Friday, November 30, 2012

Is This Called Moving on?

From the plane, she looked down at the valleys, with their zig zag roads and cultivation patches looking like serpentines cascading in an attempt to reach her and greet her. She had fled, from the building blocks in the urbane cities she had tried finding a home in; from the hundreds of acquaintances she had found but not a friend to laugh and cry with.

The "Trek To Tibet" trip advert had attracted her gaze at the very first time, while she was sipping her Cafe Latte at a Coffee Home outlet next to her office. The flyer seemed to have flown out of the stack of newspapers untidily arranged at the bill counter. "Opportunities are what but mazes undefined.." she had heard the radio jockey as he blared out some information regarding some free movie tickets he was rewarding. If this had been any other day, she would have sniffed off the quote saying, Ah, that has to be a poet, not an RJ for Chris' Sake! But it made complete sense to her.

The next thing she knew, she had let go. Let go of her expectations, her wrenching ache for love, a need to be loved and appreciated. If it has to happen, someday it'll happen. Someday, the bud shall bloom into a flower and if it does not, it shall simply detach itself and let go yet again.. Is this called Moving on? Sitting on a flight to a far flung Tibet, she was heading to find herself. To accept who she really is. For if she did not, no one else would.
Even if it were the life she led. The life of an escort. A prostitute if you please. She could not care any less.

This is where the end begins
and where the leaves fall off 
men bow their heads in shame
and women spit out of their mouths in disgust.
I walk
With my head held high
I walk
with every bit of me, in spite of
the namesake reputation I bore
you wore me, you tore me
like a piece of cloth
in your fragrance I belittled
my own little world in yours.
I walk
as I look at them
I walk
and they cannot meet my eye
and I let out a violent cry
but they do not see my tears
For I smile, no I laugh
Like the chameleon out on that tree
see how it defines me, do you?
This is where the end begins
and where the leaves fall off
men bow their heads in shame
and women spit out of their mouths in disgust.
I am that bird you see
soaring deep up high
you cannot touch me, only see me wild
and for that you hate me,
Hate me more, sweet friend or foe
for I care no more.
for I care no more..

This post is part of the contest Tibet: Roof of the world. Its people : Roofless.. on inspired by the Photo Fiction book

Monday, November 26, 2012



PRICE: Rs.250
PAGES: 464
ISBN: 9789381626689
MY RATING: 3 out of 5

Interesting Plot..
Immaculate research and analysis of history, facts and myths
Intertwining of the two...

Spells ASHWIN SANGHI my friends!

Reputed as the Dan Brown of India, Ashwin brings forth another work of historical fiction titled, The Krishna Key. One must read Sanghi's work for the kind of story-telling he undertakes while weaving myths and historical figures into Fiction. With the Krishna Key, I was although, somehow disappointed, in terms of the sense of originality I had expected of it. The book-with its plot, the mode of story telling seemed a rip-off of the Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown.

It is one thing to have similar writing styles, but this seems more than just a similarity. Sanghi, unintentionally or otherwise, seems to have been under the influence of Brown's style of writing, way too explicitly. Thus, one is disappointed when one compares The Krishna Key with Sanghi's previous works like the Chanakya's Chants.

Mythology as a genre has always fascinated me, considering I am pursuing a Masters degree in History. How a historian, Ravi Mohan Saini goes on to excavate seals pertaining to Dwarka, the mythological birth place of Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu. And like the Hindu myths suggest, Lord Vishnu takes birth into an avatar and resurrects himself to bring an end to evil and hatred, injustice and deceit. Interestingly, Ashwin Sanghi has yet again managed to acquire brilliance when it comes to intertwining myth, history and fiction.

The Krishna Key as the book title suggests looks at how there are communities of people not just in the Indian subcontinent but elsewhere too, who are looking for the Kalki avatar of Krishna who is supposed to take birth in the Kalyug. However, that is where trouble for Sanghi begins. Till about a point as the book advances, the story is gripping and each chapter hooks the reader on to the plot. The characters are however, too many and are at places required but at many other places, are simply placed into chaotic junctures. In between them, yet again, the driver twist in the story (read it to know! I am not telling you :D) was surprising and brought me back to the story.

The point is, research and the plot balanced, provides a wonderful conduit of expression for the readers but like they say... too much of anything makes them undesirable. Similar, too many details- geographical, temporal and the story at large; all three are left unbalanced and stuffed leaving the reader in a daze as to how to make sense of so many things that go hand in hand, though it may be a personal opinion because I like to read stories which blend in geography and time but with subtlety and not something that is so outright-ly put or elaborated upon. Though I loved it how he manages to connect Dwarka, Vrindawan, Kalibangan and Agra so constructively- seems as good as real!

However, the whole suspense of the Krishna mystery loses its ground completely by the time the plot reaches its climax and it is indeed disappointing to be so much intrigued to only get a bland ending. The ending that was so much anticipated, ends on a very ordinary and dull note. Being a Sanghi text, I somehow expected much more in terms of a sophisticated end to an excellent course of trails and suspense.

Nonetheless, it is not to take away any credits from Ashwin Sanghi who is by no doubts, an excellent story teller and I am a fan of his. Krishna Key is definitely not his career-best but definitely a great read amongst the plethora of Indian fiction that is available at present. Also, I really wish that he loses the Dan Brown-touch that has influenced his writing a little too much and which reflects very glaringly in the Krishna Key. All in all, he is a personal favorite for the way he handles twists in the plot and how the female character always manages to be a tease in the schema of the plot.

You can buy the book at an amazing discounted rate from 

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Thursday, November 1, 2012



TITLE: THUNDERGOD- The Ascendance of Indra

ISBN: Unedited (My Copy)
ISBN(Edited Copy):9381626979

PRICE: Rs.295

MY RATINGS: 3 out of 5

From the very childhood, I have been totally intimidated by Indra, the only God amongst the gods, who has been the very closest a god can get to being a man..A God that errs. So what happens when the  arrogant, egoistic, hot-tempered and insecure Indra, is blended into a wonderfully woven story by Rajiv Menon which basically deals with war between the Gods and the Asuras, and as the tagline depicts, ‘One day a prince from one of the four great tribes will unite the sons of Aditi and he will sow the seeds of an empire that will rule the world.’

The character of Indra has been entwined beautifully in the story that passes through different stories woven together into one with inferences such as the war at the gates of Susa, the flood that destroys the Harappan civilisation, the politics of the priestly class, the stories of Mitra, Indra's close affinity with Soma, and the trio Vayu, Agni and Varuna too. There are references to the Dravidians and also the Aryan Invasions.
What is so interesting about the book plot is that firstly, Indra has never managed to get so much attention hitherto and secondly, that so many divergent, and contradictory topics have been accumulated to form a gripping story that never manages once, to let readers like Me( read History students) raise a doubt or question.

And where, The Krishna Key failed for me, The Thundergod, worked fabulously! The ending is gripping, and twisted. One surely looks for an ending such as the kind this one has!

All in all, a book full of war and sex and drama. A book that talks of Gods and their imperfections- a genre that is being thoroughly explored by the present generation of the literati.

Once in a while, you receive a book, that widens the spectrum of your imagination. But what I felt was lacking in the book was clarity. As I have already mentioned above, there is a lot that has been put into the plot, so it was necessary that the characters and their personalities were clearly explained, shaped and moulded into the situations. This is where I felt the author's prowess in the field of character depiction stifled.
Also, the sexual scenes were way too "out there", in the sense that one could read through them without feeling anything at all- something that I both as a reader and a writer failed to connect to.

If I had to suggest for improvements, considering this is an unedited copy, then I would strongly suggest that

  • - characters other than Indra should be shaped and detailed as well
  • - the sex scenes need to be re-written into a more aesthetic manner
  • - war scenes seem to stretch on. Some of it can be shredded and made more concise.

This was the first time that I had been sent an unedited version of the book and I feel privileged that BlogAdda felt that I could assess the book both as a reader as well as a reviewer. You can register for book reviewing programs too. Here is how.

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