Munir Khan, a recent widower from Toronto, meets the charming and witty Mohini Singh, a married liberal newspaper columnist, in the bar of the high-brow Delhi Recreational Club. An enigma surrounds the Kenya-born, westernized and agnostic Munir, and an inexplicable attraction takes root. Delhi’s streets, monuments and ruins become the setting of their passionate affair.
A terror attack shakes the city just as Jetha Lal and his acolytes, self-proclaimed protectors of cows and Hindu women, raise decibel levels at the Club. Meanwhile, Mohini’s parents’ wounded memory of the Partition and a family trip to Shirdi only serve to exacerbate her anxieties and deep sense of guilt. And even as Jetha Lal’s menacing shadow looms over them, Munir and Mohini cannot let each other go. At what cost their passion?
Set in contemporary times, A Delhi Obsession unravels an unexpected yet prophetic story of passion, love and faith, amidst the placid environment of an elite Delhi club. Cutting close to the bone, this searing novel will compel you to confront your profoundest dilemmas.
Here are some heart-melting instances from the book!
“Munir was standing at the door, casting his eyes about for a place to sit. Without thinking, she waved him over. When he thanked her once more for taking him to the old city, she offered to show him some more of Delhi. Perhaps one or two of her favourite spots.”
“They sat side by side on his bed, he playing with her fingers, bending them gently, as he liked to do, putting his own strong fingers through hers. He felt warm to her touch. It was a moment of utmost intimacy. He ran a finger down her bare spine, until she gave a shiver and protested, ‘Stop, there.’”
“Munir escorted her to the driveway. As they shook hands, she let his hand linger onhers, for an extra moment, they stared at each other in silence, and he said, ‘Till next time, then. I’ll write.’”
“In the vacuum that was absence, there had emerged a longing to hear again that voice, observe that chirpiness, and the tenderness behind it, see that face that was his last sight of her, the large eyes trying to say something, engulfing him, the feel of her hand, her delicate fingers in his, ever so light. Not passion, but something adult, laced with the bitter knowledge of futility, pain.”
“He felt a pull. Should he call her. But it would be well past midnight there. And there was the husband. It was time to nip it in the bud, this fantasy, this impossibility. It could only cause pain.And yet how could he forget her, the promise they had made. Shall I write to you? Of course you can! Don’t act the Mr Darcy! He had written her a longish email letter, compromising, juvenile, bathetic. And she had replied. I miss you. I think of you all the time. Who had written that? Both of them, probably. After that, a few texts, one hurried phone call.”
Written with trademark sensitivity and a sharp, affecting vision, A Delhi Obsession is M.G. Vassanji’s most urgent novel yet.