“This is a fictional story set against a historical backdrop.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This is a book that rides on its concept – a millionaire who wants to erase religion by kidnapping godmen and two boys who come together to combat the atheistic world that he plans to set up. Reymerg D’Souza versus Raem and Masher, the man a towering Rupert Murdoch kind of figure and the boys growing into men, both nonentities of their kind, Raem a recluse who looks Caucasian and Masher afflicted with a stutter which draws the school bullies down on him.
The novel winds in and out of time frames, past and present and Raem and Masher’s lives and how with the help of some mysterious homemade chocolates that aren’t the way chocolates are meant to be. The result of Bolivian cacao is that the stuttering Masher discovers new courage while Raem finds self belief. However, despite this lift to their lives, the two are drawn into the Mumbai riots which shatters many things, including their chocolate fuelled belief. That is one kind of story about religion, bracketed with Reymerg’s determination to end religion, a concept which has outlived its usefulness even though God might once have originated from love.
There is the other parallel story of the journo Avantika and her cop friend Rakesh who are investigating the ins and outs of Reymerg’s corrupt empire as well as his extreme theories – not to mention the fact that he has kidnapped Raem.
Together these very different people come together in a novel that is part fantasy, part a reflection on the changing aspect of religion in current times. Millennials who have a yen for the subject will be drawn to the concept which is a different take on Prozac that all Millennial confidence booster and they will have Mhare’s elaborate vocabulary to add frisson to the whole story.
Added 20th July 2021