It has been a while that I lay my hands on something which matches my mindset. To tell the truth, I have been brought up in a very orthodox brahmin household where God was everything. We literally grew up thinking that HE is our family member. For me it was not very clear till recently, but my sister was and is a staunch devotee of lord Vishnu. I wasn’t the bhakta of a type, but I used to read a lot and interpret books related to mythology my way. Ranjan and His Many Lives was a sort of an eye opener.
Ranjan and his many lives brought back my childhood and in a way adulthood too. Ranjan’s contemplation with god (or his own self) are something we go through everyday at every point in life. His understanding of Bharathi’s songs and mythological stories (especially Mahabharata and thus Geeta) is impeccable. Understanding is not enough sometimes; it is also important to pen it down for others to know. When they say Geeta, Bible or Quran, people step back and think before they could decode it. Prakash Balasubramanian has done his best while decoding many stories and instances in Mahabharata. His perception about different stories gives you a better outlook of the contemporary world.
Ranjan’s Contemplation and the ability to relate it to different situations in Mahabharata and other stories in Indian Mythology is a unique way to connect the ethos of ancient society to the modern world. As we go back with him, we also see that those values are still applicable at every step of our lives.
A well to do family and a poor but upcoming family is neatly portrayed by the author. Being in Chennai from the last 10 years I could see all the scenes as they were narrated in front of my eyes. Amma and Appa, Tara, her kids, Lekha, Kanagamma all of them are effortlessly portrayed.
I lost my Mom to cancer, so despite the will to live, I am not sure what happened to Ranjan. The author has wisely left the end of the story to be interpreted by the reader.
A very nice and easy read with italics for Ranjan’s Conversations.
I give the book 4/5.
You can get the book here.
Ranjan and His Many Lives
It was my first time to review any book personally received from the Author, here, in this case, Saumick Pal. I was thrilled to read the book. Silver Hair Sins is the first ever Visual Fiction book released in India and I am grateful to have read it before many others.
Why did I like the book?
- The book consists of 150 odd pages which is an easy read. Conveying the whole concept of AI as a religion in just 150 pages is no joke. Write has conveyed it very effectively without messing up with the language.
- Language is easy and crystal clear which shows the merit of extra proofreading work that has gone in before publishing.
- The writer takes the reader along with his thought process through his words and pictures.
- Out of the box thinking in portraying the characters and the situation the characters are in.
- Visual fiction works in favor of the author in Silver Hair Sins as it conveys the story in appealing pictures.
What Could have been added :
- All pictures could have been in color. The gray color looks jarring and very monotonous.
- The font could have been better. I am not sure which font could have been used but I felt it can be changed.
Overall I loved the book for its simple yet crisp narration and an out of the world plot.
My rating 4/5
Thank you Saumick for the read, I enjoyed it.
This review has been done as part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program
Kandarpa Aganeeta Ameeta Chabi
Nava Neela Neeraja Sundaram
Patapeeta Maanahum Tarita Ruchi-Suchi
Navmi Janaka Sutaavaram
Shree Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhaju Mana
Harana Bhavabhaya Daarunam
I was humming this Bhajan from the last couple of weeks, we have been practicing it in our Kathak Class and the words somehow weren’t leaving me alone..as much as I heard them they were digging deep and sitting in a different deeper place in my heart which I wasn’t ready to unravel. That place in my heart was kept untouched for a couple of decades and I was totally into the whirlwind of the worldly charms which had already engulfed me consciously and unconsciously.
I bought “The Forest Of Enchantments” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni on a whim and could find that the way Saint Tulasidas has described Lord Ram in his Bhajan is what Sita and everybody who loves Ram would be feeling about him. Since childhood, I was not very fond of Sita. I never thought that she was weak to protest but somehow I could not relate to her.
There have been many books on Sita. But I could not get myself to read them because I always felt that Sita endured too much for her being. Her story was always heartbreaking and I never wanted to touch that part of my heart.
It is usually said that what you sing or what you do from the bottom of your heart shows you the way further. All that hemming and doing classical moves on the tune of “Shri Rama Chandra Kripalu Bhajaman” had brought me to read a bit about Ram and more about Sita through this book “The Forest Of Enchantments”
Why you should read the book?
Valmiki Ramayan, Ramacharitmanas, Kamba Ramayan and all the contemporary Ramayan and Sitayans have been told in different ways focussing on the different aspect of the epic and never any of these storytellers have looked at Sita from a perspective I was looking for. This book is amazingly relevant to today’s times.
The author is a great storyteller which is apparent as the scenes and the settings are quite vivid.
The author has introduced Sita’s internal beauty and not much is said about Sita’s appearance as such. I felt it as a welcome change. It is very smart to portray Sita purely based on her thoughts and her natural being.
When it comes to managing and handling relationships, the author has succeeded in giving all the girls a new idol to look up to.
Relationships of a new, coy bride and her way of settling in the Palace of Her Beloved have been interestingly portrayed. As a new bride when you are just understanding the ways of new life and you have nobody to look out for, Sita and her story of settling at her in-laws’ place is something to learn from.
Treta Yug or Kaliyug, Sita’s story emphasizes the fact that when it comes to relationships not much has changed.
Approach to situations
This is the most important part of the book. Sita is very objective in her approach to life. She does not go by the book like her husband but follows her heart in every situation. There the author truly won over me.
She is a thinker who thinks rationally about every situation that she faces and is not afraid to be forgiving or to be sorry if she has taken any wrong move.
A great insight on confrontations and negotiation
Not a fan of Confrontations, Sita is a great negotiator. She does not speak her mind but acts as per her mind and makes others do so when the time demands. Sita does not regret but owns her mistakes on her sleeves and marches ahead with dignity. The author has bowled me over by showing me what I could not see ever in Sita.
What I longed for in the book?
The portrayal of women of strength throughout Sita’s life was great but I would have loved to know more about each of them.
Her relationship with her father could also have been portrayed in detail.
The bond which she shared with Lakshman could have been detailed a bit too.
What I truly loved and I am happy about?
That Sita spent most of her life with Ram. She had an amazing married life which I was very happy to read.
How much Time did it take to read?
365 pages in total, it took 8 hours for me to read. I am a very slow reader and like to live every moment and every scene portrayed in the book.
The book was so enticing that I could not put it down and I think the whole credit goes to the author for making it such a fantastic read. Easy and flowing words made it more interesting.
Tips for slow readers like me.
Go with the flow, not all the books can be read fast as per my experience, especially the books like these which have many hidden messages and meanings
If you want to complete it soon, just read it like a glance, no need to go deep and understand every bit. But I am sure you would have to revisit it again.
Keep reading 2-3 pages when you get time. You might amp up the speed in some time.
Judging the book on the scale of 5
Book Cover: 4/5
Book Length :4/5
I am glad Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the author of “The Forests Of Enchantments” has written the book in such a way that any person despite the gender can draw a lot of strength from Sita.
Epics are the stories which are retold by different storytellers through the centuries. It is about how the story is being told and how creative is the storyteller. The plot of the epic is the same, but the delivery of that plot and the take away from it is in hands of the storyteller.
The author wins over me hands down and I send a lot of power to her for creating a new idol for many women like me who need to be inspired, motivated from time to time.
You can buy the book here:
The Forest of Enchantments
I have heard about Sapiens – A brief history of humankind book from one of the 100 relatives groups in WhatsApp. One of the topics was the evolution of Indian Hinduism. I was like with handcuffs at the corner yearning to par with the relatives on this difficult subject. The discussion became very interesting with a couple of critical points. No sooner, I spotted a colleague with the same book and learned the good reviews. I decided to wait no more.
Everyone has learned different myths about the evolution of the humankind. This book had a very strong start that makes you grasp faster with verve. It is possible that you could read the 400 pages in one full sweep.
It is unbelievable to read how the agricultural revolution is considered as history’s biggest fraud.
Agriculture investment is supposed to be the best weapon against hunger and poverty for billions. The author had the strong nerve to explain how small wild grass of wheat manipulated Homo Sapiens to its advantages and how agricultural revolution played a divide and rule for ten thousand years.
This line has stuck in my mind –
“Follow your heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day”.
It looks similar to the old Hindu saying how we live in the dreams of Lord Vishnu. Everything happening here is all in the dream of the Lord Almighty. The book explains how much natural instinct gut we have lost in the last thousand years unlike the animals trusting their natural instinct gut.
The author has surprised the readers with other startling insight that cooperation is based on shared fictions.
That is not yet worst and bewitching topic of the cognitive revolution. The author has come up with a theory about how gossip played an important role in the development as the dominant species on earth.
Gossip theory should be one of the oldest theories evolving the language and staying alive.
The author must have smitten the readers to enjoy the Gossip theory. It looks like a joke but I must say I have started to believe how gossip helps us to stay alive.
I would not recommend the book to strong religious believers. The book is very provoking to change the mindset of science and religion ideologies. The book is for those who are looking for answers.
If you already know the answer from your viewpoint or from the ancestors, then there is no point to waste your time to read this book.
This review is written by Arun Ramakrishnan who is an avid reader. Arun is in IT profession and is a rationalist by nature. He has a very different insight about the worldly world. Occupied by his two daughters ( Pet and a Human) Arun loves to read and write reviews. He also writes blogs on Project Management, Quality Assurance and fundamental tenets of Agile. Here is the link.
P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.