एक बुक जर्नल: Nagin by Mayur Didolkar

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Nagin by Mayur Didolkar

Read between 25th of October 2018 to 31st October 2018

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count: 277
Publisher: Juggernaut
ISBN: 9789386228659



Nagin by Mayur Didolkar
Nagin by Mayur Didolkar

I have always loved reading about supernatural beings. The very idea of people transforming into creatures just because they wish to do so, excites me. I'm always on a lookout for reading works that feature these creatures. So when i came to know about Nagin i was naturally drawn towards it. I wanted to read the collection woven around mysterious beings that could turn into snakes. So, when i was given the opportunity to read the book in lieu of my honest thoughts about it, it was like a wish come true. I instantly took this opportunity.

'Nagin' is a collection of nine stories by Mayur Didolkar. The stories are:

1) The Snake in my Neighbour's Garden

First Sentence:
Later on, Kunal would wonder whether it had started when he saw his neighbour, Rasika, partially undressed, or when he saw a snake crawling inside her house.

Kunal had a huge crush on her neighbour Rasika. The fact that Rasika was Kunal's mother's friend didn't had any issue in his eyes. He loved to watch her especially from his windows. So when he saw a snake going into the house from the open window he was scared for her.He was in dilemma whether to tell Rasika about it or not. He wanted to call her but was aware of the repercussions. There would be questions that would be asked. But then she was Rasika and he couldn't let anything happen to her. So, he called. He shouldn't have.

This is the first story in the collection and since the book was called Nagin so i thought it would feature some shape-shifting creatures especially female ones. I kept reading this story keeping that in mind. I would just say i fell for it. The characters of the story are believable. I could relate to Kunal as i have crushes like him. I enjoyed reading it.

2) Ranbhool

First Sentence:
They had been walking for about forty minutes and the five year old boy was growing impatient with his thirty-something companion.

A thirty year old man and a five year old boy walking in a jungle in the middle of the night would raise anybody's  suspicion. So when they came across the villager he was right to be suspicious of the man. According to the man he was boy's uncle but the villager had his own doubts about it. Was the villager right? What was he doing in then jungle?

I liked the concept of the story. Ranbhool was something which was new to me. I had never heard about it and i could see why boys, with their overactive imagination, would be afraid of it. In Ranbhool, the jungle turns into this weird place where travellers often lose their way. Once the traveller is lost he's never found. As if it was not enough, it's also said that during this time apparitions and ghost become active and are out on hunt. This creates a scary setting and the writer has beautifully weaved the story around it. I loved it.


3) A little Poison doesn't hurt

First Sentence:
Have you ever both hated or felt grateful to someone?

Priyamvada and Raunak were comfortably married. They didn't share much in terms of interest but complemented each other and were happy in their lives.

Then Ishita happened and everything started changing. Priyamvada thought Ishita was here to steal her husband but was it really so?

 I loved it especially the ending. It makes you wonder if you really know your spouse or what you think about your spouse is really true. It was so good it made me chuckle with surprise when i finished it.

4) Watching you

First Sentence:
In my considered opinion, real relationships do not start before they have weathered at least one this-is-the-end kind of fight.

Anirudh and Niharika's relationship ended eight months ago. But it seemed Anirudh was having difficulty in letting go of Niharika. He was stalking her and was surprised to find that she had a new man in her life.

Then, murders started happening. People who were troubling Niharika kept dying from mysterious snake's bite. Was this a coincidence or something weird was going on? The journalist in Anirudh thought these incidents were related. Was Anirudh right?

I have often thought or found that in case of most people in  relationships one partner is more invested in it than the other. And most often this person is someone who thinks he has landed with someone who is out of his/her league.

The relationship between Anirudh and Niharika in this story is somewhat like it. I could see why he was finding it difficult to let her go but i couldn't feel sorry for him. The story kept me hooked till the end. The author was able to make me think what he wanted me to think and so i enjoyed reading it and was pleasantly surprised with the ending.

I liked the story.



5)  Haka Mari

First Sentence:
In a village named Natipute near Pune, seven year old identical twins Veena and Sarika wake up with a start.


When two small girls are kidnapped in a small village in Pune, people there are obviously troubled. The village people think that the kids were taken by Haka mari, a supernatural creature present in their local folk lore.

This incident has also piqued interests of local news channel and an organisation whose main focus is to debunk the superstitions present in the society. Sonia from News Now and Rajan and Meenakshi from IAS are now willing to investigate the matters.

Meanwhile, the village people believe that only Nag Devta can rescue Veena and Sarika,the twins that disappeared, and they are planning to call them. Radhika, the mother of the twins, believe her brothers are shape-shifting snakes and would definitely come to rescue their nieces.

Were the girls found out? Did the trio of Rajan, Meenakshi and Sonia found out what was truly the matter? Who was this Haka Mari and what did she want?

I enjoyed reading this story. At the end of the story the author acknowledges that this story is inspired by a local folklore which is often told in Maharashtrian households. Our local folklores have always been very rich and entertaining and it was great to see Mayur had taken one and weaved a story around it. I didn't know anything about Haka Mari but now i do.

The story was scary though. I could feel that someone dead was just about to call me. Accha hua, no body did.


6) Laughing hearts

First Sentence:
It was half past six on that cold, dark December evening, as i paid the parking booth jockey and rode my Bullet 500 into the cavernous underground parking lot of the Wall Street Plaza that housed Simran's- the pub i was doing a gig at that evening.



When Nandan Reached reached Simaran's, a club in Pune, the only thing he had in mind was to make it sure the show went good , the patrons laughed their heart out and every one left with a smile on their faces. Nandan Raje was a stand up comedian and was hosting a show today.

And so when Charulata came to him, he believed it was regarding the show. But what she told him made him laugh his heart out. Charulata was adamnt that she was telling the truth and no matter how ridiculous it sounded the people's lives were at stake here.

Nandan thought it was all too crazy and Charulata was someone who was off her rocker but he wanted to accomodate her so agreed to do what she asked.

What did Charulata said to Nandan? What did she wanted? Did Nandan did the right thing?

I really liked this one. It's because in it we are shown  some other shape shifters who are kind of evil and prey on human. The previous stories only had nags, nagins and spirits. The thought that someone is out there to gorge on a human heart and liver was scary.

Plus, it was also the first time we are shown Wyadhas, a clan of people who have made their life's goal to kill these creatures. The story is gory and i enjoyed it. I would loved to read another story featuring Wyadhas and Bhinna Nishacharas.


7) Winning Ugly

First Sentence:
It's just after the intermission; The Dark Knight is back on at a multiplex in Pune.

Rajat and Jhanvi have been married for twenty years. There have been ups and downs in their lives but they have sustained those. They are happy. What does it take to have a happy marriage? Read the story to find out.

What is love?  And is it necessary to be in  a successful marriage? Or does it take something more for a marriage to be successful? These are the questions that would be answered when you'll read this story. I enjoyed it.

I often think love is temporary. We all have our own ideas in mind as to what we find attractive and the person who coincides most with these ideas are the one we often fall for. But marriage is a different ball game. If one partner is willing to give up on it then it's doomed.

I liked the way the story is told. It has it's share of supernatural creatures, which i loved reading about, but it also makes us think about marriage and what would it take to have a successful one.

8) How to draw a killer

First Sentence:
Mustafa nudged Dilep as soon as the woman entered.

When those two guys came towards Ms Piyali Saha, she knew they were trouble. They told her they were from intelligence and they wanted to know about the girl, called Tara, that was in her charge.

Who were these guys? What did they want from an eleven year old kid?

I could anticipate what was going to happen but it was a fun read none the less. The story was gripping till the end. I could say more but it would be better if you'd read the story.


9) The Fearless One

First Sentence:
As Sara entered her building, overloaded with grocery bags from an early morning supermarket trip, she saw here niece sitting on the iron bench.

When Sara saw Nivedita in front of her building she knew something was amiss. Nivedita was the black sheep of the family. She was an addict who was coasting through her life and Sara had an inkling that she had come to her because she was in some kind of problem.
Why was Nivedita there? What did she want from her aunt?

The fearless one is the bounus story in this collection. This story features Bhinna Nishacharas, a type of shape-shifters who can transform from human form to jackal, and the Wyadhas, a group of people who have decided to eliminate Bhinna Nishacharas. This story belongs to the world which Mayur Didolkar is creating in his upcoming series. The story is about a girl who's a screw up and has no aim in life. But there is something special about her and that is going to change her course of life. The story is gripping from start to finish and i enjoyed it. We get to know more about these shape shifting creatures and how they work. And the story ends on a very promising note, which makes you yearn for the next offering by the author.

This was the second story in the collection featuring the wyadhas and Bhinna nishacharas, the first one being the laughing hearts. I loved the two characters Sara and Nivedita. Nivedita is an typical underdog who is considered good for nothing but when the time comes they like the phoenix rise from their ash of a life and shine through. I have read stories like this but it would be fun reading it in an Indian context.


 At last i could say 'Nagin' was an entertaining read from start to finish. The stories are mystery woven around shape-shifters and if you like reading about supernatural beings then you wouldn't be disappointed. I enjoyed reading the nine stories present in this collection.They had enough twist and turns  that kept me hooked till the end.

The only thing that i didn't like was the title. I didn't think it suited the collection. Well, for starters there were a lot more of Nags here then the Nagins. Also, there were other shape shifters in the stories. Thus, the title gives a false impression to the reader. And i also think Nagin is very cliched.  I think it deserved a better title.

I'd be looking forward to reading more works by Mayur Didolkar especially the new series featuring Bhinna Nisacharas and Wydhas. I'm waiting eagerly for that.

If you have read this book then do tell me what were your thought about it. If you haven't read the book you can get it from the following link:
Paperback


FTC: I got this book from the publisher in lieu of my  honest thoughts about it.

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