Monday, August 24, 2015

Warrior by Olivier Lafont

Goodreads Link 
Disclaimer : I got this book from the Author. It is my personal opinion and NOT a commissioned one.

My daughter introduced me to The Lightening Thief. Against my better judgement, I leafed through the pages and was caught in the web of fantasy and make believe and finally entered the world of Gods. They became real to me. So when I got a copy of Warrior by Olivier Lafont, I was a bit sceptic. Either repeats of what Rick Riordan has said.. or a 'desi' feel of our Indian Gods in Olympian boots. Then I was introduced to Saam...

Subtle Introduction...
Saam is introduced very subtly. There is no "macho-ism" in his entry. A watch mender by profession, who is cloaked under the ordinary to hide the "extraordinary" within him. Whose powers are brought to the forefront when unusual things starts happening around him. Saam, the ordinary man becomes Saam, the Saviour, the destroyer, Shiva's ansh, His son.

Revelation
I smirked. To me Shiva is into monogamy and always with his consort, Parvati. To think he had other affairs, broke my heart. I researched and it was then I realized many such stories about Shiva are present. Surprisingly, the story weaved about Saam's birth sounded very natural and picturesque. Especially, the story of his mom. Took me back to Hatimtai days..

An Amalgamation of many theories..
Warrior is not only about God's son on earth. Traces of Satan worshiping, The Fallen Angel, Shiva Purana , Greek and Roman Mythology are all woven together. I suppose that is what kept this  very interesting. Rising above every religion, this story can be read for its pure entertainment. Yet, many thought provoking issues do arise.

"You're an idiot, Fazal." The man looked at the demigod with surprised hurt. "You're the worst kind of idiot, the intelligent kind. Dumb idiots wonder if they're idiots briefly and then shrug  the idea away and get on with life, but intelligent idiots like yourself actually build a system of arguments proving their own idiocy."
Cannot argue with such philosophies now, can I ? :P

The Other half ..
Feels a big ignored in this story. But then being a demigod, he did not have much of a choice. Maya, his strong supporter, hardly got much of a support in reciprocation. A secondary figure, who is able to complete his loneliness on earth, but not once he comes across as a man in love with a girl. Yes, he crosses realms for her and does seek her out.. but was she only the means for him to show his godliness?
To give the Author his due credit, in the end- Saam does give up a lot for her. Also we have to consider the fact that a man living for 100+ years, will look without having some secrets.

Novelty..
The concept of using a 'ship' to cross over realms is a novel idea in this story. An unique idea. Like the barn in 'Haven'? :) But more innovative and totally unique in its concept.  The Captain was the icing on the cake. 

The second concept was the epic in robotic form. Who could have thought of that? Whenever a readers reads this genre, they want something different, yet want to cling to the old ideas. This helps us to let our imagination go wild with the old images and putting up new pieces, like decorations, into a new realm. For me, the concept of Kailash, was born from Devo ka Dev; and Warrior made it at par with Olympus.

Trust Indra's son to be equivalent to Hade's son and Poseidon's to be equal to Shiva's. Old imaginations filled with new concepts. What more could a mythology lover like me want?

The Twist..
The twist was superb. The sibling love and jealousy is woven in every page. The ending, though predictable, will make you feel a bit sad. Almost sorry that the antagonist was 'him'. I wanted him to be good. Or am I the only one rooting for the wrong guy? Well, you will have tell me after reading this one.

Rating
Reasoning

Editing is superb and the writing is very evocative and triggers a reader's imagination. Exactly what is needed for this genre.

The scenes between Ara and Saam will stay with me for a long time. And it is here where I had a slight problem. I wanted Saam and Maya to make the same impact. I understand Maya is human while Saam and Ara are not. But then Fazal and Rajkumar made a greater impact on me rather than Maya. She would fade in and out of a scene seamlessly. Now as a woman I object, my dear readers. :P

Would I recommend it?
For every mythology lover.. a MUST read. It does not matter if you like European mythology or Indian. You will have the best of both the world in this story.

The Line that stayed with me ..
"Just like what we call evil is the darkness we can't see, the unknown. If  the light of knowledge reached into those dark corners would would realize that good and evil are not absolutes, they are in fact fact human illusions derived from your ignorance. We need more light, sir, more light!"



Buy @


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar

Amazon.com
Disclaimer: I recieved this book from the Publisher, Readomania. It is my personal opinion and NOT a commissioned one.

When characters move you to tears, you know you are reading a story that has touched your heart. Very rare yet very profound. When I started reading The Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar, I knew it was a myriad of sad tales woven together to make the readers aware of the side effects of senseless wars and killings. But I was not prepared for one thing …

Those tiny veins of love running through each story that wanted me to smash my kindle and yet at the same time hold on to the fragile thread of humanity. I chose to do the latter though it was a roller coaster ride of emotional upheavals. 

Genocide
The first story itself embarked with a promise of this novel being different. A mother’s love for her son. A love tested against raining bullets. Will she be able to save him from the those siberian souls who had forgotten every relationship they once shared?
“All of a sudden, I kneeled over, my gut wrenching with pain, my bleeding arm still clinging on to Habimana. I couldn’t let them touch him. He was my blood, he was my world. “
…. The mother in me shed a few tears.  

Fire in A Ring of Ice 
Made me question my reasoning, my thoughts and the hatred I feel for all terrorists or any killer for that matter. Crime comes in many forms, but what about those soldiers who are fighting for a cause? Fanaticism - cloaked under a blanket of justice. The thoughts of a dying man is still easy to understand. Fear and defeat and sometimes pride. But what about that soldier who is pulling the trigger? Does he feel the remorse when he pulls the trigger? Does his cause kill the human in him? Or does he feel the same pain and fear that any civilian will feel but his is masked under patriotism (often false)?

“His steely gaze showed me nothing, but I kept looking; wanting, needing, hoping to see a vague wave of remorse. I didn’t want to see him as an enemy. I knew he was the same mass of bone, flesh and blood that I was.” – the thoughts of a soldier facing the pointed gun.

For the Love of A Motherland 
Brings out the Israel- Palestine Conflict though the eyes of the innocents. Children. The ones we see in our daily life are carefree, protected and loved and those portrayed in these stories are playing a game in life – the game of survival. Innocent statements like, “What happened to you is why this is happening to us.” Makes you wonder at the art of forgiveness and revenge. And why forgiveness is divine. For the ravages of revenge burns your own home too. 

The only story holding on to a ray of positivity was Home.  
The story of Amal, forced to leave her beloved home behind due to the Illegal occupation of the Westbank between 1517 and 1917. It is nothing new.In countless wars, stories of such incidents occur. Whether Anne Frank or the children in the movie ‘Sound of Music’, all had to leave their homes due to a war. But Amal, taking the help of Ms. Jayakumar’s words’ makes us feel the pain of leaving one’s home behind. The pain of a life being snatched away by others. 

Sacrifice deals with Bacha Baazi in Afghanistan
Though this was one my favorite stories in this series, I could feel a bile rising in me. The relationship between a brother and sister, when tested against the cruel hands of fate – makes you question every relationship. Child prostitution is rampant in every part of the world but when it is the norm of a society, you tend to question every believe and every faith. Where is God when you need him the most? Without giving much away, I can only say, let every brother be a thief. 

The Smallest Coffins 
Is my favorite in this series. Two kids studying together. The boy bullies the girl every day, driving her to tears. Yet a moment comes when actions and not words establish a relationship between them. I loved the way how Ms. Jayakumar gave two facet to the act of  bullying –from anger to innocence.. and making me more mushier than before.  Well played with words, harnessing every emotion in a reader!

The above named story is based on the Peshawar Attacks, shows you the other side of the coin. The myth that everyone from across the border is our enemy – shattered. They are humans, feeling the same pains when attacked and the same loss. Ms. Jayakumar, I wish this book will be read by at least one fanatic. Just one.  Just to realize that the fight they fighting is not for upholding principles but against humanity. It took me to back to the second story Fire in the Ring. Again the question arose in my mind. What do they think when they pull the trigger. To shoot a 30 year old man who has not done you any harm, makes you an animal. But to pull a trigger against a 6 year old? I have no words to describe my anger for such dark souls. (I literally refrained myself from using a cuss word.)

Desiccated Land 
Is based on the partition of Kashmir. Once there was a saying if there is a heaven on Earth, it’s here, it’s here and it’s here. Here being Kashmir. But as humans we could not keep our promised land. We had to cut it, divide it and fight for it. Ms. Jayakumar’s little protag in this story just conveys one meaning. How would one know to which group one belongs? The blood that flows, so freely, does not proclaim you being a Hindu or a Muslim.

“As the last dregs of his life flew out his open eyes, I threw back my head and screamed, I screamed, and screamed, and screamed.”

… so did the human in me . In anger and frustration. Our blood is one. What the heck is all the fight about? 

Princess is the age old story transcending over religion, humanity and beliefs. 
Girl child. We will scream ourselves hoarse about equality but incidents like this will keep on occurring from every small kasbas to the elite society. In the former in the raw form and in the latter, subtly. In the words of Ms. Jayakumar echoes the words of many women.

“My Child, I ask you for forgiveness. Was it so much of a sin that I wished you wouldn’t come back to his house again?” 

We can call India a developed nation, the day mothers need not think any more like this when a girl is born. Till then let us stay tagged as the Third World. We deserve it….. says the woman in me.

A Night to Remember is about Human trafficking 
The only story I could find some fault with. Though the message was loud and clear the portrayal of characters were not. It took me numerous read to understand why Mr. Photographer did what he did. I am still reading it…. :D It might have had a whole new meaning if a few shades of romance colored the lives of the characters. But then, that is the romantic in me.

Explosion is about the suicide bombers. 
Touching the borderline of the mentality of a person who decides to become one. The circumstances that makes a person become one must be so violent that it takes away the fear of death and become responsible for numerous deaths. He or she must be so scarred that their own death has to become a mission for their lives to have a meaning. Sympathy for such people, I dare not feel for it will make me feel less human. 

Imprisoned again did not make much of an impact on me. I suppose there is a pattern here. I felt for the victims but when the protagonist was the perpetrator, I felt my heart harden. Some crimes I don’t want to understand. I don’t want to forgive. Drug Mafia is one of them. 

Esther’s story is a closure to this anthology woven by Ms. Jayakumar. Where does Esther’s search for Habimana lead her? Could she find him? This story was more like a winding down of all the turbulent emotions inside me. 

Rating 

Style 
Not a word used that is not needed. To the point, yet churning all the emotions needed to make a reader feel angry, patriotic, human and above all thankful to be alive. 

Editing is superb, a rare breed nowadays. When words bring out such emotions it deserves nothing less than a 5 star, if not more. Ms. Arpita Banerjee for her superb editing deserves a special mention here. 

I will honestly tell you one thing about this book. If you are into light reads only, this book is NOT for you. This will make you think, question and feel. Every chapter is built around a real incident but unlike news reading small threads of emotions are weaved in  - making you one with the story, however much you might hate it. How many of us have flicked through the news when the Peshawar killing took place. Now it has the pain of siblings woven into it. Hats off to you , Ms. Jayakumar.

A Line that Remained with me....

"In fact, when the radical men came to rule us, their hatred for women and girls was so severe that for all possible activities, apart from procreating, only boys were called upon. The duties went as far as dressing up like girls for their entertainment."

 Buy the Book @


Monday, July 27, 2015

My Tryst with a Pseudonym

This Image is from the site:
http://www.poetrysoup.com/
I tried. I sincerely tried. 

The question is - was there a need to have pseudonym?

I don’t know. You decide. 

I hated it when someone called me Ruby. Somehow the images of ‘Monica, oh my Dahling,” flashed into my inward eye. During my school years, I was pretty fed up when even the Sisters at the Convent started calling my Ruby. What happened to that God Gifted name of mine? My 12 year old mind was sure that it was a pretty sexy name. But it did matter how you said it. I preferred RH..U.. B…I.. N..A..(Please use a damn sexy voice while saying it.) 

Of course St.Mary Jude (God rest her blessed soul) refused to do it outright and I think I had to stand outside my class, just for suggesting it. Democracy, in some section of our society, is clearly over-rated. 

During my college years, I became Ina. Cool eh! Suited me too, even if I do say so myself. I forbade anyone from calling me Rubina. When asked for a reason, by a bold few, I would mock at their intelligence outright even for asking me this. “Keep it short and sweet babes!” Ah don’t get me wrong. I was not a bully. Just a self-declared busy body who had all the information about who had a boyfriend and who did not. The funny part is – both the sides felt ashamed to declare it and a few of us basked in that knowledge. 

As I floated though my college life, brandishing the name Ina as my lucky charm or sword, as the situation demanded, I came to know a few things about our society. 

1. When your Mom comes to your college and calls you Pinky in front of all your friends, your reputation goes down the drain.
2. The name does not matter when the results come out – even alphabetically. 

Then I met my DH at the age of 16 (hope darling baby of mine is not reading this) and thankfully this passion for changing my name came to a rest as I was busy searching the Oxford dictionary for the synonyms of Dahling. Will share a few winners here.. Shonu, Shona, Babes (please kick the person who calls you that, for he might be a pedophile  ...eeeks). 

After marriage, my MIL wanted to change my name and amidst strong protests from my parents, they came up with Radhika and Ramya. I was back to square one with Ramya. The song started playing in my mind again. I first put my foot down and then sat on the spot starting a bhookh hartal. The irony of the situation did not leave me. I was fighting for the name I was so busy losing all through my student life.

Of course I won. (Anyone doubted that?)

After a few ..long years I stepped into the virtual world.  Blame it on my bro. I wanted to catch his girlfriend and so I entered (if I remember correctly) with the name DragonLady1997. I did catch him and he blamed me always for the girl deleted her account permanently on the reddif. Ah well! Good intentions always come with a price. Anyways I stopped there and then. Not by choice but with hubby coming face to face with Dragon Lady. (I have promised myself not to ever write about that situation. But giving you just a peak.. I had 3 dialogues in that situation..

1. Uh?
2. Mmmm
3. ......... 

That day I took a decision. I will not ever be in any situation where my dialogues are cut short. Role reversal does not suit me at all.

Then came Zukie’s Facebook and with that Farmville. Now I needed eggs, baskets of veggies, pegasaurus, rare breed and trees. I am a dirty player and have to have the best. Check this out. The last screen shots before I bid adieu to my farming life. 



Now I hated begging.. Allah ke naam pe do one horse. Bhagwan bhala karega – give me an egg. May the lord be with you – give me flower basket. (at least use this for unity in solidarity slogans). So I created multiple logins using every relative’s name of mine. (Sorry cousins, if you could not use your emails with your names. I really apologise from the bottom of my heart. All the logins were taken. But you did a great deed by saving your sister from stalkers. Thank you.) Fb no need to sue me. Those accounts are no more. RIP all the farms.

But soon maintaining the records became difficult and loading the farm made my life a whirlpool of sorrow and anxiety. (Do not snicker. It takes 3 days to grow watermelons and they cannot die.) 

Then the writing world happened. Out of the blue. My world started taking a shape of reality and old dreams. And with that came a huge problem. My name. Should I write as Rubina? What if my MIL read my romances where my hero give a HK (figure that out by yourself ) or my heroine was in the throes of passion. What if my BIL found out or his BIL from his wife’s side? Total chaos. So Ina was born again. 

But now as the days pass by, I do realise one thing. A name does not make you. You make a name. It does not matter who I write as. What matters is what I write. To whom I show my work. When my MIL reads apiece written by me- she slowly goes to her neighbours house and shows her the piece I wrote. The pride evident in her eyes. (High time she said it from her lips though.. well, Life is still young. ) 

I envy all those who can write using a pseudonym. I personally - give up. 

Ah well.. did I hear the phone ring…
“Hello Rubina, 
Would you write an erotica for us?”
“Yes. Yes. But my name is Sasha…. !”

#mungerilalkehaseensapne


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mr. Imperfect Series by Aditi Chopra

Disclaimer : I have received this book from the author herself and no charges has been made for the review. All the information about this book can be found here.

House of Love:
Nikki Desai is an estate agent.  Her first meeting with Karan Malhotra was not 'the love at first sight' kind that generally happens in most of the romance novels. In fact, it almost made him lose his eyesight..(it was funny actually even if that makes me sound like a  sadist.)

Nikki had been looking for approval all her life from her father – but she never got it. Her struggle to get his approval nearly makes her lose the love of her life. 

The setting…
The stories are set in Dallas and Ms.Chopra has kept the essence of the state throughout the story. The life of the ‘Desis’ in the city of Dallas is highlighted very well. Nikki and Karan, as the second-generation Indian settlers, stay true to their form. From the morning gym scenes to the hectic pace of Nikki's professional life, all bring out the life of an NRI in the cities of the USA. 

“She had heard so many horror stories that she thought it was a must-carry item for all agents, especially women.”
Life of an estate agent could not have been described better. It caught on the fear perfectly that the women estate agents in USA  live by. Nikki shimmered on the pages as a live character as she walks us through the city of Dallas. 

Arranged Marriage..
This became my favorite of the three. There were many instances where I saw myself as Sonali, the first generation settling outside India. After her marriage to Ishaan, she travelled to Dallas and was introduced to the lives of the Indians in the USA. Cultural shocks soon overcame her inhibitions and she understood the true meaning of being an Indian outside India.

“Sonali was quite shocked to see Nikki and Maya drinking wine with guys. She refused to have any when they offered her. She couldn’t even drinking alcohol. Her parents wouldn’t approve of her by any means.”

That was so sweet and innocent! How would the parents know? :P

Those initial doubts and the warm friendships formed along with  the pseudo families that soon mean more than those we leave behind. - all showed me the mirror of our lives in the USA. 

Growth of the character..
Takes place when a reader associates with the characters. Maya and Nikki were wonderful people, Sonali grew from a shy person to the confident woman. I rooted for her success and got anxious when she started packing her bags. Ms. Chopra’s description of Sonali being conscious of the right clothes to settling for the 'stay at home' occupation.. all rang true. It made her success even sweeter. 

Love Tango
Introduced a Turkish hunk – Tahir. The Mediterranean restaurant and the belle dances were so well described that I got a whiff of  the aroma of  feta cheese and Baklava. Maya danced her way to Tahir’s heart. All was going well till she did not find the notebook. Old wounds were reopened and she left Tahir and went to her mom’s place to lick her wounds, leaving a very bewildered Tahir behind. 
Maya knew herself too well and knew that she would not settle for anything less than complete love and trust.

“She had always been so afraid to open up to people because she thought that her eccentric nature would drive them away.” 
Did it?

Each Character was there for a reason:
Maya, Tahir, Ishaan, Sonali, Nikki and Karan – all the characters had their own set of characteristics. While Nikki is the bold one, Sonali is not weak. The feminist inclination of the author surfaces when for the first time Ishaan goes to see Sonali.and her retort,

“Is this a job interview?”
This was so out of the blue that it won the feminist in me. But on the other hand Nikki who was the femme fatale gave up the love of her life just because her father made some unfounded objections. That was a bit disappointing to me as a reader for Nikki looked fake after that.

Conflicts?
Readers might find the conflict a bit weak but I don’t think Ms. Chopra was looking for conflicts with these short stories. They were almost told as it would happen in the life of a girl in that situation. I liked the lack of villains yet there was an increased dramatization of assumptions. 

Rating 
Reasoning

Potential Novels..
Each story by itself could have been novels. There was lot of potentials in each story to turn into a full-fledged novels. Why did Tina behave that way with Ishan? What exactly was Maya's past? What made Nikki leave her first boyfriend?  When such strong conflicts existed already in the stories, why they were not explored only Ms. Chopra can answer. :)

Editing:
Grammatical errors or typos are all well taken care of. That makes these stories an easy read. But a suggestion not a criticism: 
1. Adjectives oft repeated for the same thing becomes tedious to read. 
Eg. Sumptuous meal. In all the three stories.

2. POV went off in one or two places. One eg. “Maya had a dazed look on her face…..”

Line that is going to stay with me:
"Sonali bought herself some new clothes so she wouldn't wear Indian salwar suits to the library. She did wear them in the beginning but then everyone would stare at her, and it made her really uncomfortable."

Hahhaha.. True that.. and worse thing it the people who stare the most are Indians themselves :P

Would I recommend this book?
A must for all romance lovers. A light read in a rainy day with a cuppa and a few munches. Don't forget about me when you feel like sharing the munchies.. :P

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cliff Notes : A Short Story

This pic is taken from the Readomania site
The challenge was to write from the POV of an inanimate object. I had never written that and the idea was very intriguing. Portraying of emotions of a human is so easy but have you ever thought if the inannimate objects around us were given wings of thoughts, what would they think about us? Hope you like my story that has been published at Readomania. :)

Those tiny moving dots amuse me. Why is the need to conquer over me so profound? I hear their shouts of joy every time they reach my summit; their sense of bravado makes me feel indulgent towards them. Sometimes, oh just for fun, I slightly nudge them. Well, try standing, without moving, for centuries. You will understand the meaning of ‘having those moments of happiness’. A small tumble makes them shriek in terror and when I cannot control my mirth, I send them tumbling further down. Naughty me, but do not blame me since it is not me who is going down to their level. They try to live up to my expectations. 

However, on that fatal day, it was not my fault, I did my best to shelter this one girl from the North winds. But you know our sassy North, never the one to stop when unleashed. That night too, North was intoxicated with her sense of freedom; and in her happiness, she collided against me. To make North happy, I decided to join her in her racket and tumbled down few of my rocks. I did not see the lone climber hanging on to the dear ropes. As North hit her with her full force, the girl went tumbling down. Her screams startled me and I tried to break her fall. In my fear for her life, I forgot – that I am not allowed to move. The avalanche, though not my fault, startled her. She tumbled down and with my every effort to break her fall, she felt lighter, bloodier. At last, I could catch her and stop her fall. She did not feel comfortable in my cold touch. Her hunted expression spoke volumes of her hatred for me. As usual, this human blamed me for her fall. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Age of Anxiety by Indranil Banerjie

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion and not a paid one. 

It's different. 
This phrase is oft repeated whenever we read a book. But there never has been a bundle of pages where this phrase takes its true form. Breaking every boundary of genre and rules the author Indranil Banerjee has created a character, Sarat Chandra, who grows before you in this coming to age novel, Age of Anxiety.

When the English bid us farewell
When our dear British rulers bid us adieu, there remained a gap in our society, however peculiar it may sound, but there was group of people who were totally ‘addicted’ to the British way of life. As the Britishers left our country, the elites of every region in India stepped in to fill in the positions left empty upon their departure. Our own personal set of Indian noblemen stepped and formed the first group of  Indian Bureaucrats. This story is a window that opens into the both the planes of the society, when class division dominated over caste division. 

Growing up
Set in post-colonial Calcutta, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee grows up with many privileges that many middle class boys of his age were deprived of. But enjoying the privileges that went beyond his family's means also came with a price. 

"Sarat Chandra, unlike his most of his school mates, had seen all this at close quarters for his father never could afford a chauffeur driven car to ferry him back and forth from school. He believed the other boys did not experience similar anxieties because they were shielded by their affluent backgrounds and had no concept of the world beyond the confines of their inviolate environment."

When his father lost his job, times were tough for the family and Sarat was almost expelled from the school. However, destiny intervened and he was able to continue his education without any hindrances. At least outwardly.

How he manages to finish his education, the trials and tribulations of the growing up years -  the transition from school to college,all create a string of incidents in the beautifully penned novel, Age of Anxiety.

Misthi Kolkata (Sweet Calcutta)
Mr. Banerjie’s portrayal of the conflicting emotions, playing in the mind of a teenager, is one that every Indian living in the post-colonial Calcutta will understand. His sketch of the Kolkata society, the lanes, by-lanes took me back to my childhood. To those who are visitors to the city might smirk at that emotions displayed, for you get to see the dingy areas with poverty galore but those who know Kolkata can see the art and literature lying lazily in every street corner- in every dewy-eyed student- passionately debating over politics and literature. 

Class Vs Class
One thing that strikes me about this was the clear distinctive portrayal of the class division. That unfortunately is true even today in this communist minded territory of India. Many sensitive subjects like homosexuality to Indira Gandhi’s enforced emergency, make this novel a treat to read. 

The language of the author 
Is very stong, gripping and articulate. Reminded me of tales of Sarat Chandra (as the author has already confirmed that the protag's name is a tribute to his iconic namesake)  and Rabindranath Tagore. While Rabindranath's language had a soft, lyrical quality, Mr. Banerjie's is hard hitting as he makes us see the society through the eyes of  the young protag whose world changes from  from idealism to reality as Sarat grew from puberty to adulthood. 

Relationships
Romance makes a fleeting appearance in the story. It did not make an everlasting change in the protag's life. It was more like the protag was the mirror of the then society.His habits and ideologies dictated by those around him.  Personally I felt - the father had a long lasting impression on the protag, whether love or anger both the emotions shaped Sarat's personality. 

Rating 
Reasoning 

I could not find anything wrong with the technicalities of the art. But there are few thing that made me think. Was the hashish scenario an important part of the growing up? If not, why were so many pages devoted to it ? Sarat did not seem at all affected by his rendezvous with 'The Bat' and many such characters after him. So if the impact was not that strong, why was it given so much importance? I almost expected 'these incidents' to have a profound effect on Sarat's life. There were moments, when I felt this story should have a tag line, 'Smoking is injurious to health".

Barring that one point, which does not make any impact on the flow of the story nor on the characterizations, this novel will be a delight for those who love literature. The flow of words, the depiction of scenes and the emotionally struck Sarat, who takes life as it comes, is a joy to read. 

The intermittent bouts of humour is very refreshing. What would have been a dour anecdote has turned into a beautiful series of stories of escapades and responsibilities. 

Check these lines out. Does it not paint a landscape for you?

"The rains took almost a week for the inland journey to Minakuri and till then the bungalow stood out in the undulating landscape smitten by unremitting hot winds. The line of trees around the bungalow broke the force of the searing winds but could not stop them. All day the wind howled, drove clouds of dust into the air and shrieked through the countryside. The grass had long disappeared, only dried out tufts remained in places sheltered from the winds; the shrubs that were left had turned brown, shrivelled, the rest carried away by the wind, blown against the mud hovels, tin roofed sheds at the bazaar and the low brick houses of the miners."

Would I recommend this book ?
To every lover of literature a must. To every child of Calcutta from the 50's .... you will feel at home. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

God's Own Creation: Sedona

When I first visited Sedona, I had no clue about it's mysticism. A small down tucked in the corner of the Arizona desert, is one of the most visited tourist spots of Arizona. 

Google Image

The scenic beauty....
Is soul stirring. The first sight of the huge array of giant structures looming from above, studded harshly with cacti, look foreboding on first sight. But as you drive past them, you will be surprised to see the gleaming white tipped  snow cones in the midst of the desert, as if defying Mother Nature by its very existence. Ice on the fiery dessert. How can the culture surviving there not be haunting?



Mystical Culture ..

Through out the town you will see small shops selling metaphysical objects. For an Indian from India, it was one of the OMG moments. Jaadoo Tona as we call it and Earth Religion is what they believe in. Anyways, this post is not about the believe but about the serenity of the culture. Crystals and voodoo dolls sit proudly on all the shelves of the shops. Aura healers are busy cleansing souls or making you talk to your dead ones. I was so tempted to try that out but I think I would get a tight slap from my mom if I did disturb her at her heavenly abode, so I let it be. Though it was damn tempting. How authentic they are, is not for me to say. But yes, the taboo subject of India is openly practiced here and I was so very fascinated by it. 

Natural beauty..

If heaven is on earth..
Its here, its here.. its here...

Ok that was my poor poetry spurting out when I saw the morning sunrise. Huge red-orange mountains bathing in the glow of the first morning flush, is something no camera can capture. Only your inward eye can. No wonder, it has some great art museums there. And the best part was I could take my little Pom, Fluffy inside the museum. When I asked the curator why did she not stop me from this .. she smiled and said, "If we cannot stop humans from entering, how can we stop animals. All god's creation!" 
I had heard these one liners before but for the first time saw someone actually practicing it. Such is the power of Sedona. Every believer there believes in Respecting Nature. 

Digging Deeper 
The curious me could not stop only with drinking in the beauty of Sedona. I needed to know what attracted these dwellers to live a life amidst magic and believe. Its not one person but lanes after lanes of metaphysical objects. So some tentative questions and then as I became bolder, some blunt ones, revealed that these settlers were often the ones who had left home at some point of time, to search for inner peace. 

Why Sedona?
They believe that there are vortexes in this mountainous region from where a certain positive energy originates. I did meet a few skeptics who said bluntly they came here to sell the knick-knacks and found the beauty of  the place too tempting to leave. But few others, swear on their lives, that they have seen and felt an energy in Sedona, which has changed their lives. 

Needless to say, I have no found anything in my two visits. But yes, something is different in that place. Something compelling that wants you to go and visit there again and again. It can be because of  the mysticism or it can be just the natural beauty of the place. Who am I to decide... I felt very small against this creation of God. 




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