Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book review : The Krishna Key

The Krishna Key is a thriller  by Ashwin Sanghi who has authored the bestselling Rozabel Line as also the award winning Chanakya's chant.It is of 475 pages.It is by Westland books.It has many black & white illustrations in keeping with the character of the book.

The tale is about a boy, who is indoctrinated from his school age to believe, that he is the Kalki avatar & hence, must eliminate all who are up to mischief.This is done by a mother figure, who in turn has been manipulated by a don.It is also the story of five friends who are working on various quests in India.There are other characters like the lady Inspector Radhika -sniffer Singh , Priya who is the doctoral student of a Professor,Rathore,Radhika's assistant,Garg-Radhika's boss ,Sir Khan,etal.Basically ,it is the story of India from times immemorial ! Bodies start falling from the very start  & the tale has many surprises as also shocks  to keep one engrossed.

The author has done lots of painstaking research to come up with this tale, which combines geography,history,numerology,astrology,linguistics, genetics,nuclear science,etal.This book dwells on the mythical Saraswati river which once flowed in present day Rajasthan.It also connects the dots amongst the various Harappan civilization sites,the migration of Indians from there & how Indians have remained custodians of their culture & legacy.It spins an interesting view about how Shiv & Vish are one & the  same, apart from  a rearrangement of   letters.It makes one  wonder, if Kailash parbat is  man made or natural. It surprises, by informing that Indians knew many things about nuclear energy ,radiation & means to protect against radiation.In short,Vedas have much to reveal about what the West is discovering in science & technology today !

It dwells heavily on Krishna's account of the Mahabharata- in fact, this  runs simultaneously along with the thriller & makes the book all the more readable.The Dwarka ruins,the Somnath,temple  & its architecture & sculpture speak  volumes, if only we could stop & decipher.The past & present are  juxtaposed brilliantly to give us a mystery.The Mughals,the Rajputs,theYadavas, the Kshatriyas et al are all brought together to show how all are connected with each other & with India's ancient wisdom which was so rich ! It continues to guide us today.Ashwin Sanghi seems to be  been inspired by Dan Brown of The Da Vinci code fame in penning this novel.

The Sanskrit shlokas & the black & white illustrations are  added attractions of the book.They are a necessity & make the book worthwhile.

The story made me so proud of my cultural heritage as an Indian.At times,the facts get so overwhelming that one seems to be gasping for breath ! Were our forefathers so intelligent ? Then, why have we remained  so backward today ? We seem to be content,   living on our past glories.We must reclaim our glory seems to be the author's message for his readers.For, as he reminds  us ,more than once ," ....the philosopher is more important than the stone ."

There was a dearth of Indians writing thrillers .For this  reason also ,  I would recommend this book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review : Fractured Legend

This is my first book review .I have recieved this book under the books review program of Blog Adda.I am thankful to BlogAdda for giving me this opportunity.

The book 'Fractured Legend ' is by the Hyderabad based novelist, Kranthi Askani.This book has been published by APK Publishers,Pune who started publishing books, in order to give a chance to upcoming writers.

The cover of the book is full of - red,yellow,black, orange & white hues.It shows a teenage girl asleep on a table with her head completely resting on her left hand.

The  tales of the heroines are told by the women themselves.They are their own sutradhaars.Men have a role or rather roles to play in the stories of women.The roles of men are just like branches which grow out of the trunk of a tree.The setting is real to surreal,present & past ,dream  & reality.

The story of the book is about  three women - Priyambada,Nandhini & Pravalli.Priyambada is a temple slave.She decides to go in for a life in flesh, even though she will lose immortality which she has, as a temple slave. Priyambada goes through the human cycle of marriage & childbirth.She is unable to break with her past though she is quite happy with her human life.Nandhini, is a woman, who has taken up the task of eliminating people by killing them for a price.She is trapped through her son  into killing her boss .She kills her boss & then she despairs if she  did right.This had never confused her earlier.Pravalli is penning a letter to her mom after years.She is unable to forgive & forget her mom.As the book ends,Pravalli tries to come to terms with  why her mom, behaved the way she did.

The author has tried to weave magic in the story - as his heroines keep passing from the real world into the surreal.The heroines keep going back & forth in time,  every now & then- memories of association as the heroine reminds us.They dream quite a bit.The book starts weaving its magic slowly & pensively.It has a sad undertone.One can feel the anguish of the women who are trapped, for no fault of theirs. One tends to sympathise with the heroines & this makes us anxious to read further.

The writing is good, though in the initial pages ,it gives a feeling of too many words being used from the world of architecture.Later ,it is not so.Simple easy words would have helped more.The imagination is very vivid.The author correctly describes the feelings of all mothers who will keep sweets for the child whenever they attend any function & not devour them like fathers.The tender relationship between the mother & daughter is detailed poignantly.

The pleating of sarees has been described by the author correctly.This is a surprise, considering that nowadays ,sarees are the  last option of generation next.Even I started wrapping sarees in some decent manner quite late.One  heroine is typically frugal in her choices -she will go for the middle priced item, be it bangles or anything else.Chiffon sarees are the preferred choice of the ladies  & all this paints  a vibrant kaleidoscope of colours !

I would recommend this book for those readers, who are patient enough to wait for the magic to begin slowly but surely.The wait is going to be worth it though the ending leaves many questions unanswered.Perhaps,the writer is penning a sequel.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mesmerising Melbourne !

As I read about Melbourne ,Australia,I find it very  familiar.And then it struck me ! It is so much  like Mumbai. Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra,Melbourne is the capital of Victoria.Inhabitants of Melbourne are Melburnians or Melbournians -the residents of Mumbai are Mumbaikars.Mumbai is a port city with the busiest port in India .Similarly ,Melbourne port is the busiest port in Australia.Melbourne has a river Yarra & Mumbai has its own river Mithi -never mind, it is hardly a trickle now ! Melbourne has an extensive network of rail & road transport just like Mumbai, where the local trains & BEST transport make up the lifeline of Mumbai.

Crown Entertainment Complex 

Very soon Mumbai is going to get its Metro & mono rail.A metro for Melbourne is underway & will soon see the light of the day ! Trams were a sight in Mumbai many years ago & trams are a very visible mode of transport in Melbourne even today.I feel, trams give a bygone era look to the city of Melbourne.It is as if, two time zones are existing at the same time ! I will definitely want to travel in the trams & savour the feeling of an era gone by !

Tramways Conductors 

British,Chinese,Vietnamese,Indians,SriLankans,Malays,Muslims,Christains,Hindus all have made Melbourne their home .Mumbai is cosmpolitan as it is teeming with Indians of every religion & region .So,a Melbourne visit, will be like a bird’s eye view of diverse cultures at one place.Melbourne is a centre of many international cuisines as the numerous settled  communities have their own food culture, which they have showcased in the cafes which line the streets of Melbourne  .Being a foodie,I think I would get a wonderful opportunity to sample various cuisines- vegetarian as I am a vegetarian..My daughter is a big fan of MasterChef Australia &  she is eagerly awaiting a visit to Australia.

Tall Order Giraffe Encounter 

We can smell roses actually & not just literally, at Werribee Mansion & that too a mind boggling  5000 varieties ! One can visit the Werribee Open  Range zoo vide a safari trip to see Zebras,Griaffes ,etal as they roam freely on the expansive grounds .I would amazingly watch koalas & kangaroos at the Healsvillie Sanctuary, as I have never seen either the koalas or the kangaroos till now !


I would collect memorabalia at the famed Queen Victoria  market & savour fresh diary produce there ! A lifetime experience would be the one, at Victoria's oldest prison, which housed dangerous criminals in days gone by .I am sure ,the wonders of Melbourne would keep me enthralled throughout !

The Meat Hall (pictured) is the oldest building on the Market site - built in 1869 - preceding hte official opening of the Queen Victoria Market by 9 years! 

Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia.Similarly Mumbai has a a diverse culture - Bollywood being the most visible sign.There are theatre groups -the Marathi theatre,English ,Hindi as also Gujarati.Even advertisements & television serials are shot extensively in Mumbai .Dance & music recitals are also very much a part of Mumbai's cultural scene.Televison in Australia started with Melbourne.Melbourne houses many centres for music & theatre.Melbourne celebrates many festivals just like Mumbai -all thanks  to its cosmoplitan population which makes for vibrancy ! All in all,both Mumbai & Melbourne are very happening cities ! So, no dull moments in Melbourne.The city of Melbourne is always pulsating with some excitement or the other ! This makes it a must for exploring ! I think ,I can hear my heart beats growing faster, by the minute, as I think of all this !

The Garden city of Australia ,Melbourne is an excellent model to follow for Mumbai as Mumbai has a dearth of green cover.Gardens will also make up for aesthetics in Mumbai.

As I pen this ,I can hear ‘…it's your time to visit Melbourne NOW! This is so, as  my daughter will very soon, be joining college.I would like her to join one of the various Universities in Melbourne .Our Melbourne visit, now, would make her get familiar with the sights & sounds of Melbourne so that she feels comfortable ,once she starts pursuing her higher studies in Melbourne, very soon. Melbourne university is among the top four universities in the world.Even the other Universities housed in Melbourne such the Monash,RMIT ,Victoria have excellent international rankings.My choice would be Australia & particularly Melbourne, as it is cosmopolitan & my daughter can live & experience numerous cultures of the world , even as she studies.Moreover ,Melbourne being so much like Mumbai ,she will feel very much at home abroad ! What more can she  ask for  ? ! After all ,due to its wide cultural spread,Melbourne has been ranked as the most liveable city three times over !

As,I write this ,I wonder why can’t we model Mumbai on Melbourne & not Shanghai ? After all ,both being so similar ,that can happen sooner !

This is my blog post entry for the ‘…it's your time to visit Melbourne NOW!contest on IndiBlogger in association with Tourism Victoria.If you liked my blog post ,please vote ,comment & share !

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