26 July, 2021

A Flaneur, A Bomb. But Teekh-Taakh

In piquant, masala-encrusted England, a British-Pakistani meets an explosive ideal

A Flaneur, A Bomb. But Teekh-Taakh

Imtiaz has grown up in Britain, the son of an immigrant Pakistani taxi-driver and his veiled wife. Not a very bright student, he does the usual things—loiter, dream, plan and abandon a career, go to pubs, date, stay cool. He loves his parents and is embarrassed by them: their stilted English, their tendency to keep the TV remote and sofa wrapped in plastic, their ‘spinelessness’ in the face of provocations.

In due course, Imtiaz meets and marries an English girl, Rebekah, after some poignantly funny situations on both sides. When his father dies, Imtiaz accompanies the body and his mother to the family village in Pakistan. Already torn in his relationship to England, he falls in with some Islamists and volunteers to undertake a suicide mission. He returns to England with his cousin, Charag, who is to help him in his mission.

But his old life is falling apart. His turn to religion does not help his domestic life. When Rebekah leaves Imtiaz, his sense of reality flounders—is Imtiaz paranoid? Or, is Charag...

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