I am a fatalist. And I am so because I have undergone experiences only those suggest that fate or destiny is the supreme force in anybody’s life. Whatever happens, happens because it’s written. You cannot browbeat your fate which is your life by another name, that’s the firm belief of Jitendra Mathur despite the fact that he supports Purushaarth or man’s efforts very much and never underestimates the significance of hard and sincere work. But! Life has taught me a lesson that man proposes God disposes. There is always an ex-factor hidden in the scenario which plays its role. Man is nothing but a puppet in the hands of destiny. You can (and you should) try to better your life because it’s your right as well as a duty towards yourself but the final say lies with your fate only.
And fate is sometimes your friend, sometimes your foe. Today I am reviewing a brilliant thriller novel whose protagonist (he only is the hero and he only is the villain) stumbles upon this fact time and again that his fate is his biggest and perennial foe which does not cease to harm him anytime. This is a Hindi novel titled as Naseeb Mera Dushman (fate, my foe) authored by popular Hindi novelist – Ved Prakash Sharma around three and a half decades back. The novel starts as well as ends with his lament that his fate never ends to act his foe. It’s a very fast gripping thriller which had gained enormous commercial success in the Hindi fiction market at the time of its first publication and played a significant role in taking its author to the top of the world of Hindi pulp fiction.The protagonist of Naseeb Mera Dushman is Mukesh who is better known by his nickname – Mickey. He is financially weak and chosen the path of crime. However he has been a jailbird and a known bad character in the eyes of the local police. He has a younger brother – Suresh who has been adopted by a rich man – Jaanakinaath and thus has got a much better life. He has inherited the wealth of his adopting father – Jaanakinaath after his mysterious death. Suresh is by heart a kind person and always remains concerned for his brother Mickey who has not been as lucky as him but who can try to make his life a better one by leaving the path of crime. Whenever Mickey demands money from him (because his hand almost always remains tight), he never disappoints him but while giving money, always advises him to mend his ways and become a straight citizen. Mickey grabs the money but listens to his brother’s talks from one ear only to vent it out from the other one. Despite Suresh’s benevolence, Mickey never maintains a high opinion about him and jealousy has spoiled his mind totally from the side of his brother who actually loves him.
There are two silver linings in the darkness of the poverty-stricken and crime-studded life of Mickey – 1. The friendship of Rahatoo who is also a criminal like him but who is ever-ready to do anything for the sake of his friendship, 2. The love of Alka, a girl in the same rung of the social ladder but living a straight life and earning a honest living (through a cold water vending machine) . Alka loves Mickey from the core of her heart and wants to marry him but she simultaneously also wants him to quit the world of crime and live a straight life like her. She is a clean-heart girl and her poverty has not snatched any of the virtues from her that are expected in a nice girl or more accurately, a nice human-being.
The crux of the story is Mickey’s jealousy towards Suresh and his will to change the course of his life through a shortcut becoming the basis of a scheme generated by his crooked mind. Since his brother Suresh is almost his look-alike, he murders Suresh and sets such a stage that the world comes to understand that he (Mickey) has committed suicide whereas he himself takes the place of Suresh in his home and business. Now start his troubles. Firstly, he has to kill Alka because when he tells Alka (post the murder) that the deceased person is actually Suresh and he has taken his place to become rich; Alka, a woman of principles, damns him like anything and refuses to stand by him. However when he conveys this fact to his friend – Rahatoo, he stands by him. But the thing is that Mickey comes to know of several complications and problems in Suresh’s life after taking his place. Suresh’s nagging wife who has illicit relationship with Suresh’s secretary, is one of them. Now Mickey comes to understand that all that glitters is not gold and Suresh, despite his riches, was not at all happy and comfortable in his life. But now he cannot get out of this mess and regain the life of Mickey. He also finds a cop on Suresh’s trail, suspecting him to have murdered his adopting father – Jaanakinaath. Besides, there are many blackmailers also after Suresh and Mickey finds himself in dark regarding the relevant facts. After several twists in the tale, Mickey’s permanent foe, i.e., his fate carries him to his ultimate destination.This novel maintains the tone of a thriller with less suspense in its initial chapters. The very interesting opening episode consists of Mickey’s looting a precious necklace by rooking a high-profile jeweller in Meerut, making a courtesan as his ignorant accomplice. And thereafter for some time, the reader feels that the story is thrill-soaked with the only suspense is what will be the finale of Mickey’s story. However as the narrative progresses scene-after-scene, the reader consecutively experiences something like electric-shock. Since the narrative moves with Mickey, whatever is known to Mickey only is known to the reader. Hence when the reader finds that there is a lot that is not known to Mickey and but natural, not known to the reader, then the novel seems to be rendering a feeling that it’s not just a thriller novel, it contains deep suspense also. Facts keep on coming out just like skeletons coming out of graves and every revelation is no less than a big jolt for the reader. And even when the total mystery is unravelled in the final sequence of the story, there is something still in store for the reader before he closes the book.
Naseeb Mera Dushman is a breathtaking novel which keeps the reader hooked for more than 200 pages of it. In addition to the spellbinding narrative, the novel highlights the psyche of a loser in life who finds his sibling to have gained much more. Just like Duryodhana in Mahabhaarat, he time and again ponders that had he been adopted in place of his brother, the life that he is in would have gone to his brother and he would have gained all the luxuries and enjoyments of life by getting his brother’s place. And that’s how he continuously curses his fate. And that’s the reality of life as far as the siblings are concerned with polar difference in their statuses and forms of life. It also underscores that once a person’s mind gets criminalized, no relationship remains important for him except his vested interest.
The novel mocks the portrayal of sex-workers and courtesans in works of fiction and clarifies that most of them are completely different from what is thought of them by the sensitive and emotional people who visualize them on the basis of books and movies only and not through real life experiences.
Written in simple but flowing Hindi, Naseeb Mera Dushman is a highly entertaining novel. The author has maintained that it’s just not possible to get the better of one’s fate. Howsoever efforts may be made for it, it’s the fate only which has the last laugh.
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