Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Friend Sancho

Read this book by former journalist and avid blogger Amit Varma. It is an extremely likeable book in spite of some flaws. The first thing you notice is that uses everyday language and is not pretentious as wannabe on the Booker long-list next season.

It tells the story of Abir Ganguly, a 23 years old journalist covering crime for an afternoon tabloid in Mumbai. Abir comes as a happy-go-lucky guy with an acidic sense of humour, which almost lands him in a soup every time he uses it. Later we realise that we are privy to his thoughts as this is first person narrative (giving the reader a schizophrenic feel as the narrator himself maybe feeling).

As for the tale; Abir becomes a hapless witness of Police killing an innocent person by suspecting him to be a gangster, and as fate would have it he become the protector of the victim’s teenaged daughter (doing B Com) for the next few days. To complicate matters further he starts to fall in love with her. Above all, she is a Muslim named Muneeza (nicknamed Sancho). So, what happens when she comes to know that he was an embedded journalist waiting outside her house (with a photographer) for the Police to arrest him and bring him outside, then silently going away knowing that Police has botched up by killing her father?

The story flows smoothly as Abir tries his best to make the most out of the complicated situation. On the one hand, he is supposed to write a sympathetic profile of Muneeza’s slain dad. And, when he is half way through, he is ordered to include a similar piece on the Officer who shot him.

The writing does become heavy in between as Abir philosophises on various issues that he has to tackle, about his love for Muneeza and lot of other things that makes us doubt whether the protagonist is really 23 or he is 32?

Another slight blemish is the promotion of author’s blog by Abir, which makes us doubt if Amit Varma is a fan of Yash Raj Films as they have become the masters of self-reference in recent times.

I’ve no idea if there is any subtext in the use of Sancho in the title as I’m not very familiar with the Spanish classic from which it is derived.

You can find two cohesive reviews of the book here and

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Got this video from Sister Amrita’s blog.

Just spare fifteen minutes & have a great day/night according to your time zone.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Change is the only deterrent
In putting my emotions in black and white
They wax and wane as the moon in the sky
The only thing constant in my soul
Is the love for you;
The ferocity of which never wavers