Review: The Surrogate Lies by Shantanu Munshi

The book Surrogate Lies is unusual since it is the story of trip to a wildlife sanctuary. The story is narrated by a writer paul who is originally from a small town Khargone in Madhya Pradesh and leading a fairly boring life in Mumbai, barely making enough to cover his expenses. While traveling by train in the Mumbai, he meets Hazare, a consultant. They immediately get along well, and Hazare invites Paul to accompany him on a trip to the Gir Forest in Gujarat, which his client Mr Merchant has been inviting him top for some time. Like Paul, Hazare is also single and is looking for company.

Along with Hazare, Paul sets off for the Gir forest on the trip and they are accompanied by a person Raj who is the owner of the sports utility vehicle. The book has a fairly interesting account of the road trip in India, where the person traveling are always monitoring the distance covered, to find out how much longer they will take to reach their destination. Raj drives the vehicle at a high speed and the vehicle breaks down in between. While having the vehicle repaired, they meet a foreigner whose two wheeler also has broken down. They offer to help the foreigner by offering him a lift, and they together reach Gir. He has also described the preparation for the trip and the food available at roadside dhabas well.

At Gir, they meet the forest department staff, and they realize that Ben is a wildlife expert who is closely working with the forest department to catch a gang of poachers. Their host at Gir, Mr Merchant is extremely rich and has a reputation for eccentricity. Though he is not present at Gir, when his guests reach it, he makes suitable provisions and arrangements so that his guests get a warm welcome at the tree house. Mr Merchant is a good judge of character and has hired a very efficient lady Padma to look after the tree house, and the hospitality of the guests. The adventures of this group in the Gir Forests are described in the rest of the book.

The book is interesting since it describes the life of single self employed people with no romantic interests fairly accurately. The adventure in Gir Forests is also described in great detail, so most nature lovers will enjoy the book.
“I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset

The Surrogate Lies
Author: Shantanu Munshi
Publisher: Half Baked Beans Literature, 2017
Pages: 227

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