Killing Time in Delhi — by Ravi Shankar Etteth
Publisher: Westland Books
Price: Rs. 599 INR(Hardcover), Rs. 470 INR(Kindle Edition)
ISBN: 978– 9387894808
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2ROy2YJ
Bon vivant Charlie Seth, a privileged denizen of Lutyens’ Delhi, leads a life of idle luxury fuelled by money, drugs, sex and parties. A cocaine overdose kills his ditzy girlfriend, thrusting him into a maelstrom of conspiracy, murder, blackmail and promiscuity. As the world of Crazy Rich Punjabis unravels, Charlie’s future is suddenly at the mercy of an enigmatic woman, an unscrupulous swami, a society-obsessed policeman, a slippery drug pusher and a disloyal valet. The only person who can help him is his missing aunt. Holed up in the country palace that his grandfather had won in a game of cards from a raja on Diwali, Charlie plots his revenge.
Killing Time in Delhi is a brutally funny look into the shenanigans of Delhi’s ultrarich who live in the fast lane and are high on hypocrisy, borrowed money and dubious deals.
About the author
RAVI SHANKAR ETTETH is a Delhi-based journalist, satirist, graphic designer and author. He has been the editorial cartoonist of Indian Express, creative director of Observer Group of Publications, editor at India Today and Sunday Standard, and CEO and editor-in-chief of Voice of India and Millionaire. In 1996, Etteth published his first book of short stories, The Scream of the Dragonflies. Subsequently, he published five more titles — The Tiger By The River (2002), The Village of Widows (2004), The Gold of Their Regrets (2009), The Book of Shiva (2016) and The Brahmin (2018). He is now a columnist and consulting editor at New Indian Express.
My take on the book:
Chaitanya Seth, who likes to be called Charlie, suddenly finds himself in middle of trouble when his girlfriend dies of drug overdose. While he tries to get an alibi by reaching a party the same evening, there is one more dead body found and Charlie turns the prime suspect, thanks to the policeman Nik who had been non-friendly forever with Charlie.
Thus starts the cat and mouse chase where Charlie suddenly finds himself entangled in infinite mess, people he thought are trust worthy change loyalties, and two mysterious people Mandy and Shamsher who are dictating Charlie’s life. Will Charlie who had been this rich spoilt brat all his life, finally take control of his life? Are there more puzzles to be solved and mysteries to be unraveled forms the rest of the story.
Charlie is not the person as he tries to portray to the world and as the story unfolds, his different shades also come out. But the most interesting character of all is Mandy, the very smart woman who storms into Charlie’s life and plays her A game with much finesse. The nick names given to each of the characters is hilarious as well as interesting. Each time the story seems to get into a known territory, there is an unexpected twist and turn, keeping the narrative engaging till the end.
The wit, dark humor and the author’s writing style are the biggest highlight for the book. The tone of the story is unmistakable from the word go and the author succeeds in maintaining it. While seasoned readers can guess some details middle way through the story, the narration does keep them hooked till the end. As much as the book is a strong satire on the rich and wannabe of Delhi, it retains its connect to Charlie’s family and how he bounces back when his world falls apart. The witty one liners and the unique characters stand out.
Pick this one for the entertainment it has to offer with a story that is engaging all through. I enjoyed this one like no other story in recent times. At the end, I would definitely love to meet a person like Mandy in real; she does stay with you for longer than the story.