A few months back, I gleefully began reading through one of Hetal uncle’s longer mails, eager to see what he had in store with his amazing ability to mould words into life lessons. I seldom glance at mail titles, to be honest, but that day I did, and am I glad!

The email was titled, ‘My Book.’ And I was left speechless. My silence, perhaps, could fill my very own book. To date, I remember the joy and admiration that filed my very being as I came to know one of my acquaintances so close to me was an actual, true, absolute, published author! Writing a book has been a dream for me since I was a little child. I was, and still am, so proud of him for writing it. So, Hetal uncle, this one is to your amazing son-ness, and to your father, for raising such an intelligent, amazing, kind, determined and relentless-when-it-comes-to-teasing individual.

Against All Odds was the first biography I’ve ever read, and the only I’ve read till date. And nowhere could it have possibly disappointed me. To a 14 year old author keen to see more of the love and family bonds showcased between family members, in spite of being a biography seemingly written in a fourth wall fashion along with the third person, it touched my heart. Whenever Hetal uncle wrote about his own childhood with reference to his father, there seemed to be to be a gentle nostalgic touch floating above the words, filling the air around me as I turned the pages.

The book covers quite well every minute detail of Kishore V. Sonpal’s life, ranging from his childhood that he spent cavorting across the heated tar of the Mumbai roads to his amazing work in the Railways and so much more contribution to several jobs. Inspiring as a child, husband, and a parent, he was a great individual worthy of all the praise that a reader can manage to shower upon him. There were several moments that made me smile in the book- whether it be the sweet way Hetal uncle had penned his parents’ love for each other, little blurbs that he added just to make the reader belong, his own childhood, his sister, his cousins- they all enveloped me into someone else’s life, so as to say- something that I would not consider mortally possible!

Although I’m a slightly air-headed, dreamy teen who doesn’t understand much stuff relating to business and statistics or prefers not to, the book provides a detailed account of the author’s path to success. I’d personally think that for a budding or dreaming entrepreneur, this is a fabulous read. Hetal uncle, whom I know quite well personally, seems to have inherited his innate goodness, compassion and the fantastic ability to derive life-lessons from everyday happenings from his father.

It’s so hard to write a review for this book. Could I not write my thoughts on every line? Because who am I to judge the hours and days and months of effort Hetal uncle has put into this magical little gift that he has made for his father- one of the greatest people I now know through text. I don’t know what to say about the book- it is inspirational, evocative, a guiding force, even a little manual perhaps all at once.

I’m so grateful to Hetal uncle for letting us read this brilliant work he has prepared for his father, a work worth distinguishing through the fickle passages of time, mind and more. Thank you, uncle.

A remarkable read for children and gown-ups alike, I’d recommend it to just about everyone who experiences the turmoils of daily life- because trust me, if you, right there, yes you, are complaining, these pages that have hit a century will leave you with very little to complain in its wake. Trust me.

Happy Reading, and if you’ve read it already, Happy Rereading! Jai Sri Hari!

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Hemanya Vashishtha

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