PLOT: 3.5/5 CHARACTERS: 3/5 WRITING STYLE: 3/5 CLIMAX: 3.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
While the title of the book goes as follows: Babalu: Tale of a Cute Lil Boy, the content of the book is far from simple. In fact, the complexity of the plot arises with the recurrence of certain dream-like visions to the protagonist, who goes by the name of Babalu.
The issue of the novel is not that Babalu is having recurrent dreams but the fact that he can interpret these dreams and make sense of the incidents in them, thus making them akin to visions which help him foresee the future, become cautious, and take charge of the incidents in his life.
It is with this sense of premonition that he acknowledges these dreams. They mean to him things that initially had seemed pointless or baseless. It is in this process of sense-making that he discovers a new dimension and comes in contact with his superhuman and ultra-human powers. For, at the end of the day, life is all a mind game.
Babalu is born in Pune and brought up in Bangalore. It is through these visions, which he thought were weird nightmares, that he is able to unravel his psychic abilities and powers. The enticing aspect of this feature of the character of Babalu is not merely in the fact that he is able to harness his mind and play along in terms of the games that his mind is playing with him, but that these psychic powers do not have a fixed or hard and fast definition.
They are partly intuitive, and partly cognitive, though both these aspects make this part of the novel terribly mysterious. These powers of the mind depend on the emotional balance in the character of Babalu which defines the state of the mind.
However, this should not be confused with the misconception that the mind of the character is not in a proper state but rather that the character can use his five senses to reach a higher level of understanding through higher-ordered thinking which becomes eye-opening for Babalu and as well as the reader.
While this may seem to be a simple reductionist description of the plot of this novel, the overall book is far from just revolving around Babalu and his psychic abilities. Technically, the book is divided into four core chapters which are preceded by a prologue and succeeded by an epilogue.
The twist in the plot of BABALU: Tale of A Cute Lil Boy comes with the mention and consequent introduction of the hucies which is a type of human species that are complex entities and mate with humans to be like humans, live like humans, and finally die like humans.
This adds to the climactic scenes that mostly involve these hucies and their interruption or intervention in the human world. This becomes a concept that is difficult to understand, for only an individual who can feel their presence will know what it is like to be around them.
The novel reveals that not much is known about them and their whereabouts or origins but there is ample proof that they exist among the human species.
While a passing mention of the hucies is made in the prologue, an entire chapter is dedicated to them in the later part of the novel.
The writing style of BABALU: Tale of A Cute Lil Boy is easy to follow, full of simple, short sentences, and for the most part relayed through dialogue exchanges between characters.
These dialogues make up most of the text and there is very little third-person narration. This makes the transition from one phase to another a little difficult to understand, though that has been managed by the headings that have been provided by the author at every change of scene, be it a flashback or a flash forward.
The headings also have been transliterated into Hindi which provides a clearer idea or perspective to an otherwise abstract concept and fictive creation, though terribly interesting to learn about.
The dialogues help to dramatize the content and provide room for the novel to pan out like a play or a movie.
At a little over 90 pages, the book is akin to a novella that can be read in a single sitting and is bound to set shivers down the reader’s spine particularly considering the disturbing book cover.
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