Category Archives: Books Books: Biographies & Memoirs

Letting Go of My Father’s Soul – Rajan Prasad Pradhan

Letting Go of My Father's Soul - CoverThis is a touching memoir that evokes certain emotions to those who choose to read it. It acquaints the reader with the harsh reality of loosing one’s parent. The author has portrayed his feellings as diary entries written over a couple of years. He has included several quotes and references from great people and books like the Gita. The language is simple yet very deep. There are many realistic references to occurences that manifest the honesty with which the author wishes to deal with his grief and convey his innermost feelings to the readers through this book.

My Experiences in Uniform – Dinesh Hukmani

My Experiences in Uniform - CoverThis biography is an interesting account of the author’s experience as a soldier. It gives some useful information to those who wish to join the Indian Defence Forces. The sense of patriotism is encouraging and most welcome in these changing times. The book is written in a simple language making it more realistic and akin to anyone who can relate to the army. The manuscript is descriptive making the reader feel like he was there in person. The emotions and feelings one goes through as a soldier are well portrayed.

Journey Down The Memory Lane – Chander Mohan

Journey Down The Memory Lane - CoverThis biography is the portrayal of the writer’s life. It gives us an insight in to the pre independent India, its people and their struggle. The book is very detailed and descriptive. The author’s journey is not only interesting but also informative. A lot has been written about the India just before and just after its freedom. The soceity, the culture, the life per se is well explained giving the reader a fair understanding of the India that was. Albeit the book is written entirely from the author’s perspective, it can surely be considered as a good reference to anyone who wants to learn more about the nation.

A Witness to Terror – Dinesh Hukmani

A Witness to Terror - CoverThe author has researched in depth and written a book that provides the reader with some fine details that may have been overlooked by the mass media. The person wise account of the witnesses is commendable and shows that the author has taken a lot of efforts to put them together. This book certainly deserves a read if one is curious about what exactly happened on that 2008 November night. It also serves as an genuine tribute to those who lost their lives or the lives of their near and dear ones and most importantly to those who saw it all and escaped death by a cat’s whisker – by the grace of God. Books: Philosophy

Search for Existence by P. V. Rai

Search for Existence - CoverBesides exploring the aspects of existence from its inception, the author has explained the various philosophies of life that influence one’s being. The language is simple. The concepts are well defined. The ground work done by the author to make this book possible is applaudable. This book is a must read for anyone who wishes to know the essence of existence and add a new dimension to one’s own life.

Advaita Vedanta (A Student’s Note) by Shashikant Padalkar

Advaita Vedanta - coverThis book offers an indepth insigth in to the philosphies of the Vedas. It is a highly knowledgeable book and a very good read for anyone who wishes to gain knowledge about the rich heritage and learnings the Vedas have to offer – that have been passed on from, through generations. The author’s study and efforts are commendable. His research is well manifested in the manuscript. The paradigm of philosophies over cenruaries is well explained and the inevitable outcomea are well depicted.

Silence of the Mind by Dr. Ketan Bajaj

Silence of the Mind - CoverThis book opens up one’s mind. It helps us understand, in a very simple and lucid way, how the several aspects of our lives influence that what our mind is constantly telling us. We are in constant conversation with our mind and hence need to know and determine what we want to converse with it. This book explores various fascinating factors that influence our thoughts. The author has stated relevant examples that make his philosophy more vivid and comprehendable. The language used is not too technical which is a plus point. The book is a good read for anyone who wishes to empower his/her mind.

The Meaning of Life by Vimal Sehgal

The Meaning of Life - Vimal SehgalThe book portrays an indepth guide to the aspect of life. At some level or the other, life per se, is an intriguing topic. The author has discussed and explained this topic in a simple language. The philosophies manifested in the book are thought provoking. The references to ancient theories backed by modern beliefs gives the reader a deep insight into the various ingredients of life. The author has done his research well – which is evident through his work. This book is a very good read for anyone who is at that junction of life – seeking its meaning. Books: Short Story Collections

Tinku’s Tooth and other stories by R. Mahesh

The stories are about a little boy called Tinku and his experiences. It is written in a very simple language and certainly will appeal to children. The stories have a moral at the end which teaches the readers good things about life. The book is well written and will surely appeal to young children who may be able to read and to parents who wish to read out stories with values to their children. The collection qualifies for bedtime stories as well.

Just So Stories…  by Sibnath Mazumdar

This collection of stories is a series of tales that are relevant to various beliefs and aspects of culture. There is a message that the author is trying to manifest. The story lines are intriguing and tend to capture the interest of the reader. The language is situational and simple. The theme of the stories is captivating. The imagination of the author is well conveyed in the stories. There is a definite depiction manifested in them that educate the readers about certain aspects of some uncommon occurrences.

The Five Gems – Stories From Daddy by Narayanan P Iyer

This collection is mainly for children to read as it comes with morals that instill values in young minds. Having mentioned this, it is also a good read for adults who can relate to the child in them. The stories are rare and the inferences are special. The language is simple and would most certainly appeal to those with innocent minds. Overall, the message the author intends to give the reader is vivid and his efforts are commendable. Books for Children

The Adventures of Dara – Tanya Chatterji

Well done Tanya! The Adventures of Dara come with a moral message for its young readers. Even adults can learn a lesson or two, which they may have forgotten, from Dara’s adventures. The language is simple and descriptive. The illustrations summarize the words and depict the stories aptly. One can revisit those days of fun and frolic through these stories. Anyone who has read Tanya’s book knows that this young girl is soon going to be a renowned writer… or wait! I think she already is. All the best.

Links for Purchase

Dream World – Gaurav Manik

Cover for Dream World by Gaurav ManikThis is a well written book. The adventures are gripping and one can relate to them well if one allows herself to get lost in the Dream World. The drawings depict the story very well. The language is simple and perfect making it convenient for the young readers to savour the book. The story evokes the desire for more adventure. Nick’s quest is thrilling and the reference to Harry Porter in particular is fun. This book makes the reader wonder if Nick was indeed just dreaming or was it all for real.

Links for Purchase

Mystic Power Force – Shachii Manik

Mystic Power Force by Shachii Manik

This is an adventurous book. It raises the curiosity of the reader and the reader wants to read on to see what happens next. The story has a very good moral message that power should be used judiciously. The 5 brave children described in the book are very well portrayed. The characters, the settings and the story by itself, is very interesting.  The writer has managed to open up the young minds of the readers of this book. The drawings are well made and enhance the story.

Links for Purchase

Rainbow of Stories – Sarah Deshpande

Rainbow of Stories by Sarah DeshpandeYoung Sarah has written so many short stories in this book.  There are very good drawings at the beginning of every story. Each story has a very nice message to it. All the stories have happy endings and are as colourful and cheerful as the Rainbow itself. The language is simple and honest. Here is a budding short stories writer. Congratulations to her. All the best.

Links for Purchase Books on Mystery and Crime

Neha Agarwal reviews four books around the theme of “Mystery and Crime”.

The Offsite (e-book & print book) – Hema Gollamudi

The offsite - CoverHere’s a murder mystery with a difference. With reference to the employees of the erstwhile IT industry, this book gives an insight of the complex feelings and emotions that today’s working generation has towards hierarchy and its implications. The characters are life like and well depicted in the story. The author has uncovered various possibilities that otherwise one would not consider in a conventional scenario. The story also outlines the paradigm the Indian society is going through – especially with regard to white collared crimes. Given the current scenario of India and Bangalore in particular, the story is unfortunately, a very plausible one. The mystery is well portrayed, captivating the reader, compelling her to make her own guesses of who it could be the culprit and the why. Overall, the story is nail biting.

Links for purchase

Bedevilled (print book) – Kumar Rajgeet
Bedevilled - Cover
Bedeviled unfolds a nail biting story which comes with clear cut message to its readers – watch your actions as they may have unbelievable repercussions. It is indeed a novelette that uncovers a series of life changing events in the life of the protagonist – Daniel. The message is manifested through descriptions of events that keep the reader at the edge of her seat. It compels one to re think one’s own karmas. However, the end is a little vague and abrupt making it a little disappointing for a reader who wants closure. Overall the effort is good.

Link for purchase

Open End (e-book) – Gourav Salanke

Open End - CoverThis book involves a story in a story. The reader cannot decipher what is the actual follow through of events. Albeit a short story, it grips the reader and keeps the reader keenly involved. It is riveting to say the least of all and evokes reader’s imagination to solve the mystery – compelling her to get involved in the story – just like the other innocent bystanders who get entangled in the crime portrayed. The end is open ended (in sync with the title) – left to the reader’s interpretation.

Link for download (available for free currently)

10 Most Interesting Questions (e-book) – Mr. Wrong

10 Most Interesting Questions - CoverThe pen name of the author and the title of the book sure arises the curiosity of the reader and arrests her attention. The questions chosen by the author are indeed questions that would have arisen in the mind of a person with normal levels of curiosity. While the author or more aptly the researcher has attempted to answer these questions with conviction, some of them still remain open ended mysteries which are left to the imagination of the reader to infer from.

Links for purchase

Book Review: Six Months in India – Yoga in its Original Context

Six Months in IndiaSix Months in India – Yoga in its Original Context
by Vik Vad

Type: Print Book
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality
Language: English
Price: Rs.350.00 + shipping

“Six Months in India – Yoga in its Original Context “ is written by Vik Vad, who teaches yoga in Austin, Texas in the US. Six Months is a blog-to-book conversion and retains its journal-like writing format. Vad, an Indian brought up in the US, comes to India to discover his roots and to learn about yoga from the place of its origin and blogs/writes about his time in India.

Quote: “Some things I want to explore for study are: reading more books on yoga and tantra; learning mantra; basic Sanskrit; exploring jyotish (astrology); doing japa (mantra repetition) to various gods and goddesses and learning what energies they represent and why; puja (ritual); pilgrimages to holy sites; and visiting with spiritual people of different backgrounds. I am also going to take in the culture and not plan things too much, just let them unfold.”

In this neat, professional-looking book, he details the Hindu customs he encounters, the culture, the filth as well as the beauty of India as he sees it, in his decidedly American way. He travels to different parts of India including Chennai (south), Nasik (west) and Agra (north) and visits cities, villages, temples and ashrams.

The author writes in such a casual, conversational manner that you can almost hear him talking.  It is a very personal book with Vad’s opinions colouring the entire tome, but one does discover some interesting information (about gods, mantra, visiting various temples, and so on). It would have been a better work if the author had compiled the content keeping in mind a readership and organised the content to flow better.

On the one hand he shows a strong hunger and respect for gods and goddesses and then, there’s a personal domestication of the gods: “Shiva’s actually a wandering yoga dude that does whatever he wants.” (Note the colloquial American “that” while referring to a person.)

He stays at the Aurobindo Ashram and recommends it thus: “The ashram seems to kind of be run by senior citizens, these people are like parents or something, but at least there’s discipline here, it’s definitely not a bunch of partying foreigners like some ashrams are.”

Sometimes the author writes in a juvenile fashion. He says “Fuck India!” when he is upset about an infected ear piercing. He then blames Indians for India’s poverty and rants about the filth and the power cuts, arranged marriages, the works. After all this, he says that now he has got all this out, he can be calm and sensible once more.

Vik Vad hates the acronym ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) but Vad is baffled by India: “It’s not that people in India are unhappy, though, or that this is really some bad place or something. If that were the case, I’d leave tomorrow and come back home. Indians are actually quite happy on the whole, in fact sometimes I think they’re actually generally happier than we are, somehow.” There is that tone of surprise, as you can see, that such a place and people can be touched by something as positive and profound as happiness.

Also, for a yoga practitioner who came to discover his Indian (Hindu) roots, he says towards the end of the book that if he could make a choice for his next birth, he’d pick the US for his birthplace and Christianity as his religion. Oh, well. But the book is a fun read, even funny in parts (“When you spend a lot of time walking near the road, at the end of the day you blow these nasty black boogers out of your nose”).

He gets sentimental about India once he returns to the US, however, and swears he will remember everyone and the kindness they showed him with gratitude.

– Hasmita Chander

Book Review: Kashmiryat at Crossroads

Kashmiryat at Crossroads – The search for a destiny
by P Parimoo

Type: Print Book
Genre: Politics and Society
Price: Rs 325.00 + shipping

Of the many special places in India, Kashmir is surely one of the most beautiful. It is fascinating for many reasons including its proximity to the Himalayas, the snow and its other-worldly scenery. Now, a further reason draws our interest to the place: the political situation. This book brings alive Kashmir right from the early years of the last century up to the present.

Based on the diaries of the Late Pandit Dina Nath Parimoo who was born in Srinagar in 1911, this book is full of vivid descriptions of his first-hand experiences in Kashmir until the middle of 20th century. It takes the reader to Kashmir in the olden days with rich glimpses into the life of an ordinary Kashmiri, the culture, history, social and economic conditions, the political scenario, spirituality and religion of Kashmir. The book includes photographs, song lyrics and details of Kashmiri ceremonies and food that make for delightful reading.

“Frequent cups of kehwa chai were sipped till late at night by all the participants and the elderly onlookers. This whole leaf tea is specially prepared in Samovars, a central Asian contraption adopted in Kashmir since ages. Small cinnamon pieces and small cardamom are used to flavour the brew; lightly crushed almond imparts a garnishing. No milk is added to this tea. The tradition bound Pandit would have his kehwa or Mogal chai only from a khasu, a brass cup without a handle, edges gently tapered outwards to facilitate very slow sipping.

We also catch glimpses of ancient Kashmir, its kings and other influential people, the fascinating things they did including conservation of nature, something the present government has undertaken only recently. Alongside we discover the desperately poor health conditions that prevailed early on and the disease this brought about. We see how Buddhism and Islam made their presence here and how the religious battles began and continue.

The book is written by the Pandit’s son, P Parimoo, who, though a technocrat by training, is an avid reader of history, particularly the history of religions.

This is a work of a lifetime for the family involved in putting it together as well as for anyone interested in learning about Kashmir. Although well written and very readable, the text could have been further improved with a round of professional editing.

– Hasmita Chander


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 155 other followers