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August 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       August 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:August' 2017


Thriller with Indian flavour

Anuradha Dutt

Donald Trump From business journalism to penning popular fiction represents an interesting transition. No Safe Zone, Adite Banerjie's third book, epitomises this shift in a nail-biting mode as the story is a romantic thriller that uncovers a human trafficking racket that spans continents.
Those who grew up in the 1970s on an unforgettable staple fare of James Hadley Chase, Alistair MacLean and other writers of their genre are bound to relish this racy, home-bred thriller, with an Indian flavour.
The book is well-crafted enough to reach out beyond the romance fiction slot. The plot unfolds seamlessly, from the time that Girls Rock!, a London-based antitrafficking NGO, whose funding from Delhi suddenly dries up, sends a staffer Qiara Rana to India to meet the now elusive donor. The truth explodes in a bloody mess. And what follows is a taut account of the dangers that dog the female protagonist as she accidentally stumbles upon a sensational child trafficking ring, involving people in high places; and collides with her past in the most reckless fashion.
The banalities, typical of a large part of hyped up Indo-Anglian writing – cardboard characters; social stereotypes and clichéd assumptions, shaped largely by western ideas about Indians; grey existentiall areas; poorly conceived and rendered sexual interludes; and oriental exotica and mysticism - are thankfully avoided, to proffer a genuine thriller, peopled with real characters, and laced with the passion of a re-ignited romance.
The scorching heat of the Rajasthan landscape is compounded by the searing encounters between Qiara and Ranvir Shorey, an intelligence operative and her ex-flame, firmly on the traffickers' trail. Their relationship, retrieved by circumstances – a veritable quirk of destiny - from cold storage, builds up even as the murky transnational trade in babies, especially females, unfurls.
The dramatis personae are well fleshed out, given the space and narrative constrains; and motives for crimes convincing. Recent media reports and human trafficking data indicate that this is a multi-billion dollars business across the globe.
It is a ruthless, amoral world without borders, the web of greed spread wide from elite bastions and mofussil areas in India to other countries. But idealism and courage shine bright as the young protagonists risk everything to unearth the sinister, lucrative commerce in humans, and save its victims from being sold as commodities.

Those who grew up in the 1970s on an unforgettable staple fare of James Hadley Chase, Alistair MacLean and other writers of their genre are bound to relish this racy, home-bred thriller, with an Indian flavour.

Adite Banerjie The harsh reality of new-born babies being smuggled out of maternity wards and out of the country for sale is integrated into the story in a dramatic way that provides an unexpected revelation. It is indeed a moment of reckoning. Desert allure gives way to the covert realm of deceit and masquerade, with some elements, perhaps inspired by popular Mumbai cinematic portrayals of feudal lords, enlivening the narrative. The denouement has serpents swarming into centre stage, another dramatic touch, mirroring the general fear of and fascination with snakes; and subterranean nature of the crime network, wherein venality debases people across strata, leaving no room for scruples.
Where the author truly scores is in her grip over story-telling. By turning the spotlight on human trafficking which threatens vulnerable lives and has assumed humongous dimensions, the story highlights a malaise as old as civilisation. Fortunately, there is no preaching here. It is not required as the narrative is effective enough, something more than vapid romance. The pace never relaxes, hurtling towards the climax and pulling the reader along.
But lest the narrative strays from its emotional underpinnings, the best is yet to be, to quote Robert Browning. Once the tumult of the chase is over, and some sense of order prevails, the protagonists less impelled by precarious situations to act, it is time for them to place things in perspective. The transition points in human lives induce choices. A wrong move can derail the trajectory forever.
Will Qiara and Ranvir pick up the threads from where they left off ? Or are there other worlds to explore? For, these are young, adventurous lives, with unlimited horizons and free of insecurities. Whatever choices they make will stem not from convention but firm bedrock of emotions. There can be new beginnings but no replay. A scriptwriter, in addition to being an author, Banerjie deftly steers the narrative towards its likely end.