The story begins in the backdrop of Varanasi (also called Kashi or Banaras) where people believe that their sins will be washed away on the banks of the holy river Ganga. Gopal, an 8 yr old boy, who comes from the Indian-middle-class family, steals a piece of chocolate cake from his classmate Aarti’s lunchbox and gets punished by the teacher. Aarti, who comes from a kind of bureaucratic and political family, realizes that Gopal has no lunchbox as his mother died when he was young, befriends Gopal and shares her lunch with him every afternoon. They become thick friends. Raghav is a bright rich student who is also a friend of Aarti. She likes Raghav for his smartness and appreciates his hard work.
The next part of the story begins 10 years later.
All the three friends are eagerly waiting for their results to get into a prestigious college, for their future depends on their results. Raghav gets a good rank in the IIT-JEE exam and Gopal fails to get through. Aarti is inspired to become an Air hostess and just wants to complete a degree for the sake of her parents. She takes up a course of Hospitality Management while Raghav chooses to join the top college in Varanasi. Gopal’s father had dreamed of getting his son into an IIT and, though his financial condition is bad, he compels Gopal to take the exam once again even at the cost of wasting one whole year. To keep up his father’s wish, Gopal agrees to go to Kota for further training. Sad to part away from his hometown and from his love Aarti, he embraces a new life at Kota where he has a hard time finding the right coaching place and the motivation to study on his own with no friends in a strange place. Soon, he realizes that he can’t be away from Aarti any longer and tries hard to keep in touch with her. Aarti being a practical girl has found friendship in Raghav and slowly distances herself from Gopal. Depressed by the loss of Aarti’s love, Gopal’s studies are affected and he whiles away into bad company. After 6 months, Aarti returns into his life, motivating him to come out with flying colors. He recrudesces and finishes his exams. Happily, he returns home to Varanasi and Aarti is back into his life. But, this short happiness ends too fast to divulge the hard truth when the exam results were announced. Gopal’s failure to get a seat in an engineering college takes away his father’s life. Dreaming of a secure future, his father had incurred a lot of debts and now that he was gone, Gopal didn’t know what to do. Gopal decided to take up a part time job and join a degree course in one of the inexpensive college. On the way to a career fair where all colleges had their stalls to woo the students, he meets Sunil, an agent, who shows confidence in him when he tells him of his pitiable condition. One more interesting fact is that Gopal’s father owned a property jointly with his brother which is in a land dispute pending in the courts. Gopal had suggested to his father to sell off the land worth 30 acres, but his father had emotional attachment to his ancestors’ property. Sunil takes Gopal to a local MLA Shukla and he plants in the idea of starting his own college on the land, with the help of the required capital, infrastructure and other formalities by the MLA.
Gopal’s stars are shining on him and he agrees to the deal of managing and looking after the affairs & administration of the prospective ‘GangaTech’ college. Meanwhile, Raghav treads on his passion of journalism and spends quality time in being a reporter at ‘Dainik’ newspaper along with his professional course. Aarti’s desire to become an air hostess is still far off, but she takes pleasure in the hospitality management. As Raghav gets busy with his work, Aarti feels lonely and spends time with Gopal. Whenever Aarti is with Gopal, he forgets the whole world and somehow he pines on the hope that one day she will leave Raghav and come to him. Their secret meetings are on the opposite banks of the river where the two row over, away from the crowd and as time passes, both of them become close. On one such occasion Gopal tries to kiss her and she thwarts the scene, cutting their friendship. Gopal then becomes busy in the building of his college, getting to know numerous kinds of people, handling the business, taking care of officials (bribing) and in 3 years time, the college is ready. New appointments of the faculty, Dean etc are all in place and all arrangements for the grand opening are made. Raghav is on a very big mission and one day before the opening of the college, he publishes an article of MLA Shukla, revealing all his businesses, the corruption money, the Ganga Scam he is involved and the link up of converting his black money into white through this new college. Gopal is shattered to hear this, when all the media point out to Shukla. The Government pressurizes Shukla to step down, and he is sent to jail, leaving Gopal alone to handle the situation. Somehow, he manages with the Dean Shrivastav to get good admissions and finally the college begins with quite a good number in the very first year. Raghav is then attacked indirectly by the MLA’s people and he is fired from ‘ Dainik’. Gopal becomes rich, moves into a bungalow, owns a car & he seems to be enjoying luxury, while Raghav having lost the job, frustrated by his journalism career, his parents also take their hands off, and Aarti alone is the moral support for him. But Raghav’s principles and ideologies are strong enough and he vows to start a revolution aiming at the youth of Varnasi. Raghav starts digging into the dark world of the ministers, collecting facts, proofs and evidences against them. He absorbs himself totally into bringing a strong revolution by starting his own newsprint and trying to distribute to smaller masses along with the daily newspaper. Once again, Aarti longs for the friendship and Gopal has his arms wide open. Each one finds comfort and solace talking over daily matters and slowly Raghav goes into the oblivion. One day, Gopal comes in as a guest to the hotel where Aarti is working and they spend a night together. Unaware of Gopal’s advances, Raghav’s honest struggle, his fight for justice and his preparation for the revolution touches the pinnacle when people start supporting him. MLA Shukla hints Gopal to plunge into politics by marrying Aarti whose grandfather is well known in politics. When Aarti agrees to breakup with Raghav, Gopal takes the lead to inform him. But as fate would have chosen this very moment, Raghav’s honest struggle and integrity come in the way. Despite his pitiable condition, he agrees to travel hundreds of kilometers to look into the problems of the villagers and write in his articles. Gopal is moved deeply. He creates a deliberate misunderstanding between himself and Aarti, by showing that he is a womanizer. Aarti is hurt badly. Gopal recommends Raghav’s name in ‘ Dainik’, gets him a job, and after marrying Aarti, Raghav plunges into politics as the son-in-law with his ideologies of ‘ Revolution 2020’. The author concludes with Aarti marrying Raghav, showing his support to truth and that the revolution against corruption has started.
A true mix of all the qualities blended into the fusion of today’s generation is the highlight of this book. In my opinion, Raghav is a true radical reformist who believes in bringing change at grass-root level to make this world (India) a better place to live in. Gopal is also a significant character, no matter what comes never lose the goodness and innocence which is within us. MLA Shukla is the epitome of the Indian Politician and his favorite sentence throughout the book ‘I will arrange for it’ has really got my attention. He is also the mentor of Gopal. As for Shukla, it is for the reader to perceive him to be good or bad and should be encouraged or not in the society. The remaining characters also played an important role and gleam in the company of Raghav, Gopal & Aarti including the place of Varanasi which is a tourist place.
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