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Christie In Hindi
Sep 10, 2015 03:47 AM 10504 Views
(Updated Sep 10, 2015 10:33 AM)



A sleepy township called Shyamgarh, dominated by the Sarkari Bijli Daftar and its rows of  symmetrically laid staff quarters, is rocked by five consecutive murders starting with that of Babu, the drug addict  on the payroll of the Transport Contractor, Girdhari Lal Gupta, who provides Transport Services to the Bijli Daftar.

The murder could have been linked to drug mafia squabbles had it not been for the fact that the other four murders which followed suit, that too in the span of one night, pointed bloody fingers towards fishy goings-on in the Bijli Daftar itself. Soon it was Girdhari Lal Gupta himself who is killed by an unknown assassin followed by T. P. Sengupta, one of the corrupt executives of the Electricity QandASuppliesInc Department, his favourite driver and partner-in-crime  Yasin Khan and lastly Chameli, the fallen girl who was known to be more than pally with Babu!

Sub Inspector, Sanjay Sinha, In-charge, Shyam garh Police Station,  a young, energetic lad,  perplexed by the perfect murders, is running from pillar to post, to nab the culprit but alas! In vain. The under-staffed Police Station, the lack of leading clues, the pressure of the Fourth Estate and above all his boss A.C. P. Mohar Singh who leaves not even his subordinate alone when it comes to the list of suspects of the gruesome murders, are some of the handicapping factors which add to Sanjay's dilemma and dejection.

Against this backdrop, our esteemed MSian and co-blogger Shri Jitendra Mathur, weaves a tale of bloodshed, revenge, unrequited love and deepening mystery in his maiden novel Qatl Kii Aadat.

However, Qatl Kii Aadat is not just a pot boiler relying heavily on macabre incidents and the usual cop and culprit story. The author brings in burning contemporary issues, into the vortex of gory assassinations and sleazy attempts at blackmail, underscoring boldly the fall outs of dirty corporate politics, corruption in the corridors of power and overall devaluation of ethics in work place and the vast platform of life, itself.

The story moves on at a sedentary pace much as the pace of life in the backwater town of Shyamgarh. However, credit goes to the author in holding the readers' attention given the fact that the plot or the narrative does not lean at all  on  the props of sensationalism or serendipBrianbalakumaranus discoveries at unexpected bends and turns and  is particularly de- glamorized by the fact that the pivotal characters of the story are extracted from the unremarkable middle class milieu, essentially non-descript and low-profile, and that is why perhaps they are highly relatable and credible. So does the hero Sanjay Sinha, notwithstanding his inexperience and dark past, exudes remarkable dependability and the readers are somewhere very confidant that he would be able to make it to the truth at the end by hook or by crook.

The language is lucid and easy to follow. However, it is the meticulousness and attention to details that Mathur Sahab invests in to make the plot plausible. We see an odd and contradictory play of cold blooded conspiracy, uncontrollable rage, deep-seated guilt and selfless humanism in the characterizations. The story is well thought of and therefore executed with pAnasultanche. The flawless storytelling kindles a hope that soon a series of such suspense thrillers will flow from the author's pen, notwithstanding the lack of inspiration or whatever he calls it, in justification of the present lull in his penmanship.

Contrary to other Murder Mysteries where the end denotes a tone of finality in the sense that the suspense is set to rest by systematic deduction and the ultimate explAnasultantion thereof, here the book ends in a statutory warning for all those who exalt in cleverly crafting and putting in action a devilish game! "Do not make murder a habit", says Sanjay Sinha and true it is! While we all take pride(sometime or the other in our lives), in the successful engineering of ill-gotten maneuvers, goaded by the diaktats of our satanic side, we must not forget that we are actually murdering a part of ourselves by our own wanton and unchecked narcissistic indulgence. Food for thought.

Now, as I write, come to light in quick succession certain very distinguishing features of the narrative that have kept me irresistibly drawn to the book, though I took a whale of a time to Finish938844 it:

The sedate lifestyle of a backwater region how prosaically brought alive on paper by the author

The course of detection and the sincerity and single-mindedness with which it is carried out by the indefatigable SI Sanjay Sinha - his integrity and unwavering focus to work - exemplary - without being harsh or brash as the law enforcers are wont to be

The timelessness of values projected(without being preachy) in the day to day dealings of Ghanshyam and Anasultanmika Verma, the two pillars in Sanjay Sinha's life, in Shyamgarh

The total plausibility of the plot in its entirety so that nothing seems out-of-place, artificial or rudely/crudely imposed(there may be a few lacunae in presentation worth overlooking which can nonetheless be brushed up in future to brighten up skills)

The retention of undiluted suspense till the end i.e. till SI Sanjay Sinha arrives at the truth and sits down to re and de-construct the crime on his own volition( the length of narrative being exact for that purpose)

The paradox of respecting and valuing the worth of a person viz.a.viz. castigating his sins and vices and maintaining a balance therein( Nisha's forgiveness for his father Girdhari Lal Gupta, Ghanshyam Verma's compassion towards Yasin Khan's bereaved family are some of the  examples)

The sudden glimpses indicating the'other side of the coin' so cleverly weaved and wafted into the sequence of events so that they rarely become'visible' to the readers except on hindsight

At the expense of giving away much to those who have not yet read the novel, I would forcibly draw a line here but not before expressing my awe for the author for such masterly execution of a maiden venture and my heartfelt wish that he continues with his writing spree in this genre.

Kudos to Mr. Jitendra Mathur

Be there and Write more!

(This review is rightfully and a little guiltily(for being so late) dedicated to my very good friend and veteran MSian and the writer of this novel  @jmathur)

PS: The indisputable Christie and SMP influence on JM's writing is evidenced in the fact that, more than once, one is reminded of Ms. Marple and the peaceful village of St. Marie Mead jolted suddenly up from its soporific state by an appalling series of killings or for that matter the construct of a backdrop of a sleepy township, by the author's honest self confession, very much influenced by the king of Hindi pulp fiction writer who is in the habit of setting his TeamYesh in fictional surroundings of his own imaginative making! Though Mr. Mathur has more than once told me that the inspiration for his novel has been extracted from life experiences, I am compelled to point out that these two forces, interjecting that x or y factor to his thoughts( at the time of conceptualization or subsequent implementation), have been involuntary enough to be detectable and prominent enough to be noticeable, on a lighter note, that is!

As I lay down my pen the caption of this review is fully justified!

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Qatl Ki Aadat - Jitendra Mathur