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

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.

A Bard retells


aryavarta chroniclesGovinda,

Author: Krishna Udayshankar.

ISBN 978-93-5009-446-4

Genre Mythology

First of the Aryavarta chronicles, a retelling of Jaya. A mildly interesting variation of the traditional Mahabharata.

The story charts the power fight between the Fire Wrights and Firstborn. The lineage of which is chronicled in the early pages of the book. The first book of the unnumbered chronicles focuses on Govinda the prince who became cowherd and relapsed into being prince. He is addressed as Govinda Shauri.

Draupadi being the pivotal character, the standard events are presented differently. The standard characters are also unrecognizable as their traditional names have been dropped. Karna barely makes his presence felt.

The sexual tension between Draupadi-Arjuna and Karna is replaced by her fascination for Govinda, who reciprocates but does not acknowledge the feeling.

The much ignored characters of Mahabharata on television like Ashwathama, Shikhandi are strong characters in the rendering of this bard.

Does tease a contemplation to buy the next book in the series “The Fire Wrights.”

https://www.facebook.com/thearyavartachronicles

 

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.

 

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?

A Bland Buffet.


Mafia queens of Mumbai.Image

S.Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges.

Publisher Tranquebar Press

ISBN 978-93-80283-77-7

For most of us, crime is more interesting than spiritual reading.

The book is about ordinary women, and their conversion to extra-ordinary power figures in an environment that most of refuse to even acknowledge exists.

From the Doyen of Dongri to Jenabai Daaruwali, to Tarrannum Khan the dancer at the Deepa Bar who minted money on cricket the books, takes us through the lives of these women, presenting their debut into the crime-world, to their rise. Gangubai of Kamathipura, The avenging angel Sapna Didi, Simpering  gangster’s moll Monica Bedi, all present their defence. Without an attorney.

Despite the documentary like treatment the life of these women are very engrossing from a voyeuristic view.

 

Asura Tale of the Vanquished


Author:    Anand NeelakantanImage

Publisher:   platinum Press.

ISBN: 978-93-817577-05-2

First time author Anand Neelakantan, treads the murky waters of telling the tale of the Ravana, here neither Rama nor Ravana are heroes, Ravana is the protagonist.

The book is a fiction based on the stock characters from Ramayana. The tale is narrated through the Ravana and Bhadra an asura who is positioned as the darker side of Ravana. Ravana is a wannabe idealistic hero, but in Anand’s tale he is neither the personification of evil as pictured by Tulsidas nor he is the well-educated non-Aryan leader of the Jain and Buddhist tales, neither is the heroic uddata nayaka of southern folklore, Ravana here appears as a whining, looser.

The story is well presented, and the book is quite difficult to put down. The last three chapters do drag a bit.

Over all a good book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anand Neelakantan is first time author. Growing up in the temple surroundings at Kerala Ramayana fascinated Anand more so the anti-hero Ravana and his magical land. An Engineer with Indian Oil corporation  lives at Bangalore with his wife Aparna daughter Ananya and son Abhinav.

Saga of Bollywood.


ImageThe greatest show on Earth,

Publishers:                 Penguin

ISBN                         9780143416128

Edited by                   Jerry Pinto

The charmed world of Indian Cinema. With an introduction by the charming Jerry Pinto,

The book takes us through the world of Stars and the Star makers, movies and movie makers, the music and musicians, the film reporters, and the back office that creates the Movie tigers. Those who gather the spicy tit-bits of the stars and their sideshows. The book is interesting, informative and has some really spicy insights.

The relationship between Lata Mangeshkar and Raj Kapoor the movie maker and his muse who was immortalized in Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

The two sides of the movie Guide the writer and the movie maker.

Oh! Bunny Rueben I always thought was a woman, he turns out to be a man.

The mystery of Hema-Sanjeev-Jeetu and Dharam.

The book is chronicle of saga of the industry.

What is missing was the punch of Jerry Pinto’s personality.

Jerry Pinto is a Mumbai based Writer, Journalist and poet. His book Helen: The Life and Times of Bollywood H-bomb has been a national award winner for book on cinema.

Bland dish


Mistress of spices

Author: Chitra Divakaruni

ISBN: 0-385-48238-8

Publishers: Anchor Books.

The novel tells the story of the expat Indian society through the tale of Tilo the mistress of who has transcended time and is now challenged by a forbidden love.
An attempt to be magical tantalizing and sensual the tale tells the story of Tilo, the rebel, who was initiated by rite of fire to become immortal, though in a gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman, she is the ordained mistress of the ancient secret power of spices. Tilo as I said has transcended time and is now in Oakland,where she administers cures for her customers. She is now at the crossroad of having to choose between the supernatural of an immortal life and the vicissitudes of modern life,
Somewhere the novel lacks the spice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Indian born author teaches creative writing at California and has won acclimation for her work. For more about her read http://www.chitradivakaruni.com