Monday Moonings: Requiem by Rakesh Ranjan

Posted February 17, 2013 by Jenna in monday moonings / 0 Comments

 
Monday Moonings is a weekly meme here on my blog featuring new books or authors, but mostly self-published authors. 🙂 

Hi guys! Today’s spotlight is on Rakesh Ranjan’s novel, Requiem. 
Check out the blurbs below! 🙂

Title: Requiem
Author: Rakesh Ranjan
SYNOPSIS
The novel is divided into three parts. The first two parts are two dreams of the narrator and the third part is reality. In the first part, the narrator finds himself dead and he narrates his after-life experiences as seen in the dream. There are references to his family, his life before death, God and a godly man. This part describes what one can go through after death. It has emotions related to separation from family and there is an encounter with a godly man. There are questions the narrator raises to God and they are answered by the holy man. While the first dream relates to death and beyond, the second dream is about love and separation. In the second dream, the author narrates to his friend (Alicia), his love story with his girlfriend (Amy). His friend (Rahul) and friend’s girlfriend (never named because the narrator hates her) form the remaining major characters of this part. The second part is all about love and passion and also details the mistakes the author made. Although not exculpating him of the blame, it shows his helplessness before circumstances. The third part combines the themes of the two dreams. It equates death and love as the two continuous pursuits of man, the former only being an undesired one. It reveals the death of Amy and how it has affected the life of the narrator.
 
The 3 parts of the novel with the respective chapters are as follows:-
. DEATH
1. A bolt from the blue
2. The Revelation
3. The Inquisition
4. Disappointment
 
. LOVE
1. Alicia
2. Amy
3. Fun
4. The Mistake
5. Passion
6. The Punishment
. LIFE
1. Rendezvous
2. Accident and aftermath
 
. DEATH
 
1. A bolt from the blue
The narrator finds that many people have gathered at his ancestral house. When he tries communicating to them, he ends up shocked because no one can realise his presence. He feels helpless and realises that he has died. And people were going to burn his body. He finds his parents and relatives crying but there is nothing he can do to help them. After bouts of helplessness, he decides to submit to fate. But he still wants to know how he had died. He feels cheated when he finds that someone his parents had allowed to stay in their house is happy about his death. He also finds an old friend there and feels sorry that he could not spend enough time with his close friends.
 
2. The Revelation
The narrator happens to see a newspaper on a table. He comes to know from the report that he had died in an accident. He can then recollect his last moments. He was returning from a friend’s party and his car collided with a truck. His body was then brought for the last rites. The part discusses how a dead body becomes inauspicious and is kept outside the house. The narrator finds his dog suffering the pain. He then discusses his fears and realises that the dead could also fear. There is a discussion on how dependent man is on others for so many things. The narrator then reminisces the various pujas that his parents used to organise and speaks of three reasons why he liked them. Then he sees his body being carried for the funeral. He also hears people saying that he must be driving drunk when the accident happened. The accusation hurts him because he had not drunk due to his promise to Mom to never drive under the influence of alcohol.
 
3. The Inquisition
The narrator realises he will have to leave the world when his body is burnt. He bids the world a final goodbye and expectedly experiences a pull when the flame engulfs his body. He then travels through a dark space. He raises three questions to God during his journey- Why this dependence on food?, Why create this lust for flesh?, Why so much pain? He feels God could create a different world where people could energise themselves with sunlight and wind. Similarly, rapes and exploitation could be avoided and he feels everyone would be happy if people did not experience pain. He feels shortage of things caused people problems. Finally, he reaches heaven which he finds to be a very different place. When he is about to enter the gates, an old man appears before him and tells him that he can enter heaven only with a clear mind. The old man says that he will first answer his questions.
 
4. Disappointment
The old man decides to take the narrator on a trip back to the earth. The narrator was disappointed at having his entry into heaven blocked but gets excited with the opportunity to see his family again. The old man then tells him that his family members have died long back and he took hundreds of years to get there. He is disappointed and surprised too, because he had never felt that. With the godly powers of the old man, they however reach the earth in a moment. On earth, the narrator gets hugely disappointed because he finds the world worse after God had changed it according to his wishes. The godly man explains to him why there is a need of pain to make people realise the right way of living. The old man is then ready to allow the narrator into heaven since his questions had been answered. The narrator then reaches heaven and is surprised at the beauty of the place. His eyes open and he can see the roof of his house. His dream is over. He feels good despite the fact that the dream was founded on his death. He spends his day at the office and then reaches home. He then goes into sleep.
 
. LOVE
 
1. Alicia
The narrator finds himself in Paris where he is meeting Alicia. She had been an exchange student at his college. When together in college, they liked each other but the narrator had suddenly started avoiding her. When the narrator kissed Alicia, she co-operated and they kissed passionately. She then withdrew suddenly, asking him to reveal why he had behaved so. The narrator then starts his story. He had started avoiding her because his past love, Amy had called him. Amy was way too important to him and he decided to keep Alicia out of his life.
 
2. Amy
The narrator then starts telling his story with Amy, the girl he loved. He had gradually begun to love her. He once told Amy why he found a woman’s behind the most beautiful part of her body. The narrator discusses his romantic experiences and also his physical experiences with another girl. There is a discussion of his experiences after drinking. The narrator also describes to Amy her body and compares the various parts of her body to different things. That includes references to her privates. For the flattery, Amy rewards the narrator with a first kiss on his lips.
 
3. Fun
In this part, the narrator details his life with Amy. There is a scene described when they sat in a park.  They decided to leave when a couple sitting beside them started getting cosy. The narrator also describes a journey by air. He describes his encounter with an airhostess’s ass. The narrator then describes his journey to a nearby place. Amy, his friend and his friend’s girlfriend accompanied him there. He describes the travel and how he sensed that the other lady nursed thoughts for him. A visit to a temple is then described. Amy’s reverence for other religions despite being a Christian is talked about. There is a scene with a beggar, which shows Amy’s kindness. The narrator also describes how bad he felt when a wave washed away Amy’s name from the sand on the beach.
 
4. The Mistake
This part is about how the narrator fell for the charm of his friend’s girlfriend. His friend had gone abroad on an assignment and he visited her because she was ill. He blames himself for the slip. He describes how they went on to have sex. He narrates how his resistance had turned into acceptance. He later calls that acquiescence. While he first blames the lady for that, he then accepts that the mistake was his. The next day, when Amy comes to see him, the narrator avoids her because of a sense of guilt. Amy leaves when she realises that. They had a fight before she left.
 
5. Passion
After Amy had left, the narrator was feeling guilty for having hurt her. And when Amy sent a message asking him if he wanted her out of his life, he rushed off to her place. Amy had been missing him too. They then had sex for the first time. It is revealed that Amy had sent her friend outside so that she could share private moments with the narrator. When the narrator returns home, he reflects on how lucky he had been and vows that he would never stray again.
 
6. The Punishment
The punishment is more self-inflicted. When he thought that life would now be smooth, the narrator gets a call from his friend. His friend had proposed marriage to his girlfriend who then refused to marry him and told him that she was in love with the narrator. She had also narrated to him their sexual encounter. The narrator felt very guilty for having brought this pain to his close buddy. And he also felt that Amy would come to know about his act. He then decides to punish himself and tells Amy everything. Both of them suffer and Amy decides to separate from the narrator. The narrator tells Alicia how Amy and he somehow remained in touch and when Amy called him to protest his growing fondness for Alicia, he had to obey. The second dream gets over at this point and the narrator feels that he needs to see Alicia in reality.
 
. LIFE
 
1. Rendezvous
The narrator is reflecting on his life after he had two dreams in successive days. He decides to drive to the cemetery. At this point, it’s revealed that Amy has died. The narrator seems to hear her speak. Amy’s words are touching. She asks the narrator to help the old caretaker of the cemetery because his daughter is suffering from cancer. Amy’s words show her pain, her love and her large heart. She asks the narrator to bring Alicia into his life because she also loved him a lot. The narrator then goes looking for the old man. He meets some children and then the poor man’s family and hands him a cheque. He reaches home and decides to leave for Paris to seek Alicia’s hand.
 
2. Accident and aftermath
The chain of events is revealed here. There are references to the two dreams to explain the reality. The narrator had preserved the newspaper which carried the story of the accident which had taken Amy’s life. It was slightly different from what the narrator had seen in his first dream. Love had reunited them and they were going to get engaged. On the narrator’s birthday, there was a party after which they met with the accident. The narrator tactfully got Amy’s death revealed by his innocent niece when people were trying to hide it from him. This part then shows the narrator’s meeting with Amy’s mother. The novel then draws to a close when the narrator discusses how people are always pursuing death and love, willingly or unwillingly and how he still gets those dreams which may not be exactly true but mirror, in some way, the tragedy in his life.

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