I’m just delighted at the wonderful range of authors this Staying in with… feature is bringing me into contact with. Today it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Rajiv Mittal to Linda’s Book Bag.
If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.
Staying in with Rajiv Mittal
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Rajiv. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you for having me, Linda.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought my debut novel Brahmahatya. The name is a Sanskrit word for ‘the act of killing a Brahmin’, a deed considered worse than ordinary murder.
(Oh! I’ve learnt something new already!)
I have chosen it because I would like the evening to be about understanding Indian culture, its spiritual books and the thought processes that influence its people in their relationships.
(This is brilliant as I’m travelling to India later this year.)
What can we expect from an evening in with Brahmahatya?
An unhurried unravelling of ideas and people that you will meet during the journey. I also hope you will set aside a bit of time for yourself to reflect once it ends.
Here are a few reader comments after their journeys …
‘Brahmahatya’, through its many references to ancient scriptures and the use of Sanskrit words, is also a narrative on man’s conflict-ridden relationship with the Divine. It is this that gives the book a timelessness, even as it raises ever-pertinent questions about rituals, faith, free will and karmic destiny. Faith is almost a character in itself. There’s gravitas, and lovely philosophical questions. This is apparent through the voices in the characters’ heads, which the readers are made privy to, and where debates between “right” and “wrong” rage. Where their relationship with god is forever in flux…
It is a stirring book, at once heavy with sadness and light with a beauty which one may call … divine. It ends on a note of calm reconciliation, even though it remains upon the reader to weigh the cost at which this peace has been reached.
Sakshi Nanda (www.sakshinanda.com)
Deploying human emotions at their vulnerable best, especially grief, anger, hate, revenge and ultimately peace, this book lays it all, bare and raw. A highly suggested read, delve into this ocean of the worst of human emotions, and retrospect.
Anuradha Khaitan (www.merrygoreviews.com)
Complicated yet integrated characters, a skilfully created sequence of inevitable events and a thick suspense plentifully fed by a revengeful, murderous intent, Brahmahatya has it all. To make the novel additionally delectable, there is the generous inclusion of local flavor. This, I said to myself, is an Indian story written in English.
(You must be absolutely delighted with those reader responses. Congratulations.)
What else have you brought along and why?
I have brought along a few links through my journey of writing the book. I am hoping this will make reading Brahmahatya a very special experience that will remain with you long after the book is just a memory.
1. The words that inspired me to write it:
- Whomsoever you encounter is the right one.
- Whatever happened is the only thing that could have happened.
- Each moment in which something begins is the right moment.
- What is over is over.
- Author – Unknown
2. A link to the start of the journey here.
3. What struck me when I looked around my dad’s retirement home:
An old man took his phone to a repair shop.
Repairer: Nothing is wrong with this phone.
Old man: Then why don’t my children ever call me?
4. The quiet, unhindered steady chant that treads through the book:
“Brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva. According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe…”
(What a mind blowing thought!)
I do hope you will enjoy the journey. Thathasthu. (It will be so).
I’ve found staying in with you highly interesting and thought provoking Rajiv. Thanks so much for being here.
A story of revenge and redemption and deeds shaped by forces that humans believe they have defined through mythology and scriptures but still struggle to understand.
A woman employee of a retirement home is shocked to discover that a new resident is in fact the son impersonating his father. The son is seeking revenge. She, by her past actions, is unwittingly complicit in his being there and now tries to thwart his peculiar plans. A senile woman-resident and an enigmatic founder offer him sage advice. The samudra manthan (a major episode in Hindu mythology), a slightly dim secretary and a sinister boss play their part in ensuring justice is finally served but in an unexpected manner.
The novel quotes frequently from the ancient Hindu scriptures and stories that the protagonists use to justify their actions. The treatment of the elderly in society is a major theme.
Brahmahatya is available for purchase from your local Amazon site.
About Rajiv Mittal
I was born in Chennai, India in the early nineteen sixties. I am an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a CPA from Australia. I now live in Melbourne after a stint of several years in the Middle East.
Writing was a vague aspiration. It became reality thanks to a stranger who said I reminded him of the main character from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. He quoted from it, ‘Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.’