A fantastic tonic
Being brutally honest about life’s hard truths comes at a price: it gets people to think for the best and unleashes unhealed bits for the worst. It’s probably in the same vein that Mumbai-based author Mayur Sarfare wrote The Tonic, an emotionally heartbreaking story that alternates between two seemingly disconnected stories separated by decades.
In the context of the 1992 riots in Mumbai, the story traces the dreams of two marginalized young people suffering from psychological disabilities, who blossom with the arrival of a magical tonic, but who have become disfigured over time.
“To be very frank, I wanted to write a compelling story that would emotionally inspire readers and make them think, and in my opinion this could only happen through the painful truths of life told through lies,” begins Mayur, further adding how atheism (something that has remained largely unexplored in Indian writings) was also something that brought powerful context to the story. “The main plot idea was based on a feeling of unhindered ecstasy I felt after consuming something on the ride and the subsequent realization of how that could be a force that could transform us and help us get rid of our greatest inhibitions.I was fascinated by the concept that certain external stimulants could alter our consciousness to such an extent that they could embolden us in ways we could not imagine.
The author talks about the fantastic element of the book – a magical tonic that turns lives upside down, a fortuitous force that also finds its parallel in another vicious force, which is the tumultuous storm that differently affects the fate of the protagonists. “Decades later, the world of these misfits unexpectedly collides with the life of a powerful atheist activist who has a disturbing plan to cleanse the country of religion,” reveals the author who claims to love literature and western philosophy.
Exploring a concept that brings out a powerful context is a risky trajectory. But Mayur, who calls himself an occasional epigramist and sees music as his lifeline, was confident of the way forward. “There is a growing section of millennial readers who are gorging themselves on dark web shows anxiously with stories bearing dark truths meant to be lighter reads,” says Mayur, who would likely fall into that category himself given her love for binge-watching web shows. , which takes up most of his time.