Bookish Witch

A Dead Man’s Trials by Jagadesh Sampath

Book blurb:

Mr. December was a man born on a high horse. All his life, he tried to be righteous, to be a paragon of human virtues. Through a complicated set of events triggered from an unexpected source, Mr. December is forced to rethink his beliefs. Through his journey, the book explores the complexities of human nature, moral ambiguities, value of perspectives and importantly, the darkness that resides within us all.
The book is a collection 5 short stories, all linked together through the trials of the protagonist. Each of the stories have an element of thrill and psychological complexity inherent in them; all the while provoking the readers to think and start on a journey to discover the answers within themselves.

Genre: Fiction/ Thriller/Drama

Pages: 58

Format: Kindle eBook

Price: 49 INR/ $2.99

My Ratings: 5/5

A lifetime of insights and thought provoking questions/answers in a mere few pages. Do you have the habit of judging people and their actions+choices? Read this one to understand that nothing is simply right or wrong, or black and white, there’s a perspective or way of looking at things which is brought out by each incident narrated in this book.

What I liked about the book:
—> There is no name given to any characters and yet they all felt so real.
—> All the trials were written in such a raw and haunting manner, that I could easily visualise it all. Somebody please turn them into a series or a movie!!!
—> For the incidents of the last trial, there was no place mentioned, and yet we know right away where it is all happening. That’s the mark of great writing right there.

What I did not like about the book:
—> Absolutely nothing (no wonder it gets a 5/5 from me then, right?)

Quotable quotes:
—> When a man is drowning, a floating piece of wood, barely larger than his hands, is all that is needed to give him hope.
—> To a person shouldering the hopes and responsibilities of the entire world, spending time on trivialities is the ultimate affront; their time after all, is meant for greater things.
—> When we look at anything complex, be it a crowded canvas, a logical problem, even a large number of people or things, what gets noticed first is tied intrinsically to the nature of the viewer.
—> Humans always find things to worry about; no matter how good or peaceful their life is, they never fail to dig out a new problem. They go to great depths and endure extreme pain through their mental self-flagellation to assimilate new predicaments. However, in spite of this endless worrying, they almost always miss the obvious. Especially when the obvious is entombed in years of complacent inactivity, inducing a false sense of security. These potential problems that we all ignore as a result of constant conditioning are the ones capable of ripping us right out of our cozy, secluded lives and land us in the middle of a blinding blizzard, one very well capable of shredding us to pieces.
—> Once we set our mind on a path of self-placation and denial, the mind completely takes over; it changes perceptions, creates justifications, finds places and people to shift the guilt.
—> Who should bear the cost of an action? How could we assign blame solely to the one affected by these actions? Even an inadvertent act of kindness can cause harm and when it does, where does the blame lie? How do you decide one is to blame and the other is not?
—> People don’t always react rationally when faced with absolute truths. Most of them were hostile and the few that actually listened to him, ended up making things worse for themselves.
—> Beliefs, the ever present shield to hide the perversities of human nature.
—> Is inaction really a crime? If we consider that every time someone fails to do the right thing, they are sinning by virtue of their inaction, then where does it end?What is the boundary of one’s morality? Does it end with what we owe to our self? To everything one sees and hears about? Does it end at the society? Or is it the entire humankind? If you expect someone to act on a crime they see, should we not expect them to act on a crime they read or hear about? Is prevention the only action that matters? What about seeking justice? By this logic, every human is guilty of inaction one way or another.
—> To someone born with the natural ability to comprehend and analyze things faster than the fellow humans, mediocrity is always a bane.
—> Human nature cannot accept rational explanations for the superiority of their fellow humans, so it invents rationale and in most cases resentment is the obvious by product of the process.
—> Once you take that first step down a heavy slope without any support, you lose all control of what happens next; whether you fall in a crumbling heap or manage a stumbling walk depends not only on the skills you have; it is what surrounds you on the slope that decides your fate.
—> Despite everything, they were both happy; they had the only thing they ever wanted in their life, each other.
—> It’s always a means to an end; that’s how it starts all the time. The human mind when desperate enough can be a multiple times better than the most conniving of all sentient beings.
—> It finds out reasons, so obstinate and so credible that it ends up deluding even the most skeptical of souls.
—> Deep and true love, willingness to sacrifice your life for the one that you love, fierce sense of protection for those in need; do these values not represent the best of humanity? Shouldn’t they account for something in the final reckoning? If not, what then is the use of having them at all?
—> A journey’s end is never the destination. It is always the realization. Some realizations lead you on to your next journey while the others just take you back to where you started. We all make plans, some grand in design, some just held together by a string of failing memories. We all have dreams, of the past, of the future; some full of pain, others end in joy. All our plans and our dreams give us hope. But hope alone is never enough, what fails and what succeeds depend on a lot of things, some in our control, some not.
—> People’s lives are an interconnected mess of actions and reactions rather than a sequence of moral decisions and a lot of it is not in anyone’s control.
—> When you look deep enough, look from different perspectives or just argue with the right motivations, everyone appeared morally ambiguous.
—> Practice leads to perfection, practice becomes a habit and habits turn in to obsessions.
—> Not surprisingly, no one listens when you tell them what’s good for them.
—> There is no space for morality in the mind of a warrior trying to save the lives of innocents and secure their country’s safety.
—> Even a revolution needs marketing.
—> How can they choose not to support the revolution,
one intended for their very liberation?
What is the death of a few, even if some are children,
when compared to the glorious future that awaits all when the revolution succeeds?
—> The success of a revolution is a hard thing to measure; attempting the cost of success is even harder. Lives lost, families torn, rapes and violence, children, who are anything but, in the end, it’s all just relative. They both are now part of history, one a victor and the other an abominable monster. Needless to say, identifying which is which will have to wait, till the end of the revolution or the crushing of insurrection.
—> Nothing is as simple or as black and white as we believe them to be. Beliefs are never meant to be broken, they are meant to evolve.
—> Morality is inherently ambiguous, subject to a wide variety of interpretations, influenced by conflicting perspectives. Human nature is complicated, it can never be adequately defined, let alone understood; each one of us is unique in thought and action. And in the end, I see that Human life is not something to be judged, not by anyone.

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