Sunday, 20 September 2015

Tracking Purnima - Book Review


An old small time singer actress is long forgotten, until the protagonist Aditi, who is a journalist, decides to write a feature on her. Aditi starts getting threats not to follow the story. This leaves her more determined to delve deep into the whereabouts of the yesteryear actress Purnima. A young boy, who shares his name with Aditi’s deceased brother, hangs himself. Aditi is covering that story too. Plus there is a gruesome murder of a calligrapher. Whether all these incidents are interconnected? Where is Purnima? Who is threatening Aditi and why? To get answers to all these questions you must read Tracking Purnima by Usha Kathir.

What I liked about Tracking Purnima is its plot and setting. The book shelves are inundated with commercial novels, which like bollywood films, make us believe that the Indian society resides only in Mumbai and Delhi and has a big fat Punjabi wedding. Tracking Purnima is set in Bangalore. The protagonist Aditi is a Tamilian and hails from Chennai. The names of the characters, the places where they stay, the food they eat, everything is authentic. This is refreshing. Which was the last book you read or movie you saw where the second lead was named Shankar or Reshmi (not Rashmi)?

Secondly this book is not a cheap clone of Dan Brown’s books. Tracking Purnima with all its flaws is a brand new story. Unfortunately these are the only good things which I can speak about the book. The way in which Aditi finds out that the woman pretending to be Purnima is an impersonator is utterly ridiculous. Same stands true for Reshmi pretending to be working for a company which converts old mansions into luxury hotels. The thread of Deepak’s suicide starts in the beginning, gets lost in the middle and resurfaces at the end. How can a calligrapher teach a person to forge another’s signature? The writing at some places particularly in the opening paragraph of Chapter 3 is confusing. Again why Ravi and Suresh are given a clean chit remains a big question. Their innocence and Chinnapa’s act of murdering is not explicitly mentioned.

Yet Tracking Purnima is refreshing read for sure. I congratulate the author Usha Kathir for coming up with an original plot and a unique setting.

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