I have done it before but I was much younger then, and in any case they were never so thick. I read an entire book in one marathon of a sitting. Avirook Sen’s ‘Aarushi’ deserves to be read that way, devoured quickly……hungrily. For whatever be its shortcomings it is definitely gripping and ‘unputdownable’. Extremely well written, Sen does not let the pace slacken as he recounts incidents about bumbling policemen and the heartless judiciary. A grim picture of the ‘system’ which is India. As you go through the book it becomes evident that this is a first hand account, not here-say, Sen has been there and done that!
His painstaking attention to detail shines through as he follows the case to its (not so) logical conclusion . The subtle sarcasm and tongue in cheek comments about the media, investigators, experts and those who sit in judgment are simultaneously funny and sad. Don’t go in looking for answers though, for there are none. In fact he raises some more questions as he points out the oversights , fallacies and shortcomings in the investigation and judgement.
The only flaw in this ‘non-fiction’ whodunnit story is his bias. Just as he accuses the the Judiciary and CBI for being prejudiced against the Talwars, he himself favours them. And he does this slowly and subtly so that by the end of the book you feel sorry for Rajesh and Nupur and believe in their misfortune. The choice of adjectives while describing the Talwars, their friends and legal team is deliberate. Painting them in a way that they appear both righteous and wronged. Also while he is scathingly critical of the inconsistencies in the persecution theory, he is more kind and considerate about those made by the accused. He fails to humanise the other suspects, the ‘lowly’ domestics who have been exonerated by the court. The reader would like to know more about their background before dismissing them as killers.
Sadly, the real tragedy occurred after the twin murders. To her parents horror, Aarushi was killed in her bedroom and violated by the police and press in public, as a voyeuristic nation looked on. In the end, Sen is absolutely right about one thing, it was a trial by the Indian public and the media. And Rajesh and Nupur, with their upper middle class values and private grief did not stand a chance.
Read it ……at a measly 150/- ( the e- book is 120/-!!) it is total paisa vasool.