Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nude Before God

Nude Before God
By Shiv K. Kumar

Paperback, 184 pages
Published in:  1983
Publisher:  Random House India
ISBN:  9788184003833 

Blurb:  Sex and death meet in a story bursting with laughs and essential life lessons.

Ram Krishna is an artist who paints nudes. He is obsessed with death and with his wife’s possible infidelity. Despite his own conjugal insecurities, he engages in an adulterous liaison. Immediately, Karma strikes: he is murdered by his wife’s suspected lover. Unclad of corporal existence, he hovers above earth and discovers that—apart from his parents, dog, and a few friends—no one misses him. Dejected, he encounters Yama, the Lord of Death, and begins a long conversation that extinguishes Ram Krishna’s airs and affectations, and makes him see that he may have been wrong about life . . . And his wife. 

Armed with a wry sense of humour, Shiv K. Kumar lays bare the questions about humanity’s inescapable end, plying us with a story that gives us new reasons to live and laugh.

Nude Before God was my first encounter with Shiv K Kumar’s writing. A satire on afterlife, the book said. I was intrigued. It seemed like my kind of thing, and once I started it, there was no stopping.

Rama Krishna is a top-notch artist, known for his paintings of nudes. Married to a Christian, Mary, you cannot call him a faithful husband. As soon as he picks up the call one night after returning home, it is some Kenneth George asking for his wife. The seed of doubt sprouts in his heart. Has Mary been having a Christian lover? Before he can look for the evidences, he finds himself dead, and talking to Yama, the god of death.

This book is in the true sense a classic. I have never ever enjoyed and learnt of the bitterness of the world so good humouredly as it has been depicted in this book. Shiv K Kumar has shown us the world through the eyes of an artist. Who finds love, beauty and sometimes sex, everywhere. Who sees the whole world as a rhythm. I was mesmerised by this aspect of the book.

The best thing about the book was showing the thirteen days of afterlife, and the torture and torment and fun a soul has in the time. I could never have imagined anybody writing a satire on afterlife and making fun of it. Shiv K kumar has become my ideal.

Even apart from the death and its satire, he touches several sensitive topics with all his humour. The infidelity, the sex, the envy, the pain, the hypocrisy, he shows it all. A true mirror to the world you live in and would be considered dead in.
Shiv K Kumar is the man who thought out of the box back in 1983. And his straightforward attitude might still not be taken in by everyone. And that is what I loved him for the most.

A very short book, it can be finished right in one weekend. And that would be the best ever entertaining weekend you would have had in a long time. 

I would recommend the book to everybody who loves reading, especially to those who believe in having ideologies completely opposite to the contemporary. Even if they be superficial.

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