May the genuine Keepers stay

Mix equal proportions of Science and Philosophy, marinate with Mythology and Religion and garnish with mysteries – the result – a perfect book and a splendid read.

Keepers of the KaalChakra, by Ashwin Sanghi, is one such interesting and engaging book. What makes me awestruck is the amount of research, reading and thoughtfulness gone into creating such a masterpiece.

I have read a couple of books by the same author and also many others of the same genre. The effect is the same always or in fact amplified at times. It starts with getting hooked within a few pages and then desperation to finish it off in one go.

Kaalchakra, literally, means the wheel of time and the keepers are the ones who are torch-bearers and beholders of the ageless wisdom and are entrusted with the responsibility carrying it till perpetuity.

This story involves perspectives from different religions and the distorted picture in the today’s world.

Each one wants to prove they are supreme and their ideas are here to stay. Whoever comes in between, will be ruthlessly done away with.

Somewhere all of us know that all religions and faiths are based on similar principles i.e. peace, empathy, compassion and simple living. Its the corruption in the ideas that has happened over the centuries and the dilution of the true essence of any faith has resulted in a chaotic and terror-stricken world.

Its not always fair, just in the name of religion.

Amazing plot, interesting characters and beautifully written book. A must-read recommendation from me.

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Human Beings 2.0

Economics was part of my curriculum. What I distinctly remember is term ‘perfect world’ and also ‘human beings are not rational’ and ‘wants are unlimited’ and ‘ in the long run we all are dead’. Whether or not it makes any sense to me now, back then it never did but the terms are well engraved in my mind and it keeps coming back.

The Giver (Part 1) was one of the random books I just picked up without even knowing that is a quartet. And that was a mistake. The wait to get the remaining parts was one of the longest and also quite an anxious one.

The moment I started the book, it was reminding me of something. Yes, it was the ‘perfect world’ of economics. An administered and well-ordered society, the needs are pre-defined and are met by the society. Everyone knows what is to be done and everyone is taught how it is to be done. Every child is monitored and future is decided based on skills and every elderly person is well taken care of. No chaos.

Sounds perfect, but that’s not all

Somebody decides who is the best life partner for you, somebody decides whether or not you are capable to raise kids, somebody decides what food you should eat, somebody decides what you should feel and what you should not and the same somebody decides whether or not you are fit to live !!

Do we really need a no-chaos world like this?

Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son takes you through an enlightening journey of “perceived” perfect living to a “real” imperfect yet peaceful living. While the story starts with a utopian society, the events and the incidents open up the dark side or rather the making of such a utopian living and how individuals who want to make a difference, strive hard and transform the society.

In the times, where we are talking about machine learning and making machines intelligent, reading this contrasting idea of humans made into machines was quite intriguing.

Would this be our future? Assuming we are the race 1.0, will the Human 2.0 be and live like this?

A must read and not only once, but worth many re-reads.

All through the book and even now when I am writing, the question that’s haunting my mind..

If I were The Giver, what would I give..

Another Mystery revealed

The other day in some conversation I said “If I had to draw parallels to this…” and I realised the influence of Miss Marple on me. Well, I must admit even otherwise, I do try to connect related (and unrelated) things.

Another Agatha Christie thriller I gulped down; A Caribbean Mystery featuring Miss Marple. What more and what different I can say. As always – excellent plot, excellent characters, extra-ordinary Miss Marple and her technique and an interesting mystery unfolded.

Agatha Christie novels, especially the Miss Marple ones, reveal so many perspectives about the human, their mind, their behaviour, their intelligence and of course, their follies.

Like in this one, stories or rather rumours are spread and this happens because of people, in general, who like to gossip around without the even confirming the source of it. The criminal mind obviously takes advantage of this common human behaviour.

Secondly, there is always more than what meets the eye. So one needs to keep this in mind before making any judgements about people or events.

And if one wants to unfold the mystery, the essence is in detail. Note the facts, observe the proceedings, connect the dots and Bingo !! the crime and the criminal get unveiled.

That’s all for The Caribbean Mystery. A definite MUST read for all mystery lover and Agatha Christie fans.

 

 

They do it with mirrors and she does it with words…

If you are a fan of crime mysteries and have read the famous ones, then from the title itself you would have guessed which author and which book I am talking about.

“They do it with mirrors”, an Agatha Christie novel, featuring the good old, Miss Jane Marple.

It was, as always, a thrilling experience to unfold the mystery. Don’t know why but I always had imagined, rather I always wanted Miss Marple to be cute and chubby little old woman (resembling to my grandma) and she always had been thin and delicate looking woman, with an enormous power to draw parallels and reach conclusions. Simply amazing.

Being a mystery novel, I won’t be talking about the story line at all. While reading a mystery novel, don’t we also end up putting the detective’s hat? I surely do. So even a slightest hint, will spoil all the fun.

Of course, there are lot of points to note, in general, whenever you are a spectator to drama happening in front of you.

  1. Human nature is same, irrespective of wherever they are, a hustling city or a peaceful village. In fact, in an apparently peaceful village, there is a lot to observe, learn and analyse the human behaviour.
  2. Looks, words and even the title (of the book) can deceive you or let you create a bias that interferes with your ability to analyse objectively. In the case of this book, I had cooked up in mind there would be a “physical” role of mirror in the crime. And I was so damn wrong. Had I not presumed it’s got to do with the mirror, probably I would have also cracked the crime correctly (you never know!!)
  3. You have to read between the lines and look past the behaviour
  4. Trust your intuition

The storyline does cover old friends catching up, and Miss Marple is one of those. When I finished reading the book, I imagined how would our, me and my friends, catch up be? Four old ladies, bespectacled, toothless (probably) and all grey hair. Would we also have some crime to crack? Some patterns to analyse?? How I wish!!

It’s a must read for all crime mystery lovers.

Yes, I can see you

This affirmative sentence indicates your life is off-track and that you are stressed and need someone who can help you out. Does this sound crazy? Not if you have read the Cecilia Ahern’s novel; If you could see me now.

I love Cecilia Ahern’s writing style. Her novels are quite motivational and so close to reality that you feel if the protagonist could move on with life, discover the inner self and stand back again, why can’t we in the real life?

Elizabeth Egan, the protagonist befriends and falls in love with a man, who is ELBISIVNI (to be read backward) to the world. Ivan is the man who can be seen by only those who are in the real need of friend. While he had come down to befriend Elizabeth’s nephew but it turns out that Elizabeth herself is in need of that support.

The strong personality which she carries along is just superficial. From within, she is all messed up. Ivan fills her life with fun, passion and happiness, and helps her to move on with life. Eventually falls in love with her. However getting her life on track implies his time with her is up and now he doesn’t want to leave her.

Like all other novels by the same author, this one also is an emotionally engaging book. It brings forward different perspectives and warmth of relationships. I was so much in awe with the concept of having an INVISIBLE friend and how I wished to have one. I don’t want this friend only during the rough times, rather all the time, through all ups and downs.

Bu then why you need invisible ones, when the visible ones are always there for you. Isn’t it? My buddies, you play the role of “Tangible” Ivan in my life.

It’s definitely a recommended read from me.

It could also be a nice gift you can give someone whom you want to give assurance that you’ll be there for them in all the good and bad times. And that you won’t disappear once your role is over.

Step into my shoes !!

The book I had picked up this time was absolutely brilliant. It was so interesting that I had to keep aside all my work, my meals, my mobile as I wanted to read it all at one shot. And surprisingly, I was well familiar with the story. I knew the characters, I knew the plot, I knew the beginning and I knew the end.. still I was glued to this one. The book was based on one of the great Indian Epics – Ramanyana. Being brought up in a traditional Indian family, and in a school where Ramayana was part of syllabus, and also privileged enough to have TV at home (back then it was) when Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana was being telecast, I knew the entire story so well ( rather that was my notion before reading the book). Yet this book opened up a new world to me, and gave me so much food for thought!!

Off late I have developed deep interest for Indian Mythology, Culture, Traditions.. basically everything about Indian origin. The more and more I read about it, the more mesmerized I am. It reminds me of a kaleidoscope. The characters, the events and the stories are more or less fixed. As it happens in Kaleidoscope, the moment you turn the tube, a new design appears from the same set of pieces. Likewise here, the same story when looked at from a different character’s perspective, gives a different reflection, a different visualization of the same story.  I guess, this would be true any other culture too. Hope I can get there in this lifetime. Am sure it would be great experience to be anthropologist.

Coming back to Ramayana, the protagonists are Ram and Sita (Incarnations of Lord Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi). To be honest, the moment I wrote the word protagonist, I wondered whether I am doing justice to the other characters, as each of them has a significant role. Be it Lakshman, Ravan, Kekayi, Bharat, Hanuman, Vibhisan, Sugrive, Urmila and the rest.  Without them Ramayana is incomplete. (And there I get carried away from the main topic again.)

This time the story was presented from Urmila’s viewpoint. Who was she? Throughout the book she has been proclaimed by everyone as the strength, the pillar and the glue that bonded her family. In spite of this crucial role, she barely had any identity of her own. She has been always known as Sita’s Sister. And yes, that’s the title of the book too. Fantastic job done by the author Kavita Kane, right from naming the book to putting forward the personality of Urmila, who was always assumed as supporting and a side-lined character.

I haven’t read the original script of Ramayana. Whatever I have read or seen, were the creative works of author. It was their version, their perspective and understanding of the Epic. Was Urmila really like the one portrayed here? I don’t know. I surely liked this Urmila. Her persona was inspiring. Her confidence, intellect, standing-up against injustice, voicing her opinions firmly, intense love and care for her sisters.. actually everything about her was admirable. Apparently she was complete contrast to her sister, Sita.

The way author has described the feelings of a woman – in love, as a sister, as a daughter, as a wife who is separated from her husband for 14 years, as a daughter-in-law and as a woman.. actually gave me goose bumps. The maturity and understanding which she showed under the toughest circumstances made me feel how silly and immature I am when I crib at the smallest (and often insignificant) issues. Urmila’s another sister Mandavi, also went through the same suffering. But Mandavi was full of grudge, negativity and regrets, while Urmila chose to have hope, optimism and compassion instead. Hats off to Urmila.

Being a woman, I think, it was simply natural to understand and feel the emotions of Urmila and also her other sisters. The book is not about feminism. Rather I would say, it was a story of a female, by a female, and for male and female. Till date, I have read quite a handful of books on Indian Mythology. The ones written by Devdutt Patnaik, Ranjit Desai, and now Kavita Kane, have really helped to widen my perspective. Not only about Indian Mythology, but people and psychology in general.

Sita’s Sister is a must read recommendation from me.

The Mystery Queen

And that’s none other than Agatha Christie. I would have read around 40 odd detective novels till date and aim is to cover all (in this lifetime).

Of the ones which I have read, the following ones are awesome (actually all are, but I wasn’t able to recollect the plots of all the mysteries)