Never being the one with an intense liking towards the thriller genre of novels, this book, may I state has a new fan born out of me. An almost perfect mix of all the right ingredients required – suspense, tension, love, fame and power to name a few – make this a compulsive read.
The premise of the story rests on some basic threads – success and it’s profound impact on people; the seemingly easy but truly chaotic ways of any organisation – banking industry in this case; personal grudges that may escalate beyond the levels of acceptance and most importantly – Naxalism. It weaves a very intricate storyline detailing the intertwined lives of unsuspecting GB2 employees and the invisible Naxals who are so deeply rooted in our society that they may be lurking at every corner and we the common people may not even come to know.
There are a few characters who drive the plot forward in a very convincing manner –
Ronald McCain – The expat CEO of GB2 who has been sent to India to set right the retail banking part which has been running in losses for long now. His dilemma and tensions on being in the eye of the storm when it arises is something we can very well relate to. His fears at having to face the ire of the RBI and ultimately the GB2 top management at every step, that too when he has no part to play in the root cause is very relatable.
Deepak Sarup – The conniving player and go getter? One with a huge and insatiable ego, who can go to any length to satisfy his personal grudges? Or the one who is ultimately susceptible as any of us here? His is a character you can feel a distinct dislike towards, given the ways he tries to achieve whatever he wants, by hook or by crook. Yet we end up feeling for him at the end when he has to play the victim.
Savitha – One character who could have been dismissed as just another angle in the storyline but as the story moves, she takes up the plum role to play. Her seemingly innocent move to get closer to Deepak for vested professional interests come out to be something totally different and surprising at the end. The perfect description of an shady character.
Thakurta – A typical CBI investigator who also has a human touch, who has the level of understanding that sometimes we have to let the other person have their way if we ultimately want to get what we want.
Andy & Bhaskar – The TOI journalists – who play an important role in helping the person I would call the other hero – in unearthing the gory facts and are a constant support and motivation at every step.
GB2 High Ranking Officials – Every GB2 employee character has been sketched to detail and you can definitely relate to the way they think and work. Be it Bhalla, Sanjit, Ramneek or the others – everyone was perfect at their own places.
Karan Punjabi – The “Other Hero” of the entire story – his role comes out the strongest in the end. We might have sympathised with him about the situations that had pressurised him to leave GB2, but the comeback – as a Journalist – was refreshing instead of simply writing off the victimised character somewhere down the line. You feel the angst when he is targeted by Deepak, you may also end up feeling repulsive about Deepak’s character due to their bitter relationship. He comes out the ultimate survivor and benefitter of the entire Naxal episode in GB2. The best thing about Karan was his ability to be rational even when given the chance to get even with Deepak in the best possible way – malign him forever. Which he did not choose, instead by the end, he was the one vouching for the other.
The closing statement would definitely be about the real hero of this book – it’s storyline. A very successful attempt to intricately weave the interrelated lives of GB2 employees, in the backdrop of Naxalism – a seemingly invisible but truly real and pressing issue of this country. You might have started this book just because of your liking to another book by the same author, but this one here deserves a special place of its own.