Shalimar the Clown

Fiction is the most suitable and convenient vehicle to convey reality! Whoever believes it or not, Salman believes it the most. Through his books, be brings to limelight the most compelling stories that remained hidden in the crevices of history, by the force of his gopher like digging nature!

That a global network of terror can operate for taking personal revenges of lust behind the screen of bombastic claims of freedom fighting can be a main theme only in fiction!
Death is the biggest drama of life! A woman and a weapon are the necessary and sufficient characters for the drama! Here the weapon is a sabatier knife and the woman who inflamed the revenge is Bhoomi!

Bhoomi,whose deliberate detachment from her education was rooted in her erotic self-image that she knew everything she would need, to get men to do whatever she wanted! The other likely victim is India! Not much to guess about where the allegory leads?! The symbol of sovereignty is aiming for 100 percent security but security being a matter of proportions can never be 100 percent!

Salman’s power and depth of perception is evident in the dramatic irony, that the oversexed girl has lost her attraction to her illicit partner- in -lust, the first moment she saw his expression changing from usual silliness to seriousness, and snatches herself away, but the partner, with his flesh burning in lust, pursues for revenge ‘of those who snatched away his love!’ This is another of Salman’s easy to read deeply enthralling mystery, without his eccentric tricks or extensive magical realism, fairly straightforward, though he tries once to mimic the strange style of speaking of Pandit Gopinath!

This is a vast painting of a tale of improbable destiny, with a plot of formidable physical, cultural and economic distances, to link the elitest of Europe to the remotest dancing tribes of Kashmir! Read this to compare and find out how much an author can contribute to understanding of many things that matter, like life, people, world and the Universe!


The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy

If questions are inevitable in life, why to struggle with small questions, why not grapple with questions the size of the Universe, a minimum of a few hundred billion light years across on last count and still counting? Why walking across the street and reaching the park in the next roundabout needs to be a dream for the day? Why not jaunt a five hundred thousand light years and relax at the edge of your galaxy? This is the type of thinking this book triggered and a cult of cosmic science fiction got created, but who knew that there are people who believe and put all their billions in the stakes to make it real also?! Space travel, viable electric cars, tunneling and skynet were considered to be fictional just a few years back but now electric cars are the most coveted and the other fictions are becoming true! Thanks to the Elon Musks, Bezos and Bransons!

Only two humans incidentally escape the demolition of Earth and become part of a bunch of aliens who had been grappling to find the answer to the ultimate question but they decide that the ultimate question itself is to be found out first and set up a 7.5 million year long experiment with a computer to decide the question and that particular computer turned out to be Earth which also got demolished by a skyway construction gang just minutes before it was to give the question!

And the question is thus lost forever?! This started as a BBC radio comedy then manifested as records, books , tv series, comics and a movie!Poetry is the ‘ first light-giver’ to the first great works of science, history and even law! Well, the bill fits perfectly for this fiction which has served the same purpose! Reading the book is not a problem, start the first line it will take you to the last, all along taking your breath away by inducing an altered state of consciousness!


The Beekeeper of Aleppo

The winner of 2020 Aspen Word Prize! is written as a personal diary of one of the Syrian refugees, Nuri, on the way to seeking asylum in UK. It narrates in documentary details the troubles and travails that the refugees undergo while fleeing from the civil war ripped Syria. The refugees often flee only when there is no other glimmer of hope anywhere and the guns are pressed on their heads, after having taken a toll of their most precious loved ones.

The saga unfolds with the backdrop of the economic activity that usually happened when there was no civil war. That beekeeping and production of honey and it’s derivatives is such an important mainstay of Syria is refreshing to know, even as it goes up in flames in the civil war madness. Like the spiritual love story of Rumi and Sham of Tabriz, here is a love story of Nuri and his cousin Mustafa, in the economic world of beekeeping.

The story is narrated as an audiovisual art , with vivid and lively imagery of the sights and sounds of the refugees world, the activity is as intensely buzzing as the beehives of the story. It is a sad revelation that the journeys across the unwelcoming borders of countries are only at the mercy of God, the sometimes ferocious nature, and the manipulation of the smugglers and human traffickers.

The smuggled journeys are full of endless waiting and suspense and sudden change of policies and hence destinies. The horrors of child and adolescent abuse, abduction and a suggestion of trafficking for organs are a challenge to humanity. There is the constant presence of Afra, the artist and the blinded by trauma wife of Nuri , as a witness to the numbing terrors of the loss the civil wars inflict. But this scenario has been repeated so many times as a constant refrain.

The author could have ventured out to shed some light on the macro world of refugee generation and the mysterious and strange phenomena associated with it all through and long after the settlement after granting of asylum! Otherwise, the book is a personal diary of one refugee and depicts it’s scenario well! No doubt it is a great lively narrative with images and sounds that capture the sad but buzzing world of refugees vividly.