It is not often that you pick up a book doubting what the plot holds and get involved in it from the word go! No Man's Land by Nilesh Shrivastava is a gripping tale of deceit, emotions, greed and above all mistakes that shape the life of its characters.
Land has always been a matter of envy - people who own it boast about their acquisition with pride while those who wish to acquire it loathe their inability to do so. Yet this story is not just about land, the land here forms a backdrop against which you take a journey through the lives of Agastya, his father Ramdev, his corrupt brother-in-law Dushyanta and his two sons Pranay and Karan.
Each character is portrayed as a ball of emotions. The characters' physical appearance never matters as each one develops his/her own personality.
Agastya's drive and hard work is flawed with choices he makes in his life. Leaving a sprawling business to develop a farm and then brazenly carrying on his illicit love affair with Shailja; Agastya comes across as a realistic person who is stubborn to a fault.
His son, Pranay, narrates this story about Agastya and his choices in life. Thrown in are monologues where Pranay doubts his own choices and deliberates about the only direction in life that he has - loving Shreya who is a sweet tormented character in her own right. The story flows like a river, seamlessly from one character to the other, their fears, immoral choices, lust, love and insecurities. Each character becomes vivid in terms of his mannerisms and his history.
While the story is never drab or boring in any respect there are instances where you feel the drama is too high to be real. Karan who is an illegitimate son of Agastya is developed as a simple person who has only learnt the ways he has been taught by the corrupt Dushyanta yet his outburst on Shreya is so extreme that it makes your image of Karan shatter and leaves you confused.
There are many lines in the book that just touch your heart. Relating to parts of Shubhangi, Shreya and even Shailja is not difficult. The love and care shown by Pranay for the girl he loves gives you hope that such guys do exist out there somewhere.
Pick up this book if you want to drown yourself in a roller coaster of emotions and very believable treachery and deceit.