Looking back at one’s life is a prominent human trait. However, recalling facts and going back to a time where one achieves major successes as a professional can turn into a narrative which readers can share with the narrator and enjoy the real life story in an amazing manner.
This is what has happened when Aloke Lal, a former Indian Police Service officer settled in the Doon valley, brought out a book titled The Barabanki Narcos –Busting India’s Notorious Drug Cartel through which he has recounted his years as a young Superintendent of Police posted in the small town of Barabanki near Lucknow. These years became memorable for him as it was during this time that he accomplished a major task by making a breakthrough in greatly denting the opium trade that flourished abundantly in the area. Lal is also a painter and the way he has given us word paintings in his book reflects the fine imagination he is master of.
His imagination works effectively in recapturing the events that occurred more than three decades ago.
The great challenge he decides to take up as a young officer is in itself an exciting prospect.
Taking the opium lords head on and refusing to be lured by their offers, he shows complete commitment to his mission of busting the huge racket.
The personal dimension, his warmth and optimism come through clearly in this account which not only gives us an idea about his efficiency as a police officer but also his sensitivity as a person.
The manner in which he builds up a team of informers-from among those whose lives have been affected by opium addiction-reveals a strategy which lends a freshness to the task he sets for himself. Youngsters like Gurjeet and her husband Satwant , Hasan , Nikhil and Gendalal prove very helpful to “Kaptan Sa’ab” Aloke Lal.
The first person account becomes even more effective when we realise that this is no imagined tale of thrill and adventure as every word of it is true.
The calmness of mind that Lal shows as a young police officer is a major reason for the way in which he can implement his strategy against the powerful, dangerous drug lords. When the writer Aloke Lal looks back on how he, as a young officer, dealt with the situation, he looks back with the wisdom of his years. Many experiences in his career must have followed the Barabanki experience.
The interesting characters, most of whom have been given fictitious names, add to the charm of the real life story. How youngsters from different backgrounds team up with Kaptan Sa’ab to contribute to the busting of the opium trade that has damaged many a life and family in the region is one of the strongest dimensions of the book. The racy style of storytelling ensures that there is not a single moment when the reader can get bored. It has a prologue and an epilogue that bring us closer to the author’s vision and personality.
He not only used the opium addicts as informers but also helped them reclaim their lives.
Hasan, Gendalal and Satwant could emerge from the addiction and lead successful lives. This gave him a lot of personal satisfaction besides the success as a police officer who could contribute greatly to busting the opium nexus which now is merely a trickle, he tells us. His sportsman spirit and his love for cricket feature prominently in the book.
He meets many people while playing cricket who become his friends and help him in his mission.
We all know how Lal loves to paint and sing. His love for the arts gives a special dimension to his personality and makes him stand out as a police officer.
And now he has revealed another facet of his personality by presenting the world with a special part of his life as a cop. In a gripping first person account he gives the reader a roller coaster ride into a world of real life adventure.