In the second book of her detective series, author Anita Nair explores the limits of depravity and magnitude of human greed told through the prism of the social evil of human trafficking.
Inspector Gowda, the central character of the crime fiction ‘Chain of Custody’ sets out on a mission to find a 13-year-old girl and lands himself in a child-sex trafficking racket in Bengaluru.
This is the second time the inspector makes an appearance after featuring in Anita’s earlier thriller in 2013, ‘Cut Like Wound.’
“Inspector Gowda is actually my alter ego, somebody who does all the things that I wish I could do. I actually am living vicariously through this character,” Anita said at the launch here recently.
The author was in conversation with Pascal Fautrat, Director of NGO Tara a home for children at the launch of her book at the Alliance Francaise.
After deciding on the theme of the novel, Anita said she got down to researching and taking to various people in the field, including police officers who were working on anti-trafficking activities.
“I went to rescue shelters and talked to social workers, met abused children. I wasn’t really aware about the degree of trafficking happening in the country. Like everybody else I knew what I read in the newspapers.
“I had read the news reports – children rescued from brothels, children rescued from factories. I didn’t have a real understanding what was the extent of it” Anita said.
The author said she discovered during the course of her research that “Children and women were treated like commodities. Prices of certain kind of child go up. You can find children as young as 9 years old. In brick factories you can find younger children 4 or 5 years old child working.” “It is frightening,” Anita said.
“As a writer you have a imagination which is a kind of horror. Trafficking defies that. The horror of depravity, human greed. You come to floor when you see how trafficking is conducted. How children and woman are treated? They are not human beings. They are just a bundle of muscle and bone,” she said.
The author said she did not base the character of Inspector Gowda on any real person.
The inspector had joined the police force with much idealism and really thought he will make real difference to the world but he realises very early the hardships involved.
“Because of hardships he starts drinking. I found out during research in Bangalore that most policemen drink old monk and coke. Its cheaper which costs Rs 250 and importantly rum doesn’t give you hangover,” the Bengaluru based author said.
Asked about solutions to tackle trafficking, the author said, “As a writer I can create awareness but not provide solutions. We need to address it and talk about it. Unfortunately it is not a breaking news material which media pushes but it gets reported once in a while.”
The author has also introduced a feisty policewoman Ratna in her fiction, someone she said will accompany Gowda in all her novels.