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.


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…


But Where are You Ashwin Sanghi

But Where are You Ashwin Sanghi

Finally last evening it reached my hands. Private India by Ashwin Sanghi, I then find out with this being the narrative of the India operations of Private Inc. The cover appeared very tourist Bombay-ish unlike the usual, vibrant mysterious covers of Ashwin Sanghi’s book.

Title Private India

Authors Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson.

ISBN 978-0-099-58639-5

Publisher Random House India.

The story opens with the death of a Thai Surgeon, and is followed by nine seemingly unrelated murders. The onus of solving this rests on Private India’s chief Santosh Wagh a man whose loyalty oscillates between Jack Morgan the boss of Private international and Johnnie Walker.

Santosh Wagh’s team is made up of Hari Padhi a cyber forensic expert, Muben Yusuf a medical forensic man, and Nisha an ex-cop and on field investigating personal.

One interesting take was that the musing of the murderer is in first person. Ashwin Sanghi does make a faint presence felt with the underlying theme of the Navadurga—not the standard form but the Tantric version. Though an incomplete reference to the Thugee cult is used as a red herring.

Somewhere in the 13th chapter is a blatant clue, and in the 20th chapter a blatant red herring. The killer leaving behind clues that tie up to the navaratri navadurga is very shallow and not really convincing.

The plot and characters are pretty predictable. The shady politician manifests as Nalin D’Souza. The cop and underworld nexus, the busy husband whose wife has an affair with his best friend. The said wife toys with the wedding ring, though a more authentic presentation would be toying with the mangalsutra since many Indian women find rings a bother and tend ot do away with them. Of course a Don who is patriotic.

There is also a very insipid attempt to look into the psyche of the killer, abandoned child, abused childhood and revenge motif that is not very convincing either.

There were some interesting quotes like “one woman’s hobby could be another woman’s hubby.” And “there are always second chances—both for metal and men”

The book lacks the usual depth of Ashwin Sanghi’s knowledge of Indian history and rituals or the raciness of his writing or even the rawness of his language. The climax was bit of a letdown and too many loose ends were left unattended to.

The book is too slow-paced to be an James Patterson Private series. Too uninformed to be Ashwin Sanghi, yet it is a good read, for a long journey.

I have just one question… Where Are You Ashwin Sanghi? I Don’t Feel Your Presence In The Book! This is not just my question… As I walked into Crosswords I heard two other readers discussing that they felt let down, They wanted more of the Thughee and Navadurga.

About The Authors.

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.

James Patterson–

This book was a complimentary copy sent for reviewing by

Car Racing, Romance and Fantasy

Car Racing, Romance and Fantasy

Last #CelebrateBlogging BlogAdda sent me a book that titled “horseshoe Garage,” if I am not mistaken it was almost an year ago.

The author was Hitesha, usually there is a curiosity about the blurb, if that’s interesting enough then one wonders about the author. Well coming to the cover,

A chocolate brown with Horse shoe Garage written and a “O” is modified to a horseshoe. Okay though a triffle cliché it was acceptable.

The blurb says though he has gotten used to his salary and his job at grant motors, sarvesh still finds himself waking up in the middle of the night, his heart pounding with excitement ofa Neo-racing dream. The technologically advanced car and the smell of burnt rubber of the tyres haunt him all the time. And the rest.

#Fantstico (7)
EFT suggestion — cars are beautiful.

The book promises a the thrill of neo-car racing and the murky world behind it. the author is either genuinely confused or does not care if she is delivering a coropate sleaze or car-racing thrill. Yet what she lands up dishing a tepid MillsandBoons order of romance instead of the tall dark handsome stranger, I think like the current “more than man woman” her heroine is the hero.

#Fantstico (3)
EFT suggestion — racing can be clean fun.

The author has this too good to believed heroine who is a fourth grade schooled, drop out who works in a garge, name Naaz Latha Shiek.. who keeps the garage boys at bay. She is a self taught automobile engineer and guess what the author is lucky that the IIT’s have not sued her. because our baby Naaz builds the car with Sarvesh and Rags the IITians drolling.

Sarvesh and his friend Rags who has an impossible south Indian name that one does not really come across in the south. Rags girlfriend Kam is initially starts off as a dumb blonde but obviously dyes her hair to become the aesthetic designer of the car and eventually the PR head.

Back to the car the team of three IITians, one car-ignormous and half a dozen garage hands is lead by the wonderwoman Naaz. Their design stolen twice, second time five days before the neo-racing. Sarvesh the race driver is beaten up,yet the hero wins the race.

#Fantastico Team D1
EFT suggestion it takes good friends to build a team.

The romance between Sarvesh and Naaz is kept puritanical with the apparent focus being the car, and the race. Of course there is Sarvesh’s mother who plays the villain in the romance by insulting  Naaz, by throwing her school drop-out status, her being a muslim and whatever else she can throw. Also foisting a school friend’s daughter Aarti as Sarvesh’s fiancée.

Over all what the author does succeed in doing is delivering a Indian Thali which is okay, nothing that any one would in particular for a second helping.

What  really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you the author that wrote was a terrific friend of yours and you could call her up on the phone whenever you felt it. well this does not happen.

What does come across is the author’s  wistful presentation of her altar ego. I can actually visualize a Tanaz Currim look alike sitting up in a tower high on the Himalayas and writing a chronicle of what would add colour to her life.

A good read for a journey back from work.

Author Hitesha

Publisher Leadstartcorp.

ISBN 978-93-82473-45-9

ps the EFT suggestions helped me carry through the book.

pps: Maybe this vindicates the author —

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Through Thick and Thin, Sick and Sin

Through Thick and Thin, Sick and Sin

Through thick and thin,  is something we used to define friendship, in one of my favourite books Lace, Shirley Conran has her character Maxine pronounce it is sick and sin, since she was French, that’s how friendship stuck in my place through thick, thin, sick and sin.

As I read the book during my teens I do not really remember much about it. there is a girl, a porn star who traces the mother who abandoned her, and out comes the tale of four girls I think between wars, so the changing role of women, attitudes, the emerging working woman all these are part of the story some interesting .

“Bromance ” is much touted buzz word these days, somehow media does not seem to think women are capable of this kind of bonding, so many be I am one of the lucky ones… when I came down to Manipal I was the intruder, the rest of them were either born there or were definitely there before me,

My first day at the children’s play park, I was really different, I spoke pidgin, not English, and that was delivered with Tamil accent. I remember every one laughing at me, until.. one pretty girl with deep blue tights a white sleeveless top that small primroses of light and dark blue looked up, she gave me a 1000 watt mega smile, walked right up to me and asked me my name, the next thing she did has me in tears since then, ”I will be your friend” it is 46yrs now, and 20 yrs since we have lost connect, but each day, I think of her, and a prayer to her is definitely on my routine.

I remember playing in the sandpit, with our toys, be sun or rains, then as we grew up, we rode our bicycles, we went to movies and one movie was “Hattari” about the African hunt so the next month we pretended that our cycles were horses, and we lassoed pigs, and chicken that wandered into our campus screaming Hattari until someone’s mother caught us and then well lets not talk off painful events.

Finding out which mother would be out, so that we could experiment cooking, baking, make up it was all part of the growing up. When I look book we had great milestones in the journey of friendships,

Friendships grew and I do know of best friends drifting apart, and finally to quote Agatha Christie they cannot go beyond, “oh! Do you remember” stage if they meet after a decade.

Fortunately for me, my friends grew with me, we probably have the same likes, dislikes, so from hating Premalatha teacher we grew into cycling, swimming climbing trees and generally harassing our teachers in the middle school that was also the time we discovered the pleasures of cooking, and no pleasures of the whacking we got for creating kitchen disasters.

Despite of choosing various professions, the time when people tend to drift, we still stay bonded, though our conversations developed from kitchen disasters to disasters of the romantic kinds, in a while, boss became the pivot of crush either of the romantic kind or want to crush his head kind. From Pregnancy being an inconceivable  state we discussed pregnancy, picaphagia and appreciate our evaluation to the status of a referee when the second child came along.

Then came marriage, mother-in-law, her son the bonding now became strongers since friends are only safe net. When my BFF from Manipal moved to states, I was lucky in finding one in Goa, who is there for me through thick and thin, and yes, sick and sin… of course she does tell me that “Buddy in my precinct this is sin, but you make the rules in yours.”

Kids are grown, it’s the empty nest, our conversations now are arthritis, retirement, old age homes and “do you remember?”lace

I am lucky, I have had friends who refused to walk in front of me, for they didn’t want me to follow them, neither did they walk behind me, lest that I lead them, they always walk beside me, through thick and thin, sick and sin.

Just sharing a clipping of my oldest BFF Dr.Jyotsna Mirlay.

This has been written for

In search of the Ikshvaku

In search of the Ikshvaku

The Seal Of Surya

Author Amritanshu Pandey

Publisher Pirates.

ISBN 978818192681054

I have flipkart vouchers to exhaust and buying anything else from flipkart does not make sense as they either do not deliver to my address or they send the wrong product, so it has to be books. I picked up the book hoping it would deal with Ikshvaku kings of Andhra who rules the Krishna-Godavari Basin. What made is more attractive was the blurb written by my favourite author Krishna Udayasankara

But the book turns out to be the  “Raghuvamsha” like the one written by Kalidasa, the book is narrated  by Bhagiratha, the son of Sagara to a chandravamshi scion who comes to train with him. It is believed to be the saga of Ikshuvaku the son of Vaivasvata Manu. Who is believed to be giver of Manusmriti

The story telling traditions of India are of two types either they are Puranas that is the legends of the Heroes or they are the Prakarana the documentation of events, the book follows the prakarana pathway not much emphasis is given to the emotional drama. This where to me the author falls short, despite of walking the path that Krishna Udayasankara did he is not able to deliver because she had the prakarana’s woven about Puranas.

The stock characters used were not really convincing, like the Maharishi Vashishta the depth of the character did not emerge, nor did the charisma of Bhagiratha, the focus seemed to be displaying elaborate nomenclature they could be authentic, but I could not find the connect to the story that I know.

The interesting thing about any mythology is that it is neither an adult story nor a children’s story it just is …

Coming to the social structure of patriarchy, well patriarchy was definitely there, but women had the choice of choosing their partners, it was considered a sin if a man refused sex when a woman asked the concepts of women having single sexual partners came from Svetaketu who was jealous of his mothers affair  with I think Indra and the hurt his father felt1. Children born out of marriage, before marriage or to widows were all acceptable and there were specific names for them2.

The rule of vidya was very clear no child could either write or wield weapons or heavy implements before the age of 8yrs because the intellect and the bones were not mature enough3.

If one is not challenged by these information, then it is a fairly good travel companion.

Krishna udayasankara can you redeem with the promised book on Shikandi?

Shatrujeet Nath how about the next instalment of the Guardians of the Halahala?


  1. evil in hinduism  Motilal Banarasidas publication.
  2. Battles and Bards, collection of academic articles of  sanskrit studies.
  3. Battles and Bards collection of academic articles in sanskrit studies.

About the author

<iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//”>

Darkness and Light Within-

Darkness and Light Within-

minette waltersBook review.

The dark room

When my mother wanted to say that we did something foolish, or she felt foolish, she used a term, “upper storey to let” somehow the book took me through the journey

Finally the throne of my idol Dame Agatha Christie is threatened.

The Debut Novel of author Minnette Walters, The Dark Room had me absolutely hooked. Published by Pan Boooks, the ISBN number is 0330343742

The story of three unsolved murders spanned over 10 yrs opens with a prologue which feels totally irrelevant when the actual story moves on.  The relevance pops only towards the end.

It is so difficult to talk about this whodunit without placing the spoilers.

Set in contemporary England, the Story line is quite simple three unsolved murders, one attempted suicide the suicide victim is the suspect at the murder, so is her father,   the plot is very simple what makes the book unique is the treatment, Walters focuses on relationship, and the subaltern thought process. She does not bother to vindicate her characters behaviour moral or amoral.

Though the book is about relationship and one of the dead being sexually overtly liberal there are no sex scenes to distract, she actually rejects an obvious buzz issue child abuse to keep the focus.

Stories in Indian context even western contest are either plot driven or Prakarna as Sanskrit literature calls it, that is events dominate the narrative, while the other is Purana or the character dominated ones. each character is crafted quite convincingly that one does excuse couple of misses here and there.

The young man who comes up from the ranks the hard way, him marrying a woman from the elite society of England, him idolizing her and the daughter that is born to them. when she dies he marries someone from his own environment, the jealousy  the apparently dysfunctional family juxtaposition with apparently well knit traditional families the story pans out very interestingly. Though being a seasoned whodunit reader, I did het a whiff of who the murder might be  I realized the temptation to jump the plat was not there.

Hope I have not put a spoiler for anyone,

about the author