It’s Holi, 2012, the Hindu festival of spring, and back in Varanasi after 20 years, a young advocate is celebrating a nation-wide Supreme Court order against an age-old tradition of social injustice meted out to the destitute widows of India – to whom even the simple joys of color were denied.
It was in this city that, 20 years ago, Choti, a sassy, tight-rope walker befriends an old widow, Noor. As a member of the ashram, she lives a life of complete abstinence, but her young friend’s innocent exuberance and joy of life fill her with renewed hope.
Book Name:The Last Color by Vikas Khanna
Book Author: Vikas Khanna
The two form an unlikely bond, with Noor looking out for Choti, inspiring her to ‘fly high’ by seeking an education and fighting for her rights with dignity. Choti listens enraptured by the memories her friend shares: of playing Holi dressed as Radha, the consort of Lord Krishna, and flinging great bursts of her favorite pink-colored gulal into the sky. Choti promises her that they will play the next Holi together.
But then, one night, another friend of Choti’s, Anarkali, is murdered by the heinous police chief and his goons. Being the only witness to her murder, Choti is imprisoned on the eve of Holi. Everything falls apart in the ensuing chaos.
Will Choti be able to keep her promise of playing Holi with Noor???
Pitting the smoke rising from the funeral pyres of Manikarnika Ghat, against the joyous color-bursts of Holi celebrations, Vikas Khanna’s marvelously layered story of the survival of a delicate friendship is brilliantly told and poignantly life-affirming.