Book review: The Flight of the Falcon

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“Why do you follow Aldo? What makes you believe in him?”

“We have no one else we can follow.” Cesare replied.

Hallmark of a classic is that it remains relevant across time. This book isn’t Daphne’s best, but it is startling in its eerie & hideous parallels with today’s India. See if you can spot’em.

Premise: The tale is narrated by Beo and largely fixated on Aldo. The story itself has inbuilt parallels between Gothic fantasy and modern Rome. Tourist guide Beo chances upon the murder of a tramp, who turns out to be his old nanny Martha. Seeking her murderer and filled with nostalgia, Beo returns to his hometown Ruffano, but incognito. Here, he meets a ghost resurrected from his childhood.

Aldo is a Professor. But demure, benign or modest? Not he! Aldo is a power monger, a megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur.

‘He who ceases to see anything great in God will find it nowhere. He must either deny it or create it.’

·         His dream – to recreate the chariot ride of the sinister Duke Claudio. Continue reading

The windmills of Time

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The bath-tub was anointed with lavender oil and rose petals. Deva Bapu rose from the tub. 3 female attendants knelt to spread a fluffy white towel at his feet. Deva spun the saffron robes around his considerable girth. One attendant stood on tiptoe to daub horizontal gashes of vermillion and ash across his broad forehead. Her nipples, demure in white silk, grazed against bare nipples. She blushed and swayed in ecstasy. Another attendant wound rosary beads around his hairy wrist.

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Deva Bapu heard the shuffle of impatient thighs scraping the floor directly above his head. He knew the assembly was packed with devotees. He flicked a glance at the mirror. Miracle Bapu stared back at him. His eyes were bloodshot and flat as a snake.He didn’t doubt his divinity.  Continue reading

The surgeon’sdecision

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“Doctor saab, my child got a bruise on his knee. It’s bleeding heavily. Help, please.”

“Hmm, blood is very precious. We cannot permit its loss,” said the #surgeon. Nobody was sure if he owned a medical degree. However, his ancestor had been a great surgeon once upon a time. He spent plenty of his earnings to ensure that the young surgeon’s face was splashed upon pamphlets and trumpeted through handouts as the upcoming Messiah.

The village people were #innocent, #trusting and #hopeful. So they trusted and hoped.

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Continue reading