Book Review: Sanchit Gupta’s “Second Wind”, (Pub.) Olive Turtle, Imprint of Niyogi Books

Sanchit Gupta was born and brought up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. He went on to co-found his own theatre group, worked as a radio talk show host, a freelance copywriter, an industry hopping brand manager and as a content developer for a leading television network. 

His first book – The Tree with a Thousand Apples – got long listed at Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab, Jio Mami Film Festival and Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize. India Today called it ‘Un-put-downable’, Aaj Tak said ‘Powerful and Beautiful’, while DNA termed – ‘Unforgettable’. As a screenwriter, he has written dialogues for Rajkummar Rao’s Behen Hogi Teri while two of his written movies are currently under production.

Second Wind is the story of young Sanjay Saklani who had the audacity to step out of the rat race of corporate world, not that stepping out made him a miraculous superhero, but it did bring within him a current to combat the customary; to dream, to undertake risks and work towards fulfilment of the dream.

The tone : Second Wind remains subtle throughout which reveals the author’s sense of serenity implied to pen down a creative piece. The novel is presented in first person perspective that is of the protagonist, Sanjay Saklani. The language used is simple and it maintains the same simplicity until the end which is one of the reasons why the reader would have a quicker and delightful reading.

The story commences when Sanjay had just finished his MBA and returned home before joining his work. A conversation with his cousin Vivek makes him contemplate – where had he lost the inner spark of escaping the conventional which he had six years ago? The novel Second Wind comprises of three parts. Each part discusses narrator’s journey towards achieving his Dream.

As they say – to begin with anything big, one needs inspiration.

So, PART I of Second Wind is about figuring out THE INSPIRATION. Sanjay Saklani and Karan, his only friend in the organization, were the newbies in Indian Oriental Corporation or IOC Ltd. Sanjay was interested in a career in FMCG marketing, but unfortunately as a newbie – he and his friend were placed in Printing and Packaging by Mr. S. Sundarajan, the HR and Board member of IOC Ltd also referred to as Baap by the newbies of the organization.

Sanjay strongly disliked his new job as it was nowhere near to his area of interest. Meanwhile, Sanjay meets Vishwant, a new trainee for supervisor, who was extremely ambitious and ready to do whatever it took to turn dreams into reality.

“You have come into your comfort zone, haven’t you?….Now things here look okay to you, so you have stopped thinking about what you originally wanted. Comfort zone is the enemy of ambition…We have only one life, Sanjay and time flies by. You won’t even know when you grow old, and one day you’ll wake up and realize, Oh! There was a time when I wanted to start a theatre group, maybe I should have tried. That day, sir, you might regret getting this high paying job”

It was Vishwant who ignited Sanjay’s spark for his long lost dream of starting his own theatre group. Soon Sanjay had a moment of realization.

“Vishwanath was right. I have come into my comfort zone. Time will fly and one day I will be lying on my bed just like I am doing today waiting for things to happen, taking life as it comes. And I shall remain where I am, confused and afraid…… No, I can’t go on like this. I have to get up and take stock of my life”

Amidst his struggle, Sanjay met Raagini who was a newbie as well in the same organization. She’s another person who helps Sanjay realise who he is and who he wanted to be. After weeks of tough grinding Sanjay finally convinces Baap to allow him to work in his area of interest, FMCG it was!

“You can go get a training in FMCG, plan it yourself, and then we will see”

PART II of Second Wind, THE SAFETY NET is set in parts of Madhya Pradesh. Sanjay meets various people. Ramteke being the first. He was a Salesman with IOC Food division. Ramteke plays a major role in Sanjay’s accomplishments which is revealed at the end of PART II. Ramteke was a man who gave valuable lessons to Sanjay- the importance of discipline and need for sensible driving and later the ability to sacrifice for others. This section of Second Wind comprises of Sanjay’s journey of not giving up on FMCG marketing and on the contrary how he tries to work on his dream, his passion.

This PART happens to be one of the most interesting parts of Second Wind. It deals with Sanjay’s strenuous journey and how one fine day his creative work which was a story written by him “Nametag” reaches to Sagar Shah. Sagar was an acclaimed theatre person, a writer, photographer and director. At this point of the novel any reader would get convinced that Sagar Shah might be that one person who helps Sanjay Saklani become what he always aspired to be, right? I shall let the other readers figure out the profound importance of Sagar Shah’s character in Second Wind. Sanjay finally achieves his target by the end of PART II, but which target it exactly was?

The novel Second Wind finally jumps to PART III which deals with THE CALLING CARD of Sanjay Saklani. Sanjay achieved plethora of success yet it didn’t bring peace to him. He felt guilty for all of it. Sanjay was a good man and anything achieved out of efforts or risk of someone else didn’t allow him to stay in harmony. He gave up all that he accomplished and now started as a beginner in Mumbai. His dream was to start a theatre group of his own. For that he quit his job. Earlier he was caught between pay-check and passion. Quitting his job somehow intensified yet simplified his complexities.

Sanjay finds a new job at Creator Labs as junior copywriter under Suchitra Dhani. This job didn’t give him much financial stability still Sanjay left no stone unturned. He along with a group of people; Raagini, Vishwant, Ram, Shyam, Smriti, Vinay, Suchitra and others, executed a theatre group of his own for an audition for Interlude- the theatre festival. The group was named- The Fourth Wall. This was a big opportunity. Arrangements were done, rehearsals were carried on, and everything went as expected

Finally the day of audition arrived.

Ladies and Gentlemen- The Fourth Wall is proud to present to you our first production NAMETAG: Have you found love?

 The curtains rose. Nine people, three judges, seventy eight minutes. One of the most memorable seventy eight minutes our lives.”

The Fourth Fall contestants were selected as finalists. They were to perform in a week for the real audience.

Apparently, life isn’t always just about hard work and dedication. The group was absolutely on the right path yet there drove in a news that had all the power to break apart the zest and enthusiasm. All their dreams could be shattered, but this very news empowered them; gave them wings to soar higher!

Second Wind is an interesting and quick read. The plot construction is simple yet brings in twist and this would arouse in readers a sense of sympathy for Sanjay, yet the very next moment the readers would need to think otherwise. The characters belong to the present world, so, it establishes a proper connection between readers and characters. One of the most interesting parts from Second Wind is the story of a man who wanted to swim….

Worth reading!

About the Reviewer
SURABHI KASHYAP

Born in Dhanbad (Jharkhand) and completed her schooling from Carmel School, Digwadih, Surabhi is a logophile and loves expressing her heart through her writings. She has recently completed her Graduation in English from Guru Nanak College, Dhanbad. She usually writes poems and articles. Her first published poem was “No gun, No knife!”

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