Demons in My Mind: When Mind Becomes Your Biggest Enemy, by Aashish Gupta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Human mind is one of the most complex machine ever built. It is more complex than any super computer. Does we rule the mind or the mind rules us? The title gives us the idea.
Dakshesh is an old man who is on the verge of a painful death. He ask his fellows to take him to mysterious three monks. The three monks Rizwan (Muslim), Murli (Hindu) and Joseph (Christian) all have dark past. They start telling him their stories. The first monk, Rizwan is from a poor family who is in debt of local priest. He has his friends Ayeda and mysterious young boy. He end up doing heinous crimes. The second monk, Murli is a celebrity painter who have become so successful in short span of time that he has surpassed his guru. He is inspired by body of women and they are her muse. But success gets to his head and he loses grip of his faculty. The third monk, Joseph is in love with Ira. Ira want to do social service and make this world a better place. When tragedy strikes Joseph loses his control on his mind. How these three find their salvation through a girl named a homeless girl, Alia is the story.
The story raises some pertinent and uncomfortable questions. Are the so called criminals evil or just a victim of their own uncontrolled mind? Why society is able to find a cure for every disease sooner or later, but crime has been a part of our history from the beginning. If punishing sinners are logical, justifiable and most appropriate then why have we not been able to contain crime? Why do we keep producing a generation of sinners whose crimes change form but not nature? Maybe because we don’t know how the mind works. Cannot criminals be treated as people infected by a communicable disease that kills anything the sufferer comes in contact with?
Ira first tried to find her happiness in serving the poor but once her mentor Sadhna dies she is disillusioned. She tried to find answer to these questions. she works in a facility for criminally insane and tries to cure them by love and caring. How much she was successful is not very clear from the book.
Sometimes people cannot handle success and it goes into their mind. This has happened to Murli
“At this very moment, Dakshesh, I would like you to freeze this image in your mind. Do you see the faces of the audience? They are no longer just admirers of my art, they had become devoted servants. I was not the same man. I had become a God – a supreme authority. Or at least, my mind thought so. It would go out of its way to keep this feeling alive even if it had to indulge creative ideas from hell. It would do anything to keep this throne safe. Success had drugged me. I was not aware that my mind was already out of my control.”
The language of book is very good and the author describes some anomalies of our society very succinctly and forcefully. These two passages are the example;
1. The laughing clubs had always amused me, you remember? How desperately people try to keep themselves shielded from the daily chaos. I wondered how someone could fool himself into believing that all was hunky dory even when his life was upside down. But for the first time, I realized the courage this must take. Maybe things did get better when you mustered the resolve to laugh at your own misfortune. I laughed and laughed like a monster in the sky I did not know how? I did not know why? I looked in the mirror, but I could not find, The man behind blood spattered face, and an uncontrolled mind.
2. It is ironic how two utterly different worlds co-exist in these cities, yet both choose to remain ignorant of the other’s presence. When a person, marked by unwarranted opulence, from the other world throws away the wasted food in a bin, a kid from our world savours it to kill days of stomach pain. When the roads of that world are packed with gleaming cars honking their way out, a parallel world on the pavements is asleep in the heat of a fire built of twigs, plastics and anything which the others dump on our side. At every corner, one can find a confluence of the two streams, yet both remain divided by two things - our fate, and their hollow character.
The book raises questions which are being asked in criminal jurisprudence and psychological circles from long. What of the most heinous and hardened criminals are not perpetrators of crime, but they are themselves victim of their own sick mind. When the mind is sick a person loses grip on reality and rationality and does some barbaric acts. So even the psychopathic killers, rapists, pedophiles, incestophiles etc are not criminals but just sick. There is no clear cut answer for these questions in medical science and psychology. This book too fails miserably to answer these questions.
The book is good till upto 70% but then it loses plot. Later on it reminded me of movie series Saw and other horror movies. The end leave you dissatisfied and with many unanswered questioned. I felt enervated and confused by the end.
Still the book has some new insights and barring the last portions, worth the read.
Recommendation and rating:
I would recommend it to those who like to read dark psychological thrillers whit grisly details. It is not for faint hearted and those who are looking for some light time pass. I give the book a 3/ 5 stars.
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