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Book Review: Resident Dormitus by Vikas Rathi

November 28, 2011

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you went through it with childlike nonchalance?
Have you ever wondered whether you should pursue happiness, or happily pursue life?
Have you ever felt tormented by the trivial and the profound? Welcome to the world of Achet.
Achet hails from a small town. Having excelled at whatever the world threw at him, he is set to climb the tallest corporate ladders  around. But he doesn’t know what he wants from life. Both, his desire to explore life and his work take him to Singapore. And thus begins the journey of self-discovery.
Despite the hectic schedule at work he finds the time to cynically size up those around him, experiment with drugs, lie for cheap thrills, display a complete disregard for professional ethics, almost commits career-suicide and a . . . cold-blooded murder.
Is there salvation for Achet? If so, is the price too high? Find out for yourself.



Achet is a small-town young man at the beginning of his corporate career. His story also becomes the story of his friends – Arjuna, Dev, Alex, Bala and the experiences thrown at them as they struggle to climb the corporate ladder.

At some level, the story of Achet and his friends becomes the story of all the young people, starting out their career, forging new friendships, living away from their homes, indulging in smoking, drinking and discussion about sex and living life the way they want.

At another level, I failed to identify with the character of Achet, when he goes about his life in an extremely careless fashion. He misses his orientation programme, lies about even the pettiest thing and shows a deep nonchalance about all that is going on in his life. The characterisation of Achet inspired incredulity at times. At places, I was shaking my head in disbelief at some of Achet’s antics. Who lies to the police about theft of laptop when all he had to do was have a missing diary lodged? Who in their right mind would lie about designation in office presentations?

However, Achet’s propensity to outsource all important official assignments, often with monetary reward made me wonder how much money he was actually making as a trainee. Also, I could never really visualize how Achet would look. Thin was all that was offered as his physical appearance. He lost appeal for me the moment he became a hazy fictional character.

On the other hand, I could totally identify with Alex’s and Dev’s burning desire to excel in life. Again Arjuna is a completely different personality but not totally unbelievable. His ambition to do something for the Tamils in Sri Lanka was brought out well by the author. I also feel that Bala’s character could have been developed more and a little more elaborately. The office slut turning into a desperate want-to-settle-down woman was too simplistic, especially when initially she was introduced as a character with promise.

The storyline, at least on the blurb sounded very interesting but failed to impress me when I finally finished the story. Somewhere, in the middle, I lost interest in the various events of Achet’s life, mainly because Achet failed to evoke any more sympathy or interest for me.

The author uses philosophy in abundance and in the mouth of every character. Some of them seemed out of place but I really liked two philosophical sermons of Achet – one which he gives to Suraj on fidelity and one which he gives to Bala on choice of love. 

However I must mention the writing style of the author. I was pleasantly surprised to see a grammatical error-free, lucid and very fresh way of writing from an Indian writing in English. Some of his metaphors were brilliant. His dialogues are sprinkled with philosophy and humour alike, which was definitely a new experience among all the new-age English writing of Indian authors.     

Overall, a very fresh treatment of an otherwise insipid storyline, with brilliant expression of language.


Book: Resident Dormitus
Author: Vikas Rathi
ISBN: 8129117541
ISBN-13: 9788129117540,978-8129117540
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 2011
Publisher: Rupa & Company-New Delhi


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