Book Review: Hilawi by Ritu Lalit
“So was Hilawi, a hiladi- novel?”-the boy next door, in his worn out casual-challenged. Yup! I was into another long discussion and reading session with the local mates-(8 to 80- all inclusive) – and some said- fictional myths died with our Thakur Ma’r Jhuli and several other creations of the Tagore family- some drew a line within the very first minutes of the discussion-“we can write thrillers, social issues and poverty- but fantasy- friends and countrymen- we never had the chance to dream properly post independence!” “So! How Long will you take to reply…” with a crooked brow- my contender enquired. “Dude! We can write proper fantasy- and we don’t steal it from your Bond and Potter movies!”
Hilawi, by Ritu lalit is a tight novel- with mystery and racing cars- knocking off your sleep at odd hours, it has got the essence of character struggle- and steady evolvement. It has got twins- Vir and Gigi- coming back to their land of birth and facing the wrath of their enemies through numerous sacrifices and realizations. From Arvind, to the Grand old Uncle- Yaduraj- all seemed to do justice to the plot- yet- something was amiss.
The thrill was well served- with attacks on the protagonists the moment they meet their guardian- the pivotal- myth being narrated side by side to both the lead roles and the readers- in between action packed pages. The writer did give a touch of originality by linking ancient legends, pan Asian geographical history all at once. Giving importance to creating narrative setting at par to preparing the readers for the climax and the denouncement at the right junctures of the novel- Ritu Lalit- grated the art of storytelling into smooth and soft pulp. What was amiss was just a piece to the grand puzzle- it seemed – like Hilawi- could have been more compact- especially when Gigi comes in contact with the ancient relic- responsible in giving birth to the story itself. If I was to read it through the eyes of a preteen- I would happily reconsider. A kid from my reading session ( a wall- crawler fan)- believes that Hilawi lives upon the saying- “With great powers, come great responsibility”- and this is true each time Ritu Lalit had to crave out the humane aspects of the story line. This made me wonder-“when it comes to human beings- the lady draws perfect characters- with their strength and weakness all believable- but the time game- factor is a hard trick- she is half way into learning it- may be the third novel- will quench my thirst…”
My Rating – 3/5