All that stands between the murdering bosses and the hapless masses is unofficial detective Anantya Tantrist, armed with a boneblade, a tote of mandalas and a cocky attitude. Just as she begins to see a pattern between a goddesss who is selling art, a miracle-producing minister, an undead mob attacking a rock concert and her immortal friend throwing a tantrum, Ananya faces her most personal hell: her ex-boyfriend Neel has come back from the dead and is trying to kill her. He’s not the only one, of course. A powerful rakshasi wants her dead, a pair of demi-gods wants her blood and the trolls are trying to squash her to pulp.
She cannot even sleep off the exhaustion, because each time she drops off, Bhairava invades her mind, trying to consume it. Join Anantya as she faces her most formidable enemy yet in the ultimate battle for her mind and her city.
Punctuating their moans and the crackling of the fire, was the low chanting of the Bhairava's mantras. Shush eyed his apprentice, feeling a swell of pride. The apprentice stood across from him as part of the ritual circle, his face in the shadows of his cowl, his voice powerful and confident. Someday, thought Shush, he will become as great as Matsyendranath, if not greater. Even now, though he was a mere mortal, his power was palpable. He was so proud of what his apprentice had achieved. The bold and confident way he had walked the path of equality. It was perfect.
Or would be if it hadn't been for him. Char, his guru, his enemy, his other. Why did he have to come yesterday to warn him? Couldn't he have stayed away for a few more nights and let him finish his business in peace? Shush knew he didn't agree with his ways, their ways, but he had accepted that there was nothing he could do about it. There was nothing anyone could do to stop their plans. Then why did he have to come and try to warn him about this and leave without saying goodbye to the Bhairava? Didn't he realize that the Bhairava's work was their only chance at achieving real equality? In a world where some died without reason and others lived on forever, without reason, immortality for all was the only equalizer.
Their lives had been spent searching for that one thing, that one solution that could give the human race eternal life. And now that they'd found a way around the curse of death, of mortality, he was running with his tail between his legs. Too scared to use the power for the greater good. Yes. That's what he was. Scared. Char was nothing but a coward. Shush dug his fingernails into his arm. His vision clouded over and for a moment, the fire in front of his eyes became a thing of darkness rising up to a blacker sky.
Bhairava seemed to be aware of Char's absence. Nothing escaped his notice. Char didn't realize that even the defiance he showed the Bhairava was because a long time ago, Bhairava had been their pupil. It was Bhairava's clan that had brought them back to life from the deathless existence that they managed to get in, the black tantrism-bought space where they had been neither dead nor fully alive, waiting for centuries. And he could very well take it away. Only his generosity kept both him and Char alive. But instead of celebrating the fact that their quest of immortality was within their grasp, Char was getting palpitations about the ethics of it all. Stupid, stupid coward Char.
'Come. It's time,' said the Bhairava, his soft voice soothing Shush. The Bhairava flicked his staff and the praniks got up, surrounding the yantra. Shush was proud of his pupil and the things he'd been able to achieve, the fearless way in which he'd taken the Bhairavana clan forward. He was the true tantrik.The tantrik who wouldn't stop at anything in his exploration of the tantrik science.
The Bhairava stood across from the praniks, his legs apart, his hands spread, his face grim. His bare head moving side to side and his shikha - the long, thin ponytail- swinging, rattling the rudraksh beads woven into it.
'Oh Agni, raging goddess of fire,
drink the radiant wine of true blood,
gorge on the charred flesh and bone,
devour it all with the cemetery wood,
for all that touches your womb,
the leftovers and the crumbs,
become pure and immortal as thou art.'
The fire danced invigorated, reflecting in the eyes of the five women as they were pushed into the circle, stepping over the line carved into the ground sweetened with fresh blood. Under the Vashita spell, they kept walking without hesitation straight into the flames. Some cringed, but none of them stopped. The first one walked on the burning corpse wood, stacked in the form of steps to lead them to the top of the pyre. She walked on, followed by the others, the charred smell of burning flesh spreading into the sky. One by one they climbed, and perched quietly, their eyes still blank as Agni drank their flesh and bones. The Bhairava's power was palpable now, narrowing Shush's world to the sacrifice in front of him. With a flick of the Bhairava's wrist, the flames roared.
That was when the screams began. They rose up in unison, dancing together in the night, weaving around each other, spreading a chorus of yells and cries of pain and fear. Until the fire goddess gobbled them whole.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAQ938 Author: Shweta Taneja Cover: PAPERBACK Edition: 2017 Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers ISBN: 9789352645022 Language: English Size: 8.00 X 5.50 inch Pages: 256 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.19 Kg