A Cobra’s Bite Doesn’t Hurt

A Cobra’s Bite Doesn’t Hurt

This powerful novel presents life in contemporary India with vivid realism. Evocative and beautifully written, with a love story at its heart, it embraces a wide range of human emotions and has many intensely dramatic scenes.

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About the Book

Kalu, kidnapped from an orphanage at the age of fourteen and trained to pick pockets, is forced into a gang of thieves in Bangalore. When Babu, their ruthless gang leader, 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, a stunning and gifted career girl from an upper middle-class family.

Born in India, Anil Nijhawan now lives in the UK with his wife Adarsh. Anil’s career has embraced working in the computing industry and running his own business. A keep-fit enthusiast, he has run the London Marathon on several occasions. His hobbies include global travel and fine art painting in acrylics.

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: The Conrad Press
Publication Year: 2020
Format: Ebook & Paperback
Length: 320
ASIN: 1911546961
ISBN: 9781911546962
List Price: £7.99
eBook Price: £3.99
A Different Side to India. This book is very atmospheric and obviously written by an author who has lived and breathed India. Like Slumdog Millionaire it exposes the ugly underbelly of Indian society where people are fighting for survival. Kalu starts his life in an orphanage but then progresses to working as a pickpocket, all the while yearning for the family he never had.
A fascinating title for an equally fascinating book. "A Cobra's Bite Doesn't Hurt" is a fascinating title for an equally fascinating book. I love the device of the narrator speaking directly to the Indian PM as it allows for humour and a more in-depth insight into the opinions, beliefs and hopes of Kalu. Kalu is an uneducated orphan kidnapped from the orphanage at the age of fourteen in order to be trained as a pick-pocket, which becomes his career as he gets older. Kalu is utterly engaging and although he is not the most honest of people, we forgive him, even when his crime is heinous, because he fundamentally has a good heart. He cares for the destitute, the hungry, the crippled, the unwanted - because he is one of them. The India Kalu describes is not on the tourist trail but is the India lived in by the majority of its population. The descriptions are both delicious and repellent; you can smell the wonderful spices and the obnoxious effluent in the same sniff. It is an honest book but by no means depressing. Yes, we mix with people who are crippled, poverty-stricken, disadvantaged and starving - but we also experience their small successes, their bursts of joy and their daily inspirations. Yes, Kalu tells of deprivation, corruption, cruelty and despair, but he also tells of hope, friendship, selflessness and love and it is these that shine through and are remembered. The ending is abrupt but I very much hope this is because Anil Nijhawan is writing a sequel; I really want to know what happens to Kalu and his friends. This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
A stunning depiction of modern India. Most of us who have never been to India still think we know all about it. We've read the books, learned the history of the British Raj. We read bits and bobs about types of clothes, sitar music, Bollywood, the River Ganges etc. but still know nothing. It was only when I read “A Cobra's Bite Doesn’t Hurts” that I understood its complexity. The narrator is Kalu who tells his life-story to India's Prime Minister by recording it on an old-fashioned tape recorder, for his university-educated friend to transcribe. Kalu was dumped in an orphanage, where hunger and cruelty is a way of life. He suffers painful indignities but makes a close friend with whom he plans to escape. When that friend makes off without him, he is determined to find him but where? Kalu's life is a race from city to city, running away from one criminal-master to another. At first, the novel is a modern-day Oliver Twist. Initially, he is trained to be a pick-pocket but this is no happy-ever-after tale with a rich grandfather to rescue him. When you are hungry and penniless. The only way to live is as a criminal but there is no honour among criminals. Kalu steals, swindles, is arrested, beaten up and rescued again and again.
Thoroughly recommended. I really enjoyed this tale of an orphan who is abducted from a children’s home in India by a gang and forced to pick pockets in Bangalore. After his friend is murdered, he escapes and moves a thousand miles to Kolkata, where he works the streets on his own. Sadly, the bad men from his past soon catch up with him. However, despite his odious crimes, teenager Kalu shows he has a compassionate side when he finds a love letter in a wallet and seeks to reunite two lost sweethearts. This is an engaging story of sadness, inhumanity, tragedy, humour, and hope and inspiration. This author, who is new to me, brings alive the colourful street life of modern-day India, with all its sights and sounds, in this fast-moving tale. Thoroughly recommended.
Great read. Just finished reading the book. Crime novel it isn't, contrary to my expectation This is more a very engrossing, fast paced literary novel. It has taken me by surprise, a pleasant one I have to say. Loved the central character Kalu with whom the reader can't help but empathize intensely, even when he is out picking pockets or committing other misdemeanours. The story clearly has a serious social message. It should be read by everyone.