Price: INR 250
This is one the first Indian written fantasy books that I have read (barring the ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Ramayana’, of course) and I was slightly apprehensive about what to expect. But I was very pleasantly surprised. ‘The Mug of Melancholy’ by Rohit Chakroborty is endearing and fun, with many serious themes that are intertwined in this seemingly innocuous child’s book.
The book begins in Shillong with the seemingly normal child, Bhuvan, overhearing his Aunt Neera asking his father Anil, to get Bhuvan trained before his powers ending up killing him. And that leads Bhuvan on a rollercoaster ride where he finds he is not a human, but an Andrunain. He discovers he has powers, there’s a whole world that exists in parallel to the human world and it has so many secrets waiting to be unveiled. But life is nothing short of hard for young Bhuvan. His dreams are haunted by a beautiful woman, who seems dead yet so alive. There is an another woman, Zoya who claims she can bring back Bhuvan’s mother from the dead, if Bhuvan agrees to help Zoya. And finally, Bhuvan himself is not a normal Andrunain either.
If the themes above seem reminiscent of Harry Potter, then you are not mistaken. At many junctures in the book, you are reminded of the wizarding boy and his life. The author has most definitely been inspired by the hit series, but he has managed to put his own spin on them – a kind of an Indian version of it, with its own quirks.
Apart from this, the book has some strong themes that appeal to all readers – friendship, betrayal, trust, love, self-discovery. The characters are strong and intriguing. Each character has a strong role to play and has been chalked out well. The pace is set just right. The descriptions of the events and places too very lovely and worded well.
There are many unanswered questions and confusions that arise while reading the book. That left me quite frustrated at some points, as I had difficulty understanding some connections. There are also grammatical and punctuation mistakes that are prevalent in the book that could be done away with, with better editing.
All in all, this was definitely a fun book that made me feel like a child again, dreaming of magic and flying chairs. I eagerly await the next installment in the series. Also, the author’s blog page features excerpts from the book and avant-garde, original illustrations (http://therohitchakrabortyblog.tumblr.com/)
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