Home Book Review 03:02 by @MainakDhar

03:02 by @MainakDhar

by Vidya Sury September 20, 2016 7 comments
0302 mainak dhar book review vidya sury

Feeling a little overwhelmed with my to-do list, I indulged in a wee bit of self-pity yesterday. I missed my Mom more intensely than ever, because she had a wonderful way of joking me out of any situation. (I am not sure about my usage of “joking” but you get what I mean). So I went into self-talk mode. And decided to simply snap out of it by shutting down my computer. I switched off. I made myself a tumbler of strong coffee and settled down to read a book.

That book is 03:02 by Mainak Dhar. I started the book on 18 Sept at 6 pm and finished it the next day at 1 pm. I would have read it faster, but had to take essential breaks – cooking, cleaning and all those mundane things. I really enjoyed the book.

And here is my review of the book!

0302 by Mainak Dhar - Book review by Vidya Sury

  • Paperback:350 pages
  • Publisher:Westland (16 June 2016)
  • Language:English
  • Genre: Crime / thriller / mystery

Here is the book blurb

At 03:02 on a Sunday morning, the world as we knew it came to an end. 

Mumbai suddenly went black — no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. It was as if someone had turned off the master switch of our civilization, turning us back hundreds of years overnight. We learned that it was not just Mumbai, but much of the world that had been impacted. 

We also learned that it was no accident. A deadly enemy was behind it. An enemy that was now in our midst, seeking to conquer us and destroy our way of life. This is how our war for freedom began. A war that was to be waged not on the borders or by the Army, but in our homes and streets, with us as the soldiers. 

This is our story. 

03:02 by Mainak Dhar – My review

I love it when I read a book and then, want to grab everything the author has written. Mainak Dhar is one of those authors. Whether I’ll enjoy everything he has written remains to be seen, but that feeling? It is great.

I also love the crime/thriller/mystery genre.

An absolute page-turner, 03:02 is about a grim situation where the entire world becomes dark abruptly at 03:02 one morning, resulting in an extreme blackout, without warning. And it is not just a routine power shut down.

Aaditya, a young corporate executive who has just been promoted at work, returns home to Hiranandani Gardens in Powai from a party, and falls asleep. At 03.02 a.m., when a sound wakes him up and he discovers that the power is out, he thinks nothing of it. When he wakes up again at 7.15 a.m., and finds that power has still not been restored, he assumes it is just a longer than usual outage.

But he is shocked at what he sees when he steps outside. It is as though the world has come to a standstill. Nothing works. Phones are dead. Gadgets are dead. Vehicles have stopped functioning. Life as we know it, is transformed. People are stranded. Doctors at the hospitals are panicking and losing patients, supermarkets are being robbed, and in the darkness, darker elements are at large, taking advantage of the situation to vandalize, loot and kill.

Everyone in the locality assumes it is a temporary power shut down, until the sequence of events that follow take a scary turn and there is no choice but to accept, adapt and adjust. As they find out later, it is an EMP, an electromagnetic pulse that has fried all electronics and electric circuits – so pretty much nothing that uses technology works. They also learn that a major terrorist organization is behind this.

Overnight, life changes. There are questions on everyone’s mind: what happened? when will this end? how will we survive? And gradually, as the future looks bleak, will we survive?

The answers unravel when a group of determined people led by Aaditya take it upon themselves to organize the basics: food, water and security. The road is difficult and fraught with danger at every turn. They live on the edge, tackling the nonbelievers and the supporters until gradually, the community becomes united and realizes what it has to do.  As they unite, they understand that their past has no relevance at this moment, unless they choose to apply their experience to the current situation to help them survive.

Will they succeed? Read the book!

I couldn’t help thinking that in today’s world, the sequence of events woven brilliantly by the brilliant author, Mainak Dhar, is a real possibility and I shudder to think how we might manage. The characters in the book evolve excellently at each step and I liked how situations unfolded through the author’s smooth narrative.

I confess my nails are bitten to the core, and I did not put the book down until I finished it.

From being a posh, status-conscious residential colony in Mumbai where people are so caught up in their own lives and affairs that they’re paralysed with shock when the lights literally go out across the city, to becoming a united force with one goal—survival, is what the book is about.

What follows is an amazing story that proves the old adage, “united we stand” and that, in a crisis, it is not about economic status, but unity as a community that is real strength. The lead characters display tremendous strength of purpose, proving that facing our problems rather than waiting for someone to come to our aid is the best course of action. The resourcefulness displayed as the community comes together is just marvelous to read, and the author rightly conveys the message that everything is possible when we join hands.

There were many edge of the seat moments, which accounts for my bitten nails and I worried, laughed, freaked out and heaved sighs of relief as I turned the pages.

I specifically liked

  • The “moments of truth” throughout the book as they occurred to Aaditya. Nice streak of positivity. For example,

“You know, we should do this more often”.

Megha giggled. “Get married more often?”

I smiled. “No, celebrate. Im sure there are birthdays, anniversaries, and yes, perhaps people waiting to get married. We should not stop living, no matter how black the night is outside our walls. What lights up the blackness Is not just electricity but us keeping our hopes alive”.


“Even if your whole world is painted black, you can start to light it up again. All it needs is for each of us to realize that we should stop waiting for someone else to provide the spark; that the spark lies within each of us.”

  • The romance – it was natural
  • The friendship and camaraderie between unlikely people
  • The research – well done
  • The narrative – very enjoyable
  • Not a single moment when the book dragged

I confess—as usual, I started reading the book with a pencil in my hand and noted some editing errors. Then I got so caught up with the story that I just ignored them and enjoyed the book.

Check out the book trailer.

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

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vanita September 21, 2016 at 12:43 am

i definitely must read this. if only u lived nearby, i could borrow your book! i’ve got to find out if it’s on kindle and if it’s available yet. i’m so excited! thanks for the grand review. If i can’t download to read today, i’m going to be very upset with you!

My Inner Chick September 21, 2016 at 3:03 am

I’m sorry you missed your mommy, Vidya.
Xx passing on LOVE and Hugs.
OH! And Thank you for the book review.

Love you more than melting vanilla ice-cream in September.
My Inner Chick recently posted…I Am A Stutterer

Asha September 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Interesting ! A very novel plot I must say. Great review
Asha recently posted…That Day After Everyday

Vidya Sury September 21, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Thank you Asha! It was a very welcome respite from the usual!
Vidya Sury recently posted…03:02 by @MainakDhar

Shilpa Garg February 20, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Oh, I have been seeing this book in my Amazon Recommendations list. I love well written thrillers and this one seems right up my alley. Will check it out. Thanks for recommending it, Vidya!
Shilpa Garg recently posted…500 Women In Kerala Village Switch to Menstrual Cups For a Green Future #WATWB

Rajlakshmi February 21, 2020 at 11:09 am

That’s is a fascinating storyline. Made me curious about how they overcame the situation. It may very likely be used as an attack in future. Loved the thoughtful quotes in the end. We need to appreciate the little joys in life.
Rajlakshmi recently posted…From the delivery room

Jenny February 21, 2020 at 1:03 pm

Hi Vidya, so sorry you missed your mum, they are amazing people for lifting our spirits. But at lest you got to enjoy what sounds like a great book, I will be looking out for this title


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