By Manju Gupta
The Red Triangle, Tapan Gupta, Kalpaz Publications, Pp 336, Rs 240.00
This is a story about Tapan, whose wife runs a beauty salon named Parivartan. Their daughter, Anushka, helps her mother in running it as and when she can. One day, Tapan receives a cryptic letter with “scrambled and unscrambled” words at which he is initially shocked. Then he starts deciphering the words and it strikes him that it was his college friend Vandana who had sent the message because this is what she used to do during her college days also.
Tapan is reminded of his college days at Panipat. On the first day he attends the motivation lecture, which he finds to be so powerful that it shakes his nerves. Anil Keswani gives them a demonstration lecture and switches on the projector to show on the screen, three big A’s each standing for Aptitude, Attitude and Altitude. He makes it clear that it is not aptitude, but attitude that decides a person’s altitude in life.
Meanwhile, being a local, Tapan escorts some of his friends including Vandana to the dargah of Qalandar Sahib and the Salarjung Gate.
As they are all hostellers, they are subjected to intense ragging by their seniors. One of the boys in the group called Mayank is no longer able to withstand it and he takes up a room on rent to stay alone at Kansal Bhawan, rather than face the ragging. A few days later, Tapan goes to meet him and is shocked to see his friend’s plight. Mayank looks like a shadow of his real self. With unshaven face, Mayank is seen seated cuddled up in a chair and on being asked, he says, “I am dying…” He tells Tapan that the place is haunted and eerie. “Strange noises come at night from nowhere. And above all, there is a tenant next door who looks like a real ghost and I am sure that he is involved in some spectral connection.” Mayank also reveals that his girlfriend Bindu is injecting a powerful virus into him by mixing it in his coffee and that he would die in another three months because he had been told that if taken orally or if injected intravenously, a person could not live longer than three months.
Tapan and his friends get together to solve the puzzle and now the story picks up momentum. It is quite an absorbing fiction set in the modern period and portrays the working of the young Indian mind.
(Kalpaz Publications, C-30, Satyawati Nagar, Delhi-110 052; [email protected])
Dilip Mukerjea, Pp 509 (PB), Rs 1195, Westland, 4322/3, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110 002