Monday, February 19, 2018

Smiles

We are so used to despair, that we consider smiles difficult to come by. And even when they do, we doubt their credibility. "Is it really the smile we have been awaiting since long, or just another disappointment in disguise?" we think, sceptically.

We assume all possible negative scenarios, forgetting that smiles are a gift for our patience and perseverance, and should be relished whole-heartedly, without an iota of doubt.




Shared with


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Ramayana-Stand Strong - Review



The Ramayana is not a story. It’s a way of life. It’s the game of life.
Life is a constant reminder that nothing, however powerful in one season, remains unchanging. The endless cycles of change can truly us if we are unprepared to face its realities. However, we often see these changing times as problems larger than they really are. Many issues in life when perceived with fear, result in pain; but when perceived with CLARITY, result is FREEDOM.
Situations of helplessness are almost always created by our own limited imagination.
Do you have the courage to face your fears?
Stand Strong, the fourth book in Ramayana: The Game of Life series reminds us through its eternal stories -- such as the tale of brothers Vali and Sugriva -- that life is like a high-risk treasure hunt: one often has to walk through a maze of confusing paths while being chased by dangerously complex dilemmas to find the hidden treasure of wisdom.

About The Author
Shubha Vilas is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker. He helps people in dealing with modern-day life situations through the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions. He conducts leadership seminars in premier institutes across the world and inspires deeper human values.



I have been an ardent follower of Ramayana – The Game of Life series, not only because I love reading Indian mythologies, but also because the author Subha Vilas imparts the tales with such lucidity that one seems to be witnessing the story on a first person basis. Along with the fluent narration, Subha Vilas also adds lessons based on the learning from the epic that we can apply to our day to day activities.

Stand Strong’ takes the story forward from its prequels, ‘Roar With Courage’ (Book 1), ‘Conquer Change’ (Book 2) and ‘Adopt Patience’(Book 3). As the title suggests, this book imparts the message to be strong and wise in all adversities. The story starts with Rama and Lakshmana’s search for Sita, which takes them to the Rishimukh mountain range. Here, they are spotted by Nala, Nila and Taru, who failed to recognize them and rushed towards Sugriva to warn him of upcoming danger. Thus commences the Kishkinda Kand of Ramayana, which revolves primarily around the vanaras and how they serve Rama in his mission.

‘Stand Stronng’ also introduces one of the most loved characters of Ramayana, Hanuman. We get to know about his birth, childhood, and the boons and curses he went through, in crisp details. We are made aware of his journey, his powers and his prowess. Hanuman is humble and despite being more powerful than Sugriva, he has no qualms in serving the latter. He performs his duties with utmost sincerity, and can rightly be considered as the backbone of this great epic.

The fight scene between Vali and Sugriva is one of the key highlights of this book. Initially, one might be apprehensive towards Rama’s judgement and his actions during the fight between the two brothers, but as we read along, we understand the deeper meanings of Rama’s deeds. We realize how he analyses the situations, and like a true leader, he knows what would be the right decision for a particular course. However, there are moments when Rama feels low and disheartened with the loss of Sita.  He misses her with the change of seasons, comparing her and their love with beautiful metaphorical references to the world around. At such times, his brother and able companion Lakshmana provides him mental support, urging him to have patience and be calm and strong.

As always, Subha Vilas does full justice to the epic. He has narrated the events in such details and with utmost beauty that the readers will be transported to that divine world. The characterization is perfect, with every protagonist in the book being provided with their own space to grow and form an image in the mind of the readers. We, while reading the book, find ourselves questioning the actions and the deeds of the characters, forming our own judgments. This indicates how well the author has managed to create a connect with the readers.

Though I have been familiar with the basic premise of the Ramayana, it’s still a delight reading this version, an added plus point being the numerous back stories and anecdotes which we are not aware of, but which still play integral roles in the development of the plot. This is a must read for all lovers of mythology, and for those who are not, this book might well be able to pique their interest towards this field.


Title: Ramayana-Stand Strong
Authors: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2017
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Mythology, Religion
No. of Pages: 316
Price: Rs 295
My Rating: 4/5



Saturday, February 03, 2018

Strangers

I wrote another piece in Hindi today, and tried converting into English. Though I personally like the Hindi version more, I feel there are lots of rooms for improvement in both. Let me know your suggestions :-)




Shared with



Thursday, February 01, 2018

Once In A Blood Moon

I witnessed the Blue Blood Moon today, a celestial phenomenon which I might not be able to experience again in this lifeline.

And then, the poet in me raced to form a few lines.

While the original poem came in my mind in Hindi, I tried to translate it to form a piece in English as well.

Hope you like them!





Shared with




Monday, January 01, 2018

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Boat-Wreck- Review

After a boat wreck overturns his life, Rameshchandra Chowdhury mistakes young Kamala for his newly wedded bride. They move away from Calcutta to start a domestic life together, even as Ramesh is unable to forget Hemnalini, whom he was always in love with, but could not marry. Meanwhile, Hemnalini must steel her heart, whilst her hypochondriac father and hot-headed brother seek grooms for her. When Nalinaksha, a serene and influential doctor, enters the scene, fate decides to rock the boats again. 
Initially serialized in Bangadarshan magazine between 1903 and 1904, and then published as a novel in 1906, Noukadoobi was Tagore's exercise in psychoanalytical probing of an ensemble cast of characters, to reveal not just their individual pains and passions, but also the collective consciousness of the society of the period. Narrated in warm tones that reveal the tenderness of everyday life, and translated gracefully by Arunava Sinha, here is a story about love and sacrifice, faith and resilience that is timeless.

About The Author
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is India's greatest littérateur. The only Indian to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he wrote prodigiously and brilliantly across forms, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, song lyrics, essays, travelogues, and even question papers. His works span an astonishing range of subjects, including humanism, love, family and society, politics, sociology, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, and religion. Tagore wrote primarily in Bangla, and his works have been translated into almost every major world language. 
Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and non-fiction into English. More than thirty-five of his translations have been published so far. Twice the winner of the Crossword translation award, for Sankar's Chowringhee (2007) and Anita Agnihotri's Seventeen (2011), he has also been shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction prize (2009) for his translation of Chowringhee. Besides India, his translations have been published in the U.K. and the U.S. in English, and in several European and Asian countries through further translation. He was born and grew up in Kolkata, and lives and writes in New Delhi.





“Music is nothing but a matter of practice. Once a sense of melody has been instilled, everything becomes easier.”

Arunava’s adaption of Rabindranath Tagore’s classic ‘Noukadubi’ flows true to the above spoken words by Annada Babu, like a soft melodious tune. Renamed ‘The Boat-Wreck’, Arunava Sinha sticks true to the essence of Tagore’s sensibility, capturing the Bengal of early twentieth century, an essence wrapped neatly in time.

Considering its basic premise, it would be safe to categorize ‘The Boat-Wreck’ as a love story. However, the pages narrate tales that are unconventional. There are elements of mutual affection, trust, romance and also a tinge of betrayal, embossed in the backdrop of Tagore’s romanticism. ‘The Boat-Wreck’ is a story told in time, flowing with time, and finally emerging with its own realization against time. It is an episode of self-discovery amidst the tumultuous period of losing and finding oneself.

There are four basic characters in the novel with distinct identities of their own. Hemnalini is pretty, smart and confident. Like most of Tagore heroines, she comes with an innate sense of power that draws the readers towards her. She is loved by people around her, specially her father Annada Babu who trusts her blindly. Hemnalini has a soft corner for Ramesh, but it is very rare that she confesses this feeling openly.

Kamala is the second female protagonist of the novel. Unlike Hemnalini, she is not well educated. She is simple and has a childlike innocence that makes her the cynosure of the story. In fact, most of the narrative revolves around Kamala, her relations and her inner turmoils. Though she isn’t acquainted with the finer nuances of ways of the world, she has her own sense of practicality and wisdom that guides her through and helps her stay afloat in roaring tides.

Ramesh and Hemnalini share a mutual affection towards each other. They are all set to marry, when a cruel storm overturns their plan. Ramesh is kind, sensitive and affectionate. However, he can be blamed for indecisiveness and not staying firm to his resolutions. His sense of duty and responsibility urges him to accept Kamala as his wife, but his non-clarity of ideas get Kamala admitted to a school, so that she wouldn’t be near him. Both Hemnalini and Kamala are loyal to Ramesh till a certain point, but the cloud of confusion and self-doubt in Ramesh’s mind creats a maze for all, where the protagonists find themselves tangled.

We are introduced to Nalinaksha towards the latter half of the story. Gripped by a grief of his own, he has devoted his life to the services of people in Kashi. He is responsible, and is not afraid to speak his mind, even when his opinion differs from his mother whom he respects a lot. He balances his heart and mind, and takes his decisions only after proper considerations.

‘The Boat-Wreck’ reflects the chaos in the consciousness of the protagonists created by the turmoil of the tides. It lays bare open situations that no sane man would ever like to encounter. That is how life is, and the novel tries to depict one. However, coincidences and chance meetings often crop up in the story, which dilutes the mystery and creates a sense of predictability. That, though, doesn’t take anything away from the beauty of the plot, which grows on and on the readers, taking us to a mesmerizing ride, sometimes subtle and other times turbulent.


Title: The Boat-Wreck
Author: Rabindranath Tagore (Translated by Arunava Sinha)
Publisher: HarperPerennial
Publication Year: 2017
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Classics, Love
No. of Pages: 308
Price: Rs 299
My Rating: 3/5