Can a ragtag quartet of newfound friends outwit terrorists during a crisis in India? In our precarious world of old grudges and ruthless high-tech terrorism, smart young American graduate student Jill Rothchild and her three Indian friends zigzag north across India’s landscapes, dodging lethal attacks, going all out trying to avert a catastrophe. GYPSY ESCAPADES tells the exciting story of that horrific threat, posing the question: is it possible to fight terrorism without becoming like the terrorists?
Racing through the varied atmospheres and personalities of India in a multitude of disguises and vehicles, these four friends are always skating on the verge of disaster. They improvise, discover inner resources, and ditch murderous thugs again and again, until they reach the extremist leader who is orchestrating not only their demise but also a cataclysmic strike against India. Can they stop his plan, an unprecedented assault on the electronic infrastructure that would wreak havoc on all sectors of life in the subcontinent?
This crisis emerges when anthropology researcher Jill Rothchild arrives in India to research the Narikuravas, a tribal people known in Chennai as “gypsies.” Instead, she finds herself deeply entangled in a serious international crisis. Jill’s helper is Venkie, an old family friend who turns out to be not only a retired literature professor, but also a long time undercover agent for India’s equivalent of the CIA—RAW, the “Research and Analysis Wing.” Venkie becomes aware of the serious threat to India because he has received a taunting message from his nemesis Ahmed “Kebab” Jamot. This extremist, whom Venkie befriended when they were schoolboys, has gone from being a radical activist to a violent terrorist leader responsible for many suicide attacks. Now he has the capacity to unleash a nuclear explosion in the sky over India which will cause electromagnetic shockwaves ruining electronic systems, digital records, communications and military coordination facilities. When Kebab throws down this gauntlet, Venkie, the last Gandhian in RAW, undertakes a final mission to prevent the attack, and Jill insists on dropping her research plans and helping him, out of family loyalty. Venkie and Jill enlist the help of Sing, a charismatic gypsy healer from the Narikurava tribe whom Jill has already hired to be her research assistant—and Kinnie, Sing’s 13 year old niece, who is in his care. They set out for Kebab’s terrorist headquarters between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Aziz Zazi guides them over rough terrain during the last stages of the journey. Can they avert the disaster in the 40 days Kebab has allotted?