Sikandar Chowk Park
After a bomb blast rips through Sikandar Chowk Park, Allahabad, killing fifty-seven people, a journalist pieces together the lives of eleven of the dead from the heap of mutilated bodies.
Among them a self-effacing music teacher who won't go abroad on a fellowship because of his family of stray dogs; an Anglo-Indian widow coping with the knowledge of her husband's infidelity thirty-five years ago; a precocious 'problem' child; a firebrand feminist confronting the sexual misdemeanours of her friend's husband; and a young Dalit woman who defies her marriage and her society and enters into a relationship with an unemployed Brahmin boy-all ordinary people leading ordinary lives in a quintessential mofussil Indian township.
Neelum Saran Gour's vibrant prose conjures up a multitude of characters involved in a maze of relationships, and the dynamics of events which propel them to Sikandar Chowk Park on the fateful day. In the process, she crafts a talk at once poignant and witty, which ingeniously addresses contemporary issues of communal and caste prejudices, bigotry and faith, forgiveness and redemption.