Sadashiv Pradhan, in his contemporary fiction novel, attempts to familiarize the reader with the world of Business schools. In doing so, he unearths the cut-throat environment within these colleges and tells of the daunting task that lies ahead for the students. Just as there is much conjecture surrounding the pursual of an MBA degree within Indian society, this work mirrors the various thought processes with which students embark on such a rigorous journey. 23:59:59 is the story that encompasses the experiences of many, but in particular chronicles the lives of Shalini, Jay, Abhimanyu and Ishaan.
As an outsider who has always heard of the tribulations pertaining to being an MBA student, I was really interested to see what the author had to offer on the subject matter. And it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that it was a very insightful glimpse into the lives of these students. So, as far as the intent is concerned, I am glad to have picked it up, because you actually get to see what the lives of MBA students are like.
However, the writing style and the execution of the plot completely overturned the efforts of the author. There were too many editing errors and even in terms of language, there were considerable mistakes that hampered my reading experience. It is understandable that being well versed in a language is a continuous process, but I felt that this story could’ve been presented in a much more polished way.
Moreover, every chapter ends with one of the characters using a certain (cuss) profane phrase; it was probably meant to add some humor, but only ended up irking me more. What was interesting to observe was that unlike many novels, this one doesn’t have a distinct beginning, middle and end. There are a series of conflicts and crises that these friends go through; their determination to come out victorious is something that is captured by the author. Themes of friendship, ambition, education system in India, ragging, bullying are some among the many that you’ll read about.
There were moments when some of the characters would display problematic mindsets; slut-shaming, objectification and substance abuse were shown to be a consequence of the same. I think Jay was the only character in the book that I moderately liked. He comes across as someone who stands out because of his non-stereotypical representation. The others’ weren’t very convincing and would at times depict contradictory behavior.
On the whole, because there were quite a few aspects of this book that didn’t work for me, I would not recommend it.
Thank you Sadashiv Pradhan for sending me a copy of your book in exchange of an honest review.