For the starters, I love the cover and the title of the book The Buddha of the Brothel; both invoke a fair level of curiosity. The book is a true account of Kris’s journey. Also, The Buddha of the Brothel is part travelogue, part biography, and part romance. I would highly commend Kris’s observing ability. Like few foreign authors, he hasn’t painted India black, through his sarcasm and witty English, he has shown the underbelly of Indian mafia, but on a lighter note. The story revolves around sex, drug underlords, pimps, godmen, spiritual seekers, etc. The best part of the novel is the interlinking of the plot. Nowhere you get bored, or you find things out of sync. The plot also shares few spiritual lessons, without sounding boring or preachy.
Kris Advaya, is from Yugoslavia, he has a traumatic past, he has lost his best friend and also suffered army abuses. He is lost and looking for inner peace, he is also following an extreme form of chastity. This search lands him in India, where he has come to learn Ayurvedic massages from a guru named Arun. The guru gave him a room to stay, which also acts as a therapy room during the day. Gradually Kris realises that Arun is more interested in minting money from him rather than teaching him the basics. Arun recommends Kris few books on Ayurveda, which he needs to buy from a local market. Kris heads towards the market, totally unaware that this journey, will alter the path of his life.
While searching for the book, he unknowingly ventures into the red light area of Pune. Standing across the road, he saw Radha, who instantly steals his heart. After few days, he comes to know that Radha is a sex worker. He starts regularly visiting the brothel and develops a deep connection with her. He also comes to know, that Radha has been badly abused. The author has tried to portray a matured love, which is above physical dimension. Nowhere the profession of Radha, disturbs Kris. In order to check his true feelings towards his new found love, he visits Osho’s Ashram, there he meets a girl, he took her to his room, but gradually he realizes, he is so much into Radha, that he is not interested in sharing the bed with any other girl.
He returns back and proposes Radha for marriage. She asks him to talk to the local pimp Sunil Bhai. Now Radha, is the cash cow of the brothel, Sunil bhai is not ready to let her go. He asks Kris that either he pays a certain amount of money (which Kris doesn’t have) or deliver a drug package to Sri Lanka. He does a lot of brainstorming, about the perils he is entering into. He also visits one of his friend down south, after getting a clarity, he decides to go ahead with the deal. He successfully delivers the package and returns back to India. But a surprise awaits him, Radha vanishes without a word, he inquires from Sunil Bhai about her whereabouts but gets thrashed in return. I feel I have revealed the plot enough, for rest you need to pick up the book.
The Buddha of the Brothel is written by Kris Advaya and published by Fingerprint Publishing.
Originally published on Gypsy on Exploration. Reproduced here with due permission of the owner.