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Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Quick Lit | Conspiracy K

I don’t like conspiracy theory as a genre. I had a brief romance with The X-Files in my impressionable youth, but a year after the last episode aired, I read Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, which knocked sense into me, and made sure that after that the only way I could actually enjoy conspiracy theories was if they were being mocked mercilessly.

Against this background, it was clear that I wasn’t going to enjoy The Krishna Key. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much I would hate it. I gave up in frustration more than once before forcing myself to finish it so I could give it a fair review. It wasn’t worth it. It was better than Ashwin Sanghi’s previous book, Chanakya’s Chant, but pretty much anything would have been better than Chanakya’s Chant.

The plot of The Krishna Key is a patchwork of conspiracy theories, which Sanghi has knitted together into a marvellous Theory of Everything. All the usual suspects are here: Brahma and Abraham sounding similar, P.N. Oak’s Tejo Mahalaya rantings, 786 being derived from the Aum symbol, and more. It’s as if Sanghi hasn’t come across an email forward that he can’t weave into the plot, even if it contradicts another email forward already present.

And this is what makes the book so frustrating—the sheer waste of cleverness. Connecting all these conspiracy theories requires an agile and playful mind that could have been so much better utilized making the characters believable instead of trying to shoehorn yet another conspiracy theory into the plot. Alas, the characters end up doing whatever allows Sanghi to highlight another linguistic or geometric coincidence, not what you’d expect actual people in their position to do.

But even if you have no higher expectations than a thriller that will keep you excited on a flight, you’ll be disappointed by the poor technique that Sanghi brings to his writing. For a thriller, there’s far too much exposition: either by Sanghi as narrator, or as dialogue, where you wonder why characters are telling each other things they should already know. The pacing is also poor. Plot twists are revealed at the beginning or in the middle of the book, important supporting characters and MacGuffins come in late or are discarded early, and the ending tries to be transcendental but ends up being anticlimactic.

In short, The Krishna Key is a localization of The Da Vinci Code concept. The Indianization is perfect, but it retains all the flaws of the original, and adds some more.

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