“Lucifer’s Lungi” by Nitin Sawant

When Nethra, a friend, asked me to review “Lucifer’s Lungi”  I must confess that I was at first both shocked and intrigued by the title. In my mind I associated Lucifer with the morning star and falling from heaven but the connection with the lungi, ( a wrap around kind of garment worn by men in some parts of South India) flummoxed me.  With the “Lungi Dance” tune from Shahrukh Khan’s blockbuster film, “Chennai Express” reverberating in my mind, I took up this 111 page novella by Nitin Sawant, published by Fablery.

Let me first congratulate Nitin Sawant on a well-written story. Considering that there isn’t too much action involved, he managed to hold my attention right through purely by dialogue and descriptions. I liked the plot ( which I shall not share , for obvious reasons) and the way he brought the story to a climax. It’s a simple story written in a chatty, modern-day style about events and people that many young urban professionals will relate with. Sawant brings out many facets of perception as he puts the story together with finesse though they are , understandably, very few characters.

However, not being today’s young urban professional myself  and if anything a traditionalist, I didn’t like a few things about the book. There was nothing at all in the story to suggest that the main character had lived for long in the US. So I found the frequent use of Americanisms such as ” gimme”, ” kinda”, and so on rather jarring. I know “dude” is frequently used by young people in India these days, but do they use it quite as much as done in the book?

I have lived in South India for most of my life so I may be a tad too critical as regards the research for the book. While the story is of a person from North India, largely unfamiliar with the South and it’s traditions, living in Chennai, I felt the editors, if not the writer himself could have paid more attention to some facts. Frequent mention is made of  a God called, “Palayar.” Even a simple Google search tells you that Palayar is a sea port in Tamilnadu. I am inclined to believe you had in mind, “Pilayar” or “Pillayar” which is a common name for Lord Ganesha, especially in Tamilnadu.  As a writer myself who considers meticulous research essential for writing a book, even a fiction novella, I found this inexcusable.

“Lucifer’s Lungi” is a nice story and I would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a light read. I look forward to reading more from Nitin Sawant. He has the potential and I shall look forward to his future writing with some interest.

 

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