Life comes full circle
Reviewed by Aditi Garg

I Robbed Your Diamonds
by Col. Malvinder Singh
Power Publishers. Pages 297. Rs 350

I Robbed Your DiamondsLOVE, passion, money, power and deceit; these are elements that life is made of. All of these are capable of hugely altering its course and while some break down and lose everything in despair, others face the issues at hand and tide the tribulations. Col. Malvinder Singh's I Robbed Your Diamonds is a depiction of times gone. The author takes love and love stories at face value and neither is unnecessarily glorified; a refreshing take on the exalted status of an emotion that seems to guide the essence of most stories. An Army officer with an illustrious career, he came from a humble rural background but that did not impede his career. He mastered the Japanese language and worked as an interpreter too. After retirement, he has busied himself by taking to writing and his first novel, An Indian Lieutenant's Indian Wife, depicted army life in true form.

The book revolves around three loci, events that unfold at Uganda, England and Pakistan and also, three generations. The story begins as two young lads, a Sikh and a Muslim, namely Teja and Rahim, are thrown into an alien environment by a twist of fate. The book highlights flirtation and relationships of the illicit kind that were not frowned upon by even the wives. Despite differences of not just religion but also social strata, one being the landlord and the other a servant, they live together amicably with each knowing their place and not contesting it.

The book shines light on the simplicity of times where love and lust were uncomplicated, unbound by chains of marriage and stubborn fidelity. Beginning in the diamond mines of Uganda, surrounded by deceit, the story shifts to India and England with Teja and Rahim's sons, Ajit and Mukhtar and then the lives of their children, where it gives way to sinister plots that are of national importance and not just personal anymore. The three generations exhibit the traits of their particular times and they display a rare kinship between Sikh and Muslim families that runs in all three generations. The die-hard Punjabi spirit forms the backdrop of the book with depiction of the malicious and cagey world of intelligence and counter-intelligence. The interesting chemistry between two of the couples is worth reading about, but remember to leave a squeamish attitude aside.