Army tales from the border 

Author Suresh Kundal, in his debut book, walks the readers through the initimate moments of uniformed officer Dara’s life  

CHENNAI: Author Suresh Kundal’s debut offering is a narrative anyone can connect with. It’s the story of a small-town boy, born into a poor family, fighting odds to become an army officer, and the turn his life takes thereafter. The author dishes this evergreen trope through his book, Dara. The story, set in the early 1940s is a blend of true incidents and fiction.

Author Suresh Kundal
Author Suresh Kundal

“Dara is a young boy living in a remote village, Vaidan Di Kotli, situated at the Indo-Pak border. His schoolmaster encourages him to join the Army. Dara meets a caring friend in a recruitment camp. After joining his regiment, he discovers a band of brothers — a family beyond blood,” Suresh narrates. “His emotions are something all of us go through. It is not an extraordinary book, but something that anyone can read in their leisure time and cherish the moments of their life. It’s the story of you and me, the story of a common man.”

Though this is Suresh Kundal’s first published book, his literary journey began when he was in school. He used to write about five pages — of his interaction with his father and travel experiences, in his diary before going to sleep every day — a practice which he still follows. “Dara’s childhood is based on my dad’s. He was an army man who served the country for 28 years. He took me to several mountains, deserts, and plateaus. I wrote about everything I saw and I did not know then that a book was in the making,” he laughs.

Talking about his favourite chapter in the book, Suresh shares, “Dara has a sister Beero. She is forcibly married to an alcoholic who later dies. That moment where she does not know whether to feel happy or sad about it, what she goes through has been written with a lot of thought. All of us have those bittersweet moments, it is all about how we take it.”

The book also has hints of poetry in the parts where Dara falls in love with a girl. The sketches in the book have been illustrated by Suresh Kundal himself. “I am currently writing the second book. It will be out soon,” he says. The author was born into a Punjabi family. He is currently living in Mumbai with his family.Dara, published by Austin Macauley is priced at `1,011 and is available on Amazon.in 

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