Author Lakshmi Praba’s credentials are very impressive. It seems as if there is not a single Tamil magazine for which she hasn’t written. Versatile, she has also written many religious, philosophical essays in addition to short stories and novels.
The author in her preface mentioned that her interest in recent times has been the surrealistic experiences of ‘Siddhars,’ saints of Tamil Nadu. After reading, researching and collecting materials on them she ventured into novels such as ‘Athisayam..Athu Rakasiyam..!’
Siddhars are basically saints but also doctors, alchemists with supernatural powers according to the Tamil legends.
The novel revolves round a devoted young couple, Sathyan and Vanathi, who go in search of answers to some strange happenings in a particular forest region of the Western Ghats. Vanathi is the daughter of Natesan, editor of a magazine that is committed to investigative journalism.
So starting with the sudden death of Natesan in a major train fire, the odyssey of the duo to find out what exactly happened takes them to the mountain regions and weaves in several mystical experiences, events and situations.
When one reads such stories, they have to do it with a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. It is up to the reader to go with the novel and their interest in the subject should make them accept the author’s premises.
The novel also provides enough romance, since the protagonists are young, thrill, because there are several twists and turns, and awe, as there are situations of the paranormal kind.
The pivotal question for the couple is whether Natesan is dead or alive? The answer they get in the end is not really surprising, because there are several clues running through the chapters that make the readers guess the finale. The author could have paid more attention to sustaining the suspense.
Nevertheless, the language and narration of Lakshmi Praba run along popular lines, and will attract avid readers of such genres.