Thursday, October 30, 2014



An author is happy when he finds that he has been able to connect with the reader and that is his first reward. I am overwhelmed by the first reviews that have come in, posted on Amazon, Goodreads and Notion Press. I know that I have shared these with my friends as and when each review came in but I feel the necessity to share these also with the readers of my blog who lie even outside my social media circles. But I know that I have a long way to go before I reach out to a larger audience. It is not vanity I assure you, but is a quest to gain acceptability and hence an authenticity to my writings. This should spur me on to improve myself for I am also aware that this is the start of a journey. I should thank all the reviewers for having taken the time to really go in to the soul of the book and put down in their own words what they have seen and felt. Like I say in the ‘Introduction’ – “Life is never white or black, it has always been a combination” and so do I expect the way people will look at my book.

Sridhar Raju's review 
Oct 19, 14
5 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2014

The ’Ordinary Man’ is ordinary only to the extent that he is not a public figure or famous. He is ordinary to the extent that all of us are ordinary and lead mundane lives. Yet with his extraordinary thoughts he captivates us. He is involved in a conversation with someone, whom he calls his alter ego, on the events that shaped his life-his father’s demise when he (the protagonist) was just 13, his days at a premier engineering institution, his dabbling with painting, drama and music., his traditional marriage and the story of his love for his loyal wife and lovely daughters, his mixed feelings about his moderately successful career and then his thoughts on what could have been. The author jumps from the past to the present and back to the past, replicating the action of a human brain which works not chronologically but by association. The story is interesting and well told. And you realise that this “Ordinary Man’ is by no means ordinary. Shakespeare, Camus, Sartre and Gide among many others, quantum physics and Schrodinger’s cat all influence the protagonist and one sees the existential crisis or angst( as the author terms it) in his musings.

I must confess that I started the book expecting a cross between a blog and a chronology of the author’s life with a dash of humour thrown in. While I found all three I also found a profound exposition on human nature, on morality, on passion and compassion packaged around lovable human beings.

There were many passages which brought a lump to my throat and there were others which brought smiles of happiness. It is rare that a book can touch both the head and the heart. ‘I am Just an Ordinary Man’ does just that.

Keep them coming, Mr.Subbu.

Gangaikondan S rated it 5 of 5 stars
Review for G S Subbu’s “I am an Ordinary Man” –2014
By Kris Krishna

Which male individual born and growing up during the mid 20th century in the rigid middle class in post independent India has not felt the angst of who they really were and what they were destined to be?

G.S.Subbu in this semi autobiographical and fictional novelette has given voice to those “yearning to breathe free”. He connects with a whole generation of Indians that felt “left out” in the “freedom,” that India promised in 1947.

His approach to story telling adopts the protagonist versus alter ego style and in the process he reinvents himself several times to describe the many what ifs that could have moved him from being an “ordinary man” to someone more “successful”.

The depth of his erudition is on full display as he quotes philosophers, poets and artistes to buttress his argument that “waiting for miracles” does not guarantee escape from being an “ordinary man”.

In the end his fictionalized last years..”death” as it approaches him is no scarier than the comfort of knowing that his “grandchildren will recognize him” and relationships and his legacy will endure.

A wonderfully conceived book and I recommend it if you want an introduction to the age old question, “Who am I?”

Kishor Kulkarni's review 
Oct 25, 14
5 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2014

“I am just an ordinary man” is an honest and contemplative exposition of the author’s mind in a well articulated style. Although the author’s life as brought out in this book is like that of an ordinary middle class person from a conservative family background, the book is not really a simple autobiographical account of the author. It is much more than that. It presents an extra-ordinary philosophical view of an ordinary man’s life. It starkly brings out the fundamental fact of life that one, especially during the sunset years of one’s life, has to more likely tread a lonely path. This is brought out very effectively, for example, in the fact of the author and his wife leaving home together in the evening, but the author turning right towards the beach for a walk and his wife turning left towards the neighbourhood temple!

The author claims himself to be an ordinary man where the ordinariness is in the sense that most of us seem to be programmed to go through our own life willy nilly trying to fit our situation as best as possible. Most of us are ordinary because most of the times, we keep seeing only a very limited and near horizon, possibly because we do not know or are not designed to know the “big purpose” behind not just our individual life but behind this creation as a whole.

The author says he is an ordinary man and that is what he brings out through most of the book by narrating his life story. However, the chapter titled “Sublimation” reveals how an ordinary man’s journey of life can culminate in the realisation of the fact that there is no universally applicable purpose of life, nor a particularly ideal goal to be achieved. Life is just a journey along a circular loop and that realisation is the real aim of the last of the four phases of life, namely sanyasashram – a detachment from life even without leaving home and family.

All in all, most of us being ordinary should be able to identify with the protagonist of the book and should get spurred on to contemplate on their own individual life philosophically.

Nk's review 
Oct 25, 14
5 of 5 stars
Read on October 24, 2014

Reading a book in one session, is not something I am not used to in the recent days. But reading Subbu's book "I am just AN ORDINARY MAN" in one shot has been some kind of record for me.

Subbu depicts like Samuel Beckett, the life of an ordinary man, but the capitals in the Title tell us something - that is no ordinary man. Life achievements are counted in the modern times through the number of wounds one carries, but unlike the ancient days to be a Bhishma, one does not need a bed of arrows any more. Subbu captures it all - ordinary is no longer ordinary; life's journey is a rock that stands still even as the river keeps on rushing by.

The story surprises you, although it is so written that there cannot be any surprise at all! I also love 'The Beatles' and they said it right - "Because the world is round."

Please read this book, buy a few a copies, gift them, because - Because the world is round.

By Induchoodan Menon on 29 October 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
5 out of 5 stars

The fictional autobiography “I am just an ordinary man” by GS.Subbu is not an ordinary book by any standard. The author does not follow the oft-repeated style of telling the story in a chronological order. Instead he goes back and forth in time mainly focussing on the experiences and their impact on his life. He has an easy felicity with the language and is able to convey some of the deeply moving experiences of his life with rare brevity of expression. One that stands out in my mind is the scene where the he narrates the loss of his father when he is still a small boy and how his mother holds him closely watching the funeral pyre of his father as if to convey that she is there to take care of him. He analyses his own life in an impartial manner through the medium of a friend who is nothing but his own alter-ego. This is the life story of a person who through the fever and fret of life never ceases the search for the deep inner silence.
The failures in life disappoint him only briefly as he bounces back to his normal self by examining and analysing the events in their proper perspective. The success or failure in the external world does not matter when it comes to achieving the deep inner silence. In the chapter titled “Sublimation” the author foresees himself in the final years of his life. He seems to understand that the search for meaning of life is ultimately pointless as it is left to oneself to give a meaning to it. His philosophical musings are highly readable and his exposition of dreams he has has a Jungian quality.

The narrative of the story is very gripping and is spruced up with some humorous touches here and there. In short this is a book which comes under “must read” category.

1 comment:

GS Subramanian said...

Aparajithan Krishnamurthy's comments on Facebook reproduced here

Aparajithan Krishnamurthy: Superb GS Subbu. Enjoyed reading your book. The cover page, the photo, the book title all suggest that there is mystery, deep thoughts, an extra-ordinary man to be met in the book. The style and language is riveting. The angst felt by any sensitive man, the gnostic, agnostic and atheistic in every thinking man, the love of parents, children, friends felt b y any ordinary man are shown in excellent narration. The last perhaps a little too much. Element of suspense grips the reader. The diarist is extra-ordinary and is the bed-rock of the novel. Subbu's experiments with truth and capturing or less than 160 pages is extra-ordinary. Congratulations. Notion Press may be asked to revisit and correct line 6 page 79 and line 3 page 102.