A goulash, seasoned with all the Bollywood masala!
No it's not a Bolly flick. It’s a speedball novel from one of India’s young breed of contemporary novelists - Karan Bajaj. Bajaj’s first - Keep off the Grass, too was a dramatical rollercoaster ride. But Johny… is way high on the ‘drama’ quotient! After reading, I could (almost) guess where the ‘Johny’ came from ;)
Here’s a synopsis:
Nikhil Arya has fallen.
Once, he was an Ivy League scholar with a promising future at NASA; now, at forty, he is broke, homeless, and minutes away from blowing his brains out in a diabolical modern-day joust.
It wasn't meant to be this way. An innocent vacation turned into an epic intercontinental journey that saw Nikhil become first a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a deadly gamefighter. Now, twenty years later, Nikhil aka Johnny is tired of running. With the Colombian mafia on his trail and his abandoned wife and son ten thousand miles away, he prepares for his final act, aware that he will have lost even if he wins.
Or will he? Is there any greater victory than living a life that knows no limits, a world that has seen no boundaries?
Can he pick up the pieces one last time or will Nikhil, now Johnny, go down for good?
The incidences, the circumstances, and the outcomes are as colourful and dramatic as our Hindi cinema. The climax, though, didn’t quite live up to the build-up created throughout the book, I felt. It’s a fun read, nevertheless. Bajaj’s fast-paced storytelling and snappy humour keeps it going.
And at Rs 99, a steal, it wouldn’t hurt at all!