Author : Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
Publisher : Harper Collins
Pages : 270
Genre : Fiction
ISBN : 978-81-7223-828-5
My long lost hobby was resurrected by The Taj Conspiracy, Manreet's latest book. Yes, reading has been a hobby since childhood, but I could never really develop it. Too many factors came into play, but lets not get there. I was lucky to meet Manreet at one of the blogger's meet organised by Westland Books when she was in Delhi for the launch of her book. It was my first ever rendezvous with an author and that experience is something I am never going to forget in my life. In that bloggers meet, Manreet shared the story behind The Long Walk Home also and how Gulzar sahab liked the book and wrote four lines to summarise the book. The excitement was clearly visible in the author's eyes.
That's when I decided to pick this book and read it and I read it last night again, because it is one of my favourite books. The way it has been written makes me want to read this book again and again. The plot, the narration, the structure of the book is something very fresh. If someone wants to learn how characters are developed in a story, then this book is a must read. And all the Gulzar Sahab fans, they must not miss out on reading this one because he himself liked it which pushed him to write and summarised the book in his own signature style, the four lines I am posting here
Yeh faasle teri galiyon ke humse tay na huey
hazaar baar rukey hum hazaar baar chaley
na jaane kaun si mitti watan ki mitti thi
nazar mein dhool, jigar mein liye ghubaar chaley
So, summarises the whole book and Manreet was overwhelmed when she read these lines for us that day.
The book swings between present and past, more in the year 1984, the year of sikh riots in India. Also the protagonist of the book Baksh travels down the memory lane when he used to live in the border town of Ferozepur, Punjab. He was a lawyer and have sailed through some of the harsh and circumstantial realities of the life. From pre partition India of 1947, to the post independence era, the India Pakistan war and last but not the least, which is still a major issue in our country, religious extremism. Baksh had seen it all. While he takes his last walk before he reaches hospital in search of a doctor, all these memories haunt him, makes him think about his family, faith, fundamentalism and misguided passions.
Also, the Bhalla family tree given at the first page of the book must be understood before you start reading the book.It would be slightly tough for you to read this one if you don't understand the family structure. Also, the book touched my emotional side, which is not easy. The way riot scenes have been described would send shivers down your spine. You feel disgusted and helpless. As Manreet has experienced all these times herself, the way she has narrated the scenes becomes more realistic. The book is definitely not a light read, at least for me it wasn't. Also, the relationship of Baksh with all his family members have been told so beautifully that would instantly connect you to the story.
I strongly recommend you to read this one. It is a fine piece of writing w.r.t. whatever knowledge about writing I have. I have already read it thrice and I am sure I am going to read it again and again. :)