An apocalyptic event catapults a teenage girl and a devout man into a war that threatens humanity’s existence. His unwavering faith leads him on a terrifying path of destruction. Her brush with death leads her to discover her true destiny.
Well what got me first interested in the book was the title ‘Svaha.’ But even after reading a good part of the book I could not figure out ‘why the name?’ It is only towards the end that the relevance of the title is revealed.
‘Svaha’ is different in many ways from the other books. It is as the cover suggests, a gripping thriller featuring characters from India’s mythological past and its political present.
While Soldier X stands for the protector, Slash represents the girl who has been let down a number of times, yet has unfailing faith in the one in whom she sees a guardian angel. AJ is the young tech savvy individual who has no qualms in hacking into another’s site or cutting a deal to save his skin. Rahul stands for the great soldier who is ready to die for his country, one who cannot bear a traitor even if he happens to be his mentor. Nadar is the innocent one who is an easy target for power hungry demons walking the earth in the guise of human beings. ‘Svaha’ tells us how hunger for power, greed for money, thirst for revenge, etc. that are signs of weakness or evil, overpower the human mind, making them demons.
But does ‘Svaha’ portray only the wicked side of the human race? ‘Svaha’ also portrays the positive side, the goodness that brings man nearer to the Gods.
Svaha is interesting and intriguing. In fact it is gripping right from the word ‘go’. The chapters are kept short and crisp. The suspense is well maintained till the very end making it impossible for one to guess how the story will progress/ end. The way Indian mythological characters have been woven into the story is unique and unexpected.
But there are two things that I felt to be out of place in the story. First the regarding a team of Somali pirates cruising through the Indian waters in Bay of Bengal without being challenged by the Indian defence forces and second the presence of IPKF in Sri Lanka that too after the death of Prabhakaran and extermination of LTTE. We all know that the the IPKF was withdrawn from the island in 1990 well before the death of LTTE leader Prabhakaran.
Language is simple, lucid and engaging. One can visualize the scenes as the story progresses. There are nail- biting moments.
Characterization is brilliant especially that of Slash, Soldier X and Nadar. The character of the Paramacharya is shrouded in mystery till the last few chapters.
A few quotes from the book that I must share
“No God can ever fight your war for you, that is something you have to do for yourself.”
“Times have changed. The Sita of today doesn’t need protecting. What she needs is the belief that she is capable of defeating any obstacle that might come in her path…. Once a woman truly believes in herself, the demons confronting her will slay themselves. ”
And in the end –
Any idea what the Law of Svaha is?
The Law of Svaha is that all that is created must one day be destroyed. That ultimate moment where life, along with every trace of all that once existed is reduced to dust.
May be this explains the mystery of the Indus Valley Civilization, The Mesopotamian Civilization and all those that are now buried deep under layers and layers of dust.
A good read, I give it 4 stars.