When Sangita, Ranee of Bidwar, is caught up in a scandal, her husband, the Raja, banishes her from the palace and forbids access to her son, Anwar, still a babe in arms. She lives miserably as a disgraced woman, praying to the god Ganesh that he will take Anwar from her husband, so that he would know her suffering. Then, Anwar goes missing.
In a hill-tribe far above the palace, on land impenetrable to man, the young males were dying. When they come across a Coarseone – a child from civilisation below – in the lower jungle, they use him to create a new life – a male who will become their Maw, their king.
The Ama stone – the stone of life – was kept by the hill-tribe at the foot of the mountain in a hammocked shrine. When Sangita, scouring the jungle for her son, finds it, it burns her skin causing her to drop it, losing it without trace, but not before it sends her a message: Anwar has returned to her womb.
Two generations later, Sangita’s granddaughter, Devi, heads to the family’s derelict hill palace to research the mountain’s minerals, with instructions to look out for the apocryphal Ama stone. Simultaneously, a tree-felling company finally reach the mountain top where they discover the tree-dwelling tribe. Maw, now a young man, is injured trying to stop the lumberjacks driving them off the land. He is brought to Devi, who takes him down to the palace where the family care for and educate him, but he always has a look in his eyes that no one understands. Will his tribe think their king has deserted them, or do they know that he is playing a longer game… a life long game to avenge his tribe their suffering?
Tikkipala is a hypnotic tale of love and preservation at a time of fading empires. Meticulously and soulfully written, Banerji takes the heart on a journey through mystical cultures and spiritual practices, to a world where anything is possible if love is strong enough. – See more at: Bloomsbury