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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

It Happened One Night

On his blog India Uncut,Amit Varma hurries from a humorous poem on Mrs Darwin at the zoo by the new poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy,to baboons ransacking starlet Shamita Shetty’s room in South Africa.

Written by Anushree Majumdar |
May 10, 2009 10:30:18 pm

On his blog India Uncut,Amit Varma hurries from a humorous poem on Mrs Darwin at the zoo by the new poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy,to baboons ransacking starlet Shamita Shetty’s room in South Africa. He posts an imaginary chat between a cricketer and a chica and quickly follows it up with a comment on Rahul Gandhi’s election rally in Punjab. But in his debut novel My Friend Sancho,Hachette India’s first original title,he goes to a place he knows well: inside a newspaper office.

Varma,a former journalist,gives us Abir Ganguly,a crime reporter who falls in love with a girl while writing about her murdered father. The lizard in his bedroom,however,tut-tuts.

“In March last year,I decided to start a book with nothing but a character and a setting,” says the 30-something Varma,“I had Abir in a newsroom,and no idea what would happen to him. After that,events dictated themselves,and I dutifully followed.” And the lizard? “That was for fun,” he says.

My Friend Sancho begins with the humdrum life of Ganguly,who has just the slightest tendency to exaggerate his thoughts. One strange night on the beat,the crime reporter gets embroiled in the murder of an alleged gangster. Ganguly is asked to write a scintillating copy,a ‘real story’ about the murdered man,and ends up falling in love with his daughter.

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In between the pages,Varma doesn’t forget to promote his blog as well: Ganguly is always logging on to India Uncut.

Varma is already on to his second novel (“a bigger,more ambitious book”),but he says he might also write a sequel to My Friend Sancho. “In this book,Abir Ganguly’s love story is the subject,and everything else forms the backdrop. In future books,though,any love story that is there will be a backdrop,and whatever journalistic assignment Abir is on will be the focus of the book. The second Abir book will be a murder mystery,” says Varma. As long as the lizard in the bedroom approves.

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