Author K. Hari Kumar’s new offering is a chilling mystery
Books with traces of thriller, horror and suspense are undoubtedly the perfect cocktail for a late night reading frenzy. Author K. Hari Kumar’s latest offering, Dakhma, is a remarkable amalgamation of these genres that delights your brain. Despite being categorized as a thriller, the overwhelming element of horror envelops the book, making it a fascinating read.
You meet a young and beautiful couple, Varun and Anahita, from Gurugram. The ambitious Varun quit a comfortable job to begin his journey as a public relations strategist for political parties. His success in Delhi earned him another prominent client in Maharashtra, Dayanand Deshmukh, aka Bhau, of the Nationalist Party of Maharashtra. With the support of his investor, Mr. Desai, Varun moved temporarily to Mumbai with Anahita. As they move into one of Bhau – 7E’s apartments in Paradise Heights in Malabar Hills, we learn about Anahita’s sanity and her dynamic with Varun. In Mumbai, she begins to be disturbed by the specter of a woman. She discovers the previous tenant, Parizaad, mysteriously deceased. The resulting story entangles the lives of the couple and others. Things change forever.
The thrill in the horror-mingled thriller begins quickly. At the start, there are notes of melodrama. But it’s a precursor to the engaging drama about to unfold. Kumar doesn’t lengthen the narrative. The “and then? Factor is intense. Although the storytelling switches between past and present, it doesn’t intrigue you at any point. As history moves at the pace of F1, the compactness of the book is its strong point. As you search for Anahita and things unfold around her, you also see Varun dealing with a client who might be tougher than he imagined. Like an onion, layers of mystery peel away. The past has a unique way of encroaching on the present. The final will be a revelation.
Beyond the usual you are also introduced to the unpretentious, but very successful and rapidly declining Parsi community and an unknown part of their faith. For the uninitiated, Dakhma is the tower of silence located on the hills. In the case of Mumbai, it is surrounded by dense trees near Malabar Hill. This funeral tower is where the Parsis lay their dead according to their customs. Faith is against the desecration of the elements of fire or of the earth. Thus, the dead are left in these towers where scavenging birds like vultures devour the body.
Kumar talks about the threats facing vultures, the environment, and the Parsi community in this sensitive story. We also get a glimpse of how the powerful manipulate lives for their gains. Kumar’s fluid way of telling this compelling story is brilliant. K. Hari Kumar’s Dakhma offers thoughts to contemplate even after enjoying the book. The cold matches the weather at this time of year.
Author: K. Hari Kumar
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Price: Rs 299
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Posted on: Sunday, December 26, 2021, 7:00 a.m. IST