Friday, June 04, 2010


Fast-paced, quick, a steady mix of pulp fiction, kitsch and a good measure of ancient Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Karan Bajaj in his second novel takes the reader on a ride from a graduation ceremony in MIT, to Cambodia, Thailand, Brazil, back to the U.S. and finally to Delhi.

The protagonist Nikhil and his friend Sam visit Cambodia after graduating from MIT. Sam has an offer from GE and Nikhil has been selected to work in NASA. They land in Cambodia right in the middle of the Khmer Rogue revolution. Nick sacrifices his passport to help save the life of his friend Sam. Nick is captured by the revolutionaries and imprisoned for two years. He is pronounced a CIA spy and is about to be executed. While travelling on a jeep through the forest he seeks his chance and escapes. In the process he is injured and somehow manages to reach Thailand where he is rescued by a monk. In the monk he recovers and wakes up to see that he has lost one of his arms. Ten years in the monastery and with a new name - Monk Namche he lands up in Brazil to set up a Vipassana Centre. On the flight he is enamoured by a beautiful model Lara.

Once the centre is built he obtains permission to leave the monastery. He walks through the streets of Rio de Janerio, finally reaching a slum. Here walks in to a restaurant where some folks are sitting and drinking beer. Suddenly he notices a person about to fire a gun from the road. Namche protects the person who is targeted. He is none other than Marco a local don and cocaine distributor. Marco provides a roof and a new identity to Nick.

The story goes through many twists and turns tracking the ups and downs of Nick's life. He undergoes many more adventures, which I do not intend to reveal here.

The book just costs Rs. 99 and has great potential for conversion as a film.

The book is a powerful punch on the Chetan Bhagat School of Writing.

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