Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Death in Mumbai

Neeraj Grover has been one murder story which I have followed diligently all these years. The shock, the gruesomeness of the murder, the absolute calmness with which the murderers Maria Susairaj and her boyfriend Emile Jerome conducted themselves shocked me no end. Seeing Neeraj’s parents break down on every news channel broke my heart. When they managed to get bail it upset me and I tweeted about it continuously, but as if, that would help.

Now Neeraj Grover was one such guy you encounter everyday in Mumbai, almost like one of our own, struggling with Mumbai’s life, small town boy from Kanpur  trying to make it big in this city despite his parents not wanting him to go anywhere beyond Kanpur. His is a story you encounter every day, the fact that he worked close to where I work, got murdered just two suburbs away from where I stay and ended up dying such a horrific death was and still is very hard to digest.

But anyway this post is not about what I feel about the murder but a review of Meenal Baghel’s excellent and well researched book ‘Death in Mumbai’. Since this book was about the murder which I still track I started reading it instantly and was hooked. This book was not just about Neeraj’s death but it tried to show how aspirations, the pressures of the city can lead young professionals to a crime so heinous in proportion.

Who were the main characters in this entire episode? What made them do what they did? She tries to take us into their lives and you realize that they are perfectly normal people like you and me. What drove Emile Jerome an extremely bright student coming from a well off family and employed in the Naval services to commit a crime of such tragic proportions. Maria hailing from a wealthy background out to make it big in Bollywood, supposedly very shy and meek person manage to help cover up the murder? And did Neeraj Grover a man obsessed with making it big in the industry misuse his position to lure Maria into a relationship with him?

Lots of questions remain unanswered, lots of permutations and combinations derived to try and answer why the murderers did what they did. Did Neeraj deserve a death so gruesome? Meenal tactfully judges none but draws a riveting picture of a death whose mystery has not faded even though the killers may have been found.

Though at times and at places I found the book increasingly repetitive but it was a minor hiccup in trying to present all angles to the case.

A book I highly recommend all to read.

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