TITLE: Radius 200
AUTHOR: Veena Nagpal
What if a nuclear powered neighboring nation was to ‘steal’ an entire river from under our eyes?
What if a top-ranking Indian General was to take a unilateral decision to strike back, thereby triggering a cataclysmic reaction?
What if, in the aftermath of the nuclear attack, India was left with a devastated Exclusion Zone, 200 kilometers in radius?
And what if your love was stranded inside the Exclusion Zone…
PLOT/ STORY-LINE :- Set in the future, the story has at its epicentre Allahabad in North India.
A nuclear holocaust caused by a neighbouring country, leaves a trail of destruction its wake giving birth to people with mangled figures and land that is arid and devoid of vegetation. Termed the Exclusion Zone, the city of Allahabad is actually a ghost town. Vegetables give way to lizards and snakes as fodder for the hungry and disfigured men, women and children struggling to keep breathing for want of food and proper medication walk its streets. Water is rationed and illness is their constant companion.
Elsewhere in Mumbai there is one a journalist, who is hell bent on entering the Exclusion Zone come what, may. What is her motive? Why does she want to walk into the death trap? What was the provocation for use of nuclear weapon by the enemy? etc…etc…are questions that may plague you throughout the story.
While the living dead in the exclusion zone battle the after effects of the holocaust, those outside it face another challenge, a challenge which if not addressed urgently will slowly but steadily wipe out their very existence. It is one that is connected to the elixir of life water. But here again the solution lies in the zone that they dread to tread.
What finally happens? Does help ultimately reach the Exclusion Zone ? Is the journalist successful in entering it? Is the problem of water scarcity solved?…… To know the answers one needs to go through this engaging read.
There are twists and turns and there are places where you may feel overwhelmed. But ultimately one does realize that this story could be a window to the future, a window if not repaired on time may crash when the winds howl, allowing the gale to wreak havoc irreparable.
CHARACTERIZATION: A maze of characters makes up the story. While some are fleshed out well, there are others who come across as under- developed and prominent amongst these that need to be worked upon are Arjun and Om. There is a lot of potential in these characters but somehow they seem to have been neglected.
LANGUAGE: Simple, crisp and easy to comprehend. The author’s command over the language is evident from the word ‘go’ and this helps her weave situations such that one can easily visualize them. One feels that one is in the thick of action taking place at a particular point. This feeling has gone a long way in making the book an engaging read.
PACE: The pace is perfect. It is neither too slow nor too fast.
1) Of and on descriptions of people in the Exclusion Zone catching and eating rats and lizards was not savoury just like the subjects in question. It could have been cut down to minimal.
2) Kyra allowing Arjun to get intimate with her inspite of the fact that she does not love him and he is already married with two kids. Somehow this did not fit in well with the story.
An engrossing read, one that is well- researched and something different from the usual war- related stories, I’ll give ‘Radius 200’ a 4 on a scale of 5.