Friday, February 5, 2016

The horror! The horror!

The novel, Black Hole, continues.

For those who came in late, the story so far:  Kailash Public School in Delhi is donated to Devlok Ashram by Sitaram Rana.  The Ashram was founded by Kailash Baba. Aaron Matthews from London was the most beloved disciple. Amarjeet and Mahendra contributed to the material welfare of the ashram.  Jane Abercrombie, a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany, is disillusioned with Amarjeet who taught her the Non-Being of Kamasutra and gave her a son, Nitin, in the process. Mahendra discovers that he has a son back there in Kurukshetra and gets a new purpose for his existence. Rachel, Aaron's wife visits him in Delhi having obtained a free journey in the company of the Mountbattens who came to give Independence to India.  Rachel returns to England realising that she has lost Aaron to Indian spirituality.  Mohandas Gandhi's assassination eclipses the murder of Aaron by Amarjeet and Mahendra who have their own ambitions to which Aaron was a perceived hindrance.

Ishan Salman Panicker is an English teacher at Kailash Public School.  When Sitaram Rana, Mahendra's son, hands over the school to the newly founded Kailash Educational and Environmental Trust, Ishan's spirituality is stirred.  He begins to write a gospel.  

Read on:

Amarjeet anointed himself the Baba.  A Baba whose face was never marked by any agony.  Mahendra was content to be the Manager of the Baba with no agonies.

Devotees continued to flock to Devlok where, under the pontificate of Amarjeet Baba, spiritual blessings were made available more easily.  Those who could pay more were blessed more.

Amarjeet was quick to learn that people preferred to pay for spiritual blessings rather than go through the rigours and hardships of spiritual quests.  He took spiritual blessings to such people in places far away from Delhi.  He established branches of Devlok wherever devotees were ready to exchange land for spiritual blessings.  Maninagar in Ahmedabad was the tenth branch that Amarjeet Baba was going to open, thanks to new spiritual orientation that the moneylender Pyarelal Manilal’s soul had taken.  Ten branches in twenty years.  The going was good, Amarjeet Baba said to himself as he was getting ready to go to Ahmedabad.
Amarjeet Baba had become a successful godman who attracted powerful politicians and newspaper headlines.  His ashrams were the meeting places of the influential and the powerful.  Influence attracts influence.  Power attracts power.  Spirituality is the best agglutinating force.

Maninagar was to be another milestone in the march of agglutination.  But the place had left the Baba enervated.

That day’s newspapers carried reports about Amarjeet Baba’s health.  Reports about thousands of people chanting mantras for the Baba’s wellbeing.  Lying in bed and groaning in tune with the pain that shifted mysteriously from one part of his body to another, he picked up one of the newspapers.  Congress Splits, said the main headline.
“The meek may one day inherit the earth, but not the headlines.”  Indira Gandhi had said to one of her loyal friends who reported it to the Baba.  She split the Congress into her Congress and others’ Congress.  She was the Queen of her Congress.  With no Kings above her.  To be above everybody else: that was the only way of being that she knew.
To be above everybody else.

The horror!  The horror!

The ghost of Conrad’s Kurtz appeared to Amarjeet with the gift of a fever in addition to the mysteriously shifting pain in his body.

With each passing day, the Baba became more feverish.  His body did not respond to the medicines prescribed by the best physicians among his devotees.  The singing and chanting of thousands of devotees who gathered in Devlok every day seemed to have no effect.
Finally, Amarjeet Baba accepted the inevitable end.

“The horror!  The horror!”

Nitin Jain heard the last words uttered by his father.  But he did not quote those words to his mother when he wrote in response to her letter from Israel where she had taken refuge from the haunting sound of breaking glasses soon after Amarjeet anointed himself the Baba.

“He enquired after you in his last moments.”  Nitin wrote to his mother.

“I know him better than you, son.”  Jane smiled to herself when she read her son’s letter.  Her quest for Non-Being had broken up into fragments without any sound of breaking glasses and merged into the desert sands of Israel, the Promised Land.   Hitler’s addition of Sara to her name also melted away.   She was once again Jane Abercrombie in a country which would not stigmatise her passport anymore.  Her heart rose to Yahweh in gratitude.

The state of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions...

Jane read the Declaration of Israel’s Independence again and again to reassure herself that she lived in the land that was promised to her by Yahweh from time immemorial to her forefathers, the land which wouldn’t give her nights of broken glasses any more. 

At Devlok, her son, who had chosen to stay back in his fatherland, was inheriting another legacy, a wealthy legacy, a powerful legacy, albeit a dark one. 

Here ends Chapter 3


Chapter 1: The Original Sin

Chapter 2: A Gospel

2.2 Dkhar
     2.4 Cry from Calvary
     2.5 The Lost Sheep
     2.8 The Y Chromosome
     Chapter 3: Heart of Darkness
     3.1 Heart of Darkness
     3.4 Longings

Chapter 4 will pursue the story of Ishan Salman Panicker which was introduced in Chapter 2.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. Hope the novel will continue to sustain your interest.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Rakhi. Great to get compliments from another novelist.

  3. It's going awesome! You should think about getting it published, sir!

    1. Let the time come. Even books have their horoscopes (or horrorscopes). :)

  4. Quick turn of events for the baba sans agony.

    1. There is really no chronological order in this novel. Any character may appear at any time.

      Actually I'm driven by the theme more than the characters.


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