Let me be honest. Call me biased but usually I don’t prefer fiction books less than 150 pages. I do know that lengthy pages don’t really mean great books but I love my stories to linger a little longer. Lucifer’s Lungi by Nitin Sawant is a small book, all of 111 pages but I happily took the task of reviewing it for one reason – Fablery, the publication that put out the book and started by a dear blogging friend, Nethra Anjanappa who calls me ‘Head master’ (I seriously have a doubt it is more aimed at my bald look!)
Let’s get back to the Lucifer’s Lungi
dance. The title and the cover design influences me (and I guess for most of you too) in impulsively picking a book and this book manages to stir the interest on the first look.
Lucifer’s Lungi in short is a travelogue blog post that has been made into a novella. Is it good or bad? It depends on the kind of reader you are. I have read tons of blog posts from hundreds of bloggers and for me reading Lucifer’s lungi got me into a feeling of reading a lengthy blog post in a printed format. Let’s just say, it was like a snack for a lazy evening when you got nothing else to do. The story is extremely simple and reminded me of my childhood days in my small town when I heard stories of ishta deivams and spirits and freewheeling different versions of a same incident.
The story is a Madras express when Chennai still had the ‘mad’ness in its name and set in 90’s, the protagonist, a non-Tamilian software something stuck in the southern city decides to get a fresh whiff of air into his non-happening routine life. So every weekend, he hops on to a bus and sets to various surrounding destinations for a short trip. That one weekend told in the 111 pages story is not to be like his regular journey, as the bus he hopped took him to a remote village where he meets some loving people with a strong belief in paranormal activities and how his belief is put to test in a comical string of events.
Being a Tamilian, I chuckle when Tamil culture and language is used stereotypically and hilariously in Bollywood movies (with Chennai express the heights of idiocy) and even in some Indian novels. So with Lucifer’s Lungi set in a rural village in Tamil nadu, I could not but point out few glaring mistakes. I am sure in 90’s and even’ now you don’t get ‘Khaari’ and ‘Toast’ in a rural Kaapi kadai (hotel) of Tamil nadu. And again we have numerous village deities like Ayyanar, Sudalai maadan, Karupannar Swamy but Palayar and Luganaar sounds an alien God! It might not matter for non-Tamilian readers but it does strike me.
At the core of the Lucifer’s Lungi is a clash in thought process of the protagonist and his new-found friend in the trip Saravana, the grandson of the village temple high priest.. Nitin tries earnestly to bring out an entertaining fare and he succeeds partly with a predictable, wafer-thin plot.
So to wear the Lucifer’s lungi or not? If you are looking out for a casual, light read to finish in one go in couple of hours, this novella might interest you. Especially, if you are a type who love reading blog stories, you might in all probability like Nitin Sawant’s debut book.