Pawan: The Flying Accountant by Sorabh Pant
I was super excited to read The Flying Accountant by Sorabh Pant for two reasons: First the author himself and second I was expecting it to be about Hanuman, my favourite mythical character. But too much of excitement could lead to some disappointment.
The story is about Arjun who was a reluctant superhero but becomes a part of an unofficial army who had taken upon themselves to protect the borders of the country since India was governed by five incompetent PMs (here the satire is on Mahagathbandhan). As a consequence, he gets grudgingly embroiled in the Indo China land tussle and ends up fighting a China made Super villain.
You might have read many fiction about Indo Pak problems with Kashmir, but for the first time I have read something which entangles our northern neighbor, hostile in the façade of friendliness, China. It could have been an interesting read, if executed properly.
The storyline was haywire and incoherent. The author molded the storyline in order to fit in satire and sarcasm, even if that means the characters had to act weirdly and awkwardly. This forced satire in every page and every para did not blend well with the story and things seems to be messed up and not properly laid down.
The story was over the top and at times exaggerated, especially the first part. There were so many stuff which went away unexplained and unexplored. Only towards the end, the book was good to read, funnily without any satire rather gets philosophical, some real action taking place and a fitting climax.
The characters were absolutely flat. There was no proper introduction of any of the characters. Why they behave in a certain way was never clear. I was not able to connect with a single character. Not even with the protagonist Arjun. He was from the lineage of Hanuman with special powers. Nothing has been written about his upbringing, the story of his parents was in bits and pieces.
I literally know nothing about Kelly, the leading lady of the story. Sub stories and background of the characters are so important to understand them, to carry the story forward, to establish a connection. But the author has overlooked such an important aspect of storytelling. You just can’t write the book in a jiffy. Most of the characters were highly irritating.
So what is worth reading in the novel. I think the satire. There is a such an apparent satire on China. In the story, Indian Superhero Arjun is original while Chinese superhero or rather villain has been made from the blood, DNA and bones of Arjun. So Chinese superhero is duplicate. Something which China does. All their products are duplicate of the original. Wow what an volley on China.
The author also explains how China claims the other countries land as theirs and how this entire Indo China land trouble begins. There is substantial truth when the author writes, “When the centre is at its weakest, that is when it’s the best time for the neighbours to jump in”. Also, there is a food for thought when the author says that why there is at all need to divide the world with human made boundaries. I think, you can hear this dialogue in many Hindi movies.
Apart from China, the satire is also on Indian politicians, media, the army, etc. I feel he didn’t miss anyone. There was also a punch on Parsis. It was a good one. Well, this is the author’s forte, but sadly all this didn’t go well with the storyline and plotting was also weak as a consequence reading The Flying Accountant was not a funny or a good experience.
The satire is good. There is no doubt about it. But good satire doesn’t go well with a weak plotting and so many loopholes in the storytelling. Well, I really won’t recommend this book. As there are many better options available. But if you are a fan, then can certainly go for it. Just for the satire.