None of this happened for brawn; it happened for love.

And that’s why, the tale made for a gripping read.

As a missing money bag triggers a trail of mayhem, its mystery spills into the veins of a ravenous city, taking Sewaram Manjhi to apartments and offices, and opening to hitherto unknown patches where two and two didn’t add upto four. Wearing the badge of a security guard and a name declaring him Dalit, the eponymous hero exposes the underbelly of a society obsessed with status and money, lust and power, riding on the momentum and tharra of a thriller.

The highlight of the book, for me, was the writing. Smart, taut and in many ways, empathetic. Amidst brawls and warnings, fistfights and expletives, lied an intent to reach a place far away from unrest. Religious discord, casteism and financial disparity are themes that simmer beneath the words with a message, perhaps, to take note of their notoriety and toxicity. And the author’s effort in keeping the flavors closer to home shone. Mumbai throbs with a certain rhythm and so do her children in Uncle and Kaptaan, Godse and Patil, Santosh and Ali, upholding her traditions in local trains and misal pavs among others.

And like most pieces I have written in school, a parting thought to round up my experience – Tanuj gets brownie points for casting his hero from the Dalit community and adding to the relatively thin section of Indian noir.

Let me just leave it at this lest Manjhi loses his mind over too much Angrezi!

Read all my reviews.

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