If you are contemplating as to what your next read this winter season should be, we have gotten the perfect choice for you! Read on to know about the recently released book which we have informed you about last month.
Title: The Tonic
Author: Mayur S Sarfare
Publisher: Leadstart Inkstate
First Publication: 2020
Major Characters: Reymarg D’souza, Masher P., Raem,
Setting Place: Mumbai, India
Theme: Religion, Atheism, Drugs and Alcohol, Disability, psychological deficiency
Narration: Third Person/ Omniscient Narrative
Blurb: The Tonic
Set in the year 1992, The Tonic is an emotionally wrenching tale of an unlikely friendship between Masher and Raem, two young outcasts with psychological deficiencies. We see through their eyes what the riots do to them and the people of Bombay, which mysteriously connects decades later to the life of a media tycoon cum atheist, who has genocidal plans for the religious!
Book Review: The Tonic
The book opens in 1992 Bombay introducing one of the protagonists – Masher and then moves onto the present-day i.e, 2017 CBI Headquarters of Bombay, introducing the vicious media tycoon Reymarg being interrogated by the officers. The following chapter gives a glimpse inside the life of Masher and the difficulties he faces due to his stammer. Chapter 3 goes on to introduce us to the other protagonists Raem Andrew, his failing domestic life and the effect of physical deformity, and how it affects him and unravels the whirling world around him.
‘The Tonic’ used as a magical fantasy motif, fills their life with unrealistic changes and whizzes their world over. The Book employs the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the communal riots of Bombay-1992 and the riotous frenzy that followed to develop the complex psychological trauma it had on the characters and led them to do what they did. Thus, providing a perfect antithesis to the theism of religion and its enigma.
The development of the books grows on you; you can actually feel the way characters grow unto you. That’s a relatable aspect, for me, the words exchanged between Raem & Masher about being a ‘ghost’, “like a spirit, I am too falsely searching for a different life, for a better life, of not fitting in, observing the world from a distance,” resonated with me the most. The light and bond of friendship between them that grows from there on, becomes remarkable till the very last pages of the book.
Also, the communally incited frenzy it talks about, being bloodthirsty for the sake of other person’s religion is the thing which was most relatable to me in these contemporary times. Although it talks about the 1992 Bombay riots and the mosque demolition, the undercurrents of today were mostly visible. The hypocrisy of some of the characters portraying themselves under the garb of religiousness was on point!
The only loophole, I believe, is of the identity and resemblance between the protagonist and the media tycoon. Also, the language is elite and filled with intellectual diversity, certainly not a light read.
The Apparent personal touch by the author which I identified was that being from a media background; he characterized his protagonist from the media business, Reymarg being the print media owner, and also, another character such as that of Avantika from the journalistic field, depicted some of the hurdles of being an investigative journalist.
It is a complete story and doesn’t leave the readers in betwixt. It certainly takes hints from the symbolization of Dan Brown’s works. For me, the ending of the story was apt for a genre like this, and the book certainly leaves you pondering about right and wrong.
Overall, The Tonic by debut novelist Mayur Sarafre is a must-read as it’s a fresh take on the subjects of atheism, physical deformities and takes us inside the minds of the ones with psychological deficiencies. With its depiction of religious fanaticism & bigotry, it presents atheism as a counternarrative, which isn’t often found in Indian Literature.
“Love is not for the sane minded,
For it resides in the heart of insanity,
Where meaning loses to madness…
Love is true only when it is unbound by its eventual fate.”
Verses like these and the tragedy that follows make this book an intriguing read, laced with choicest adjectives and imaginative yet relatable characters, and hence we would definitely recommend you to read it at least once.
You can order your copy of ‘The Tonic’ on amazon. in