(Reviewed by JD Jung)
Her aroma engulfed him, enticing him to stay. A few seconds seemed like an eternity, but still not enough. Strangers that they were, they stood lost in each other anyway, holding their longing gaze for some timeless moments. All the responsibilities that held them back, and all the possibilities they could let loose, whirled around them in turmoil.”
After reading text like this, I would normally close the book and chalk up my disappointment to the fact that I’m not a romantic and don’t like most romance novels. However, since I am telling you about Quest for Kriya there must be something else, something enticing about this novel.
Shakti, a teenager, lost everything and everyone from an earthquake in her hometown of Latur, India in September 1993. She went to Bombay and contacted Kriya, the daughter of a family friend with whom she hadn’t spoken with in two years. Kriya took care of her, and even helped her become a flight attendant.
That is how Shakti met Shiva, the owner of a software start-up in San Francisco. Before now, work consumed his life and he had no time for anything else. However, on his rise up the Silicon Valley ladder, he managed to make a few enemies along the way.
After the two meet, Kriya goes missing and Shakti feels lost and is determined to find her. This makes enemies for Shakti also. When she goes on this quest she realizes that there is so much more at stake for Mumbai.
“I want the whole fucking world at my feet. All the people who ever cheated me, ridiculed me, put me down…I want them groveling, scared, and pleading at my feet.” Readers, I told you this would get interesting.
In the quest for finding Kriya we learn about the drug culture, corruption and criminal underworld from Mumbai to Thailand. Author Rahul Deokar also gives us a cultural tour of Mumbai with all its local color and to a lesser extent that of the islands off of the Andaman Sea in Thailand. We also learn the cultural differences and similarities between East and West. What seems to be universal, though, is people’s quest to find themselves and reconcile their past.
Quest for Kriya weaves romance and spiritual overtones with gritty and graphic mood and dialogue. It’s these contrasts, along with the in-depth characterizations and a well-written story that will keep you reading on.