Drab debut.– Paradise Towers


Author:                Swetha Bachchan-Nanda

Publisher:            Harpar Collin India

ISBN                     978935303157

I have always been a HarvanshRai Bachchan fan.  I had quite enjoyed the soul curry by Amitabh Bachchan.  When Women’s Web invited me for the book release and I could not make I was rather disappointed.

Unfortunately I never read Ms.Bachchan-Nanda’s column. If I did I probably would have been more cautious.

Is like trying on the hat to emerge as a celebrity in her own right. It was modelling, well that seemed to fall flat, now the book and a clothes line. Hope she has better luck with the clothes line, than she has with cleaning the dirty linen of the residents of Paradise Towers.

Published by Harper Collins I assumed there would be a reasonable level of quality.  Well the language was decent I shall not deny it.

Like the synopsis said the book is about the residence of Paradise Towers an apartment building in central Mumbai.  In fairness Ms.Bachchan-Nanda tries to be inclusive both of the genre of story and the characters.

The story opens with the fastidious Mrs. Kapoor conversing with her mother. The Nosy Mrs.Mody who peeks into people’s life with a pair of binoculars. There is the gossipy Mrs.Kapoor her Muslim friend. A voyeuristic Mrs.Mody.  To this community come an NRI Punjabi family with teenage kids. There is a shy girl next door.  With this fabric like true Indian tail wanting to please all

The wannabe romance is taken care of by the Romance between Laila and her Hindu boyfriend. But all is set right by the two of them eloping and the parents accepting the couple in the true Hindi movie style.

Teen romance between the shy girl next door I have forgotten her name, and the NRI boy.

A thriller when the domestically abused Mrs. Rangnekar is revealed to be ferrying counterfeit notes.

A wannabe murder mystery in solving how did Mrs.Mody die mystery.

Paradise Towers does not allow the reader into the community because the author has not introduced us to her characters; I neither know Mrs. Kapoors first name nor her friends.

paradise towers
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However there is an interesting observation that Ms.Bachchan-Nanda makes “police in uniform is noticed, but a lift man in the same uniform remains unnoticed.”

The blurbs Mr.Karan Johar and Priyanka Khanna are rather misleading. Hope Ms.Bachchan-Nanda has more success in her next outing. I have to redeem myself.

 

 

 

An Indian Platter


Flavours of nationalism,

ISBN   9789387693661

Publisher Speaking Tiger.

The International Centre Goa has periodic book releases and conversations with the authors. I love attending these lectures, Ranjit Hosakotti and Nandita Haksar being few authors that I love reading. So when the invite came I jumped at it.

Though the conversation made feel that the much traveled Lady was trying to whip up a Thali

Nandita Haksar has a tag line to it, recipes for love, hate and friendship. The book is a collection of essays on her Pan Indian life and her life as the daughter of a diplomat patronized by the Nehruvian regime also speaks through.

The first essay on the meat eating kashmiri Brahmins, she refers to them as downstairs Kashmir where Kashmiriyat was diluted with the merging of Delhi culture into it. Some things that struck me in the essay was.

  • Kashmiri Pandits are meat eating but did not eat garlic and onion.
  • Mangoes were not indigenous to Kashmir, so there are no mango recipes.
  • Also when people dine to together some smells could cause problems.

Nandita talks of the gradual erosion of the elegant UP influenced Delhi culture by the invasive loud Punjabi culture. One interesting observation she makes is eating various cuisines may be adventurous and accommodative but it also  comes with a sense of rootlessness.t Nandita presents the meat eating Kashmiri Brahmins as a unique existence, of course Kashmiri Pandits are unique, Maharashtrian Brahmins particularly the Puneri Brahmins are quite often meat eating.

Some recipe’s to look up,

  • Kudaya-handa bhaji.
  • Karachi halwa
  • Bedmi
  • Nagoris

In page 131 she makes an observation that fat says, ‘screw you!”

In another place Nandita talks of her grandmother who told her grandfather, that he has married to her and not his mother, this changed his behaviour he began respecting her more. Interesting maybe some of us should try this on the men we married.

In page 158 she compares the Naga style of parenting with the Pan-Indian Urban parenting. Her observation is that Naga children are made to be useful contributory members of the society by the time they are 8-9 while Urban Indians do not allow their children to become adults for as long as they can.

In a conversation with her friend Ulka she observes that our inability to appreciate the other is more about our own limitations.

The book documents the changing culture of the subcontinent through the eyes of a much travelled person, her travel is both through geography and her who identity. Her journey at through feminism is to the human rights in Nagaland is very interesting.

There are few recipes in the book, though personally I think it was dinning that seem to dominate. In her final chapter she does question the random tourism growth in Goa the 5 star boom, causing a fish famine. She also comments on the vanishing frogs as their food has diminished with increased pesticide uses.

Over all an interesting book, serious issues have been put across through musings and observations, Nandita does not really  pronounce a judgement.

haskar
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On a personal note I should thank her for the Menu card on page 78 it kind of resolved a challenge for me.

A very interesting book for everyone who wants to know a little more about life, living and indian culture. Maybe I shall gift this book to all my NRI nieces and  nephew’s.

Though through the book one question kept bothering me, why equate Hinduism to Brahmanism, also why portray brahmanical culture as inhuman? Isn’t it  like saying all muslims are terrorists.

 

Self Pity Is not constitutional.

Self Pity Is not constitutional.

When I received the mail from Kalyani with a request to review her book. I accepted as I had an over dose of mythology genre.

Title:                Bend Your Knees and Do Your Best.

Author            Kalyani .B.V.

ISBN                9789352019939

Publishers       Leadstartcorp.

Once in a while we come across an author who makes you want to pick the phone simply because the book could have a conversation between likeminded friends, which was what happened as I read the book. I could not put it down.

The whacky sense of humour, the candid presentation of situation it was amazing.  There was so much I could empathize with like the way she arrives to “the God of Randomness.” Her staple of Amar Chitra Katha. Her usage of Raag Inkaar.

She has an Asura partner in Hiranya, it reminded me of My Ravana. The book traces the journey of nearly having a breakdown IT professional, I shall not go more than that, the book is definitely worth a pick.

The way she presents the interpersonal relationship in a board room, she actually writes it as, “Sastri’s presence contaminates Maggie and makes her more mad.” Kalyani I love you.

I like the ditty she uses,

My name is pooja, java ki mein raani…LOL

Just as you get comfortable with the humour, and you are smiling, the author throws an emotional volcano which most of us in our 40’s and 50’s can definitely empathize with.  Maybe the emotional exhaustion of the protagonist who is also called Kalyani vibes with a phase that I am just emerging out off. The support system of the Hiranya an Asura, (Ravana in my case,) the prosaic voice of aunt …I have forgotten the name but the grounding connect in her life, the mysterious psychic connect who sends her messages. It is all intriguing.

Kalyani presents a very subtle presence of a supportive universe, with interesting observations like the universe is trying to resolve the conflicts of 7 billion individuals, and a little help might be required. Or looking at the universe as a partner.

There is this bit where Kalyani decides to get healthy and the epiphany she has on the treadmill, is that it was all about running to stay in the same place, which she finds is very similar to a career in the IT.  At a point in the narrative she talks about data tracking and analysing is like accepting a God was keeping track of our good and bad deeds.

Another very down to earth observation she makes, is auto drivers and maids are really more privileged as they can get to choose their assignments.

Towards the end of the book she goes house hunting. Which is hilarious and I could empathize with that too. Her observation of one property, lush green view till political will protects…LOL.  As she takes us through the real estate jargon I am reminded of Asterix’s and Mansion of Gods.

Somewhere she finds a soul twin in Dubai, again amazing.  Her insights to life and contemporary lifestyles are so hands on and practical,

Like in page 364 she talks about how fear rules us right from the age of 15.

In page 383 she gives the panacea for all recoverees– which is one day at time. This was exactly what I did when I was recovering from burns, and am doing now as I am care giving my husband who is recovering from a threatened stroke.

I also agree with Kalyani’s mom self pity is not constitutional.

The icing on the cake was the way she used facebook status to declare a situation. What really struck a chord was her epiphany on being chained to her work.

The most amazing epiphany of it all Grihastashram is about finding ways of staying in the ecosystem long after you are tired of it!!

kalyani
Buy your copy here.

I enjoyed the book so much that I handed to my 20yr old niece who is hanging on it, she keeps telling me, “I cannot imagine a 40+ person having this kind of humour. The book felt like a conversation between me and my friends.”

Right at the fag end of the book she shares an experience in Japan which makes her realize that life is all about bending your knees and doing your best.

Thank you Kalyani B.V. for giving me the honour of reviewing your book.

 

Desi Blend of Demi-Gods

Desi Blend of Demi-Gods

I am a total Christopher Doyle fan. So is my daughter. When the Pataala Prophecy was heralded I definitely prebooked it.

The book arrived and I was looking for something to do with opening of the anathapadmanabha temple at Kerala. Well it had nothing to do with it.

My daughter read it first and told me, not Christopher Doyle at all, it is Percy Jackson, Harry potter and red pyramid series blended with Indian mythology.

Her analysis was bang on.

For some reason the book begins with Napoleon in the desert. He does not tell us how many books are there in the series. Shukra the Asura-Guru has returned he seeks something and is unstoppable, the child to stop is born and Shukra seeks the destruction of the child.  The prophecy talks of a child who stops Shukra, the scion of the chandravanshi’s the descendents of Yayati. Each of the descendent is guided by a guru. Right out of the Red Pyramid series of the Osiris the king and the magician guide.

Dementor like floating zombies. The tapping of the boulders of Panna forest reserve to enter the Gandharva loka, like the tapping the wall to enter the diagon alley in Harry potter. A gurukul where maharishis are trained in occult and Sadh’s or sadharan who equivalent to Rowling’s muggles. We do not have oracles making prophecies but Saptarishi’s making one. The saptarishi constellation is fixed with the North Star Dhruv, the name of the leader of the rishi. There are seven teenagers who are to save the world, like the saptarishi, the Prophecy of seven from the Percy Jackson series.

“Shukra is after me,” sounds like “Voldamort is after me.”

The book carries ample references to the stories from the puranas.  There is a reference to Brahmabasha, or the Devabhasha as a language older than Sanskrit. The mantras used however are from the later Sanskrit period and definitely not the vedamantras which are dedicated to the elements of the nature.

Some very interesting observations like everyone are suspicious of what they do not understand. The soul transition described in page 218 is very beautiful.

Overall an interesting book the language being very good, I somehow have a gut feeling the child of the prophecy is Maya the later blooming daughter of the leader of the sect Maharishi Dhruv, this rings the DaVinci code feeling. That would definitely be an interesting move.

The concepts of telepathy, astral travel are used.

I am looking forward to reading the other books of this series.  A great book to gift a young adult. The concept is intriguing, language is good. The extensive referral articles and books at the end allow the reader to carry on his or her own further reading.

Author: Christopher Doyle

Publisher:    Westland publication

ISBN 9789386850478

Quest club is the club created by Christopher Doyle to make his readers part of his journey click here to join the quest club, and click here to buy your copy of the book.

Prescription for success

Prescription for success

And so can you

Author           Dr.Roopleen

Publisher      power publisher

ISBN               978-93-86526-78-6

Cover design            inkbugdesigns.

The book claims to the stories behind the lives of a few successful doctors. Their journey’s and what guided them and what drove them along the way despite challenges.

“And so you can” somehow came across as oh! These people were not meant to succeed, yet they did. Which implies, that you are entitled so you can.The result was I started reading the book with reservations.

The format of the book is very medical college case presentation like, the history of the person where he came from and what was the challenges.etc. The narrative concludes with advice to the medical student and takes away for anyone who is looking to do something with their life.

Some interesting takeaways were

  • Dr.Virendra Sarwal—being a doctor is about hard work and perseverance.
  • Dr.Khurana clarity and dedication is important.
  • Dr.Lingam Vijaya be a team worker and be focused.
  • Dr.Muralidhar Pai believes in your self and do not give up.
  • Dr.Krishna follow your passion and your stay in integrity.
  • Dr.Jyothirmayi Biswas trust your intuition, put in hard work and keep updating.
  • Dr.Barnali Das play on your strengths and work with dedication.
  • Dr.Mahipal.S. Sachdev tap your potential, take the risk and go the extra mile. (This person’s contribution is definitely worth a read, more than that it. It is worth internalizing. He has honestly shared the good, bad and ugly of the medical profession.)
  • Dr.Praveen R.Murthy hard work is the prescription. Challenges appear to take you to the next level.
  • Dr.Anita Panda dream big, stay true have faith in God
  • Dr.Jas Kohli another contributor who spoke horse sense. He has brought forth the most salient factors, like connecting and empathizing with the patient. Don’t let the naysayers bother you. Be financial literate.
  • Dr.Dhanashree Ratra nothing beats competency, your patient is not a case but a person who needs help and you happen to have the required help, be ethical.
  • Dr.Sarbjit singh check what is making you choose medicine as a career, put your priorities in place, stay ethical.
  • Dr.Vidushi Sharma be flexible and adaptable. Listen to everyone but do what you think is right. Chart your own path.
  • Dr.Vinaya R.Murthy is more practical in what he shares. He lists the requirements for an doctor in contemporary scenario
    • Competence
    • Empathy
    • Communication skills
    • Commitment and perseverance
    • Business skills
    • Additional skills which are not part of medical curriculum.
      • Finance,
      • Hospital management
      • Insurance
    • Dr.Sundaram Natarajan to achieve something it is all about the mindset.

The book is an interesting read for people who are starting out on any career. It instills a confidence that is possible to stay back in the country, innovate and achieve.

Looking the people who have been interviewed, they are achievers no doubt. Most of them ophthalmologist, but conspicuously missing were the legends from the medical field. Who were truly challenged.

  • Dr.T.M.A Pai the founder of the Manipal hospital who was a quite family practitioner, from there he built the entire Manipal empire of today.
  • Dr.Hansda Shekhar  from Jharkand in his mid thirties, had face prejudice as a student because he was tribal, and prejudice when he went back to serve in home town because he was prescribing contemporary medicine. He has penned his experiences as a book which is amazing.
  • Dr.H.V.Hande who is now retired but started out as a general family practitioner  in Chennai, today  he was the health minister during MGR’s regime. The good doctor has also transliterated kamba Ramayana and now working on the Vedas. His modest practise has now morphed into the multispeciality Hande Hospital
  • Devi Shetty of Narayana Hridayalaya who has made cardiac surgery affordable to so many people.

Then there are names from the field of ophthalmology that are conspicuous by their absences.

  • Govindappa Venkatswamy of the Aravind hospital Madurai.
  • Gullapalli.N.Rao founder Dr.L.V.Prasad eye hospital.
  • Srinivasa Rao P.N. he was the person who started the ophthalmology department in KMC Manipal. If you are an ophthalmology student you definitely would have heard of him he is a legend, who had expertise in seven branches of ophthalmology. He was the man who took ophthalmology to rural Karnataka and Kerala performed surgeries in make shift OT’s
  • Babu Rajendran of Vijaya eye hospital Chennai who created technical innovations for surgery.

Over all a fairly good book, you can buy it on Amazon here.

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

 

 

 

Trailing the Hero’s Trials

Trailing the Hero’s Trials

The vengeance of Indra

Book 3        Vikramaditya Veeragatha.

Author        Shatrujeet Nath

Publisher    Jaico

ISBN            97893868675

Like I mentioned before book 2 and book 3 came together. The books were so absorbing that I read it one goes without bothering to make noting for blog. The only reigning thought was that it was to be a trilogy, however to put the entire story across he would need at least two more books. Well Shatrujeet promises a four book series. Though my own assessment he will require to make it a veeragatha with six volumes.

The Hellfire and the Halahala two things that the Asura and devas have always hankered after, but to no avail. How it must gall them to see both in the possession of the human being. I am not in the least bit surprised that Shukra Acharya and Indra set aside their differences to plot Vikramaditya’s downfall.

The 2nd book ends with

  • Kalidasa leaving Avanti.
  • Yaksha’s targeting Vishaka.
  • Shukra Acharya and the Deva’s put their differences aside to face the common enemy Vikramaditya and his nine pearls, not to mention the powerful, abundant federation of Sindhavarta.

The book reveals the various challenges in the space of Samrat Vikramaditya. For Shukra Acharya the preceptor of the Asura’s has found a way to break the council of nine that safe guard the Halahala. The devas and asura’s have worked a truce to fight the Guardians of Halahala. Then there are subplots of Vikramaditya’s sister scheming to have her son crowned King, she seeks the Samrat’s approval for it. Her son Ghatakarapara however has been kidnapped. Then there is Vararuchi who is dealing with constant rejection from Queen Mother Upashruti. The nine pearls fall out for various reasons.

There are some allusions that come across like the story of Vararuchi being belittled by the Queen mother is very similar to the story of Dhruva, the introduction of Urvashi as Pralopi’s maid seems like a hint towards the more famous episode of Vikramorvashi. Vikramorvashiyam was a play written by Kalidasa on the Romance of Vikramaditya and Urvashi.

As the book progresses the nine pearls accept their uniqueness this kind of  strengthens it.

The author makes some very interesting observations

  • When is refereeing to the skill of Ghatakarpara create stuff, he refers to the ability to visualize to precision before creating something.
  • He talks of the Huns entering the Sindhuvarta since they were facing drought and Sindhuvarta was the land of plenty
  • The mother oracle talks of the Danavas in the danka-aranya who were ousted by asuras.

    vegeance of indra
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As the book ends, the mother oracle warns that the sun is on the wane and great eclipse is on its way to devour the sun. The Huns are out to get the ghoul master who is also the keeper of the Halahala. Indra the King of Devas reveals a secret that is devastating to Queen Mother Upashruthi and Vikramaditya.

Vengeance is a cage, Forgiveness is Freedom ~ as Shankubala realizes and Jayanta is yet to realize.

The series are really interesting, and am looking forward for the next book. I only hope Shatrujeet will not succumb to the temptation of overloading the book 4.

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Assembling the Ingredients to Brew a conspiracy

Assembling the Ingredients to Brew a conspiracy

The Conspiracy at Meru

 

Author        Shatrujeet Nath

Publisher    Jaico Books.

ISBN          978-81-8495-887-4

Genre                   mytho-fantasy

Way back in Nov’201 7 I reviewed the first of Shatrujeet Nath’s trilogy the Vikramaditya Veeragata. He has now converted it to a series of four books.

The first book the Guardians of the Halahala ended with the Devas trying to bully vikramaditya. I remember being annoyed with the He-man presentation of the first book. The image of Shukracharya was fine, but the castles looked like the backdrop of the last air bender movie.

The first book was racy, and an interesting weave of mythology, history and imagination. Unfortunately the time lapse between the first and second book made the second book rather cumbersome to follow.

The second book lays the terrain for the story, different characters and their back stories make it to the forefront.

Many story tellers have created romantic back stories for Kalidasa before he became Kalidasa; Shatrujeet has his Kalidasa dealing with memory loss. Of course he has images flashing by that disturb him.

Vararuchi takes on the role of Vikramaditya’s older brother, the relationship and story is built along the lines of Dhruva, and Uttanapada.

There is a very interesting sentence that the mother oracle says,

“go where you need to be and not where you want to be.”

Vikramaditya is associated with the throne and the Vetal, interestingly Shatrujeet has Vetala Bhatta as the Raja-Guru while the Vetala is renamed as Ghoulmaster.

Some minor irritants in the book are the use of the word “Maghadans” for the people of Magadha; the people of Magadha are called Maghadi. The book one referred to Vikramaditya going to the borderland, to connect with the Ghoul master, but there is no follow up here.

What I like about Shatrujeet’s writing is the ability to create a visual, yet allowing my imagination to play out, like the mythical beast Vyayla awakened by the Asura (it can only be woken by a person with both Deva and Asura blood) reminded me of a silvery hydra, while “Ahi” who is woken by Jayanta again of Deva and Asura lineage reminds me of the deep sea monsters of Greek Mythology.

If he introduced the border land in the first book, Shatrujeet talks of thought harnessing in the second. Where Vetala Bhatta and Shukracharya mutual break into each others thought.

The nine gems of Vikramaditya are given nine powers, Amarasimha turns into a man lion, Kshapanaka can emit poison arrows, Shankubala can transport herself to different places, and Vetala Bhatta can create an energy shield.

Other interesting concepts the author brings about, is the existence of Danava’s. Normally Danava, Asura, rakshasa are all used interchangeably to represent various demonic forces. Shatrujeet has identified them as forest spirits who gave refuge to the asura’s. The Asura eventually ousted them, remodelled the forest, dug the earth for minerals and caused devastation.

To be honest the book 2 was tedious, there were too many characters and it did not really flow, the change of location was rather abrupt.  Once I could get the ends together, reading became easier. Though I really spent more time in getting through this book as compared to my normal reading. The book is definitely worth the effort.

Victory is temporary the Battle is Eternal

To buy the book on amazon click here.Thankfully I read the third book right away.