Siddharth Pandey is the author of two novels with 'Pilgrimage to Nowhere' being his debut novel, and the second expected to be released later in the year. In his 23 years, he has turned from a semi-professional football player to an armchair expert, seen the world of copywriting and scriptwriting. He is uncomfortable writing in third person, but there is more to him, which you can find in his profiles.
Writing a Foreword can be simpler if it is all about cursorily touching upon the contents of the book and wishing the author well. But if the book is uniquely captivating and absorbing, indeed challenging, the Foreword demands more. 'Pilgrimage to Nowhere' is in the latter category.
This is the story of an old man and a boy, two people at different stages of life converging in shared experience. The boy filled with ambition, chasing a perfect image of a doctor stepping out of his magnificent car and fuelled by the confidence of an achiever. The old man, grasping a second chance at life as through to beat his own mortality, a life that left him crippled decades ago, chasing an utopia that can bring him peace, if not happiness.
The old man and the boy, bound together by chance, the young one running into the old man repeatedly during his school life and making choices that leaves the latter bewildered. The boy in his stride towards a picture captured in imagination years ago, and the old man in his stride to regain his past by living vicariously in the present.
The old man and the boy, facing monsters of their creation, with guitars in their hands, travelling together so the old man can show the boy to be a musician, and learn that the answer lie seeks cannot be found in the guitar; see his own past tumble in the wake of the boy's choices, and determined to strengthen the boy's life before his time ends in a world beyond his control.
The boy ultimately grows up with bravado rather than a guitar to keep him company. It might have been a good decision, it seemed so to the old man, who found it perplexing that he could have been a doctor in another lifetime, and may be the boy would as well have found happiness.
The boy seemed to know what he wanted, but the old man's life, however little he had come to know of, left him wondering if there was something like what is left in the garage, to be forgotten. Stumbling onto the idea of travelling together, they embark on a journey out of the town, and into the big city.
On foot, walking to the city, they stop by a village, playing at an open local bar. A night of knowledge ensues, where the boy learnt more about himself, and the possibility of another road than the one he had been on. The old man found himself moved away from the road he had grown to call a second home. Questions of mortality approached by a dead man alive and one yet to live.
They learn together that the horizon always remains afar much like the perfect answer that they both seek. No one really rides off into the sunset.
Somewhere between getting a gig from an open mic in one of the many bars lined with neon signs, screaming for attention, and sitting on silent benches, looking out at houses that tower over slums, they forgot about their quest for the perfect answer and end up looking for an answer for now and here; the boy moving on to where he was not yet the old man, and the old man moving away from trying to relive his life through the boy. A discovery of sorts about the path taken and not taken. Such indeed is the 'Pilgrimage to Nowhere'.
Siddharth K Pandey, the author of this provocative book likes to keep himself in shape. He has been a semi-professional football player but obviously equipped intellectually to ignite fantasy and imagination by skilfully playing with words. "The Pilgrimage to Nowhere" is his debut novel. I am given to understand that the author's 2nd novel is also likely to be published by the end of this year.
It is indeed delightful to see that young people are opting for writing as a career, adding to the intellectual landscape of our country.
Siddharth Pandey's journey as a writer has commenced with a brilliant effort and deserves to be commended generously as indeed read widely.
Children’s Books (474)
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