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20320779It’s not easy to tell a story, an epic one, to readers. Because you already are aware of the fact that the plot is somewhat known to your readers and that maintaining all the authenticity you have to serve it in a quaint manner, makes the task all the more cumbersome for the author. Shubha Vilas has retold the story of one of the revered literary masterpieces of India, the epic, Ramayana, for modern readers with great finesse.

 Rise of the Sun Prince  by Vilas is primarily based on Rishi Valmiki’s Ramayana  ,though the author also has gathered his inspiration from the Tamil Ramavataram or Kamba Ramayana. This book is the very first of  the series of six books, Ramayana : The Game Of Life, which the author is intended to write to encompass the whole of the Ramayana. To my opinion this is a wise decision on his part for it’s not possible to frame the whole of the epic in one or two books and that would only put volume to the book and pressure to the readers. ( original Ramayana has seven ‘kandas’ or parts ). The first part, known as the Bala Kanda is the basis of the narration of the Rise Of the Sun prince.

Epics like The Ramayana and The Mahabharata, are not only books. They are deep philosophy and wisdom cocooned in the narration of royal dynasties. So it becomes the crux when Vilas describes this book as ” a way of life “. The story covers the birth of Lord Rama to his marriage. But it has not only focussed on the childhood and puberty of Rama, it portrays several mythological characters, of sages, demigods, demons and gandharbas who have, in some way or another, touched his life.

The striking feature of the book which appealed me most is that by ” Bala Kanda “ most of the versions of Ramayana refers to the childhood of Lord Rama and his brothers. Vilas has thrown a different light on it. He has made Rishi ( sage) Vishwamitra the hero of this book. Why him ?

The answer lies in Vishwamitra’s journey of devotion or bhakti toward Lord Rama – from childhood and naivete to adulthood and maturity. “

Vishwamitra, though a great sage, was still to comprehend the true meaning of devotion. It’s through his close association with Lord Rama, who he knew to be one of the incarnations of Vishnu, he attained that maturity to understand the true process of bhakti.

It thus becomes Vishwamitra’s story too, as Rishi Satananda narrates Vishwamitra’s life to Rama and Laxmana during their stay in Mithila. Vilas also has strung several pearls to the garland by adding popular mythological stories, folk-lore and anecdotes. The story of Ahalya and her seduction by  Indra, story of Maharshi Bhrigu and his wife, Khyati to that of the ancestral trails of Ravana and his siblings, all have been described in a simple and precise manner.

The foot-notes given by the author on almost all pages provide a great insight on each and every action of the characters. The book is thus, not a penetrating and meditative study of The Ramayana, it’s the epic re-told in a candid way with some occasional introspection, tailor-made for modern readers.

I like the multi-coloured, gorgeous cover of the book depicting the scene where Rama and his brother Lakshmana are fighting against the demons to save the sacrificial rituals of Rishi Vishwamitra and his disciples.

The only thing which left me unsatisfied is that there are certain incidents which simply have been described as celestial happenings or heavenly phenomena. A logical and modern mind demands some explanations for those happenings. And as myriad of symbolism have been used in the original epic, it would have really been appreciable on the part of the readers.

As a passionate reader of our great epics, I enjoyed the book and recommend it for all; though I think only readers who are interested in this genre of writing, will be able to appreciate it most.

From my side it’s 3.5/5

About The Author

7705105A spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker.
Academics: 1] B.E in Electronics and Telecommunications
2] L.L.B Specializing in Intellectual Property Law : Patent Law.

Leadership Seminars: Focus on relevant and vital themes: ‘Secrets of Lasting Relationships’, ‘Soul Curry to Stop Worry’ and ‘Work–Life Balance’
Believes: A good teacher sees learning and teaching as integral twin aspects of personal and spiritual growth.
Social interaction:
A} Youth: Periodically interact with them in premier institutes like IISC, Bangalore, BITS Pilani, Goa, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Sydnem College. he aims to inspire them to live a life based on deeper human values.
B} Children: Guide towards teaching foundational values through masterful storytelling.
C} Individuals: Practical applications of the Bhagavad Gita; the Ramayana and Vedas in today’s world.
D} Business leaders: as their lifestyle coach, conducting regular classes on Spirituality and Management to help them live a wholesome life.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!



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Deserted !

Deserted !


Fair Is Beautiful ?

Last week as I was busy taking advantage of the “Independence Day Super Discount Dhamaka” at one of the most reputed chain grocery stores of the city, a high-pitched voice suddenly attracted my attention. I was not eavesdropping, actually there was no need for that as every syllable was clearly audible even from a distance. An elderly lady was arguing with another, ” are you  crazy to pick this bright yellow kurti for Jhumpa ? She would look horrible in this ! kalo meyer jinis kinte gele bhebe-chinte kinte hoy ” ( you’ve to think ten times before buying anything for a dark-complexioned girl )

From their outer appearance it was evident that both of them belonged to the upper crust of the society, people who claimed themselves as educated and enlightened. But did education help them to change their mind-set that complexion has nothing to do with beauty ? I’m afraid to say ” NO ” and neither it would for this concept is genetically rooted in us. We like to believe that with fair skin-tone, beauty and desirability of a person (especially girl) come naturally. Lighter complexion denotes the Hallmark Gold standard for feminine beauty. Not only beauty, it also stands for more wisdom, mental strength and social acceptance.

Finding the above statement as an exaggeration ? Well, have you watched the fair & lovely commercial where a dark-skinned girl is pestered by her father to get married to a well-settled groom ? As the girl is dark, so she fails to take any decision and expresses her dilemma to her friend, who is fair & lovely and so obviously is wiser. She advises her friend to use that particular fairness cream….. she uses it….gains her confidence and retorts  her father that she is not going to get married now. Wow !! wisdom and confidence and ability all squeezed up into a small tube along with fairness !!  I’m loving it.

And again, not only this advertisement, but many others, in some way or another is promoting this colour discrimination. Socio-economic disparities resulting from colourism can be equally worse to that of racism, if not more.

The question that haunts me is, what’s the reason behind this colour bias ? Why we bluntly attribute beauty with fair skin ? Perhaps two hundred years of British rule has instilled in us this unnecessary reverence for white skin. We still associate fair-skin with power, prudence and beauty. That’s why  matrimonial classifieds always have two recurring words, ” fair and beautiful”, one complementing the other.

The film industry is not lagging behind too. From 70’s ” gori tera gaon bada pyara ” to todays ” gori tere pyaar mein ” (2013) Bollywood is head over heels with the word  gori  making the obsession of ‘white is beautiful’ stronger.

It’s time to raise the voice against colour discrimination, it’s time to understand that beauty has nothing to do with skin colour. It lies within you, it lies in the way you carry yourself, with your qualities and virtues. It’s also time that dark-skinned girls should show the chutzpah to stand and speak against this ‘colour struck’ .

You can watch this short documentary by Dia Das to get a glimpse of the actual scenario and how deep-rooted this obsession is. Do share your opinion on this issue. A fair and healthy discussion is very much encouraged.

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Here Lies Love eBookSomehow, whenever writers opted to pen about the future earth, they love to make it an Utopian land. A place technologically far ahead of our times, people have anything and everything for their physical comfort, the political turmoil has gone southward giving rise to peace everywhere and there is no scarcity at least for food,cloth and shelter. There are Dystopian exceptions and  Here Lies Love  falls in that genre.

Set in the backdrop of an unnamed time in future, when the world is rotting in the absence of sun, Here Lies Love by Dan Thompson is  a dark pursuit in the life of a teenage girl, Abbey. Sold by her father to a dying psychopath, she discovers that life could be more hellish than the most grotesque nightmare. The monstrous man, Stefan, gets sadistic pleasures by brutally torturing young girls, captivates them in cages like animals and treats them as his ‘commodity’ which he buys in lieu of some tokens. An intransigent Abbey refuses to succumb to her fate and uses all her strength to fight back. Stefan brutally ruptures Abbey’s virginity but fails to make her a pet.

All Abbey wants is freedom…..freedom from that demonic clasps of Stefan. And she wants revenge , on Stefan and on her own father. Will she be ever able to forget the nightmarish experiences of her life ? Or whether her most coveted freedom will make her even more fragile and vulnerable to the cruelty of the outside world ?

Dan is naturally skilled to raise the suspense and thrill. While reading the book, it was hard for me to keep patience to reach to the end. The detailed visual descriptions and imagery have made the narration all the more captivating. I was totally hooked by phrases like ” metallic taste of blood ” or the way he has described hope as “ …a funny thing. An intangible prospect of pure goodness just around the corner “. Language has been used according to the characters and circumstances. Colloquials and grammar-less form of English for Tristan and Ryan have been aptly used to make the characters realistic. I liked the author’s playful use of language.

The character of the protagonist, Abbey, has been portrayed vividly and with care, though the author has taken much pain to build every single character in the novel. As I’ve already mentioned, detailing is a treasure for this book if you can keep patience.
At the end, you are likely to love Abbey, for her indomitable spirit to fight against all odds in spite of the tenderness and understanding which she naturally bears.

The graphic description has its drawback too. It has the ability to make you shudder if you’re not so accustomed with hardcore dystopian novels or if you’ve a frail heart. It was perfect for me though.

I enjoyed reading the book but as it has a dark theme, I’ll recommend it for mature readers only.

From my side it’s 4/5

About The Author

Author Pic 2Dan lives in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (England) with his young daughter and his shabby dog, Skye.He is the Author of the charity poetry book Life is all but a vast array of Colours and phobia Novella The Caseworker’s Memoirs. His first full length novel, A YA Fantasy entitled The Black Petal will be available soon. Here Lies Love is his first foray into the NA and Dystopian genres.

A lover of YA and fantasy fiction, you can often find him writing on his blog, writing book reviews and connecting online with other writer-type people and interviewing authors. Dan grew up reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, secretly coming up with his own inventive adventures, and R.L Stine’s The Goosebump series, before turning to the works of Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer and Marcus Sedgwick and slipping away into alternate realities. He also loves a good Historical Thriller too. Deborah Harkness, Danielle Trussoni and Dianne Gray are some of his favourite authors who write for adults.

Connect With The Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Book Links

Amazon UK ( Kindle edition) | Amazon US ( Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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#DellVenue 7, the tab from Dell which undoubtedly has made blogging a completely different experience for me needs some more applause from my side. I’m completely in love with my #DellVenue and so have already written about the general features and technical properties of the tab in this post and have discussed about most popular games that can be played  coherently on the tab and its camera features here in this one. As I’ve mentioned before, the tab is one of the best in its price range and can be a real source of entertainment as well as useful.

I usually type posts for my blog whenever I can coax out some time from my busy schedule or at ungodly hours of night. Before the arrival of this tab in my life, I had to wait at least three minutes for my laptop to spring into life and another two minutes to get connected with the internet. Now just some quick strokes of fingers and lo, it’s time to type. Moreover, it looks weird if I carry my laptop while going for an early morning stroll in the nearby park. The #DellVenue has solved this problem too. Now I can scribble down a few lines while loitering around in the park or in the office garden.( yes, my muse inspired me at all odd places, even while waiting impatiently inside a cab for the signal to turn green).

Last Sunday, during a brisk morning-walk session, I took this photograph of the Gulmohar tree which stands just outside the park. It always feels good to be amidst Nature, even with photographs.

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Last week all the Indians enjoyed an extended weekend for our Independence Day, the 15th of August, was Friday. We decided to take a short break to rejuvenate us and arranged a short trip to a sea-side. These are some moments when we got captivated among the waves of traffic on our way to Howrah Station…..all captured by my Venue 7 . Let me know how these pictures look.

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The cab-driver threw a quizzical look at me as I was actually typing a post for my blog ! But one can’t help but to answer her/his muse while having a device like this tab. Easy to use, lightweight ( 317 gms only ! ) and a battery life that lasts even if you use continuously for 6/7 hours. That is the most convenient criteria for me as I love listening  music or playing games while travelling. The number of downloaded songs has already touched FIVE hundred…and many more are waiting to be added to the list.

Blogging is thus an all-new experience for me with #DellVenue 7. Being a passionate blogger, what more could I want ?  Blog wherever and whenever you wish and no more delving your brain afterwards to remember that nice line which you framed for your newest poem while looking outside the office window. Life is beautiful with such  small happiness. Thanks #DellVenue, direct #DellSe.

You can visit Dell’s Facebook page to know more or can connect with them on Twitter.

Thursday Challenge : Water

This week’s theme for Thursday Challenge is ‘WATER’ , the element without which our planet would have been failed to thrive and survive.

The Deltaic Region of River Ganga ( Ganges) , View From A Fishing Boat
The Deltaic Region of River Ganga ( Ganges) , View From A Fishing Boat
The ” Elephant Lake ” Near Zuluk, Sikkim
The Unruffled Reflection @Tsongmo (Changu) Lake , Sikkim
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View Of The Arabian Sea From Mandwa Port , Maharashtra

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