In The Rotten Pits of Hunger Author: Ajinkya Bhasme, Publisher: Notion Press. (Image: DC)
While many of us battle with stress eating, is it even an option for a huge proportion of the population? Can someone who has never had to go hungry endure being starved for days? This simple concept troubled author Ajinkya Bhasme, and made its way to the pages of his latest book, In the Rotten Pits of Hunger. It is a supernatural horror novel that depicts terrible hunger and starvation and serves as a painful criticism of unfair food distribution. Nothing is more terrifying than dying cold, hungry, and terrified. "This book is a frightening tale of the wrath of God, generational trauma, claustrophobia and the horrors of morbid starvation," says the author.
The novel tells the narrative of an affluent family forced to starve to death and haunted by Annamati, an ancient goddess of food. The fact that the darkest depths of an empty stomach induce psychological desperation is conveyed in this novel in a heartbreaking way. "We Indians believe that Gods are a manifestation of our deepest desires, and one such desire for food was the genesis of Goddess Annapurna — the deity of food, however, hunger also has extremely dark emotions which in turn gave birth to another deity born to darkness, the counterpart of Annapurna — Annamati. Annamati was believed to bless you in shorter ways, due to which many families began exploiting the bond by conjuring her," he explains.
An IITian, who has always enjoyed telling stories, writing came naturally to Ajinkya. "I began with poems and quickly progressed to short stories and then books. As a shy kid, I was constantly surrounded by stories. My entire universe had turned into stories. I wanted to be an active participant in that world rather than a passive observer. I didn't want to be a character who came and went. I wanted to be a story that stayed," he explains.
Fear is a perpetually ignored emotion but in reality, the amygdala in our brain has a special place to feel fear. "When our brains are designed to feel fear and make it a primary driving factor of everything we do, just like the adrenaline rush felt on a roller coaster, we cannot and should not ignore fear. Horror hence, at least to me, becomes an irresistible genre and quite honestly not widely explored. My books are more psychological horror in nature that intend to scare the readers out of their wits while educating and spreading awareness," says Ajinkya, who had worked with Dr Reddy’s as a scientist for five years.
Ajinkya, who had an education in forensic psychology and psychotherapy, says, "When I was researching for my first book When the Devil Whispers, I was closely looking at the case of India’s first female serial killers who brutally murdered children and were the first ones to be hanged to death. A thought that constantly haunted me was why would anyone do such a thing? That got me interested in human behaviour, especially deviant psychology."