In Ludhiana in the 1990s, everyone is waiting for life to be normal again. The Punjab insurgency has ended, and the city is trying to emerge from the shadow of the gun. Tejpal hopes to outrun the murderous mob that began chasing him in his dreams in the winter of 1984. Mr Bakshi is, once more, throwing over-the-top parties at his palatial home. Gurjant Singh, once the self-styled keeper of Sikh pride, is now a mere goon for hire, and madly in love with Sweety the dancer. And childlike Kailla, always the innocent bystander, is learning to be a man.
In this novel of interconnected lives, told with wit, empathy and understanding, Neel Kamal Puri brings alive the stories of a wounded city and its inhabitants—for whom the only way to survive is to remember, always, to forget.
Punjab in the early 1980s. The atmosphere is charged with calls for Khalistan and there is terror and violence on the streets. The ripples reach even the quiet town of Patiala, triggering unexpected changes in the lives of siblings Monty and Minnie, and their cousins Karuna and Michael, who must all find ways of dealing with the new world. Monty retreats into silence and Michael seeks escape in motorbike rides, but the women take life head on. Demure Karuna rejects marriage, causing scandal; and Minnie let’s everyone know that she won’t be a good girl, that she will write her own destiny.
In The Patiala Quartet Neel Kamal Puri crafts a sensitive story about growing up—about losing all hope, and finding happiness; holding on, and letting go; going under, and breaking free.