What happens when an old friend from college suddenly vanishes without a trace, and the camaraderie of a lifetime is threatened?
College fun and frolic, days of gay abandon spent over endless cups of chai and conversations, last-minute assignments, study circles, burning the midnight oil, young love, broken hearts, and a close-knit camaraderie between four students fresh out of school that lasts a lifetime, is exactly what Sayan Bhattacharya’s book Friendship Calling is all about.Reunion
The book, a first-person account by the author, opens in Mumbai where the author goes to visit Bijoy, an old friend from college. The two go down memory lane about the days they spent in college with their friends Debashish and Kaushik.
They spend time reminiscing about Kaushik, who, in his own quiet way had been an integral part of their group, his girlfriend Ankita, their break-up and the heartbreak that had followed, and how eventually they all go their separate ways after graduation.
Naturally, the trio is happy when Kaushik meets Manisha at the Star TV office where he is employed much later.
Flung in different directions, the four friends find themselves in different cities, pursuing their dreams. Despite their strenuous schedules, they manage to keep in touch with one another and keep themselves abreast of developments in one another’s lives.
Suddenly, they lose all contact with Kaushik, and there comes a time when the trio have no inkling of where he is. Completely baffled and at a loss at how to trace the fourth member of their group who seems to have mysteriously disappeared, the narrator finally decides to take matters into his own hands. He gets in touch with Manisha, Kaushik’s girlfriend, and they embark on a journey in dogged pursuit of Kaushik’s whereabouts.
All attempts to gain any information about Kaushik prove futile until the duo meets Kaushik’s neighbour who hands over their friend’s briefcase to them.
When the narrator finds a business card of a certain Devapriyo Sengupta from Switzerland, the duo decide that he alone holds the key to Kaushik’s disappearance.
How the duo eventually manages to trace Kaushik and discover the horrifying truth behind his disappearance forms the climax.The Verdict
The book has all the appeal of a campus novel. It delineates beautifully the thrill of revisiting student life, campus addas and chai sessions, college romance, forging long-lasting friendships and more. These aspects make the book an enjoyable read for most parts.
However, minor aspects such as the forced manner in which the author tries to use suspense to hold the reader’s interest to reiterate the obvious, and errors in the name of one of the female characters, which has a tendency to confuse the reader, could have been avoided.