Author: Rohit Handa
Publisher: Ravi Dayal
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175300493
A Twisted Cue is a novel that delves deep into the inner psyche of India. Cultural values, origins, status and the codes of gentlemanly English-speaking Indian society are all explored, including the complicated restrictions of those who live within it. All this is done with wit, a sharpness and verve that make A Twisted Cue a memorable work.
The twice-decorated Lieutenant-Colonel Quintin Reginald Mulkally Oxley-Protheroe, an Anglo-Indian Commanding Officer of an elite Guards battalion is on holiday in Kasauli, a cantonment town in the Simla Hills, on the eve of international hostilities. Whilst searching for an epitaph in a derelict cemetery for his white forefather’s grave, he sees the need to revivify the Hindu side of his bloodline-which lacks the will to wash down curry with bloody water to win battles, as his British ancestors had done while fighting the wars that unified India.
Mulkally’s holiday continues in Delhi where he meets Erica Green, a young woman of his own community, and accidentally rekindles a friendship with Narayani, who nursed him for an injury in an earlier war. The story is told as Mulkally gets involved in the 1965 India-Pakistan conflict which, besides disrupting a romance on the rise, ends in a stalemate which is not to the satisfaction of those who had hoped for more. A twisted cue leads to depression for some officers, with Mulkally departing for another continent where he unexpectedly meets one of the women from whom he was parted by the war.