The word “misogyny” is centre-stage of late.
mi·sog·y·ny = n. Hatred or mistrust of women.
This is a millennia-old masculine mental malady (sigh…Alliteration, my weakness). No society, oriental or occidental, is untouched by it.
However, that is a topic for another day.
Presently, I shall take you through the labyrinthine path of my own “misogynist”. His misogyny degenerates to such depths that he simply destroys his female victims.
Come, walk with me the dark streets of Chennai and track his perverted mind and moves.
Oh, be careful. Do not dither during the eerie, dark night, for danger lurks on every dusty street, at every dark corner.
To admit a truth, this one genre troubled me no end. Personally, violence against women and children disturbs me deeply. My family (especially my late wife) had a tough time handling me whenever I came across news reports or movie scenes depicting such violence. That being the case, how did/could I undertake such a topic?
At the very outset of my journey into the world of writing, I decided the genres in which I shall write my novels. The other reason was, as a writer I was determined to test my mettle/ability to handle every possible genre/topic. It will be appropriate to quote here the remarks of Mrs. Srichandra Mukherjee Venkataramanan, an ardent reader of my gibberish. She wrote (read THE ANTIQUE):
“Sir, I am a ‘Malgudi Days’ kind of reader…having grown up on a staple diet of sleepy villages, rowdy children and characters who are super heroes in the garb of a common man…so this latest offering from you is an absolute delight for me…I loved this story of an extraordinary man wrapped in ordinary …And I also admire the fact that you attempt every genre of writing….be it a thriller, love story or a one with a social message. Good Luck for your next one….”
Having decided upon the topics in each genre, I embarked on my journey with my misogynist, however much repulsive the fellow was. With the experience of five novels under my belt, I mean virtual pen, the opening scene was a cinch. My long and wide exposure to English novels and Hollywood movies came in very handy in giving a form to my ideas on this story.
As is my wont, I refrained from the hype that I see around me in movies and TV serials and stuck to a straightforward narration of my narrative. In this aspect, I would like to mention Alfred Hitchcock, the guru of thrillers. Suffice to say that, even after five decades, his movies are unbeatable in suspense and horror, narrated in a simple, straightforward style. Psycho, Rear Window, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Torn Curtain and Dial ‘M’ For Murder are but a few of his straightforward masterpieces.
Moving on in my journey, I had to create the predator’s character, physical personality, background, and modus operandi. The story opens with a murder by the psychopath; the victim is his tenth. While I briefly mentioned the characters of the previous nine victims, Nandini, the tenth victim was different in that the story begins with her murder and, therefore, I had to create her character in detail. It must be believable, down-to-earth, plausible, and match the mindset of the predator, for he chose her as a victim.
Then comes the background of the story itself, the why’s and how’s of it. A tricky scenario arose, for I had already decided to entrust the investigation to a Private Investigator (PI), Mr. Azhzgan, a former IPS officer. This is simply not done in our country. In my “The Kidnap”, I intended to do it but gave up for the same reason. This time around, I hit upon a neutral ground and handed over the case to my PI, the protagonist of the story.
Another aspect I had to handle deftly and as seamlessly as possible was “how the case comes to my PI”. The DCP, who was investigating the previous nine murders, becomes the collateral victim of the serial killer. He is forced to quit the Police Force in ignominy and approaches our PI. You must read the story to appreciate this.
Then, our PI’s organisation, if it could be called that, given its precarious pecuniary position (OMG, Alliteration again), must be believable and credible. I took lot of pains to create the organisation. The style of introduction of the PI and his organisation is completely couched in sardonic humour à la James Hadley Chase - a challenge for me. I had to make the characters and the office, everything in it, laugh at themselves. This flippancy, the sardonic humour was the most difficult for me, especially to convince my readers. As time passed by, and as I got into writing short stories, I acquired a semblance of control over this aspect of writing (Read LIPSTICK, FIRST NIGHT, and CURIOUS CASE OF A MISSING BUTTON).
Well the investigation by my PI progressed smoothly until it hit a roadblock, a seeming cul-de-sac and I hit my first writer’s block. I racked my brain for several days! The story just would not move ahead at all. I was at my wit’s end. I kept going over my (limited) knowledge in matters of criminal investigation. Eureka! Ultimately, I found the solution to the impasse I found myself in! I shall not reveal what it is; suffice it to say that it was an important part of investigative matters. With that important aspect inserted at the appropriate position, the story took off once again and raced ahead to its bone-shattering climax.
Well, that is talking a lot of shop. I shall let you read the novel and judge for yourself.
Happy reading, friends.