For A Pint of Mother’s Milk

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Victor Verghese grows up without his mother’s love, and spends the most part of his early life subconsciously living the lack in his dealings with the world. There is this irreparable void in his psyche that he simply must fill, and when he finds a girl—Sonal Dutta—who can do just that, he is left with an ideal he must chase. Infused with a new pulsating drive, he lands up in the preeminent management institute in the country only to end up in a bout of failed love and general disillusionment.

Wafting through life on weak emotional underpinnings, he courts an exotic adventure through the inglorious corners of China Town, Calcutta; Chittagong, Bangladesh; and Bac Lieu, Vietnam, at the behest of a woman he had always been conditioned to avoid, chasing the most absurd ideal that even he knows is over the top even by his liberal interpretations of all things ‘implausible.’ Riding a wave of mystery and a healthy dose of twisted oriental exotica he comes back endowed with a life altering gift and leads to opportunities too nebulous to comprehend. As he pursues the leads on the back of his guts sharpened to survive without plans and certainties, he chances upon money that would give him a head start, a friend—Sonny Samuel—who would alter his life for the better, and a lover—Swati Mittal—who’d take him to great heights all the while threatening to steal him away from his greatest love.

In his quest to make good on the aspirations he had harbored since he was a young upstart chasing the queen of his dreams, his life is pulled in dangerous directions, and he suddenly stands on the brink of material and spiritual oblivion. If he makes good on the challenge posed by the most perfidious challenger, he along with his friends, stand to wrest control of a trove of clandestine riches and a peek into Bangalore’s underworld. Tentative, but ably spurred by his team’s most ingenious set of maneuvers, he does what his upbringing and education never conditioned him for, and gains access to a huge consignment of illicit loot. From then on, reveling in the calculated overthrow of conventional morality, he swiftly turns himself from an eager, uncertain boy from small town Ranchi, India, into a towering Real Estate tycoon baying for the biggest deals around his adopted home state of Karnataka, India. In his thirst for power and status he has to break hearts and run roughshod over tender feelings of those that desire a piece of his life, with a singular aim of serving the interests of the woman he swears by.

As the deeper truth reveals itself, one finds out that in spite of all the power a man like Victor Verghese possesses, he is still the loving creation of a wider, complex network of riddles and secrets that buffets him around parts of India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mauritius, and Egypt into a position of sublime personal power; and that in spite of his ignorance of the spiritual debts he owes, he is still cruelly left craving for more, and some more.

The author intends to lead the story into a set of 53 chapters, the first 21 of which feature in this book—complete by itself.


Avishek Sahu with wife, Anita.

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