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ONCE THERE WAS ME by [Bobby Sachdeva]

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ONCE THERE WAS ME Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 222 ratings

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Review

‘A man's search for freedom from an imposed identity and forced displacement to an understanding of religion and finally a rejection of how the idea of God is marketed to billions in India. Lucid prose, deeply emotional, and scathing in its treatment of organized religion. Powerful!’ – AMANDEEP SANDHU, author of Roll of Honour

‘Bobby Sachdeva's book Once there was Me is at once raw and sincere. Filled with painful memories of a tumultuous past, this is a narrative that is deeply personal but one that the world must read - especially today when differences can be deadly’ –PARO ANAND, author of No Guns at My Son’s Funeral

‘A compassionate novel about lives distorted by the tragedies of Partition and the events of 1984 and 2002, and one man's attempt to break free from the stranglehold of the past in order to usher in a brave new India. A work with especial relevance for the times we live in’ –VIKRAM KAPUR, author of The Assassinations: A Novel of 1984

‘A deeply personal account on a sprawling canvas of history in which desires and conflicts intersect with borders and pogroms. An unsettling story of dispossession and displacement in a world where the earth keeps moving under the feet. Pointedly topical for the times we live in’ –ANIRUDH KALA, author of The Unsafe Asylum: Stories of Partition & Madness

PRAISE FOR THE Stories of Us by Bobby Sachdeva

‘Bobby Sachdeva has the rare talent to think of original stories. The stories move you, often question prevalent beliefs and expose shams of our society. There is a visual quality in the storytelling that makes the stories accessible’– BOBBY BEDI, film producer and director, Kaleidoscope Entertainment Ltd

‘These stories of inhuman bondage, be it of blind faith, lust or exploitation, will hopefully shock the reader out of complacency to seek answers to the questions’ – NIRUPAMA DUTT, poet, journalist and translator

‘His short stories will give you more than enough fodder for understanding life. What better way to succinctly capture the lengths of moments in words’ – KRISHIKA LULLA, film producer, Eros International

‘These thought-provoking stories … make us question many undesirable aspects of everyday life which we mindlessly subscribe to. A very readable, interesting book’ – MITRA PHUKAN, author, translator and columnist

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Bobby Sachdeva is a storyteller by choice and a businessman by profession. He writes stories to highlight the problems with norms and standards in our changing society and believes that these perceptions can change. In all his writings, Bobby Sachdeva engages with the problems in the lives of common people and the ways to resolve these. In the last two years, he has written more than a dozen feature films, web series, and tele-serials and his popular book of short stories titled Stories of Us. Apart from writing, Sachdeva has produced nine short films in Hindi and three feature films in Punjabi and started a fully equipped studio, Ajab Productions, in his hometown Amritsar where he lives with his family. The production of his first full-length Hindi film will begin in 2021. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Once there was me

Also by the author

Bobby Sachdeva

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08961PHGY
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pan Macmillan India (25 June 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1316 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 324 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 222 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
222 global ratings

Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 6 July 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rightfully disillusioned!
By Suchi Versha Shukla on 6 July 2020
“Indians like to portray their country as a picture of unity in diversity, which was a sentiment proposed by the Sikhs’ first guru, Sri Nanak Devji. But neither Sikhs nor Indians lived by this any more.”( location 456) sums up the disillusioned state of mind of the protagonist Booby during his journey from a high spirited 14 year old boy to a 20 something worldly wise man. In the recent past I read and reviewed another book by the same author titled ‘Stories of Us’ and was remarkably impressed by the lucid narrative and a deep sense of awareness and insight into the lives of commoners.
This book has a background of repeated and prolonged communal riots initiated by the murder of Late prime minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984 by her Sikh security guards. A poignant picture of devastation, misery, greed, selfishness and rare sights of empathy are etched in this book with great finesse. How true is Bobby when he says, “Are Indians so hard-hearted that they cannot feel the pain of the poor and needy around them?’ ( location 197). A young boys heart is crushed repeatedly after one or the other incident or accident where he stands helpless with his father, two elder sisters Lovey and Daisy and younger brother Gagan. But there also come in his life some small but significant episodes in Amritsar or Delhi compelling him to utter, ‘Blood is thicker than water,’ I had often heard, but now I knew this to be true.(location 155).
The book also touches upon the radicalism infiltering all religions thereby killing the real spirit of empathy and concern for all. How easily young minds get tarnished by the polluted mindsets of these extremists has been prominently discussed in the protagonists journey ultimately leading to his realisation that, “religion was not for display. True religion is a belief system to be internalized, not imposed externally.” (location 941). He does go through a roller coaster ride in his life transiting between his schools and then college and the factory owned by them. His forgery at the passport office, his visit to America, his harmless friendships with two Sandeep Guptas or Harbir Singh etc touch upon various crucial topics in a subtle way.
What happens to his extremist ideas when he sees one Sikh looting another? What happens when he proposes that religious shrines do not need money; the poor do? How does he live up to the teachings like, “Sikh boys are told from childhood that they are the bravest of men and can never show any sign of weakness under any circumstance.” (location 406)? In order to find answers to these and many more misconceptions do give this book with a suggestive cover a read. A straight forward, transparent yet descriptive journey of a family rising from rubbles to glory. Recommended for all with four star rating. Congratulations.
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Reviewed in India on 13 August 2020
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One person found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 9 August 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply personal and heart clenching account, will definitely give you a direction of thought.
By KITABI KEEDA on 9 August 2020
#INSIGHT: Once There Was Me is a novel which questions the old and orthodox religious beliefs of the people which unknowingly become the source of extracting money, riots and communal differences. Along with that it also portrays the increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

#REVIEW: The novel is an eye opener for those who have wrong definition of religion and God. I loved Author's idea of mixing autobiography with fiction which leaves people guessing what is fiction and what is not. Surely the author has his own way to take the story forward as he has build the ground slowly and gradually and later on comes with a bang. The climax amazed me the most. Exceptionally great account of personal trauma experienced over the life span of the Author.

#BEST QUOTE: But I could not understand why people thought their Gods were so weak that they needed humans - and politicians - to protect them.

#STRENGTH: The cover page attracted me the most and thus the author wins at the first impression he created. The language was easy to understand. There was that required flow in the story. The writing style of the author was commendable. Each character was given his own space to bloom.

#WEAKNESS: Except the fact that it was a bit long, I didn't find any other issue with the book.

#TARGET READERS: Strongly recommended to anyone and everyone.

#AGE GROUP: Above 15

#RATING: 4.6/5
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Top reviews from other countries

Apoorva's Journal
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, Engaging, Realistic!!
Reviewed in the United States on 10 August 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, Engaging, Realistic!!
Reviewed in the United States on 10 August 2020
This is my first book from the author; I took it up as the book's cover, and the title looked quite intriguing. Part autobiographical, part fiction, the author has done commendable work in representing the horrific circumstances that he and his family had to endure during the 1947 partition and 1984 riots. He also places his opinions on religious regards in India. As you read, it gives you goosebumps and leaves you in tears.

I loved the way he has put forth his own encounters in such detail. The story-telling is absorbing, and you can't help but crave to know what's next. The spiritual perspectives are stipulated in detail and totally relatable, however, after a while, it got monotonous and began to take away attention. The end is entirely surprising, and I felt it was a forced one just to give it a big twist. There are a few grammatical errors that can certainly be taken care of in the next version.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's a glimpse into the truth of today's India that the author has tried to put forth. He believes that his book will spur at least some of them to take the first step towards the prosperity of the nation. He tells that trust and acceptance of fallacious faiths will only lead to downfall; asking questions is absolutely essential.

I would recommend this book to everyone, it keeps you hooked!
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About the author

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Bobby Sachdeva is an Indian author and film producer. His family has a family of forced migrations. The taboos and issues in society triggered Bobby to write. He has been writing around the truths of society in a very direct and courageous way.

His first book 'Stories of us' was published in 2020 and talks of the issues in Indian society. Bobby aspires to serve the society in every way he can.