Phew. As i turned the last page of the book, i was lost and thinking what’s next. As i started realising my present and its surrounding, i understood that the plot of the book had put me on a ‘time travel mode’ to pre-independence era. In this journey of 450+ pages, I had experienced the love story that was happening in the midst of historical freedom struggle by the valiant soldiers of INA led by a powerful leader Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
The author has nicely spent time to only carefully stitch the plot but also ensured that each character gets its fair share of ups and downs. You will get in these book flavours of romance, lust, betrayal, friendship, sibling relationship, party culture, strategy, spying, battle, lifestyle and many more emotions nicely embedded through some smart writing during the era when Netaji was waging a historic battle through global alliances to get Mother India freed from British atrocities.
The story revolves around a well-educated young lad who has characteristics of Casanova but at the same time is intelligent and commanding. Though he comes from a rich family who had blessings of English rulers, he always felt that there was something missing. Suddenly one night’s activity changes his whole life and he suddenly is part of the freedom movement which he never had hoped to be part of. Though he did not agree with the thoughts of INA and freedom movement, the suffering his sister had to go through due to his best English friend and his parents licking of British support/policies had made him believe that this ajaadi journey/movement is the best way to take revenge and stay peacefully with his family in future after war was over
Post that journey, the characters story evolves from the streets of Calcutta to Singapore and being part of INA, his new friends, his love life, his convincing ability that got admiration from even netaji and finally the twist in the tail is how the whole story revolves around. But never has the author left any loophole to feel we are just browsing through words. He has depicted each and every character/situation/culture/emotion in detailed and smartly set a limit before embedding the next twist/tale/journey/incidents so that the reader does not lose the anxiousness to read further by tuning the page.
Book gets the characters and cities/situations of INA alive. Netaji has been shown in a very positive light as he always has been but the author also has tried to show how a great leader handles smartly the ups/downs in this life. Loss of life by valiant soldiers of INA is depressing but they fought for a cause , the fruits of which we are enjoying today.
Though it is a fiction, hardly any facts have been altered and the author does well to portray a good balance of fiction and history through some good usage of high end English verbose.
In the end the strong thought that just passes my mind is – ‘How different India would have been if INA had won the independence to india before 15th August 1947’ or ‘Could the two young lads have made INA win if love was not in the middle’ or ‘If main character sister had not revealed, what would have been next’ and so on. Well many such questions are still a mystery as has been the death of Netaji.