Demons in my mind – Aashish Gupta.
How frequently does it happens with you that you pick up a book with super confidence because you have read something by the writer earlier which you presumably loved but it takes a kind of toll on your mind that you actually need to take a break before even you could think of reviewing it. Initially I was skeptical but then I thought – what the heck! let me read it and see what exactly it is as the title is pretty tempting. What I was expecting and what it turns out is poles apart. After what I had read of him (his second unpublished book soon to be out) was a terrific joy ride and such a refreshing read. Also, I am not comparing him or his work with anyone but I had this same dilemma in last few months with only two books that I read – “The Rebel – Albert Camus” and “Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacsson” – Loved them both but found myself incapable of reviewing them the way they should be.
I will call this a proper MindF#$& (not for the faint hearted) and it was actually as good as watching a Korean movie, or the American sort of “Wrong Turn”, or one of the “Saw” series with a typical Indian “Amar Akhar Anthony” ending. Although its very smartly written and as the story progresses, it keeps the reader on tenterhooks as what to expect next. Story of the old man on the deathbed goes to the three monks for miracle healing that they offer and in place they take him on a flash back journey of their own (gruesome) story(s). Initially as the story progresses of little Ayeda and Rizwan it was too good but it comes to an abrupt end. Followed by two more stories equally intriguing of Neeru who wants to work with prisoners to give them a better life and Murli the artist – again they come to an uncalled unexpected unpredictable endings. Followed by the Finale which unfortunately is too gruesome and didnt work for me at all, Although I loved the way it all happens as thats a first for me from Indian standards as I haven’t read anything like this earlier by any of our writers. The pace and story telling is such that I kept making faces yet couldnt just put it down as my mind kept asking for a closure and he does gives it a mind-blowing clsoure in the end. As I call it a “Amar Akbar Anthony” closing – I am sure if you have read the book you may agree with me – found it too filmy and indigestible. I guess its a work of fiction and should be taken with a pinch of salt but like I said – I am not sure if I am praising it or shooting it down.
One more thing that I really liked about the book other than its superb pace is the use of poetry. A good 20% if not more is written in that ways and as I was reading it, I was tapping my foot on the floor with my upper half going back and forward with the rhythm of “Demons in her mind, she has demons in her mind”, so on so forth – too good. I will definitely be looking forward to his upcoming works for sure as this one plays with your mind and who knows what’s he going to come out with next :). If you have read it – do let me know how you like it and if you haven’t I would say – go ahead give it a try.