December remains memorable in the minds of Indians for various reasons, Christmas not included. The tsunami in 2004 is one, and the other is the Nirbhaya rape in 2012. The case brought an issue that was already rampant to the fore. It’s not easy to write on such events and cases, but there are writers who do put that into their writing. It is perhaps a solace when it’s someone affected by the tragedy. I don’t know what prompted this book, but if I were to guess, it’s perhaps the careless attitude with which the news is viewed at by society, and yes, by politicians.
Under Delhi is a dark comedy, to put it directly. It brings the protagonist, Tanya Bisht to the forefront. She’s a young girl who works a day job and at first glance, her life is as regular and normal as ours might be. But there is something more to her than you may think. She takes it upon herself to go about the city of Delhi in a van avenging the criminal acts like rape or murder. She’s feisty and doesn’t bend over backwards when she’s eve-teased, rather she fights back. It’s something that brings hope in these times, that strength is needed in character.
Humor is not everyone’s forte, but the author peppers this story with humor. Whether it works in every place is dependent on the reader I feel. The character of Tanya Bisht is wonderful, simple yet deep. The language is casual, easy to read and flowing. He keeps it relevant and incorporates elements of the world around too, like the dialogues and spoof characters.
Frankly, the humor wasn’t my forte. I could understand it, and feel it in some places, but otherwise, it felt exasperating for me. I’m not sure what the solution to the problem is, but I don’t believe it is violence. An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind. The book is easy to read, but it is one directional I think.
The book isn’t one that I loved, but it’s not something I hated either. Average book, with a message that there is strength inside us to fight for justice; but I don’t agree with the method used to get that justice. One-time read for me.
Title: Under Delhi
Author: Sorabh Pant
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs. 299
(19th December 2014)