Essential Reads | Prelude to a Riot | Annie Zaidi

Editor | Fiction

In a peaceful southern town, amidst lush spice plantations, trouble is brewing. In the town live three generations of two families, one Hindu and the other Muslim, whose lives will be changed forever by the coming violence. At risk are Dada, the ageing grandfather who lovingly tends and talks to the plants on his estate; his strong-willed grandchildren, Abu and Fareeda; the newly married Devaki, who cannot fathom the forces that are turning her husband and her father into fanatics; Mariam, of the gifted hands, who kneads and pounds the fatigued muscles of tourists into submission; and Garuda, the high-school teacher who, in his own desperate way, is trying to impart the truth about the country’s history to a classroom of uninterested students. Quietly but surely, the spectre of religious intolerance is beginning to haunt the community in the guise of the Self-Respect Forum whose mission is to divide the town and destroy the delicate balance of respect and cooperation that has existed for hundreds of years.

About the author

Annie Zaidi is the author of Gulab, Love Stories # 1 to 14, and Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, which was shortlisted for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award. She is the co-author of The Good Indian Girl and a book of illustrated poems, Crush. Her work has appeared in several anthologies like Eat the Sky; Drink the Ocean, Mumbai Noir, Dharavi, Women Changing India, and 21 Under 40.

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