Magical Realism | One Hundred Years of Solitude | My Take

Book Title: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Marquez’s way of telling a story is unique and sometimes bordering near being surreal. But then, I felt that the specific story needed that treatment for the story to blossom into an art form. The various generations that the story passes before it kind of makes a specific aspect almost a familial habit across centuries.

Somehow, I felt the story was sweetness personified, but yet, there were some bitter bits of dark chocolate in it. The story felt like an emotion wringer working overtime. Yet, in it’s even pacing, one could enjoy the finer details that were etched into the story.

The Story in a Nutshell

The story is about Buendias family and the town of Macondo. How both of them are closely related and how changes bring about some really drastic outcomes for the town and its people. The centuries that the narrative traverses to bring together the story of the town and the Buendias.

The plot is set, in such a way, that it comes a full circle within the span of many centuries. The sands of time flow with each Buendias generation carrying on the traits of José Arcadio Buendía. The peaceful Macondo goes through the various stages of peace, violence, civil unrest and eventually overcome with a natural calamity.

In the end, when the town and the family come to a full circle of getting back to square one and almost replicating the first chapter with sadder tone. There is this sense of having come a full circle of emotional upheaval and watching the life move on despite the hardship undergone.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I like the characters which were beautifully done with great care given to the details. I felt the characters were created with the right effect and emotional angle for the right progress of the plot. There were moments when we become invested in the characters’ joy and sorrow, that it is close to being connected with them.

My dislike was the fact that the story kept at it in a circular fashion. Almost that, it is like being in a state of a circle of life. The cyclic pattern tends to be tedious to read. Though each generation of Buendias, men, and women created an impact on my mind which left an indelible mark of fascination in me.

My Opinion

I felt that the story was a little stretched, but the beauty of the narration was unparalleled. I love the scenes that had a new innovation or a new gadget being introduced. I was equally excited as José, the patriarch of the family of Buendias.

Image Source: Cover Page

A Personal Favorite Poet Who Inspires My Work

Poetry is my passion and I love to work with words. It has been my companion since my coming of Age days. I have found innumerable moments of pleasures reading and writing poems. I have a few favorites who have shaped my thoughts and emotions over the growing years. Among them is John Milton, his “Paradise Lost” was a compulsory reader for me during my college years. It was part of the books listed for the Poetry paper and I was so moved by Lucifer’s fall that I wondered at the space of information about the fall that Milton explored. Here is a poem which truly inspires me and is still my personal favorite.

On His Blindness

By John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Exploring the Poem My Style

The last two weeks, I have been experiencing some problem with my eyesight and somehow I panicked to have it tested. I wear progressive spectacles and never learned how to look down in the lower rim to read, so I land up having the habit of lifting my spectacles to read.

The first time, I went to Rajan Eye Clinic, I was seen by Dr. Rajan, himself. He was the first doctor after my family doctor who made me comfortable talking to him. That was the first time that my eyes were dilated and the eyesight took some hours to get better. These days due to overuse of laptop has rendered my eyes incapable of being dilated and so the extra drops to force it to dilate. This then, means that it takes longer to settle down. I am slowly learning to give up my fear of hospitals and being in those spaces.

Somehow hospital experience leaves me in a state of unrest and agitated feelings. There are very few doctors who really take time for the patients to settle down and understand that the person is worried, scared and tensed about the outcome. Even if the sight were to be lost completely a humane doctor can make it seem less stressful.

Somehow, I feel that is something that comes from the old school of hospice, which is slowly been taken away by the money making trends of doctorhood. But this time, the doctor who attended my case was truly humane and I was so happy talking to her. She made me less nervous and this time also I had made sure that I had not come in a rush to have my eyes tested, but relaxed to spend the rest of the day in the hospital.

But surprisingly, my reading power had gone by a few points, of course, I still need to learn to look down using the progressive glass and that happens only when my laptop is on my lap and I am comfortably seated on the sofa. I tried to understand, why is that I feel super inspired at home and my quirks of working are really getting me to be such a clown.

So, I looked into my past and I remembered John Milton who is my inspiration for most of the Miltonian sonnets that I wrote in my young days. I love to play with words since it gives me spiritual pleasure. Everywhere I worked, I would have a word file, where I would have written poems.

I often think about why I have been born in this world and what are truly my roles. The fact that I only have a single-minded talent to write with emotions which I believe would be the gift of words that I leave behind after me.

I fear not death so much as to lose my eyes not just for myself but for others too. Then again, there is much technology that will help to live a life of high quality even when the eyesight is lost. It is not how long you live, but how well you live, that really counts. I have learned to accept some of my quirks and have gathered sufficient courage in life to be able to handle things my way.

So talking about this poem, I first read this poem in seventh or eighth I am not sure. I must say that my English classes were of a higher grade than the regular schools. So I was exposed to much poetry at a very early age. I also had my uncle’s library where I checked out a collection of Shakespearean sonnets and plays. My uncle had a good collection of the bound classics which were truly inspiring to read.

I have been a little careless with my eyes and I love to read lying down and removing my spectacles. This kind of makes my vision power to increase, but the pleasures of reading is taken over by even the risk of reading improperly.

I found in this poem an interesting connection, that I am drawn to explore. For instance, much like John Milton, my eyes even now hurts a little and throbs, as I am exploring the poems as personal experience. I will never give up writing, at whatever cost. That passion has been the founding stone of my very being.

So much like Milton, I do have a question for the Lord, if I would be of any service to Him. But it is all in the patient waiting for the call of the muse and the sanction of inspired writing. There are days when, my inspiration to write is so high, especially when I am well rested.

As Milton, the poet who is close to my spirit of writing, because I am a tone-deaf poet who loves to rhyme, unlike Milton whose poems were all about sounding right. I have written some collection of Petrachian sonnets and enjoyed thoroughly the experience of playing with words. Sometimes, it is not about doing as bid by the Lord; but it is more being in the moment and just transferring the text flashing in the mind’s eye. I sometimes feel that I cannot take ownership of the poems written by me because it was just recording the muse’s words. Now I stand in wait for that command to write from my Creator. Waiting for my inspiration with suspended animation.

Outcasted Life in Colors of Social Inequalities

Book Title: Two Leaves and A Bud

Author: Mulk Raj Anand

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: Amazon

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Mulk Raj Anand’s style of writing sets the reader to think deeply and it also evokes a reaction from the reader. I read this book as part of my Indian Writing in English course, in the second year of my BA (English Literature). It is a fact that English Writers of Indian origin spoke of highly serious topics such as caste and social discrimination. Or it could be that the choice of Writers were the ardent freedom struggle activists. Some Writers used humour while some believed in holding the note of deep contemplation in place during the course of their narratives about the British rule in India.

It was almost like Gangu’s the protagonist and his family’s troubles were never ending and the way out of the situation does not seem available anywhere. In that way, the plot’s moment of happiness was also colored by the protagonist’s non-achievable delusion of future happiness. While reading Anand’s work, I felt it, that it was a rather overload of sadness which kept lining the story from start to finish. It was never dropped even during those small happy moments in the life of the major characters. In this Anand reminded me of Charles Dicken’s writing keeps making things harder, especially to find even a moment of joy in any described situations in story.

The Story in a Nutshell

A Farmer of Amritsar who has lost his land to the moneylenders is forced to move out of his familiar hometown to an unfamiliar state in Assam where he struggles in the pathetic condition to just live one day after another with his family being safe. What happens to his family and to him in the new place and how the contractor just painted a life of prosperity which turned to nothing but a mirage of horror.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the intensity with which Anand wrote this story. There is no rest from the constant feeling of desperation and desire that something good would happen makes a refrain in the mind’s of the reader; but then, there were no breaks. The strength of a human’s mindset of hope that keeps ebbing and flowing through our being is reflected in Gangu and his family too. But eventually, reality strikes and everything is just darkness. I also liked the flow of words when I read it and it felt like I was living in the British rule era.

What I disliked was the few characters major evil ones, but they were the plot progressing villains who were the catalyst to moving ahead of the story. But I think if you can make some character to be hated by the reader, then the readers are invested in your story and the protagonist.

That way, this book had a lot of interesting paragraphs where the author’s ability to describe the scene and emotions of the characters comes out very well. This novel was very sad and at the end of it, you are happy because it was a definite tragedy and it is a little over the top with injustice hanging on the hinges. But then, it kind of opens up the mind’s eye towards what could possibly be the reason for the existence of such discrimination and why is that the fellow human beings do not have the basic rights in their life and working condition.

The human’s rights are violated in the working condition of the plantation at every given point. This leaves a sense of constant injustice which becomes a given fact of the contracted workers’ life. That sense of injustice and inequality really gets to you when you read this novel.

My Opinion

The fact that I had to read this novel as a compulsory novel of the Indian Writing in English paper, I felt a sense of dark brooding when I read it. I don’t pick books which are unhappy, but then being socially aware is also part of the deal to read up books that are written with sadness in it.

I do want to read up literary works of Indian Writers, but their grammar is so hard and that of the Wren and Martin variety. But then you have rare thoughts of progress and advancement from these Writers which moves one’s sense of right. But I was someone who enjoyed styles of varied kind. If I read for a specific time a specific style, then, I tend to be able to pick it up.

Like for instance, there was a time, when I kept reading Shakespeare’s plays and landed up being able to read like natural English. I side poetry more than prose. Anand’s prose was one such pleasure to read, but the subject left me depressed and a little disappointed about the inequalities in a society of that time.

The people who live in the delusion that all is well and continue life in stupor, sometimes need to get their jolt in novels such as these. The novel brings out the oppression in plain statements and in turn showing this mirror of society the reader is not given any space to escape. I believe if the book does that to you, then you are reading an exceptional writer’s work.

Image Source: Amazon Online

Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita Volume 2 | My Notes

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita | Volume 2

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha’s narrative style has the old South Indian tradition of storytelling clubbed with loosely knit story format that works wonderfully for this commentary on Andal’s Thiruppavai. There are so many micro short stories woven with such sensitivity that it is an experience of being in a timeless boat floating on the oceans of never-ending stories.

The Story in a Nutshell

Goda, the composer and the versatile story weaver of the Thiruppavai brings out the deep-seated desire of the girls in Ayaripadi to celebrate and to get Lord Krishna’s exclusive companionship. Goda in this volume is visiting every missing girls’ house to personally awake them from their slumber to join in the Pavai Nombu celebration.

The Volume 2 stories are as compelling as those from the volume 1. These are small incidences picked from various Puranas and Vedic time stories. She also picks up stories from the contemporary era too, when she talks about the Alwars who lived before her and their life stories. The never-ending link of stories and facts of the rites provides for an entertaining conversation among the girls.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all little and big stories. I didn’t feel tired from the constant deviations from the main event of the Pavai Nombu. The stories felt like an ambling aging river carries with slush pile of silt in its bed. The time spent on the three girls in Goda’s list of missing girls is well spent on learning so many interesting news bites about the Lord and His gracious benevolence towards His devotees.

Some of the stories were rehashed, but then, they still were entertaining to listen to again. For someone like me, if you are also interested in listening to stories then this Kindle book will entertain you immensely. There is a lot of information about the various religious figureheads and stories related to them are narrated with equal passion with which the other Puranic stories are narrated.

My Opinion

The Volume 2 keeps the interest going while providing new information about where the Pavai Nombu gathering has arrived at. This volume may be spent on waking up the girls, but at the same time, there is a lot happening with the internal cleansing process. With every discussion and arguments with the Goda and her friends to wake the missing girls, the internal thought is cleared and focused on Lord Krishna and his many avatars.

Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita Volume 1 | My Take

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita | Volume 1

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha Sundaram an Instrumentation and Controls Engineer who lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her narrative style was exactly like the ones of my grand aunts who would entertain my siblings, cousins and me with stories from various Puranas. Her narrative had a similar fault of meandering through the maze of stories.

Of course, there is no doubt that the stories are so interesting that you would not mind being deviated from the main course. In this volume, she sets the stage for the pasurams by providing a wonderful introduction to the primal God Varahar Perumal. She informs the origin of the thought seed of Thiruppavai to the moment when the Earth got saved by Varahar Perumal.

The first volume covers five pasurams and the main space is provided to the beginning and the life story of Godai and how her adoptive father Periyalvar found her under the Holy Basil plant. Her brilliance as a child and her love for Perumal is beautifully articulated in the early chapters.

The Story in a Nutshell

The story is about gathering all young girls to perform the Pavai Nombu with a secret agenda of acquiring Krishna for a husband. Godai the cheerleader of the group of young girls undertake the task to bring about this group worship of Lord Krishna. The first five pasurams deal with the first meeting to undertake the fast.

The entire setting is Gokulam of Godai’s imagination with River Yamuna playing some lead parts in the narrative. This volume deals with the part where the plan is set up to meet at predawn hour and perform the fast on Lord Krishna. The setting is a group meeting near the Yamuna with elder’s consent and a secret agenda of unifying with Krishna.

Godai and girls meet near the River Yamuna and discuss the purpose of the meeting. They then set up a plan to worship Lord Krishna with the secret agenda of getting Him for themselves. The girls are thrilled about the agenda and are excited to start.

Next day, after the late meeting, some ten girls are found missing. So Godai with few other girls who have arrived for the meeting sets out to find them. In the course of finding those girls, Godai wakes up each girl giving her some really nice stories in the wake.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all the connected stories that are displayed like a bouquet of fragrant flowers. The stories brought back childhood memories of how the story used to be told. There was no fixed rule for the order in which the story needs to be told, a story could evolve from one look or one word uttered and completely sidetrack the narrator and listener. But then when it comes back to the strayed track to the main agenda, that is, to attain Lord Krishna; it has been beautifully done.

One thing that I would not say that I disliked it; but more out of concern for the readers who are not well-versed with Indian Mythological stories may need some context fixing especially when the conversation moves towards Alwars and their magical experiences.

My Opinion

I feel this volume was such a pleasure to read for two main reasons. One reason is that the small and big stories about Lord Vishnu and his many avatars were simply superb to read. The other reason being that I got to know so many unknown stories and the wonder of it is present like nectar consumed in Godai’s Vrindavan along with the Gopikas as another Pillaiy.

Image Source: Amazon India

Karna’s Tragic Personal Choices and Its Outcome

Book Title: Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen

Author: Kavita Kane

Translator:  N/A

Rating: 3.25 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

The central character is Princess Uruvi of Pukeya and she is the main storyteller. The entire novel is from her perspective. Karna as her husband is seen from her emotional view. Uruvi way of looking at things is colored with her sense of being fair towards all.

She is caught between two men, who are arch-rivals determined to fight to death, if the opportunity arises. How that opportunity arrives and how it pans out is the entire story narrated mostly from Uruvi’s view and later, the narration of war has more than one voice.

Uruvi’s thoughts are well-structured about various aspects of women’s role in the society of ancient India. Woman are used and discarded with little thought in the ancient world even if they were Princess or Queen. A woman is just a prized object to be donated like an object for fulfilling allegiance towards the winner of the competition.

Kavita juxta poses the various strong women characters and comments using the view from Uruvi’s point. The enforced choices that each woman makes in their personal and social life nags Uruvi’s sense of right. Of course, Queen Kunti’s choices directly affects Uruvi’s life.

Story in a Nutshell:

Mahabharata unlike Ramayana has many side stories, that culminated in the eventual battle, that defined the balance of justice. The novel is about lesser known stories that are not even mentioned about Karna’s life. His personal life as seen by his second wife Princess Uruvi gives an insight into this most wronged character of the epic.

Karna’s obsession to be recognized as man of honor and remove the label of his low birth, almost colors everything in this story. Throughout the novel, his view of how the society sees him plays the vital part of all decision-making. He feels trapped in his role of an adopted son of a Charioteer.

He is also unwilling to give up on his adopted family, while secretly harboring angst on his natural parents for abandoning him. At every given point of decision-making, he sides the people who had stood by him, despite the mystery behind his true identity. The fact that they stood with him against all odds, becomes the factor for his steadfast loyalty towards them.

He is so loyal to his friend, that he is willing to support him even when his friend is wrong. By way of association Karna also becomes the villain of the piece. Karna’s strength of conviction, that his friend is faultless is so strong, that he is unwilling to see it differently, even when, Uruvi points out the fallacies of Duryodhana.  

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

Karna’s life from the perspective of Uruvi might not be a complete portrayal of this misunderstood and failed war-hero. This specific aspect about Karna really captured my imagination.The motif played throughout the novel is one of societal recognition and bearing the label of being a ‘sutaputra.’ Kavita portrays Uruvi as someone who makes her choice of selecting the man she desired to wed; but even in that, the wedlock didn’t give Uruvi the joy that she hoped for; yet there was some really endearing moments in her married life with Karna.

War by any standards has elements to it, that leaves behind a bitter after taste. As you witness, how Uruvi’s simple statement, that her love for Karna was unconditional and watch how it becomes a hindrance to her understanding of her own mind, as her very choice of her man brings her morale down. Karna is forced by his principle to side the bad men. Uruvi has great difficulty accepting this and never gives up, even though she points out the fault in Karna’s processed thoughts.

At the same time, there are glimpses to Karna’s characteristics, which reveals a man of honor and integrity, that even his bad choice of friendship and misplaced loyalty, this only makes him a tragic hero whose redemption was not possible, even past his death.

Both Karna’s loyalty to Duryodhana and Uruvi’s love towards Karna are nemeses choice for them. The lead pairs make the story a tragic loss of noble beings. Yet, it invokes a pathos in the readers for Karna’s end in the battlefield, disarmed and helpless. His death was already decided by the set of curses from his tutors and other celestial beings. He is nonchalant about his actions from the past and that almost places the final wood piece on his preset pyre.   

Kavita’s voice when she used minimalist brush stroke for the Kurukshetra war in the voice of Uruvi, brought out the dire straits of war in a more poignant style.With each fall of brave warriors of the lore, the war gets to be uglier to even watch through the voices of the varied narrators. One can feel the deep sense of despondency and death of humanity in general.

My Opinion

I believe when reading ancient stories, one must treat them as literature that often reflect the past era. There are two variant contingent thoughts for me. One, do we look at the ancient past as a more advanced pure age, or two, do we see it as an era that is just pulling its way into the more advanced thought processing era.

When we use the prism of the past being much more progressive than the present, then I feel there is a lot of disappointment instore for the readers. Since, the story speaks of everything going from bad to worse. The Mahabharata war ends the Indian Bronze age and ushers in the Iron age or Kaliyuga. As per ancient text, the Iron age is riddled with all kinds of immoral activities and darkness. The story ends with a paraphrased statement about Karna and Uruvi’s son Vrishkethu being under Krishna and Arjuna’s guidance.   

So when we read the worst from the Bronze age the book leaves one hopeless of the coming age.There are no positive thoughts at all. One even feels sad for the violence in Duryodhana’s death. As a retelling and narration of Princess Uruvi and Karna’s life this book is truly wonderful to read, though it is a one bumpy emotional ride.    

Image Source: Karna’s Wife Cover page

 

My First Book on Kindle Paper White | The Experience

Book Title: Half-Girlfriend

Author: Chetan Bhagat

Translator:  N/A

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Chetan Bhagat is a writer of Indian origin and widely recognized as popular stream writer. The New York Times calls him “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history”. Of course, you can check the Wikipedia for more info. But I found his official website more informative. I found the Q & A very interesting.

Chetan’s style of writing at least for this novel was very down-to-earth and simple. If I read another story of his, then I can make out if his natural style is to be simple and to the point. But in this novel the storyteller’s voice is very distinctive which I liked.

Chetan as a storyteller gets to my sensitive emotional points, I am invested in the story that he draws out of those bear necessity words. I am someone who reads Virginia Woolf for light reading. I love complex sentences and I am a long sentence writer myself. If sentences get complex and beat around the bush, then one is studiously serious to offer something important to the world. All hail my misconceptions!

But then, if you the above kind of reader, then you are in for a shock, because the main characters one from Bihar and another from Delhi don’t do language. For the most parts, the story moves like an art movie giving an immense sense of reading between the lines. Storyteller was such a pleasure to listen to.

Story in a Nutshell:

A typical college love story and the fate of the lovers in the face of varied life challenges. Relationship definitions under Indian setting and how much goes into maintaining one. The story has been set in contemporary timeline and space-out for a few years. Will the lovers and their love succeed? Well, that is something you might want to read the book and get to know.

The leads Madhav Jha and Riya Somani are in a not-yet-there relationship. A tug of war of emotions that creep in slow process which indicate where the relationship is headed. Simple thing is that the story is about a boy who loves a girl. That girl feels she not yet ready for him and rest of the story is all about why she isn’t and if she would ever be ready to accept his love!

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

There were places in this novel, that I felt Chetan just chickened out. But one thing was very strong for him and that is his English is superlative in its simplicity. He never strayed away from simple and compound sentences and used complex sentences only if he was pushed by the narrative. This makes the story so smooth flowing in the head and reads well.

Books take the head space and I think of it as a tête-à- tête session between the storyteller and the reader. Unlike watching a movie, it is not a communal activity, though the discussion of the books among friends could be a group activity of like or different minded people. So, when I read the book, there were moments when I was rushing to put things together. But Riya’s reasons for her silence was such a shock for me. Do this say that woman are vulnerable all their life on earth.

But I felt Chetan didn’t do a psychological twist on it and couch crashed Riya. I liked that a lot. Sometimes, somethings need to be just not explicit but suggestive. The book is an excellent light read and a travel companion during transit.

This book was a little unusual for me, because I was in the mind of a male and with the view of woman’s thought process from male perspective. Though it was very interesting space to be in, I did feel that emotional complexity and frustration were beautifully administered.

My Opinion

Chetan Bhagat right after Shashi Tharoor was an extreme relief. Shashi’s book cooked my brain while Chetan’s book was a fluffy omelet. IMHO, I believe that this book is wonderfully light reading and of course, the movie version of this book has some beautiful songs.

Image Source:   Amazon

Panoramic View of History of India

Book Title: India Shastra | Reflections on the Nation in our Time

Author: Shashi Tharoor

Translator:  N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Author:

This book is the first of my political books that I have ventured to read up. Shashi Tharoor as an author is very structured and articulate. His thoughts are progressive and innovative. Each chapter has been written with the mindset to expand the readers thoughts and get a general perception of true advancement of India.

As a person who has held official posts in the Indian government, he speaks erudite lingo of progress. Sometimes the best expressed thoughts create the right kind of impact on the readers. As an author I found him to be convincing with much of the intelligence of political tendency to be articulate to a fault.

Sometimes, I found him to be pro-congress in his expressions. I think that is expected given that he belongs in the Congress party. But I was disappointed that it colored some of his perceptions, I looked forward for some fair deal in voicing what Congress did wrong too. But then loyalties are stood up to by using finesse of expressions.

Book in a Nutshell:

The book is divided into 8 section under the varied topics, and sub-topics are covered with well structured thought process. This gives a reader a complete panoramic view of India’s political stand from Pre-Independence day to Modified days. The book contains some really interesting information bundled into knowledge packets. The past, present and future of India is beautifully drawn using words as a medium.

The author has been really sharp and erudite in expressing his visions, provisions for better Indian governance. The common goal of India has been given a beautiful platform to perform and excel with good and wise leadership at the helm. Is there a single party that can provide good leadership at the helm is still open for a debate?

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

Shashi Tharoor as a thinker is par excellence. His thought process is really the niche that this book enjoys and educates the readers. The fact that India at various stage of history has been bouncing back on its feet and continuing its journey of progress. As the largest live democracy India’s political engine works with its regular set of maintenance requirement.

Per se, I had no dislikes about the book; but I did felt that Shashi couldn’t prevent the voice of his party infringe his words in certain places. If BJP voices strongly against minority, then Congress goes equally loud on religion and other weaker points of BJP. But then, there is no ownership to faults in Congress governance. This could possibly be that while representing a greater machine of Democracy’s working in voting populace that will get your eyes popping, I believe the Laxmanian Common Man has to bear the brunt.

My Opinion

I must say that the book was really much more informative than the history book that I read in my school days. Given the requirement to rote learn all details, I wonder if history books do carry the truth or truth according to the group that won the war. When I read Shashi Tharoor’s history, then I wondered all the hardship of memorizing even the swatted shape of a dead mosquito in my history book doesn’t serve the purpose of educating me. But given so many wars, humans have yet to learn that war is futile and not worth all those bloodshed.

History is often written by the winners of the situation and it is angled to make the winner’s look better. But history is always is written on blood that will leave you cold and rebuked as an outcaste. But then what does the common man want of all this history upheaval? I would say that the night will follow the day and likewise, various parties may come and go; but still, public problems are just that, public problem unresolved.

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A Boy Growing Up In a Graveyard | A Light Take

Book Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Translator:  N/A

Rating:   3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Neil Gaiman is an author who loves libraries from his formative years. The surprising thing about this author is his quality of making the horrific almost a natural occurrence. I enjoyed the way he works on the story of Bod and there are some excellent moments of surprises. The flow of words is done with such care, that I like the way things connect in this book.

The storyteller’s style is a little green; but the magic of words and images create a feeling of eerie quality. It is like seeing an Halloween costumed kindergarten play. The various components of this story presents an interesting combination of fictional imagination being given the reality coloring, that have an almost thrilling experience for the reader.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story surrounds around a little boy named Bod and how he grows in the graveyard with complete access to the world of the dead. The experiences that Bod undergoes in this story is quiet interesting. A sense of protectiveness towards Bod that is shown by graveyard dwellers makes the spirits of the death to have reminiscent human feelings. The young baby in the crib loses not only its entire family; but also has to put up with threats to his life, all through his growing years.

The best part of the story is the realistic way in which the story ends. The episodes around the graveyard and Bod’s understanding that takes form through his own emotional growth is a wonderful way to experience this book. There are much more interesting information in the book, that captures the attention of the readers.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I like the way the graveyard is structured and the magical quality with which the scenes are set together to bring out the sense of thrill and a more human view of the life beyond. Of course, the concept of hell is dealt differently in my culture and this book gave me another perspective.

There is nothing that I dislike in this book. I believe I will not come across a book which I would dislike. I always thought that a book is basically a point of view and the author or creator takes the pleasure of creating it for their readers.

My Opinion

I believe this book is a great starting point for young readers who are willing to explore friendly kind of ghosts and other creatures who live in the graveyard. I did tell my niece when she suggested this book from her book shelf, that I am easily frightened person. My niece was very insistent, that I read the book only before I go to sleep. By the time I was four pages down the book with my slow reading, I knew this story to be gripping. I suggest it even for people who are easily frightened to experiment with life in the beyond and quirks around those hangouts.

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Carroll’s Alice in the Wonderland | My Take

Book Title: Alice in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll (pen name) | Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (real name)

Translator:  N/A

Rating:   4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson as a writer was really fantastic and highly imaginative. I found his works completely entertaining in an unique way. His story telling methods are interesting to observe. There is always a difference between telling a story to a child and an adult. I have often observed when I am telling a story to a child which is created for short term entertainment, there is a rough skeletal story line but the embellishing is done based on the child’s sway of interest. That way I find the disjointedness of the story plot is clear to see. The fact that Lewis had to later polish the oral format to written format.

Story in a Nutshell:

A very bored Alice sees a rabbit rushing around with a big watch in his hand. Taken over by curiosity, Alice follows him only to accidentally fall into an endless rabbit hole. Then the adventure in the world found under the ground takes her through various unique creatures and eventually when she opens her eyes she is a slightly disappointed that it was a dream; but then, she is also happy that it was over, since was quiet confusing to experience using a child’s logic. The fact that the underground people are not very logical and fair.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

The innumerable characters that are featured in this novel are truly fascinating to read. There is a sense of wonder to observe how the story line which a non-existent story line still is able to create a sense of a tale that brings together all the characters into a single plot line.

I loved the idea of things growing out of proportion and the constant changing of size could be distracting to some but I found it was a parallel to child’s reality. Just imagine right up to the time a baby in the cradle grows up to become a adult the presence of the adult is dominant. There are times when children are expected to behave their older age child and childhood gets diluted into forced grown up states. The fact is that the storyteller’s intention was not to address an adult in this story, but rather a child and its logic towards issues and other matters.

Each characters is so beautifully interesting and intriguing for a the child and childlike reader. The surprising things for me in this novel were the fact that Carroll used his creativity to bring out the best in the situation for Alice. The idea was not to be moralistic or preachy. The story was more about given a situation how one could logically try to find a solution. But given that all situations were according to the adult perspective could be viewed as ludicrous and nonsensical, but not so to a child.

My Opinion

This novel is a wonderful read and complex mathematical view of a story line plot which I found interesting to read. If you really want to appreciate this book, then try telling a story to a child and hold his or her attention for the given stretch of time. You will be better able to understand and like Lewis Carroll’s nonsense plot.

Image Source:  http://illustratorslounge.com/editorial/alices-adventures-in-wonderland-john-tenniel