The story unfolds
as Kishore Babu, a rich Marwari, takes to wandering in the
streets of Calcutta after a bypass surgery. This development
leaves his wife and children aghast. In this obvious break down
of the protagonist emerges a past, which looks for synthesis and
validity. He wanders back to his college days when he was
forever caught between his friends Shantanu and Amolak:
Shantanu, follower of Subhas babu and Amolak, a Gandhian.
Looking back he realises how he participated in the freedom
movement in his own way but could never fully resolve the
dichotomy between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’.
transcends the barriers of time and takes him back to the time
of his great grandfather Ramvilas Babu, who left his native
Rajputana when it was struck by famine, to seek refuge and
fortune in the city of Kalikata, where even the streets were
washed with the waters of the Ganga every morning. This
wandering lives on through Ramvilas’ struggle for survival and
his sudden aversion to the British, who at one time had seemed
to him like his very own, migrants from a distant land, after
the passing of his revolutionary son Kedar. Reliving the past,
Kishore Babu survives through the early death of his brother
Lalit. Around his is rush and madness of those days of famine,
floods and Partition.
In the novel,
bypass is a keyword and it indicates the present-day attitude of
trying to circumvent a problem rather than confronting it.
Kishore Babu’s bypass operation forces him to confront those
situations which he had successfully managed to bypass so far.
succeeded in portraying the trials and tribulations of the
Marwari community through story of the family of Kishore Babu
and his ancestors. As she is herself a Marwari, she has an
insider’s view of the dynamics of the community. Her
observations are sharp and she can provide realistic details
which are so necessary for a novel.