Book Review | NA MALOOM SCIENCEDAAN | Ishtiaq Ahmed

PLOT SUMMARY

Inspector Jamshed is tasked with a mission by the President himself. Unwilling to let this slip, he asks his kids to shut the doors, the windows and scribbls the entire conversation with the President. He later destroys the page.

He and his three kids Farooq, Mehmood and Farzana sets out to kill a scientist from Begal, a neighboring anti-muslims country; and a scientist that nobody knows about.

The evil man, who is supposedly a very well known man, hires too goons to find out about the mission. They come to Inspector Jamshed’s abode, find the notepad on which Inspector Jamshed had scirbbled. It has impression of the page. So, the bad men know the mission just as much as Inspector Jamshed does.

The evil man kills the two goons. Of course, who would want to keep a proof? I knew it the moment he asks them to meet in person. Predictable!

The family is caught the moment they land in Begal. They are tortured but don’t utter a word. Then, they are punished. The punishment is that the people of Begal would slap them.

What? Which country does that? These folks have entered illegally, stolen from two citizens and the police also has their photographs. They obviously know the seriousness of the matter. Intelligence teams handle this with utmost secrecy. Here, family is just presented to the citizens for some smacking ans slapping.

And, the family is not just bearing the slaps, but also busy trying to rescue themselves.

They, do. (Almost) Magically, Inspector Jamshed meets the president, finds out about the unnamed scientist and kills him. No interference, no nothing.

Meh!

REVIEW

My Goodreads friend Zubaa recommended Ishtiaq Ahmed’s books, given that I am crazy about Ibn-e-Safi.

And, I must say, I was impressed by the preface. The writing is quite fresh, and naturally hilarious. The spontaneity does resemble the legend Ibn-e-Safi, who inspired Ishtiaq Ahmed. It is very rare, from all the experience from my long life.

However, as I proceeded to read, the novelty began to wear off and it started sounding amateurish and juvenile.

I particularly didn’t like the jab about authors. I generally do enjoy writers writing about  writers, movie-makers making a movie about movie-making. You  know what I mean.

Also, I felt that there were too many characters, four of them. And, in an attempt to give each of them equal weight, the conversation sounds more like rambling bunch of idiots and less like a gang on a mission.

It was also preachy – what is counted as ibadat, and evoking religious emotions more than focusing on the story. At one point, right after entering Begal, he asks Farooq to steal money because stealing money from anti-Muslim people is okay. Really? A theft is a theft. Period.

Also, this technique of finding the truth from handwriting’s impression on other pages, isn’t new. Not for me. I first read about it in 1999. There was an extremely talented police officer Shahab Saquib who doubled as rogue vigilante. He writes his plans on a notepad, and then destroys not just that page but several pages until he cannot see any impresssions. Now THAT is being careful.

Look at me ranting for so long for a story I did not enjoy much.

So, it’s a no for me. I ain’t no kid to enjoy these stories.

Shabana Mukhtar

 

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