My Friend Sancho

27 05 2011

I picked up this book by Amit Varma impressed by his immensely popular blog India Uncut. It’s an amazing blog which features his take on various things and happenings around us. His wisecracks and satires hit the bull’s eye and are often thought-provoking.

I was curious to discover how his fiction work would turn out. I didn’t have high expectations of this novel to begin with and so it didn’t disappoint me. But it could have been better. My Friend Sancho is a simple, straightforward story of a young journalist and the moral dilemma he faces as his professional and personal lives intersect.

The protagonist “Abir Ganguly” is possibly a lot like the author. But I have no way to be sure. I can only guess. 🙂 The only problem with him (Abir) is that he stretches his sense of humor a bit too much, perhaps to  mask his nervousness  or whatever. But he is honest enough even to admit that to the reader. So much goes on inside his head and a significant portion of it includes sexual fantasies/remarks , cursing and the like. While it was amusing in the beginning and offered insight into the psyche of that guy, the intended humor felt like a distraction and bore not long after. A lot of what goes on inside his mind is irrelevant to the reader/story that after a while one gets tired of his inner voice.

I couldn’t help a smile when I noticed that the author referred to his own blog in the novel 3 to 4 times. This got me wondering about “vanity”. Is it a virtue or a vice? Or rather how much of it is considered a virtue and how much of it vice? Is it something that everyone has, at least to some degree, but which is disapproved when exhibited by others? I really wonder!

Everything considered, the novel isn’t bad. The subtle love story intermingled with the main theme makes it endearing. It makes for a humorous, light read.

By the way, have you wondered about the title? Who is this Sancho? It’s the nickname of the lady lead. Before this revelation urges you to consider this as an out-and-out love story, let me clarify. It’s not. It definitely has more to offer, but not on a too serious level.



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