CHADDI BUDDIES: A Breath Of Fresh Air
By IRFAN IQBAL GHETA
Oswald Pereira – the bestselling author of The Newsroom Mafia and Revenge of Naked Princess – is back with a bang with his third, coming-of-age novel, Chaddi Buddies. As the title suggests, Chaddi Buddies is a tale of four friends who grow up together and whose bond undergoes a huge change with coming of age.
Oswald Pereira is a master story teller who seamlessly weaves stories within stories as was demonstrated by him in his edge-of-the-seat thriller The Newsroom Mafia. On the contrary his Revenge of Naked Princess was full of super natural aura to scare the readers to their wit’s end. Whereas in Chaddi Buddies the readers get to see a completely new side of Oswald as a story teller whose childhood holds an extremely special place in his heart.
Chaddi Buddies is set in a village called Golvada near Thane. It is about the special friendship that gets developed on Hill Mansion over a period of time between Robert Pereira and the three sons of domestic help of the Pereira household. These three sons namely Dattya, Anand and Baloo grow up with Robert doing all the naughty things together that children back in sixties did.
There were no video games back then and kids had no luxury of iPhones and iPads on which they could play clash of clans. Those were heady days when after the school hours children would toss aside their school bags and venture out into the fields to enjoy in the lap of nature without a care in the world.
Those were innocent days when only two things were expected out of children. Study and play. Childhood meant unlimited fun filled activities sans the burden of peer pressure or a trap called ranking system. What Oswald Pereira has captured in Chaddi Buddies is the message that childhood is invaluable but every child is special. We should refrain from judging the kids harshly and thereby allow their natural talent to surface on its own.
Chaddi Buddies is laced with humorous tone. The beginning of the book is engaging as it starts off with two things – religion and cricket – that define every Indian. Oswald Pereira’s lyrical prose makes the live commentary of a cricket match between two village games in which our protagonist Robert is making his debut as a batsman so real with his knowledge of field placements and batting techniques that the readers can see Robert scoring the winning run with the entire stadium erupting in joy right before their eyes.
His portrayal of Dattya who is the Godfather to Robert and leaves no stones unturned to teach him the ropes of life is an icing on the cake. Only Oswald Pereira can create such selfless characters and present them before readers in a convincing manner.
Apart from childhood game and usual tantrums between jealous siblings, there is a lot of Christianity in Chaddi Buddies. But the depiction of religious beliefs and dogmas is in a lighter vein and doesn’t sound preachy. Our obsession with the sainthood and how rebellious believers are axed from the church or communities also finds its mention in Chaddi Buddies with the intention of conveying how nothing is perfect in the world.
While reading Chaddi Buddies, be prepared to have an emotional trip down the lane of your memories of childhood. This book will serve as a trigger to look back and ponder over what you’ve achieved as an adult and at what cost. At the same time, certain incidents narrated in the book will turn out to be cathartic giving vent to your tears.
In a nutshell, Oswald Pereira’s honest as baby’s heart novel Chaddi Buddies will give you something to smile at and something to cry over. But this the author provides in equal measure to strike a balance between joy and sorrow, happiness and suffering. Undoubtedly, Oswald Pereira can manipulate your emotions at his will. Do pick up Chaddi Buddies to rekindle your childhood memories. It reads like a breath of fresh air.