Horror is a tricky genre`. It dangerously dangles between being excessively gory which evokes disgust rather than terror and being so unreal that it sounds hilarious. It takes a very fine balance between the two to make a story that summons fear. Neil D’Silva, the author of Pishacha, seems to have found that balance. Pishacha is the second novel by the author and proves once again that it’s not only the silver screen that can have the desired effect in horror genre`.
Pischacha is defined in Indian mythology as a devil from the deep dark world beyond the universe who feeds on human flesh. Unrelenting anger and scary features are characteristics of Pishacha. In the book, this Pishacha yearns to be human again to fulfill an unsatisfied wish from his yesterlife. Interestingly, the pishacha wants to be loved but that seems impossible unless he becomes a mortal. With unimaginable supremacy of speed and strength, he finds a medium that could lead him to his ultimate desire, only if the medium would cooperate. However, desires know no boundaries.
Nitika and Yug are the lead characters. While they struggle to decide whether their relationship should graduate to something more formal, weird incidents start happening whenever both of them are together. Nitika is consciously aware of a shadow that accompanies her everywhere. The shadow,however, does not seem to cause any harm. Having lost her mother at child birth, Nitika is always curious about her. When she finds a box left behind by her mother in a closet, she is determined to go to the place of her birth to find out more about the secrets about her mother that everyone guards so fiercely. But what she encounters there is more, much more, than she could have imagined.
The storyline has various philosophies that run parallel to the plot. A demon, that is a born out of ultimate anger which, in turn, is derived from deep love reflects so much about human emotions. Isn’t love supposed to liberate you, even when not reciprocated? Then why does it lead to unending pain and suffering that feeds the demon inside us? Does a fulfilled desire always lead to salvation? Or does it push you deeper into the vicious circle of unfulfilled desires? Should a demon be loathed because he defies the notions of beauty or feeds on human flesh? But isn’t that the way nature made him? Would you call a lion violent because he kills to satisfy his hunger? Is there something called redemption or is it just a myth created to keep the lesser mortals busy?
Pishacha is Neil D`Silva’s second book. His first book, Maya’s new husband, was more intense and scary. He has also authored various collections of stories. As compared to Maya's new husband, he seems to have toned down in Pishacha. Still, neither of them is for the weak-hearted. The story flows seamlessly from one incident to the other. There are no loopholes in the plot. Each character is defined well and justifies his or her existence in the main storyline. At just 220 odd pages, this is a quick and smooth read but scary enough to make you shudder. The book deserves some brownie points for the first 4 pages because that’s when you will realize what horror means.
About the Author: Neil D'Silva is the author of four books. His debut, Maya's New Husband, tells the tale of a woman who finds herself trapped in the wrongest kind of marriage, and the subsequent horrors that unfold upon her. His second book, The Evil Eye and the Charm, consists of three short tales of the Indian lemon-chili charm, each of which raises the perpetual debate between rationality and superstition using horror as their narrative element. His third book, Bound in Love, is a collection of eight short stories of dark and twisted human relationships. His recently released fourth book, Pishacha, is the story of a demon with a human woman.
Neil D'Silva also finds himself published in two anthologies. The first is Vengeance, an anthology put forward by Wrimo India, India's arm of the global NaNoWriMo organization. The second is When They Spoke, which is a collection of winning stories of a short story competition organized by Readomania and the Delhi Literature Festival. (Source: Goodreads.com)