Bhrigu Mahesh In searc of Damayanti

Bhrigu Mahesh In searc of Damayanti

The past few months since April have been rather hectic travelling over the weekend, I wondered if Indian railways would give me a season pass, or make me an honorary citizen. The only saving grace is it gave me ample time to read, (though writing a review has not been very comfortable)  one journey I attempted Shashi Tharoor’s latest book, but could not carry it through, that day’s mail BlogAdda offered The Return of Damayanti  now that sounded interesting.

When received the book, I was prepared for a horror story despite thriller, being its acknowledged genre..  The book however turned out to be a whodunit, where a Man Nataraj Bhakti is haunted by the ghost of his dead wife, he contacts a detective called Bhrigu Mahesh though I did not really understand what the PHD was doing with the title, if it were Doctor in Philosophy then it would PhD, so the only thing I can conclude is Pre-Historic Donkey. Jokes apart, Bhrigu comes to town for ghost bursting. He meets various people, like Mr.Bhakti’s  sibling, their spouses, their children and a childhood friend of Mr.Bhakti all of who are baits for who is the ghost… and then whodunit that killed the victim, it is definitely not Mr.Bhakti’s sister for she is the victim.

The book begins with a epilogue of a nebulous person discovering a vague manuscript of vaguer implication. The story then shifts to town which is impossible to place on the map, with first names like Nataraj and Manjunath  and a manservant who speaks English and fluent Malayalam the location being Kerala is a default conclusion, but suddenly the story moves and a reference to Patiala is made, eventually it appears that the story is set in Bihar. The author is not really proficient in creating the visual imagery of a definite kind, though the writing style is quite narrative.

The theme though on the face of it appears to be a traditional whodunit with the most unlikely person being the culprit, is actually talking of social oppression by the patriarchal society. The author present wonderful psychological insights, unlike most authors who tend to share coffee table variety of psychology. The author very casual tosses questions, on the institution of marriage. I do not know if she meant to do it, but she has actually brought a salient point of the beta-male who a pseudo-alfa is resulting in abusive of the female. She has her female characters meekly surrendering and if at all they rebel their rebellion in thwarted with undesired end result. I hope by the next book she learns to make her women succeed in what they take to achieve.

There is a character of Pundit Mishra who is quite intriguing with his knowledge of scriptures and psychology and his sadistic social experimenting, it is the result of these experiments that is narrated in the book. The character reminded me, of Iago from Othello Desdemona and Shakuni of Mahabharata. The Return of Damayanti has shades of Vyomkesh Bakshi, Agatha Christie and Sherlock homes. The concept of a master criminal who takes care of his own like Agatha Christie’s Mr. Brown or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Moriarty is represented by a character Kala Nag, who has an underground establishment not mention a dark hood that he wears and files with the coiled snake logo.

A very intriguing and interesting book. I am actually looking forward to the author’s next book for the author Ms.Nisha Singh will learn to overcome glitches, and would probably also find a good editor.  The book is published by Partridge India and the ISBN 078-1-4828-8899-7.

About Nisha Singh

PS: I have deliberately kept the storyline out since I do not want to spoil it for people who plan to read it.

The book was complimentary copy sent by BlogAdda for reviewing.  To buy on //ws-in.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=IN&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=parwatisingar-21&marketplace=amazon&region=IN&placement=1482888998&asins=1482888998&linkId=f5f5eff0d959a634e3fe022f38cbf618&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>amazon

This review is a part of the biggest <a href=”http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews&#8221; target=”_blank”> Book Review Program </a> for <a href=”http://www.blogadda.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

 

Open Sesame

Open Sesame

Thanks fellow bloggers for the amazing response to 163 Edition of Indispire.

It is definitely a non-creative mundane oft proposed query, but I wanted to look at the sense of achievement we all felt when we completed reading a book all by ourselves. Like the Command officer of the Bambolim Army Camp General Cariappa said, as he read the book he was transported, he travelled and he realized there was a world beyond the one we knew.

Early, my mother read books to me, then we shifted to comics, that was graphic so the mind really did not create its own visual. The first story book I read I think was Noddy Goes to the Fair by Enid Blyton .Enid Blyton’s books were classified as red dragon, blue dragon and one other colour for age appropriateness.

The book that gave me a sense of achievement was again by Enid Blyton it was a Famous Five book, I think it was Five on a Mystery or something I remember a green cover of the book with sketches of four kids, in red and blue shirts and a dog.  Suddenly the world was different, there was excitement and adventure out there and I realized I could escape the mundane world of homework… it was no more pencils no more books, no more teachers dirty looks.

We created our own famous group, of course we had to cross hurdles like Enid Blyton’s characters had two boys as the older kids and the girls were younger, we were the other way round, moreover dogs were not allowed, and we definitely did not want to clean up dog poop. We were vegetarians, and bread was brought only when mom was sick, so sandwiches were all imaginary. I remember picking up two Monaco biscuits placing a piece of tomato on it and pretending that we were having sandwich.

We would climb up the Mango or Jackfruit tree and pretend that it was our look out like the ones the famous five had.

Enid Blyton’s books then became a staple, the Mallory Tower series, the Naughtiest girl series, The Five Find-Outers, and  The Secret Seven oh! Yes there was one other series that I cannot remember. Then came the Nancy Drew and Hardy boys series.Eventually we outgrew them and graduated to Mills and Boon, of course, I read the Sudden series and Zane Grey too.

Today when I look back I see that Enid Blyton was racist and gender biased, yet those days she took us to a world of escape and adrenaline. There was a bonding created by the vocabulary of Enid Blyton readers, looking back it was a privileged elite group. Every Wednesday was the sacred trip to the library, we would read the comics there, and borrow a book for the week.

By the way April 2nd is the International Children’s Book Day.

The Book Rescue

The Book Rescue

Reading is a habit we picked up very early in life, my mother used to read the book for me, then slowly I began reading them myself. Eventually I have a library. Like most book-owners I have a pathological disorder, of hoarding I hate giving my books off. The maximum that I do is give them away to my nieces and nephews.

At the Annual Publishing Next conference at Goa, the publisher from Vani Prakashana, shared the screen shot of a FB post where a boy had posted, “aak pehali tankha mili, ghaar maalik to kirayi diya, maa-baap ko paise bheje, or zindagi mein pehli bhaar apneliye kitab kharida.” Books still have that status in life.

The books, they are lined up on shelves,  or stacked on a table, some still wrapped in their jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages, they look so orderly and static, then along comes the reader, opens the jacket, and it is opening the gate to an unknown city or a discovering a treasure chest, with the first word that the reader reads, he is off on a journey of exploration and discover.

Once the book is read, the fragrance fades, and dog-ears appear, the books join the vast flock of variegated feathered flock of books, wild, homeless, yet they have a charm that the domesticated volumes lack.

Some even giving them the epithet “used books” like someone else has had the best of them, and what is left is just the husk or maybe even less, as a book isn’t the one thing, the one product that is forever new, there is no such a thing as used book. Or there’s nothing as book that is being used.

Food 4 Thought Foundation provides dignity to these books, whose readers have out grown them.  They even pick the book up for you, the books are in safe haven looking ahead to a new lease, for they are sorted and sent to libraries and other places for people to read.  I met these volunteers at the Hyderabad, LitFest it was amazing to see their zest.

book santa

Musings and Meditation

Musings and Meditation

Opened Eyed Meditation authored by ShubhaVilas, published by FingerPrint publishers, is actually a compilation.

I had enjoyed the small insights Shubha vilas gave on various things in his two books on Ramayana, hence I assumed this one would be so too. But well this was kind of different.

The usual approach I have to a review is I read, the book and put it in the frame work of a hexagon but as if was doing this, I realized this is a self help book… so it is there, to help whoever asks for help. Who am I to judge and categorize the content?

That’s when I resolved to approach this book very differently from my usual synopsis, this time round I decided to focus on how did the book work for me, and mention what I found interesting.

The book opens with an impressive line up of blurbs, and a dedication to his teachers. The author walks us through his musing through 64 chapters, which to me appeared as notes, with key pointers to a sermon from Shubha Vilas actually ambled through as though ambling through a garden…

The introduction of the book begins with the author’s musing on meditation. When I muse over it, I realized we tend to forget that meditation, and the follow out of meditation is experiential and individualistic.

Like in the rendering of the Ramayana, as a footnote he would have philosophical inputs, here he has tried to match events from Mahabharata and Ramayana to get a point across. Again this relates can only happen if the reader viewed the narratives from the same point of view as the author. What really worked for me was the very crisp summary that he provides as a box at the end of each of chapter.

Some interesting take away for me from where I can work interactions are

A take on analysis, over analysis can cause paralysis of action.

A chapter on making right decisions gives interesting insights on what drives us to a decision.

Good attitude is the matter of choice

Without appreciation relationships head south and hit rock bottom.

The observation that ShubhaVilas makes about the human mind, operating and expressing through symbols, when it comes to beliefs, values and thoughts, and these symbols emerging from the cultural ethos, made great sense.

In the page 65

When it comes to self image he makes another apt observation that is it is the weak that seeks approval.

In the chapter where the author discusses the qualities that make a person charismatic, there are interesting things he talks about, though I do not fundamentally agree with the icons he has used to illustrate these qualities, the qualities in themselves are very sound –

  • Respect is one quality of a charismatic leader and respect breeds respect.
  • Put others before you, though self preservation is the primary goal according to the scriptures, a charismatic leader tends, to take people along that is create a win-win situation, or chooses to put the other before him or her.
  • Thinking out of the box and improvising is another quality of a charismatic leader.
  • Valuing one’s own contribution is also important, one need not boast, but one has to acknowledge the self, after all the world looks at us the way we look at ourselves.

While making a point, Shubha Vilas has quoted a story from the Upanishad, he has apparently come across it in the Mahabharata, the story of the sage Kaushika who burns up a crow, and when he goes to town to beg for alms, a housewife, makes him wait for it, while she completes her household chores. Just as the sage was going to curse her, she smiles and him and says, I am not the bird that you this morning. Interestingly Shubha Vilas stops the story here; he does not complete it, to where the lady directs the sage to her teacher, who happens to be a butcher.

Like the qualities of charisma, Shubha Vilas also ponders on innovation. He builds a link from informationà contemplation. àQuestion àRisk faction àconnection àcollaboration àcelebration.

Another interesting muse is on why people provoke this on page 178

How would I rate this book, well I don’t, and to who I recommend it to, this is dicey again, I would suggest that if you reach out and ask for help the book will help you. But the choice of asking for help is yours. To put it in Shubha Vilas’s words communication happens with connect and connect happens with stories.open-eyed-meditation

ISBN      9788175993907

Publisher             fingerprint publishers.com

Author:                                ShubhaVilas

Other books by the author

https://kitabikida.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/game-of-life-shattered-dreams/

https://kitabikida.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/ramakatha-and-upakatha-from-game-of-life/

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Divorceologue

Divorceologue

Divorceologue –

Book review of — Ex- FILES.

Author                  Vandana Shah

ISBN                      9700143418580

It was a vibrant interaction with the author that made me pick the book; it is candid, autobiographical and extremely humorous. The very quality of not moaning over woes… which made many in her circle envy her is the strength of the book.

Vandana has written about her journey from being thrown out of her married home to becoming India’s most successful divorce lawyer. What impressed me is an utter lack of bitterness. This very candid approach comes through in the book.

To me the book was more about Indian women, and people who advice her not to go in for a divorce reflect the various reasons why Indian women do not go there, very simply suddenly family and extended family become stakeholders in the marriage, the people who refuse to see physical wounds, start telling you how you being irresponsible and getting a divorce will affect your sister’s chance of getting married, etc. etc.

There are also candid observations of the Indian woman’s psyche and status despite all our hue and cry about equality the Indian woman becomes a non-person after marriage. Wives kind of become unpaid domestic help.

once divorce becomes inevitable, the social implications begin suddenly friends are wary because the woman is seen as a husband snatchee, Vandana here actually reassures the insecure wives that they need not worry about the potential divorcee as the court dismisses the divorce petition if the woman is caught having sex. Well wonder if what goes for goose goes for the gander?

Somehow people seem to accept a whining victim, but the minute a woman stands up to herself she becomes a bitch.

Then is the actual process of divorce which is highly complicated and lawyers are known to sell out. At the end of the day any petition is about two lawyers painting different pictures of the same story.

Recovery is a long haul, domestic violence be it physical or verbal makes the woman feel like a looser. She maps her recovery from the point where she consciously takes a decision to rebuild her life by elevating herself instead of pulling the other down. She talks of diets, particularly an idli diet which I found empathetic as I had used the GM diet during my recovery.

What really enjoyed in the writing, was the sense of humour, where refers to her ex-husband as “Paneer Boy,” her check to reality she uses,”Thapak” which creates an instant hand on face image, she calls her father-in-law “Prem Cheapda” Her emotional and financial state during the period of divorce as, “from catwalk to ratwalk”.

At a point she wonders if the judge will declare now I pronounce you unman and unwife and you may kick the…. as he delivers the divorce decree.

She deals with why she created the 360 degrees back to life support group, as she realized she could not have pulled through without the support of her friends.

From page 209 Vandana shares simple legalese on divorce.

To me whether one is going through divorce or not, it was like somebody was holding my hand and empathizing with other women who decided to make the journey from being a non-person doormat to the vibrant women we were meant to be.

Left to myself I would gift this book along with Shobha De’s spouses to every girl who contemplates either marriage or divorce.

About the author:           http://www.vandanashah.com/home.html

buy on Amazon https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B016MTXSVA/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=parwatisingar-21&camp=3638&creative=24630&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B016MTXSVA&linkId=eed87e84e53f13af8ed5ed84e6586aa6

Magic of Tidying


marie-kondo
click here to pick your copy

Three women, at shared workstation, we were catching up, with life, one student, one journalist  each at different stages of life,  while we were in conversation a fourth woman joined us, interestingly our narratives were all similar, during the conversation, the fourth girl…shared a book with us, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying.” By Marie Kondo, I did something which I do not normally do I ordered it on Amazon.

The book was definitely an eye opener, it is also quite a challenge because during my self recovery I have been a steadfast follower of the flylady the first thing Marie tells us do it one shot. What I really liked about the book, is she takes us step by step starting with the clothes,

The book walks us through the journey of Marie Kondo to being the tidying expert, she then tells us the challenge she faced in tidying up, and challenges faced by the clients through her enterprise and it does not seem to vary very much.

Then she holds our hands through the need to discard.

The sorting of things into categories, then sorting those to be kept and those to be thrown, finally storing efficiently.

She talks about ironing which kind of vibed wonderfully with me, for I love to iron and stack my clothes. Lot of things she shares in the book makes sense. Letting  go is a major need of life, but what really got me was do it one time, at stretch after which only maintained is required.

Major take away for me

  • Each day empty your purse, and thank the purse for helping you through the day.
  • Put your footwear in the designated place and thank it for serving you through the day.
  • When we buy something that we later find redundant then discard it after thanking it, for teaching you that it was not needed in your place, and thanking it for the pleasure you got in buying it.
  • Before you buy one, make sure your discard one.
  • If you have a gift that you don’t like you might just be the keeper for it to reach the right destination

I now actually understand the oriental concept of reverence, it just means, take that breathe to thank the universe for whatever resource you have used. The resource could manifest in our space like a handbag, shoe a bottle of water or what ever. Including thanking the house for sheltering you.

Guess what I have done, I have given myself a couple of days off, at the end of the year to do just that de-clutter and tidy my house. I am also sharing a video of Marie and her folding technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpc5_1896ro

marie-kondo

Move Over Bymakesh Bakshi

Move Over Bymakesh Bakshi

Byomakesh  Bakshi .. Move over the 10th Unknown is here.

Book Review The tenth Unknown debut Novel of author Jvalant Nalin Sampat. Genre is Historic thriller, ISBN978-81-89738-97-6 publishers Niyogi books

A soothing book set in the terminal stage of the British Raj. The world war is on; Hitler has laid his hands on an ancient Indian text and utilized this. The book is the first of the nine books of knowledge left behind by Emperor Asoka asking the nine unknown men to protect it.

The Germans and British are both after it. While the nine guardians are too old to protect it they nominate Prithvi Rathode to do the dirty job for them, each time Prithvi reaches the spot, he loses the book to the British agent Youdale. And the repercussions of the book manifest as the Hiroshima disaster and other major disasters of the post world war World. He also has references to the lesser known freedom fighting movements like the Ghadhar party.

The book made me realize the issues of the subcontinent has remained the same, misplaced loyalty like the officer Pandey, compliancy like the nine unknowns who became an old coffee club of senior citizens instead of guardians of a secret. There is also the pattern of not letting or hanging on, somewhere we Indians seemed to have forgotten vanaprastha.

Author holds the knowledge of nine books as the key of world disasters, and the inability of the nine defenders to defend it.  Of course the

The 9 unknowns are supposed to have supported Akbar, Shivaji, Marathas then Tippu; it was quite interesting especially when the author claims Tippu was secular when evidences are that he was pseudo-secular. The Qutub Minar is cited as the evidence of the book of alchemy.

The author has woven real people into  fiction like Robert Oppenheimer, Subhas Chandra Bose, princess Noor the granddaughter of Tippu Sultan and of course JRD Tata.

Though the author could have taken a little more care about the language I

Liked the focus pace and lack of unnecessary frills including a sickening romance.

A must read for all history buffs.

About the author—Jvalant nalin Sampat, currently distributes high end auto and home leather products, through Karlsson Leather   and owns CrossPollinate a Mumbai based CSR consultancy.  He has a major IT and a liberal arts concentration in English, from Rochester Institute of technology NY and MBA from Copenhagen business school Copenhagen

Other books on the 9 unknowns… https://kitabikida.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/an-asokan-quest/