The Last Inning and Beyond
U.D. Choubey and Smriti Rajvardhini
Price: Rs 390
The Last Inning and Beyond is a fictionalised account of the life of the book’s author, U.D. Choubey’s. The story is told by Choubey and her daughter, Smriti Rajvardhini. Jimmy (the character based on Choubey) is interesting in many ways. Being 73, he addresses himself in the book as Jimmy73. In this volume, the author is narrating stories to Lord Yama while seriously ill. Various themes from Jimmy’s life like satire, humour, philosophy, management and the like come into play when he describes his life’s event to Yama. Among the 24 stories in the book, seven are penned down by Choubey’s daughter Smriti Rajvardhini. The text in the book is enriched with a collection of family photos juxtaposed with respective stories.
One of the stories, “Baidyanthpur”, talks about life in a village named Baidyanathpur where Jimmy was born. Here Choubey, while describing the common adversities in the village, like lack of infrastructure, keeps the reader hooked to the page. The writing entwines humour and sarcasm which welcomes the reader into the narrative.
He portrays the appalling medical facilities near the aforementioned village with entertaining details. An excerpt from the story reads, “The village barely had any medical facility hence people had no other option but to talk across the village to the nearby city only to be attended by unqualified and desi doctors. Those who stated to hold the degrees actually had never visited the university. People relied on these doctors who used to prescribe a few medicines but never failed to inject distilled water which was considered as the best medicine. People would mostly get cured with such prescriptions. Probably it was to do with confidence level, which helped them overcome any disease. Faith is the superb commodity to keep one happy under all circumstances.”
Here he goes on to describe the simplicity of village life before reservation made its way into the rural community. He also gives the credit for his political knowledge to a septuagenarian “Baba” in the village with whom he shared a close bond.
In the story titled “Jimmy in Love at Seven”, the author shares his deep love for his neighbour Sriba in the village. He takes the reader to his childhood where he truly felt the power of platonic love. This intimacy led him to an understanding that in love there is no space for fear, caste and creed. He also for the first time acknowledges that separation is painful.
The author, with the sequence of events, emphasises the viewpoint that the ability to encounter problems with grit and determination provides unique opportunity to shape destiny and lead a purposeful life. He notes, “The real personality — full of perfections, comes only when one is subjected to adversities. Adversity breeds success and is perhaps the best friend in one’s life.”
It appears that through this book the author is trying to find himself. Did Jimmy succeed in the endeavour? Read on to find out.