Crafting a world, far from the present reality and into the realms of fantasy is indeed a difficult genre to work upon. And then, breathing life into that fantasy world showcases the real calibre of an author. Nihar Bhonsule, introduces us to his fantasy world through his debut novel, The Path of Sukshmaloka. I won’t mind calling his work synonymous to many great works on fantasy; be it the subject matter of good versus evil, the hounding dark forces, and the good ones falling prey to the dark forces and the list goes on. In the world of English Literature, the fantasy lovers are inadvertently drawn towards Avengers series; Captain America or Iron Man, who have supernatural powers to combat with the evils. Or, there are Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series which could draw an impenetrable image for a fantasy world so beautiful that it became a preferred reality for many. The Path to Sukshmaloka will take us very close to our childhood reads of Chandamama series and the famous TV series, Shaktimaan. This book of super-heroism is like a platter of Indian fantasy world.
The book starts in a distant future in Mumbai, where the humankind is shown to be won over by the Rakshashas. The city is battered and every corner is latched with evil forces. The super-hero character, Dust Man is exhausted and feels trapped in an irrevocable loop of fighting the hordes for millions of years now. As a backdrop, the storyline travails back to the era of Mahabharata where Dharmayodhas, the followers of good, have been defeated by the evil creatures of Maleentwama. Like any other fantasy novel, there happens an Akaashvaani where the future prospects are declared. A saviour has been pre-decided to rescue the humankind of the future. The author borrows the essence of Indian Mythology and integrates it with his imagination and unleashes a wonderful tale, tied tightly within a span of two different eras. In the present time, the protagonist is Prithvi Sen, the reincarnated soul who is muddled, for the tiny events of his past/ previous life keeps hovering within. A constant nauseating sense of Déjà vu keeps haunting him until one day he realizes his true being. The story goes to and fro, under various timelines, with a medley of characters and slowly the loose ends get tightened in the process.
The storyline is well scripted and makes a good plot for screen adaptation as well; however there exist a big room for improvement. And the room, I would allot to the editor involved. Lucid language and well scripted flow of storytelling; Nihar Bhonsule can become the silhouette of Anand Neelakantan, provided a good editing hand comes to his rescue. In short, the book is hardly edited. No flaw in linguistic terms; and the credit for that goes entirely to the author. But, editor has repeatedly shirked away from his/her duty. Elaboration of situations, depiction of the scenery at the back and all is acceptable to some extent but prolonged analysis spoils the reading flow. Plot twists, dialogue deliveries are not edited suitably.
It is a fast paced read. Characters are believable and enticing in chorus. The author has tried his best to describe the scenes and proceedings but there again I would say, a good editing could have given this book a far more palatable outlook. If 4 starts are given, it is entirely for the writer for crafting a beautiful tale. Book cover is designed well and gives the feel of a fantasy novel. Overall, if the flawed editing is ignored, this book is a good read for all fantasy lovers who are willing to see a fantasy world through an Indian lens.