If at all you are too high on Harry Pottery, as soon as you come across the world ‘Witch’, your mind starts creating within itself the awesome wizarding world of Hogwarts. Though very few authors in India have tried venturing into the magic territory in their novels, this attempt by author Ritu Lalit is commendable. In her book – “Chakra – The Chronicles of the Witch Way”, she has introduced a clan called Japs – a race so secretive that their existence is dismissed as a myth. Though it isn’t hardcore magic that is at play here, the mythology-inspired race of men and women deals with possessing physical abilities beyond belief that they use to play with elements and have the power to curse as well as cure with it.
Ritu Lalit has begun the book with the story of a war that outbreaks where a Japa Guru who is conducting a homam (fire ritual) in the presence of other leaders leads the crowd into argument and distrust. Though the readers aren’t sure if this war is set in our era or not, we can safely assume that the presence of cars and guns and phones all point to the current times. Now, just like the muggles, we are introduced to the world of Japas – They exist among us, mingle with us, ride our metros, visit our malls, and even go to the same schools and colleges as us. Fast forward to three siblings – Sami, Deepand their cousin Roma – who make a scene at school with a donkey-ride incident – that make them visible to the eyes of the clans and then an all out war in between various people to protect and kill them breaks out.
In comes the most powerful and key character of the story – Parineeta Mohan (or Nita), who is a private detective and has brought up her niece and nephew as ordinary people, unaware of their heritage. Their life changes when the kids disappear along with their cousin Roma.A shocked and desperate Parineeta has to find them before enemies of her family do, and has no one to turn to but Jorawar, a man she is attracted to but can’t trust since he belongs to the sinister organization Pax. And now, just like the back cover tells you – the only way she can fight, win and survive is to embrace her heritage, return to The Witch Way. Will Nita be able to repel the attack of the powerful forces? What will happen to Roma? All those questions get answered as you turn the pages.
As the story progresses, the characters span time across multiple Indian cities such as Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Mumbai, Odissa ec. There are a lot of new terms that readers are introduced to like – Bhoomers, Kundalini, Chakra, Pax, Pallavs, Manan, Varunis and more. These can get a little confusing at times. A family tree or a flowchart and an appendix to explain the new characters and terms respectively could have helped readers understand it more clearly and easily. We think that the book could have done better with the narration, which lacks fluidity and the introduction to the characters is a little haphazard. At times it becomes difficult to grasp the exact motive behind the plot.
The story has a lot of potential to keep the reader hooked till the last page, and an equal effort in styling of the proses would’ve, made this book a definite page-turner. But these small-givings apart, Chakra is a good fictional addition to your bookshelf.
Overall Rating: 3/5