THE writer, a criminal lawyer by profession, has a beautiful style of writing and cleverly weaves four different stories through the writer, the protagonist, who appears before and after each tale. This protagonist is an ordinary man who one day, picks up the pen and as every word that he writes makes him feel a change as he confronts his own self which is different and quite unlike him.
The reader gets to see the psyche of a writer’s mind, about his real life that is spent with an imaginary one and how he misses out and regrets the loss of his youth that is taken away by the unreal people created by him. Nevertheless he spends time with them. Here he sees a transition and transformation during a complex disruption. He also discovers that his thoughts are abstract and that his mind wanders in strange realms. He is indeed perturbed by this odd knowledge.
The first story talks of the writer’s loneliness with his thoughts as his companion and a desire to love and be loved. He thinks he has no joy in life but one day suddenly and quite unexpectedly joy knocks on his door. He meets his love, who awakens the “sleeping affection” in him. He finds a young girl-child who opens the closed door of his heart, when he finds her sitting in the corner of the street, crying. She is lost but is not old enough to tell who she is and where she lives. He takes her in his arms and brings her home. He calls her Angel and “For years, I had bottled up all my feelings and had suppressed my words- but I told Angel everything. I left nothing unsaid. I opened the book of my life in front of her. She heard me, and seeing me cry, she shed her tears for me. She smiled when I was happy.” One day her parents come and take her away because she had got separated from them by accident. The writer then learns that deprivation of happiness means its existence “and when it embraces you, it cannot stay for long. It has to be lost so that the yearning for it begins once more. It is a vicious cycle.” The story opens the writer’s eyes when he is able to see and realise himself.
In the second story, the writer becomes the slayer and the prostitute-the two characters not known to him and remote, yet in the womb of his mind they are conceived and conceptualised. He feels the pain of a man who kills because killing is not easy. When you destroy life physically, it weighs heavily on the soul because life wrecks you emotionally. And a prostitute who lives in a brothel also dreams of a home.
Another story is about a couple to whom an abnormal child is born. This child is neither a girl nor a boy; it is a eunuch. The story is about their desire to go near him, to give him happiness, to rid him of his misery and to love him but it is all in vain.
The climax of the novel comes when the writer puts his pen down. He hears of the eunuch’s death and is relieved that the eunuch had found his release from the world which has no place for him. In the end, the writer wonders if he will earn glory or success but the fear of failure is very strong. He has to make the choice and take the decision accordingly.
This is a beautifully written fiction presented in an unusual style and it brings you closer to the realities of life.
(Cedar Books, Pustak Mahal, J-3/16 Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002; www.pustakmahal.com)