14 April, 2021

Jousts With Mortality

Fear stalks a plague-ridden Bombay. The colonial service is clueless, when a few men in Room 000 plan a fightback.

Jousts With Mortality

A killer stalks the streets of Bombay, leaving behind a macabre trail. Corpses and clues are eve­r­ywhere—from the busy grain godowns of Mandvi to the verdant village of Worli Koliwada, from the squalid alleys of Dongri to the hoity-toity slopes of Malabar Hill. The city is paralysed by fear, suspicion and impending doom.

Clearly, the perfect plot for a murder mystery. Only here, the killer is no garden-variety psycho with bloodstained knife and voices in the head. Instead, it is an invisible bacillus shaped like a miniature safety pin—a germ that strikes mysteriously across Bombay, bringing with it plague and rapid death.

Room 000 is about the Bombay Plague, the epidemic that first manifes­ted itself in 1896 and continued to stalk the city for three heartbreaking decades. But this remarkable book—part history, part fict­ion—is about much more than a disease. It is about an infant science struggling to understand the world anew. It is the story of a group of scientists determined to defeat a tiny bacillus—men...

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