Category Archives: book review

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.

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

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.

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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.

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.

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.

The 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.

: http://sharathkomarraju.com

 

Link to buy the book