A government school in Poleru village is destined to be demolished by the authorities. The school was once a gurukul during the Chola period and a testimony to the rich history of the then prosperous cluster of villages in the kingdom. What would Renu do to save her humble school? Well, the Buffalo Garu gives her the wisdom to believe in herself and gather the courage to act. As the summer begins, Renu and her band of energetic friends – Lakshmi, Mary and Sweta, resolve to save the school. An innocent act of public protest leads the girls to unwittingly expose an illegal land-deal racket run by some powerful people. Things get worse when a politician linked to it gets brutally murdered. Inspector Prasad, an honest and patient man of the law, investigates the maze of connections that rattles the quaint village. Curiosity, grit, honesty, and selfless human bonds work in unison to save the school…and braving the odds, Renu protects Poleru.
I finally got around to reading this and overall I thought it was entertaining even if there were snatches of suspense and thrills along the way. I had a lot of fun reading “One Summer in Poleru.” The children were pesky, funny, witty, but adorable. My heart goes for them. Right since the cover page and black & white illustrations inside the book, I felt that the story is going to be set in some primitive place, yeah it wasn’t that old but a rustic fictional village “Poleru” may be in Andhra region, due to Telugu tongue.
The novel is unpredictable, it has narration from many sides, thus the novel let readers interpret at their own…no predictably detected. The setting of the village is enchanting, the bundle of protagonists and antagonists characters is lively and likeable.
The plot begins one summer in Poleru. An old government school has been declared to shut down for building a road that will connect a few villages nearby. Renu, the student of 7th class, have objection to his order. What alone she can do or to avert the government’s decision. On her way home, she meets a buffalo with a red mark on her face. It builds courage and hope in Renu.
Soon Renu begins the protest to save her school. Many of her friends and villagers join gradually. Well, there are some powerful people from the politics and church and government that try trampling the protest. As a result, the watchman dies, next Giri, a powerful political figure notorious for shady land deals, is murdered. The web looks dark and deep. The case is handled to inspector Prasad. He begins the investigation, one after another shocking hidden facts are divulged that rattle the village folks.
What next? Will Renu be able to save her school? Or she may get killed like Giri? Can innocent children outpace firmly established government officials like Tahsildar?
I am going to stop here. You have to grab your copy to know more about this. Personally, I don’t think it gets the love it deserves. A purely entertaining novel with a child protagonist! Nanda writes with a tinge of sarcasm in his tone, it was a beautiful part that magnifies the idiosyncrasies of the characters. The novel may be more about crime, murders, and so on…to be honest I enjoyed it like anything. Class is class! Superb story and narrative!!
5 out of 5!
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