily to a common middle class man with chapters on topics like; first job and boss, wife and shopping, kids and pampering, finances, latest technology, home sickness, transfers ex cetera.  

Author, Rajiv Bakshi, 62, served Punjab & Sind Bank for 35 years travelling from Guwahati (being his first branch in 1976) & Machhiwara District Ludhiana which was his last branch from which he retired in February 2012. A proud alumnus of the prestigious Sainik School Kapurthala and DAV College Jallandhar where he got the college colour for the best speaker in English. Rajiv showed first signs of creativity when he was 8 and continues to write poems and short stories. 

It’s an absorbing narrative, which tickles your funny bone and at the same time gives you advice to help you meander your life’s journey with suave and poise.

Easy, quick, handy, humorous and light, it sure is a worthwhile read. 

Learn from the experiences of others. You cannot live long enough to make all mistakes yourself.


Author: Rajiv Bakshi
Book Title: Journey from Guwahati to Machhiwara
Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (2015)
Review By:  Noor  at Criticspace

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