Author: Aditya Kripalani
Publisher: Neurotic Ink
In this multi-layered second fiction novel by Aditya Kripalani, we catch up with characters we’ve met before in his first book Back Seat. Nikita, a one-time bar dancer, with roots in Ratnagiri and a young novelist Siddharth form a perfect recipe for cliché with the regular elements of love, pain, deceit and loss. But beyond the story of dark and twisted love, Kripalani has woven yet again a intricate tale capturing the spirit of Mumbai and looks deep into its sensitive soul.
Set against the backdrop of Sona Gachi, this book looks at the intersection of the urban and rural in Mumbai. Mumbaikars can actually visualise the entire book as it unfolds. The roads, the hangouts, the locations, is a journey throughout the city. Kripalani has skilfully woven a brocade which is not just another series of narratives.
In terms of the richness and diversity of the story, this is definitely better than his first book. Kripalani gets into his characters’ mind, speaks with their voice and sees with their eyes. As a result, we experience the world of bar dancing and dark alleys of Mumbai. The thread of realism, to which we were introduced in the first novel with Nikita, runs through this one too.
It is not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy his second one. What is necessary is an appetite for dark romance, a taste for complexities, and a love for strange journeys. The uncommon expressions used throughout describe the scenes better than any other.
For example, we come across jhigjhig pleeej and khiskela that help transcend the boundary between the verbal and the visual. His characters’ speeches are audible to the readers. His story-telling is what will make you flip till the very last page and help you discount any mistake that you might spot.