Wife’s ebriety

Every husband is expected to love his wife. That love is more intense and expressive when they are newly married and young because the physical attraction between them is vehement at that stage of their life and relationship. During such period of married life, the wife appears as the most beautiful woman in the world to her husband. That’s a subjective perception only because as they say – ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’.

Quite naturally, the loving husband wants to adorn his beautiful wife with all sorts of beautiful garments and ornaments. But if the husband’s income is not that high whereas the love in his heart for his wife has reached such a level that it has taken the form of ebriety for him, then ? Then definitely the ground for a crime (to be perpetrated by the husband) has been laid down. That’s what is the plot of a Hindi novel which is a murder mystery of a different kind. Written by famous Hindi mystery writer Ved Prakash Sharma, this novel is Biwi Ka Nasha.Biwi Ka Nasha (wife’s ebriety) is different in the sense that it’s not based on the quest of the murderer. Instead it deals with the murderer’s confessing for the crime but not being able to prove that he only has committed it.

Such unexpected developments have taken place in the murderer’s life post the perpetration of the murder by him that now he is no longer willing to save himself from the gallows and instead, is willing to surrender to the law of the land and get suitably punished. But!

But what he wants now is not taking place because all the evidences of the crime have been destroyed by himself only. Therefore now his confession is only a story without any proof which nobody is ready to buy. The cops and the lawyers are making fun him and advising him to keep himself peaceful.

But how can he be peaceful when the person caught and going to be tried for the crime committed by himself is none else but that person whose sake for only he has done that? It’s his wife, the wife whose ebriety overwhelms him every day, every hour, every moment of his life.

The story belongs to a novelist Sanjay Bhaardwaaj and his wife Kiran. Sanjay loves Kiran so much that it is famous for him that he remains under the ebriety of his wife for 24 hours a day. Kiran’s friend Sandhya is married to Bhanwar, a rich businessman. Sandhya wears a costly necklace known to be worth Rs. 5 million (that too during the eighties when this novel was published for the first time).

Kiran has no complex regarding her not being able to wear such costly ornament(s) but Sanjay gets a complex and feels that his wife being much more beautiful than Sandhya (at least in his view) should be able to wear such costly necklace. Since he cannot afford to buy such a necklace for Kiran by his own income which is very modest, he decides to steal Sandhya’s necklace for Kiran by substituting that real necklace with a duplicate of same appearance. However this scheme cannot be successful if Sandhya remains alive. So he decides to murder Sandhya while replacing the necklace around her neck.

He makes an intricate scheme and also includes Kiran in its implementation as an innocent accomplice (being ignorant of her husband’s real intentions). However slight variations take place in the real happenings from what Sanjay had visualized.

After successfully accomplishing the crime, he destroys all the evidences of that and then feels safe from the law. But the sky falls on his head when not only Kiran gets arrested for Sandhya’s murder but also she confesses for it, telling the complete scheme of the murder to the cops as originally formulated by Sanjay. Now the situation is that instead of the necklace worth Rs.5 million, Kiran’s neck is awaiting the noose of the state’s hangman.

Quite naturally, now this husband runs here and there, narrating his own scheme and its implementation by him to anybody and everybody in his bid to save his wife, shouting madly that he’s the murderer and not his wife.

However since he has only the story, not any evidence to substantiate it, none believes him. When he meets Kiran, he comes to know that Kiran hates him and she has confessed for the murder under a feeling that the worst punishment that can be given to him is to force him to see his wife (that is Kiran) getting executed for his crime. Now a strange war is taking place between the husband and the wife to get punishment for the crime and ensure the acquittal of the other.

In such a situation, Sanjay approaches the author (Ved Prakash Sharma) and seeks his help to approach Vibha Jindal who is a genius in this regard. Vibha Jindal is a unique character created by this eminent Hindi novelist, a genius lady with a great interest in crime detection though she heads a big industrial house.

She has been the college buddy of the author (whom the author was unilaterally in love with in that period) and now she is a widow and the mother of a son. She has earned great repute in the line of crime detection and thereby great respect of the supercops and government authorities.

Vibha listens to the whole story of Sanjay and thereafter how she is able to save the life of Kiran and unearth the whole mystery which startles Sanjay also, is the remaining part of this novel. Thus the narrative of this novel can be divided into two parts. The first one tells Sanjay’s story as to how he planned and committed Sandhya’s murder and how Kiran got herself trapped in the charge of that whereas the second one tells how Vibha re-investigates the case, reaches the complete truth and gets Kiran acquitted by the court.

The first part runs in flash back when Sanjay narrates his story to the author when they are driving from the author’s town (Meerut) to Vibha’s town (Jindalpuram). And then before starting the second part which features Vibha Jindal, the author challenges the readers to find out any such point (before Vibha does it) which may prove Sanjay guilty.

Biwi Ka Nasha is a very interesting novel and except one or two errors, it has been written very logically and intelligently. Without touching the issue of the originality of the story idea, I admire the author for penning a spellbinding murder mystery which is quite different from the traditional murder mysteries.

The author has featured himself, his wife (Madhu) and his son (Shagun who was a very little kid when this novel was written) in the novel which renders a realistic flavor to the narrative. He has shown Sanjay as his friend (and fellow professional) and hence Sanjay’s approaching him for help appears justified. Like all the novels of Vibha Jindal series, the author has portrayed Vibha as a lady of extra-ordinary intelligence whereas himself as a layman with a modest IQ.

This novel reminds of the classic story of Guy De Maupassant‘The Necklace’ when the necklace worn by Sandhya and considered worth millions of rupees by herself as well as others turns out to be an imitation later on (after the Sanjay has murdered Sandhya for the sake of capturing that necklace only).

In addition to entertaining the readers very much, Biwi Ka Nasha underscores two significant points pertaining to conjugal relationship:

1. Irrespective of his abundant love for his wife, a husband should never try to arrange something for her which is not affordable as per their means. Attempting to bring the moon for the sweetheart is neither possible nor desirable in real life. If done, it’s not love then. It’s stupidity which may either make the couple an object of ridicule or put them into such troubles that they cannot foresee. Spread your legs according to the expansion of the blanket only and not beyond.

2. A loving husband should not take his wife’s love for granted. Despite loving her husband, a wife may be a woman of principles and ideals and may not be ready to tolerate the law-breaking and inhuman activities of her husband even when they are meant to arrange comforts and luxuries for herself only.

I wholeheartedly recommend this brilliant murder mystery written in simple Hindi to all those who are fond of reading Hindi fiction (especially of crime-detection genre).

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
This entry was posted in Book Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wife’s ebriety

  1. Interesting plot.
    I enjoyed reading this well-written piece.

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