This book is a compilation of articles written at different periods of time; there are three parts in the memoir – experiences, memories and travel. The author has a lyrical narrative style (typical example in para 2, page 224) and each piece is highly readable and interspersed with occasional satire, except when he unfolds bitterness in human relations. Although dispassionate, at times the bitterness lingers through and, as in memoirs in general, an element of self righteousness creeps in despite the remarkable humility that the persona of the author exemplifies in his writings.
The first and longest narrative is the personal history of Indiavision television channel, the first ever full-time news channel from Kerala. Muneer poetically describes the dreams that he nurtured about airwaves and eyeballs and of the intimate friends who helped him to make his dream come true; the conflict between the channel chairman and the Minister is also touched upon.
Muneer claims that he kept his promise to aspiring novices in TV broadcasting that he would not interfere in the functioning of the broadcasts. He had to pay a heavy political price for that. He states that he is not one who is bothered about the image of a politician or that of a public servant and that he had never lived on an image building exercise.
The images that Muneer portrays about his parents are larger than life and the humility and pride that he possesses is ample testimony to the way in which he was brought up.
C.H. Mohammed Koya, his father, was a colossal figure in Kerala politics and he was a man who was principled and was selfless. Similarly, Muneer’s mother who managed the house and brought up the children without expressing her problems is an ideal mother.
Memories about his father are frequent in the collection. There is a piece on the humour of his father. There are a few pieces where the son shows his inheritance of that satire, while narrating experiences of political functions. There are several politicians and others from different walks of life with whom Muneer has had a close association. Leaders of the Indian Union Muslim League, former Chief Ministers and colleagues in the party and the party’s mouthpiece are dealt with kid gloves, as Muneer finds only positive qualities in all of them.
Muneer is a gifted singer and his love for music is well known. He unravels his association with singer K.J.Yesudas, composers such as the late Devarajan and A.R. Rahman and with actor Mammootty. It is with tremendous respect that Muneer talks about several outstanding writers and poets, and the same humility and affection come through in anecdotes about Bappootty, who was a part of the domestic life.
The last part of the book carries four pieces relating to travel and exploration into the sea, which is claimed to have originated a new kind of tourism in Kerala. The others relate to visits to the famed Frankfurt Book Fair, Japan and Gangotri. Though the writing style is evocative, one found them to be lacking in depth.
A major problem with the book is that when articles of different times are compiled, they need to be subjected to the blue pencil to avoid repetition and to keep up with the period of publication. Such a lack of the blue pencil has substantially spoiled the otherwise brilliant book. The annoyance is palpable as the publishing company was owned by Muneer.