Love and Rage by Nupur Dhingra Paiva

I have mixed feelings about this book. I had ordered this book in haste because I was looking for answers or rather quick fixes to deal with my ‘teenage’ daughter.

I was at a fix. There were times when I felt that an ‘alien’ was living with me in place of my daughter. Funny…and yet not so funny!!

I ordered this book thinking that it had case studies and ways to deal with children. But when I started reading I realised that I did not find answers…something I was desperately looking for!!

The book has essays/write-ups/well researched articles. She has given insights on matters like bedtime, breast feeding, anxiety, fathers,divorce, etc. through her own practice as a psycho therapist. But as a psychology student I found the writer to be self-indulgent and trying to steer the reader towards her perspective of the emotional trauma or problems dealt by people. It lacked objectivity. The writer herself has struggled due to her parents’ divorce, an indifferent mother and her own shy nature. No doubt her book is unpretentious and I loved it for that. It takes a lot of grit to share your personal life. 
So…the mixed feeling about the book…!!

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Beyond the Last Blue Mountain: A Life of JRD Tata by R.M. Lala

A book that inspires you…
A book that nudges you to move out of your comfort zone…
A book that lists the achievements of a unforgettable industrialist who contributed for the progress of the nation…
A book that narrates the ordeals faced by this extraordinary man and yet he was never daunted by the adversities…
A book that tells about many facets of a man who made a difference in the lives of thousands of people…
A book about a man who instilled confidence in others even though he was tough task master…
An autobiography of a man who made people notice Indians in the international arena…

A book about JRD Tata…the visionary, the industrialist, the philanthropist, the perfectionist, the aviator!!

The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

Gerald Durrell, the author, the naturalist, the conservationist has become my latest addiction. He has engulfed me into his world of animals, insects, birds, sea-creatures and also the human beings that surround him.

Though he is long dead after doing much for the animal world by researching, collecting and starting a zoo in Jersey, Britain, his legacy lives on.

When I read his work I am not just a reader, he doesnt let me sit at a distance and be a mere spectator. He entices me, involves me into the nuances of the creatures, the places that he explores. I have sailed with him on numerous ocassions to look for rare flora and fauna in the sea next to Corfu. When he describes cuttlefish or terrapin…I imagine them as the most beautiful creatures but when I Google them for images they are ugly ones…but not in the eyes of Gerald Durrell and not for me either. 
He inspired me to work with wild animals and I have been on the look out for voluntary organisations who genuinely work for such animals.

Not only his description of animals leaves me in awe but also his account of his family and other people he mixes with is equally interesting. When I start reading I have a smile and that slowly broadens. Infact Aamya has caught me giggling many a times when I am immersed in his world.

So far I have read
– My Family and other animals
– Birds, Beasts and relatives
– A Zoo in my luggage
– Marrying of mother and other stories
– The overloaded Ark
I am sure I can’t stop before I read all his books!!

The Inner Life of Krishnamurti – Private passion and perennial wisdom by Aryel Sanat

Ever since I was introduced to J Krishnamurti, I have been fascinated by his life. Though I had read only one book prior to this one, I wanted to know more about him. So, I didn’t gv a second thought when I came across this book.

This book has been an eye-opener for me. To the world Krishnamurti or K (as this author addresses him throughout the book) was a renowned philosopher, orator and educator and that’s how even I perceived him. But there was so much more to his private life.

This book accounts his esoteric life, his episodes of hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. He accepted, though not openly, that he was just a body/medium/ vehicle being used by the Masters to deliver their messages to the world. He was been equated to the likes of Gautama Buddha, Christ and Maitreya. The people close to him have witnessed him when he was going through ‘the Process’ to be prepared as a vehicle of the Masters.

This book made me aware of terms like theosophy, clairvoyance, Masters, kundalini, perennial philosophy, occult, Chinese energy wisdom, mutation, spontaneous awakening, etc. I had to pick the dictionary, make notes and yet I continued because I was intrigued by his world…by a world I knew existed but I could never acknowledge. We are conditioned to see black and white but there are shades of grey infact the shades of grey dominate the world.

The book has few teachings or rather words of Krishnamurti but largely it enumerates the experiences of this great personality who was called the manifestation of Buddha or Christ. How he was ‘discovered’ by a theosophist because he had an aura around him. ‘The Process’ he went through, later his detachment from any religious or occult society. The emergence of ‘Krishnamurti’…a theory/ an individual/ an unmatched life which can’t be described in words.

To end this review, Ks words in the book:
“I wanted to find out what was meant by taking of a vehicle by the World-Teacher, and what meant by His manifestation in the world. I am going to be purposely vague, because although I could quite easily make it definite, it is not my intention to do so. Because once you define a thing it becomes dead. If you make a thing definite you are trying to give an interpretation which in the minds of others will take a definite form and hence they will be bound by that form from which they will have to liberate themselves”

The Last Colour by Vikas Khanna

India with all its glory, rich culture and heritage is also home to some of the worst customs and traditions. The sad saga of widows is one of them. In the past, when a woman’s husband died she was either ill-treated or left to her own devices.

‘The Last Color’ is one poignant story of lives of widows in Varanasi who are devoid of basic pleasures of taste, colour, relations, touch! They are forced to live a life of abstinence.
The writer through the characters portrays the life of these widows who are forced to leave their homes and live in Varanasi in the ashrams till they acquire moksh…and the moksh could be acquired in few months or maybe not for eons, like Noor, the main character!

Noor was married off to an elderly man when she was just 10 years old. Within a few months her husband dies of ill-health. That day Noor is stripped off all the colour, beauty, taste, relations and touch from her life! Only left with ‘white’…the colour of her saree and ‘white’ the tasteless rice that she eats everyday!

She’s been living in the ashram for 60 long, ‘white’ years when she meets a girl of 9 years, Chotti. Noor is looked down upon when her ashram inmates come to know that her motherly instincts had surfaced due to a street urchin. How could she harbour such feelings being a widow?

My heart cringed when I read about the ill-treatment meted out to her just because she sipped a cup of tea, read a book by Rabindranath Tagore (the only item she had carried from her family heirloom and kept it hidden from the world), painted her toenails pink on Chotti’s insistence or harboured the thought to play Holi after 60 ‘white’ years in the ashram. She was made to realise that even the thought of colour and taste had made her sinner and she ought to do her penance.

Read this book to experience the life of Noor and other widows when they were prohibited from playing Holi few years back…to the present when they play Holi with a joyous abandon after the Supreme Court passed a verdict in their favour.

Empress of the Taj: In search of Mumtaz Mahal by Timeri N. Murari

To start with I am a big fan of Timeri N. Murari. I have read many of his works, both fiction and non-fiction. I have enjoyed his historical fictions and that’s how I ordered this book without realising that it falls in the category Non-fiction/Travel/History. I was skeptical for a start but once I embarked on the journey there was no looking back.

The journey was to know more about Arjumand aka Mumtaz Mahal, about whom history doesn’t have much mention. It is only Shah Jahan who could not part with her even in death and erected the most magnificent monument which people see with awe. The author travels to places where Arjumand spent time, lived and breathed her last. He was trying to understand Arjumand so that he could write a novel, a novel that became a best seller, ‘Taj’.

I love the author’s narratives. The complex scenes of the daily life or the mundane is defined with fluidity. You become part of his world. In fact in this book, I have explored places with him, walked the dusty paths of palaces and forts. He describes each moment with precision. The handling of the government officials and their attitudes are described impeccably. He looks beyond the ‘today’ to understand the lives of people in different parts of India and how their behaviour, their attitude towards life has been shaped by the intruders and tumultuous historical events. He finds the amalgamation of cultures and clans through these historical events.

He trudges through centuries within a span of a sentence, giving due importance to each era. One moment you would be standing with Shah Jahan and the next moment he brings you to the present day, present moment to deal with the sentry posted at the gates of the old forlorn fort. He describes the splendour, the grandeur of not only the Mughal Kings but also the kings associated with them.

I have enjoyed every bit of this excellent account of the journey to find tit-bits about Mumtaz Mahal in Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Ranthambore, Indore, Asirgarh and lastly Burhanpur. Though this was not what I was looking for in this book but I am left speechless with his honest and frank narratives.

A must read esp. for Timeri fans!!

‘Rosy is my Relative’ by Gerald Durrell

Are you feeling down and out? Do you need an antidote to boredom? Or would you like to enjoy a riot of laughter in the quiet corner or your house? And are you an animal lover? If the answer to any one of the questions is in the affirmative, then don’t think twice, pick up the book ‘Rosy is my Relative’, find a quiet corner and read on!! A quiet corner is most important because when you start to giggle all by yourself you are bound to make people raise an eyebrow.

The novel is set the later part of 19th century Britain. So the canvas of the story is visited by people from aristocracy; Lord and Lady Fenneltree, Sir Augustus, Sir Magnus the people from the ‘hunt’ and many more. They are admiringly confused and humorous.

But the most astonishing character is Rosy, the elephant, who has a penchant for liquor. Yup, Rosy the elephant has an unquenchable thirst for liquor. She has been left behind to Adrian Rookwhistle, by an uncle. Adrian’s life had never failed to be topsy-turvy and it became dramatic with the entry of Rosy, the liquor fan relative.

Adrian sets forth a journey with Rosy in tow through the countryside, in the hope to give her away to a circus 🎪. On his way, he meets these funny people who liven up your life with their characteristics traits and Gerald Durrell’s humorous narration of events that unfold as Rosy and Adrain spread chaos in the otherwise peaceful countryside. They end up in the courtroom, to tickle your funny bone, make you giggle and witness the funny proceedings of the courtroom.

Rosy is my relative is indeed a delightful read! Go ahead read this novel and have a hearty laugh!!

The Nature’s Child

“What if I have a love story? How would it be? What would it be like?”, she asked herself. And suddenly a thought crossed her mind. “Why did she feel the need to begin with a love story in her life? Being single, was she missing having a partner? Did life feel incomplete?”

She had been a loner…always. She had those ideas in her mind…the ones that made her different from the league. The people could never fathom the difference between them and her, but certainly she was not one-of-them. So, was it because of her physical structure that she stood out? But her physique was just like the others. No, it wasn’t the physical aspect of her personality. It was something else, something unique about her. But then, she never claimed that she stood out… She always hid herself behind a curtain of her own thoughts…the thoughts that played in her mind constantly. The thoughts that made her distinctive.

Did her thoughts make her a psychological wreck? Certainly No! She was as normal as you and me and yet she was made of a different kind. She was happy in her own world. One moment she would be listening to you and the very next moment she escaped into her cocoon…away from the hum-drum of regular life, a regular-life-lived-by-regular-people.

Once inside, she would curl up and let all the energy seep into her being from the tiny pores of the cocoon. It was the energy that one gains from the surroundings, from the stillness, when the thoughts are frozen. Everything stops…within too! Every time she stopped, the Nature took over and connected her to the cosmos. Afterall, she was the Nature’s child.

Blogging: a spiritual experience!!

Ever since I started my own blog…

✏️ my reading speed has slowed down; I try to savour every word and encase it my ‘mindful’ list of words to be explored and used in my writings.

✏️ I learnt to use new virtual tools; these tools assisted me to showcase my writing skill in an aesthetic way with additional information.

✏️I am learning to explore; explore new ideas, new thoughts, new words, new ways of presenting my blogs.

✏️ I have become more observant of my surroundings; I pause, I observe even the minutest detail of things that transpire around me.

✏️ I breathe in the smell, if not the fragrance of every event; yes, there is a fragrance, odour, aroma associated with each sentient being, with every event, with every thing around…don’t you think so!?!

✏️ I have become more mindful; whenever I pause, I reflect!

✏️ Every moment, every experience has become spiritual; because it now concerns about deep thoughts, feelings and emotions!

✏️I am giving voice to my inner feelings; and that’s the reason I had the most tumultuous times in the last 6 months…I was jolted, shaken but not beaten 😋

✏️ I have learnt to take criticism with a smile, analyse and improve; earlier ‘criticism’ meant ‘shutting myself in the Cancerian shell’.

✏️ I have interacted with numerous people, touched their hearts, was elated to bring them closer to the nature.

And yet one thing remains unchanged. I don’t write what is socially acceptable.

I write what I like!! 😊🤩😊