Sunday, November 10, 2013

Riot by Shashi Tharoor

I read this book around 10 years ago. Ever since Lakshman and Priscilla Hart remained with me. Ten years after, I thought of re-reading it again. Just because I felt I can understand the emotions portrayed in the book much better.

When the story starts, Priscilla Hart, a 24-year-old American24-year-oldad. Why did she die? Was she murdered or was she at the wrong place at the wrong time?
Though there is the element of ‘ Who dunnit?’, the story is not said through the shrewd eyes of a sleuth but with a heart full of emotions.

Priscilla came to India when she was a little girl. Her dad was a Coco Cola executive. Though she had to leave India after some time, she left her heart and soul in the country only to return after a couple of years. She volunteered a population control programme in Zalilgarh in Uttar Pradesh, a place completely marred by the riots. She gets acquainted with the District Magistrate Lakshman and slowly the acquaintance blossoms to love. An abandoned ‘Kotli’ in the district is the witness of all their romantic trysts.

But Lakshman is married and could not leave his wife ( though he knew that he was not in love with her) and his little daughter. But he knew that Priscilla is the love of his life – with whom his life again bloomed. On top of that, he is in charge of a city marred by riots.

Putting an end to Lakshman’s dilemma, Priscillia was about to leave India when the fate struck its hardest blow. In the riots that broke out in Zalilgarh, there were eight people killed and her name was one among them. She is found dead in the same Kotli where she used to love Lakshman. The story slowly unravels the mystery of her death.

Tharoor has written a beautiful love -story in the backdrop of a riot-torn city.

- Shalet Jimmy