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May 16, 2015 / subramanyam

This Johnny will not go down easily.

Things in life can be ephemeral, one moment you are on the top of the world and in an abyss the next. The chain goes on and this internally teaches us to stand up and fight.  It feels good to us as we read statements of this sort but what would the life be like if you are fighting things out day in and day out ? what if the fight never stops and you are getting fed up with the way  its taking a toll on you?  That, in a way is the story of Johnny, the man whom the blurb of the “Johnny gone down” describes thus.

Nikhil Arya has fallen. Once, he was an Ivy League scholar with a promising future at NASA; now, at forty, he is broke,johny homeless, and minutes away from blowing his brains out in a diabolical modern-day joust. It wasn’t meant to be this way. An innocent vacation turned into an epic intercontinental journey that saw Nikhil become first a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a deadly game fighter. Now, twenty years later, Nikhil aka Johnny is tired of running. With the Colombian mafia on his trail and his abandoned wife and son ten thousand miles away, he prepares for his final act, aware that he will have lost even if he wins. Or will he? Is there any greater victory than living a life that knows no limits, a world that has seen no boundaries? From the bestselling author of Keep Off the Grass comes the once-in-a-lifetime story of an ordinary man fighting an extraordinary destiny. Can he pick up the pieces one last time or will Nikhil, now Johnny, go down for good?

Written by Karan Bajaj, “Johnny gone down” is a thriller and  is a definite page turner.  The book starts with the Nikhil Arya’s journey in India, he is here for a task and as he performs it he keeps getting flashes of his past.  He sees his own story unfold before his eyes. It starts with the  graduation and it is here that a friend of his suggests a vacation in an east Asian nation.  Some thing unexpected happens there and in the nick of the moment Nikhil makes an emotional decision.  Now, what did he do ?  what was the decision ? how would this decision impact him, his body, his life and how this one decision of his would make him travel across all the continents and  would bear a mark on his persona is some thing that you ought to read in the book.

There was some good research that went into writing the book and I liked that.  The author shows us the draconian rule of Polpat, we would feel suffocated looking at the atrocities his followers have committed, the author then takes us to the Buddhist Monasteries of Thailand and as we feel like settling down there, he brings us to the colorful and lively Rio-De-Janiero.  Just when we think that Nikhil has found the love of his life and his resting place , we are shunted out to the US and from there we are brought back to India.  Definitely a very nice way if weaving the story.   In this journey we learn about Polpat, some tenets of Buddhism, the way the underworld runs and then how efficiently technology can be used to trace the person you want. Nice attempt I must say.

The language used in the book is simple and at times it is skillfully adorned with nice words.  This makes the book all the way more interesting and a good read.

If there is a drawback for the book, it is that we as common men & women cannot build a bond with the protagonist.  The protagonist at times looks super human for he excels at everything he lays his hands on.  That ,I think was a little away from the way men and women of the real world slog it out.  I felt that the author must have exercised a little more caution while developing the  character of the protagonist.  A connect with the normal audience must have indeed worked wonders for the book.

All in all a fantastic book with a nice ending, I liked the book. Do read it. The chances are high that you too might like it.


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