After reading publisher, commentator and a friend Badri Seshadri’s post I bought this book and finished reading it in two days. The book is “The Steradian Trail” by M N Krish, a mystery fiction involving technology and my city “Chennai”.
Being a resident of Chennai, I always felt left-out that most of the English fiction (those written by Westerners or Asians) have their story in New York or London or Hong Kong or Mumbai, why not Chennai-a city of 4.7 Million residents with its own share of history and crime. Thanks to author M N Krish for fulfilling my wish on recognizing Chennai in this book. If only Krish could make me richer, famous and slimmer – three other items in my wish list!!
The story starts with a murder of a researcher in a gym near MIT, Massachusetts (USA). At the same time another researcher (Dr.Joshua) delivers a talk in IIT Madras on invitation of a professor (Prof.Lakshmanan) here who was his classmate in USA. Dr.Joshua’s talk was about his paper on finding Shortest Path computer algorithm using Sulba Sutras from Vedas. The mystery that unravels is about the murder and how Dr.Joshua and Prof.Lakshmanan solve it with the help of his brilliant student Divya, who is a typical next door Chennai girl.
After Dr.Joshua delivers his lecture on the computer algorithm, an economic student stands up and pokes fun on the need of the new algorithm; I liked the brilliant timely response that Dr.Joshua gives for this making the student stunned. Throughout the book there are more such realistic and timely dialogues made by the well round characters. For example, Ranga Bashyam (a retired Brahmin living in Kumbakonam) recalling “Tennessee Dennis University” as a sports university equated in his mind Tennessee to Tennis, with Tennis no doubt a sport!
Much of the story happens in IIT Madras campus, Kumbakonam and Kancheepuram – No USA, which made me more happy. The book has generous dosage of Chennai roads, places, drivers and people. Dear publisher specially for this you can price the book Rs.100 more.
M N Krish sprinkles titbits of Advaitha Vedanta, Panini on Sanskrit Grammar and lots of Srinivasa Ramanuja including a less known museum dedicated to the mathematician in Royapuram, Chennai. After reading about the museum I am planning to contact Mr.Sriram V (Historian) for missing it in his Royapuram Heritage walk conducted last year.
The author has said the story for this book has been living in his head from 1996 and in writing from 2003 till blossoming out in 2013. This long gestation period is clearly visible in the work, the novel is written with surgical precision and cleanliness. Like all fictions the inventions and science behind the plot are unreal, the historical background is all real.
Next time you are looking for a good read don’t miss out shopping for “The Steradian Trail”. A good gift to young readers too as this is a mystery book with Universal rating!!! What else can be expected from culturally conservative Chennai.