In the time a book is written, if it faithfully shows the face of reality without any adulteration or sugar coating, it is bound to stand the test of time and be read by generations later. Since literary writing is all about reflecting all that happens in the time it is written, it is necessary for it to be faithful in the depiction of life at large. In his novel, “Balan & Dheera: A Tale of Kaliyuga,” Mayank Mahajan takes care of this responsibility and ensures that his book does justice to the maximum factors that influence society and the forces that determine people’s existence. While he builds his novel on a plot that may appear to be a series of murders and the mystery that builds around them, he also weaves the narrative around the spiritual world and blends them. While this makes the book a product of the present time, the research done by the author before penning the book down can not be ignored either.
Mahajan’s “Balan & Dheera” is a powerful piece of literary writing that bears the impressions of both the contemporary and the spiritual world. The author may have begun the story on a minor level with events that seem routine in the present time, but the manner in which he concocts the narrative to a more significant level is what is commendable and praiseworthy. Mahajan constructs the plot of “Balan & Dheera” on events that are disturbing and yet regularly happening these days. Through these events, he also highlights the mundane and lonely existence of human beings owing to various reasons for life busy life, the lack of willingness to face and admit emotions, denying reality, the distant relationships among the closest members one can have, and the self-centric attitude of a person.
At the same time, he also highlights the manner in which the right to speak one’s mind as given by social media can backfire. In a world where people are used to getting every update on their phones and social media becoming a platform for debate, even for a regular person, Mahajan shows the negative effects this is having in people’s lives.
He takes social media to task, and the people who are swayed by all that is posted there due to lack of awareness. Although social media was made to connect people, it also has a negative effect. Mahajan highlights that. How one statement or opinion can change a person’s life is what Mahajan amply exposes in the book. In light of this, the psychological implications of “Balan & Dheera” are profound and thought-provoking. Through this aspect, the social impact of the novel can be easily understood. While, on the one hand, it shows human lives and how much they have changed, it also shows the negative impact it has had on the human mind and how it will affect them in the long term.
Simultaneously, the author also builds up characters who are the products of their circumstances and choices. They are strong and weak and accept their lives the way they are. Through Balan’s character, Mahajan shows a different side of society and face of humanity which shows the results in the adult age of issues not addressed in their childhood. How vital a happy childhood is can be understood easily. Other characters have their share of the stage of “Balan & Dheera” and do justice to showing their fate. They may not be too many in number, but they are enough to define the people they represent.
Mahajan does research before exploring the abstract subject of spirituality. Since spirituality has a direct influence on the narrative of the novel, the author makes sure that it is brought sequentially without confusing the readers. His craft in building the text around this concept is noteworthy. Many readers may not be aware of spirituality or may not have deep knowledge of it. But that does not come in the way of understanding the plot and action. Altogether, the reading experience enriches their understanding and also educates them. The subtitle “A Tale of Kaliyuga” gives enough hint of the novel not being just about the ordinary. The role of forces beyond human understanding is mentioned without any spoiler in the beginning.
The readers who like to read fiction tales that bear powerful impressions of reality and also show it as it is can try reading Mayank Mahajan’s “Balan & Dheera: A Tale of Kaliyuga.” While being the depiction of Kaliyuga in the time of Kaliyuga, the book is likely to be read by future generations for a reference to the present time on both the social and psychological level. In addition to a book based on reality, the readers would also find a plot that unfolds swiftly and keeps the readers engaged throughout the narrative.