When umpteen visits to Crossword and Odyssey failed to fetch me a copy of My Friend Sancho (MFS), I wrote to Amit Varma, who suggested Flipcart. Rightly so. Shopping at Flipcart was hassle free and quick.
Amit Varma of the India Uncut fame is a journalist-blogger-novelist.
My Friend Sancho is his first novel.
Being a regular at IU, I expected a satire on the watchdogs of democracy or an insider’s look at the machinations of the BMC.
Thankfully, Amit didn’t consult me for the plot.
For then, I wouldn’t have met Abir Ganguly.
MFS is a young Tabloid Journalist, Abir Ganguly’s journey through Bombay, Tabloid Journalism, ethics, crime, family, friendship, confusion and love.
A routine, petty crime coverage goes awry and Abir becomes an unwilling party to a police encounter. Later, wanting to do a human-interest story on the deceased, Mohammed Iqbal, Abir meets and befriends his daughter, Muneeza, who shares snippets of their un-eventful, yet loving life together.
Professional Ethics-cum-order from a sly boss-cum the need for masala demand Abir to do a balanced piece, and present a sketch on Inspector Thombre, the man responsible for the wrongful shootout.
Amidst juggling between work responsibilities, dreams of a rich life, and taking potshots at celebrities, Abir sees a delicate relationship form between him and Muneeza.
Will Abir be able to do justice to Mohammed Iqbal, or will he end up supporting the wily Inspector Thombre?
Would Muneeza still be his friend when she realises the truth, or, would Abir have to settle with a lizard as a companion?
Read MFS to find out for yourself.
The book worked for me because of :
Having said everything, I also think, MFS could have been better at characterisation. Apart from Abir, no character generates enough interest. Even with Abir, you mostly end up thinking this is Amit, the Libertarian. Also, having reached where he is, IU’s promotion should have been avoided.
It would be interesting to see if Amit can dish out better etched characters, who don’t necessarily mirror his own thoughts, the next time around.
For now, Sancho awaits you.