Six Suspects

By Sunil Kumar

The final day of the year. Here’s a murder mystery, to keep my hearbeat ringing. The blog to end all blogs, for now. Today it’s “Six Suspects“; a 2009 novel by Q&A(Slumdog Millionaire) author Vikas Swarup.

Delhi is chilling at 2.4 degrees centigrade; and it’s sort of cold elsewhere as well. Why bring in the NCR? EDM festivals in Candolim or New Year festivities across the country are not relevant to the tale I’m going to tell! It’s the Alcohol-guzzling vampire of Mehrauli in the land of lal battis (could be extinct due to Kejriwal) and Lutyen’s bungalows. After exploring the seedy underbelly of “Maximum City” suitably produced for shock value by Danny Boyle; this one is more focused on the national capital.

Six Suspects is about the murder of Vivek(Vicky) Rai who is celebrating his acquittal after the murder of Ruby Gill; a student and a bartender in a fictional Delhi nightclub. The book has a resemblance to the Jessica Lal murder case that rocked the capital nearly two decades back; and led to the arrest of Manu Sharma. Also hints of Nitish Katara; gunned down by Ghaziabad politican Yadav and Satyendra Dubey(IAS officer killed in Gaya) .

The other themes touched on in this book are sleazy Bollywood stars, a corrupt IAS officer haunted by Gandhi’s ghost, a dumb American, a black Naxalite from Bihar; and terrorists from now predictable(guess; whoever’s reading this). The narrative also touches on the call centre population; so indoctrinated by Americana; that they tend to forget traditional values.

Swarup has packaged this book again to appeal more to an audience interested in the exotic parts of the nation’s identity. The expletives are quite direct and in your face; especially everything concerned with Vivek Rai and his father, the home minister of Uttar Pradesh, Jagannath Rai. Uttar Pradesh, from Bareilly to Azamgarh, Benares to Lucknow comes across as a land of brawn and goons. He tends to delve into spirituality and philosophy in an abstract fashion; when the corrupt IAS officer is possessed by the ghost of Gandhi; who’s actually the slain woman Ruby Gill. Secondly, abstract philosophers such as Heidegger.

The American in this book, Larry Page; faces many comical situations due to his name being similar to Google’s founder. A hick from the Southern United States(Waco, Texas); Larry Page is a blundering buffoon; whose knowledge of the world is abysmal. The character does not ring absolutely true. Admittedly; there are people around the globe who are similar; but this one takes the cake in my opinion.

The next funny part; Kashmiri and Pakistani terrorists as geeks; apart from their usual categorization as sex-infested fundamentalist AK-47 toting hate mongers. He also veers towards the shady backpacking parts of every Indian city, such as Paharganj in Delhi or Sudder road in Kolkata. IAS officers being a privileged clan; admittedly have to be of two types; the corrupt and the do-gooder. Maybe the schizophrenia displayed in this book is internal in this clique; so we get to read about it in Swarup’s tale.

Interesting read, falters at times. Now for the “filmi” adaptation.



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