Vanity Bagh by Anees Salim came in with an interesting blurb and cover. This is his second book after The Vicks Mango Tree, I started reading this book as soon as it was delivered. It was a bit tough for me to sail through this book in the beginning but once the story picked up pace, it was extremely tough for me to put it down. Many a times it happened that I had to turn a page or two to get the hold of the plot, but I am not complaining here.
Vanity Bagh, a fictional mohalla where the story is set up and it has been described in a single sentence by the author, “Inside every big Indian city, there is a tiny Pakistan”. Imran Jabbari, the narrator of the plot and the son of the Imam of the masjid located in Vanity Bagh, he and his friends form a group and call themselves 5½. This group is highly inspired by the aging don of Vanity Bagh, Abu Hathim. The interesting thing about this group 5½ is that all the members of the group had names of prime minsters of Pakistan. Their group is approached for dispensing a batch of stolen scooters and they take it up gladly. Suddenly, the city is rocked with scooter bombs and the group realises that they have been involved in a terrorist act.
Imran Jabbari is one of the prime accused of this terrorist act. He is sent to Jail for 14 years and has been assigned the task of bookmaking in the jail. That is when something unusual happens with him and he traces back to the history of Vanity Bagh and how everything happened.
Anees Salim’s writing has a flair. You might find it difficult to read in the beginning but once you catch the right nerve of his words, you would suddenly start enjoying this book. His wit and the way he develops situations in the book and narrates them makes everything look so real. At some places in the book, you would laugh out loud and at some places you end up empathising with Imran. Overall, a pretty decent book to read and I will definitely try and read this next ones.
Book Source : Publisher
Publisher : Picador India
Genre : Fiction
ISBN : 978-9-382-61607-8
Price : Rs.499/-