A saga of five generations, drawn beautifully on a canvas set in the deep regions of South India, the author leads us through a journey, dotted with sharply etched characters, coming alive through bold brush strokes of tumultuous emotions that surge and pulsate, all along the narration.
The Western Ghats serve as the essential backdrop, and with graphic descriptions, one becomes almost familiar and at-home with, the locations; be it the Mayan's humble thatched abode under the harsh scorching sun, or Manickam's sprawling bungalow along the dusty lanes of Chitur. Great care has been taken to capture the essence of life lived in this part of the world, the everyday instances, the attitudes ingrained and adapted, the tenets held since eons, the tug of the roots, and the quest for the unknown, and sadly for many it turns out to be a hunt for 'the Golden Stag'.
The author has delved deeply into subjects as Siddha and Hindu Philosophy, that seems to have a tenacious hold on two of the protagonists, Naren and Nagalingam. It serves to soften them, but also confound them with innumerable questions and undecipherable qualms, that plague them incessantly. And as a stark contrast to these characters, are Manickam and Vasan who are impeccably practical, business like and feet firmly on ground. And there is Chandrasekaran who strikes one, as having shades of both, and trying to establish a workable mean, and successfully does so; or so I would think.
The author through the lives of these five main characters, and sub-characters weaves an enchanting tale that subtly brings out, the deceptive vagaries of human nature, even as man tries to wage the battle of life, with his own set of arms; it uncannily reminds me at this point, of the battle scene in Kurukshetra, where Lord Krishna advocates Karma Yoga to a despondent Arjuna, " Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight."
The "Golden Stag" leaves one with a sense of having lived life, along with the characters, experiencing their emotions, and identifying oneself totally with it, as we do know, emotions, relationships, death, love, touches all, deeply. And Ms.Sivasundari Bose has managed to touch the reader in more ways than one, and that bespeaks of her success, in bringing out a piece of art, that edges the reader to ponder and reflect on the multifarious facets of life.