The Perfect World

The Perfect World

When dreams are exchanged for compromise, when the truth is exchanged for denial, You lose yourself. The Perfect World is a journey of reclaiming your power to be, do and have anything you want. This inspirational fable not only takes you on a journey into the universe but also on a parallel journey within. Sprinkled with fun, triumph and wisdom, the story urges you towards choices of power, passion and purpose in your daily actions. The Perfect World will lead you towards your spiritual awareness and spiritual greatness, for that is the true meaning of success.

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The Sun that Rose from the Earth by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

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Dilli ke na the kuche/ Auraq-e-mussavir the, Jo shakl nazar aayi/ Tasveer nazar aayi.

(It wasn’t the lanes and streets of Delhi: It was the pages of an album. Each and every face that one saw was a painting)

-Mir Taqi Mir

Poets and poetry occupy centre stage in this marvellous collection of stories by a celebrated master of Urdu prose. Historical figures such as Ghalib, Mirza Jan-e Janan, Budh Singh Qalandar, Amir Khan Anjam, Mir, Kishan Chand Ikhlas, Haidar Ali Atash and Mushafi compose noteworthy poems, find patrons, make love, fight their enemies, and earn their nourishment. Faruqi has re-imagined these figures as vital, breathing beings, alive in all their flawed splendour.

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The Sun that Rose from the Earth was written in 2001 in Urdu, with the English version translated by the author and published in 2014. The book is a collection of five short stories about Urdu and Persian poets and poetry in the age of the Mughals of India (1526-1857). The short stories are long, with each being novellas in their own right, culminating in 610 pages of text. Each story, with different narrators, imagines the conversations of poets at that time.

The first narrator is Mian Beni Madho Singh, born in 1840 in Nizamabad (Telangana), and living in Cawnpore from 1860. He had escaped the conflict against the British from 1856-1858 in which his entire family died. At the time of writing, on 1918 narrator turned 78 years old. He reminisces about his life, love of poetry, inspirations, and his travel in 1862 to Delhi to visit the superlative poet, Mirza Ghalib, the Nightingale of India. The poetry in this section reflects the decimation of his village, and the loss of life.

The second narrator is 50-year-old Khairuddin who suffers years of poverty. He hears that a mighty horse rider will appear in the bazaar the next day. The belief is that whoever stops the rider, even for a second, and asks for something, will have everything granted to him. This inspires Khairuddin’s first lines of poetry at the age of 20: The rider of everlasting prosperity appeared on the highway / None held his reins to stop him. He rode away. He imagines what he would ask of the rider. Perhaps he will ask for a husband for his sister. He does see the rider and his “awe-inspiring face.” What does he do? He can’t spend his life alone, roaming and wandering, seeing Sufi poet Budh Singh Qalander, can he? Then he meets a woman called Ismat Jahan.

Next comes, Labiba Khanam, deaf at birth and unable to talk, and her daughter Nurus Saadat, from Nakhjaran. Labiba has mixed heritage: Iranian Jews of the Levant, the Iranians of Armenistan, and the Jews and Christians of the Balkans. Her father was “an open opium wreck” and died, with her mother, when she was five years old. She was sold to Zohra the Egyptian. At 13 she heard her first lines of poetry, and at 22 she married Bayazid Shauqi who sang Hafiz and Rumi verses. This, I think is the best story in the collection, as they travel circuitously for three weeks to Tabriz in Iran via Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia. Her husband dies when Nurus is three days old, and Labiba moves to Isfahan, where she adopts the singing verses of her late husband, which she knew by heart. She meets the great Hindu poet Kishan Chand Ikhlas. The great Urdu poet Muhammad Taqi Mir falls in love with Nurus. They choose between their lovers and returning to Iran.

Then comes, the title ‘The Sun the Rose from the Earth’ about businessman Darbari Mal Vafa, born in 1793, who moves to Lucknow in 1825 to study under the legendary poet Shaikh Mushafi. His maid Bhoora – with him for almost 30 years – also exchanges poetry with Vafa. He never knows her marital status or her religion and beliefs, which she tells him is not important for poets.

The last story brings women to the fore. Fair, Amazonian-type, strong women from faraway Caucasus or Uzbekistan are the attraction for the 50-year-old narrator Gul Mohammad. He was told he’d never be a poet, so he became a soldier. The time span in this tale is distorted, going from 1521 to 1707 immediately, and is therefore more spiritual and vague.

This is a magnum opus. It is remarkable in fusing poetry from a range of selected Hindu and Muslim Urdu poets with an imagined story by different narrators that bring together their love and learning of poetry with a master poet. The mentor-master relationship is explored, as well as the search for the near-perfect word or phrase that expresses their feelings and emotions.

Judge this book by its cover! At first look, the regal attitude of the handsome Mughal attracts you to the book. One wonders who this person was and what Dastaan defines him. The richness and magnificence of the era bygone is also reflected in the beautiful, intricately woven prose, with its refined language and poetry oozing  with sweetness and sublime joy.

“I am the sun that rose from the earth. But the sky of poetry is bright because of me.”

Shaikh Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi.

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Take 2: Second Chance At Happiness

Take 2
by 
Ruchi Singh 
The Blurb

Priya’s idyllic world turns upside down when she realizes her husband considers her dead weight after stripping her off her inheritance for his ambitions and lavish lifestyle. Instantly attracted to Priya, Abhimanyu knows getting involved with a married woman is inviting trouble. But despite common sense, cautions and hesitations, he is drawn to help her. Happily ever after has become a myth for Priya and trying to keep the relationship platonic is becoming more and more difficult for Abhimanyu.  In the tussle between ethics, fears and desires… will Priya embrace a second chance at happiness?
Buy @
 
 
Meet the Author

Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres; romance and romantic thriller. She has a degree in Electronics Engineering and has worked as Quality Consultant in the IT field. She began her writing career writing short stories and articles, which have been published on various online forums. She has been a contributing author to many anthologies and has published her first book Take 2, which is a contemporary romance with a spice of social drama.

A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favourite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.

Review: This story is about the easily broken nature of Indian marriages. It shows facts of our society in issues like divorce and failed marriages. The story talks about Priya a girl who is in love with her husband to an extent that it can be called blind devotion. He decides to divorce her for reasons known to him. The rest of the story is how Priya tries hard to get him back and in the process learns the biggest lesson of life – to live for one’s ownself. In this journey she meets Abhimanyu who falls in love with her but on seeing her condition refrains himself and stays as a good friend. Their friendship is well written and it is so magical that it will surely remind you of a friend like this in your life.  I especially liked the well thought out supporting cast- the friends, the parents, and the villian. They are not just added fluff; they actually play a role and take the story forward.  Characters have been very clearly defined. The author has a decent grip of writing and that is what makes this one a gripping read with lucid language and a fluid story flow. Recommended for readers of genre of romance, and will make you fall in love with it all over again.

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Dan Brown and his Books

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There is no second doubt that Dan Brown is one of the most important writers living today. What he does in a way that appeal to millions of people around is to tell stories that remind us there’s more to the world than meets the eye. His books are filled with history, intrigue, secret codes, and symbols embedded in paintings, books, churches, monuments and buildings which say that the things we take for granted are imbued with hidden meanings. A painting may not just be a painting as Dan Brown’s most of the novels say and the cover-up on a building may be more than a simple beautification. I am sure many of us; do not normally look beyond the surface of the world around us. Exploring the symbolism hidden in these pieces of architecture might not help you pay your monthly bills and make you rich but in a society where poetry, myth, religion, and philosophy are obsolete; maybe we all should care to ask and find out the secrets.

Dante and Shakespeare have divided the modern world between them, giving no space for a third writer. While most people are similar with the works of William Shakespeare, many people have never ever heard about 14th century Italian poet, Dante Alighieri. Dan Brown inspired by the first part of the Dante’s Divine Comedy introduced millions around the world to one of the most important writers that ever lived through Inferno. His narratives, laced with science, history, art and geography, have helped to bring out awareness among people on diverse figures, concepts, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jesus, anti-matter, the esotericism of Manly P. Hall, the Vatican, the Louvre, Noetic Science, Freemasonry, and the beliefs of the Founding Fathers. From Rome and Vatican City (Angels and Demons) to Paris (The Da Vinci Code) to Washington, D.C. (The Lost Symbol) to Florence, Venice and Istanbul (Inferno), Dan Brown has set his books in the some of the most beautiful and intriguing cities in the world.

For me Dan Brown is my favourite author and one of the most important thriller writers in our time. His books are special and good investigated. The themes in his books are so complex and he has much insider information about whatever theme his books are based on. Dan Brown delighted me for the grail search, secret societies, Opus Dei, The Illuminati, and much more to read further on them. Beside the fact that I admire Brown’s willingness to throw rocks in ponds I have to also say, I am very impressed with the amount of research he does and he did for his each book.

Dan Brown has the ability to capture his reader. For example, when I start to read one of his books, I cannot put it away till the very end. His books are so interesting that when I go to sleep I continue to think about the story even in my dreams. His characters easy to connect with. I feel feeling as love, hate and fear with them. Some of his characters surprise me and others disappoint, but the main character is always developing and changing during the story and sometimes I don’t know for what to be prepared of. I believe that the key point in thriller fiction is the easy to follow plot, otherwise the writer will lose his reader. Dan brown, from my point of view, succeeded in keeping his readers during the plot. I find his stories easy to follow due to the fact that he doesn’t have too many characters in his story.

I would like to wake in you the fascination at Dan Brown books, and if you have not read any of his thrillers, it is time you read. He is one of the most influential authors of our time, so read to experience the other side of life, and I feel it’s a good reminder to all of us to log off of Facebook and Twitter every once in a while and lose ourselves in a good book.

On the occasion of International Author’s Day I thank my favourite author Dan Brown for writing such fast paced thrillers. I wish he should write more of the Robert Langdon series.

It is not just over here, I would like to know who your favourite author is. Please do write it in the comment box.

And as an expression of my heartfelt thanks to all of you for joining me in celebrating International Author’s Day which is being hosted by Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay of B00kr3vi3ws.

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I am giving away copies of The Amazing Racist and Panther written by Chhimi Tenduf La.

At the moment, I am just keeping this giveaway open only for Indian readers.

Giveaway is open from today 14th July 2015 till 18th July 2015. The result will be declared thereafter.

Please fill in the link of the Rafflecopter now to be a part of this celebration and giveaway. (Writing a comment on this post is a must to be eligible for the giveaway).

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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He Fixed The Match, She Fixed Him

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Blurb: Shreya – I’m a highly qualified Delhi girl earning an enviable salary. My parents are having a tough time finding a suitable groom for me. However, recently they have a proposal from this very interesting guy from Mumbai. I almost get mesmerised when he starts talking to me. I think I like him very much.

Kunal – I’m owner of a textile company in Mumbai. My Mom wants me to get married. Again. She has recently suggested a suitable girl from Delhi. What my Mom doesn’t know is that I’ve met Shreya before once in my life and I’ve been looking for her ever since. I have a vendetta to settle.
The author takes you along on a journey via roads of revenge, agony, remorse, attraction, titillation, tantalisation and romance. Do Shreya and Kunal make it, or do they fall prey to their past?

About the author: Shikha Kumar has a B-Tech degree in Computer Science from Bharati Vidyapeeth, Delhi. Professionally she’s as a Manager with Tata Consultancy Services. She has travelled to, and worked in different countries. She enjoys travelling, reading, writing and watching movies. This is her first attempt to present her writing abilities to the world.

Review: This is Shikha Kumar’s debut novel and after reading it I must say that she has done justice to the romantic genre and I did not feel it was her debut. The way she has unfolded the story has given a sense of satisfaction that what happened in the novel was the right. This is an interesting romantic tale of a married couple, who are forced into marriage almost reluctantly. Shreya is a working independent professional; Kunal on the other hand is being pushed for marriage who has a bitter past. Kunal’s mother finds Shreya’s match unaware that Kunal already knows Shreya, she is happy that Kunal has agreed to marry Shreya. They get married where Shreya doesn’t get a chance to see Kunal’s personally and all she knows is by his voice. Shreya feels helpless when she sees Kunal on the wedding day and she determines to fix her husband and their marriage, deciding not to give up. Managing home and office efficiently, she woos Kunal off his feet. It is a story of romantic genre where intense hatred accompanied with revenge completely transforms into love that is indefinable and selfless. The characters avoid love due to their pasts and this avoidance is the reason for Shreya and Kunal coming as close to each other as if they were born one. The characters in the novel are portrayed in a simple manner and understanding of the story is a cakewalk. I appreciate the use of language in the novel; reader will hook to this novel till it ends because of the plainness of the language used along with the use of some Hindi phrases.  Author Shikha has put in elements of a block buster novel – strong story with strong characters, twists running a thrilling chill, sweet smile, and a plot that you will easily relate, a guiding instinct that keeps the characters going without causing any boredom. I recommend this story to all. I finished in one day and night’s reading.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve

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Manuscript Found in Accra

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The preface states that the manuscript, dating from 1307, is in the possession of Sir Walter Wilkinson and that the narrator .The manuscript turns out to be a collection of insights given by a mysterious man referred to as the Copt, to the people of Jerusalem who were awaiting the coming crusaders in 1099.

The Copt responds to questions from among the people, and before each chapter begins there is a page stating the question or the request, it’s pretty easy to follow along once you see the flow of thought.

 As for topics, the Copt covers quite a bit. One person asks about defeat; another asks about solitude. A woman in the audience, described as “the wife of a trader,” asks about sex. (It seemed a little unlikely to me that a woman would have asked such a question, at such a time and in such a place. But perhaps her position as the wife of a trader explains this away somehow.) There is a discussion of elegance, of miracles, and of luck. All in all, I wouldn’t say that there’s much in the way of fresh insight in here, but the value in the book is that sometimes something familiar can have a big impact when it’s said in a new way.

In the cycle of nature there is no such thing as victory or defeat; there is only movement … there are neither winners nor losers; there are only stages that must be gone through. When the human heart understands this, it is free and able to accept difficult times without being deceived by moments of glory.

These things have been said time and again throughout history. But as I noted above, restating the same idea in a slightly different way can make a significant difference in how an individual receives the insight.

The only thing that really confused me about the book was the opening part of the preface. There is a brief description of the finding of the Nag Hammadi, and then the following:

The papyruses are Greek translations of texts written between the end of the first century BC and AD 180, and they constitute a body of work also known as the Apocryphal Gospels because they are not included in the Bible as we know it today. Now, why is that?

In AD 170, a group of bishops met to decide which text would form part of the New Testament. The criterion was simple enough: anything that could be used to combat the heresies and doctrinal divisions of the age would be included. The four gospels we know today were chosen, as were the letters from the apostles and whatever else was judged to be, shall we say, “coherent” with what the bishops believed to be the main tenet of Christianity. The other books, like those found in Nag Hammadi, were omitted either because they were written by women (for example, the Gospel according to Mary Magdalene) or because they depicted a Jesus who was aware of his divine mission and whose passage through death would, therefore, be less drawn out and painful.

There’s far more information out there about the seven ecumenical councils, at which the text of the New Testament continued to be discussed; the first of these did not occur until AD 325. What is more, the idea that the canon was fixed in 170 is a bit misleading to say the least, especially when you consider the fact that Hebrews, James, and 3 John were not listed in the Muratorian Canon.

When I started reading I approached the rest of the book with interest but a little confusion about the aim of the information. In my opinion, the book would be better served without the majority of the preface, if only because it’s somewhat vague in intent. If you set it aside, however, there are plenty of nuggets of insight to be found and enjoyed in the main text of the book, so for those who find the quotes above interesting this would make for an enjoyable read.

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