Monday, September 09, 2013

The Disappearance Of Tejas Sharma - Review

The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings is an anthology of a dozen ghost stories set in India, meant for an audience with a penchant for the supernatural. The steps spiraled down into the pitch darkness of the well's gaping mouth. He could see the reflection of the moon as his iris adjusted to the dim milky illumination inside. Step by step, he climbed down the well holding on to its lichen-laden, cold stone wall with his hands. He was only halfway down when he heard the sound he had dreaded the most-of ripples on water. Something meant to come out of the water. Slowly, very slowly, a figure in the shape of a woman emerged from the water...

About the Author
Manish mostly writes fiction and this is his first book. His preferred genre is supernatural and horror. His other interests include travelling, wildlife and quizzing. He currently lives in Mumbai with wife Pratima and son Viaan.

It isn't easy to write a horror story. You don’t just need a good plot, you have to create the scenes also; and that too not just in your mind, but in the minds of your readers as well. The words must create an aura of mystery, and should take the readers across into a world they fear, yet are addicted to. Yes, we all love horror stories, and a good scary piece can always be an addictive read. It’s another matter that we might prefer to sleep at night with the lights switched on after reading the stories.

And it is this incredibly exciting genre that Manish Mahajan attempts in his anthology ‘The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings.’ Well, do I need to keep the lights turned on tonight? Read on…

First thing first, and let’s begin with the cover.  The design by CinnamonTeal Publishing is absolutely perfect, and fits right in sync with the theme of the anthology. It manages to create an eerie ambiance even before you start reading the first story, and stays rooted in that subconscious mind of yours. God, please don’t let this cover come into my dreams tonight. Nightmares of this sort can be scary.

The book comprises of twelve short stories, and is a quick read. However, to feel the weight of the scenic words, I recommend slow reading. Get intimate with the images carved in each page, focus your thoughts towards it, and you can feel your heartbeats increasing.

Though the book promises to be a horror fest, not all stories are scary. However, the author scores high with the uniqueness of the plot. Each tale has a different style of its own, and you will find various diverse elements in each of the stories. None of the stories are similar, and that’s a real achievement by the writer, considering the fact that we normally relate horror stories with ghosts and witches, thus narrowing the scope of finding unique subjects for every story.

If we consider this book as an anthology of paranormal tales, that would be apt, rather than defining it in the narrow genre of horror. Some stories really stand out, my favorites being ‘Her Unkept Promise’, ‘The Greatest Dare Of All Time’, ‘The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma’ and ‘The Secret In The Photograph.’ Again, these might not be too scary but impressed me a lot with their exceptional supernatural plots. In fact, the twists brought out in almost all the stories were unimaginably good, and all credit for that goes to Manish.

Before I conclude the review, I would like to admit that I loved the author’s diction. It’s always heartening to read an Indian writer who can express in such polished language. Perhaps, that’s what makes me wait for his next book now.

Should you buy this? Definitely, but do expect it to be a paranormal collection rather than a scary horror journey. However, whatever your expectations, there is no way you can keep this book aside. The magic of the plots, and Manish Mahajan’s brilliant storytelling style will keep you glued right till the end.

Title: The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings
Author: Manish Mahajan
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
No. of Pages: 84
Price: ₹ 250
My Rating: 4/5