I always thank my college for one thing that it gave me during my stay there – my reading habit. It’s been almost nine years now when I firstly picked up a book and started reading as a casual reader. By now, I have touched upon and glanced through almost all type of literature – be it fiction, nonfiction, history, politics, current affair, business or children books. Whenever I am outside or on travel and I see a bookstore, I get inside to have a look of new arrivals and spend quite a lot of time. My friends called me paranoid or book-worm. Though I did not reach to the level of voracity and call myself a guy having extensive command on literature or subject or topic, I love giving reviews, giving critical points and suggesting good books to my friends. Literature is a powerful tool. It makes you know many things that you would have not known otherwise. Last to last week, when I was ogling around in the Deloitte library or ‘communication gym’ in Deloitte lingo, I came across a book called ‘The age of Kali’ written by William Dirlymple, a Scottish journalist, who spent an important part of his life in exploring Indian subcontinent. His sheer audacity and persistence to search India and bring her in his writing is so powerful that you feel awestruck in surprise and disbelief. When every second or third educated graduate, be he engineer or MBA or doctor, wants to move out of the country in search of comfortable and peaceful life, it is quite recognizable that a British came to India, stayed for almost nine years, dug out so many manuscripts from the dusty racks of old and decaying libraries and read them and put them in simple words so that people like us can access his writings and avoid the pain.
Reading ‘The age of Kali’ was like going back in India and her neighboring nations of 90s and seeing hue and cry all over the place. It hurt me when the book started with the story of Bihar and went on detailing incident by incident which made Bihar notorious. Interview with Bihar then CM Laloo Prasad Yadav was hilarious as well as ironic that how a person of such stature can talk like this, then followed the stories of glory of Lucknow, Gwalior and Hyderabad. It was surprising to know that the Nizam had two trucks of jewelries loaded for the emergency that he anyways ignored later on and never felt any need to put them back in the lockers. The interviews with LTTE folks, Imran Khan, Benazir Bhutto and her mother and brother were important insight to understand the condition there.
Overall, the author tried to define Kalyug – Age of Kali, the fourth and the last era for humans. He seems to have justified how people of the country are becoming brutal and uncivilized and moving towards the end of last Yug. The book is certainly worth reading as it gives the insight of many hidden things which we never come across in normal life.