An innocent child turning into a cold-blooded terrorist, a glam-diva yearning for the impossible and a commando trained to remain unfazed craving to surrender to a forbidden feeling- these are the elements that make Black Water White Fire by Jaspreet Taunque exceptional. Set on the backdrop of the terrorist attack on Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai in 2008, this fictional plot perfectly captures the sentiments of that situation and embeds them into a riveting tale.
How is a terrorist made? Is he born with that unlimited hatred? Is he devoid of all human emotions when he picks up a gun? Does this game of power and hatred have an end? It’s these and many such questions that haunt you when you read the making of Zarrar in the first part of the story. It is a challenge to portray innocence and helplessness while writing about a character that is going to develop into a deadly beast of a man, but the author does this with finesse.
Hansa has a life that lesser mortals can only dream of. She rules the silver-screen and is married to a handsome man who adores her. Her dream-like life has a shocking obstruction when she finds herself trapped in Hotel Taj at Mumbai during the deadly terrorist attack. However, while the group of ruthless terrorists went about killing everybody without any prejudice, she is spared temporarily but only if she adheres to the terms and conditions. Hansa tries to hold up bravely but the valor seems to fade out with every bullet that claims an innocent life. While Hasna is hoping that her husband will come to save her once again, she finds herself saved by a commando whose eyes continue to haunt her.
Destiny never fails to surprise. Zarrar knew what was destined for him at the end of life that he had chosen. Hansa wanted to pick a destiny that seemed impossible. While destiny kept its promise to Zarrar, it decided to play hide and seek with Hansa. Isn’t that what happens with most of us?
The main plot is interesting with twists and surprises at the right junctures. The story flows seamlessly as you turn page after page. The choice of words is remarkable. The characters are well-defined and justify their appearance in the story. I personally would have preferred a bold ending to the amazing story but the author had something else in mind. In spite of this difference in opinion about the ending, the last few pages stand out for me. I read the last few pages twice to devour the essence. The title and cover page, however, undermine the beautiful saga.
About the Author: Jaspreet Taunque stumbled upon writing during a theater workshop in Mumbai. What started as a small script-writing exercise, grew as a hobby and matured into a full-fledged novel. Shaken by the carnage at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai in 2008; she was egged on to tell a compelling story lodged around it, and call it Black Water White Fire. Her poems The Revelation and The Rainbow Girl have been published in an Authors' Choice Select Anthology titled Reflections of the End. Another poem Like a Prostitute has been selected to be published in an upcoming anthology titled Secrets. A passionate dancer, teacher-preacher and self-effacing lover of all things pristine; she draws inspiration to write, from the ever-changing kaleidoscopic patterns of life. Raised and educated in Chandigarh, she currently calls Lucknow her surrogate mother. Despite a Bachelor's degree in Science and a Master's in English Literature from Panjab University, she totters towards spiritual jay-walking quite unintentionally, allowing her pen; in this case the keyboard; the freedom of breaking rules of conventional writing, as the soul commands. (Source: Amazon.in)