A few months after a state of Emergency has been clamped on India Raj Iyer a fledgling journalist living in the alley of the Vicks mango tree goes underground to resurface some years later in a corner of the Municipal Park as a bronze statue. No one's sure exactly why he has become so famous though there is talk of a book being written on him which hails him as a modern hero of Mangobaag.
The Vicks Mango Tree is the story of the tiny fictional region of Mangobaag -- and India -- as she limps through twenty-one months of suspended civil liberties half-hearted revolts and stern censorships. It is also the tale of Teacher Bhatt Rabia Sheik and Shankar Iyer ordinary people in pursuit of their middle-class dreams and local legends like Maharaja Muneer Shah Miss Myna and Dr Abid Ali who live and die in the dying light of a glorious past.
Full of odd characters and piquant situations and alive with the politics and possibilities of a not-so-long-ago time in India's history The Vicks Mango Tree is a compelling first novel.