I have learned that the author tired of his first series after the first hundred books or so before he created Vimal. I have learned that Vimal is an elusive thief and a master of disguise, a kind of Punjabi mix of Richard Stark's Parker and Frank McAuliffe's Augustus Mandrell.
I have learned, among many new words, dacoit: "robber, usually one who attacks in broad daylight, in a group." I have learned that lakh in the novel's title means hundred thousand; the title refers to the 6.5 million-rupee bank robbery in which Vimal is stiffed by a colleague before embarking on a violent quest to recover what's his.
And I have learned that Surender Mohan Pathak had better slow down to a stately Simenon-like pace, or he'll soon have to express his own output in lakh. At age 70, he has written about 300 novels and translated Ian Fleming and James Hadley Chase into Hindi, the latter while working full-time for the Indian phone company.
Check out Vimal and more at the publisher's Web site, Blaft Publications. And check out this essay on Vimal by Brian Lindemuth, to whom I owe my acquaintance with Vimal.
ਬੱਲੇ!, which means, roughly speaking, "Vimal is one righteous dude!"
P.S. Vimal apparently means "clean, pure, spotless" in Sanskrit, and yet Vimal is just one of the hero's many names ...
© Peter Rozovsky 2010