Brahmahatya by Rajiv Mittal is a tale of human emotions and humanity. The protagonist Ravi Narasimhan is grieving the death of his 65 yo father, and this story follows him on his journey after being left all alone in this world.
The day Ravi had been secretly waiting for, knowing that it will come yet did not want it to come, has finally arrived. With that fateful phone call from India and his simultaneous firing from the job, he had no desire and ambition left in him. Until, he received a courier that day – the acceptance letter from the retirement home, GMR, for his now-dead father. It is then that he considers it as fate, and leaves Dubai, to take admission into the home impersonating his father. His motive? To avenge his father’s murderer, the ever so haughty Dr. Chari, who had initially refused his father’s admission on medical and punctuality grounds, when Ravi had brought him a month or so earlier to GMR. By doing so, Dr. Chari had unknowingly fast-tracked the old man’s impending death, and his son couldn’t forget and forgive.
Bhavna has just returned from her vacations with her daughter Laxmi (suffering from cerebral palsy), and the first thing she wants is to meet her Naru sir, whom she had helped to get into GMR. What she doesn’t know is that a rude shock awaits her in the unit no. 1 that has been assigned to him.
Why did Bhavna help the Narasimhan’s? Why didn’t she report when she found out the truth? Would Ravi actually put his plannings into working? Will he ever be at rest? Will the one whom he considers a murderer be punished? Who will do it and how will it be done?
Narrated in the third person, the use of language is simple with the use of heavy vocab at places. While my personal favorite is the third person, I think for this particular book, it would have been the best in the first person, with Ravi or maybe Bhavna as the speaker. Since the story is based in south India, the dialogues of the characters were sometimes more of the accent and dialect they would have used while speaking in English. There were places where the dialogue and the description merged suddenly and seamlessly and a lot of back and forth between the recent past and present, and sometimes the words I read were from an imagined future, which initially felt weird, but I got the hang of it after being into the story for some time. I found an undercurrent of humor during the course of the story, at some places which were actually supposed to be serious and full of negative emotions (when Ravi had to leave for Dubai amidst his father’s ill health and nonacceptance of him by GMR, the dog scene, when it was removed, and the angst of Ravi). Might be that it was the protagonist’s bad luck (or good luck), which made the scenes a little lighter than they were meant to be. There is the use of Hindu scriptures and epics, the shlokas, and the Vedas and the instances from The Mahabharata, not to form a plot around it, but to give an explanation and compare to what and why the characters were doing what they were doing. The Samudra Manthan, Raja Harishchandra, The Bhadra Kali, The Gayatri Mantra, all had their presence shown.
Deploying human emotions at their vulnerable best, especially grief, anger, hate, revenge, and ultimately peace, this book lays it all, bare and raw. The characters are beautifully built, Ravi, Bhavna, a little of Pishacha no. 3, Sridhar, Reddy, Mr. Kasturi, and Dr. Chari, all are spoken of, and I got to know all of them, even though some of them seldom visited. Only Ravi and Bhavna had their emotions shown during the course of the book, which is a wise choice considering the number of supporting characters (had their emotions been shown too, it would have been a mess).
Another aspect which forms the foundation of the story is the treatment of the aged nowadays – neglected by their own family and living in retirement/old age homes. With no family around to look after them, care for them or even acknowledge them, they have all fallen into a habit, an everyday ritual which has become their life now.
A highly suggested read, delve into this ocean of the worst of human emotions, and retrospect.