“Not all those who wander are lost” – JRR Tolkien.
But what if you did want to get lost? Lost from the mundane life that you feel you are leading. Would a nice wander help you out then? Maybe exploring the unexplored, learning a new language or traveling to the places you might not have visited? If you did it often, would you do it over again?
When the protagonist learns a bit of Tamil and starts to use it at his office, his colleagues do a test run and pack him and his Tamil off on a bus for him to explore a bit of the country. Thus begins his thirst for wandering, and the start to his story. It is his love for the unexplored that makes him decide not to visit the same place again. And one fine weekend, his journey takes him to the small, mostly unheard of village of Palayar.
His visit there brings about a clash between his scientific mind and the more unsubstantiated, belief driven ideals of the village people. What he does out of curiosity ends up violating some moral or religious belief of the priests or the people he meets there. He’s surprised but not totally unhappy at meeting someone who knows English, and has fun with him. Unfortunately for him, even that educated person is someone who strongly believes in what the protagonist feels is a myth. The events come to a boil when the protagonist decides to return home, taking refuge in whatever means of travel a Sunday night can provide him with.
The book starts off quite slowly and builds up to the particular weekend of travel. It’s a bit tedious at the start, but once the fated trip begins, the story takes off and enters a nice enjoyable pace. The tone of narration is casual, at times even too casual.
“It is always easier to hang on to some convenient make-believe truth than to search for an absolute one.”
The protagonist brings a nice memorable line, also comparing himself (at that point trying to argue against the possibility of paranormal entities) and Sarvana (who is adamantly defending what legends he has been taught and brought up with). The argument which is a more known one (science v/s religion) is interesting to read, especially the legend behind Palayar and Luganar, but sometimes feels a bit humorous as well. I liked the thrill of the return trip too, but I wouldn’t say the experience was horrifying to read, and I could guess the ending. The setting being rural Tamil Nadu, the author uses some regional words in the narration. I feel it is apt for the story and makes it feel realistic, but on the flipside, the words may not be understandable to those who don’t know the lingo.
I would recommend this read for a short journey, as it can be finished in a few hours at most. It will entertain, even in its simplicity. Congratulations to the author and the publisher for their debut.
Why should you read it?
Entertaining, simple read written in a casual tone that can keep you engaged, giving you both thrill and laughs.
What you may not like…
The start is tedious and the end somewhat guessable. Those unfamiliar with Tamil may find the regional words out of place.
Title: Lucifer’s Lungi
Author: Nitin Sawant
Price: INR. 120
(3rd June 2014)