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.

Chronicle of a shared kind.

pitto's worldPittho’s world

ISBN 978-81-7223-934-3

Author Murtaza Razvi

Publisher Harper Collins:

About Murtaza Ravi (1964-2012)

The introduction to Murtaza Razvi on the title page of the book says 1964-2102, I do not know if it is in competent proof reading or a reflection of the author’s agelessness.

The book opens in the not so perfect of Shieku and Rani.  Set in the changing society of Pakistan.

The novel is at a much laid back pace allowing the reader to visualize, contemplate and to a certain extent even experience the book.

The book could be the experience of sixties born person in the big fat neighborhood of Pakistan that is what the author calls us! Through the book the author recreates the character of cities and towns.

The describes the celebration of Nauroze the Persian new year a celebration that went on for 13 days, one colour for each day until all the thirteen colours were covered. To me nauroze was the festival of the Parsi community and was divorced from Islam.

As Shieku presents his lineage linking him to the Persian Syed’s he talks of his Nani, the maternal grandmother. She would probably be as old mine, as he describes her penchant for smoking Craven’s cigarettes, I remember my own grandmothers more liberal view than my mothers, who like Shiekhu’s mother is all about being the conventional Hindu daughter-in-law.

The book is memoir of a fading genteel Pakistani life to the more aggressive and ugly way of life inspired by America. The more westernized open lifestyle of Karachi Muslims, at people has the tendency of hating the majority who rule.

The author talks about a pre-independence Bangladesh, which was East Pakistan, where his father started his career. With the Bangladesh becoming independent there was the second influx to Pakistan, and an interesting observation that he makes here, the way people tended to hate the majority who ruled.

Another really relevant observation is seen in the story Uncle Tom and Gavi, that the concept of wife is basically a governess who doubles a wife.

In the memoir of Lala’s death he talks of how city life and education has taken away our more tolerant and natural response and reaction.

When talking of the big bad city of Karachi focuses on the subtle observation of a so called tolerant society, and how people inquired about religious, ethnic, political affiliation before fraternizing, use of words that subtly differentiated the Muslims from non-muslims.  Returning to roots is also unsettling as the familiar is familiar but yet unfamiliar.

Pittho’s  is just a symbolic representation of a bygone Pakistani society, Murtaza uses the traditional storytelling technique of introducing the character before letting him or her manifest, like he talks of Lala in Pittho’s world and gives his story in Lala’s death.

The book is a reflection of changing moral and ethical values resulting in a changing society. Sheiku’s experience at college. The college at Lahore addressed its students as “Great Ravians” by the faculty which he claimed was very empowering he actually uses a similar notice one from Lahore and one from Karachi College and brings out the difference.

harpar collinsThe book reaches its end, with the islamization of Pakistan which the author credits to CIA. And the transition of a tolerant, gender equal open society to a gender segregated closed society. Suddenly the Sari which as a favourite wear of the Pakistan woman became Hinduà that is Indian. Good morning and goodbye were replaced by Khuda hafiz and assalm aleikum.

As Murtaza Razvi says “I have nothing to talk about all has been said.” The book is the collective tale of the subcontinent.

The book was a complimentary copy sent by Harpar Collins for reviewing.

Thus began a partnership.

Carry on Jeeves

Author P.G.Wodehouse

Publisher: Arrow books.

ISBN: 978-0-09-951369-8

The beginning of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves bonding. The book begins at the very beginning when Jeeves entered Bertie’s life. The book runs through series of short stories where Bertie learns to gracefully accept Jeeves services.

From the moment Jeeves performs his first ever duty to Bertie that is to cure him of a hangover evolves one of the funniest, sharpest and most touching partnerships in English literature.

The book runs references to other stock characters created by Wodehouse like Earl of Bandings and Galahad Threepwood

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

The Inimitable Jeeves


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.

Read along

ImageThe Golden Gate

Author:Belinda Viegas

Publisher Goa 1556


The Golden Gate and other stories is a collection of three stories  where the author has used contemporary settings, to impart traditional values, The Golden Gate is a story of being kind and good. Follow Me a journey of life, where the child realizes that material comfort is not the only thing in life.  A Wondrous Carpet that came to life with each deed that brought Lydia joy because of her kindness.

The book is well written in simple language, and gives a lot of scope to read out to a younger child. Helping to create vivid pictures and imagination. I could see  a visual of a mother with her curled with her kids and reading to them.

What I liked best was the ideology is very subtly told. It fills in the void left by Chandamama.

I would definitely recommend it to mothers who read to their little kids. And early independent readers.

Maybe in the next print the publishers can consider making it totally graphic, I mean pictorial.

About the author: Belinda Viegas is a psychiatrist currently living and working in Goa. She is also the author of The Cry of the Kingfisher and Goa Maaza.

Thank You card from Belinda's readers.

Thank You card from Belinda’s readers.

DSCN7972 DSCN7973 DSCN7974 DSCN7975

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

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.


Coffee, Bhajji’s Rains and 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?