Police in Blunderland

I was quite taken up with the book title and so decided to give it a read.

The curiosity piqued from two aspects. First, Bibhuti Dash, the author, happens to be a batchmate of mine from my MBA days and I was aware of his ‘tongue in cheek’ ability and  how he liked to revel in the comic and the absurd in day to day life.  The second was my innate curiosity as to how an easygoing and gentle soul like Dash could have stumbled into and then negotiated the rough and tough demands of a cop’s life. By the time he penned the book, Dash had spent an incredible third of a century donning the police uniform and mindset as part of the elite Indian Police Service cadre.


It was sometimes end of 2009 and I was visiting my Alma Mater, the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore in Bannergatta. The occasion was the twenty fifth anniversary reunion of our batch’s passing out of those hallowed portals. Going down the stairs, I bumped into this slim person coming up. Recognition was instant, “Hey, Dash, you haven’t changed a bit my friend”. I was meeting the guy after twenty-five years!

That was also when I learned about the storied career the guy had had, having spent some years in the corporate sector before qualifying for and joining the police services.

Our paths crossed again when I moved to Kolkata. Over the years, I have come to know and admire the mix of diffidence and humility that characterises Dash.

With Bibhuti Dash @ Belur Math, Kolkata Oct. ’22


In the book’s foreword, Dash mentions that the book evolved out of a “Whatever it is, I’m against it!” blog series that he had been penning over the last couple of years. I daresay that I have been an avid reader of the blog which Dash publishes on Saturdays.

I had particularly liked one of the blogs with the rather evocative title, “ It’s raining guns and bullets”. This three-piece blog held a particular interest for me as it was about the Purulia Arms drop case in which large caches of sophisticated arms, ammunition and explosives had fallen out of the skies into the the sleepy Purulia district villages of West Bengal in the winter of 1995. As I recalled, it had become a sensational front page media incident. Dash had been involved in solving that case and his description of how several events transpired is the stuff crime thrillers are made of. Let me not say much more for fear of becoming a spoiler, except that “It’s raining guns and bullets’ is part of the book.

‘Police in Blunderland ‘contains forty odd ‘real life’ tales from a policeman’s diary with the protagonist being Dash himself in them. What I found refreshing was how the narrations created perspectives of an observer, even though narrated in the first person.

In the words of Bibhuti Das, “Policing in India is considered very opaque, stern and brutal. In the articles, I have tried to say that there is a human side to Policing and not all of it is dry and taciturn, although it has its flaws.”

I would strongly recommend you to get your hands on a copy. It is sure to entertain with its pithy style and its gamut of interesting plots and characters.

Amazon.IN (Paperback) : https://www.amazon.in/dp/9395986654?ref=myi_title_dp

Amazon.com (eBook): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BYF7JB66

Amazon.com (Paperback) : https://www.amazon.com/dp/9395986654

Flipkart :  Click on this link

(eBook) Smashwords : https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1362404

Happy Reading!

Shakti Ghosal

‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly’ first year anniversary

I am delighted to mention that on its first anniversary, Amazon has released this brand video of my book, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’.

Available globally on Amazon.


What secret did Lal Dighi hide?

Turning, he called out to the guard outside, “Ask my special guards to meet me”.

Two robed men came in. Omichand commanded, “Follow that ayah who accompanied the English woman. Find out all that the woman knows and who all she has met over the last few days. Do what you need to do but ensure that details of Joba’s movements do not get around”.

The next morning, the Captain Commandant’s household was in a tizzy. His wife’s trusted ayah had vanished in the night. Initial suspicion that she had run away with some valuables was quickly dispelled when nothing was found to be missing. Jim got the fort security to investigate but they came up with no answers. The mystery got solved after a few days in a rather gruesome manner when the ayah’s dead body was found floating in the Lal Dighi with her throat slit. 

The above is an excerpt from the award-winning, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly’.

Have you read it yet?




‘The fire of communal violence was spreading. There existed enough baggage of distrust and enmity between two of the major communities in the country to fan it.

News trickled in about the incendiary speech made by the Bengal Chief Minister Shaheed Suhrawardy and the ensuing cycle of violence which would later come to be known as the Great Calcutta Killings. Since both their larger families were in Bengal, Sujit and Bina were concerned and sent postcards enquiring about the safety and health of everyone. They even offered family members to leave Calcutta for some time and come and stay with them in New Delhi. Mercifully, they got back replies by post that there was nothing to worry about at the moment and all were safe.

But the Calcutta killings and the subsequent incidents of communal violence that followed in several parts of North India were but a trailer of what was to come…………..’

The above is an excerpt from the story Ashtami, part of the Chronicler of the Hooghly.

Book of the Month, Nazm -e- Hayat literary award winner. Available worldwide on Amazon.


Do homes speak?


Jaya heard the voice but remained with her thoughts.

“Hello there”, the voice wafted in again.

Jaya looked around but failed to determine the source.

“Who is this?” she murmured.

“I am, or rather was, your home”.

“Do homes speak?’ Jaya asked with some incredulity.

“Yes they do, but in a different way. Who else brings the endless reservoir of peace and comfort into the lives of its occupants? Like I did for you”.

Excerpt from the story ‘Faultlines’.

Book of the Month, Nazm -e- Hayat literary award winner.



Crossings is a Journal of English Studies and is a crossover vehicle into the realms of contemporary English Literature.

I was delighted to see Mr. Rakesh Chandra’s review of the Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories published in the journal of literary studies ‘Crossings’ of the University of Liberal Arts ( ULAB) Bangla Desh.

I am posting below the very detailed review of the book that has been published.

Authors’ collaboration

Collaboration between two authors can be a virtuous cycle of learning for both.

In her review of ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories, author Manali Desai writes:

  • All the stories compare a time in India (especially Kolkata) from pre-independence vs now, making us ponder whether things have really changed and also highlighting the fact that ‘the past repeats itself’ and some actions/decisions have their impacts resonated through ages.
  • The writing style doesn’t always paint a pretty or desolate picture, but in fact, manages to preserve the beauty of simple simplicity by interlinking the heritage of Kolkata with commonality. Though the colours are a bit subdued and faded, but they carry lineage and ancestry.
  •  The most striking feature of the book is how the author has let his creativity rewrite history. It comes out especially well in “The Chronicler of the Hooghly” where the paths have been intertwined with well-known historical figures of Bengal.
  • The writing is simple and yet holds the capacity to make a reader fall in love with old Calcutta making them curious about the city’s past.
  •  The stories are thought-provoking and represent various human nature/emotions like greed, sadness, anger but the most applaud-worthy part about the actions in each story is how they bring home the message of karmic ends.

In my review of Manali’s book, I had said :

 “I was coaxed to read the book by a Facebook friend. I had downloaded it in Kindle a while back but could complete the reading only today.

Author Manali Desai took me on a journey. A journey inhabited by three millennials Ayesha Banerjee, Viren Joshi and Abhi Agrawal. A journey which spanned Mumbai, Kolkata and Chandigarh. A journey  into the mind and the world of the Millennial.  And I have come out enriched!

The prologue containing Ayesha’s poetry recital is at once heart wrenching, as it punches the reader in the guts. Showcase as it does one of the evils of our societal mindset.

Adopting an easy and racy writing style, Manali’s narrative does manage to operate at two levels. At one level, the tale is one of the proverbial romance triangle and what that shows up as in social interactions and conversations – during morning walks, in the college canteen and situations. At another level exists the unsureness and the confusion about making a choice. For me the end was somewhat abrupt. Apart from this a nice read.

I would urge Manali Desai to keep on writing.”

In our author collaborative session, we had an interesting discussion on the above aspects.



“Dipen crossed the road to move towards his home in the Bhukailash estate. The narrow winding lane had a few single storied houses on the right. As he moved past the third house, his head turned as if on its own volition to the small verandah on the ground floor. His heart skipped a beat. There she was, the young woman in her twenties. Today in the failing light of dusk she stood, her head bent slightly to one side as she appeared to be combing her long lustrous black hair. Their eyes locked for a moment and then Dipen looked away quickly as he hastened his faltering steps. This had been happening almost every day over the last few months.”

The above is an excerpt from the story Pandemic, part of ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories.

Adjudged ‘Book of the Month’ for March 2021 by Booknerds, Professor Gracy Samjetsabam column author in Sunday Guardian Live and copy editor, in her review in Borderless Journal (May 14, 2021), writes:

“….. Ghosal sprinkles confetti of his coaching in life skills into the storytelling to create a set of modern-day tales that are easily relatable and palatable. The style and the settings are like fresh air that enlightens as it entertains. The stories are vibrant and close to current realities, making them a worthy read.”

The full review is available here. https://borderlessjournal.com/…/the-chronicler-of-the…/

On 30th July 2021, the book has received the Nazm-e- Sahitya award 2021 from Nazmehayat, a platform of worthy writers. www.nazmehayat.com



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