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In the name of God is a fascinating thriller with twists and turns. An ideal plot for a new generation Bollywood movie. The book shot into limelight and became a national bestseller. Not because it was a book about bank scams. But because the main protagonist of the book was a diamond merchant named Nirav Choksi, the duo of the now infamous PNB bank scam. This despite the author’s steadfast refusal to bask under the glow of the hottest breaking news of the day.

But that is not the reason why we will be talking about the book and its author here today. The book is a lesson for budding writers on how to develop multiple story plots and weave them into a multicolour thread of changing hues. It is a must read for every literature student on evolving a story idea out of a real life event. On how to handle multiple streams of thought. There are so many interesting cues in Ravi’s plot that it will keep giving any writer new ideas even on a lazy day, and drive you past the writer’s block.

Throughout the book you are kept guessing about the story line and what the author is going to churn out next. There are so many potential story plots moving in tandem that you don’t know which would reach the finishing line. Which cue would be developed and which would be left open for possibly a future story, perhaps a part of a trilogy. And just as you are sure of the story plot and move deep into the treasure trove of the Anantha Padmanabha Swami temple to claim the goodies, the story veers off cleverly keeping away from controversy, and quite frustratingly so.

So, the question I asked Ravi was how he created and handled such a pot boiler. The author told me that they were bits and pieces of real life stories that he weaved into a fiction. ‘The 2007 WafiMall heist at Dubai using two back to back limousines was real’. The daring $14.7 million smash and grab diamond robbery by the Pink Panthers alone could have created a powerful story plot. But the author used it as a teaser at the beginning of his thriller, so that you as a reader sink your teeth straight away.

The drama of smuggling, murder and politics starts much later – all from real life incidents. ‘The battle for control of diamond markets and the conflict of bourses is real. The syndicate of diamond merchants at Zaveri Bazar have for decades refused to move out of congested Kalbadevi to a more spacious but expensive location at the Bandra Kurla Complex. The car bomb blast at Zaveri Bazar was also a real story’ confirms Ravi. The 2003 bomb blasts killed 54 people and injured hundreds. ‘The move to set up a new diamond bourse at Surat is also real’ says the author. So all these real life stories were blended like a multicoloured thread and weaved into this particular book.

‘The discovery of a treasure trove of 10th century Indian antiques in a Singapore museum is another true story woven into the plot. The notorious New York based antique smuggler Subhash Kapoor ( Subhash Parikh in the novel) is now in a jail in Tamilnadu’, says Ravi. This is another high-profile story, especially because PM Modi has been in news recently for getting back some of these stolen idols from the US, Germany and Australia during his recent visits to these nations.

But hold your breath, these are not the central plot. The most intriguing part is the temple audit story. ‘The audit of the vaults of the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple of Trivandrum, under an expert committee appointed by the Supreme Court, is a real story. The discovery of massive gold and precious stones with antique jewels in vault A is a real story. The murder near the Taj Kovalam is a true story that I heard during my visit to the city’, says Ravi. The multiple temple deaths following the opening of vault A is a true story. As per a Forbes report, wealth worth a trillion dollars are buried in those vaults. Following the murders, while taking the inventory of the vault A, the Supreme Court stopped the audit of the vault B. The author deftly deals with these multiple plots where the needle of suspicion falls on King Dharma Raja Verma, the head of the Temple trust. This, till the last minute before veering away once again to find the true villain. The book is truly a fascinating read that keeps you guessing till the end– just like a thriller should.



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