Bestseller by Ahmed Faiyaz

Blurb: Akshay Saxena, an out of work editor of a defunct literary magazine in the UK, is told to move to India for a year to help shore up the value of Kalim, an ailing Indian publisher. Akshay finds himself in a job where he has to do the impossible. Angus Lee, the new owner of Thomson Lee Books, wants at least five bestsellers in the coming year, failing which the business would be wound up. He has to find a way of making a success out of books he would never publish or would never even read. To complicate things further, he has to contend with motley crew of has-beens and misfits working for the publishing house as well as wannabe writers, dealing with their follies and derisive tactics, and battle his own affections for Zorah Kalim, the impulsive daughter of his former boss. Will he succeed in bringing out that one ‘bestseller’ from his publishing house? And what about his own life and love in office? Find out in this riveting read.

About the author: Ahmed Faiyaz is the bestselling author of Love, Life & All That Jazz…, Another Chance, Scammed and the editor of the Urban Shots anthologies. He was born and raised in Bengaluru. Apart from being a passionate writer, he dabbles with film-making and travels to lesser-known destinations to better understand life and the times we live in. He lives and works in Dubai, with his two boys and their tabby cat named, Bob.

Review: Akshay Mathur, 30+ aged divorced person is terminated from a UK based magazine. He is compelled to work in India at Kalim Publishing that frequently bargains nature of literature.Things dependably don’t go his direction and the supremo of the distributing bites the dust a grievous passing. The onus is on him to keep the machine gear-piece in the wheel turning.He is given a final offer of putting five books on the success outlines inside a year by Angus Lee who has a noteworthy stake in Kalim distributing.

Akshay is encompassed by an accumulate of brilliant characters – Sita, secretary of Iqbal Kalim, Tarun -CEO and writers like Sudhir, Vinod Dutta, Anya Malik who are in converses with the distributing house for distributing their books in the science fiction, erotica and sentiment genres. The street isn’t smooth for Akshay and his group as they are always under flame for supporting VIP Roshan Khan. Will Akshay be able to deal with various creators getting his throat looking at for the smash hit diagrams ? Will he be able to live on others desires on the expense of trading his own advantages and respect?

I have personal experience of working in a publication house. Akshay’s character was fleshed out well, the story was from his point of view. His change from a go getter to an individual inclination defensive towards his endeavour was cheering to witness.

The writing style and setting of the book was convincing and good. Every character have been planned and grown appropriately. There were funny moments in Tarun’s activities and cheered at how Akshay manages it in the end. Their discoursed and clever trades were astounding. This book was completely a single sitting reading for me. you want to peruse something new and similarly engaging, do check this book. It is great! I loved the title “Best Seller” – indeed it is one.

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Wisdom from The Ramayana: On Life and Relationships

Blurb

What turns friends into worst enemies?
Is accepting misfortunes as our destiny fatalistic or pragmatic?
Can we regulate our emotions without repressing them?
Seeking answers to such universal questions, Wisdom from the Ramayana: On Life and Relationships taps into the timeless wisdom of the Ramayana, encompassing many of its characters and reflecting on the complex dynamics of their relationships.
By analyzing the thought processes of these characters and the principles they lived by, this self-help book offers guidelines to build lasting relationships and lead a spiritually fulfilling life.

About the author: Chaitanya Charan is a mentor, life coach and monk. Building on his engineering degree from the Government College of Engineering, Pune, he complemented his scientific training with a keen spiritual sensitivity. For over two decades, he has researched ancient wisdom texts and practiced their teachings in a living yoga tradition. Author of over twenty-five books, he writes the world’s only Gita-daily feature (gitadaily.com), wherein he has penned over two thousand daily meditations on the Bhagavad-Gita. Known for his systematic talks and incisive question-answer sessions, he has spoken on motivational and spiritual topics across the world at universities such as Stanford, Princeton and Cambridge and companies such as Intel, Microsoft and Google.

Review: Is the Ramayana, including stories from antiquated occasions, for all intents and purposes applicable today? Indeed, it is important on the grounds that the narratives, however from an antiquated setting, typify ageless qualities. One of the essential qualities that it passes on – benevolent forfeit – is particularly applicable in our present occasions that are described by over the top childishness. Contemporary culture to a great extent glamorises the me worldview, which prompts individuals to look for their own satisfaction without thinking about its expense for other people. At the point when the equivalent discourteous independence makes us disregard or control the general population around us – our relatives, our neighbours and associates, at that point it boomerangs to wound our heart, tormenting it with enthusiastic cracks and chewing depression. Ramayana custom offers the instances of its heroes not for impersonation, but rather for motivation: not for duplication of the points of interest of their penances, however for valuation for the rule of forfeit.

As our connections and cooperations happen, in actuality, we have to consider the different settings and their suggestions previously we choose how to apply the soul of forfeit in our lives. When we comprehend these ageless reverential rules that underlie the tales of the Ramayana, at that point we never again fall prey to the misguided judgments that are simply obsolete verifiable stories or fanciful moral anecdotes; we remember them to be true and emotional shows of unceasing profound standards, rules that have enlivened ambitious people to the most noteworthy human achievements since the beginning and that allure us to the equivalent incomparable experiences. In that lies a definitive, unfading significance of the Ramayana.

Chaitanya Charan has caught the heartbeat, the quintessence of the Ramayana, by fitting words that suits everybody who might read this book alongside his sharp bits of knowledge. He has placed words with the most profound considerations of subliminal reasoning where the most profound sentiments of the characters and the relationships are manifested appropriately. It’s like truly being a part of the incidents. I observed this book to be a standout amongst the most champion among captivating and clear books dependent on Ramayana. The author has consolidated the message of the Bhagavad Gita with the activities of Ramayana overhauling our energies on life and connections. The testing event of Rama neglecting Sita has been overseen convincingly by the author. It is a book which one can scrutinise again and again and makes for a better than average favoured perusing. The more you read, the more significant learning into human associations is found.

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The Sane Psychopath

Blurb

Are some crimes unpardonable?
A young lawyer is about to find out.
It was just another day in Pune. Just another morning.
Until a man decided otherwise.
And left an entire city horrified . . . scared . . . angry . . . baying for blood.
This is the story of Shanker Lande, driver of a state transport bus, who goes on a bone-chilling hour-long rampage on the streets of Pune—killing 10, maiming 70, and damaging over 100 vehicles, before he is captured.
In this case of Shanker Lande vs the city of Pune, the difference between the criminal and the victims is clear as night and day. But a young idealistic lawyer, Varun Gupte, a Punekar, still decides to defend Lande. And in the process seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son to the same incident.
Caught in the pincer grip of their dilemmas, do the two men crumble? Do they unearth the truth? And does the truth absolve Lande?
Inspired by a real incident, The Sane Psychopath is a fictional exploration of a frightening murderous phenomenon of our times.

About the author: Salil Desai is an author, columnist, and film-maker based in Pune. He is best known for his much-acclaimed Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series which includes 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015), and Killing Ashish Karve (2014). His other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011) as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and Other Gulp Fiction (2012). The Sane Psychopath (2018) is his sixth book. An alumnus of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Salil’s dramatized management training videos (www.relivingindia.com) are much appreciated in the corporate world. He also conducts intensive workshops in creative fiction writing, story and scenario design, screenplay writing and film-making. Salil was also one of the four international authors worldwide selected for the HALD International Writers’ Residency in Denmark, hosted by the Danish Centre for Writers & Translators in June 2016.

Review:  The Sane Psychopath is stand-out from different points of view – first it is a spine chiller cum court indicate cum socio-sensation that talks about passionate wellbeing. Second, the fulfilment is one that forsakes you with request rather than answers, which for a spine chiller is a test. Regardless, the author, Salil Desai lived upto that challenge marvellously. As opposed to giving us a wordy, white washed conclusion which would have been a more noteworthy measure of his supposition/perspective about the whole issue, he left it on us to unravel all of that was between the lines. Thirdly, it is exceptional in connection to Inspector Saralkar course of action. This book turns around the sudden and astonishing decision taken by Advocate Varun which realised the country over sensation and examination. I valued this story a lot and the manner in which that it relied upon a veritable story spiked further bolstering my advantage altogether more. The pace is remarkable and the author had winning concerning keeping the readers conjecturing about the reason of such a perilous showing put together by Shanker Lande.

Written in his unique style, the story is hauntingly real. I needed to concede for the span of the time I was reading the book, at whatever call attention to went out I kept an eye for transports around me. I was very tenterhooks at whatever point I saw a speeding truck cruising by kind of experience reading through the pages. That is the force of this book. To add more his style of forming is enchanting – in a way he gets the readers thought absolutely, not deserting it despite for a nanosecond. Each page, every passage has a couple of actions happening, ensuring the reader is on high mindfulness endeavouring to consider what seeks after. There is packs of expectation and fervour, mixed with sentiments and sensitivity in the pages, making it a spine chiller. To be direct, the conclusion left me feeling bewildered. After the court scenes and other expository examination which followed I was anticipating an absolutely unforeseen finish in contrast with this. It had an impact which perhaps no other books in my recents had given me. The climax which takes the show absolutely for me.

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Secret Diary of an Incurable Romantic: (Um . . . and a closet alcoholic)

Blurb: 11 pm: Heart’s pounding, hands shaking. Have these knots in my stomach. But drinking isn’t an option. Maa is sleeping with me. Baba in Lalitaji’s room. And she on the sofa. Want to step into the toilet, take one swig, and then go directly to sleep. How the hell will Maa know? I mean she’s sleeping like a log. No, no, shouldn’t. What if she wakes up? She’s a light sleeper, after all. 11.30 pm: No wine. Or vodka. Terrible, terrible night. When will they go back to Kolkata and let me be? 11.32 pm: Chhi . . .Chhi . . . How selfish am I? My parents, one with a heart condition, spent thousands on flight tickets and landed in Chennai. Why? Because they wanted to spend time with their widowed daughter. And what does the daughter want? To sneak into the toilet and take one good swig of wine. Shame on her! Okay, now I’m being over-dramatic. Meet Madhubala Ray a thirty-year-old brand-spanking-new widow in Chennai. She lives with her seventy-year-old mostly-silent MIL—whose name she can’t remember, teaches Social Science to bratty teenagers, and suddenly has a life filled with unpredictable men, catty colleagues, a bisexual best friend, and . . . heart-wrenching memories of her late husband. How does she deal with all of that? By baring it all, in her diary. Join this oddball-widow who always keeps it real as she gives an honest account of a young North Indian working woman in Chennai, who tries to survive a tragedy through wine and vodka, her quirky sense of humour, and refuses to give up on love. Despite its oddities. The question is: does she survive and find love, again? Secret Diary of an Incurable Romantic is a story that is brutally honest, funny, romantic and liberating. It’s a slice of life you wouldn’t want to miss.

About the author: Chitrangada Mukherjee was born and raised in the scenic north-eastern state of Tripura. She post graduated in History from the Presidency College in Kolkata, a city which made her a thinker. A love affair resulting in marriage brought her to the south of India, where she worked as a tele-caller, teacher, news reader, soft skills trainer, quiz show hostess, and content writer. Five years ago she decided to leave her cushy IT job and embrace motherhood. While at home, she started to introspect about her true calling. She found it in writing. For her writing is akin to exercising–if she doesn’t write for a day, she ends up releasing negative hormones in her body. Apart from writing and reading, she loves listening to music on her headphones, grass walking, and gazing at the ocean. Chennai is her home now, where she lives with her seven-year-old daughter and husband. Secret Diary of an Incurable Romantic is her second novel.

Review:  Chitrangada Mukherjee’s writing has such an ability, to the point that changes clearly common conditions into amusing ones. Her style is essential and plain and that makes it significantly less requesting to welcome the book. The book is a stormy read that can change any boring situation/mind into a captivating one. Chitrangada mentions the right part of essence in her intelligent writing; something that I totally liked.

I enjoyed the manner by which she has taken a fairly critical condition (of a bereaved woman) and made sense of how to give it a slight twist. Rather than the situation, the book is unquestionably not a real examined. The unmistakable blend of social orders – Bengali and Tamil – moreover gives this book a specific flavour. There are a couple of characters that accept a fundamental part in the book – Madhu, her relatives, her people and her love interests. While a vast bit of them will make you feel energetic and drew in, there are a very few that will make you flinch. I in like manner felt that two or three characters were absurdly given a huge amount of room and essentialness while others, whom I seemed to like more, were pushed to the establishment.

The book has a liberal part of fervour sprinkled all through the length and broadness of it. It is a book that I will recommend to people who are hunting down straightforward and essential lingo, saucy records, intriguing characters, comic conditions and high segments of incitement. To say it evidently, it has all the right fixings in the correct degrees to make it a getting a handle on read. Amusingly the portrayal  of the characters, the Author has associated with the mind boggling strategies for the human heart and life getting it in smooth words in this story which is written in Diary arrange making it an enjoyable , fun and light read. The end  was superb and surely not the one I was expecting in light of the fact that there was a turn in the story which I would state is dynamic in this century. The references made by the author concerning the region, sustenance, culture of Chennai makes it a flawless read for any person with connections to Chennai city. This book does not have any brutality or energise or wrong doing yet rather still, it would keep you amazed from the soonest beginning stage till the end.

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Because I Promised….

Blurb: At their college farewell party, Varnika publicly rejects Sushant’s candid proposal in the most disrespectful way imaginable, leaving everyone – including her gang of cousins – dismayed. She feels that her reasons are valid, for doing this to her best friend. What exactly are her reasons for making this upsetting choice? Did her mother’s move to Mumbai during Varnika’s formative years have a bearing on her? Or is it more than that? What is she planning to do at the NGO for eunuchs? Will she succeed in her chosen career? Would she be able to overcome her inhibitions before it is too late?  This is Varnika’s journey as she overcomes her personal reservations and professional challenges, all the while contemplating her promise to lock her heart away.

About the author: Anupriya belongs to that generation of Idiots (the proud ones though), who did their engineering first and then decided on what they actually wanted to do. She completed her MBA in Human Resources and worked in the corporate world for 8 years, before taking a professional break. A mom by day and a reader/writer by night, Anupriya is a die-hard romantic. Yet she believes that love (in any relationship) is a part of life, not, the heart of life. And she aims to bring to the world, stories around this theme.  She can be found in the dot com world at her blog www.mommytincture.com, which contains her ranting about her experiences in her various roles as a mother, daughter, wife and foremost a human being, all churned together. It is also her outlet to the world where she doles out loads of gyaan on self improvement and relationship management.

Review:  Anupriya has written the novel in a good style with easy to understand and native words. The well written story can hook any reader. You cannot ask for a better debut novel. This book will have you turning the pages like I did. I finished it in a single read with 2 cups of coffee. Anupriya’s characters are not sugar coated as is the norm for novels these days and they don’t resemble the lives of other known or famous people.  The book was not slow and it offered an interesting insight into the story as the pages moved ahead. The language employed in description, narration, and dialogue is straightforward and simple.

The story is about 2 friends-classmates & competitions through out their college life – Sushant and Varnika. Varnika rejects the love proposal of Sushant. She comes from a joint family without a father but headed by her grandmother. Varnika has a shocking childhood as her parents were estranged. Varnika shifts to Mumbai to be with her mother and manage the business and Sushant moves to Bangalore for his studies. Destiny makes Sushant and Varnika meet again. Will Sushant and Varnika be a couple? Will they have a successful love story? I do not wish to spill the beans and instead would advise you to order your copy now.

This book is a roller coaster ride of emotions and the author plays around expertly with relationships and the contrast between love and relationship between the old and the new. The ending is apt and will leave any reader satisfied. The episodes in the lives of the characters have made it less demanding to understand.

It is is well structured and almost all characters are fully explored. The play between Sushant And Varnika and their expectations from life makes for an interesting read. If a book can leave a reader thinking and stays with you long after you’ve read it, the author has done his/her job well. Because I promised is not a one gem of a novel kind but I would want to read more from Anupriya in the coming future and hope her next work is better than this.

The cover is just apt keeping content in mind.  Anupriya hasn’t gone overboard and her writing style is just right for this kind of book. The subject is contemporary and highly relatable to the younger generation. Perhaps the book is also aimed at such a market. Ideal if you are traveling or looking for something to read and finish in one session.

The overall narration was perfect and there were not many loopholes. A well-crafted novel!  You cannot help liking this book.

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“Maharaja in Denims” by Khushwant Singh

Have you ever thought about who, where or what you were in your past life? Maharaja in Denims is all about a young teenager whose life changes after he discovers that he has had more than one past lives.  Hari, a teenager believes that he is the reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who is also known as the Lion of Punjab. Suzzane, Hari’s girlfriend tries to find out more about his past life using the practice of regression and discovers that he has had more than one past lives. The book gives the readers an understanding of Punjab’s history and the after-effects of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Furthermore, the book talks about Ranjit Singh’s life, love and conquests. The plot is gripping and makes you not want to put the book down.

Born in a leading farming family of Punjab, Khushwant Singh developed writing as an alternate career at the age of twenty-four. He is the author of best-selling Sikhs Unlimited, a travelogue from UK to USA featuring extraordinary Sikhs and Turbaned Tornado, biography of Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner. An alumnus of St. John’s High School, Chandigarh and Department of Mass Communication, Punjab University, his Sunday column, ‘Punjabi by Nature’ in The Hindustan Times on the passions, problems and idiosyncrasies of the region, is widely read. An alumnus of St. John’s High School, Chandigarh and Department of Mass Communication, Punjab University, Khushwant Singh has also written for the Times of India, The Tribune, BBC Online and India Today.

‘Maharaja in Denims’ by Khushwant Singh is a perfect book for history lovers. It is a tale of history and suspense. I liked the title very much. The author made me travel from present to the past giving me a feel that I have witnessed few of these incidents personally.  The book is about – Hari, a 19 year old college student who suddenly discovers that he is a reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire. He gets flashes of information about the life and times of the Sikh ruler without ever knowing anything about him. His girlfriend, Suzanne who is a student of Psychology helps him recover memories of his past life or reincarnations through regression technique. Maharaja in Denims connects the past and the present with the story of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s life, loves, rule, battles and times along with the current love story of Hari. The story also deals with the Sikhs of now generation – with shorn hair, affluent kids with SUVs and expensive motorbikes, the skewed male-female ratio in the state, preference of weekend get-aways in Himachal, dollar dreams of the youth, UK-based second generation NRIs, deaths of farmers due to pesticides, drug addiction along with the killing of the Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the politics of votes and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The writer has very efficiently dispersed the chapters in such a way that any reader can’t hold back the instant urge to read the next chapter. The very well described theories of re-embodiment, acts as the cherry on the cake. The writer has chosen his words wisely, which added to the glamour of the book. The surprise elements and the unforeseen end makes this book a must read for all book lovers. The writing style is quick and racy with high doses of sentiment, politics and sex. In the end the book leaves you with a definite sense of history being an ineradicable part of the present.

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The Karna Pages by Sayantan Gupta

Written by Sayantan Gupta, ‘The Karna Pages’ is a mythological fiction. As the title suggests, the book explores the tale of the Karna, the perennial unsung hero of the epic. Replete with the different characters, the epic provides ample scope for author’s creative imagination imbued with the necessary skills.  From exploring hitherto unknown facts about the legendary Karna to dramatic encounter between Karna and Arjun, the author has skill-fully portrayed the epic tale in the most impressive way. His intricate knowledge of Indian epics is very much visible in his writings. The shenanigans of the Machiavellian Shakuni, the crudity of the sadist Dushasan, the aura of the benign presence of Krishna and the gentleness of Arjuna all have been seamlessly integrated in the story to provide compelling reading. The author has used his vivid imagination and sublime gift of narrative to script intricate aspects of Karna’s relationship with the other characters. The book is surely a must read for all lovers of mythological fiction, and for anyone who wants to explore this genre.

This present book based on genus of mythology has explored the catastrophe of Karna and how he was rundown of family. The story of Mahabharata has so many characters in it on which not one but many stories can be written and Sayantan Gupta has selected this as the base for his book and took Karna as the primary personality of this riveting story. Karna’s character is regal, heavenly, ancestry, forced by situations to be brought up as a charioteer’s son. We all know he is a match for the best in terms of soldierly skills, Karna was gifted with all the merits to stand with the best that the Pandavas. Yet, he never got his due of acknowledgment and esteem, and was second fiddle to the mighty Pandava, Arjuna. The story/book stars with striking recounting of Kunti’s tryst with Suryadeva, leading to the Karna’s birth. It provides a great introduction to Karna which influences the rest of the narration in the story. I liked the role played by Sage Durvasa in the lead up to this heavenly unity which has been in a few words brought out. The storyline covers Kunti’s motherhood days as a youngster, all her emotions are beautifully written when she sets Karna in a casket down Ashka river which exposes her helplessness at parting with the new born. I am sure like me whoever reads this will get a silent tear in their eyes. As the story runs through, I felt I was reading Mahabharata more, as I am quite familiar with the characters who have been drawn from the original and their integrity is kept in order. As we go further reading I found out variation from the epic have been brought in delicately.  Though here and there, the author has used a little mind’s eye to the relating in aspects of Karna’s relationship with the Pandavas, Draupadi and Kunti. Despite doing so the author has not lost the track of outcrop of Karna as an personification of self respect and self honour at every turn. Few incidents such as character of Karna, it was his inborn and at times incomprehensible sense of loyalty to Duryodhan, which blinded him to the latter’s serious faults. These instances have been clearly captured in the story, and the manner in which it led to his disintegrate at the hands of Arjuna is indeed tear-jerking. The book has less of flaws, but very lengthy and it did create tediousness for some while. But anyone who prefers mythology as their favourite variety, this book is strong recommended.

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Dreaming In Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich

Dreaming in Hindi’, listed as one of the terrific 10 best reads in USA-2009, has the Indian edition on stands now. Neither a travelogue nor an essay, the book has the elements of both. It is largely description, bringing insights and concepts about human calibre to learn and soak up languages.

This is the first book that looks closely at the author – Katherine Russell Rich’s  decision to learn Hindi. It is western, that India is where one needs to be, to lurch across the meaning in life. ‘Hindi is strewn with words no one in America had used since Agatha Christie’s time and for that alone I love it,’ she declares in the preface.

Katherine Russell Rich is a former lifestyle magazine journalist, who decided to move to Udaipur (Rajasthan), from New York to learn Hindi, inspired by a desire to learn a second language. But the real inspiration for her is a memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert – a fellow American whose extended trip after her divorce to India in finding spiritual sustenance, chronicled into a publishing phenomenon, now being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts who spent time recently in the same Ashram in Haryana on which Gilbert based her India adventure. Katherine, having survived divorce, bout with cancer and being fired by her editing job , felt she has no language to describe her experiences of life so decided to borrow a language from someone else – India!

A language is a whole map of reality; Katherine has drawn this map of Indian reality through the laborious task of learning Hindi, through her experiences and encounters in Rajasthan which offers segment of a complex and multilayered reality called India. When Katherine stretches this segment to look like the whole, the overview shows unjustly blown up, misappropriate and overdo simplification.

She starts by taking Hindi classes in New York which blossomed into obsession with the language, her journey to Udaipur, encounters with royalty and commoners, gurus, teachers and students, secularists and communists, some of them whom we can indentify like Nand Chaturvedi (Udaipur based Hindi poet) and Nand Kishore Acharya ( Bikaner based Hindi poet and critic). It pretty much describes the literary journey of the author that the reader will perforce to take to come in grips with author’s linguistic love affair. Very appreciatable is Katherine’s writing style, wit and calls for grade of compassion in this memoir part travelogue.

As the pages roll on, one feels that it is two books clubbed as one. The first part talks about her physical journey to India, with snapshots of life in India and the people she meets. Katherine arrives in India just before the September 11, 2001 and she highlights the reactions of different ethnic and religious groups towards the event. Some characters are two dimensional like the Jains – the host family and others who are described memorably like Helaena.

Once the reader is occupied in the narration of part one, the author shifts to other aspect which is her linguistic journey, told in three ways – the titles are entertaining, stories of her experience with the language and through the passages from linguistic theories which intersperse the book.

The story of her linguistic log is narrated in 19 chapters. Through her Hindi learning journey she ascertains that different language offers a different way of viewing the world. For instance, drinking a cigarette rather than smoking it, basking in the sun but not sunbathing or that in India there is no female orgasm, not to speak of it, as orgasm is applied to men only.

Katherine jumps to many conclusions sometimes suddenly, but once in a while they are interesting, like this one; ‘there weren’t separate terms for marriage and wedding, shaadi was your wedding and your marriage a small distinction’. This was closely on over-reading on the language as she writes ‘there is no conversion rite into Hinduism, but there is learn Hindi’, as this language is knotted with Hinduism.

The author while endorsing the view that emotions derive from cultural scripts and as such are learned in the language of the culture, perhaps that is why she explains months into learning the language she has become aware of feelings that she never experienced before. Fortunately enough there are many such moments when Katherine is expressively intensed and truthfully susceptible.

But what doesn’t go well with the reading is the central thesis, that mastery of a new language will make her a new person. There is little self-revelation to support it. Hindi is interesting to Katherine, kind of a slice of exotica. Her India is strewn with stereotypes and Hindi phrases which provide nothing to description. She depicts herself as a serious enough student of Hindi trying to escape the ordeals of her past without explaining what it is and what she gains by the end of it all.

There are many hit and miss incidents and people in this book, leaving her Indian sense and its language in literary midpoint. There are the ghastly Gujarat riots which interpose the plot but add a little to its expeditions. This is definitely conceited new age reading which adds little to the author’s status and fictional tastes. The book in the end embodies a rich emotional intelligence which gets formed from learning a language so distant and strange for someone brought up in USA. Truly an extraordinary read.

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The Exile

Maharaja Duleep Singh was the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Maharani Jindan Kaur (fifth wife of the Maharaja) born on 4 September 1838 at Lahore when Maharaja Ranjit Singh had turned 58years. The places occupied by the father and son in history are poles at distant, while Maharaja Ranjit Singh, possibly deservedly is described as one of the greatest Indian leaders of the early colonial epoch in India, his son Duleep Singh is shown to be an powerless émigré who spent the better part of his life as Queen Victoria’s party ribbons. In the book The Exile, Mr Sarna has traced life of pensioned off Duleep Singh, as he went from Lahore to Fatehgarh to his hunting estate in Elveden to Russia and finally to that bitter and deserted hotel room in Paris where he met his end. While on this journey, Duleep Singh turned into a baptized Christian and then ultimately converted back to Sikhism. The author has used 5 narrators as the main characters picked from those closest to Duleep Singh. In some contexts the prince himself has narrated a few incidents. The narrators include – Mangla Mai (the favorite slave girl of Duleep’s mother), Dr John Login (the British officer who served as a father figure to young Duleep), Lady Lena Login (Dr Login’s wife), Arur Singh (Duleep’s confidante) and General Charles Carrol Tevis (Duleep’s confidante in Paris). Other significant characters -Maharani Jindan, Maharaja Kharak Singh, Dogra brothers, Sandhawalia Sardars, Attariwala Sardars, Pandit Jalla, Hira Singh and Maharaja Sher Singh along with Prince’s wives and children.The book is of 5 chapters divided into two parts, the first describing the splendor of Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, through the eyes of Mangla Mai and Maharani Jindan. Punjab including Lahore is described as a land of fabulous wealth and magnificence. The society aptly was very assorted and the only reason why it probably holds together is because of the respect the Sarkar (refers to Maharaja Ranjit Singh) commands. After the customary wailing and chest beating following his death collapsed, all hell breaks lose. The Kashmiri Dogras, the family of Ranjit Singh, the Sikh soldiers who fought as armed force, everyone begins to cry for everyone else’s blood. At the time of this chaos, Duleep Singh was a toddler; Maharani Jindan felt that the Lahore of the day was insecure for Duleep. She moved to Jammu along with Mangla Mai. The early years of the life of Duleep Singh, were played out against the rich background of his grandfather’s court and the lavish palaces and gardens. He enjoyed falconry and had the best horses and elephants to ride. He received royal education with two tutors, for Persian and Gurmukhi. He was taught to shoot guns and bows and trained to command. It must have seemed a kind of heaven, a place full of magical enchantment for the boy, but the brutalities of politics soon invaded. Eventually, Duleep Singh was called back to sit on the throne by one of the warring factions.

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