A cobra’s bite doesn’t hurt

Evocative and beautifully written, this powerful novel presents life in contemporary India with vivid realism. Not since A cobra’s bite doesn’t hurt has a novelist succeeded in conveying – with truth, dignity and power – the inhumanity of abandoned children on the streets of cities and towns across the country.

Those who have read the pilot copies have described it variously as audacious – bold – humorous – politically controversial.

The key protagonist here is Kalu, a chamar boy abandoned at birth by his young mother. Kalu narrates his life story in the form of an open letter to Prime Minister Mr Modi of India. Kidnapped by a gang of child traffickers from an orphanage near Haridwar, he is trained to pick pockets and forced into a gang of thieves in Bangalore. When Babu, their ruthless gang master murders his best friend Ramesh, Kalu – fearing for his own life – runs away to Kolkata. While still being pursued by Babu he meets and falls in love with Tanya, an educated career girl from an upper middle-class family.

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