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

The Presiding Goddess of the River of Human Imagination

Book Title: Saraswati’s Secret River

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Devdutt Pattanaik is an excellent storyteller who brings back the magic of Indian myths and mythological stories. These stories are said in a conversational tone which makes it very appealing to read. The art of storytelling is at a matured state with this author, since he takes the various curves of the story with relative ease and making the story very appealing.

The Story in a Nutshell

A surprised school teacher meets the goddess of education, Goddess Saraswati and learns something new in history, geography, and literature. This is the most needed lesson for any aspiring students and teachers because it brings out the true essence of education. In the search of the River Saraswati, the readers come to terms with the actual river and how it can be saved.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the structure of the story. There were many facts which were imaginatively displayed and interlinked with the Saraswati River which has dried up. The best way to revive this river was provided in this book with an interesting twist.

I disliked the fact that the book was a very small one and ended very soon. I wished that I could spend more time with the River Saraswati and explore the true path towards being educated.

My Opinion

I found the take away from the book on what happens to be the true value of education. The mad rush for earning high scores, and somewhere down the lane, the joy of learning is totally lost. The idea is not to keep getting higher mark by mere replication of the text. I liked the idea of a day’s class was by following what made a student curious about on that particular day.

There is another thing that is equally interesting to note which is explained beautifully in this book. When one learns about a topic, the related subjects become interlinked, which then, enhances the student’s thought process. This thought I found it very interesting and innovative in this book. This is a great one time read but it is also something leaves you thinking about our education system and reviving River Saraswati in ourselves is an excellent thought.

Image Source:  Saraswatis Secret River

Motivational Speech and Their Role in My Life

What really motivates human beings? Is it a few words of encouragement, or is it an entire mindset to think differently, or is it, that you find your motivation in self-talk and self-encouragement?

I have often wondered, how I could get motivated and make self-progress in life. How much of these thoughts are just vanity trying to please itself? Because, at every point, there is a need to find a purpose to support the activities, that human beings perform in their life.

The Unchanged Self

So given my desire for books ranged on different topics, motivational and self-help books were my favorite ones. The interesting part of these books is the fact, that their influence on me remained right up to four hours. Because at the end of the four hours, I am back to my old ways. So technically the motivational speech didn’t change me! This used to disappoint me to a great extent.

Temporary Influence of Motivational Books

So then, is motivation just a temporary influence of mind by the words written by an author, that loses its effect after some time or after the mind is away from the text for a specific duration? This question has haunted me a lot and the fact that I have not scanned the entire book into my brain like a computer, thus I am unable to hold on to an ideology which is different from what I believe in.

For me, every book that I read, I would focus on the message only for a prescribed space of time. Once, there is space from the influencing thoughts, then, I am back to my old thoughts. So, does it mean, that motivational speaker’s thoughts and ideas are not easy for me to internalize and carry forward?

Power of Positive Thinking

Among my various books, that I enjoyed reading were those related to self-help and motivational books. I began reading the first book on Self-help when I was 14-years-old. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale was a very difficult book to read since the writer wrote in a heavy restrained tone.

Moreover, I was at the beginner level with language. So, the writer’s personal choice of words kept getting in the way of my understanding of the text and its central meaning. When I read this book, my understanding of the text was very limited.

By the time, I came to a settlement with my warring thoughts, I was forced to come to an assumption, that I have understood what Peale was trying to say, or at least the general idea of having a positive thinking mindset.

Who Moved My Cheese

Later maybe after about four years, I came across a book, which was light to read and was different from all the other self-help book. The author fixed the life’s variable at change is a constant and the cheese of happiness will be moved under all condition. Given the interesting take on the choice of seeking cheese in our life, I found an interesting connection. But still, it was a hard job to change with time and move with the cheese.

I found Dr. Spenser Johnson very easy to read but did I understand the concept, that is the question? I remember reading the thin book at least five times before I set it back on the shelf and resolutely told myself that I need to make space between the new thoughts and my old ones.

And the Monk Spoke After Selling His Ferrari

Robin Sharma’s book was an interest read for me. There was some connection because the language used had become slowly familiar by the time I reached “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.” There were some thoughts that felt a little difficult to come to terms with, but then, the book flowed well in its own set of requirements.

Of course, I am in Robin Sharma’s mailing list and there is some interesting self-help content that includes audio-visual, written, and encouraging snippets of inspiration. While I look thoroughly perplexed with the fact that change of self is inevitable and the principle of change being a constant has entered the literature of self-help book.

Work Effectively with the End In Mind  

Stephen R Covey made an interesting read, but then, I kept comparing the material with my inner perception. I liked the fact that he spoke of the Inside-Out process and that was helpful for me. The seven habits are something that is really hard to earn and to keep.

But when you read Dr. Covey your understanding takes on a new level. Maybe over the years of self-help book reading, I had acquired an inkling into my own thought process and come to a new understanding.

Finally…what?!

All the self-help cannot add up to one small step of effort taken to regularly make a change happen in one’s life. Before that, it is essential to know that your life requires change and understand the need for a change. I still believe that self-help is a great help when there is no confusion in the thought process. A confused mind cannot bring change. Only a clear mind can bring about change that is effective and positive for the person seeking change in life.

Speeches that were interesting with notes:

  1. Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
  • Connecting the dots in the future
  • Love what you do and don’t settle until you find it
  • Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

2. Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson ► Animated Book Summary

  • Change Happens (They keep moving the cheese)
  • Anticipate Change (Get ready for the cheese to move)
  • Monitor Change (Smell the cheese often to know when the cheese gets old)
  • Adapt to Change (Learn to let go old cheese and enjoy new cheese)
  • Change (Move with the cheese)
  • Enjoy the Change (Savor the new cheese and enjoy the adventure of finding new cheese)

3. How to react when someone insults you? Dealing with Rude People – Personality Development Tips

  • Why do people insult others?
    • Insecure feeling as against others
    • Unexpressed Jealousy
    • Lack of Understanding
    • Teasing is Cool
  • How to respond to Insult?
    • Stay Calm | breath if required to calm down and not react but proact to a situation
    • Express How You Exactly Feel without getting affected by the insult
  • Simply Ignore the insult and focus on what is important in your response to insult
  • Use Humor to Turn the Table of Insult on the Insulter
  • Report Chronic Insult related to gender, sexuality, religion or disability

 

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.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Healthy Life of Full Circle Recycling! Pratham Books Champions 2018

This year’s book  for the Pratham Books Championship Programme was “A Cloud of Trash,” written by Karanjeet Kaur and illustrated by Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi.

I enrolled late in the programme with less than two weeks. When I read the story, I got curious about trash!

The topic of Trash was interesting in two ways.

First, I have never thought about what happens to the trash that I throw away! Seriously what did happen to them?!

Second, I cannot wait for an extraordinary event of a trash cloud chasing me to change my ways?!

These might seem relatively not so important questions. But when it appeared in my mind I needed to know what can I do better than what I have been doing?!

Following that twisted questions, I researched on the topic of Trash. Many weeks were spent just getting to understand what trash really was! What was good effects of fully recycling the natural way!

Not surprising, I found some really interesting sources that provided more light on the trash. Currently, the Chennai Corporation has to deal with Mixed Trash which contains wet, dry and harmful wastes all in a huge messed up mix. The current method for managing it is called Integrated Solid Waste Management.

All the mixed waste from house goes into the garbage bins in the street corners which the corporation collects from the corners and dumps in sites without the city limits. The two dump sites in Chennai are Kodungaiyur and Perungudi which take in the mixed waste disposed from the entire city.

Source of Waste are 68% Residential, 16% Commerical, 14% Insitutional, 2% Industrial

Per Capita Waste Levels in various cities are:

City Kg/Person/Day
Chennai 0.71
Kokata 0.66
Delhi 0.65
Mumbai 0.51
Hyderabad 0.65
Bangalore 0.45
Pune 0.53
Ahmedabad 0.42
Kanpur 0.49
Surat 0.47

(Source: Green Earth)

I got so engrossed, that I had not even found a school where I can read to the Children until the very last week of the International Literacy Date!

A few days before September 8, I had approached Jaigopal Garodia Hindu Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School in West Mambalam, Chennai to present this story. The school responded with affirmation to my request to hold a session for grades 3 and 4.

The experience of presenting the story to the children was so enthralling that I think I was inspired to do more for the children.

I collated all the details to make an informational flyer, which is still an on-going activity that was inspired by this book.

Bookworm’s Corner is my small effort to get stories across to children. Every child that I come across has a story of its own and the joy of spending a one-on-one session with a single child is so enriching and so are the group session.

Not surprisingly, I spent one session the previous day with the child from my residency. The next day, when I had to present it to Children at the school it was much more fun.

When I reached the school on Saturday at 9:50 am to converse with the teacher and to present my Session Plan, I was a nervous pot. The school was celebrating Vinayaka Charthurthi. I silently thanked my favorite lord and hoped that He would guide me in the story-reading.

The Head Mistress and the teachers of both grades were such helpful beings. They smoothed the way for me to present the story to the children.

The most interesting thing that got away from this story was the concept of segregating at source. Among the various research sources, I found the place which used a scientific method for making compost of the wet waste.

It is also important to know that when the wet and dry waste are separated, then the value of both the wastes increases.

  • Wet waste can be composted and the by-product of compost can be used in kitchen gardens or gardens near the locality.
  • Dry waste which is not corrupted by the presence of wet ingredient can now be recycled or reused.
  • Harmful chemical waste can be provided to proper channel to prevent leachate of the chemicals.

The take away in my session was not only to use the dustbin, which was what the student took away; but also, to separate wet and dry waste so the trashed out material can be recycled or reused based on their quality.

One happy thing that came out of this experience was the fact that I have begun composting at home using the Daily Dump product, medium Kambha. Watch the video to know how it is used!

There is a sense of excitement and a need to get this story further to other children. This might be a whole year round sharing for me.

Pictures of the session:

If I Can Read, So Can You!

Reading habit is only for the book lovers! – is definitely a false notion! People who start out to cultivate the habit of reading fall prey to this hurdle. This hurdle hinders the progress of taking up reading habit among beginners.

Let me remove this mental hurdle by stating that, anyone who wish to start reading can do so, in small baby steps and with achievable goals.

People with different levels of reading ability can still learn the habit of reading. Try with a few pages every day before bedtime. It is an excellent way to relax after a stressful day as explained by Reading Partners.

Reading is slowly built through regular practice of picking a book at a fixed time. Reading skill leads to enriching experiences in life.

Anyone who is familiar with the Three R’s of reading would understand the joy one can derive from it.

And the Three R’s are pretty simple too!

To take in reading as an habit, it is necessary to bring about a change in your habits. You know well that change is ‘hard in the beginning’, ‘messy in the middle’ and ‘gorgeous in the end’.

I am not saying that you would become a prolific reader who finishes a book every day. No, but what I am saying is that you may be able to read at the very least two pages a day of your favourite author’s work.

The idea is to start in small baby steps and progress towards improving your reading skills with assured confidence.

Reading can be enriching to all who practice it!

Reading activity engages the mind at various levels and improves the chances of opening up venues to connect with the current language skills and present-day socio-lingual interpretations.

Language is a dynamic element in a human life. The fact that Human are the only species given the capability to produce meaningful bunch of sounds and effect a communication through it.

But the surprising things about current day methods of communication are that, the return of the hieroglyph styled graphics are replacing the actual words. The speed at which people scroll through information in the form of words, images and sounds in their electronic gadgets can be very interesting study; but then, it could be challenging too.

Though the mind is built to handle large scale of data and process it much more efficiently than a super computer, it is necessary to slow down and actually read a book that has structured syntax.

A book allows you to slow down and read through each and every word, to get the complete picture of what the writer wishes to explore with the readers.

So what are these three R’s?!

Reforming, Recollecting and Rewarding! The benefits of reading make for an experientially richer person and grander personality.

Since with each book read, the reader undergoes pseudo-experience through the fiction or non-fiction presented to them!

Reforming is an outcome of varied reading

The first R or Reforming is the basic benefit of the reading habit cultivation.

When the reader’s perceptions begin to expand through the act of reading, then the outcome will result in better human understanding.

A book is a form of having a personal conversation that is at an intellectual level with another person without the restriction of social interaction.

There are times when the thoughts represented in the book might run parallel or converges with the belief system of the reader.

This experience with the book leads to new understanding of varying perspectives. The varied experience in the world of books actually enables a reader to be better fitted for taking a studied approach to problems.

As a way to problem-solving ability building, the reading habit helps with multiple views, which are given exposure through wide reading or pseudo-experiential knowledge.

Since one may not be able to experience everything in life, the books become a source of gaining experience by reimagining the written words.

Recollecting with impressive remembrance

The second R or Recollecting is the after effect of the reading habit.

For every reader, there is a special bonding with their specific favourite books. While reading it, the reader can discover and later cement the shared concepts in their reflective memory.

The best way to appreciate a thought placed in a book is, when it becomes etched as a memory in the reader’s mind!

There have been innumerable moments when people have been so impressed with the writer’s thought that they would happily reproduce it as their own. Ownership feeling that comes from the experience of reading is truly ecstatic!

The beauty of the words arrangement and the in-built naturalness becomes a new understanding through the act of reading.

It is not rare to see people recite it with equal flair of competent, which the writer aimed to showcase for the world to experience.

Reading is a reward by itself!

The third R or Rewarding is a very subjective matter. It is as diverse as Science and Arts subjects!

In this mechanized life, everybody is seeking to reach the high scales of self and social based expectations. The act of reading is a reward by itself and joy gained from the act is fulfilling by itself.

Sometimes, the current century’s outlook of being successful and a winner who beats all the games to reach the top can be very restrictive. One cannot place the definition of success in life by mere social recognition standards.

Sometimes, the rewards of reading a book are not an immediately recognized change in the socio-economic condition of a person.

Let say, you pick a book about making more money. You will not become rich the very next day! Surprisingly, that is not a factual truth and is an illusion.

The actual rewards of reading are intrinsic and internal growth which may or may not be visible for all to see.

Reading books will allow you to explore various thought systems which are available among our human thinking minds.

Reward of reading is not just the similarity in the readership experiences; but differences too are rewarding! The aim should be to expand one’s knowledge base not just within our comfort zones; but also, based outside of our comfort zones.

So then, pick a book to Reform, Recollect and Reward yourself, even if, you disagree with the writer for the most parts of their book!

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

Touched and Stirred by Magical Realism

Book Title: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Translator:  Spanish to English

Rating:  4. 5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

My mentor recommended reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez to get an understanding of magical realism genre. This was the first story in this genre which unconsciously reflected in the works that I submitted to mentor for one-on-one mentorship. The storyteller was so fabulous with his words and his storytelling methods were so clear, that it was such an easy story to read. Within the space of the format short story the writer created a world which passed through months while creating lovable illusion of the old man.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story revolves around the strange looking old man with huge wings landing at Pelayo and Elisenda’s doorstep. The stranger arrives unexpectedly and leaves as unexpectedly from their house. The whole mystery behind the stranger visit is fresh and full of intrigue for just a short duration. Strange man is popular figure to be looked at and provoked. Pelayo and Elisenda make the most of the situation and make a small fortune from charging for seeing the strange man. The stranger’s uniqueness is overshadowed by another unusual person and people flock up to see that, instead of the strange man, who was getting to be boring to watch. The author played around the stranger walking into the house and how he leaves eventually without making any recognizable difference.

 

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

This story was my first exposure to magical realism and it felt really different from all the other stories. I liked the idea of getting a really supernatural element into the ordinary existence, and then, let it play out its course. This technique was done with great efficiency by the writer. I liked the way the story goes and there was much to explore within that space and the author made full use of that unique space.

There was nothing to dislike about this story and I felt a little disappointed that the people though they declared the stranger to an angel and lost interest on him after a duration. But then, I believe it is exactly the way human being react. Something remains novel and interesting until it satisfies the unique curiosity. The minute the novelty of newness had replaced with over familiarity, it then takes away the novelty. But this is also a fact of life and the author played with it gracefully.

My Opinion

I would recommend reading this short story because it didn’t have a moment when the mind was not turned inside-out in self-questioning. There were such great passages to read in a sitting, that it creates great joy to the reader. People who are looking for complex plots with fine-tuned sensitivity would enjoy Marquez’s stories.

 

Image Source:  http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?507702

 

 

My Lifetime’s Spiritual Reading List

I read anything and everything. I just try to stay away from judging any of the reading lists that explored. But then I find my thought somehow gets structured by what I read. Though, it would always be subjected to a huge debate in my head.

I’m a lifelong loner and started my long standing relationship with reading since my 3rd grade. So I kept reading a lot of British classics during those visits to library around the corner of Headmistress room corridor. I would skip my lunch sometime or stuff myself to rush to the library.

My first book on Self-help was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It was the first book which was close to spiritual that I read during that time. I was very confused and couldn’t understand the content. But somehow, I kept thinking, that I could change my thoughts to positive as easily as turning the pages of the book.

But nothing happened within me, I still felt bereft. I was also enrolled in the local lending library, that is when, I came to know of T. S. Lobsang Rampa. I was totally taken at the time with occult material such as astral travel and other related topics. I even imagined having such an astral experience, the power of auto-suggestion.

One of my troubles has been that I get taken in by whatever book I am reading. These books are during the time when my personality was getting set into a groove. The confusion pot of thoughts that kept going within me was so difficult to be ordered to behave. The Tibetan phase was during my eleventh standard, and by 12th grade, I got busy with my board exams. After that I kind of lost track with Rampa’s materials.

So when I reached College, then everything opened up. From that point, my reading shifted to Jiddu Krishnamurti and at last I had found something close to my thoughts. The material made sense to me because I loved word confusion. But I was equally not ready to give up my householder position. Even now I am not ready to give up and become a monk. I prefer monk over saint, I don’t qualify really for the other.

So for every spiritual inquiry book that I got interested, then, I will read two Romance novels to balance it. See it takes two romance novels to even out one spiritual query book for me. That was my way of saying that I will not just vanish into thin air of unidentified state of commonality. Even with the advanced thinker such as JK’s work; I used to read a combo sections where he would describe a scene and gave the lesson behind it.

It was such fun period to read all the various spiritual books and self-help books. I was like reading at least one book per week during that phase of my life. Around my post-college years when I was having trouble finding something different. Around then, I took a Pranic Healing class as per my cousin’s advice. That kind of linked me back to Rampa’s astral reading days.

During that time my cousin who is from Kashi and was a great Vedic Pandit shared a book with me and my life took another turn. It was titled “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. Synchronicity in which everything is happens for a reason got so much resonance with me that I was grabbed by my childish inquiry scruff and shaken.

Then, life became so interesting because I began noticing people and thought that they had a message for me. Of course, every interaction is a message for being a better person in real-life. Even these days I do read books by Robin Sharma and others to cheer myself up to find motivation.

Right now I am almost become someone who is very balanced but occasionally I lose it but only to gain it back with self-debate. I have read books by Deepak Chopra, Stephen R Covey, Thich Nhat Hanh, Robin Sharma’s “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” the first among the many series of self-help books.

Super Soul Sunday of Oprah Winfrey, Talk shows on motivation by Solomon Pappaiah on Tirukkural, Suki Sivam’s talks and all those Santana dharma by Velukkudi Krishnan and Harikatha discourses by Vishaka Hari and lot of others happened once I shifted from reading to listening.

Then came the days when I would practice meditation at least for 30 minutes every day which I would religiously follow. These days I can find meditative state by merely being. I still have a long way to go spiritually; but the journey was one of many wrong turns and twists. In all this, I still feel a connection with everything in this world.

I have truly forgiven everyone who hurt me during my growing years and I don’t get hurt that fast these days. Even if I do, there are many ways to find peace from within. There are actually no sadness in my life since peace from within resides inside which is such a pleasant feeling. I live my life in Mindfulness these days and find God at every turn welcoming my life with zest.

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