Category Archives: fiction.

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

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

Anti- Aunts,


Dedicated to my aunts, who are very much like Bertie Wooster’s Dahlia and Agatha. But would life be without them to connive , for us, and support us on all our non Parent approved endeavors. I for one am all for Aunts.

pgwodehouseAunts Aren’t Gentlemen

Author P.G.Wodehouse

Publisher Arrow Books.

ISBN    978-0-09-951397-1

Bertie Wooster has been overdoing metropolitan life, and the doctor orders fresh air in the depths of the country. On he goes with Jeeves to a cottage at MaindenEggesford and he soon finds himself surrounded by aunts, the redoubtable aunt dahlia, and an aunt of Jeeve’s in action to too. With this is a hypersensitive race horse, a royal cat, a bossy fiancée and Jeeves of course handles everything with aplomb, aunts’ country and madness.

About The Author http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._G._Wodehouse

The Inimitable Jeeves


jeeves-1

The Inimitable Jeeves

Author P.G.Wodehouse

Publishers Arrow books.

From the stables of P.G.Wodehouse another’ Bertie Wooster and Jeeves’ horse. This novel has a cocktail of Aunt Agatha the abominable ancestor, Bingo Little his seven loves and a formidable uncle. Bertie takes on the identity of Rosie.M.Banks gets involved with Honoria Glossop the entire ruckus is smoothed out by the inimitable Jeeves.

The Rozabal line Kho-Kho


book review-rozabel lineBook review

The Rozabel Line,

Author Ashwin Sanghi(Shawn Higgins)

Publisher: westland co.

ISBN 978 -93-81636-82-5

Genre_ theological thriller.

A book that talks of the missing years of Christ. His supposed visit to India and Kashmir. The book leans strongly on Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code. It is written along the same lines, playing Kho-kho.

A beautiful assassin, Lashkar a Talashar the army of 13 round the world.  Executions resembling the death of Christ and his apostles,

A Hindu astrologer who predicting the potential end of the world. In Tibet a group of Buddhist monk in search of a reincarnation, they seem to be looking for the son of God. Strife-torn Kashmir, the tomb of Rozabal a riddle that parallels  the Rosaline line and grail trail. A riddle that begins in Jerusalem and is answered at Vaishno Devi.

Past life regression, secret societies etc.

We are in US, -Kho- off to Japan—kho –the Christian mythology – khothe pre church mythology—kho—Hinduism – kho – Buddhism – kho—Gnostic gospels – kho – priory the Sion – kho – Opus Dei – divine feminine – kho – kho—kho and game over.

There is no clear-cut protagonist. Except maybe the documents of the descendents of Christ, and the a document by a Portuguese inquisition chief to prove that Christ was not crucified by died peacefully at Kashmir.

If one was to believe Sanghi , then Kashmir is filled with expart Jews from the era of Christ. He works round the Christ-Krishna connection. He stretches St.Thomas and his work in Kerala. Suddenly he goes to northeast India.

Overall a good read as long as one is able to keep track of the skeletal story line.

About the author: this is Ashwin Sanghi’s debut novel after which he has written two more The chants of Chankya and the Krishna Key. An entrepreneur by profession Ashwin Sanghi ‘s hobby and passion is writing historical thrillers. Official website http://www.sanghi.in

DADly Desserts


Consequences book shelf

A novel by Nigel Fernandes

Publishers     Goa 1556

ISBN               978-93-80739-62

An interesting Whodunit by Nigel.

The tale of a vigilante, we are told of a group that is out to get unpunished drunken drivers of the Page 3 kind.  Sameer Khan a hybrid of the Khan clutter of Mumbai, filmdom is the poster boy.

Various characters traverse the plots like the Mysterious Mr.X. the ambitious media reporter Shereen Dutta, who sometimes spells her name as Shireen Dutta. A diligent cop, a concerned body-guard Rambo, his mentor Mr.Singh, The family bonding of the Khan’s is well presented, a gentle ribbing between the siblings, the quiet strength of the father. None of the characters hog too much of the limelight. Not even the Khan.

Nigel has interestingly used the standard procedure of media when an eyeball grabber occurs, a panel discussion. But he omitted the perineal Mahesh Bhatt who is the mouthpiece of cinema-scenario debates. The reference of Savitha Bhabhi, the most popular online Bhabhi. Very interesting.

The discussion of the subtle difference between section 306A and 306II the concept of DAD I did try googling StopDAD. But could not find it even on page 2’

A good read, but somewhere I felt, the experience was incomplete. Maybe I would have liked a bit more punch, a dash of spice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR; Nigel is born and educated in Mumbai, Nigel Fernandes has been living in New Zealand for the last six years, An MBA from Auckland University of Technology he is a freelance marketing and media specialist. When he is not writing he promotes wind surfing.

 

The quest For the Syamantaka


the krishna keyThe Krishna Key

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Publisher: Westland Ltd.

ISBN: 978-93-81626-68-9

From the writer of Chants of Chankya.

The book is about the quest of the mythical Symanthaka gem of the Mahabharata times. The books uses the flexibility of Sanskrit language and the ekam saddah, vipro bahuda vidante that is the truth is one, but scholars interpret differently in great versatility.

The various thoughts and historical debates on Krishna are well used.

The author rightly points the absence of Radha in Bhagawatam and claims she makes an entry in the Gauda sampradaya, however, Radha debutes in the Hindu faith as Nalla Pennu in Sangama literature; she evolves to a deified icon with Jayadeva Geeta Govinda. Incidentally the evidence of Gautama Siddhartha being the Buddha also debuts through the poetry of Jayadeva.

Another interesting word play Ashwin uses is the Gau- in Sanskrit, by the way Ashwin Gaurakshakestra, is not the root for Goa, but Gaumantaka Kshetra was.

The Star of David, the shadkoni, the two equilateral triangles placed one over the other in opposite direction, the ultimate truth of the universe, the ultimate creative energy, the fusion of male and female, Shiva and Shakti. If Dan Brown revolved the quest for the Grail round this, Ashwin has made this one of the key’s to find the Symanthaka.

However the promised Kalki, the poor little rich boy remains in the background without much of presence as a character.

Excerpts from Mahabharata, is an interesting lead, though misleading most of the times.

Over all a great reading. I had enjoyed chants of chankya, I like this too, and the author’s story telling craft had definitely improved. However Mr.Sanghvi, physicists are comfortable with philosophy and mythology, but Historians are not equipped to deal with the research protocol of genetics and physics.

About the author: Ashwin Sanghi is a Mumbai based entrepreneur by profession but writes historical fiction in the thriller genre. He has had his education in Mumbai and holds a master’s degree from Yale. He is currently working on his PhD. Website. http://www.sanghi.in.

 

Chaiwallah…


indibloggerThe tower of silence

Author: Phiroshaw Jamsetjee Chevalier “Chaiwala”

Publisher  Harper Collins

ISBN978-93-5029-637-0

Being house bound with the rains, this monsoons seem to herald the beautiful narrative writers, who allow the readers to create their visuals, first Belinda, then Jessica Now Phiroshaw JamsetJee Chevalier

I would like to be in an old musty library with a chaiwallah vendor outside, the rains to get 100% of this book, I am at 95, sitting at my window, hurdled, sipping the green tea and feeling the rain breeze.

The book to me, presented two quests, first of Gyan Prakash, in the quest of Phiroshaw Jamsetjee Chevalier ‘Chaiwala’ where we get the glimpse of dying Parsi community trying to maintain its uniqueness, the underlying resignation, none of which is ever presented in Hindi movie that is supposed to be Parsi centric.  Once the quest is complete Gyan Prakash presents the novel.

The book is a thriller, must have been very contemporary in the era when it was written. Today it appears quaint. A pune which is long gone and Bombay in its dying days, the book takes us to the colonial India.

indiblogger sexton blakeThe protagonist a Parsi Vigilante Beram, is out to avenge the violation of the communities privacy by a photographer, and Sexton Blake is out to outwit him. Disguise, intrigues, plots and counter plots the book is interesting. For Sexton Blake the favourite detective from yesteryear this is a come back with one his greatest challenges yet.

The writer Mr.Chaiwala, being a Parsi himself reveals, the community in its internal form a community of faith, purity, borderline fanaticism, and morbidly private. The thriller moves from Britain to Burma, the other Indian communities like the Hindu’s and Muslims are mentioned in passing, referring to a background of Gandhi a movement only fixes the chronological dates without otherwise contributing to the story line.

Over all an interesting read.

Mr.Gyan Prakash looking forward to a novel that shares your quest for The Chaiwala.harpar collins

About the author: Phiroshaw Jamsetjee Chevalier Chaiwala—please go through Mr. Gyan Prakash’s manuscript, Mr. Gyan Prakash is a historian of Princeton University who stumbled on part of the this unpublished manuscript in the British library, he then diligently scourged through the libraries’ and archives of Mumbai and the Parsi community to bring forth this publication.

book review–Belinda’s chronicles..


the cry of the kingfisherBelinda’s chronicles..

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye

Haa! J.D.Salinger, I can do this, to Belinda’s book.

The cry of the Kingfisher

Author Belinda Viegas

Publisher Goa 1556

ISBN 978-93-80739-13-7

Being the excellent storyteller that she is, Belinda  carries us through  a journey of thoughts, fears, and insecurities, of three women, from different social milieu of goa. Battling their demons, and slaying their insecurities.

What I really like about the book, is the reflective flow that is the undercurrent, there are no villains, no saviours, but the characters themselves.  Despite the tremendous scope for dramatizing the author has restrained allowing the reader to be a non judgemental observer.

Donna the destiny’s darling, yet craving for acceptance. Succorina the unwanted changeling, Mayola  who emerges from the shadow of a more aggressive extrovert sister. Their parts entwine, they grow, explore and accept themselves through a journey of self discovery.

Dr,Belinda ViegasBelinda has applied her experience as a psychiatrist honestly and courageously without dramatizing excessively. Woven her memories of Nairobi, Germany, and the very adventure driven life she has had.

About the author: A psychiatrist whose alma mater is St,Johns Bangalore, she spent her childhood at Nairobi, after marriage a stint in germany and Australia. Now based in Goa, she juggles, Psychiatry, motherhood, cycling, sailing, trekking and writing. Belinda is also a trained Mountaineer.

Coffee, Bhajji’s Rains and Afterlife.


afterlife

Author: Jessica Falerio

Publishers Rupa and co,

The author takes us through the familiar scenario of family gatherings, affectionate teasing. Family gossip which is nothing but oral history of the family. Some Ghostly encounters opening up discussions on paranormal. How everyone or someone who everyone knows has an identical or parallel experience.

Every day simple language, yet elegant.

Rains , coffee, bhajjas, and the book afterlife, you could be in your family gossip session. There are small surprises like a priest and exorcism,  an affair between a priest and a  Portuguese aristocrat resulting  the Fonseca family tree, a menacing shadow presence.

Something that causes a jolt like it happens at all family gatherings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: the debut of Jessica Falerio, an MA in creative writing from Kingston University UK. She is a nomad and writes on travel between her articles for The Times of India, Crest edition.

A REQUEST TO THE AUTHOR Can we have full romance of Raoul, and Clarinda with Tomas and the Inquisition in the subplot?