Monday, 22 April 2013

BOOK REVIEW : Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

I first read about Ashwin Sanghi in the weekly Graphiti magazine. I was intrigued and keen to read his books.
Finally got a chance to read Chanakya's Chant.
A granite block is found with some sanskrit inscriptions in the begining of the book. It is the Chanakya's Chant with instructions on its usage.

" Primal shakti, I bow to thee; all encompassing shakti, I bow to thee; that through which God creates, I bow to thee;creative power of the kundalini; mother of all, to thee I bow "
The instruction read as:
Four thousand days you shall pray
Four hundred chants every day.
Chanakya's power is yours to take
Chandragupta, to make or break.
If there's a lull, start once more.
King must be queen, to be sure.
Suvasini's curse shall forever halt
If you can cure Chanakya's fault

Now its for the reader to read the story and find out whether the main protagonist here is able to break the curse or not.
There are two stories running parallel to each other in this book. The 1st story is about the greatest strategist of all times- the brilliant Chanakya who with his cold, calculating and cruel logic manages in uniting the whole Bharat and makes an astonising victory in making Chandragupta, the emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, thus earning the title of the "brilliant kingmaker".
 The other story is set in Uttar Pradesh in the present day where a simple history teacher Gangasagar Mishra is portrayed as a modern Chanakya. He plays a pivotal role in training and moulding Chandni, a slum girl who studies in the school run by Gangasagar to become the Prime Minister. Gangasagar uses every vile trick, ploy, threat or means to clear the path for his protegee to move ahead very smoothly from state politics to the centre. And to help him in his schemes is his mentor Aggarwalji, a shrewd businessman and Ikram , small time goon and a slumlord.
Through this story Ashwin shows how Mishra uses the Chanakya's chant to stop Suvasini's curse and be successful in being tagged as the man behind the Prime Minister Ms.Chandni.
The book is very well researched and takes the reader 2300 years back in the times of Chanakya. But Ashwin dissapoints with the story of Chandni.Everything is made too look very simple and easy in her journey from Uttar Pradesh politics to being the Prime Minister.
I would say that though not an exceptional book, its a one time read , if only to get to understand the workings of the brilliant strategist Chanakya.

Friday, 19 April 2013

BOOK REVIEW : The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri.N.Murari

"The slip of paper- what it said and what it left unsaid- was a threat. What crime have I committed now? Had I revealed my face accidently to a stranger or had I accidently spoken out loud in the bazaar or had I accidently revealed my ankle or wrist??" ---- the reasons in the very first chapter argued by the main protagonist sets the tone of the story.
This is the story of Rukhsana, a fiercely independent, opinionated and a strong individual who is forced to live her life behind the veil under the taliban regime, whose one of the many diktat says that a woman should only be seen in the house and in the grave.
This story is about her intense struggle to attain the elusive freedom for her younger brother Jahan and herself from the stifflling and fearsome life in  Kabul. The opportunity comes in the form of a cricket tournament organised by the talibs which in itself is a preposterous idea as the talibans would be encouraging the kind of behaviour they have been trying to suppress all these years.
The story is like a full on Hindi masala movie with a handsome- always comes to the rescue -HERO and  a strong but cornered from all sides- HEROINE and a plot full of the expected twists and turns.
But its a feel good book with a happy ending which gives you a warm glow in your heart and makes you want to believe that however difficult a situation may be Truth and Love wins!

BOOK REVIEW : The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish


"Good and Evil are two sides of the same coin. The key question is not as to what is Evil but when does the coin flip and Good turns to Evil"------ these lines form the basis for the third and final book in the Shiva trilogy, the Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish.
This book is the final lap in the Neelkanth's quest for the true evil and how Shiva annd his entourge manage to defeat the evil. But is it so easy or does Shiva has to pay a price for it?
Amish weaves a tight paced story with graphic battle scenes and cinematic descriptions of Pariha,the abode of the Vayuputras and Ujjain, the beautiful city of the Vasudevs.
Amish introduces a few new characters in the final book, but instead of confusing the readers, Amish manages to bring all the characters together to make the story progress smoothly.He has put in the right dose of drama,emotion, romance and action making it an inteteresting read.
Though its a bit slow in comparison to the first two books but it is an overall good book making it a fiting finale to the Shiva trilogy.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

BOOK REVIEW : Our Moon has blood clots by Rahul Pandita

It is near to impossible for me to review this book which deals with the state of the kashmiri pandits, a subject, so close to the heart, mind n the soul of the author. RatherI would like to write about how I felt while reading this book. I came upon this book by chance and was hooked to the story from the very first page.
Rahul Pandita made me sit up and realise in what a cocoon like state, I've been livin my life, sheltered form the harsh realities and the sufferings of people of my own country in the name of religion fueled by the politicians. I'm not pro politics but as I went reading this book, I felt a strange blend of helplessness, anger and an urge to cry and scream out. It was my conscience asking me to stand up and raise my voice against the atrocities done to this community and the apathy meted out to them even today by the political parties, be it the refugee camps or to the pandits who've returned back to their homeland on the false promises made to them.
 I have some very close kashmiri muslim friends who've also suffered during the peak of militancy in Kashmir and are still living there with an unknown fear at the back of their minds, be it the militants or the atrocties of the Indian army. As Rahul Pandita had himself told an army general while discussing the human rights violation," I've lost my home not my humanity".
Though the book stays with you long after its over there are a couple of lines which bring a lump in your throat. "I was one of the thousands of migrants who landed each day in Delhi but unlike others I was in permanent exile, from Kashmir where my family came from."