‘I believe everything is an illusion. The tall and short trees, the azure sky, the slick road, and also my petulant child whimpering to her mother – my wife – on the terrace outside my penthouse. Even the inveterate human morality… the Right and the Wrong. Everything.’ Shiva spoke thus to himself, thinking of the philosophies his lonely mind had edified in him after his mother’s demise.
The novel is a meta-fiction, telling the coming-of-age story of Shiva – his friendship, romance, downfall, notoriety and, more importantly, his book.
Shiva is an ordinary child born into the house of an alcoholic father and an angelic mother. The first pinch in his life comes when his classmate (and also best friend) Aarthi – a cherubic girl born into the abode of The God of Wealth – departs to America leaving behind a vacuum in his life, and taking one herself. In the absence of her friendship, Shiva grows naturally, but only like a person without a limb. The second pinch of his life visits him with the death of his parents – springing him into the realm of absolute emptiness, with only the infinite theories of his over-thinking mind to continue his existence with.
Aarthi returns years later. Ever more beautiful. Ever more caring. He falls in love. People may consider it love at first sight, or even lust. It is neither. I have known you ever since my memory entered the phase of tenacity. And I grew up with you, remember, Aarthi? Shiva assures himself. Whether she remembers or not is not the question, as she is already head over heels in love with her classmate from her Med School in Baltimore. The third pinch.
So he starts writing; a writer he is. Finding the solution to his creative block in the White Powder – his euphemism for cocaine – he writes and writes and writes, creating a life he would have lived had fate not pinched him three times.
In the course of breaking bad, he practices his theories of epistemological and moral solipsism on people and worthless lives; he murders them. Also, he saves an innocent and rueful life from the clutches of Sonagachi – the second largest brothel in Asia. He doesn’t, however, realise this is the fourth pinch. The rescued girl, over time, develops an undying love for him; something that would disturb her own peace for years to come.
Police start a search, and initially arrest his (miscreant) associates, whom Shiva regards as his saviours. To save them, and in an impulsive but firm decision to end his lives (his own and that of his character in his Novel for Nobody) he does the unimaginable. What happens to his one strong enduring bond of friendship and the two women – Aarthi and the woman he rescued from the depths of hell and refreshed with new hope – both in his life and in his novel forms the climax of this book.
The Hindu, India’s national newspaper, has come up with an article on the novelty of my book (in its B’lore edition). You can read it here.