The Slow Train To Rishikesh - crime/detective novel by Sharan kumar Aruanchalam


I am the son of some wealthy businessman but dropped out of college before getting my degree. Then I found out how hard the world can be without the proper qualifications. I was down to considering a position at Burger King, Mumbai.

Are you feeling sorry for me yet? No??

Well, in this crazy, mixed up world, I decided to follow my passions instead and wrote a book. It’s called The Slow Train To Rishikesh. If you buy it, you will spare me from flipping burgers, or worse still, from receiving forty lashes from my rich father, who begins to think I’m a derelict.

Thank you.

Synopsis - The Slow Train To Rishikesh :

With hints of Kipling and ancient Hindustan as a backdrop, The Slow Train to Rishikesh is a riveting tale of love and greed, set against the corruption of modern day India. When Hiresh, a thirty-something investigator for the Central Bureau of Investigation is ordered to abandon his vacation in Rishikesh and go investigate a minor poisoning incident in the city of Indore, he soon finds this minor incident has blown up into a full scale catastrophe, with shoddily run factories, hundreds of people dead from pesticide poisoning and corporate malfeasance everywhere he turns. As Hiresh has seen hundreds of times before, unchecked capitalism and systematic payoffs have combined with greed and negligence to place profits above the well-being of everyday citizens. Worse still, Hiresh’s investigation quickly leads him to a shocking conclusion. This poisoning incident appears to have been the result of a deliberate act. But why? And by whom? Hinted at but never fully revealed until later in the story, Hiresh has a dark secret in his past, a history that inexorably leads him back to just this sort of industrial accident.

It is on the journey from Rishikesh to New Delhi, and from New Delhi to Indore that Hiresh finds himself in the company of an idealistic young Brit named Chelsea, who works for Human Rights Watch and has been assigned by them to report on the same incident. Initially butting heads, these two disparate personalities from differing cultures are soon allies in an effort to thwart a cover up which leads to the very highest positions of power in India.

Along the way, we meet Uday, the suave, ever smiling but duplicitous government Minister who swears his only interest is in helping Hiresh to uncover the truth, and Muktananda, a charlatan religious leader who is forever championing the interests of the downtrodden, when in fact he has made a fortune by investing in the very companies by which the downtrodden are oppressed. A host of other bureaucrats join in, bickering and stumbling over themselves in an effort to catch Hiresh and Chelsea before the secrets they have learned see the light of day.

The Slow Train to Rishikesh is a spellbinding journey through the underbelly of Indian society, where deals are struck to save reputations, the public is deluded by a false sense of justice and the next industrial disaster is always waiting around the next corner. But this story is really about Hiresh and Chelsea, two young idealists who vow to go on fighting the good fight, even if the entrenched powers are forever trying to stack the deck against them.

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