SUJATHA’S PESUM BOMMAIGAL
Consider this possibility-we are able to download information from the internet and upload information vice versa. What will happen if the process of downloading is done on human brain? What if we can upload the contents of the human brain-thoughts, memories to a machine and then feed it to another and make the person behave like the source (the person from whose brain the information i.e thoughts, memories are taken)? This revolutionary idea is the crux for writer Sujatha’s novel Pesum Bommaigal, literally meaning Talking Dolls, published by Uyirmai Publications.
The story goes like this. Maya, a young lady gets an offer as a Research Assistant in a scientific research center called CMR Labs. She finds the activities in her new work place weird, especially in the way she is tested in the interview and the subsequent medical tests she is asked to take – her voice is recorded, strange readings are taken with no explanations, and she finds to her surprise that she got the job because of her sister Menaka, who was a former research associate in the lab.
Naturally curious and eager to keep up the reputation of being Menaka’s sister, Maya does the bidding of her bosses-Dr.Narendranath and Dr.Sarangapani. She finds them contrasting in character-one aggressive and the other pleasing towards her and initially jealous of each others’ works(interesting characters, they are). More than all, she finds out to her horror that all the staff in the lab have their right hand shorter than their left hand. Her inquiries lead her to dead ends and makes her doubt about continuing there, but the pay packet and the assurance of her lover Sunil who works there makes her continue in the job.
The story takes a turn when Maya discovers that the lab secretly conducts trials on the staff with or without their consent, but shuts them up from speaking out by paying them handsomely. Even more is her fear on finding out that the tests are related to mind control and her sister had been one of the victims who never made it out of the lab. She is trapped when her bosses learn about her knowledge, and she becomes a pawn in an unwitting game of horror.
Maya’s father and Sunil take the matter to Ganesh and Vasanth(I would need another post to write about them!) who are perturbed by the strange nature of the case and decide to investigate. The chase leads them from Chennai to Vijayawada to back to Chennai as they learn about the complex and devious plans of the doctor duo-advanced research on the human mind by way of downloading the memories and information from the brain to a system and vice versa. A stunning finale(the ‘poetic justice’ Ganesh delivers is not to be missed) makes the reader sit up and wonder at the ingenuity of the writer in skillfully taking the story through the pages.
Sujatha’s forte is that he set the trend for these kind of stories, explaining complex scientific things in a simple layman’s term to the reader, perking up his curiosity. A must read for all, especially those who love different kind of stories with a intelligent twist.
It has been Sujatha’s novel way to take up an idea, mostly scientific in nature, and deal it out in his stories in an interesting and captivating manner. My favorites among his science-fiction works are En Iniya Iyandhira(My Dear Machine), Meendum Jeeno(Again Jeeno)– a sequel to the former, Sorga Theevu(Heaven’s Island), Pesum Bommaigal, the subject of this post.