Category Archives: Mythology

The Story of Hanuman – Mala Dayal #kids #bookreview

the-story-of-hanuman-original

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129137173, 8129137178
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 76

Hanuman is an endearing character for all of us. Much to the delight of the kids his avatar has been retold with the kid like Hanuman or the Hanuman who is kiddish overflowing with innocence.

The story which we all know is vastly enhanced in presentation by the illustrations that are beautifully rendered by Taposhi Ghoshal.

The illustrations add the charm to the character that is already a lovable one, I must confess this pictures actually make Hanuman an adorable cute little God.

This book is a art manifestation of the story and the texts compliments the illustrations at times so well that you keep to the page. The kids also love the way the baby Hanuman starts flying into the sun to everything that’s been pictured so beautifully.

You can read this to the kids and also attest the same with the pictures.

For little grown up kids there is a test of what they have got to know of the story in the pages in between. I know its tough to put the whole story into such a small session but the author has been successful in bringing out the Hanuman that we all cherish from the kid to the one who helps Lord Ram rescue Sita from Ravana’s Lanka.

You will be happy having this copy and for sure this will be an entertaining retelling of one of the most loving stories ever heard for us. Being a parent now has made this book a must have / wonderful collection.

You can pick a copy of the book here at Flipkart / Amazon. Am sure you will thank me for this reco.

4 ½ stars out of 5 :)

Senthilkumar Rajappan

Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane a book review

lanka-s-princess-original

 

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129144515, 8129144514
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 280

Lanka’s Princess is a tale of Meenakshi, the Surpanakha as we know her. The name sticking to her because of her nails or claws that she had on her fingers. The story is an exhaustive one which tells you about the troubled childhood. I could easily see the Kaliyuga version being played in teleserials and I am sure these guys can’t match to the cunningness and thinking that Meenakshi had.

This is a fantastic effort by the author, I am reading her for the first time. Mindblown by the intricacies and exhaustiveness of the narration, she dwells so deep into the psyche of the character called Meenakshi aka Surpanakha.

The scenes with her mother and her doting the father are real emotive ones that sets it in a contemporary age and it might look like the story of our neighbourhood. I am sure the Saas Bhau serials cant even come anywhere near in terms of cunningness that sets the tale across ending with Ravan.

What an intricate family relationship that Ravan and his family had across the spectrum including Vishnu as much as his Adhi Sesha being a part of Ravan’s clan. Its also a story that feeds on ambition and self praise and towering on the self and ego of one person Ravan and abetted by his sister Meenakshi who feels neglected since childhood.

Revenge is a kind word here to be used since we see how the flare up from small incidents take shape of a ill feeling that can destroy the person and all those around her. Its about the poison tree that people water forgetting things and eating its fruits later.

The characterisation of all the people in this tale is such an astonishing feature, be it Ram, Ravan, Lakshman or the heroine of this saga, Meenakshi. The story is a rivetting one and the language is very addictive in a sense that its easy to read and turn pages.

I loved the research behind this book and a new Ramayana played out in front of me, much to the discomfort that Sita wasn’t the primary reason for Ravan to wage a war. Quite often we do take the face value of the stories thats been given to us. The magic of the mythology that we have inherited is beyond compare especially because the characters of Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagvatham have some common time travelling and relationships beyond their ages when they happened.

We see some of the best of Ravan, and the worst of Ravan and many many worsts of Surpanakha.

Some nice narrative on Kumbha who we hardly give the space he deserves. All we know was his six month sleeping / eating.

Absolutely a nice work in total, threw open some new perspective and changed the way you look at what happens when a woman thinks of revenge!

Thanks Rupa Publications for your copy and thanks to the Kavita Kane for this wonderful work and hope to read many more stories that needs to be told.

PS: The author Kavita Kane specialises in telling the stories of some of the important women in the epics thorough their first person account or through their eyes.

The Girl Who Chose – Devdutt Pattanaik

the-girl-who-chose-a-new-way-of-narrating-the-ramayana-400x400

 

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780143334637, 0143334638
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 112

I always say this, India is a land of charming story tellers and we will never get tired of telling them. The beauty of this land is the assimilation of the different cultures in the respective retelling of the biggest and impactful epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Devdutt Pattanaik comes again as a winner this time with the tale of Sita and how she chose five things for herself in her lifetime with Ram the prince of Ayodhya. It might have gone unnoticed why the story came about unless we think about it and see the reason around why Sita decided to go the forest with Ram and Lakshman, especially when she was just married and she has been the princess after all. She could have been sending off Ram to deliver the promise that his Dad made.

Again it was Sita during her days at the forest, who chose to cross the Lakshman Rekha, to give food to the ascetic who had come begging. It was a choice that had repercussions again simply because Lakshman had thought about it and drawn a line.

There are three more instances when she chose, get the book to read them and it is a delightful read the way it is presented. The story extends to the time of Luv and Khusha the twins of Sita when she is asked to leave the kingdom due to the way the gossip mongers have a field day.

The time she choses to make an entry into the fireplace is also a reminder of how the character has had an impact in terms of image being built around the royals vis a vis the rules and the fredom to choose.

Ofcourse the rishis and scriptures wanted us to see the characters in us as much as the story was told, here again the author has rekndled the efforts in us to reach out to the Ram, Sita and the Ravana inside us

Beautifully illustrated and narrated with short notes on the sidelines this is a wonderful book to introduce Sita as a woman who should be celebrated equal to Ram and Lakshman.

You will love this book to the core, enjoy it reading it loud to the kids too. Go ahead and take a plunge, there is subtlety in this and there is spiritual offering if in case you want to see it that way. Enjoyed reading this, and Devdutt Pattanaik has recreated the charm of introducing the characters with such conviction in story telling.

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program. To buy your copies go here : The Girl Who Chose

Senthilkumar

Silent Valley – the reservoir of everything pristine…

This has been on the list and not that am a heavy traveller but I take the road leading to Silent valley whenever I am driving through the Palakkad Mannarghat Road. That has made me look through where I want to go.

This coupled with tales from friends have always had me in charm especially the way, the place is still intact or so they claim and I just want to witness the serenity and the overflowing green wetness they describe in just walking through the forest or getting your toes wet with small rivers across the valley.

Imagine this picture and I am sure you can imagine what I was trying to convey..

FOREST_BY_NIHAL_JABIN

Pic Courtesy By NIHAL JABINOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31595034

This is a no-mans’ land literally making it one of the most green spaces in the country with little to zero human imprint. The flora and fauna of the place are rich and some of them are in the list of endangered species.

It is one of the best case studies of human intervention and human might to conserve the forest and will remain so for times to come.

I would like to trek those accessible areas and places where we can just be the self. I am sure this place has the affinity to make you change the perception of life. Being in the midst of nature in a way that you cannot imagine.

It would be a great trip in the lap of nature and immerse yourself with the surroundings. I think this would be the real nirvana for a traveller who can see himself in the nature around him.

Imagining, I can actually feel the warmth flowing out of the wetness of the water and the music flowing through the rustle of the wind and brushing of the clothing against those green shrubs and twining climbers on the trees.

So its like I should get on this before I make the next trip on the Palakkad road which will not just be seeing the Silent Valley on the direction board but all the way ending up there in the lap of mother nature.

Ofcourse you need to check when you could visit and the ecosystem there is fragile as a glass you hold on a tight rope walk. But kudos to the project and people behind making this a one of a kind.

As a mythology fan this place has a Mahabharatha connect too. Well its the place where Panchali or Draupadi as we know her was in exile in the last year of their exile.

I am hoping to see the Macaque an endangered species, some antelope / deers and more of fauna and flora only at the Silent valley.

Pic Courtesy: http://www.nikhilchandra.in

I am sure this will happen sometime soon.

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

Senthilkumar

Ancient Chants for Modern Living by Aatmanika Ram #bookreview

ancient-chants-for-modern-living-400x400-imaehphuebdh9hjz

Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9385152602
Number of Pages 168 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385152603
Binding Paperback

These are fast times and when you have ancient and modern in one single sentence you have a challenge. Here in this book Ancient Chants for Modern Living the author Aatmanika Ram takes us through a thoroughly and easy to digest research of Sholkas of the Ancient times and how we can leverage the same in modern day.

Personally for me, it was a memory down the lane, esp of the shlokas the ‘sahanavavathu’ as we chanted them at the start of every class in school, to the ‘thrayambagam yajamahe’ whenever we had someone have health issues.

It is to the credit of the author that she has deftly wielded the subject with finesse and clearly marked them as topics that would have an immediate connect with the readers.

The shlokas are from the ancient texts to the C Rajagopalachari’s Kurai Ondrum illai, all that have an impact even just by listening and the experience is elevated by having them chanted with proper pronunciation and at the right times.

You also have the yoga postures that you could add to your way of life to maximise the impact of these chants. The suggestion on the audio or video makes for a practical aspect of the book, but I think as a suggestion those should have been added as a reference in the chapters for the readers so it’s easy to follow. You never know our modern habits of skipping things for want of time.

These experiences as I see it has to be tested by individuals by following it very diligently so that they have a real healing effect, since these are always about the faith and the result will be there for all to see.

The challenge of the book is in its ability to cover a wide range of issues and presenting it succinctly, since I am sure the vastness of the ancient text given to its interpretations and commentaries are so huge. A great attempt has actually crystallised into a nice readable form and presented in a manner that its easy to read and easy to implement.

The temple visits could also be generalised since the same form of the God and Godesses are present across the terrain of our country though I am sure those mentioned will have more of spiritual benefit too.

A very concise presentation in what is supposed to be a big set of texts and easy to digest form, the chants should work magic in whatever endeavour you are trying to master or get in.

All in all a nice effort to introduce the importance of chants and the purpose led definitions for the common man who otherwise would be just looking at it from a third man’s perspective as an alien Sanskrit shloka.

For starters this is a very inspiring book that has the magic of healing in truest sense.

Senthilkumar

Ganesh by Subhadra Sen Gupta #bookreview

Ganesh

Welcome to the land of stories, the land which presented the Mahabharata the longest epic ever written. It has so many stories that we know of and so many stories that we don’t know of. Quite incidentally the book that we now are reviewing is of Ganesh.

Ganesh the son of Shiva and Parvathy is the celebrated God in Indian mythology and has expressions in being the remover of all obstacles and we know how grand is the celebration of Ganesh in Maharashtra which has come to symbolise the way Ganesh is celebrated.

The best facet of our Indian storytelling is you could have many an interpretation and many a twist and take in the way the story is presented. That’s the reason we have so many interpretations of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

In this book the story of how Ganesh lost his head is an endearing one. In south it was believed that Shiva was not allowed entry to see Parvathy by Ganesh since he was keeping a watch firmly doing what his mother told him to do. Never let anyone inside till I am done with my bath. Ganesh took this seriously and Shiva has no inkling that the child was Parvathy’s making and he when obstructed to see his own wife, cuts the lad’s head off in anger, only to be told by Parvathy that it her kid and he has done total injustice to the boy.

Now the elephant with its head towards the north was the alternative that we have as common. In this narrative we do have a big ceremony to celebrate and then there is the Shani coming and looking at Ganesh and he gets the head burnt. Therein lies the interpretation of Shani being a part of the story.

A classical story for night read for the kids and the way its has been illustrated makes for interesting read aloud stuff for the kids.

A new story and a new interpretation is always welcome. The kids I am sure will relish this illustrations and storytelling through the pictures.

Each of the four stories are embedded with nice instances that are easily assimilated by the young audience. The illustrations deserve a great appreciation that has the comic effect and also a story telling way.

The story of Mahabharata is also a nice one wherein Ganesh decides to pull off his tusk to keep writing on the palm leaves.

The illustration by Tapas Gupta add a very nice touch to the already fascinating story of Ganesh.

I enjoyed this book for kids and i tried keeping this book around kids and saw they were pretty involved because of the format.

The author and the illustrator deserve every praise for the work that they have done and it sure will be a great way to introduce them to Ganesh with stories that make for fun reading.

Stone or Statue

A stone lay there on the roadside,
None would care to look,
Nor was there any sculptor who took;
It to his imagined world aside.

It lay still for days unseen,
A burden for the earth it had been.
For all who saw it black and hard,
Had never tried to become a bard.

Time did pass, till one day a man;
Saw this large stone as everyone can.
But he saw something more in,
That into his dream world he took the stone in.

Then day and night he worked on,
Till he felt tired and torn.
And for days did he toil,
Like a farmer who does for his soil.

He carved and carved till,
It did his picture fill.
Then, one fine day when he finished-
The people gathered there were astonished.

All gazed and gazed, yet one
Curious, and worthy of none,
Asked the sculptor how he had been,
Able to see the form in the rock hardly seen.

Answered the humble sculptor “I see,
Also the Almighty Lord in thee”.

Senthilkumar R

(Based on stories – Circa 1993)

Ramayana – The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams – a book review

Ramayana – The Game of Life -Shattered Dreams

I think we are a nation built on mythology going by what you see today on twitter and slang matching happening online. But before these internet rage took centerstage, Doordarshan in early days of 80s had the nation in charms with the two worlds greatest epic on screen, the Ramayana and Mahabharath! Those days it meant Sundays were meant for Ramayana and Mahabharath. The charm wore on with the whole generation so much so, some of the character actors made their presence to the parliament.

As regards retelling of the epics, its been happening for long and this century is not an exception.

The book in review is an excellent series if you ask me and what a debut it was by the author Shubha Vilas. Rooted in the treatment of the epic for what it matters most, the interpretation of the same to add values to the life around us is perhaps the significant take away from this book or series.

Continuing from the last epic of the childhood days of the Rama, this one is the retelling of the Dasaratha’s shattered dreams. You might also take a literal working of getting your boon claimed, unlike the words and gift vouchers which come in with a expiry. The boon that was given by Dasaratha in a war time long long years ago is revived by Kaikeyi, aided by his maid to make Bharatha the King just hours before the coronation of the Prince Rama. Not that Rama is not the apple of all the three mothers, but this is the way it got to be.

If you thought there was any way modern day classic writers could come close to the twist in the tale, well sorry this was greatly done right from the Valmiki days and Shubha Vilas captures the moments especially the way anxious Dasaratha is portrayed is unparalleled. The teaching impact of those moments are a treat to read as always.

So if you love to really watch the Ramayana happen in front of you especially going through the minds of the characters and then stop over to think and digest what those tales and moments in the tales means for you in life, then this is the book you need to read. I was transported to Dasaratha’s kingdom with pomp and the cries of the whole kingdom when King makes an announcement and also walk alongside Rama if you want.

The nuggets of side stories make for an excellent read and keeps you gripped to the happenings and is almost like the  mind reading of the characters that you are reading about.

If you thought that your life’s problems are big, imagine a prince who would be king tomorrow morning and then you see a email saying you are fired and then not just that you got to go into exile. How do you maintain your poise that you are known for. Rama is that character who will tell you how to react or sometimes how not to react.

I am sure you will experience the words crafted beautifully and the retelling has the impact of Valmiki and the rendering of Kambar making it a delight to read.

I am waiting for the next in the series and see how the story unfolds especially with some of the nuggets that we don’t know or not exposed to and ofcourse how we should apply these to our everyday lives.

A word of gratitude to both the author – a revered friend now and folks at blogadda.com for the book.

Senthilkumar

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

The Mahabharata Quest – the Alexander Secret by Christopher C Doyle #bookreview

the-mahabharata-quest-400x400-im

 

Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9384030597
Edition 1st Edition
Book Type Fiction Book
Number of Pages 308 Pages
Publication Year 2014
Language English
ISBN-13 9789384030599
Binding Paperback

I have been lucky to be reading the Mahabharata or its connections in a way or other. Looks like I will take to mythology as much as the debut authors in a sense for revieweing books.

This is a great effort from the author Christopher C Doyle connecting the ancient Mahabharata and the Alexander’s search for immortality and the present day Order. I am sure a lot of things go unnoticed when you read between the lines. The never so obvious language and the interpretation of the Sanskrit Shlokas in the Mahabharata and how they have a bearing in the medical science is a intriguing aspect of this story.

The author churns out a nice moving tale across times zones and also has a nice flash back for the Alexanders’ days to keep the rationale intact. A fast paced and has woven on a lot of research and presented in a very lucid style to keep the reader’s interest till the last page.

The characterizations are very well done and has all the ingredients of making of a movie, I believe this could well be a possible script which can be well executed in a way. Why I am saying this is the visual narration of the scenes is absolutely great and that makes it a great read.

The characters, Vijay, Imran, Radha, Alice, Collin and Shukla apart from the Coopers on the other side make for nice well knit team.

The books makes for a nice reading with Mahabharata and Alexander’s quest and modern day Order in a very complex web of secrets dating back to the Mahabharata’s churning of the milky ocean. The link being well the nectar and immortality associated with it. And do you know Alexander wanted to be God. Read this book as it takes you on a trip to his hey days and how he lost the plot.

In the present day scenario, the best part is the way the both sides try to outwit each other. Though we have to wait and see how it ends up. Six months to know and probably the doctor would also know if the trial is working out.

Well the author has handled it pretty fast paced and you know in the end this is a book with sequel.

Now have to wait to know what happened.

As you wait please check out the trailer…

About the author: Christopher C. Doyle is an author who transports the reader into a fascinating world where ancient secrets buried in legends blend with science and history to create a gripping story. Along the way to publishing his debut novel, The Mahabharata Secret, Christopher pursued a career in the corporate world after graduating from St. Stephens College, Delhi with a degree in Economics and studying business management at IIM Calcutta. Over the course of his corporate career, Christopher has written articles on management and business for Indian and international publications and is also a regular invited speaker for international conventions and conferences. He is a certified Executive Coach and now works with senior executives to help them achieve success and better results in their organizations.

PS: Thanks to folks at Clea Public Relations for sending in a e-book to read and review…