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Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review : ‘Ravana Leela : The One who forced God to become Human' by Radha Viswanath

Since the days of Anand Neelakantan’s ‘Asura, Tale of the Vanquished’, my love story with Ravana has lived on. So, when I chanced up on this book, ‘Ravanaleela, the One who forced God to become Human’ by Radha Viswanath, it meant something else. It was a book that would, hopefully, see him in a different light. Of course, some of the things were similar yet different! To be read in a whole new light. Or so, I hoped… 

Starting off right, at the beginning. This book starts off with the ancestors to Ravana, himself. The story of the three brothers, and how they landed up in Naga-loka, makes for a very interesting read. 

Kaikasi, the daughter of Sumali was sent away to Vishravasu and he was expected to marry her. But from him, the secret of Kaikasi’s birth was kept. But, he knew of this. She also has another problem, that whatever she would do now; she could not have any contact between the two worlds. 

She gives birth to Dashagreeva, Kumbakarna, Vibheeshana and also Surpanaka. She falls ill, and one day when she wakes up from rather long swoon, she tells all to Dashagreeva. Dashagreeva, who takes over Kuber's land, Kuber was his half-brother. So, Lanka which belonged to Kuber is now in the hands of Dashagreeva and to enjoy it, the Pushpak, the superior flying vehicle of Kuber’s too is within his reach.

On one of Dashagreev’s trips on his Pushpak, he comes into contact with Vedavati, who is in deep prayer, to wed Vishnu. But Dashagreeva, who protests this, is left behind by Vedavati who tells him that she, who has been sullied by him, would be reborn. And then a baby appears in Vedavati’s place. Dashagreeva is instructed to place it in a casket and thrown into the ocean, which he proceeds to do.

Also the interesting parts include, a very engaging story between Saraswati and Narada. And also, the meeting between Vaali and Ravana. And of Dashagreeva’s intense prayers to Shiva, and his unwavering dream of making Parvathi, his wife. Also, the same Narada causes Mandodari to be wed to Ravana.

Here are extremely interesting stories, which have made me think back. But, they have not answered my questions, and they remain doubts and reservations. Because, all these stories have remained just that, they have not been stitched together to give the one story of Ravana Leela.

And so, we have here the entire stories of the odd man, Ravana. Of Ravana’s wife, of his sister, of his brothers, of his sons and his many meetings with all the people and finally, with Sita. Hanuman comes in then, and destroys Lanka, which was known for its beauty, wonderful landscapes and stunning seas. 

All for Sita and his dreams, which turn into nightmares. He, who had it all ends up giving out instructions of running the nation, administration and politics to Rama. It should run into the story, I felt, and that was missing.

But unfortunately, the book does not serve its purpose. It ran quite well, till probably the last part. Ravana’s end was not brought out properly, and it kind of leaves a large part of me, wondering, where is it? And what happened? Of course, I did not expect the two to be similar at all, but still...

 You can Buy the Book, right here.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Book Review : ‘The Golden Dakini : The Maitreya Chronicles : Part 2’ by Charu Singh

Read up ‘The Golden Dakini : The Maitreya Chronicles : Part 2’, by Charu Singh in which we are shown the adventures of Tashi and Lama Ozer. Moving on from where we were at Shambala, they set off with Wisdom Goddess, Yeshe Nam Lha, the daughter of the Goddess Tara, Prince A-KarO, heir to the Lha Empire, and Prince Narasimha, heir to the Rigdens and the Shambala legacy.

Yeshe is prophesied to be the mother of Maitreya Buddha, who was to be the enlightened one on earth, with one of the princes as her consort. She has descended to the Earth, along with both her guardians and a few others. She has the task of choosing among the two of them, and travel to the Mount Meru.

Her journey would take her through Tibet and Sikkim’s Qiang La, where the Demazong monastery was. The monastery was deserted. And Prince A-KarO and Prince Narasimha have not sensed any sort of dangers, which The Garuda had already swept clear of any dark shamans.

But A-KarO warns his companions of an Asur presence since they are here. He tells them of the Asur Prince and his group of warriors. But they must go along through the towns of Sikkim. The go into the forests of Karbi Anglong Hills when they are met with Asurs. It was Yeshe’s good fortune that she managed to escape Prince Arden’s captivity once.

But Arden does not give up so soon. He will follow Yeshe across the Earth and make his claims again. He wants to win her over with his hypnotic magnetism and take her into the Asur kingdom of Inkala.

As they go along the towns in Assam on the way, they end up meeting a lot of people such as Yogi Bishek, Bana, Vani, Hammersmith, Fencering, Ti and also Chetak, the wind horse, among others.These could include Tsen deities, Fey warriors, Yakshas or even the gatekeepers of tunnels of Mount Meru.

Both princes kept trying to win over Yeshe, through the trip. And Yeshe tried to give it good thought, but always saw Narasimha as a friend, and irritated with A-KarO, as she was, kept seeing him with some attraction.

Both she and the princes have to fight their mortality, which they all have ended up with on coming to Earth. She would also fight the supreme attraction that Prince Arden wielded; he had followed her to Kashmir too. The towns in Assam, Jammu and Leh are all a part of the trip, which they must cross, to reach Meru.

So, will she make her choice among the two princes and also Arden? Will she fight through till she reaches Mount Meru? Will she complete the Yagna? Will she be the mother to Maitreya Buddha? Making all these choices is Yeshe’s duty, taking no chances is her responsibility…

On a side note, I almost forgot some of the food mentioned. The foods described, though vegetarian sound amazing, of course, the Asurs bring out the best of non - vegetarian food, too. It had me hungry, through most of the book. Basically, one cannot resist too much, Folks... 

You can Buy the Book, right here.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Author Interview : Amitabh Pandey, author of ‘Love in Lutyens' Delhi' (Part 1)

Amitabh Pandey
Read up, part one of the Interview with Amitabh Pandey, author of 'Love in Lutyens' Delhi'. Into our female dominated world, comes this book, probably at a funny time. We have females dominating the world with their work, both at home and out of home. We also have them displaying their love. One is a little girl's, her mother's, and her aunt's and the love they share among them and to the lone boy, outside. In this confusing world, a mix it of  status' and educations', this book comes along.

In this first part of the Interview, how the book happened, where he describes the journey and what according to him was different about the book. What the most fulfilling part of the book was and how he relates the lives of the characters to women today, Folks...

How did ‘Love in Lutyens’ Delhi’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

I wrote the first draft more than ten years ago, didn’t like the end result and rewrote it a year ago. 

The issue that I wanted to write about was that of a rapid change in the education and financial status of women in a society still dominated by men with very conservative, orthodox views and the impact of this anomaly on relationships between young people. 

The problem was real in my youth and I feel it is still significant and needs to be talked about.

What according to you is different about your book?

I don’t know what the basis for comparison is, but all I wanted to do was to highlight some strong women characters in a society that is still conservative and do it as an interesting story.
What part of the three or four stories, were you most close to and why?

I like them all-It’s my baby!

What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book? And what is the most challenging?

Writing is fulfilling in itself. Creating real and strong women protagonists is always a challenge.

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives of women, today? Any similarities?

A lot of educated, professional women today, face I feel, great difficulties in being accepted and treated as equals in a society that is essentially male dominated.

Also, considerations of caste, community etc. do impact relationships significantly.

Which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?

Impossible to answer – I created them!

You can Read the Review, and Buy the Book right here, as well.