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Educated, young, no-nonsense bearing, able administratorâthese are the qualities that won Sesha the loyalties of the people after three years of rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. An allegation that he was the mastermind behind the murder of 73 Kannadigas threatens to bring him down but he is miraculously saved in the 11th hour.
Even before he can relish his victory, Sesha is slapped with the charge of sexually offending a young nurse. This time round, the case is strong and his supporters are uncertain. Worse, his teenage daughter calls him 'vile' and walks out of the house. While Mythili, his wife promises her full support, her secretive activitiesâundertaken with the help of a retired copâis a cause of concern for Sesha.
Will Zarina, the human-rights activist, succeed in bringing him down? What about the insinuations of a celebrity lawyer that he is casteist and antiminorities? When the young nurse is found dead, the case becomes even more complex. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And who is the mastermind?
Read an Excerpt:
A dim yellow light in the background enabled the viewers to get a silhouette of the girl. Perhaps there was a fan beyond the camera frame that ruffled her curly hair mildly, and her hand moved involuntarily to put it back in order. The yellow line over the edges of her shoulder and arms implied a somewhat plump figure. She was wearing a sleeveless top or kurta.
âSesha had never stared at me like that. In fact, I doubt whether he had noticed me properly at all. He would enter the room and I would walk out. There was never a chance. But then, that night was perhaps different. He had always seen me in churidar-kurta. That night since I had gone to sleep, I waswearing a nightgownâ¦a sleeveless one.
âHe asked if I could serve him dinner. The cook had left. She generally left for her home on Saturday evenings and returned the next night. I agreed. He returned to the dining table after changing. I had laid out the dinner. He then took out a bottle of red wine and poured two glasses. That was a surprise. I had never seen him taking alcohol. Perhaps his wifeâs accident and her long illness had disturbed him emotionally. He offered me a glass. I hesitated. But he insisted. So as not to offend him, I took the glass and sipped the drink.â She seemed to move uncomfortably in her chair.
Catherine volunteered, âYou donât need to describe it further if you donât want to. I know how painful it would be.â
The girl took a long breath and replied, âHmmâ¦Iâll talk. Painful indeed. But Iâve braved it over the last two years. Jesus has made me strong. After clearing the table, I was returning to my room. Intuitively, I felt he was following me. I was scared to look back. I paced faster towards the room. But a couple of feet before my room, I felt he was too close to me. I turned back to object. Since he was too close, he fell over me. He propped me against the wall and before I could realise what was happening, he kissed me on my lipsâ¦â
Her voice choked. Catherine extended a glass of water and the girlâs hand extended from the hazy dark background. The fingers that wrapped the glass, which was outside the darkened area, were white and the nails were well manicured. She sipped the water, cleared her throat and resumed.
âHe walked me to the next room and sat me on the bed. He knelt down before me, held my face in his hands and said that I looked beautiful. I was benumbed by the suddenness of his advance. He ran his fingers over my forehead, my eyes and cheeks and then through the neck down toâ¦the whole
thing was inappropriate. An affront. I realised he was exploiting mynumbness. Anger surged in me. I pushed him aside, jumped out of the bed and ran to my room. I closed the door behind me and slouched against it. My whole body shivered. Unable to sleep, scared that he might forcefully enter
the room again, I sat against the door and remained awake the whole night.â
Catherine handed the girl another glass of water.
About the Author:
Hariharan Iyer is a finance professional based in Dar es Salaam. Not content with just a rewarding corporate job, he took to writing a couple of years back. He blogged on media and current affairs for a year at valadyviews.blogspot.com before hitting on the idea for this novel. An idea so powerful that it convinced the accountant in him that he could put together not just a balance sheet but an intriguing political thriller as well. He has definite views on politics, NGOs and media ethics and has tried to package them in the form of an interesting novel.
Hariharan lives with his wife in Dar es Salaam while his two sons are pursuing their ambitions in India.
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