Review: An Excursion of Insight

By Harsh Agarwal. Grade: B


An Excursion of Insight

Sonam was young of course, but this does not tell the story of just another young lad! Sonam did fall in love with Sarika, but this is not just another candid love endeavour! It all happened in an Engineering College Campus, but still it’s not just the tale of another Campus. Sonam, who had his own dreams and vision, came from the Land of Bhutan to India to pursue Engineering. A Buddhist (both by birth and faith), a little philosophical too, but the reader is not given a philosophical treatise on Buddhism. A story that takes you from the valleys and tea-gardens of Assam, to the hullabaloo of student life and eventually to an Excursion, An Excursion of Insight…


I’ve never seen a synopsis before full of negative sentences. But atleast all of those were for the right reasons. This basically is a story about a fascinated foreigner who comes to India to study engineering and how his life takes turns that he had never imagined. It’s about the novel experiences he faces, the highs he gets to, the lows he goes through and the ultimate transformation of his world.


What makes a man, a man? Is it his background, his thinking, his money or some random combination of externalities which we all know as fate? What makes a man are his choices – the choices that one makes in the face of reality, the choices that one makes when faced with the burden of his actions and their consequences, the choices that one makes when faced the test of time. What does one do when all his beliefs start to wither, when hit at the one blind spot that one makes for oneself – love? This is the story of Sonam Dorji, as he crosses the threshold of his country to enter into the college life in India. It certainly is not as grim as it sounds but it definitely is not to be taken lightly.


The writing is good, the sequence of events is proper but the characterisation could have been a little better. What takes away a lot from the pros is the sheer simplicity of the entire novel. Be it the vocabulary, the prose or the plot, the novel was simplistic start to end. What happens due to this is that the imprint on the reader’s mind is a little light. Either you have to have a sparkling, shining singular aspect in your novel which can compensate for everything else or you make sure that the novel at least becomes a part of the reader’s memory.


There are four underlying entities which make the story – love, friendship, education and philosophy/religion. When one takes centre stage, the other silently falls to the curtains. But it is the reaction between all of these that makes the story what it is. The love angle has both sorrow of parting and betrayal along with the unparalleled joy that makes everything worth it. The friendship angle is not epic, but perhaps it’s justified on the grounds that in reality, this is what happens to a majority of people. The education system of India is also taken upon. And lastly, how religious beliefs also have a major part to play in one’s life.


There are few things to mention:

“He dialled his mother’s number but it was switched off. The phone would have been charged.”

I think the author meant discharged.

“… while Sarika just passed a smile. Sonam was wondrous, unparallel and amazing.”

Unparallel means something which is not straight or parallel. I think the word the author was looking for was unparalleled.

“… and Sarika was still playing with Sonam’s lips. Sonam wanted to feel them completely, but a netted tight cloth over was obstructing him. He had no experience to deal with it.”

It could so easily have been so that the author could have used the actual term as opposed to “a netted tight cloth.” It is this attention to detail that is a great value addition for any novel.


All-in-all, Harsh Agarwal has given a suitable novel, worthy of atleast one good read and therefore should be commended for the same. An Excursion of Insight gives you an insight into the tumultuous times of a foreigner and the insight is definitely a good one. Final verdict – read once, feel free to repeat performance.

This post was written by

Jayesh – who has written posts on Vault of Books ||.
I am Jayesh Surisetti. I have been chasing books ever since I got to know them.

Directly or indirectly, every single person on this Earth owes a lot to books. This is my way of repaying books.

My favourite genres are fiction, alternative history and murder mystery.

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