The Rebirth of the Demon by Meenakshi Mohan

Review by Santosh Bakaya

Book: The Rebirth of the Demon
Author: Dr. Meenakshi Mohan
Publisher: Third Eye Butterfly Press, USA, 2021
Illustrations: Diane Simmons
Ed. Stefan Bohdan
Cover Design: Peggy Bogden
Cover Art: Diane Simmons

Once upon a time in the year 2019, on a thunderous night with biting winds  and the smoky abyss of night, a demon was born in a place called Wuhan, in China.”

This is how Dr. Meenakshi Mohan’s very creatively written story begins, embellished with excellent illustrations by award-winning artist Diane Simmons, who also teaches art in many different places in the United States, besides exhibiting her paintings in Canada and United States.   What amazed me about the illustrations were the intricate details.   It is, indeed, incredible that Diane Simmons hails from the USA, yet she has managed to illustrate the book, like one well versed with Indian mythology. I doff my hat to her for this impressive feat.

Meenakshi Mohan

 In her beautifully written thank you note, Meenakshi Mohan says,” like one string of a musical instrument cannot make melodic music, or one stroke of the brush does not complete the image of a painting …. writing involves many components.”

 In this context, she mentions that Concetta Pipia, the founder of Aspiring Writer’s Society, first inspired her to write a story integrating mythology in the current concepts. Thus, this tale was first published in her e-zine under a different name.

 A very enthralling tale, which I am sure, will appeal to all readers, young and old. But, honestly, I was really intrigued by the way she has so effortlessly integrated Raktabeej and Kali into the riveting story.

 Dedicated to ‘all those people and organizations who dedicate themselves to eradicating the most dreaded of infections of this century,’ the cover of this immensely meaningful book has been beautifully designed by Stefan Bohdan and Peggy Bogden, the cover art has been done by Diane Simmons.

Santosh Bakaya
 In the short and sweet foreword, Poet and Publisher Stefan Bohdan says that “she recreates an Indian myth equating the COVID 19 virus with the demon Raktabeej and the cure to the COVID 19 virus with the goddess Kali. Poetic and beautifully illustrated, the enigma of the COVID 19 virus is demystified, putting children’s minds at ease as good overcomes evil. An entertaining story educating children on the deadly worldwide virus and pandemic, yet a story that leaves
our readers filled with hope, not fear.”

 Yes, there is a lyrical cadence not only in the prose of Meenakshi Mohan but also in the illustrations of Diane Simmons, which had me absolutely captivated.

“Kali, in a fierce way, with her long black hair unbound
crackling like a crone with her tongue lolling out,
wearing the heads of all the devils around her neck,
entered the battleground dancing her wild dance.
Raktabeej [blood- seed] laughed, knowing no one could ever kill
He had the power to create and be reborn with every spill of his blood.”  

Between the two of them, they have managed to gift a literary gem to the world, filling the young and old hearts with the hope of the unfolding of a new world where not only this dreaded virus but all the viruses of hate and rancor are vanquished. 

She ends her delectable narrative with the words:

 “The Evil flew far and wide, spreading its bloated wings,
overshadowing the universe under its gloomy, grim appendage,
laughing his shrill narcisstic laughter.
The world was in his control, and people lived in his fear.
But there was a beam of light behind the dark clouds,
ready to exuberate its magnificence,
and lead the world towards the victory of Good over Evil.”   

As I closed the book, I saw a beam of light yanking away the canopy of dark clouds and sheathing me in joyous smiles.
Had the book unleashed its magic, or had Good really vanquished Evil?
 I think it was both. 
Let me congratulate the publisher, the writer, and the illustrator for this wonderful, much-needed sliver of hope.  I know all of you will love reading the book and appreciating the illustrations as much as I did. The book is available in Kindle and paper versions on Amazon in the USA and other countries.

Bio of Dr. Meenakshi Mohan:

Dr. Meenakshi Mohan is an educator, freelance writer, art critic, children’s writer, painter, and poet. She has taught at universities in Chicago, Boston, and, more recently, for Towson University in Maryland, having received several awards for her excellence in teaching from the universities where she has taught.

She has authored two children’s picture books, The Rainbow in My Room and The GiftThe Rebirth of the Demon is her third book.  She also coedited a book of poems for young children. In addition, she edited Tamam Shud, Poems of Kshitij Mohan. She is currently on the Montgomery County Library System Advisory Committee in its Potomac, Maryland branch. She is also on the Editorial Team for Inquiry in Education, a peer-reviewed journal published by National Louis University, Chicago, Illinois. As an editorial member, she reviews, edits, writes articles, does academic book reviews and editorials. She was listed twice in the Who is Who Among American Teachers.

Meenakshi lives in Maryland, USA.

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