If you a journalist reading Black Light, it feels like working your daylights off on a difficult case and yet you enjoy the workout
Rimi B. Chatterjee's science fiction Signal Red was like sitting down among the boys with six packs of beer. There were secret laboratories hidden in the wilderness, bio weapons and microwave cannons. Then came The City of Love set in 16 th century India with its Arakan Pirates, Sufism, tantra and the whole shebang.
These sketches, done by Rimi herself, are clues the protagonist has to
put together to solve the puzzle
But for me, the third, Black Light, surpasses the previous two. The book is like being at work in a spa where you get massaged by your boss (long-legged hot one) and get paid at the end of it. Since it is the revised version of her first unpublished book Live Like a Flame, its pages smell of the fondness an author has for the first work.
The novel opens with the pandemonium revolving around a newspaper office, the late night shift and the mad rush for deadlines. This is routine existence for young journalist Satyasandha Sarkar which is shattered by a phone call from his mother informing about his strange and eccentric aunt Medhasri Sen's suicide.
What follows is Satya's quest to follow the clues she has left behind that will unravel more about her. The attractiveness of Black Light lies in the fact that one packs his rucksack and accompanies Satya as he hunts down art works and souvenirs she has left behind for him.
One ends up sitting next to him reading the five interconnecting stories that finally help him put together to solve the puzzle. When the stories are finally revealed, they break the rhythm transporting us to a different plane. But it keeps coming back to Satya and trying to comprehend what he is going to do with the clues is all the more fun.
However, the hidden philosophical undertones in the novel distracted me from sticking to Satya. Blame it on the Signal Red hangover, I wanted to skip the 'heavy stuff' and play Satya and keep it a simple
riddle solving exercise.
Price: Rs 299