Our Common Saxophone.–Documenting the Grey


ektaAuthors Neeraj Solanki and Ekta Bhandari.

Publisher APK Publishers.

ISBN 9789381791295

A collection of stories and poems by Neeraj and Ekta.
The stories explore the grey areas of human mind, and situation. There are 21 stories and 16 poems.
I have to be honest poetry is not my forte so I did not venture.
The stories were however quite interesting. Basically in third person narrative one got the impression missing the action. The twist in killing the maid, though predictable did deliver the pat, though not the punch. The Three Teddy’s was an interesting tale to me reflected the society today, which is uniformity. The Beast Within does have a great potential of becoming a full-fledged novella. So does the Fragrance of a Night’s stand.
I did feel like I was peeking into an author’s idea-map for future novels. The few conversations in the narrative made me wonder if they were written in Hindi and a translate button was hit.
I am actually looking forward for these stories to grow into full novels. The Killing and the fragrance of a night stand particularly.
About The Authors.
Ekta Bhandari born in Jabalpur Madhyapradesh an engineer and management person by training is a passionate blogger. She has contributed to the Chicken soup for the teen soul and chicken soup for the Indian soul books by Westland publication.
Neeraj Solanki is software engineer by accident he claims, a kathak dancer and writer. He runs his own Kathak institute –Nrtyam the Kathak studio Our common saxophone is his first tangible publication.

Inspired by Gulzar


The platform is ready

The platform is ready

Uttejana a poet’s meet as a curtain raiser to the Goa Art and Literary Festival (GALF). I had peeked into the first event couple of months back and there were hardly ten members there. This time round the room was  packed.

The theme poet was Gulzar, his poetry translated to English and then to Konkani the poems were recited. The organizers had taken the trouble that every person in the room rendered a poem even though some of them had ambled in like me.

The crowd was diverse in age though younger than thirty seem to rule the roost.

Each reader was definitely a Gulzar fan and had/ read him and internalized hits poems to quite an extent. The rendering came right from the heart.

The organizers were very meticulous the poems were printed in advance and most of the registered participants had received their poem in advance.

so are the poets

so are the poets

Some recitations that really enjoyed was Dr.Bhikkaji Ghanecar, Suveena Palekar and Nayana Ahalekar. Of course to me the best was Gautam Gaude who was totally lost in the poetry, he was experiencing every word that he was reciting.

Am glad tha GALF and, Konkani lekhakh sangh, Konkani Sahitya Akademi,and  Saraswati Mandir have come out with this lovely idea. A great way to bring together a community of poetry lovers.

Follow up event

20th June Saraswati Mandir.sorry missed out on the time.

Memories-philosophies and kites


A book review.

Title:   The Kite flyers

Author;           Dr.Sharad Paul

ISBN 978-93-5029-617

 Publishers     HarperCollins India.

The rather sad looking cover of a kite on flight, the title and author’s name I was expecting an another rural Gujarat story with the partition saga thrown in between. I was pleasant surprised to the dedication to my surrogate language Tamil.

The story is begins autobiographically in the first chapter cool cut—set   in the back drop of MGR’s regime.  Where MGR is the saviour of the Tamils from the onslaught of crude loud Hindi invaders. The gradual deification of MGR creeps very subtly through the story.

 Barbers the traditional news reporters and storytellers to the Kings. The tradition has it that the Barber would narrate two stories one true and one made up. The Barber protagonist Kumar adhere’s to this tradition. A lovely quote here “we dream in Tamil, it is a quiet language” as the author is a journalist, the Barber tells him his own story.

This is a very interesting concept that is usually used in Indian stories, that is a listen and a story teller, the listener then shares the story with the world.

The Kiteflyers of KAKAPI  celebrate their open air school and identify with the freedom that they share with kites.  Another very symbolic southern concept flying a kite is letting your dreams and aspiration free and sharing it with the universe. The story now introduces the triad of Kumar-Lakshmi- Raman; the story draws an interesting conclusion that parents of single children are not happy that’s why they have only one child.

The territorial division of labour in the male and female context, Raman’s journey to Madras, his kidnapping and castration to be converted to eunuch the trauma and gradual acceptance is the theme of The Descend into Nightmare. The abuse of the eunuch’s by society and the eunuch’s retaliation are recorded in the subsequent stories.

In the later stories the kite becomes inspiration, for Kumar to go in search of Lakshmi, for Raman to who is now Ramani to escape the dark world of eunuchs. The meeting of Lakshmi and Kumar, their marriage, the meeting of Ramani and Kumar, finally Kumar and Ramani setting their own Barber’s shop.

Of course the tale has to return to the starting point, so the author throws in the government that clamps down the school at KKP Kumar rescue’s the teacher Gowrie who relocates to Chennai with Kumar and Ramani. With the help of another student they restart a school at KKP in memory of Gowrie who passes away before it is realized.

Some interesting inputs are the author’s fascination for the eunuch Ramani, MGR winning his wife Janaki in a game of cards though not necessarily gelling with the story flows along.

The untouchability issue is also touched upon in the dealings of the government official with Gowrie.

There were some phrases that really got me like “drawing is a line on a journey““a kite can fly against the wind not with it”  “teaching is a method of arousing curiosity” all rendered through the character Gowrie.

The book ends with the author sharing the recipe of Lakshmi’s famed burfi’s. Well doc, if you had really got the recipe from Lakshmi, the measures would be in cups, there would be no pistachios or almonds, it would have cashew nuts, saffron would be red colouring.

Over all an interesting read. Slow paced and entrenched in a dying Tamil tradition.

The book was given with compliments of Harper Collin for reviewing.

Mimasa


mimasa

Mimasa

 
This post is a fortnight late in its arrival.

But the Institute of Menezes Braganza Panaji, has begun a new endeavour on literature.

Mimasa – is to analyze, scrutinize, assimilate which was what this platform is all about, understanding ,sharing and growing.

The decision is to meet once in a fortnight to discuss a book or an author.

It was quite interesting to see almost 50- 60 people assemble on a Sunday afternoon to discuss an Hindi author.

DSCN8064The book on discussion was Khara-paani written by Jayashri Rai-Harmalkar who is a Goa based author in Hindi. The book works around the bewildered Ethnic Goan society with the change in the socio-economic dynamics. I cannot share more than this since I have not read the book.

Maybe we can begin to let the country know that the Goa is more than beach, and booze, it is where the changing zones and cultures are recorded. The fabric is tapestry of Konkani, Portuguese, Marathi, English and Hindi.

 

An Asokan Quest.


the mahabharat secretThe Mahabharata Secret.

ISBN                      978-93-83202-31-7

Publishers           Om Books International.

The book   The Mahabharata secret is a fiction. Set in contemporary thriller format

Occult-lore talks of brethren of nine secret men created by the great Mauryan emperor Asoka. They were the keepers of the knowledge that could destroy mankind. The lore’s have it eminent scientists like Jagadishchandra Bose and Vikram Sarabhai were part of the nine. Reminds one of the

The story opens with a prologue in the Mauryan period the emperor and his lieutenant protect the dark secret of Mahabharata.

The story then moves to contemporary period, and the treasure hunt for the hidden begins with the death of Vikram Singh the last of the nine. The events of unrevealing this quest are spread over 12 days begins at a royal residence in Jaungarh if it is related to the junagarh was founded in by the Mauryans and is rich in Buddhist heritage artefacts.  A nuclear scientist is killed, his last message to his nephew, forces the nephew on a quest to discover the secret guarded by nine.

The story travels a geographic terrain from the Bamiyan Buddha’s to Barbar caves in Bihar. From 244 BC to current day in time. A conspiracy theory involves a Rajput king turned politician, Bheem Singh, an American Vice President, a European power gatherer, a Taliban scientist on one end and the Intelligence Bureau on the other, both nudging and manipulating the protagonist Vijay Singh, and his companions through the quest.

The quest in itself is like a very childish treasure hunt which most of us can see through. He presents potential suspects pretty well. The uses Mauryan history and archaeology extensively. Though I am skeptic  Mauryan edifice in Kharoshthi which is a later Magahi dialect unlike the Magahi used during the Mauryan times.

The occult lore has it that there is a mountain that bestows knowledge if one meditated on it, the author explains it by placing  subaltern library there.  The concept of sathya and Mithya from the Bhagawat Gita where there is illusion, and truth and most people who cannot see beyond the inscribed words stay ignorant of the knowledge that it imparts or even the information that the inscription hands.

Over all a fairly good book, not unputdownable yet fairly interesting. It would entice an inquisitive reader to set on a less traversed journey of Indian history and Indian sacred lore. Like priory Sion, and illuminati keepers of knowledge in other traditions. The forgotten trail of Asokan edicts are well mapped.

About The Author:          http://www.christophercdoyle.com

Mother Goose.


mother gooseTo me 1st of May is one of the greatest days, it introduced me to my surrogate mother, who nurtured me into a wonderful world.

1971 my mother returned from England after a years stay. To be honest it did not mean really very much expect that I did not have to play mother surrogate to my brother. She had brought couple of clothes, and I think toys they were fine, but the best thing she brought was a gift from her Landlady.

The landlady’s kids had out grown their books, so she gave amma the whole lot of them. The golden Nightingale, a book on cars for my brother, Cinderella,  my own favorite ones were my first English dictionary, Here’s London and ‘mother goose’ who killed jack Robbins, London bridge is falling down, so many more. I must have read and re-read them until the pages came apart.

As we grew into preteen and went to Manipal Junior College it was the advent of Mr..Bhaskar Rao, with all disdain he told us, that mother goose poems were not in the least bit of kids level.  If one listened to him the poems entrapped deep racial and political implications. Of course at that age we all were revolutionaries and we shook the roots of the establishment, so we sprouted whatever Mr.Rao told us that are…

Goosy-goosy ganderà spoke of a romance between, the queen and Lord Oliver Cromwell,

Ring a ring a roses à about the great plague or London fire… I do not recollect very much.

London bridge  à about the weak bridge that kept collapsing and that my fair lady referred to the mistresses of the sailors and workmen, or the women who solicited the workmen and sailors. Now we didn’t really know what the word soliciting meant, but we did share this ideology freely and loudly … I guess you can visualize its impact on our image.

Pea’s porridge that talked lot of sense.  Each poem he came up with a dark underlying message that fascinated the teenage imagination.

As one grows older one discovers that its white and black, it grey, there are interpretations and context. But who was mother goose, my book had the cover of a plump women, on a gander, with appointed chin and beak nosed, her eyes sparkling and a smile on her lip quite in contrast to the sour “Mother Hubbard” or the “harried old woman of the shoe” though the American press would like us to believe that it is a woman called Elizabeth vergoose,.  John Newbery was inspired by Charles Perrault’s collection of fairy tales called Contes De Ma Mere I Oye . the original title being Mother Goose Melodies, Or Sonnet Of The Cradle.

The book was first published in 1760 and has sold 3,600,000 copies of hardcover to the day. Illustrations meta morphing with each generation of illustrator. Mother goose, must have opened the imagination of generations of kids.

Here’s to the nanny who put countless kids to sleep with her Wee Willie Winkie.

The Forgotten Treasures of India.


treasure of kafurThe treasure of Kafur.

Title:                      The Treasure of Kafur

Author:                                Aroon Raman,

Publisher             Panmacmillan.co.in

ISBN 978-9-382-61612-2

 

Most Indian Historic novels are rooted in the Mogul history. At the most they stories from the Rajput kitty. Other kingdoms and their stories are forgotten.

The kings, their Hindu subjects, are acknowledged the Jains and Buddhists forming other communities of the secular pre-raj India remain vastly forgotten. Knowingly or unknowingly Aroon Raman has evoked the memory of a forgotten secular pre-mogul, pre-British India. Where Buddhism and Jainism were religions to reckon with and not mere appendages of Hinduism. The protagonist is deeply inspired by the Buddha.

Here is a writer that acknowledges that there were kingdoms south of Vindhya’s that were rich, vibrant and looted by kings before the Moguls.

The story opens with a prologue of Malik Kafur looting the south hiding the cache for a future date in the forest of Jetavana; this is observed by a Tortoise.

The current story is the story of Datta, the last keeper of the secret of the treasure of Malik Kafur, who learns this from his grandmother Ambu. The wealth is coveted by Baig, for it would fund his army against Akbar.

 

The author claims this is a piece of fiction supported by research for the characters, which is pretty evident  in Mann Singh the Rajput  vassal of Akbar, Rana Pratap, Inayat Khan, his son Dilawar  the Taarak Tantric, all from the Mogul period. The author Aroon has set the story against the back drop of Asif Baig trying to wrench the Kingdom from Akbar.

The hero Datta has empathy with birds and can communicate with them as he can with the animals, he is the child of nature. This is presented in such a matter of fact way, it is refreshing. His friendship with the Dilawar the son of Inayat Khan and the Princess of Amber very beautifully brought out.

 

Sheherzade the exotic bird guide gifted by the Sufi saint Aulia. Emperor Akbar is here is a listener, wise, street smart, adventure seeker and risk taker.

 

The book is well written fast paced clean language with just the required amount of  spice without being a boring gossiping narrative.  A definite skill that I would like to acknowledge in Aroon, which I have experienced in very few contemporary writers is, his ability to ensure that the visual created is on par with the era that they are talking about. This is that  something that takes him out of the platform of mundane to the cadre of Indu Sundaresan, Anand Neelakantan, Krishna Udayshankar, and Ashwin Sanghi. Please note that Amish Tripati is not included in this elite.

 

Definitely enjoyed book and looking forward to more from this author.

 

About the author:Aroon Raman is a Bengaluru based author, his research and innovation company works in material science he has won critical acclaim for developing scientific talent in the grass root level. To know more please  visit http://www.aroonraman.com

Seein’ is creatin’.


Shakti Gawain, the Guru of Creative Visualization.

Shakti Gawain, the Guru of Creative Visualization.

Creative visualization – use the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life.

Author: Shakti  Gawain.

Publisher:        Nataraja Publication a division of New world Library.

ISBN:  978-1-57731-229-1

The book takes holds the hand of the reader to guide them into a world of exploration, and understanding the tuning to the universe. There are exercises in book, that helps us face the disconnect within us, and connect to the greater universe.

To a person who has attended the creative visualization it is like a ready reckoner to Shakti’s philosophy and thought process.

For those on a journey of self understanding, healing and connecting to the universe it is an excellent guide.

If you are into actually practising this as mode of self-healing then this book should ideally be followed by the creative vision workbooks.

Thank You Asma D’souza. www.personally.in  for this book, it is a precious gift.

A dilemma of choosing between a Glorious Past and Grave future


The Book Club at the Book store.

The Book Club at the Book store.

A book shop,

Broadway book house where we book-worms come out on the third Thursday of every month, to share our crumbs.

Sometimes we get to meet the cook, here was one such occasion.

Authors, readers interact

Authors, readers interact

 

Here was an interaction with author Mr.Raghuraman Trichur whose book Redefining Goa was published by Goa 1556. I have not read the book, but the topic did sound interesting.

But what did come across to me during the entire interaction were the potential areas where we need to look at culture. More interestingly the unique identity of Goa, well coming to think of it, until 1961 Goa was pretty uninvolved with rest of India, since rest of India had a common master in the Brits, there is a semblance of commonality and a pretence of cultural unity. Mr.Trichur claims to have worked on a skeleton on the Goan society based on the path of Merchant capital history through which he could further look at various anthropological journey.

awaiting the author

awaiting the author

But as the conversation went to Mundkar- Bhatkar issue, I found that the issues that coastal Karnataka is grappling with are identical.  The absence of the peasantry and the peasant history, again as advocate Albertina Almeida pointed would not be found in the annals of academician but would be in alternate documentation which are not really acceptable to the academic elite.

This entire dialogues that have been happening with Dr.Romilla Thapar, or Mr.Trichur, or Dr.Gadgil there is a subcutaneous thought that nationalism as it was and is perceived is colonialism in its own self. This according to Mr.Trichur includes the tourism for, with the advent of tourists, the peasantry directly engaged with the tourist, which translated to direct income that was free of the landlord.DSCN8018

When we talk of social issues they are all interrelated, be it the right of a family to live in their hereditary plots, women’s issue, and the issue of non-goan takeover of the beach belt. These are multilayered interwoven issues. Well it did sound very interesting

There were participants who could actually point lacunae’s the disconnect, the un-addressed issues of Goa. That was heartening I could hear the potential for three more books. :)

goa1556The most elegant aspect …yes elegant of the evening  was Jason Keith, very apt, kept the flow managed the interruptions without being offensive, aggressive or condescending.

Maybe I shall borrow the book and read it.