Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tantra - Art of Ancient Magic Revived

As I held the book Tantra – by Adi in my hands, the cover photo reminded me of the Hollywood movie Van Helsing. Wonder of wonder, before I finished reading 3 pages, I realized the feeling was not vague as the book is about vampire hunters or guardians as they are called in the book. I don't  read reviews of the books I plan to enjoy, so I dived into its pages quite naïve as to what awaited me there.  The flow of the words made it an easy read, also though I wouldn't rate this as a classic must read book, it is good entertainment for a free evening read. The fast paced, gripping tale, created a fantasy land in the heart of Delhi, thrilling me through its action packed pages.

The heroine of the book is leather clad Anu Agarwal from NYC, who lands in Delhi, with serious business to deal with the vampires. She soon has to change into our own beloved Salwar suits. Is she inspired by Buffy – the vampire slayer? Trained to be a guardian, she gets into shifts which dramatically increase her mental and physical strength, as well as her senses.  She can heal herself, has great endurance, and is quick, agile with great intuition. Everything is so much similar to Buffy but do not make any conclusions, as the story and the heroine do not imitate anyone.
What makes our Indian heroine stand out from all the other vampire hunters is that like any other girl who doesn’t hunt vampires, she gets poked about her marriage by her aunt. She has escaped the clutches of her parents saying she is Lesbian.. Hmmmm.  She is created to be stronger than her male counterparts and expert in her field, who fearlessly roams the roads (at times roofs) of Delhi seeking vengeance for her lover who was killed.  Somebody tell me this happened before the Nirbhaya incident, if not I will have difficulty believing the story.  What I loved about the character is that she is a person with normal sensual desires and dreams. I love the way she responds to situations like any like true woman would do. There are demons outside roaming the streets and then there are demons inside her, both of which she needs to slay to save the world.
Tantra has everything sewn into its fictional plot; the vampire stories of west, magical quests, greed for super power, Guru’s with extreme dangerous knowledge enough to destroy the world, deaths, murders, kidnapping and sacrifices of small children and great deal of Indian mythological powers too. The vampires like count Dracula are nothing when compared to the ancient dark magic, extracted from dept of hell, with immense power which could be dangerous if used by a wrong person. Tantra is not just about silver bullets, stakes and garlic, bust more about the power of mind which can exceed power of any weapon invented by man. Adi has a done a good job of exploring the now forgotten power of the mind which was so extensively used by Indian Rishis in the past. 
The characters have been sketched well and some of them like Amit, easily win your heart at the beginning, though some like Dr. Sharma waits till the end. Chandra is a mysterious character who is supposed to be a villain, but somehow you start to adore him too. Aunty and Smiti are the characters that make the story appear light, while giving it a funny edge. The dialogues are witty and catchy, though some of the mystical things they talk about are difficult to understand for a reader who has not read about them earlier. I continued reading, with hope that everything will be explained in the end, but some mysterious were left unexplained.
I call Tanta a fast paced, catchy, thriller which anyone can enjoy reading if they do not give too serious thoughts to the happening and do not ask too many questions. It gives an Indian twist to the westernized vampire stories, bringing in the dark magic, Tantra, ang- astra, philosophies, mystic powers, and lot of supernatural happening related to Indian mythologies. If you can enjoy Van Helsing, Dracula and Twilight, you sure can enjoy Tantra.
Book      :    Tantra
Author    :    Adi
Pages      :    335
Chapters :    29
Price       :    195  

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Tantra by Adi

Author Profile

Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under the covers, pretending to be asleep. While it would certainly affect his academic life the next day, he did go on to get degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University, so it was not all that bad.
Somewhere along the line, a poetry book and a minor textbook were published. He wishes he could withdraw all copies of said poetry book from the market. At the time, it was poignant, but now it is just embarrassing.
He’s always given more credit for his successes in life to those late-night reading habits of years ago than to the high-school academics he trudged through, and he yearned to write one of those books himself.

Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he could not help but pick this topic for his first novel.


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