Category Archives: Books

Book Blitz :: Storm From Taxila by Shreyas

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~ Book Blitz ~
Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave
15th to 17th August

About the Book:  

BHARATVARSHA, LAND OF THE ARYAS: 270 BC

Bindusar, the Samrat Chakravartin of all the Aryas, ruler of the Indian subcontinent, is dead. Chaos rules across the empire. The royal succession turns upon intrigue, dark coalitions, violence and death. The realm stands divided and civil war ensues.
In Vidishanagri: Asoka kills his brother’s Ashwamedha stallion and marches to Patliputra with his army. The ancient Brahminical order rises in his supports, awaiting his entry into the capital. Have they made the right choice?
In Taxila: The rightful heir, Sushem, raises an army to meet the challenge posed by his ambitious and gifted brother, Asoka. He prepares to march to the capital and seize the throne by force. Will history repeat itself; will Sushem achieve what his grandfather Chandragupta did 50 years ago?
In Junagarh: Guild Master Hardeo sets out on a private mission to acquire the great salt pans of Sindh. Will he succeed in his secret enterprise?
In Vidishanagri: Radhagupta travels to fulfill the task allotted to him by the Order. Kanakdatta, the Buddhist, stands up to stop him. Will Radhagupta fail in his mission?
The winds of war howl over the sub-continent, blowing every last person one way or the other. Blood will be spilled, secrets revealed and men ruined. History shall be made.
In Book II of the epic Asoka Trilogy, the storm approaches; the harbinger of death and destruction. When the dust finally settles, the great question will be answered: Who is the next Samrat of the holy Lands of the Aryas?


Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon




Read an Excerpt:

The cloaked man stood before them, his hands folded, his back straight, looking them in the eye.
Sushem studied the man from head to toe. He looked harmless enough. He was much too old to be a spy or assassin. “You desired a meeting,” he said. “Well, you have one. Now speak.”
“Allow me to say that I am honoured to meet the young lion in person,” the man said, bowing. “I once had the honour of meeting the lion himself, in a similar tent in this same place, fifty years ago.”
The words took some moments to register in Sushem’s mind. When they did, he froze. “You claim to have met my grandfather?” he asked, surprise showing on his face.
“Indeed, My Lord. I met him when he was laying siege to Patliputra, just like you.”
“What is your name?” Sushem asked, sitting down and resting his chin on his clasped palms. This was getting interesting.
“I am one Dasharath, and I represent the Ancient Brahminical Order.” “For what purpose did you meet my grandfather, all those years ago?”
“To help him take the city, My Lord.”
The words of the fable resounded in Sushem’s head: Like a bolt of lightning he came to liberate us. “No one knows how my grandfather captured the city. It remains a mystery.”
“Not known to the common people perhaps,” Dasharath acknowledged. “But I represent the Ancient Brahminical Order.”
Sushem rubbed his chin thoughtfully. The role of the Order in his grandfather’s victory over the Nandas had been well documented by bards and scholars over the years. “So how did you help him take the city?” he asked.
“It was simple.” A smile crept across the lined face. “Patliputra is invincible, but only above ground. Below it is an entirely different story.”
“Is there a hidden way into the city?”
“Aye, My Lord.” There is a tunnel that joins the infamous underground maze of the Patliputra prisons. It starts not too far from where we stand.” “And you say you took my grandfather through that tunnel?”
“I did. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Sushem glanced at the Senapati, who wore a dubious expression. Looking back at Dashrath, he asked, “Do you have any proof?”
Dasharath slipped a hand into his cloak and drew out a roll of cloth. He unrolled it slowly, letting it fall to the ground. A small shining circlet of gold remained in his hand.
“The ring…” Sushem said, recognizing it instantly. “It is my grandfather’s fabled ring. He wore it when he captured the city and till the day he died.”
“Do you think this is the true ring, My Lord?” the Senapati asked, inspecting it suspiciously.
Sushem stared at the ring for some time. Then he nodded. “It is,” he said. ‘There is no other like it.” He leaned forward, his grey eyes looking straight into Dasharath’s brown ones. “Why are you telling me all this; showing me this ring?” “The Order wishes to welcome you to the city as it once welcomed your grandfather. We wish to see you take the city and oust the Pretender, your brother, who sits on the throne just as the Nandas once did.”
Sushem took a deep breath. “This tunnel you speak of… can you tell us where it is?”
Dasharath smiled. “I cannot tell you, My Lord, but I can show you.”
About the Author:
Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing.
The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and garnered positive responses.
He is also presently working on several other manuscripts and completing the final year of his engineering Course.
Connect with the Author:

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Spotlight~ Blind, Certainly is Love by Reshma Ranjan

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BLIND, CERTAINLY IS LOVE
by
Reshma Ranjan



Blurb

Neha Jaiswal is beautiful and intelligent—an alluring combination—but chooses to be a recluse. What works for her is her intimidating personality that comes with her success. With no desire to get into a relationship, the strong, assertive, and hardworking Neha manages to keep the men at bay—all except one.

Sumit Conrad, a super successful businessman, is an intriguing specimen of a man. Known to the world as the good Conrad, Sumit is actually a recluse who prefers only his own company, to the exception of his brother John and sister-in-law Sarika.

When fate throws the flirt in Sumit and the furious Neha together, sparks are bound to fly.

Will Sumit be able to convince the headstrong and opinionated Neha that what he wants is a long haul and not a passing phase?

Or will the stubborn and cantankerous Neha be successful in driving him away?

Will their love make them blind to each other or to their own flaws? Will this blind love ever find its way?

Grab your copy @


About the author


Reshma Ranjan is a passionate romantic who loves literature and has been driven by the romance around her. She has made up her own happy endings in her imagination for every movie and for every book with a sad ending. 

“Slowly I started to create my own characters and situation, creating a world of romance and happy endings to my liking. But for my laziness, I would have penned umpteen numbers of stories with unexpected people meeting and falling in love and uniting for a lifetime.”  

Also a voracious reader but for which she believes she could never have started writing. “If I can bring a smile and a happy sigh on at least one reader’s lips I will feel a blessed writer.”
You can stalk her @
       
                  

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Book Review ~ Hounds of Shiva by Preetha Rajah Kannan

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TITLE: The Hounds of Shiva
AUTHOR: Preetha Rajah Kannan
PUBLISHER: Jaico Publishing House
ISBN: 9789387944114

BLURB

As its mahout goaded the mammoth royal elephant to the open space where Navukkarasu was held, the beast trumpeted in fury, knocking down walls and ornamental arches in wanton aggression. The earth shook under its tread and the crowd surged back in fear.

Navukkarasu fearlessly stood his ground asserting, “The Cosmic Dancer who wears a garment of elephant hide will protect me.”

The animal charged forward – only to stop short before the saint. In an instant, all aggression leached out of the beast. As docile as a lamb, the elephant circumambulated Navukkarasu, clumsily fell to its knees, and raised its trunk in homage to him. Lumbering to its feet, it then carefully backed away from its intended victim.

Hounds of Shiva is a treasure house of tales with impassioned, heroic acts of sacrifice, devotion and service in the lives and times of the Nayanmars – the sixty-three Shaivite saints who were exemplars of bhakti. Kannappa gouges out his eye to heal Shiva’s wound; Punitavati renounces her youth and beauty to follow the Lord as an emaciated ghoul; Siruthondar sacrifices his own son at Shiva’s command; Iyarpahai gifts his beloved wife to another man; Samandhar raises a boy from the dead; Poosal builds an intricate Shiva temple in his heart.

But the book’s hero is Lord Shiva, who assumes myriad disguises to sport with his devotees, blessing and testing them. Filled with astounding miracles, Hounds of Shiva is an untold tale of the Blue-throated Lord and a feast for the mind and soul.

MY TAKE

A journey into the lives of some of the greatest Shiva Bhakts, ‘The Hounds of Shiva’ is both interesting and enlightening. The stories 37 in all, introduce us to a bhakti of very high order in simple, crisp and lucid language. The glossary at the end of the book is a ready reckoner of sorts and makes the read easy to comprehend and appreciate.

Short and crisp, the stories move from that of one Nayanmar- Shaivite Saint – to another with ease. While each story gives us an insight into the level of love that that particular Saint has towards Lord Shiva and the extent the said person could go to, to keep his faith in the Lord intact, the penance and sacrifice he / she could undertake to attain salvation at the lotus feet of the Lord, it also enlightens us to the fact that the life of Saints is anything but easy and that nothing can be attained via shortcuts. The road to salvation is tricky and dangerous. It takes its toll in the form of renunciation or extreme suffering. So the life of the blessed one is not exactly something that mere mortals need be jealous of. They suffer; they strive and earn their reward after undertaking a journey arduous without a sigh, and undergoe untold miseries with a smile on the face and the ‘Om Namaha Shivaya’ mantra on the lips.

Though the blurb mentions Shiva as the book’s Hero, I personally felt that the Lord was just an instrument to define and extol the virtues of the Shaivite Saints and that it is they who are the true Heroes. Had it not been for their unwavering faith in the Lord, they would never have undergone the extreme trials and tribulations required of them, with a stoic attitude.

Another thing that struck me was the level of understanding each story brings out, between the family members of each of these Saints. It goes without saying that in a way these Saints were able to heed their calling and follow their heart without an iota of doubt or misgiving, because they had the unstinting support of their family be it their parents or spouse.

TAKEAWAY

Gems of knowledge in the form of snippets nestled in a box within each chapter. These gems can pertain to anything from the significance or history of a particular temple, a text, a special day or even a cult. They are truly ‘delectable’ (read knowledge enhancing).

VERDICT

An easy read, yet one that needs to be read without a hurry in order to imbibe the essence which is true bhakti.


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Spotlight~Morsel of Different Shades by R K Sanyal

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A MORSEL OF DIFFERENT SHADES
by
S.K. Sanyal



Blurb

Sumitra Ghosal came all the way from Bankura in West Bengal to join the education service in the recently formed Bundeli State. During the period from 1956 to 1990, spanning more than three decades, she got shunted around small towns and semi-rural areas. The book is woven around her experiences on women teachers lives. She found for some teachers, cruel circumstances charting out the unknown trajectory, while for the others, the evil streak already present manifested itself rather blatantly during their teaching careers.

Ranging from the weird to the quirky, scheming to whimsical, there were all kinds of women for Sumitra to experience and continuously learn from. Bearing a religious bent of mind, Sumitra, a spinster by choice, didn’t fail to take cognizance of the bizarre instances of marital co-existences in the couples she met throught the story.


Read an excerpt

Sumitra Ghosal had stepped into the thirties. Young and hopeful, bubbling over with the excitement of yet another transfer, she arrived at Domod, a district town. The three successive postings at Putlinagar, Bajera and Sagar in the sprawling Uttar Madhya Desh (UMD) had done little to exhaust her. UMD had its capital at Lakshminagar. As distinct from other States, it had predominantly Government schools, private schools not many in number. This State was created according to the prevailing trend of creating smaller states out of larger ones. Rashtriya Daridrya Mochan Party (RDMP) was in power, their manifesto focusing on widespread measures for promoting education for women in remote corners. Sumitra, though, found the efforts not coming entirely from the depths of a sincerely dedicated state. It seemed to be RDMP’s propagandist move to gain more votes.
Sumitra found travelling in ramshackle buses and waiting at railway platforms for the few trains available at odd hours, quite an ordeal. Hers was the fate to move around insignificant remote corners in the heartland of India, where commuting was not easy; semi-rural people formed the stock of commuters. Sumitra, however, didn’t rue her fate; she enjoyed, for she was an optimist drawn by the hidden charm of the unknown places. And what a taste of independence in not marrying – she wasn’t anybody’s property. Her decisions were squarely her own. She had her own conduct or the way to what people say, religiosity; none could teach her the way to realise God. If, as a woman, she worshipped the deity of Hanumanji, let people laugh at her fasting or bratas on Tuesdays and Saturdays. That she got the strength of character by observing the rituals of her making was what mattered. That she wrote with her fingers, without making any impression, the names of Gods and Goddesses on her pillow before sleeping was her unique way to ward off any trouble.
She had a personality built up over long years of getting over the inferiority complex she had developed in her formative years. Neglected and over-ruled, she wasn’t permitted to go for higher education, as her parents wanted their nubile daughter to be tied in a nuptial knot. But Sumitra went on rejecting proposals one after the other until her parents got tired. She was finally allowed to go for higher education. She had a late start, but this belated take-off made her even more determined to be independent, even to take a curious, brave and adventurous decision to take up lectureship in the newly created state of UMD when her native place was in Santhal Parganas in the east.
The fourth and the youngest daughter of a businessman, she had had occasions to go to shikar and witness ruthless killings of sambars, tigers and other small animals or birds. In those times, there was no ban on shikaris engaged in indiscriminate decimating of wild animals. One day, she was seated in the jeep with her legs on the warm and still throbbing body of a fallen sambar. Touched, she took a vow not to have meat ever again. Thus, she was the only vegetarian amongst her non-vegetarian sisters. Alas, she had no brother, and that is why she equated the male visitors of her generation to her parental house as brothers and bestowed them with sisterly affection.

***

It was the month of April when nature attired herself in a new garb with little smooth green leaves sprouting on some trees, while the others had not yet shed completely their brownish yellow leaves. A mixture of dusty yellow fallen lifeless leaves under the massive trees and the seasonal flowers past their full bloom presented a spectacle of life and death. One had to step over the crispy fragile remains of what once was a prized greenery to get near the rows of pansies, zinnias, lilies and other flowers to see the minute tapestry of the multicoloured spectacle amidst the crackling dead leaves. The winter’s ruthlessness had made way for the pleasant breeze, dusty at times, that replaced the cold winds of February. It was a pleasant, beautiful, sombre and placid morning in a strange land when Sumitra joined the school at Domod as a lecturer. It could have been the month of July with blackish-grey clouds suppressing the bright onset of the dawn or the torrential rains drenching her on her first day of school; it could have been the month of December with its biting cold necessitating the full stock of woollen clothes. Nevertheless, out of all the random eccentricities of the transferring authority, she was slated to join the school during the best period of the year, and it sure augured well. A placid look came over her face when she saw the red cap over a green body, the gulmohar, topping the fresh green leaves of the massive tree at the end of the road leading to the school. The April bliss.
She got the first shock when she found the distance cut short abruptly. The school happened to be in full view, even as she was jostling through the crowd, manoeuvring the sharp cuts and turns of the street; an expectation of an ideal location of the school belied. Why this proximity? A school in a bazaar? How nauseating and depressing?

Grab your copy @


About the author

A member of the Indian Statistical Service, S.K. Sanyal retired as Director, Central Statistical Organisation, Delhi, after having served as a statistician at Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and as a Professor of Statistics at All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata.

After retirement,he served from time to time as a consultant with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Delhi. As a UNDP consultant, he had short-term assignments at UN Statistical Office at New York, Malawi University, Malawi, and Central Statistics Office, Sierra Leone. Prior to those, as a sampling expert, he delivered lectures on Sampling at Fiji and Nepal on behalf of Statistical Institute for Asia and Pacific, Tokyo, and ESCAP, Bangkok. At NIPFP, he was deputed for poverty studies at Sikkim on behalf of the Asian Development Bank.

Besides numerous technical papers and articles, he has also published a novel, ‘Shifting Silhouettes’, and a real-life story, ‘Memories Unlimited’. He resides in New Delhi.

You can stalk him @    
                  

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Children’s Book Review: The Globetrotters

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TITLE: The Globetrotters
AUTHOR: Arefa Tehsin
ILLUSTRATOR: Nafisa Nandini Crishna
PUBLISHER: Puffin (27 June 2018)
TARGET GROUP: 9-11 years
FORMAT: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0143441960

A bully needs a prey to satisfy his ego, but what happens if the bully himself falls prey to his own doings. Well, the story of Hudhud a mean and nasty little boy, imparts some truly meaningful lessons not only in terms of empathy and love, but also regarding different living forms that are very much a part of Planet Earth.

Children are prone to playing pranks. So what’s wrong with Hudhud? Harmless pranks are a big ‘no’ as far as Hudhud is concerned. The headache of his classmates, teachers and innocent creatures too, Hudhud learns some eye-opening lessons ‘the hard way’ when his strange new history teacher visits him on the night Sameer his classmate and a victim of his insensitivity, goes missing. Cursed and left alone to fend for himself Hudhud must find answers to all wrongs and for that he must roam the vast earth in the form of some of the greatest migratory beings.

Setting out as a blue whale calf separated from his mother in the deep ocean; as a trusting caterpillar who befriends a hunting spider; as a competitive caribou on a perilous trek; as an Arctic tern too scared to fly . . . But fly across the world he must, if he hopes to ever return home, Hudhud’s surreal journey takes him across the globe where he encounters some truly majestic species, comes face to face with danger and death, learns to differentiate between friend and foe and understands the meaning of empathy and love.

Interesting and engaging, The Globetrotters is a remarkable tribute to those innumerable species that inhabit the sky, land and waters of earth. What stands out as one moves from story to story in this vast amount of information that’s packed in just 197 pages which also see some wonderful illustrations put in. This speaks volumes of the author’s knowledge and language skills.

Reading the book is like going on a safari where one comes face to face with the marvels of the oceans, the desert and the poles. Each story imparts a life lesson and at the same time helps the young reader understand the characters (life form) involved in the same, their habitat, mannerisms, food habits, etc. The imagery takes us on the arduous trek/ travel undertaken by them (mainly the mighty migratory creatures) and gives us an insight into their stamina and determination.

What does the adult reader take away from the book?

The joy of reliving childhood years!

The book offers the adult reader a trip down memory lane, a revisit to those classroom sessions made enjoyable and lovely with some lively role plays, amazing textbooks and equally amazing teachers who even without the internet or all the tech- tools available today, made learning a wonderful experience. One also has the advantage of carrying away bits of information that may have not been available in those days.

The language is crisp and lucid. The illustrations compliment the content and the style of writing is amazing. Each story is testimony to the fact that the author Arefa Tehsin, is truly a globetrotter and a wonderful story-teller. ‘The Globetrotters’ also voices the author’s concern regarding the steady deterioration of the health of land, water and air on Planet Earth.

The icing on the cake (read ‘story’)

The twist at the end. Loved it.

VERDICT

A book for both the young and old alike, with the power to make you sit upright.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in II flipkartAUTHOR

AREFA TEHSIN

Visit Arefa’s author profile @ Goodreads to get an insight into the person, author, traveler in her.

Other Books by the Author



Book Blitz ~ Bombay Heights by Adite Banerjie

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Bombay Heights

by


Blurb

Small town girl Sanjana Kale wants a fresh start in Mumbai. A challenging job and some much needed distance from her ludicrously over-protective family could get her life under control.

Forced to team up with video game designer Ashwin Deo, who is too attractive for his own good, she finds life becoming a whole lot more complicated when he turns out to be her new neighbour. How can she maintain a professional distance with this charming troublemaker who believes in getting up close and personal?

To make matters worse, her ex tries to manipulate her loved ones to work his way back into her life. Hysterical siblings, a cantankerous client, an ex who will not take no for an answer, and a blow hot blow cold neighbour… Sanjana is sleepless in the City of Dreams! Can she do what Ashwin dares her to–create a few ripples even if it upsets her family?



Adite Banerjie is a published author and screenwriter.

Adite Banerjie discovered the wonderful world of books at an early age which sparked her interest in writing. After a fulfilling and exciting career as a business journalist she turned her attention to fiction.

Three of her books have been published by Harlequin/Harper Collins India. She is now committed to being an indie author.

She also writes screenplays and in 2017 one of her scripts made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowships.

When she is not grappling with her current work-in-progress, she enjoys spending time with her husband and watching back-to-back movies.

She loves to connect with her readers and writers. .

Are you ready???

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Book Review ~Sitanshu (Guardians of the Blue Lotus -2) by Anita Shirodkar

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THE BOOK
 


 
 
BLURB
 

As the divine Blue Lotus Indivara sprouts an ominous red petal, its guardians must do everything in their power to protect it and their kingdom. Aryavir and Sitanshu march to the border of Kalipura for a bloody showdown with the Chandraketu King Divyendu. It seems as if the Kamal Akshi Army with its peerless long-haired Kesakuta warriors cannot lose a war, but the wily enemies of Kamalkund have diabolical plans that are not written in any rule book. Thanks to the evil machinations of the Mayakari Queen Tamasi and wily King Kratu, Aryavir and Sitanshu are facing the battle of their lives.

With hidden ancient secrets that are known only to the revered Maheshwari Masters, the mythological Old World is about to be plunged into intrigue and danger its denizens could never have imagined. Powerful kings face mortality, relationships are tested to their breaking point and the Great War of Sompur will bring completely unexpected repercussions.

Written with the classic Indian ethos, Sitanshu, the second part of the Guardians of the Blue Lotus Trilogy, pays homage to India’s magnificent mythological heritage and takes the reader on a journey into the heart of human passions.
 
 

MY TAKE
 

Mesmerizing cover design and an interesting blurb combined with a wonderful prequel that goes by the title ‘Áryavir,’ beckons the mythological fiction buff to pick up ‘Sitanshu’ and I must admit that this one is a notch up compared to its prequel.

Picking up from where Áryavir’ ( Read my review of the book here) ends, ‘Sitanshu’ takes the reader on a ride far different from its prequel. Interesting and captivating there is a lot of action, there are intriguing paranormal sightings and a one of its kind encounter with the mythological Maheshwari Masters. Palace intrigues combined with startling revelations test relationships. Greed gets the better of good sense and love blossoms in unexpected quarters. Amidst all the action we get to know some interesting characters, see the birth of a new star and witness a positive change in equations as far as relationships are concerned. Little Eashwari with her intuitive powers puzzles all who come into contact with her and plays a pivotal role in taking the story forward. As one moves forward along a path ( read) full of twists and turns, one can’t but help admire the author’s skill at keeping her reader/s hooked. Relationships fail, new ones are built. Secrets are revealed, characters as well as readers are taken by surprise. The brave survive, deceit takes a beating. The foundation stone for a new and final part of the trilogy is laid.

The characters, again a huge cast, are well developed. One can actually visualize them and perhaps even live them out as one encounters them. There are some like little Easwari, Eshan and Lakshya who bring a smile to your face, and then others like Tamasi, Kratu, Divyendu, Drisana and Nyka who by their thoughts and actions leave you gritting your teeth. There are people like Queen Mother Chandrabha and Urmasi who leave you confused and wondering and then there are people like Sitanshu and Reva whom you can understand without going too deep into their mind. In short this is one story where you get a glimpse of all shades of human character and all types of human emotions.

Pace is racy, language is simple, crisp and lucid and the style is apt.
 
 

VERDICT

A book that’s sure to keep the reader hooked and guessing.


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Authored by Anita Shirodkar and published by AuthorsUpFront the book is available @ amazon.in

Matsya- The First Avatar by Sundari Venkatraman : An Excerpt

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DASHAVATAR

MATSYA: The First Avatar


by

Sundari Venkatraman


Blurb

Lord Brahma is highly disturbed when the four vedas are stolen from him the moment he goes to sleep at the end of the kalpa. It’s Asura Hayagriva who’s gotten away with the sacred scriptures.

Lord Vishnu offers to go to the creator’s rescue and takes the guise of Matsya, the fish.

King Satyavrath lands up with a tiny gold fish when he’s offering prayers to the Sun God one morning. Is the fish all that it appears to be?

How can Satyavrath help the fish?

Read more to find out the reason for Lord Vishnu taking the avatar on earth as Matsya.

*This is a straightforward story of the first avatar of Mahavishnu, retold in simple English just the way it’s written over the ages. The target audience is the youngsters, children, who don’t know all that much about Indian mythology. It’s also for those parents who are keen to read aloud stories to their children and are looking for suitable books on mythology.

 
 

A sneak peak into the book

A sample to give you a taste of the story and the author’s style of writing
 
 

At the time that we begin the story of Matsya, one kalpa was coming to an end and by now, the tired Brahma was yawning away as his day was finishing too. The lord with four heads, all with long white beards, golden crowns perched on snowy white hair, each facing in a different direction, was finding it difficult to keep his eyes open. He turned to look at his consort Saraswati and wasn’t really surprised to see that she had kept her veena aside and had slid into a deep sleep as she lay on the soft back of her swan which was also snoring away softly.

From his residence at Brahmaloka, he turned his attention towards Devaloka—on another sphere altogether—where the devas lived and was greeted by total silence. The space around him had become dark. Maybe it was time for him to go to sleep too. The exhausted Brahma, despite his ability to see in all directions, didn’t notice the Asura Hayagriva who was eyeing him from far away Earth.

Hayagriva, the asura with the head of a horse and the body of a man, was built like a small mountain. He was over twenty-five feet tall, with wide and well-muscled shoulders, his arms and legs strong and muscular, even more so than a horse’s. With his thick, dark mane swaying in the gentle breeze, Hayagriva stood there, his arms akimbo, avidly watching the creator, hoping to get something out of Brahma when the latter was in the throes of deep sleep.

The brilliant blue sky was greying by the minute as twilight was taking over rapidly around Brahma’s abode that was positioned way above the Earth, while Hayagriva was standing close to where we have the north pole today, keeping an eye on the creator with the help of his mystical powers. Yes, the asuras who were evil, also had powers of mysticism, same as the devas. The only difference was that they were mortal unlike the immortal Demi-Gods.

Hayagriva’s waiting didn’t go waste. As gentle snores emanated from Brahma, out jumped the four Vedas from his nostrils. It was not as if they all slid out at one go. But then, Hayagriva was patient. He had waited for this moment since a couple of thousand years. First came the Rig Veda. Hayagriva pounced on it with agility and swallowed it up whole, confident that no one could prise it from him now that it was sitting tight in his abdomen.

By now, Brahma was snoring a bit louder and quite rhythmically too. A few human years passed before the Yajur Veda slid out noiselessly. Hayagriva was wide awake unlike the creator and smiled broadly as he stood right below to catch the second Veda in both his hands. It took him but a few seconds to send it down his throat to settle down next to the first Veda.

Two more years went by before Sama Veda fell down with a thud. Yes, by now, even Hayagriva had fallen sleep. But the whirring sound of the Veda falling down through the air just before it touched the Earth woke him up. He galloped across on all fours and picked up the Veda from where it was lying on the Earth’s surface to swallow it up whole, almost choking on it as his throat was all dried up due to the deep sleep that he had woken up from. He quickly turned around and dipped his mouth into the sea, gulping down a few litres of water before the third Veda wound its way into his stomach. The sea close to that area contained fresh water due the melting of the icebergs and hence helped quench the asura’s thirst only too well.

The completely refreshed Hayagriva was grinning by now. There was just one more Veda that he needed to collect before he could take off. Then would follow what could only be called unadulterated entertainment! Let the Trimurti try to resurrect the next kalpa without the Vedas that were the very basis of orderly life for human beings. Hayagriva couldn’t wait to share his success with the other rakshasas. They would all be so happy with what he had done and will definitely make him their lord and master.

Just then he remembered all those apsaras in the court of Lord Indra. Hayagriva laughed softly, careful not to wake up the sleeping creator, too excited at the thought of having the heavenly beauties for his playmates. What a life!

He didn’t have to wait very long before the last one, Atharvana Veda, slid out of Brahma’s nostril. The alert Hayagriva caught it with alacrity, his laughter loud and triumphant now, not really caring if he woke the sleeping Brahma. Pushing the fourth Veda into his mouth, Hayagriva took to the air, flying far away from there, hoping to find a hiding place for the next thousand years. He knew that it wouldn’t be long before one of the Holy Trinity would come chasing after him to retrieve the Vedas. The chances were high that it would be Lord Vishnu since he was the one who helped preserve everything in the universe.

Hayagriva flew around the Earth a few times before deciding that the oceans were the place that would keep him safe and out of sight. Being a mayavi with fantastic magical powers that most of the rakshasas were endowed with, Hayagriva could breathe in water. There was no dearth of food either since the seas teemed with creatures both big and small. He tilted on his head and took a dive when he came across the biggest body of water that he could see from the air—the area that is known as the Pacific Ocean nowadays—and went deep within before he touched bottom.


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About the author



Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 16 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 

Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 

Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

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Book Review: MATSYA: The First Avatar (DASHAVATAR Book 1)

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TITLE: MATSYA: The First Avatar (DASHAVATAR Book 1)
AUTHOR: Sundari Venkataraman
PUBLISHER: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
GENRE: Mythological Fiction (Children’s Literature)
ASIN: B07BDN1Q87
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
 
 

 
 

BLURB
 

Lord Brahma is highly disturbed when the four vedas are stolen from him the moment he goes to sleep at the end of the kalpa. It’s Asura Hayagriva who’s gotten away with the sacred scriptures.

Lord Vishnu offers to go to the creator’s rescue and takes the guise of Matsya, the fish.

King Satyavrath lands up with a tiny gold fish when he’s offering prayers to the Sun God one morning. Is the fish all that it appears to be?

How can Satyavrath help the fish?

Read more to find out the reason for Lord Vishnu taking the avatar on earth as Matsya.
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

Retold in simple, crisp language, this one on the first avatar of Mahavishnu, has all the elements required to make a read enjoyable, engaging and informative. Apart from putting across the reason for the birth of the Matsyavtar, the book also delves into the intricacies associated with the various yugas, the cycle of birth; apocalypse and extinction of life on earth every thousands of years and the emergence of a new dawn. It offers hope of destruction of evil forces and sends out a strong message that eventually good prevails.

The pace is perfect and the style does justice to the story. I loved the way the author has portrayed the growth of a small fish into one of monstrous proportion, and the final revelation of its true form towards the end. It’s sure to awe and garner interest among the little ones. And before I give my verdict I must add that the opening scene of Brahma being dead tired and yearning for a ‘short’ nap as well as Asura Hayagriva waiting to pounce on that unknown something that could possibly fall off from Devaloka ( Read ‘Brahma’) made me truly curious. I could not but help live Hayagriva’s anxiety. The Author does have a way of riveting you to your seat till you finish her book.

This one though a short read of just 38 pages, speaks volumes of the research that has gone into its creation.

 
 
VERDICT
 
 
A riveting one narrating a mythological story in a language and style that’s sure to hook readers both young and old alike, I’m giving this one a 👌 5.
 
 


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BOOK REVIEW: TRUST ME NOT

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TITLE: Trust Me Not
AUTHOR: Ankita Verma Datta
PUBLISHER: Jaico Publishing House
GENRE: Fiction ( Socio-Political Thriller)
ISBN: 9789386348944)
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 

 
 
BLURB
 
 
Rising corporate star Reeva Rai is offered a prestigious position in a top-notch PR agency. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. But working with Enigmatic Billionaire Kunaal Kabi was not going to be easy. Even as she develops feelings for him, she is determined to prove herself.

But when an activist friend turns to her for help with a real-estate scam, Reeva has to make a high-stakes choice. Can she retain the credibility of her prominent clients while helping hundreds save their homes? As she digs deeper to find solutions, a nefarious scheme unravels with unexpected connections. A no-holds-barred race ensues, blood is drawn and Reeva is trapped in the eye of a political thunderstorm. If she succeeds, powerful people will have much to answer.
 
 
MY TAKE
 
 
Intricate, engaging and cleverly crafted, ‘Trust Me Not’ has the power to keep the reader guessing till the end. Though a Socio- Political piece of fiction, the book does throw up a few relevant questions and nudges the reader to think. It brings out the grey side of the human character well, and at the same time gives us a hint of a blooming romance, one that is not smooth as a fresh jar of skippy. Sinister plans, shady deals and their execution are narrated with a finesse that makes one look forward to see the resultant impact with the eagerness of a kid curious to know whether the radio hides within its cabinet people whose voices are heard on tuning a station.

The twists, the turns and the climax lay bare the battles, the intricacies, and the agenda of the triumvirate made up of the political, the corporate and the media world. The complexities of relationships built and those ruined are brought out well.

The author has done a fine job as far as characterization is concerned. All the characters right from the protagonist to those that make just a passing appearance in the story, are well developed helping the reader easily relate to them, their style, mannerisms and thought process. This in turn translates to a feeling akin to direct involvement in the story, which I believe is essential for the same to be a resounding success.

Language plays an instrumental role in the success of a narrative. It is that conveyance which reaches a story/ plot to its destination the reader. If the conveyance sputters, it is bound to fail before it reaches the destination, even if it does reach, it will have offended/ put off its occupants by the harrowing experience. But, I’m glad the conveyance here was well-oiled, smooth and comfortable, offering a joyous ride (read).

The pace gave no room for the escape of a yawn, or the wish to stretch and shriek. It was perfect.

So what is that one thing/ things if any, that did not work for me?

Answer – A love triangle.

I felt it could be done away with. It was like that sixth finger that serves no purpose yet sticks out as odd.
 
 
VERDICT
 
 
A truly enjoyable read, one that’s sure to keep the reader hooked from the first word till the very end.
 
 


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I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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