TUHIN, an author and columnist, in this third novel of his, narrates the political drama that takes place in the corridors of power, affecting the relationship between three young politicians of different hues.
In this novel, a young Aditya goes to the US where he falls in love with Srarah whose childhood friend has been killed in the war in the Gulf in 2003. For Sarah it is a death of another kind – the death of the desire to live. After all, her love Mathew had been a pal of hers for nearly 18 years. She goes into depression and is consumed with hatred for George Bush whom she holds responsible for a ‘whimsical’ warfare that has taken away her Mathew. She lands into another relationship which is short-lived before she meets Aditya. After a year, Aditya parts from her and returns to India on his father’s death brought about by Naxalites and takes charge of the Congress Party.
On a visit to a Naxal-infested area, Aditya helps to save a woman from the ire of a crowd which is bent upon beating her up as her husband has died of HIV virus. Aditya escorts her to his car but a bomb meant for him and planted by the Naxalites goes off and kills the woman instead.
Meanwhile, he receives a mail from Sarah saying she is getting married to Francis Aemilio Otieno which makes Aditya wonder why she was marrying someone with “such a grotesque name”. He however feels terribly lonely.
Brajesh Ranjan from the BJP projects an overly nationalist agenda and has a lady-love in Shweta. He is troubled at the terror strikes both within and outside the country and feels, “For all that we deify the Mahatma, I doubt if Gandhism can help us in solving contemporary perils that plague world politics. At least, so far as terrorism is concerned, it is high time India drew its inspiration from Israel’s Mossad.”
The CPI (M) has staged a protest march at Jantar Mantar to express disapproval of a fake encounter mastermind by the Congress where two students of Delhi University are captured, one escapes and another is shot in a police encounter. Chaitali, like the CPI (M) she represents, swears by the underpowered. As one of the youngest and more aggressive members of the Politburo, she agrees that “the party is the perfect pedestal for staging protests of the kind that we’ve planned today.” She gives a speech exhorting the youth to rise against the fake encounter. She says that the party is against terror strikes but “what I’m trying to say is that the right-wing communal groups are equal terrorists. The law of the land should be amended to treat them at par with terrorists.”
She has had a traumatic life when as a 10-year old she sees her IAS father leave for Geneva on a posting and her mother staying behind to do her second doctorate.
The story now takes a new turn when the three young politicians offer their views on India’s nuclear deal with the USA amid increasingly frequent and ever-more vicious terror strikes. Their conflicting ideologies and pressures come to a head with the terror strike on Mumbai in 2008, forcing the young protagonists to confront the dark space between party loyalty and personal beliefs.
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