Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The secret of the Nagas

I have never written book reviews as far as I can remember. But, there is always a first time and no better book than the “Secret of Nagas”. Amish the author of “Shiva Triology” has a unique gift of imagination, the art of storytelling and an amazing ability to blend mythology with fiction. How many authors you have read, can boast of such talents?

"The Secret of the Nagas" is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The way Amish has brought in the innumerable aspects of our mythology to bring one of the most amazingly written gripping story speaks volumes of his artistry in writing.

Growing up I had always been fascinated with Lord Ganesha. The combination of a human and Elephant made him my favorite Gods. His deformity, if you can call that, was what actually made him the most attractive. And I still remember how I used to listen to stories from my parents about his life, how he was born and how he managed to get an elephant head for himself. It always intrigued me, mesmerized me and captivated my imagination. Over time my curiosity, my thought process et al got the better of me and that’s when questioning all these concepts and stories started. It led to what I now understand about the great ‘Hindu’ culture, its practices and its way of life.

But what has that got to do with Amish’s “Shiva Triology”? It has everything to do with that. The whole assumption of Gods and their supernatural powers is thrown out and he starts with the simple concepts of how these characters were plain humans with extraordinary thought process, determination, ability to fight against all odds, but still make mistakes and correct them along the way. It talks about how Shiva is born in a remote Himalayan Mountain (Mt. Kailash) as a son of a tribal chief and had to fight mortal enemies (other tribal chiefs) just to survive and live.

The flow of events makes him to choose a path that will ultimately led him to a land called “Meluha” – a perfect society following the rules formed by Lord Rama. These people were the Suryavanshi’s and the their enemies were the Chandravanshi’s. And, they believed the only way peace can be restored in “India” was to force the people of Chandravanshi’s to follow their way of life. The whole crux of the book is that ultimately “Evil needs to be destroyed”. But the fun part is that the definition of Evil is something that changes among various people based on their perceptions.

And these perceptions within an individual change too. This is seen even in the great Shiva as he tries to find and destroy evil. The ‘Nagas’ add a third element in the entire story bringing in all facets of our community and inturn our various Gods into the story. What makes the book simply beautiful is the way Sati, Shiva, Ganesh, Kali and other Gods, are introduced in the story and how they behave, their characters and their perceptions of good and evil. And all this is brought together by a great story.

According to the author its all fiction. But who said mythology is not? But by bringing the gods to the level of humans and then making them extraordinary through their actions, thoughts and sometimes mistakes makes it much more believable than the actual/original stories of God. This story epitomizes the philosophy of a way of life. It brings in philosophy and morals in a way that no story does. It makes you believe on why there is a God in each one of us. Makes you question why we can’t be Gods and makes you ponder on your decisions and the way you lead your life.

It also shows that first one needs to believe in oneself before one can even try to succeed (Even Shiva faces this problem). One needs to learn from ones mistakes and have the humility to accept the mistakes. One needs to work hard for everything one does and nothing comes easy.

So in short, the characters in the book are all from actual mythology but the story isnt. At the end of the day it’s the aspects of philosophy, human behavior and its contradictions that makes you think. All this he does by making the story a page-turner for even a layman. And that’s the best part according to me.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend this book but would recommend that you read the first book "The Immortals of Meluha" before reading this one.

I am eagerly awaiting ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’ - the final book in the series.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supporting Anna Hazare..? Why?

I have been following posts/opinions on Anna Hazare at FB, Blogs and other places. After reading a post from a friend of mine I thought it’s better to put my thoughts in place and come up with reasons why anyone should support Anna..:)

Before I go to my points, I want you to read this..


This was a post written by Amit Verma (whom I greatly admire for his opinions/articles) back in April and he had made very good points. Do i disagree with him on the points raised? Nope, they are perfectly valid and correct.. However, do i completely agree with him? Nope again..

There are certain aspects I beg to differ..

We are at a point where corruption is so deep rooted that something needs to be done.. Whatever that is.. Until a few months back, there was no avenue for anyone to fight back and now people have found it in Anna Hazare.. And that’s the difference..

Even though I wholeheartedly agree with "reforms" as a way to go, i have no freaking way to ensure that happens.. Now you tell me what a common man is supposed to do? Wait for next 30 years to see if anyone will start a fast on reforms and then support him? I believe inaction/no-action is worse than not trying at all..

So until there is someone out there who can take up the mantle of reforms, there is no way that will become the strategy to fight against corruption (My reasons on why i support him later).. And do you think people like Dr. Manmohan Singh doesn’t know about it? Sorry, he deserves more credit than that.. He knows but the lust for power (or whatever that makes him to continue to be PM) has made him to keep quiet.. If he had any semblance of Integrity left he would have resigned long time back..

Anyway coming back to the point, so where do 'I' go from here? Since i dont have anyone to support the right method, and since I don’t want to give up my 'lifestyle' and dedicate my life to fight corruption (this is why Sathyaghraha works – it’s a easier method than violent movement and one need not need too much capital for this kind of protest. People can relate, understand and support it without losing much) i will go ahead and support Anna on his fast, whom I credit for atleast shaking the system. This would definitely bring another powerhouse in place but then most regulatory bodies in this world can be considered as an "alternative powerhouse'. The question would then come whether it will be misused, now that I do not have an answer to... But unlike people who oppose Anna, I am optimistic about it and want to give it a try.. If it doesn’t work maybe 20 years (just an approx number) down the line people would do another Sathyaghraha to abolish it and bring in reforms..

But i am willing to give it a shot mainly because I don’t have any other option and i want to break the current shackles..What do you say to that? As an informed supporter i wish to give it a try..

Either way, i don’t want the bill to get passed in its current form.. It really doesn’t make any sense.. One more layer of bill which is not applicable to people at the top..?

You know how a organizations culture/character is built? Its ridiculous to say its just the employees who build the character...Because that’s totally wrong.. Its the character of the CEO/Leader who builds the culture in an organization... If he is lethargic and corrupt the rest will be the same.. If he is thinking out of the box and encourages entrepreneurial activity, then the organization will pick up that culture over a period of time.. Look around for any company and you will see what I mean.. So now that I have a bill that can potentially reduce the corruption at highest places then I think it might actually work.. Lets give it a shot, its better than not doing anything..

Lastly, people talk too lightly on him going fast or they take offense when this is compared to the next freedom struggle.. Please bear in mind that fasts have been a method of protest in India for many years and a lot of people go on fast on many issues (Telangana, Ganga cleansing etc).. But why is that in this case it has caused so much of a stir?!? That’s because people are fed up with what they are seeing and they want a change.. And Anna is giving them an avenue.. Without the support of the people this wouldn’t have become such a big issue (and of course not to discount our so call ‘media’)..

When Barrack Obama made all those speeches about 'Change' people thought another Jesus was born, but most see what he has done now apart from talking.. But you know what? they atleast tried and gave him a chance.. They are better because of that.. An inaction is worse than a wrong action is what i feel..

This bill may not lead us anywhere and it might even worsen it, but atleast we would have tried it rather than just ranting.. It’s a path/risk I am willing to take..

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Pains

I can feel the pressure building, and can sense the steam charting its escape route, the heat creating a painful degree of smolder and the temperature is soaring. Sometimes you feel its just the beginning while other times you wish it had all ended. You are hungry for more and at the same time you really don’t want the same thing day and night. Life could have been more simpler but then it wouldn’t have been this fun, isn’t it? You ask yourself why does it take so damn long and it whistles right back at you asking you to have patience. Patience and graceful handling of uncertainties are virtues that I am yet to master and life has a tendency to always test you on things that you are yet to master on!!

Ohh, my dear pressure cooker, please finish cooking that rice. I am starving!

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Some days a lot gets done and yet at the end of the day instead of feeling tired, you are refreshed and you want do more. It’s not that everything goes like clockwork, it’s not that the net result is perfect (infact it will far from it!), it’s not that you have achieved success at the end of it, but still you are happier and life seems simpler. Those are the days you have tried the hardest, slept the least, worked towards a goal and made that day count!
Those are the days you wonder why can’t every day be like this? Some days are just like this.. And lately most days are becoming like this...Sign of good and hard times to come?