Maadan Chami: Stories from the Purgatory
I am sure, every one of you must be as depressed as me during these Covid times. Along with the personal losses, pains and infections, the inundating negative news is also giving us sleepless nights. We are in our best fight to stay sane.
A good read, especially a good fiction, will definitely be a good vaccine to beat our mental stress.
And I promise you, the book ‘Maadan Cham: The Stories from the Purgatory’, by Joseph Alexander could be a big relief to forget about the miseries around us for a while.
At least, I felt immensely relieved for more than one reasons while reading it. It can be a much-desired break from the corona scare – a true flight to fantasy. It is out and out a pure fantasy thriller, opening a new world to us and giving us a few pointers to think about the uncertainties of life and how we can make it simple and happier.
God created Adam and Eve as the first man and woman. Eve, caused a fight among the angels and God expelled Lucifer and Joel, the two leading angels, from the heaven for the revolt against Archangel Michael, the commander-in-chief of angels. Lucifer ends up as the ruler of the Hell while Joel, who repents for his actions, becomes the head of Purgatory.
Good people go to heaven while bad people end up in the hell. People with minor sins/having less serious track record and also those who don’t get a peaceful death end up in the Purgatory for purification of the soul. Select Maadans (the male inhabitants) and Maruthas (female inhabitants) get 13-day permission like the parole to visit the world again and revenge on their enemies.
Ponnuchami, a native of Tamil Nadu, started his dream startup –Tok2Go– along with his best friends – Pinki and Ashish – after their engineering course in Bangalore. But, Ashish who gets greedy, plots to eliminate Ponnuchami who was killed in a planned accident by a hired killer.
Chami also lands in the Purgatory. Maadan Chami was lucky to get the 13-day visit to the world where he tries to take revenge on Ashish and offload the burden on his soul. Will he be successful? How is he planning it?
It is all about actions from October 25 –November 15, 2019, which covers the preparation for the second visit (Salvation retreat, Halloween day visit, All Saints Day, All Souls Day) and Chami’s adventures in the world.
As the author claims, it could be perhaps the first fiction about the Purgatory or Patala. The very origin and nature of Purgatory is still a mystery, beyond the explanations given by the Bible or the Hindu teachings and traditional beliefs.
So, the plot itself is unique and refreshing. More importantly, the novel presents a very different narrative about Purgatory, which some religions describe as fiery and horrible. In this novel, Purgatory, bereft of fire and persecution, is just another world through which the souls have to pass through and gain the salvation. Even the very looks of the Souls in the Purgatory are different from all what we heard and read about. In the first place itself, the author needs to be applauded for taking the fire elements out of Purgatory and not further terrorising us.
Connecting the Known and the Unknown
The novel travels through the multiple worlds of reality and fantasy. Interspersed with rich philosophical thoughts drawn from Christianity and Hinduism, the novel tries to bridge between the known and the unknown. It is very interesting to read, if you cannot believe so, that there is a different meaning to all what we see now during our journey in the world. For example, we see rich and expensive funerals/cremations with all friends and foes turning in, competing each other and praising the dead. We see it in our everyday life how people admire the dead and weep uncontrollably in front of the coffin, even if they never cared for a second when he was alive.
The novel tries to tell us that even peaceful death is one of the pre-requisites to go to heaven and the souls can remain in the world for 24 hours after departing the body. Soul sees what happens and how people react to his mortal death. There is also some sense to the practice of bringing Ganga water and giving it to the dying people. It makes sense to give the best clothes to the people during the funerals.
Likewise, we never imagined that Halloween Day is not just a celebration of fun but it is an occasion for all souls in the Purgatory to come and visit their dear ones. We see the paraphernalia of ghosts and Halloween parties, trick or trade games etc. But after reading the novel, I seriously endorse the explanation that it is all just a pretext for the souls to come to the world without being noticed. So, there is also a different explanation for the All Saints Day, All Souls Day, the number 13 etc. At least next time when we see these occasions, we will remember about Maadans and Maruthas.
Meaning of Life
What is more important, at least during this pandemic time, is how the novel is trying to establish the meaninglessness of human greed and tell us what is the purpose life. It gives us some serious points to ponder over the uncertainty of life and foolish ways of men in chasing the money and indulging in all criminal activities and how they cheat each other for the sake of money. While reading the book, I also seriously thought if some people listened to the advises from others or learn from the plight of others. Covid has shown us how feeble the life is, whether we are billionaires or the powerful. It was tragic to see how the mighty and the rich too waited outside the hospitals in Delhi to get oxygen and perished.
The money they piled up, the connections they built or the muscle power they gained did not help them. The novel is a strong reminder of this stark truth. Corona left the world so helpless, gasping for breath, despite all our science, technology and knowledge. This book will further endorse this truth.
Simple and Readable
Unlike many other heavy-loaded fictions, this is very simple and highly readable with a very smooth flow, except for some typos and at times too much philosophical doses. I am sure, even the young and the amateur readers can finish it without referring to the dictionaries. Overall, it is very catchy and gripping as there are suspense, thriller elements, fantasy world, romantic moments, fun and valid lessons of life.
I could finish it in one go. I am sure, you will also feel it the same way. It will surely give you a much-needed break from the inundating thoughts of corona.