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Indian Writing

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Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy #1)

 

Title: Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy #1)

Author: Amish

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Westland, 400p

The novel tells the story of a tribal leader, Shiva, who believed to be Mahadev by ‘the Meluhan civilization’ – the greatest civilization of 1900BC. The people of Meluha believes Shiva will destroy the evil Swadweepans – The troubling Neighbours – and save the country. Had Shiva lived up to the expectations of the people and destroyed the Chandravanshis (Swadeep citizens)? Are they really evils? Read the book to know.

The novel setup in the 1900BC, the period of Indus civilization and Hindu mythology. We do not have much details about the Indus civilization and we cannot learn more until the archaeologists  learn to read the scripts. So Amish took the mythological story with the location being Indus civilization. I have to admit it’s a great idea to mix both and write a story so interesting.

Though the story was set in 1900 BC, most of the events like terrorist attacks are more of current life. So many times I forgot that I was reading a mythological fiction. Amish had the advantage of not having any details of Indus civilization when he describes their life as much more advanced.

I couldn’t help comparing Suryavanshi way of life – Meluha – with that of a communist state and Chandravanshi’s – Swadweep – with capitalist country. When he started describing Chandravanshi life, I thought he moves a bit towards Communist government as better. But he maintained the balance by saying both has their advantages and both deserve to be there.

By seeing the title and Shiva being the hero, I had expected an out-and-out adventurous journey through the mythological age. But I was surprised as the story mixed up the love between Sati and Shiva very well in the adventure. I liked the twist at the end that gives the lead to the next book. The chapters that cover the war are the best part of the novel as per me.

There are negatives like not describing the places much, at many places we wonder whether we are reading a mythological fiction or contemporary one, etc. But the speed of the story and final few chapters made up for it. The end was very well intended to make you buy second book for sure. He succeeded in my case. :)..

My Rating for this mythological fiction is ★★★★☆

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The Great Indian Novel By Shashi Tharoor

Title: The Great Indian Novel

Author: Shashi Tharoor

Genre: Fiction, Satricial

Publisher: Penguin, 423p

The book portrays the Mahabharata in the context of Indian independence struggle and few decades after the independence. All the important characters of Mahabharata represent prominent real life personalities in this book. It was fun to find out which personality each character represents.

This was a nicely written novel where comparison of each Mahabharata incident with that of real life incident is not that much easy. Also we need to accept the difficulty in getting all the important figures covered. Tharoor has a funny way of describing things and make us laugh with his dig at the current life when he describes the old age.

I think, writing the history as fiction gave him the freedom of telling his honest opinions about the characters without inviting much trouble. For ex., in one place he mentioned Gangaji (Gandhiji) is not a saint, he is a masterful tactician. Then, about Dhritirashtra (Nehru), he mentions ‘Had he got the eye and seen the world as we do our country would have been way different’. About the partition and Karna (Jinnah), Karna wanted a separate country not because he was very much muslim, but because Gangaji was too much of a Hindu. In one more place he mentions SC Bose was the main reason for the congress to reach ordinary people not Nehru.

All these controversial statements would have been huge issues had it not been the fiction genre. And these things made me think then why did he join Congress party? By looking at his views during the period of his writing of the novel, I am sure that he did not have intention of joining Congress anytime.

But I could feel his dilemma to decide whether emergency was a bad decision or the need of the hour. He maintains the emergency was not the right thing to do but still he defends Indira Gandhi, saying there was no other choice. He also criticizes the opposition for it. This part I do not agree with him. If someone protests against the government, they cannot simply go and implement emergency instead of trying to solve the issue.

This book is nice read if you are interested in politics and know something about the period the novel describes so that you can relate the things well as nothing was straight forward in it. You have to match the incident in the book with the real one. The book was mostly interesting and entertaining but somewhat boring in some parts as nothing new was told there. Also I was disappointed that some of the things like power struggle between Sardar Patel and Nehru, was not captured at all. Also the power struggle between Morarji Desai and Indira Gandhi before congress decided on Ms. Gandhi as president was not captured very well.

I would suggest this book to those who want to read some deeper things about the freedom struggle and politics of those periods if you do not know more than what taught at the schools and known to general public.

My Rating for this satricial novel is ★★★☆☆

Hickory Dickory Shock By Sundip Gorai

Whenever I read the mystery thrillers, I use to think why Indian writers are not trying anything like this. Most of the current generation of Indian writers – IITians – follows Chetan Bhagat and try to copy him. Of course he is a successful of current lot and his influence would be there on most of the writers, but if you write the same how people will get interested.

When I take up this book to read, the genre mystery thriller from an Indian writer itself impressed me very much. Then the story set up in the backdrop of an IT industry crisis, so most of the things I could easily relate to.

The novel starts with some funny events when I thought Sundip as another writer of Chetan Bhagat influence. But he proved he was not once the story comes to the business end. Once 210 and Geeks starts trying to solve the puzzle that would lead them LoRD, the story gets gripping pace and I never thought of putting down the book till it was done.

I was always fascinated by the research done by Dan Brown, whenever I read his books. I felt the same with this one. There should have been lot of efforts put into this work to have that puzzle and the related things. The kamasutra cipher, the emperor machine, bhagavat gita riddle everything would need a lot of research and time-consuming. This effort definitely needs to be recognized.

The protagonist 210 was a blend of Robert Langdon and Sherlock Holmes. When I thought the novel is the inspiration of Dan Brown, it takes different perspective once the reasoning pitching in. The last two, three chapters you would feel like reading Sherlock Holmes reasoning of deducing the crime from 210.

Of course there were few flaws. Some of them are logical like the backups for example. The backups of any company would not be kept in the same location. Most of the times it would be in some other city so that it can be reloaded from there whenever some disaster happens to the original development centre. And I felt some chapters end abruptly in the middle of the conversation. It made me feel like watching short films without proper editing.

But we can ignore these small shortcomings with the fact that it is his first novel and the story is gripping enough to make many of us not even notice these. Overall if you were wondering whether there would be any mystery thrillers from Indian writers with India and its history as the backdrop, this book is the answer. Hope this book would be a success and there will be many more books from him. May be it is time to know something about India also.

My rating is ★★★★☆ for this book.

The Guide

Yes, the same book on which Dev Anand‘s movie ‘The Guide‘ made. I am happy that I haven’t seen the movie for not missing such a wonderful writing by RK Narayan.This yet another book introduced to me as part of Goodreads Group read and yet another wonderful book.

Those who have seen the movie would definitely know the story, for others, the story is about the life of a guide in Malgudi, Railway Raju rather we can say confessions of Raju.

Though I haven’t seen the movie, I did see some scenes from it. So when the book started the image of Dev Anand was in mind when I try to picture Raju. But eventually Dev Anand faded and a typical dhoti clad Tamil guy replaced him. I guess that is the power of Narayan’s writing. He made us picture what he wants to even if we have some predetermined images about it.

Narayan keeps all the leading characters with the shades of grey, except for the innocent village folks and Gaffur. Raju, Rosie, Marco all have some characteristic to regret with. Narayan did not end the story in traditional way like either in happy or in despair instead he ends in a way to let the reader decide whether it is happy ending or not.

This is the first book I have read of Narayan, I liked his style of writing. The particularly the swami episodes with the light humor throughout and some philosophical thoughts through Raju.

Sometimes the characterization of Rosie is confusing. If I discuss it it would be a spoiler for those who are yet to read the book or watch the movie. So I just make a point that the character was somewhat debatable. Also I felt the fasting and resulting fame of the Swami was a bit too exaggerating. At the time where only newspapers available and many people wouldn’t even know how to read, the gathering of the crowd as described by Narayan was a little too much.

Overall this is a wonderful book which travels through Indian life very smoothly. The characters should have been a bit bold at the time of writing. If you want a book without much complications, easy to read and yet with a wonderful story, this is the one you would definitely want to read.

My rating for this Indian classic is ★★★★☆

Two States

2 States - The Story Of My Marriage, Chetan Bh...

Image via Wikipedia

Two states by Chetan Bhagat, one of the funniest novel I have ever read. Although the leg pulling directed on the Tamils, I still liked the book. Many said it showed north Indian mindset of superiority, but why to think in a complicated way.

Let’s think simply. It is a funny novel and should be taken lightly. If we read through the lines of each and everything then we cannot enjoy anything.

The novel deals with a Punjabi guy who falls in love with his IIM classmate, a Tamil girl. Then the novel deals with the difficulties both of them faces when they inform their parents about their love and ask for the approval for the marriage.

The novel written in the view of the Punjabi guy who sees the Tamil Brahmin culture as funny. Like all the other Chetan Bhagat’s novel, this one also deals everything in a light-hearted way except for few serious incidents.

There were few places where I thought the story lacked reality and gone in a very dramatic way just like many Bollywood films. I liked five point someone very much because it showed most of the things in reality and did not like one night at the call centre with the God speaking kind of unnatural things. This one is a blend of both. Although there were no unnatural magic things as in one night at the call centre, there were few places which could not be accepted as reality.

But of course, yes it is a funny novel. These things can be forgotten. It’s a small novel of about 200 pages. A day’s read, isn’t it?  

I know many people who are not regular readers of books themselves have already read this book. It is a book which can entertain you, make you feel light-hearted and make the day better.

My rating for this book is ★★★☆☆