If someone tells you that the past doesn’t haunt you, never believe it. The person must be making a fool out of you. Like our present, the past has been a part of our life and as author Mayank Manohar mentions in his debut fictional work, Shadow Of The Past (Fingerprint; Rs 199; Pages 168), Life throws up tough choices that often control your life, forcing you to carry the baggage of your past. In the process, you have no option but to fall in love with your own shadow. Your pain and loneliness are your best friends. But there comes a breaking point and when you reach it, there is a good chance it can destroy you completely.
So it happens in engineer-turned-journalist-turned-author-turned-“what will he do next no one knows” Manohar’s maiden effort at penning fiction. Manohar is surely a bigtime Hindi movie buff (as he mentions in his introduction in the book as well) because the plot of Shadow Of The Past seems to be a mashup of many a Bollywood potboilers. A love triangle where a girl deserts a boy; the estranged boy meets another girl and falls in love with her; the first girl agrees to marry a friend who silently loved her all this while but then a week before marriage, she calls it off and thereafter gets to know that she is suffering from life-threatening cancer; the first boy gets to know the trouble the first girl is in on the day he commits marriage to the second girl; he leaves the second girl to be with the first one as she is unwell and may die soon…
But the story does not end here. There is more in this masala-overloaded book which you must read if you love Hindi masala movies.
To know whether the three protagonists manage to get rid of their past or get stuck in it forever, pick up a copy of Shadow Of The Past, sit in a quiet corner of your home with a tub of popcorn and loads of cold drink. You should get the feeling of watching a movie in a multiplex. What’s more — the book has a dream ending, a la Bollywood isshtyle. So, enjoy!