The Naked Triangle by Balwant Gargi

The Naked Triangle, by Balwant Gargi, is a semi-autobiographical novel, based on the theme of betrayal.

About the author

The author, Balwant Gargi, was born on December 4, 1916, in Bathinda (Punjab). He completed his studies in Lahore and went on to create history in the world of Indian and Punjabi literature. He wrote several plays, which were translated into 12 languages, and have been performed around the world. His first play, Loha Kutt in 1944, became controversial for its shocking projection of the Punjab countryside. Over time and many plays, Gargi’s preoccupation with sex, violence and death became almost an obsession. For subject matter, he moved freely over all kinds of themes. There was no particular pattern to be found in his writing. Several of his short stories were published in English. The Naked Triangle brought him to the forefront of cosmopolitan attention.

The Book

Gargi’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Naked Triangle, was published in 1980. It seems to have bared all for this extraordinary piece of writing. Gargi has talked about himself, his wife and children, his other love-interests, his friends and company, almost everything in his life, and has not spared anyone. He has painted a stark picture of various people which at times becomes too brutal to swallow. Some of the incidents are extremely shocking, while some others evoke a feeling of disgust. At times, the reader wants to cry, while at others, he wants to hammer some sense into the author’s head.

The novel makes the reader experience a gamut of emotions. Once started, it is almost impossible to put it down unfinished.

The novel is set against a backdrop of various locations, but most of the events takr place in Chandigarh. The author, Balwant Gargi, stayed in Seattle, where he met his wife, Jeannie. After their marriage, they stayed in Bombay (Mumbai) for a month and then shifted to Delhi. Six months later, they moved to Chandigarh, where the rest of the story is set.

The most shocking incident in the novel is perhaps when an actress strips off her clothing and moves about in a party. Or it may be the one where a deaf painter makes a remark about Picasso. Or again it may be the one where Gargi meets Raji, a Punjabi actress, in the garage. The story is full of shocking yet true incidents.

A negative point is the extensive speeches by people who have no role in the story as such. That could have been avoided. Otherwise, it makes a fabulous read. The author betrays his wife and finds love in Raji, a small-time Punjabi actress, but gets mad when he sees his wife doing the same. This makes the reader want to remind him of his own doings. The incidents that take place in  the girls’ and boys’ hostels in the university makes the reader wonder about their veracity.

In conclusion, the book is very absorbing and daring. Makes for an interesting read.

Shuchita Sharma