Blog Tour: Surpanakha by Hariharan Iyer

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About the Book:

Educated, young, no-nonsense bearing, able administrator—these are the qualities that won Sesha the loyalties of the people after three years of rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. An allegation that he was the mastermind behind the murder of 73 Kannadigas threatens to bring him down but he is miraculously saved in the 11th hour.

Even before he can relish his victory, Sesha is slapped with the charge of sexually offending a young nurse. This time round, the case is strong and his supporters are uncertain. Worse, his teenage daughter calls him ‘vile’ and walks out of the house. While Mythili, his wife promises her full support, her secretive activities—undertaken with the help of a retired cop—is a cause of concern for Sesha.

Will Zarina, the human-rights activist, succeed in bringing him down? What about the insinuations of a celebrity lawyer that he is casteist and antiminorities? When the young nurse is found dead, the case becomes even more complex. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And who is the mastermind?

 Buy Links:

Links for downloading e-books: Amazon India | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Links for ordering paperbacks: Amazon India | Flipkart

Surpanakha Slides

 Excerpt :

A dim yellow light in the background enabled the viewers to get a silhouette of the girl. Perhaps there was a fan beyond the camera frame that ruffled her curly hair mildly, and her hand moved involuntarily to put it back in order. The yellow line over the edges of her shoulder and arms implied a somewhat plump figure. She was wearing a sleeveless top or kurta.

“Sesha had never stared at me like that. In fact, I doubt whether he had noticed me properly at all. He would enter the room and I would walk out. There was never a chance. But then, that night was perhaps different. He had always seen me in churidar-kurta. That night since I had gone to sleep, I was wearing a nightgown…a sleeveless one.

“He asked if I could serve him dinner. The cook had left. She generally left for her home on Saturday evenings and returned the next night. I agreed. He returned to the dining table after changing. I had laid out the dinner. He then took out a bottle of red wine and poured two glasses. That was a surprise. I had never seen him taking alcohol. Perhaps his wife’s accident and her long illness had disturbed him emotionally. He offered me a glass. I hesitated. But he insisted. So as not to offend him, I took the glass and sipped the drink.” She seemed to move uncomfortably in her chair.

Catherine volunteered, “You don’t need to describe it further if you don’t want to. I know how painful it would be.”

The girl took a long breath and replied, “Hmm…I’ll talk. Painful indeed. But I’ve braved it over the last two years. Jesus has made me strong. After clearing the table, I was returning to my room. Intuitively, I felt he was following me. I was scared to look back. I paced faster towards the room. But a couple of feet before my room, I felt he was too close to me. I turned back to object. Since he was too close, he fell over me. He propped me against the wall and before I could realise what was happening, he kissed me on my lips…”

Her voice choked. Catherine extended a glass of water and the girl’s hand extended from the hazy dark background. The fingers that wrapped the glass, which was outside the darkened area, were white and the nails were well manicured. She sipped the water, cleared her throat and resumed.

“He walked me to the next room and sat me on the bed. He knelt down before me, held my face in his hands and said that I looked beautiful. I was benumbed by the suddenness of his advance. He ran his fingers over my forehead, my eyes and cheeks and then through the neck down to…the whole thing was inappropriate. An affront. I realised he was exploiting my numbness. Anger surged in me. I pushed him aside, jumped out of the bed and ran to my room. I closed the door behind me and slouched against it. My whole body shivered. Unable to sleep, scared that he might forcefully enter the room again, I sat against the door and remained awake the whole night.”

Catherine handed the girl another glass of water.

Character Sketch:


Mergers, acquisitions, valuation, EBIDTA-multiple—these were the words in his vocabulary till he met Ramanamurthy, the ailing Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York in 2007. A meeting that would change the course of his life from that of a successful investment banker to the most controversial Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

When Ramanamurthy offered him the job of an advisor, no one took offence. When he inducted Sesha in his cabinet, there were a few murmurs. But when he chose Sesha as his successor, all hell broke loose.

There was a silent revolt against him in the party. He was not in the race at all. He had all the disqualifications: Brahmin; no political experience; no support from the party; too young.

Media too did not take his entry lightly. For them, he was an outsider. To make matters worse, he did not even make an attempt to befriend them. He did not throw lavish late night parties nor did he shower state courtesies on them. He was very different from the Dravidian politicians the media had been used to. He was too young compared to all his predecessors; he wore smart casuals instead of the typical white full-sleeved shirt and dhoti that were the trademark of Tamil Nadu politicians; he was not an atheist with a particular dislike only for Hindu Gods as had become fashionable among Dravidian politicians. As a result, the more charitable among the journalists felt he was indifferent while others concluded that he was downright arrogant.

But then the people of Tamil Nadu did not have any preconceptions. They judged him by his achievements. And he had no dearth of achievements—better roads, 24×7 power, water for every village, improved health facilities…

Soon he becomes the darling of the masses. And continues to be so. Till the Cauvery water dispute blows up.

Karnataka defies a court verdict and stops releasing water. His wife Mythili meets with a serious accident and undergoes a major surgery when mindless retaliatory violence in Chennai leaves 73 Kannadigas working in a chain of Udupi restaurants dead.

Zarina, who was a witness to the killing of a group of Kannadigas, charges him with complicity in the massacre. After a protracted legal battle, the court declares him innocent. But before he could heave a sigh of relief…

A sexual harassment charge surfaces.

A nurse who took care of Mythili two years ago alleges molestation by Sesha. Zarina fights her case. Media teams up with her. His own supporters desert him. The chorus for his resignation gets louder. Evidence against him piles up.

He is isolated.

Will he ever be able to prove his innocence? Who is with him this time?

Teaser Sesha1



About The Author:

Image4Hariharan Iyer is a finance professional based in Dar es Salaam. Not content with just a rewarding corporate job, he took to writing a couple of years back. He blogged on media and current affairs for a year at before hitting on the idea for this novel. An idea so powerful that it convinced the accountant in him that he could put together not just a balance sheet but an intriguing political thriller as well.He has definite views on politics, NGOs and media ethics and has tried to package them in the form of an interesting novel.

Hariharan lives with his wife in Dar es Salaam while his two sons are pursuing their ambitions in India.

Contact Hariharan:

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