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 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 ensuring that the visual created is on par with the era that they are talking about this is something that takes him out of the platform of mundane to the cadre of Indu Sundaresan, Anand Neelakantan, Krishna Udayshankar, and Ashwin Sanghi.

 

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.

A sparkle missing.


mountain of lightThe Mountain of Light.

Author:               Indu Sundaresan

Publisher:            Harper Collins India.

ISBN:                       978-93-5116-091-5

Genre:                  Historic fiction.

The Kohinoor,  the mountain of light as the Shah of Persia named is believed to  have been given by the Lord Krishna to devotee, from there it’s physical mention is in the memoirs of the Mogul king Babur.  It has then traversed in out of India to its final resting place in the crown of England.

The story opens in the court of Maharaja Ranjith Singh of the Punjab Empire who exacts the Kohinoor from Shah Shuja of Afghanistan for help him regain his kingdom.

Indu presents the book as a pensive of Prince Dalip Singh the son of Maharaja Ranjith Singh. Taking through the gardens of Lahore,  accession of Punjab, the boy king’s travel to London, his conversion, queen Victoria’s venture to get him married to her other protégée, Victoria Gowramma of coorg. The English attitude, of Dalip Singh being a person to be feted and petted yet unworthy to marry the ward of impoverished missionary couple who are his guardians.

What I like about Indu’s style of writing be it the Taj Trilogy or the Splendour of Silence is vibrancy, she is able to create an imagery and actually give us a voyeuristic view, she is so present in her writing through the language, life and vibrancy without being judgemental.

harpar collinsBut in the novel the mountain of light Indu is conspicuous by her absence the book ambles along like a rickety old man … factually and as a social structure she is able to sort of recreate the raj, but Indu for the first time disappointed me.

Of course there are tremendous insights into history.

about the author:  http://indusundaresan.com/Bio.aspx

book review– fuloos plays with the sun.


fuloosan interesting book by Author-Illustrator Angela Ferrao.

Published by Goa 1556

Genre children’s tale

extremely simple language, very clear illustration, I particularly liked the naughty look when the camel wears shoes.

Very effectively and subtly the story introduces the child both to the desert and the camel. The story-line in itself reminds one of the old story of the weary traveler, the sun and the wind.

currently the book is endorsed by

  • Noah 6yrs.
  • Sathya 7yrs
  • shalmali 7rs.

Love in Utopia.


khushiTitle:      I too had a love story

Author  Ravindra singh

Publisher     Penguin Metro reads.

ISBN      978-0-143-41876-4

A book about virtual romance, with imaginary situation involving people with imaginary persona’s.

If I were a three decades younger, and a first time reader I would liked the ideal romance that story presented and the oh! So touchingly tragic end would have impressed me. I would have found the language used very comfortable.

But I am not,

So were you to ask me what was the favourite part of the book to me I would say the end.

Overall, I would personally avoid the author in future he promises a sequel. But it is a great read for the metro teenage reader, or after a bad day at work when your brain is tired and sleep eludes.

I remember Mills and Boons been considered girlie books, now I am confused.

2013 challenge


<span style=”color: #382110″>my read shelf:</span><br/><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4292306?shelf=read&#8221; title=”Parwati Singari’s book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)”><img border=”0″ alt=”Parwati Singari’s book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)” src=”https://www.goodreads.com/images/badge/badge1.jpg”></a&gt;

Whispering Winds


sharath komarrajuThe Winds of Hastinapur

Author:               Sharath komarraju

ISBN                     978-93-5116-087-8

Publisher             Harper Collins

I have not enjoyed a book so much in a long time.

Krishna here’s the Queen’s rival, a bard of another kind.

The author narrates the oft sung story of Great War, but it is through the eyes of the women. Consciously or unconsciously the author has drawn deeply from the Devi Bhagawatam and the shakti cult.  The fundamental concept of Devi Bhagawatam, of eternal balance if good happens somewhere it is at the cost of negative happening elsewhere, for goddess does not play favourite, she exacts her price sometime, somewhere.

The story of Mahabharata is not the story of men, but also the story of women. It is the story of the decline of an era.  The author opens the story at a point where Ganga is cursed by the Gods for an earthly life. He takes us through the well-known corridors of Mahabharata.

Narrating the story of Ganga, he talks of the matrilineal genealogy. He has brought forth some really interesting concepts and descriptions like the description of teenaged Devrata, he does not eulogize him as embodiment of great looks, and he describes a genuinely awkward teenage boy.

The celestial lake, being energized with the energy of dead humans, another very interesting concept. The negativity of the demigods, manifesting as disease on the earth is another interesting concept. The author has every subtly used the Matsya Nyaya, or the law of the jungle more respectably called survival of the fittest.

The women Ganga and Sathyavati court their man Shantanu in a very pre-Aryan form, where women demanded sex from men, and if a man refused he sinned. The pre-puritanical acceptance of multiple partners, marriage being independent of sex and childbearing emerges through the book without apologies or justification or elaborate explanation.

Of course there were some goof ups like children of the fisher folk going to the same school because the education system then was gurukula, so going to the same school didn’t happen unless they were looking for identical skill sets. The vaishya, shudra learning happened in the months of the monsoon when work at the fields was not possible.

Bhishma here is not the glorified hero, but a king despite of not crowned one.

//kitabikida.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/harpar-collins.jpg”>harpar collinsThe concept of virginity as Sathyavati perceives it is an eye opener. “Being pure in thought and action. Being unafraid as long as your action has nothing immoral about them.”

But Sharath your story is incomplete without the story of Kunti, Draupadi, being said.

About: http://sharathkomarraju.com

My Feudal Lord.–Book review


Author Tehmina Durrani

ISBN 978-0-552-14239-7

Publishers Transworld Publishers (Corgi books)

The autobiography of Tehmina Durrani the Pakistani activist.

The book chronicles her journey from a docile protected Pakistan girl, to being the whistle-blower of the elite Pakistani society. The price she paid for it, she had to sign away all financial support, lost the custody of her children, alienated by friends and disowned by parents.

Tehmina Durrani, born to an elite Lahore family washes dirty linen in public sharing her life from being a sheltered daughter, marrying into a respectable family, having children and leading a leisurely life. Her personal demon of insecurity and the middle child syndrome shows up evidently through the book.

The book allows the reader a voyeuristic view of the domestic structure and feudal form of Pakistan. It is interesting to see the vast difference in the social environment and etiquette in the beginning of the book and its evolution towards the end of the book.

Intrigue within the family, illicit fairs, pedophilia, sibling rivalry, a conflict of tradition and the need to rebel all screams through the book on the domestic front.

She lays bare her nightmarish second marriage to Mustaf Khar the eminent Pakistani Politician without allowing him vindication. He is portrayed as violently possessive and pathologically jealous. Mustaf Khar appears to isolate her from the world outside for almost fourteen years.

The political activity at Pakistan plays an interesting backdrop. The highly westernized Pakistan elite and their dual lives is very evident

The book is definitely Tehamina’s story, with Mr.Mustafa Khar playing the Villain. When first published it shook the Pakistani society to its foundation. Here is a woman who apparently has succeeded in reconciling her faith in Islam with her ardent belief in woman’s rights.

Lif-tick lore


We were in class three, the parents day, our class was to perform the folk dance called Koravanji.

The checked cotton sari’s collected beads chains and ear hoops, colourful flowers, bells on the feet. Mothers had diligently packed the list the teachers gave and we went to school “half day” on reaching the school in “colour dress’ we were huddled into the van “according to class and height.” Finally we reached the KMC physiology auditorium where the event was to take place.

The class teacher assisted by some mothers and “Bhasha” the make-up man were busy getting ready. Our faces done and hold your breath, that bright red goovy stuff that went on our lips called the lipstick the excitement ran high. Once the lipstick was applied, we had to ensure that it stayed so we ate such that our lips didn’t touch or else our “lif-tick” would fade.

Eating the goodies was a feat that would shame the Punjabi aunties eating Golgappa at Paharganj.  The lips were at a perfect”O” through the eating valiantly we spoke maintain the”O”

There was something very enticing about the lipstick, a forbidden charm. Kajal in the eyes was acceptable but lipstick screamed “fast girls” Older girls did apply lipsticks on occasions so that they would look more dressed up than every day.

Lakme in the early 80’s went plebeian they came up with a range of nail colours of sober pinks and baby blushes which the mother’s of teenagers found acceptable. It made them feel progressive “oh! I allow my daughters wear nail polish but it has to be sober colours.” Baby blush was the colour.

Lakme went smarter still, with two nail polish you got a lipstick free, thus lipsticks landed on the dressing table of very respectable teenager.

The sheens, the coco butter one, the nudes its fun.

Once lipstick gained acceptability and respectability it has became indispensable, I remember using it as a blusher substitute, or eye shadow substitute, there were times it helped out as a bindi too, remember the original Golmaal?