Author: Musharraf Farooqui
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172234236
A delightful first novel, in an inimitable style, which keeps you enthralled to the last page with its humor.
Purana Shehr is a small town with a celebrated madhouse, tea-house type Chhalawa Hotel and laid-back lifestyle. It is shaken out of its opiate mood when a termite epidemic almost brings life to standstill. The people of Topee Mohalla, a part of Purana Shehr, exhaust themselves in their efforts to end the termite onslaught. As the termites eat away maniacally at almost anything that they can, we come across Salar Jung who has arrived to stay with his daughter Bano Tamanna and son-in-law Mirzban Yunani.
Mirzban is oblivious to the world around him and is convinced that termites have a spiritual connection with the concepts of Eternity, Time and the Universe. Salar has problems facing his old age and makes a last attempt at passion with a yesteryear's actress, Noor-e Firdausi, who does much besides acting. We meet Ladlay Qalabaz, who is a wily lawyer trying to make a fortune out of Salar and is almost caught in the act by Salar's majordomo, Muneemji, who waits for Ladlay to slip up.
Mushtri Khanam, Mirzban's sister, is a short, mischievous spinster who wears five-inch heels to her job at a bank to intimidate her colleagues. Qudratullah, the bank Manager, nurtures his unrequited love for Mushtri even at the termites eat way the bank's records and money. Chaos ensues in Purana Shehr where to destroy the termites people try methods both holy and unholy, and slowly realize the futility of their attempts.