Set in a corner of the world, away from most human populace, leading lives that are sheltered to the point of indifference, live the populace of the Andaman and Nicobars. Almost alien to those of us in the mainland, known only by myths, photos on the National Geographic, or clippings in newspapers regarding the decline of tribes, these are mostly beyond out thought, a passing notice, even. However, it is the stark reality of the life of these modern day islanders that Pankaj Sekhsaria explores in his debut novel, The Last Wave- An Island Novel. Titled an island novel, in his own words, the book is not only set in the islands, but is also about the islands. It is about the varied populace and their vastly different origins that Pankaj explores under the umbrella of a fictitious love story.
An anthropologist and an activist by experience and profession, Pankaj has spent many years in the islands supporting the cause of the Jarawa Tribal community. It is upon these experiences that he draws to make the story come alive under the diligent and loving caresses of his pen. The writing is a fair even tone that carries across the book holding the audience in a sense of rapture as it approaches the end. However, the book, though a regular love story on the surface, is full of deeply hidden meanings. The dialogue and the philosophy uttered by most characters can be mostly passed as Pankaj’s own thoughts and emotions of the islands. Underlying the love story are themes that would relate not only to the islanders but to the world as a whole. The book is about paths that the human mind takes, the troubles it goes through, and the hurt it often undergoes when it lowers its thick armor of self defense. The book is about a lot of things, a few anthropological, a few philosophical. A refreshing break from regular mindless fiction, this presents a genre that seems as close to nature and people as it can ever get.
Adding to all this, the writer’s amiable personality, a quick wit and the lasting impression that he makes on people’s minds add to the charm of the book itself. All in all, fair narrative, great information, and a brilliant insight into the working of the human minds. Fact and fiction, blended to perfection.
P.S: We thank Pankaj, for taking the pains to come over. We love his friendly nature and the ease with which he established himself as one of our own. We wish him all the best for his future endeavors and hope he comes up with better and more beautiful works in the future.