Book– A Tryst With Mahakaal
Previous Works– Debut Novel
Leela does not believe in fate, but when she is saved from political assassins by an ascetic, Mahakaal, he opens her mind to a new understanding of how destiny works.
While the Police are unable to find Mahakaal, he gradually emerges as a mysterious figure resembling the missing iconic leader Netaji Subhas Bose, who had allegedly lived out an undercover existence in India as one “Gumnami Baba”. This was a Saint who was never seen by almost anyone for three decades, and who always spoke to a chosen few visitors from behind a curtain.
Leela’s obsessive need to understand the Mahakaal mystery leads her to her mentor Bharat, who reasons that regardless of his true identity, Mahakaal is possibly an enigma holding the key to a saner existence. In choosing to follow his guidelines, both Leela and especially Bharat come into conflict with politicians of all hues. When India is subsequently pulled into a two front war, can Leela triumph over her destiny during her suicidal mission in the Himalayas?
A Tryst with Mahakaal by Tilak Dutta, is the story of an encounter of Leela with Mahakaal and then her quest to find the mystery that accompanied him.
When a trip to the interiors ends up being a manhunt, killing Leela’s friend and exposing her to the danger of losing her honor and life, her stars reveal a slight change in her fate. Saved by a mysterious old man who seems to know a lot about the ancient arts and yet the political scene of the country, Leela leads a life of seclusion until she is healed to return to civilization.
The survival was the least of Leela’s concerns as the return hassles her the most. No one believes the story of an old man with great strength and knowledge, she is doubted everywhere. Leela takes up on herself, to find the mystery behind Mahakaal and get entangled in the secrets of the past.
The book has a great concept, when you pick it up for a read, it fills you up with great hopes and author Tilak Dutta has tried to provide for it.
The idea of Mahakaal, Subhas Chandra Bose and Gumnami Baba are rather revolting. They make up a perfect stance for an intriguing plot.
The book is a very well written piece of work. You don’t stumble upon words to test your vocabulary, but you can spend your time marveling at the presentation. The scenes were elaborate and very gracefully written. My personal favorites are the struggle scenes at the first and last. They were indeed captivating. The content proves the vast knowledge and the amount of research that has gone into it. Its not easy to bring out pieces of history and connect them together to give something as this. Netaji Subhas Bose’s missing, has quite some stories about it, but adding a supernatural or enlightenment tinge to it a good choice.
Anyone interested in political fiction would enjoy the book to the fullest. Secrets and truths mixed up to produce an entire book is a good deal for them. The book is 395 pages long, so its somewhat of a commitment and requires a lot of patience.
Ratings- 3.5 stars out of 5
The blurb of the book focuses on a lot of Mahakaal, and that’s what you end up expecting the most, but the book doesn’t provide that. Mahakaal appears at the first part and then in the entire book, there are several mentions of him, but no him. You go there expecting a supernatural encounter, or anything mundane that has attained the value of unnatural, but end up disappointed. The book spends a lot of time trying to give explanations why that cannot happen but its nothing satisfactory of the reader. Personally, I expect a lot of action scenes, considering the first part and the efficiency with which they were written, I really wanted Leela to get into grave danger while searching for Mahakaal and for him to come and rescue her, only to part again.
For those who aren’t much into the political setting, having knowledge of the conspiracies or being enticed by the theories, the book isn’t a great choice to go with.
The scenes are quite elaborate, too elaborate to be honest. Instead of more plot, there’s more talk which contributes to the length of the book. There were other aspects of the book, like Aditya’s quest for the relic, which could have had some light on them, if not been a good part of the book.
After completing the book, and a bit of staring at the cover, it occurred to me, the book’s purpose. Its probably not about searching for him, or finding the mystery behind him. It seemed more like the impact that a mysterious person can have on the lives of a family. You rarely find Mahakaal anywhere, but everything started because of him.
Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini
Buy the book- Amazon
About the Author-
Tilak Dutta is a graduate in Economics from St. Stephens College New Delhi, who has trained as a Film Maker and Screenwriter in India at the FTII Pune, and also at the SIU-C, USA. Subsequently he pursued a career in the Indian film industry as a film editor, screenplay writer and director. In his private space he maintained his practice and learning of Indian classical music (Marga Sangeet). Tilak Dutta also had an extended association with sitar Maestro Ravi Shankar, for whom he made “Shanti Dhwani”, a film based on the maestro’s meditative musical score. Since 2013 he is based in Germany in the Northern Black Forest, where he has been experimenting with Holistic Retreats involving music and meditation.
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