"The Perfect Suicide" | Conflicts with expectations and power
A thriller from a professional author has been exciting for ages, but a thriller from an IAS and also an IPS officer is more thrilling indeed. Senior IAS Jalaj Shrivastava writes his debut thriller, “A perfect suicide”, not only from passion but also from his experience of work. Authors write from their own perception but Shrivastava has placed himself at those points where a crime is unfolding.
Being a senior official the author understands the mood of these people, the politics, the qualities and the limitations very well. If you think that the book is just merely a thriller then it will be a wrong idea because this book is where the real selves of these top officers will also get unfolded.
The author was a professor at St Stephen’s college for a year where he taught physics from 1981-82. Then he became an IPS officer in 1983 and after that an IAS in 1984. His experience as a bureaucrat has a very important contribution to this book. The author has also used many real characters like Spl CP Deepak Mishra, and Deepak Nath among others. The story is a work of fiction but the readers might be left to think that the author has actually met these characters by himself at some point in his life. He writes in notes, “It is also incumbent upon me to state that it does not resemble any person living or dead. Tchah. Of course, it does.”
The book narrates an annual lunch of the IPS officer’s “wives” association on Valentine’s Day. He minutely draws the meetings of these people and the kind of discussions they do. When the party was at its peak, suddenly they are taken hostage by terrorists and the floor gets covered with explosives. Here the author clears the notion of the readers and describes the fear and shock of the people present at the party. It does not matter if a person is from an IPS family or a middle-class family, the fear of losing the life is a fact. The author writes how helpless those IPS officers felt, the ones who command to the outside world were simply puzzled and confused at the situation. The cream of the police force was in shock and so were there the family members who have great expectations from them. The best part of this story is the conflict within and the conflicts of expectations and power.
In a situation when a group of terrorists are holding you at gun-point and you just want to save your family; it simply brings out the common man in you. This moral of the story will make you thoughtful. In every line of this book, the author shows that how vulnerable these people are about whom we have some different ideas. Being a part of this community the author never tries to take any side here but to communicate the truth. In the book, Shrivastava is not a critic of the bearcats but a rebellion who breaks the stereotype of these people to the readers. Through the thriller of 289 pages, the author tells the story of some common man wearing a different jacket. “A sanitised version of the same was shared with all news channels and sent as a Press Note, downplaying the difficulty of catching anyone of getting any clue, and highlighting the sacrifice of the DG, who had bravely stood and risked his life-saving everyone else,” the line describes the whole incident and the outcome.
While being a good professional, Shrivastava at times misses the taste of thrill. Sometimes the book becomes a bit official oriented than the crime. The too much focus on the top officials and their personal life may distract the readers from the real story. But the detailed description of the place, the thoughts, the plans and the whole environment proves that the author has himself experience some same kind of the situation. At the end, the author wants to give a message of peace, though that is not a typical thriller ending we used to get.
“They prayed and prayed for peace and forgiveness, upon all the sinners. Somewhere, somehow their prayers would be answered, they knew. He would, as always,” he wrote. The readers may not remember this book as one of the best thrillers they have read, but they will definitely remember it as a story of people they seldom meet but interpret.