BOOKMARK Girish Kohli's “Marathon Baba” is not about escapism
More of an outburst on God and religion and less of a satire, “Marathon Baba” is a natural reaction to the country's fascination with God and religion. A believer as a kid only because he was being conditioned, first-time author Girish Kohli says, “ People all around me are lost in this mire of God and religion. ‘Marathon Baba' (Fingerprint Publishing India) simply put, was a natural reaction.” The protagonist is inspired by Suryaputra Karna from the Mahabharata, a tragic hero, who lived his life with honour. “Marathon Baba” is a captivating narration of Karna's journey as a runaway. We all run for one reason or the other: expectations, exasperations, love, pain; Karna ran for seven long years until he came by the banks of the holy river Gaathaji where he miraculously turned red.
The author sets you off on a “witty, wacky, weedy” journey of a runaway who stumbles upon a stash of dope which he sells to establish and run Marathon Ashram. Hundreds of people who have run away from their homes descend on Marathon Ashram and millions strive to seek the blessings of the God who ran with an open shoe lace, the God who ran with a smile on his face, the God who said ‘My marathon starts from the finish line', the human raised to the level of God by scores of followers around him and his struggle to regain his human status.
All characters are based on real people the author has been associated with , “Most of them betrayed me and forced me into running away from them. It was natural that they would find a place in the book,” says the author.
All in all “Marathon Baba” is a piece of “kick-ass fiction” that breaks all rules of writing, if there are any in the first place! An imagination unleashed to surprise oneself as well as entertain the reader, the book is a dash of poetry, romance, mystery, thril, slapstick humour, all rolled into one. An original by a debutante, the book is unabashed, quirky, laced with sarcasm and at times words of wisdom — “It's not the pace, it's about the peace.”
Many of us will discover the method to the madness of this 30--year-old Mumbai-based author, who graduated in software engineering and also worked in an IT firm until he quit and joined his father's business, a resort on the outskirts of Mumbai.