Book Review

Once Upon a Time in College

Once Upon a Time in College
by Gumlat Maio
Notion Press

[ Yater Nyokir ]

Gumlat Maio’s trilogy, Once Upon a Time in College, shares the simple pleasures of college life. For the freshman, it’s like a handbook of fun-filled college life. For graduates, it will take them back to the much-cherished nostalgic memories.
The trilogy is a series of three novels: Once Upon a Time College; Once Upon a Time in College, Part 2; and Once Upon a Time in College, Part 3. Set in North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri, it is an amusing collection of tales of the campus life of a freshman, based on real incidents. The novel gyrates around the exciting experiences of the protagonist, Gaam, a medical student. The confusion of a new start, new friendships, hostel life, heartbreaks and the stress of campus life is told in such a way that each page is filled with hilarious episodes. The novel exactly captures the experience of those awkward moments of adjustment to a new life in college as a fresher. The inclusion of real-life events makes the story incredibly relatable and endlessly humorous; it will keep you entertained till the end.
On the serious side, it is difficult to categorize the genre of the novel because it neither falls in the standard genre of campus novel, nor is it autobiographical; but it embraces slender features of both and tend more towards the genre of comedy. The stretched out details of events sometimes make the narrative verbose. However, the lucidity of language, mingled with rhetoric and artistic richness, compensate for the flaw of the work. The writer must be appreciated for exploring a new frame in the literary spectrum of Arunachal Pradesh. It is a must-read book to lift your mood.
An excerpt from the book: “… to take the revenge, Lokha photographed my leopard-print Jaangia hanging next to his air-conditioned one and later showed it to the girls, adding that I had haunted a leopard in the jungles of Arunachal and made an underwear out of its hide.” (Yater Nyokir is a member of the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society.)