Tag Archives: flipkart sponsored book review

RAMAYANA VERSUS MAHABHARATA – My Playful Comparison by Devdutt Pattanaik – a book review

RAMAYANA VERSUS MAHABHARATA – My Playful Comparison

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • Genre: History of Religion, Hinduism, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
  • ISBN: 9789353332303, 9353332303
  • Edition: 2018

This is a laborious exercise ideally because the context is different. The other side of the comparing these two works is tough because they are totally having different approaches to target segment. It also is important to understand the length and breadth of the story are widely different. The fact that the characters continue to Mahabharata from Ramayana is also a pointer to the similarities and how they are a continuous set of instances that make this grand story come alive.

I read with interest the snippet like comparisons by Devdutt Pattanaik where he has put it as My playful comparison, (still wonder why it’s playful) there are enough and more comparisons you could take away right from the childless fathers in Dasaratha to Shantanu to sorrowing parents in Dasaratha to even Pandavas after the war.

We also get to see quite a few instances in terms of geography and history or the narration by rishis, etc.

But given that author has taken liberty for the time of the authorship of both the epics, I would have loved to differ. For example, the Big Temple in Tamilnadu is over 2000 years old and the devotional movement in their time was as big as anything that is covered elsewhere.

One more I noticed was the Greek and Buddhist comparisons, that are totally different and the context in which those thrived also makes for comparisons.

I was also not able to see the Ram vs Krishna connect or comparison here. That would have made it all the more interesting since the author has given very few instances of the comparison in a perspective of things. Those are the celebrated characters in the whole scheme of things. That Mahabharata has a Bhagavad Geetha in it has not be taken into consideration.

I think a body of work of such grandeur and vastness in both cases inspite of being in Sruthi mode thats hear say to being written so well after long, will constitute similarities with human beings and Gods in an intersection of game of life.

That women in both the epics have cast a shadow is irrefutable, that of Sita and Panchali, but then when you see these as just stories it would get you to this connect only. These are imageries for spiritual existance and at some places the author puts them concretely.

That there are multiple versions that have made these epics into a reckoning literature in their own right, this will also have its way of reflecting the time that the authors lived in.

Infact this is also happening now as we see multitude versions of Mahabharat and Ramayana from different authors and different perspectives from different characters than being rendered by Valmiki or Vyasa.

This is quite a study of contrast and yes you could open any page and read this in case you want to because like I mentioned earlier these are snippets and there are almost 56 instances that the author takes us through and they are small but important to note.

I am only cautious about some issues like Vedic period and Brahminism that the author takes undue liberty with. It’s like saying there was no gravity or something till Newton discovered it. One instance he says this is because of the Panini’s work of grammar came in at one certain point in time. I am unable to understand if that were the case would everyone be using the language without any sense till then. I think that is wrong way to reference the language part. Sangam literature in Tamil is far older in that case going by inscriptions.

Anyway an attempt in bringing the similarities which will continue to exist even today. You write a plot and then you can be sure that was there in Mahabharata or Ramayana.

One thing I have noticed is from giving the stories its due to now getting to liberal interpretations Devdutt Pattanaik has come a long way. Well you cant find fault with this its the way the epics have allowed itself to be retold.

Thank you Flipkart for sending in the copy and you can buy this here.

Senthilkumar

Murder in Paharganj by Kulpreet Yadav – a book review

Murder in Paharganj

Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury India; First edition (10 October 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9386826615
ISBN-13: 978-9386826619

First things first, this is the first time I am reading Kulpreet Yadav and happy that we have a series with someone called Vicks Menon, it definitely is a nice idea to get a Journalist don a detective’s hat.

The story opens with a murder in a hotel in Paharganj, of a foreign lady, and the hotel staff invariably a friend of Vicks Menon informs him before he actually calls the police and that’s where it all starts.

The man in the story Vicks is a journalist albeit this time he is jobless and wants to show his boss that he has made a mistake and that’s one reason why he decides to take this on his own instead being a help to the police. Also in the story is his live in partner and lover combined  Tonya who is a psychiatrist and helps the police unravel motives for crimes.

The story travels across half the continent atleast from Israel to Iran to Afghanistan to India to Bangkok. Though most of the happenings is at Paharganj and Udaipur for a bit, its shadow casts across the other places mentioned earlier.

There is also the farther daughter story which comes to light with an introduction of an Israeli spy in Ariel.

The contours of the killer who is Jalauddin in real and with a name of Jamie and how he is an agent for Iran is well crafted but the scenes that unfold are quite cinematic in the way it takes shape towards the end.

The unravelling of the plot could have been more intense. The trace that the police are after looks pretty amateurish. It could have been much more scientific and today there are enough things in digital that is happening. I would expect much more from a spy thriller.

Easy and a fast paced read but could have been more gripping, because it was left to someone to finish of the killer, somehow doesn’t seem true to the plot. I think the character of the psychiatrist should have been chiselled in a way that could have a bearing on the case.

There are too many characters to contend with and we have to sympathise with them too. And their roles get limited when the author tries to give each a bit of the focus on them. A good read overall.

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book review. Thanks FLipkart for the copy and you may pick up yours here!

Senthilkumar

Looking for the Rainbow by Ruskin Bond – Book Review

 

Ruskin Bond_Looking for the Rainbow

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House India
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9780143441076, 0143441078
  • Edition: NA, 2017
  • Pages: 96

Little did I know that the impact of the book will continue to linger forever,  I cannot express in words which  I am trying here, the sheer magic this book will weave on you. I am sure this is gonna be a classic that will be held for long even after we are all gone. Yes you must read this book to know how it feels and the experience will transform you for sure…

That the master story teller had such an emotion hidden so long is itself a mystery and the way it has been presented in such magnitude to us is sheer charm with a wonderful streak of innocence and boyhood that can only be the signature of Ruskin Bond.

The story of a boy who lost his only relationship worthy of emulation and the year that he got to be with him is beyond compare in the way the story is narrated.

The story telling gets you riveted till the last page and tears well up as you close the book, the God here has been so cruel in the way it made the decision to call his father back. The way he reacts and the story of the stamps and how it ends up will linger long.

After a long time, I just got immersed in this book, it was like living close to the author travelling with him, the innocent narration of his world outlook as he decides to mingle with his friends on the street or get better off with his friends at the boarding school.

The illustrations add life to the narration and we have to complement Mihir for his work. Some pictures actually show the emotions so well you would easily take it for real.

I read the blurb at the back of the book after the book has been finished actually and then it dawned on me that I was literally having a Classic in the making in my hands.

I think after a long time, after R K Narayan’s Swami and Friends this one was perhaps the most engaging with some parallels in time – the pre independent India and the like. The letter to be written also was a part of Swami & Friends’ climax.

On another side you will relive some of the childhood days where there was no digital stuff say a phone like now or a TV or internet. Collection of stamps was a big hobby and it was a window to the world as much as the author explains. Hope some of those traits gets to our generation.

A word of thanks is due to the Flipkart Review Program for their copy and this opportunity. Thanks a ton Flipkart (Vivek), this will remain special! I suggest you must definitely pick a copy if you have kids at home. The more I read Ruskin Bond, the better I realise things as a parent, perhaps that is the best part of the master story teller.

You can pick a copy here : Flipkart

SkyFire by Aroon Raman a book review…

skyfire-original-imaem8v2rnvajfbf

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
  • ISBN: 9789382616610, 9382616616
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 256

This is a sequel and I must admit that I am reading the author for the first time. As a series I am sure it helps the reader with continuity and the characters make it easy for readers to relate. But ofcourse this is also stand alone issue that this story concerns with.

The issue of weather calibration to cause damage is core of the plot and on the sidelines we do also have child trafficking embedded into the story. The one on weather and its devasting effects it can unleash is equivalent to a biological weapon.

Chandrasekar and his friend Hassan, along with Meenakshi form the characters and unravel an ugly truth of child trafficking since they work with kids from the slum.

The characters stick to the plot and sometimes you could sense a bit of bollywood or cinematic attempts of narattion esp when the villain gives a walk through of the facility.

The fact remains that child trafficking and the laws that govern are highly ridiculous to the extent that you need to be a relative to complain of a lost child!

The book is well written except that it gives away the plot too easily and it triggers the faultlines in the early pages only. And the strands of plot are not interlinked to details but the author seems to suggest well you know this is how things are.

The plot on weather caliberation or the children trafficked both have not been given the real due, and somewhere those break like Sherlock doesn’t hold much and its a bit amatuerish. I know the characters can be amatuers but the work needs to be professional. Somewhere getting introduced to the NGO I got a feeling that they were behind this.

There’s a pace with the book but it could have been more detailed in some aspects of the plots.

It’s a good read and you will finish this in a single sitting max two. The language is simple and narrative is fast paced.

Three Stars from my side. To pick up the book go here: Flipkart

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program. Thanks Flipkart for the review copy.

Senthilkumar

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

Beauty is a wound by Eka Kurniawan #bookreview

beauty-is-a-wound-400x400-imaegfghsek9hcpc

BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385755684
Edition 1
Number of Pages 480 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385755682
Binding Paperback

Beauty is a wound is a fantastic novel which revolves around a character who we would not even take it our stride for her profession. But the way the author has woven a satire of life and history of nation as much as you can think about it. There is an eerie sense of humour that best describes the way the characters are presented by the author.

There is a way to describe things of the nation if you think about a narration of the history from the characters. The story is also about how you can mix the history and fiction in a classic way to get you the best of storytelling.

There is a rawness in the language and that translates to making it more authentic in a way and the author turns no stones to get you smell the land and get you close to the environment.

There is a momentum with the characters and also the story and it has all the ingredients to make you laugh within. Sometimes there are big sarcastic statements blurted out as if nothing has happened. The weight of the argument is to be seen within the context, there are social messages some modern take on the long customs and then radicalism presented with a simplicity that exudes charm.

I am also in awe of the translator who I am sure has held the story in its entirety and we can see the way the words being explicitly used or abused (you can choose them). A book of this calibre is enhanced when it reaches out to the world population and the stories gets told in multiple languages.

This is the second time in recent days getting to read a translated work with a charm that you can easily identify with the original language and how impactful it would be.

I could see a Salman Rushidique narrative with the history as a backdrop and the characters being woven around the events that shaped the country. Quite possible a history – story best woven with a dose of fiction added to it.

I am sure you will be left with the stories of Dewi Ayu for quite a while after you keep the book down.

Go here to buy the book: http://www.flipkart.com/beauty-wound-english/p/itmegfg5xwburhwy?pid=9789385755682

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book Review Program.

Senthilkumar