Author Mayur Sudhakar Sarfare’s debut novel The Tonic turns the pages

A compelling idea can strike you at any time. And believe it or not, but the idea for The Tonic, Mayur Sudhakar Sarfare’s first book, was conceived while the first author was eating certain food. “I experienced an ‘unhindered ecstasy’ after consuming certain foods while on a bus ride, and this led to the later realization of how this could be a force that could transform us and help us shed our biggest inhibitions, ”enthuses Mayur, 31, a professor of mass media in Mumbai. The book is set in 1992 and tells the heartbreaking story of an unlikely friendship between Masher and Raem, two young outcasts with psychological disabilities. Excerpts from the interview.

What inspired you to write The Tonic?

The central concept of the novel struck me nine years ago on a seemingly unremarkable bus ride from where I live to the university where I was pursuing my masters in journalism. I was captivated by the idea that certain external stimulants could alter our consciousness to the point of emboldening us in ways we could not imagine. And that led me to write about it and to give birth to characters with unique psychological impairments in a historical context where their lives would be turned upside down with the arrival of such stimulants.

Throw some light on the name of the book.

The title – “The Tonic” is a physical metaphor used for the powerful chocolate pills which act as a healing force causing a mental transformation of two mentally retarded teens facing constant failure and ridicule, helping them erase their deep fears. and to attempt the unthinkable. The Tonic turns them from unsuitable to narcotics!

Let us discover the plot.

Against the backdrop of the 1992 Bombay riots, we see how the dreams of Masher and Raem, two young outcasts suffering from psychological disabilities, blossom with the arrival of a magic tonic but only to be disfigured over the years. time. Decades later, their world unexpectedly collides with the life of Reymerg D’Souza, a powerful atheist activist and media mogul, who has a disturbing plan to cleanse the country of religion. The two decades-apart stories eerily begin to converge when an investigative reporter and a suspended cop team up to expose Reymerg’s darkest agendas as they uncover a deadly truth that binds the lives of these people from the most unexpected way.

Where are the two main avenues inspired from?

The honest answer to this question is that both protagonists were born from the darkest and brightest places in my life. Masher’s character was shaped through my childhood experiences. I can still feel his pain, his mental battles, his despair, his dawning iconoclasm. I share a lot of his inhibitions to this day. And as a teenager, the long journey I took from a die-hard theist to an agnostic and then finally to an atheist is something that could be compared to that of Masher’s character. Whereas Raem was engendered by the fascination with otherworldly beauty and a streak of Anglophilia that resides within me.

And after?

Most readers fell in love with the characters from ‘The Tonic’ and relished the uniqueness of the story. The reviews received so far have unequivocally suggested that the novel has all the necessary ingredients for an exciting web series, so I intend to work on it next. Other than that, I worked on my second novel, which is almost half finished. The novel can best be described as a “romantic knot,” a romantic mystery with a powerful backdrop.