Teenager's dilemma
Gaurav Kanthwal

Sumit Runs Away
by Mahesh Suvarna Frog. Pages 249. Rs 300

Sumit Runs AwayTWO young boys pass through their college years.... The narrator and his classmate Sumit, are different from each other. Whereas the narrator is reclusive and an introvert, Sumit is a typical college bully, leading a pack of frivolous college boys. Though each one of them has his own characteristic traits, yet all the characters in the novel share same pattern of uncertainties in their lives.

The boys indulge in endless discussions to sort out their lives but ultimately end up nowhere.

One interesting character that a reader comes across in the novel is Prof. Sathe. He is the strict teacher that backbenchers of the class abhor. Sumit too, bears a special relationship with him and invariably finds himself at the receiving end. Through Sumit, the author has delineated a tyrannical face of a teacher but fairly peppered with sarcasm, wit and sometimes foul language. Somewhere bringing out the cynic in an average Indian student.

Mahesh has done justice in dealing with these issues without overtly commenting on them. He gives an insight to these issues from the point of view of a teenager, who confronts them everywhere, each day of their life.

The novel is carefully planned under thoughtful headings describing the sequential order of events, as they unfold in the memory of the narrator. The events evoke an assortment of feelings that accompany boyhood. Be it, staying out of home at night, having philosophical discussions in the college canteen, making loops of cigarette smoke, ogling girls or surviving jilted love affairs.

Though the author narrates a seemingly run-of-the-mill story, the originality in the narration makes up for it. The conversational style of narration lends a greater intimacy to it, the main reason why Mahesh has employed first person technique in narration. The language is simple and straight, devoid of any twists and turn making it a racy read. Adding to it is the sincerity of narration.

On the other hand, his attempts of fusing poetry and ‘hints of surrealism’ have completely fallen on the face. Neither do they convey the sincerity of thought nor the heartiness of a young mind.

Sumit’s recurrent dream of running through the deserted streets completely naked and being chased by dogs, snakes and people gives some hint of symbolism but it’s ends remain untied throughout the novel.

The novel is a light reading. It will attract youngsters more than any other age group, since they can identify with it.

The colour of the cover is dull and design ordinary, it fails to inspire the buyer.