The boy guessed that something different- something unusual is going to happen. This is no festival time- there is apparently no logic behind his mother bringing new clothes for him.
But this child is somehow different! He thought rationally and a little thinking helped him to fathom what is going to happen.
He is going to be introduced to Guruji-the Guru of the family for initiation. But little he might be-his mind was against the proposal-he liked to get rebel. Dragging like cattle in front of some unknown person- it is completely against his self-esteem!
Unable to resist the move from the mother- he put forward a proposal- he should question the Guru- if he can answer –the boy will consent to initiation.
Don’t Believe in God-Till you Experience Him by Mukul Kumar– a technocrat now working with IT industry is a story of faith, devotion and knowledge. Basically it is everyone’s story- swinging between doubt and belief-making a lifelong quest towards light of knowledge- an expedition from death to immortality.
Mukul-the protagonist of our story hails from a small village of Bihar –comes from a modest background and belongs to joint family. He kept on growing observing his quarrelsome aunts, his distressing mother and his father- busy with his business. Mukul observed his aunts- always busy attacking each other in innovative ways-imagined them as fingers of the hand
“My mother was the little finger, as she was the most insignificant one. My younger aunt was the ring finger, my middle aunt was the middle finger and my eldest aunt was the index finger because she liked to point figure at everyone. My stepmother was the thumb, opposed to everyone else and the strongest of them all. When they fought, I would watch them mesmerized as I was watching the interplay of my five fingers.”
The thought of five persons fighting like five fingers of a hand made me smile and I thought ok- so this writer has good sense of humour. I went on reading and I was confirmed that this guy can indeed make his writing richer with pearls of wit and humour. But somehow I felt Mukul Kumar has not fully utilized his potential in this book.
Mukul (this time the protagonist. It is all too confusing, when protagonist and writer have the same name. So from now on, we will call the protagonist as simply Mukul and his namesake writer as Mukul Kumar.) . Mukul was a neglected child – as he was the son of the second wife of his husband and his father married his mother in spite of dissent from the relatives and more so because his father was more busy with his business than his family. But soon his home tutor discovered that the little boy has amazing power of memorizing which he publicized throughout the village. That somehow elevated the status of the boy.
This is the story of a simple village boy who is advancing in age and personality and whose mind is always infested with thousands of questions- unanswered questions. If we separate the question part from the story-even then the story has immense possibility. Times are changing fast around Mukul and so is the socioeconomic environment. The picture of this changing scenario would have made this book a great book rather than a good book. For example recently I have read Bird of Fire,a novel by Bangladeshi writer Hasan Azizul Huq, where the story revolves round one village lady and her family. The book is set up on the backdrop of partition. That is the simple story of life like this one-but in Bird of Fire the writer has described the rapidly changing value, ethics, and society around her. So my point is Mukul Kumar could have utilized this scope without compromising on the theme of the story.
Persons came to the life of Mukul like everyone- and they enriched Mukul. The persons helped in building up his mental frame. He went on doing well in studies and got admitted in an engineering college. The writer described at length everyday experience of Mukul –even his transaction periods were narrated elaborately. It is my perception that such elaborate discussion has somehow slowed the pace of the story. Girls came to the life of Mukul- but they failed to leave any lasting impact. That is indeed natural- like Gargi in Upanishad- Mukul too has the eternal question burning inside him-“ what will I do with those things which are not immortal.”
Mukul became a technocrat and secured a job with a TATA concern. Here too the writer has consciously made metaphysical shadow looming over the story. And in this part of the story the twist does came- Mukul became involved with a particular religious cult. The followers of the cult believe that the current human race is soon to be wiped out and an advanced race will only survive
‘As we have told you, in the past, there are some large asteroids that are on a collision path with the earth. Our director has talked about it in detail in his books. These events are also registered in the holy scripture of the Mayans, the Hindu and the Tibetans. The US Federal government knows about it…….when the Karma of a race reaches its lowest point, when the degeneration of humanity goes beyond the point of no return; the divine laws take their course. A few are selected to continue to the next race, most human beings are doomed.’
To be or not to be-that is the question. Mukul Kumar has portrayed well the mental dilemma of his protagonist –swinging between belief and disbelief. The story goestothe direction where reader willfind answer whether Mukul can find any answer to the questions that haunted him throughout his life.
After all life is like a jigsaw puzzle. You can never arrive to a solution.
Or, can you?
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Frog Books (4 January 2017)
Price- INR 275
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