Book Review: The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma And Other Hauntings

Part of Debut Indian Writers Challenge 2013


There are 3 types of terror –

  • The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm.
  • The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and  something with claws grabs you by the arm. 
  • And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there” – Stephen King

This compilation of short stories by Manish Mahajan caters to every genre of scary mentioned above and then some more. Eerie tales spun around everything from haunted trees, the sixth sense, troubled human emotions, talking skulls, mischievous, clumsy, helpful and even paternal ghosts and last but not the least the deliverance of justice – bhoot style, will have you taking a reassuring look at your surroundings quite often!!

Like any horror fiction, the presence of the supernatural dominates almost every story in the book, but what makes this book scary is the mysterious/ unexplained factor that looms over most of its tales. The lack of a good reason as to why some of the incidents occur will give you a serious case of heebie-geebies; case in point The peepal tree of Lachmangarh, Bengunkodor Ghost Station and The Disappearence of Tejas Sharma. Specifically, the last one was downright scary and had me checking the walls of my apartments for water leaks!! If this was not enough Her Unkempt Promise which was the case of short stories from a book coming true had me running to the pooja room and I am not exaggerating! But all is not scary about this book as the author gives his readers a break by introducing some humor in his ghosts as in the case of 13, Church Street.

Manish Mahajan has been gifted with the ability to scare readers with words which is quite an accomplishment considering that we live in times where horror is brought to life by hi-definition movies with surround sound coupled with advanced animation and lighting techniques! Each story is quintessentially Indian and unique  and manages to scare, thanks to its setting and narration. I am a great fan of Bram Stoker, Stephen King and the likes and for me Manish, has paralleled some of the best authors of horror fiction. The language is simple and refined and at 84 pages the book was an extremely fast read which is only natural when one can’t stop turning the pages.

In his introduction, the author mentions that in order to enjoy all that this book has to offer, it should be read slowly and in the solitude of the night or by a bonfire while camping out in the jungle. I  read this book during the day and was still creeped out by any strange sounds that I heard. So I’d say that even if you don’t read it the way the author intends you to, nobody would think any less of you…With a spooky cover, a sincere foreword and a personal introduction this book should definitely please fans of the supernatural genre.

A great read, right in time for Halloween. All you horror fans, make a run for it – there is new kind of scary in town!!

Title: The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing
Pages: 84
Genre: Fiction/ Horror
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Reviewed for: Author

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