A year has passed since The Little Light emerged from the Cosmic Womb…
“If you really want to hear about my story, you’d probably wanna start from where I was born, and what how I grew up, and how my father is such a huge pain in the neck sometimes, and all that Miss Havisham kind of crap.
Or wait, was it supposed to be David Copperfield?
Anyway, you know what? I don’t feel like getting into the details.
I have the Business World to run.”
-An excerpt from a fan-fiction piece of Planet Mercury from The Little Light
When I first laid my eyes on Dipa Sanatani’s The Little Light, I was not sure how I would like it. I think it’s the same with every new book a reader comes across. There is some level of uncertainty and hesitance coupled with an incessant excitement of plunging into the unknown. I was still getting a grasp of the story when I came across the entry of my spirit planet — Mercury.
“Mercury’s dark hair is neatly gelled. He’s wearing a spotless white shirt and perfectly tailored black pants with pointy well-polished shoes. His smile is flawless, albeit a bit fake.”
That was the moment when I took a pause and re-read the lines again. The character had my complete attention.
With creative adjectives and strong imagery, Sanatani painted vivid imagery of the character in my head. This sassy character, Mercury closely reminded me of the Greek God Hermes. From his impeccable attire to his unending knowledge about business and trades, Hermes felt like the Greek counterpart of Mercury.
I realized that I had found my favourite character in the book and there was no chance that I could keep the book down without completing it. True to my intuition, Mercury had my rapt attention throughout the book and I did not stop reading until I completed the book from front to back. And needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading every single page of the book.
With each line I read about Mercury in The Little Light, I was awed by his intelligence and wisdom. What was particularly striking about this character was that his intelligent quotient was in inverse relation to his emotional quotient. His dislike for emotions and any decision involving the usage of heart was particularly striking. That clearly demonstrated why he was so successful being in charge of the business world — he did not let any of his emotions cloud his decisions.
“Compassion? After all that we have seen, and all the ages that have gone by, how can you possibly believe that? It defies all logic.”
-Mercury, The Little Light
The idea that Mercury remained calm and composed irrespective of the circumstances reminded me of something from my high school chemistry class. Mercury is the name of a metal (also called the quicksilver). What is special about this metal is that it remains liquid even at room temperatures. That is, regardless of the external temperature, the metal exists in just one form. The same is the case with the character Mercury, who remains a constant in his identity and is not influenced by his emotions.
When he expresses himself through masculine energy, he looks like a young businessman. When he expresses through feminine energy, he looks like a medicine woman. Mercury’s domains are the mind, the intellect, and worldly intelligence. He governs the constellations of Gemini and Virgo–the outer manifestation of the rational, practical, conscious mind.”
The best part of this character is his wit and his charm. No matter which crowd Mercury finds himself in, he always manages to charm the people around him. He is portrayed as the kind of youth who has a way with words. His sharp tongue often gets him in trouble with his father, the Sun. The relationship that the father-son duo shared is not unique to us humans.
Throughout the story, there were many instances where we realize that Mercury did not think very highly of his father. He hated being under his father’s shadow and made no attempt to hide that fact. However, he did not ever let his feelings for his father ever reflect in his demeanour. He would simply put on a mischievous smile and politely nod at his father’s rants, in an attempt to irritate him.
“Are you listening to me?” the Sun asks.
“No,” Mercury replies with a secret smile. “But that never stops you from lecturing me anyway.”
-Dipa Sanatani in ‘The Little Light’
About the Author
Fareeha Arshad is a forager of meaning, a reader by passion, a writer by choice, and a scientist by vocation. The Arab born, confused Desi lives on the Persian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia with her parents and siblings, where she spends most of her time studying, teaching, writing or cooking.