April 25, 2024

How Rohan Kailasam’s “Wastra” reinvents investigative journalism as a trope

New Delhi (India), February 29: The reader lands in trouble right in the first page of Wastra. A gardulla (for the uninitiated, the word is synonymous with junkie) is attacked for no apparent reason except his recognition of a name. It is a true mystery that Shalini Shanmugam, the investigative reporter at the fictional Navi Bombay Times is tasked to solve. Her boss is rare in his recognition of her skill, combined with an awareness of her personal flaws that do not diminish his professional opinion of her. He assigns her the case, trusting her resourcefulness and determinism which are proven later in the story.

Shalini’s journey is interesting because Kailasam ensures she doesn’t have it easy. He takes us on a ride best classified as a slow burn. There are no unrealistic fight scenes or almost-died moments with Shalini for which we have to suspend disbelief completely. Investigative journalists ask hard questions, and their job is made harder by the fact that they possess no guns, or rights to kick or arrest someone. The law isn’t for them to enforce. Shalini puts herself in peril knowing fully well that in the world she is in, both criminals and police are her enemies. She relies on instinct developed through experience and a network of informers she has built over the years.

With no powers granted to her by law, the investigative reporter has to rely on patience. It is this quality that leads her to the answers. “I’m a reporter, and I go wherever the story takes me” she says at one point in the novel. True to her word, Shalini’s journalism isn’t about action or deception, but the calm senses of a trained hunter tracking their prey. She is someone you will want to tell your story too, someone you would trust, and someone who knows how to peel away the words at the surface to understand what is being said without being said.

Published by Nu Voice Press, Rohan Kailasam’s Wastra redefines how investigative reporters are portrayed in literature and pulls his readers into the gruesome world of Mumbai gangs where revenge and business combine into a poisonous cocktail and a story that a journalist would die for.

About Rohan Kailasam

Born in Chennai and raised in Mumbai, Rohan Kailasam’s journey from a commercial pilot in Texas to the author of “Wastra” is a tapestry of diverse experiences. A fitness enthusiast with a passion for martial arts and music, Kailasam penned “Wastra” during long-haul flights, infusing the narrative with the energy of his global adventures.

 NuVoice Press is dedicated to publishing diverse narratives, as exemplified by Rohan Kailasam’s enthralling crime thriller, “Wastra.”

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