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Pavithra Srinivasan

By Deepak Dalal
Westland, Chennai, 2013, pp. 193, Rs. 225.00


The cover of Lakshadweep Adventure is certainly very colourful and appealing—it shows a youngster snorkeling amidst bright coral and fish, in deep blue waters. And within its pages, it aims to introduce a beautiful coral island chain: Lakshadweep. The author takes great pain to show his readers around India’s natural treasure, taking you to coral reefs; calm, translucent lagoons where you float in perhaps 5 or 10 metres of water; wonderful stretches of white sand, warm and friendly people, the weather, boating adventures, coconut palms, water-sports like windsurfing, sailing and snorkeling—there seems no end to the blue sky and green water—but of course, there are squalls and storms, powerful gales and waves that can splinter whole boats and shipwreck travellers.   Of course, all this happens through the central characters of the book: it’s a VikramAditya story, as known by the legend on the front-cover, and it’s through Vikram, Aditya, and their friend Faisal that you take part in these adventures, as the boys arrive at Kadmat for their holiday, invited by Aditya’s father, and have a grand time, snorkeling and windsurfing. But soon, their picture-perfect holiday seems to take a nosedive: a VVIP guest is due to be brought in by the Indian Navy; he’s a high-security risk, and has militants gunning for him. The boys have no choice but to leave for other islands such as Pitti, and maybe explore a few others nearby.   But then, fate takes a hand, and their relatively dull holiday suddenly becomes more than an adventure, as the boys fall in with kidnappers, a wretched plot, storms, shipwrecks and a desperate bid to stay alive.   On paper, it seems like the book has all the perfect ingredients for a nail-biting story filled with twists and turns, and there are some genuinely interesting moments as Faisal is trapped, bound up and gagged by a few villains and tries to escape. By and large, though, the book reads more like a travel brochure; elaborate descriptions of lagoons, and the natural fauna and flora of the islands introduce you to a world which few people are aware of; a service indeed, to those of us who’ve not had the good fortune to actually visit Lakshadweep. Few are the books that allow us an in-depth glimpse into a little-known world, and in that way, the book does perform a valuable service.   ...

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