My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Bhang Milkha Bhang and the tagline in the title gives one a fair understanding of the main plot of the book. Yes, cannabis! Chirasthayi Bhang is the rarest of the rare species of the plant that has been hidden for centuries by sadhus and protected. But when rumors abound of its presence in Mumbai, there are many who would do anything to get their hands on this magical plant which can even reverse the process of death.
Tejaswi Priyadarshi brings the menace of the dark web and its tendrils into the life of 5 protagonists whose lives intersect spectacularly with gunfire, murder, and mayhem. The author has a unique style of writing and this was evident in the first book too. His storytelling grabs one’s throat, there are parts which are definitely nauseating to read with the description of the gruesome cruelty but again one is compelled to read and be immersed into the story even with that kind of subject matter and for that itself, this book deserves 5 stars. Bhang Milkha Bhang is utterly intense, each scene in the book giving the reader a picture of heightened emotions, be it the wild sex or the macabre killing, and just like his first book, the author made me take deep breaths and skip a few sentences to read thru.
The story meanders via different places and different cultures thru each character thereby giving the reader myriad hues of color. It also brings forth the difficult subjects of race, caste, domestic abuse, and of course the rampant drug usage forefront into the reader’s mind. I loved how the author addresses the problems of the LGBT community and the pathetic thought prevalent in the Indian society that it is a disease and therefore somehow curable. Nandika the female character in the story evokes pain but, once again, am impressed with the author’s portrayal of the darkness that hides inside the heart.
Fair warning to readers who are queasy about drugs, blood, and gore. In fact, that is probably the one thing that I would have loved the author to tone down a bit, the usage of drugs is so forceful inside the story that most parts of it feel shrouded in a haze of drugs.
Bhang Milkha Bhang, with its peculiar title to the quirky chapter headings, is a gut-wrenching tale of family love, insecurities, greed, wants, and desires that will make the reader squirm in their seats but is totally worth it.
I am going with the entire 5 stars for the nerve-racking experience that the author put me thru!
Many thanks to the author Tejaswi Priyadarshi for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
“HELLRAISER meets SNATCH”
**WINNER – HWA DIVERSITY GRANT**
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay (Author and Translator): “Very gritty and grunge. Does not pull punches. Phantom stuff!”
Anukriti Pandey (Screenwriter): “Read Bhang Milkha Bhang for a ride through space and time and the narrow, eerie, lanes of the human mind.”
*A millennial trying to break the shackles of caste and sexual orientation*
*An anxiety-ridden NCB officer advocating CBD and spirituality*
*An ambitious woman entangled in an abusive marriage*
*A balding educational consultant playing assassin by the night*
*An eccentric narco looking for his deal of a lifetime*
What brings them together?
Chirasthayi Bhang – an unknown species of cannabis which has historically been protected by a lineage of monks has suddenly appeared in Mumbai’s drug underbelly. Rumor has it that it reverses biological processes – and almost everyone wants it.
What follows is a high-stakes tussle between a group of highly peculiar but dangerous individuals for the mythical treasure, where each is prepared to put a lot up for gamble to obtain that which was previously considered unobtainable. Before long, things start getting messy – messier than anyone could possibly imagine.
To what extent would one go to get something that was already lost forever?
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