I have never read a novel like Killing Time In Delhi by Ravi Shankar Ettetth. It was a completely different experience reading it. You must have seen poker face, but for the first time I was reading a deadpan novel. It felt like reading the autobiography of Vinod Mehta
Vinod Mehta was an Indian journalist and the editor of a famous magazine Debonair. I am sure you must be aware of the magazine if not the editor himself. He was a regular to all these Page 3 parties and was aware of many scandals which were swept under the carpet.
I have read Vinod Mehta’s autobiography Lucknow Boy: A Memoir. It is full of scandals, juicy gossips and misdemeanor from the world of politics, Bollywood, media and business. It was fun reading it. Killing Time In Delhi is very similar to it. The only difference is Lucknow Boy was based on Vinod Mehta’s knowledge about Lutyens’ Delhi, while Killing Time In Delhi is a satire on Lutyens’ Delhi. The author Ravi Shankar Ettetth has made fun of all the page 3 socialites with a poker face.
Now I don’t have any first hand experience or remotest idea about all these parties of ultra rich people living in Lutyens’ Delhi. I have vaguely heard about them. It is after reading Vinod Mehta’s autobiography, I came to know that such parties are about liquor, dope and flesh.
As a consequence, while reading Killing Time In Delhi, the satire and sarcasm on Lutyens socialites was so apparent to me, which otherwise I would have simply missed, thinking that the book is a murder mystery and why on earth the protagonist keep on ranting about the socialites.
Actually the dash of murder suspense just spiced up the things a little more in the dry humor style of the author.
Story In Brief
You must be thinking about the story. Let me give you just a brief outline.
So our protagonist Charlie was born insanely rich by inheriting a lifetime fortune from his ancestors. An example of his richness- he bought a Lamborghini like buying a toy for a child
But life doesn’t remains the same. With cunning twist of fate, Charlie gets himself embroiled in an accidental death of his girlfriend and accused of a murder. Many secrets and scandals tumbles out while Charlie tries to prove his innocence.
The character of Charlie was the warehouse of all the gossips. He seems to have every information about all the rich socialites living on Lutyen’s lane. Who was sleeping with whom etc.
Just like the late Vinod Mehta. Only the latter was not born with a golden spoon studded with diamonds in his mouth.
What drives Charlie amidst of all the trouble was the sex drive. He can get a hard on even after witnessing the death of two people in front of his eyes. His persona doesn’t change a bit. He remains scornful and takes jibes at the drop of the hat.
The story has been structured with a lot of thought. In between the sarcasm and Charlie’s mockery, the author seeps in Charlie’s real love life, his complex family and its scandals and murder mystery. As a consequence you will never tire out or bored reading it
Hats off to the author’s tongue in cheek style of writing. He seems to get into the skin of his character Charlie. The narrative was of top notch and flows evenly with interesting stories to tell at every twist of event, at every turn of the page.
Don’t pick up this book or read this book with an impression that it is a murder mystery.
Read it for bang-on-not-to-miss satire and sarcasm.
Read it if you love reading dry humor. The author didn’t let Charlie go off the track even once.
I have one more reason to love this book. It reminds me of Vinod Mehta. You need guts to write like him.