Sanchit Gupta, the author and the screenwriter, is prolific with words. His debut by Niyogi Books, The tree with a thousand apples, instantly became my favorite. So much have I been in love with that book that I highly recommend it to all. It was, therefore, that I was excited for his latest Second Wind, also published by Niyogi Books.

Second Wind: Caught between paycheck and passion is a story about all of us who have always had a creative inclination. Some of us might have dreamt of becoming an actor, some of us wanted to pursue theater, I for one wanted to write and there are others with different dreams that bend towards their passion. Passion is madness but it doesn’t pay. What pays is a 9 to 5 job. But when it comes to a creative person the 9 to 5 job stifles us. We need the “kick” and if we don’t get that we leave. That’s exactly what the protagonist of this book is like – Sanjay. Sanjay has always wanted to pursue theater but he is trapped in a 9 to 5 job. What wins over Sanjay’s heart, the paychecks or his passion, forms the rest of the story.

The book is divided into three parts. Part one talks about Sanjay’s new job and his struggles to keep up with the competition. Part two talks about Sanjay’s new role in the company and his race to achieve the targets. And part three is when Sanjay finally gives up everything to pursue his passion.

The story is linear and narrated in first person perspective. There are transitions in the voice, especially, when the author wants to talk about the events that take place in the lives of other characters like Ramteke. There are multiple characters in the novel but I didn’t feel like they have been well developed. This book wasn’t like Gupta’s debut novel at all. I felt like the book lacked connect. Moreover, I kept feeling like the book comes close to the Hindi film by Imtiaz Ali, Tamasha, which talks about the same subject. Also, I felt like a certain parts of the book like the romance angle or preparation for theater festival could have been a lot more descriptive.

What did I love about the book? The corporate life description was spot on. The struggle to survive and the survival of the fittest in the 9 to 5 job is real. The book made me laugh in a few places. And the transition in Sanjay’s character from a self doubting individual to an achiever is laudable and inspiring. Also the book has some interesting and inspiring quotable quotes.

Overall, the book was a light read and with a much relatable story.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Niyogi books
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