Shrayan is an adult fantasy, a quest for that Promised Land that everyone yearns for, like a personal Shangri La. It takes you on a fascinating journey of self-discovery.
Humans, semi-humans, snakes, rats and other strange creatures help in creating a magical atmosphere. A dense, home to all these beings forms the backdrop of the story.
The book starts with Shrayan emerging from Earth, an intriguing creature that eats mud, roots and worms. He is half human and lives in tunnels that he has carved under the forest floor. Red rats invade his peaceful abode forcing him to flee. Once he emerges from the Earth, he finds himself amidst snakes. They remind him of the worms he ate while he lived underground.
When Shrayan listens to music for the first time he is unaware of the relationship of musical notes and graceful movements. This magical moment in the plot serves as a turning point in the story. His dancing skills take him away to a new world.
Life in an ashram where he learns martial arts, and dance exposes him to the wicked world. . Shrayan encounters love in many relationships. . The symbolism of love and philosophy unfolds through dance.
Some characters are named according to the qualities they possess. There is Sapera’s cousin Vishwasghat (one who betrays trust), a snake woman called Trishna (hunger) and Madira (intoxicating).
To write a blend of magic and fantasy infused with realism is not easy. Speculative fiction requires an enticing narrative and Abha Iyengar has succeeded by making it dramatic. It is a fast read and be completed on a weekend.