Archive for September 19th, 2012

Title : The Krishna Key
Author : Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher : Westland
Cost : 250/-

A Killer on the loose.
An unsuspecting historian and symbologist accused of murdering his best friend.
A smart, no-nonsense lady-cop. An equally smart student of the symbologist.
Lots of twists and dollops of history.
Who knew Indian history could presented in such a captivating and interesting manner?! Not me, for sure 😐 (History were the periods where we fought with each other for the last benches in the classroom ;)).
The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi is a curious amalgamation of the present and the past. Of history and mythology. Of views and perceptions. The tale of Krishna runs in parallel to the current proceedings and at each turn, we see how much the past effects what happens today. Though the book carries a disclaimer that the views expressed in the book are solely the author’s, you are compelled to believe in each word that you read. How powerful is that?!
Indian history has its fair share of mysteries. We’ve had invaders running amok on this land since time immemorial (I doubt any other country in this world has been sought as much!).
With the kind of cultural influences converging on this landscape, it is but natural that one loses track of the secrets passed down from generations before. Ashwin takes the efforts to study the fragments of available material and then fills in the gaps. It is these filled in gaps which provide the maximum food for thought. Right from the early pages where the nuclear reactor at BARC is compared to a Shivling to the pages in the end where the mystery of the Taj Mahal is explored, we are fed varied tidbits of information which are right before us, but we never had the right perspective to understand them. It is amazing to see the kind of research that must have gone in the effort to write this book. Commendable 🙂 .
The only false note (in my opinion) would be with the plot line. Borrowing heavily from The Da Vinci Codes to The Lost Symbol, it almost feels as if we are reading a desi Dan Brown (nothing wrong with that , really). We have a mysterious killer who is led along by a secret hand (Da Vinci Code). We have a antagonist who believes he is on the path of God but is actually quite in the opposite direction (The Lost Symbol). Combine it all with a protagonist who is a professor of Indian history and symbology to boot and one can’t help but wonder if the book was just translated from one of Dan Brown’s.
Ashwin Sanghi lays to rest all these doubts as he slowly and surely builds up a book and a narration which is truly Indian at heart (with an international audience in mind. No wonder a cop reads out the rights from an Amendment of the law before performing an arrest. I’m yet to see/hear of a single cop actually doing that in India  ).
But these are minor quibbles in an otherwise terrific book. In fact, I’m rather proud that we have authors in India who can compete with the best in the Western world—in their language  (Check if Dan B can write a thriller in Hindi !! )
Do pick up a copy of The Krishna Key. The book is well paced and never once did I feel bored. Rather, it was tough to put down between reads. I believe this is the third of his books (the earlier two being “The Rozabel Line” and “Chanakya’s Chant”) . I think I’m going after the earlier two books now. They must be damn good too 

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