Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Review : Awaken the Durga Within.

Women feel oppressed & suppressed . They are used as doormats & walked over by others .How to overcome so many odds stacked against them ?

Usha Narayanan provides some rare insights to overcome the odds & march on. Her latest offering , Awaken the Durga Within,From Glum to Glam Caged to Carefree  deals with the power inherent in women .Only that this power needs to be rekindled. And Usha Narayanan shows the way or rather ways !

The publisher is Rupa Publications, Delhi.This book has been published in 2018.Its priced at 195 /- only . It has 152 pages. This book is available as an e book as well.

The book has a lovely red front cover which depicts a woman wearing a golden crown with a halo around her head. She is dressed in jeans, a white tee shirt & a red checked shirt as a jacket over her tee shirt. Her hair is free & falls over her shoulders. She wears a bindi .She has ten pairs of hands to depict that she multitasks .She is folding her two hands in namaskara pose. The remaining hands are holding a remote, a cell phone, a laptop, a book, a writing pad, a pen, some ropes or strings & piece of cloth each. The items she is holding are in light blue colour. Her complexion is wheatish in colour . She is wearing white shoes & standing with one leg folded at the knee. This is to convey that she is walking a tightrope. The cover itself, is a tell tale sign of the problems faced by women.

The back cover is red & gives a summary of the book .Usha has written this book as a guide so that women can get whats' due to them.The back cover towards the bottom gives a facial illustration of  Durga with prominent eyes & bindi .The illustration is faint as it almost merges with the background.

The book's printing is good .The book introduces the readers to Usha as an author who has written four books on Indian mythology , a thriller & two books on romance.All her books have been successful. Usha had a rewarding career in advertising& media in the corporate world before she became a successful author. She is a gold medalist with a master's degree in Englsih Literature.

Usha has dedicated the book to her mother who helped her to break free.The book begins with Introduction as the first chapter & ends with Conclusion as the eighth chapter. Introduction states the misgivings a majority of the women have regarding themselves.And the chapter concludes with a story from the Indian mythology about a Goddess. As one reads , the story, the reader is mesmerised by the revealations that the Goddesses are the source of strength .And we as Indian women should take inspiration from them as the Goddess resides in each one of us !

In the next chapters, Usha talks about the three C's ...choice, change & create. She opines that women have to choose , change & create a better world for themselves. She says that women must be assertive not aggressive to get their points across. The change may be stressful initially .And yet after assertiveness is repeated , it becomes second nature & changes & transform us. And as the women are transformed, they create a better world for all !

The uniqueness about this book is that each chapter narrates a story of a female character from the Indian mythology .Some characters are known to us. Some are unfamiliar & yet all are strong female characters who were assertive & stood their ground. They were able to change the tide which were unfathomable even for Gods & the Trinity ! Usha narrates lesser known tales which are  revelations & how ! They unveil traits of the personalities of Goddesses which were never made public ! And Usha connects the mythological tales to the modern day Indian women.

And the suggestions are practical & simple. The author prods us on gently & states that women can take one step at a time. And these steps will add up to giant strides .And these strides will lead to scintillating  metamorphosis !!!!

The author says that Indian Goddesses have shown us the paths on which the Indian women need to embark to affirm themselves .And when women do that , they make this world a much better place .Because as the author rightly opines, a happy person ( more so a happy woman ) reflects her inner happiness on to the world converting the globe into  paradise !

A must read for girls as also women. Men can read it too & get insights into how they can assist their women & change for the better ! The title of the book " Awaken the Durga Within" is embossed in Gold on the cover of the book.  Likewise, the book is worth its weight in gold ! 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Book Review : Kartikeya & his battle with the soul stealer.

Kartikeya is very much in news today for obvious reasons. And to read this book meant discovering so many tales surrounding Muruga s he is popularly known in the south.I had only seen people going to Palani & Sabarimala .I had no idea about the folk lore or even a story relating to Karthikeya except that he came second to Ganapati circumvating around the world.

This story of Kartikeya by Penguin Books starts with the enmity between asuras & devas. Asuras take great pains to perform severe austerities & get granted  boons from the trimurtis. And then asuras begin  their mayhem. One such asura is Surapadma. He is so strong that all gods fear him .And they want him to be annihilated. And yet , Surapadma's boons seem to have made him invincible . Is there any salvation for the gods ?

On a hill, there is small child .He has no idea how he came there. He is pining for some care. He is cared for by the wild beasts & how ? Yet, he longs for someone like him ,to care for him. Who is he ? He is strange. And brave too. And his compassion makes him the favourite of one & all ,as time goes by. And then ,his parents come to claim him. Does he go with them ? And he has many sets of parents ?

As Harihara putra  grows up, he engages ,the mighty Taraka in a fight .Yet, before that , he ponders if fighting is the only way to get rid of Taraka . His doubts are cleared & he emerges victorious ! Skanda says that he would rather remain unattached & yet he cannot take his eyes off Indra's daughter soon after. Does he get hooked ? The author makes  the characters so human like that this book gets very  interesting !

And then ,he decides to go seek his destiny ? What happens next ? The wait gets long for his parents & others. And then , he has to be reminded of his duty. Yet, nobody is sure ,if he can do his duty in such a way that Surapadma will no longer trouble earth or its inhabitants. Does Muruga have the courage & skills to defeat Surapadma ? Skanda thinks he is overconfident or is he ? Does he achieve what all he is destined  to ?

The author , Usha Narayanan, has weaved so many tales into this book  giving cross references about how all the tales are interlinked .This makes the tale complete ! She makes the characters stand out ,with their vulnerabilities ,which makes them so real & believable !

The author describes the beauty & the valour of the characters in magnificient ways .Even the scenarios of forests & palaces are vividly described ,so much so, that they come alive !

Readers would surely read mythology if books are written in such an interesting manner . And this can come about ,only ,when someone has done painstaking  research .Perhaps, Sabarimala row would have never arisen, if the parties to the row, had ever read about the Shivaputra !
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