“Demons in My Mind: When Mind Becomes Your Biggest Enemy” by Ashish Gupta is a novel which can easily cut through the clutter of contemporary authors flooding the market with light-fluffy stuff. It’s a good, intellectual as well as an interesting read which challenges the reader and brings forth some very pertinent questions in a quite entertaining way. The book deals with heavy questions of criminal psychology and how a criminal should be viewed and treated in a society.
This book is very well written. It is divided into various sub plots, all woven very intricately and flowing in a sequence so it can provide enough suspense and build up to the reader.
The main protagonist, Dakshesh is shown to be at the last stage of cancer nearing a painful death. To be relieved of this malady, this pain, he asks his comrades to take him to three powerful mystics who seem to be the only ray of hope for an escape from this dreary end. The story seems to be going on a spiritual turn just when the twists are brought in, rather very cleverly, and these three are shown to be in real hardened criminals. They narrate their stories to Dakshesh and how they came to a fork in the road in their lives on meeting Alia, a homeless girl, when they made the decision to leave their dark pasts behind and move to a better path.
These three monks bring with them a lot of variety as all three belong to three different religions- Rizwaan, a Muslim; Murli, a Hindu and Joseph, a Christian. The issues they dealt with are also different and each equally dark in their own ways. One was a murderer, the other a rapist and the third, a lover turned torturer. The differences brought out with so much dexterity point to the fact that crime in fact has no religion, and religion rarely does determine the path a person takes. It is more often the circumstances, the struggles and state of mind of the person embarking on the dark and dangerous path of crime.
The author manages to highlight very important factors that bring a person to such a path: the control of mind over a person or a person over their mind? Once you enter the dark path is there ever really an escape? Hallucinations and misjudgements or clarity and cutting through illusions: which does a person choose and where does the choice lead him to?
Though no one could relieve Dakshesh of his physical pain, yet, listening to their stories relieves him of hid mental and emotional agony as the nature of their minds makes him come face to face with nature of his own mind and the issues plaguing a society at large.