Medium Fast and Furious by Rahul Oak

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Every parent wants their children to do well and succeed in life. When my son keeps his homework aside and starts playing cricket in the bedroom, I tell him that there is only one Dhoni but many doctors and engineers.

Medium Fast and Furious by Rahul Oak is the story of a young boy whose passion is cricket and who aspires to be a fast bowler. This book is like his memoir- the story of a few students of St Anthony’s High School in Bandra Bombay- the story of Raju and some of his friends who spend precious few years of their lives dreaming about lifting the shiny shield of KL Rao cricket tournament, the be all and end all of cricket tournaments. I received the book as a review copy from the publisher and would like to thank them for the same.

The blurb:

Cricket is his passion.

Wasim Akram is his hero.

And Raju Prabhakar aspires to be a fast bowler.

But mild-mannered and clumsy, he drops catches and is a mediocre bowler and has wrong-footed action.

To top it all, his parents would much rather he focused on becoming an engineer like his father.

Will Raju’s dream of winning the KL Rao cricket tournament cup for his school team ever come true?

Set in Bandra, Bombay, in the ‘90s, this book is a coming-of-age story of cricket, puppy love, nepotism, power struggles, class differences and much more.

The story:

Rajiv Prabhakar, Raju, an eleven year old, belongs to a typical middle class Maharashtrian family and stays with his parents and grandparents in a high rise flat in Bandra, Bombay. His grandfathers enjoy cricket, his grandmother pampers him and all this is balanced by his iron-fisted mother. He studies in St Anthony’s High School in Mumbai, wants to do is make it to the school cricket team and win the KL Rao cricket tournament but his parents want him to follow his father’s footsteps and become an engineer, and not a cricketer. Gopal, his friend both in the society and at school, also wants to be a part of the cricket team.

Raju feels that his name has something to do with his cricketing skills (Venkatpathy RAJU + Manoj PRABHAKAR). He wants to become a fast bowler and does not want the word medium near his name. He wants to prove everyone in the family wrong and blames his family for lack of opportunity as only someone with prominent family connections made it to the school cricket team if they are not in class 9. He gets an opportunity to become a ball boy for the school cricket team in class eight and gets selected in the school cricket team in the 1992-93 season. His coach, Sir Kumar selects him for the team but does not like the way he bowls and asks him to change his bowling style. They lose to their arch rivals in the first season only to come back in the second season with a new coach, Mr Mishra

My take:

A simple story written beautifully in first person from the point of view of Raju. His feelings have been described beautifully. The author talks about life in India in the nineties. He has also used favourite words used by various commentators across the globe.

The descriptions of the matches made me feel that I was watching the match on the TV and during the last part of the book, I was on the edge of my seat.

There is a glossary of Marathi terms as wll as cricket terms at the end of the book.

Loved the book immensely. Highly recommended to all children and adults whether they love or hate cricket.

Publisher: Scholastic

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

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