Review: “Zero Not Out” by Vamshi Krishna

“It’s your game and you have to play it your own way. If you are beaten and down because of your opponents, get up and deal with it.”

The story starts with the protagonist, Varun Krishna, trying to find investors for his startup. From there on the story delves into Varun’s past, his schooling years and the time he spent in his college. Varun was a brilliant student from his childhood and very mature, he also had a keen interest in cricket from his childhood. Varun’s story is one of the many, he represents the general case of a typical Indian middle-class family’s son, who dreams of getting into an IIT to make his family proud. When I read the blurb of the book and it mentioned IIT, I thought it would be a typical story of a kid slogging off trying to get in IIT but someone said it very correctly that we should not judge a book by its cover. The storyline was simple and a little predictable, basically we all know that when we read novels and we have that hinting suspicion of what’s going to happen next but we still get shocked when it happens, that is what explains my feeling for this exceptional story. I liked the novel also because the author kept the story simple but didn’t let it get monotonous and boring, he kept us on our heels by creating twists in places where we least expected, I mean the way Varun introduced himself to his crush was something that takes guts, not just to do it but to write about it as well. Also, Varun’s story teaches young kids that it is okay to not like something in your career that you previously thought was your life’s path, he taught us that we should never lose hope even in the time when we think everything is lost because our family is there to support us, always.

Vamshi also shines the spotlight on the much needed “dark topic” that mental health is in India. Even nowadays when children in India try to talk to their parents about their disturbed mental health, then their parents give them cold answers, ‘like its a phase and it will pass’ or ‘you’re fine, just stop overthinking so much.’ They don’t understand that we can’t stop overthinking on our own, and if a kid still persists, then he is declared depressed and treated like a social pariah. We Indians need to start talking about Mental Health more aggressively to prevent the countless suicides that happen all over the country, both ones, the ones who end their life and the ones who think about ending their lives and die a little every day. We also need to learn that in life, we will face ups and downs, sometimes life will throw us down so hard that we won’t want to get back up, but when we do with the help and support our loved ones, we will bounce back, that was the secret of Varun’s success, not his genius but a understanding and loving support system in the form of his parents, professors and his friends.

We learn a lot from reading this book and I would recommend it to everyone who wants a simple read with a strong message. Personally, this book has opened doors for me, which I knew existed, but never dared to open. I suppose it’s all a leap of faith, either we face our fears and play or get out without ever stepping on the field.