7 Seconds: A Typical Teenager, Atypical Life
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7 Seconds: A Typical Teenager, Atypical Life commonly known as 7 Seconds is a 2012 novel by the Indian scholar, poet & author Atul Kaushal. It is an environment-friendly eBook-only novel thanks to repeated rejections by leading publishing houses of India who all failed to recognize the story's potential in the current times. Many fans on the Facebook page have expressed a desire to rather read the hard copy because an ebook, however environment-friendly it may be, does not interest the reader as much as the hardcopy. It's yet to be seen which publisher realizes the script's potential in the long-existing sociological structure of India. Till then it remains only an eBook.
Loosely based on Atul's own life in the earlier quarter of the book, it is the story of a boy named Akshant Kautilya Sharma from Mathura who grows up in the loneliness of being a socially unadapted single child of working class Indian parents living in the Mathura Refinery campus. Akshant is an intelligent boy born on 23 December 1990 who is made to swap four schools until he reaches college and as a consequence he fails in nurturing any fast friendship. Akshant carries the hues of a spoilt only child of his parents in his childhood as most of his demands are met because of his being the only issue of his parents. In the middle of the story, this still eBook-only novel bears the ripe flavour of young-adult fiction with poetry imbibed smartly and with relevancy at all the twists and turns of the story. Towards the end the novel, the story convincingly undergoes a transition from a young-adult fiction to a romance novel with considerable poetic indentations.
The novel takes the problem of teenage disorientation and romance in a positive way. The protagonist sees many colours within his young-adulthood years and grows up to become a researcher who contributes towards helping solve the global fuel crisis.
The novel begins in the year 2025 with a mysterious narrator named Satyaa Guptaa playing with Akshant's children. She then starts rearranging the bits and pieces of Akshant's life, with him narrating the story in a flashback in his emails to Satyaa. In his emails, Akshant tells Satyaa in the first person everything about his childhood and his teenage till he meets her at the college.
Akshant has quite a casual run of the mill childhood like any other only child of their parents would have, the only difference being his hollow loneliness in the Mathura Refinery campus which overshadows the love given by his parents in the nuclear family. His parents are from two different areas of the nation and are finding it difficult to live happily with each other. Akshant's mother, who belonged to Mysore located in Karnataka which is located in south India before her marriage with Akshant's father who belonged to Kurukshetra in Haryana had a very hard time getting adjusted so far away from her hometown. In the absence of many real world friends, young Akshant befriends toys & stories, thereby developing a vivid imagination.
Nomadic School Life
The first of his school shifts occurs when he makes the transition from Vidya Devi Jindal School to Delhi Public School, Refinery Nagar, Mathura as the old Santa Claus-like principal of Vidya Devi Jindal School was shifting his job to Delhi Public School. Here, young Akshant is first fascinated by a cute Himachali girl named Aniketa whom he fancies for many years even though his schools keep changing.
The next school in the list of Akshant's schools is the good old Kendriya Vidyalaya, Refinery Nagar, Mathura. This school is a smaller school but Akshant feels at home only in this school. It's here that Akshant strikes gold as far as friendship is concerned, also performing brilliantly at studies. The only thing that bothers him in his middle teenage is the unfortunate display of unfaithfulness to the other by one of his parents. To distract him from the mess being created in his parents' lives, Akshant is bought a guitar by his mother after his outstanding results in 10th class CBSE examinations.
But similar situations continue in his parents' lives as the protagonist is in during the time he is trying to cope up with higher secondary and he ends up very distracted. He turns to one more distraction instead. He proposes his first crush and gets rejected. Then Akshant lets a common friend from Delhi Public School named Bhanupriya know boutit and she mmarvelsat the fact that he liked Aniketa so much that he never thought about any other girl. She tells him that if someone had proposed Given all this heavy distraction in his familial and personal life, he still manages to pass his +2 examinations. But his AIEEE rank is so poor that he ends up choosing biotechnology as his B.Tech stream trying to get along with his girlfriend Bhanupriya in the same college.
At the college, he ends up in University Institute of Engineering & Technology, at Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak over hundreds of kilometers away from Bhanupriya as she had the AIEEE competitive rank even lesser than Akshant and gets a college near Agra and fault-lines start appearing in the relation despite Akshant's monthly travelling so far to meet her, at times even sneaking out his dad's car. Akshant ignores his B.Tech while composing newer, better songs to compensate for the distance. But nothing helps Akshant persevere the relation and ultimately they break up after the relationship had gotten only over a year old. Devastated, Akshant composes a new song titled "Tu Aaye" which in its opening lyrics means "Whether you come or don't, I'll thrive" and its warm reception by the listeners whenever he plays the song helps him forget Bhanu.
But still embittered by the breakup, true to his colours, Akshant again looks for a distraction and he constructively undertakes social service at the college social service group Selflessness, getting engaged in a project titled Dream that looks after the education of underprivileged children of the labourers working in the building project of the college. Here, he comes across satisfaction quite quickly among the children. Also, the working student head of Dream programme named 'Satyaa' helps him develop positively as a person as she nags him for clearing his degree. Akshant comes across Gurleen who is apparently t better choice than Satyaa.
Then his serious road accident happens which is the first turning point in the novel and exit of Gurleen and Satyaa due to which Akshant gets time to look unto his mistakes and blunder from an outsider's perspective. Helping him improve in this tough period of loneliness is his eventual wife Anamika who helps him realize his mistakes and mend his ways.
He completes his degree and visits Anamika's collegial city in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu. There, Anamika takes Akshant on a boat ride in the Kodaikanal Lake and she confesses her true feelings for him. On observing Akshant's silence, Anamika taunts his manliness, to which he reacts unexpectedly. He aggressively lunges forward towards Anamika in the boat, sending ripples across the deserted corner of the star-shaped Kodai Lake, only to kiss his consent long and deep inside Anamika's mouth. Now Akshant receives a phone call breaking the romantic kiss. Akshant succeeds in securing an IT-sector job in Noida while being in a live-in relationship with Anamika who works for a national newspaper as a science columnist as her degree is in history of life.
Impressed with his ability to bring tremendous improvements in his life, Anamika gives into a wedding proposal by Akshant. Families meet to discuss the matrimony and it's decided that they can marry once Akshant gets a stable government job.
What ensues is a really bright phase in the novel which sees Akshant tasting real success as he succeeds in getting a job in the Mathura Refinery after appearing in yet another competitive exam.
Towards the penultimate climax, the novel bears a bright action literature hue when Akshant is travelling to Hamburg for a conference regarding biodiesel. The flight sees a hijack attempt out of which a self-righteous terrorist organization Shuddha Rakht is introduced which violently opposes the caste-based reservation system in India.
On their return to India, Akshant and Anamika are married. Everybody is happy in the end but the author gives the story yet another twist in the end.
True to their word, their respective parents not only approve a matrimony between Anamika & Akshant but they also hold the Hindu Marriage marriage with both North Indian & South Indian traditions. Akshant & Anamika visit Canada for their honeymoon and are really very content with the way life turned out to be fair with them.
Everything seems to be going alright when on his 28th birthday Akshant receives the good news from his wife Anamika that she is pregnant. Akshant's joy knows no bounds after such a good news delivered from his Anamika. He proceeds in a really jovial mood to his laboratory in the Mathura refinery where unknown to him, a suicide bomber in the guise of his pretty lab assistant awaits his arrival.
What happens in the end, does Akshant succeed in escaping death yet again?
- "Er. Atul Kaushal | LinkedIn". https://www.linkedin.com/in/eratulkaushal.
- "Atul Kaushal: Poems". http://hellopoetry.com/Drona/.
- "Amazon.com: Atul Kaushal: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". http://www.amazon.com/Atul-Kaushal/e/B00NIQ5MTC/.
- "Jat quota stir: National capital faces heat as violence spreads in Haryana - Times of India". http://www.timesofindia.com/india/Jat-quota-stir-National-capital-faces-heat-as-violence-spreads-in-Haryana/articleshow/51078877.cms.
- Kaushal, Atul. "7 Seconds: A Typical Teenager, Atypical Life". Atul Kaushal on Mark Zukerberg's Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/7SecondsAKS/.
- "Sorry, Ebooks. These 9 Studies Show Why Print Is Better". http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/print-ebooks-studies_n_6762674.html.
- "7 Seconds: Typical Guy, Not So Typical Life eBook: Atul Kaushal, Kripi Mehra, Shruti Prakash, Madhur Gupta, Akshant Kautilya, Satyaa Guptaa: Amazon.in: Kindle Store". https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00MYY0DMA.
- "Jat agitation LIVE: OBC quota bill to be tabled in Haryana Assembly; Rajnath appeals for peace after 12 killed in violence". 2016-02-20. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jat-reservation-agitation-haryana-live-updates-rohtak/.
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