July 28, 2020
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Fate Accompli

The threat is, in fact, a promise of a sequel.

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Fate Accompli
A Tryst With Destiny
By Dhiraj Lal
Minerva Press Pages: 421; Rs 285
Before beginning his first novel, A Tryst With Destiny, Dhiraj Lal pays tribute to the "Indian penchant for offering free advice, a lot of which has been incorporated into this book". That and the usual, unavoidable cliches are the only hiccoughs in this thrilling prattle in print. But for the gratuitous advice that he could not avoid, Lal's tryst with a thriller would have been an unputdownable pageturner. It gives hope of lesser mortals becoming heroes in an instant. Put their lives aside to save the country from impending doom. Anand Kumar, a banker, and Pooja, a journalist, chance upon a conspiracy to wreck their beloved country. In a series of tumultuous events, they stop the country from being plundered by a group of rogues deeply entrenched in the nation's politics, media, defence and the police.

Exactly 420 pages later, in chapter 122, the spirit of Bharat Jagtiani, one of the colourful characters in the book, threatens to rise again "like a phoenix from the ashes". The threat is, in fact, a promise of a sequel. Till then, Lal could do well to stay away from unsolicited counsel. Even this one?

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