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Posts from — June 2013

Book Review: Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

Title: Chanakya’s Chant
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Westland Ltd. (January 1st 2010)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Read: Paperback
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Goodreads)
The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father. Cold, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals, he becomes the most powerful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great. Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and succeeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the mighty Mauryan empire.

History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya. Satisfied—and a little bored—by his success as a kingmaker, through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Arthashastra, the ‘science of wealth’. But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in smalltown India who becomes puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals—including a certain slumchild who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.

Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics and this landscape is Gangasagar’s feasting ground. Can this wily pandit—who preys on greed, venality and sexual deviance—bring about another miracle of a united India? Will Chanakya’s chant work again?

My Review:



Cover: Eye-catchy!

Paper and font: Easy on the hands and eyes.

Readability, language: Easy read…

Why did I choose this book: Because of Chanakya.

In 340 BC Chanakya sets out to take revenge for his fathers death. In a revenge that spans years he thwarts Alexander, unites Kingdoms and puts Chandragupta Maurya on the throne. Having accomplished his revenge and dream he steps back to write his Arthashastra.
Ages later Gangasagar Mishra stumbles upon a chant written by Chanakya. Possessing qualities like Chanakya, he sets out to play the game of political intrigue with the objective of making his chosen disciple the Prime Minister on India.

Considering the book is about a cursed chant discovered, that is connected to Chanakya the title is quite appropriate. A copper tinted cover with a mix of ancient and modern coins is eye catchy and the blurb makes you want to read the book.

Chanakya is a known name, almost everyone has either studied about him in school or watched a story on TV. The one thing Chanakya is known for is his cunning. He is the Indian equivalent of Merlin, scheming and plotting until he put Chandragupta Maurya on the throne.
Sanghi retells the story of Chanakya with a twist – Gangasagar Mishra, the modern day Chanakya. He switches between Chanakya’s time and the present day as he draws political parallels. The plot is interesting and for a political noob like me it was an insight into what transpires behind the curtain.

The book is set in present day India and Chanakya’s time around 340 BC; both have been described well. It was a trip down memory lane re-imagining places I’d read about first in school – Takshila University, Pataliputra, Magadha, Paurus, Alexander… How I wish I could have studied at Takshila.
In the present day the story travels from small town Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi on a journey that makes a small time party a national political power.

Mainly revolving around Chanakya in old times and Gangasagar in present day, the story has a host of other characters supporting the plot. Both the protagonists go about using the people around them to achieve their goals, losing sight of the people themselves most times. Chanakya uses Suvasini, the woman he loves without remorse in furthering his grand plans. Gangasagar gets his disciple Chandini shot when he thinks it would benefit their political career.
The cunning and witty Chanakya may have been the best at the political game but he was also a cold calculating man with very few emotional attachments. Chanakya’s Chant is an insight into the man Chanakya was, and not just the political strategist.

Sanghi maintains a good pace and ties up the story well. There are of course a lot of plots and sub-plots, and sometimes you get muddled about characters but it all fits in at the end. Considering that it’s two stories running parallel, there was a lot happening and sometimes I lost track of things. But it could also just be the naive political me who missed the nuances.

When I first came across the book, I thought it was about Chanakya, so I was disappointed to find Chanakya sharing page space with Gangasagar. That said, I don’t have any other complaints about the book.

This was the first book of Ashwin Sanghi’s that I read, and it set the benchmark for his work. No wonder then that The Rozabal Line, his first book was hugely disappointing and The Krishna Key, his third was a redemption as it looks like Sanghi is getting better with each book.

Unlike The Rozabal Line and The Krishna Key, Chanakya’s Chant is a political thriller and if that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy this book.

About the Author:
Ashwin Sanghi is an entrepreneur by day, novelist by night and has all the usual qualifications of an Indian businessman. ‘The Rozabal Line’ was originally self-published in 2007 under his anagram-pseudonym—Shawn Haigins. In 2008 Westland published the book in India under his own name. Ashwin lives in Mumbai with his wife, Anushika, and his eight-year old son, Raghuvir. His website is www.ashwinsanghi.com.

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

June 27, 2013   2 Comments

My Mom’s, Harry Potter and Jackfruit

Photo Credit: The Snitch Harry Potter Movie Galleries


Both my mothers are voracious readers and it’s most likely where Che and I get our appetite for the printed word. This weekend Che and I went to Kovilpatti to catch up family. I love visiting Mom, Dad and Mamai. Mom is so like my own, it’s almost like hanging out with my own, Mamai like my Nanisaheb hovers around constantly looking for ways to get you to eat something and Dad, well, I don’t have my own any more so I treasure every moment I get with him.

Anyway away from the senti and back to Mom and reading. This weekend I got an insight into Mom’s way of reading. (I devour books, like I’m in a rush and there’s not enough time to read it all; which there truly isn’t.) Mom and I got talking as usual about books and she was saying she had yet to finish Oath of Vayuputras. I expressed surprise, after all I started after her and have finished a few books after that too. So she told me a moral from Harry Potter that I just hadn’t seen.

“The Dementors suck happiness out of the person and the only way to combat them is the Patronus charm. But the Patronus charm needs an extremely happy thought to be powerful. Moral – It takes happiness to beat unhappiness. When your unhappy and down, think of happy memories, think of things that make you happy and you draw in happiness. You beat all the unhappiness in your life.”

I hadn’t seen this in all my readings of Harry Potter, such a simple lesson to be always happy. I had no words, I felt such love for this woman, how did I get so lucky to have her for a Mom. I love you Mom :)

In other news, I didn’t get much reading and blogging done last week :( But I did spend a lot of time with family. :)

Caught up with Mom, Bro and Nanisaheb after a long time. It had been months since I had done an overnighter. Mom and I chatted about all & sun-dry and the mundane after a long time. Get went out visiting family friends, got wet in the rain and got all messing peeling open and preparing jackfruit. It was fun three days!

The plants have fared well during my absence, the gel seems to be working well and I’m looking forward to more planting after the monsoon. The dogs are doing great at Windward Kennels, I miss them but I’ve learned that I should enjoy our separations too. But I’ve been learning a few tricks and the dogs are in for some fun surprises when they get back :)

The book highlight of this week was getting my first ever delivery from Amazon. 😀

Now onto my weekly round-up that I just caught up with. Here’s some stuff you should read from the various universes I live in.

From My Culinary Universe…

Swati shares the recipe of these awesome looking Mango Coconut Cupcakes that are just so tempting to bite into. I’m hoping I can get my hands on some mangoes before they disappear for this year.

My friend Priya who lives on the outskirts of the beautiful Greater Rann of Kutch has started a food blof and she’s been sharing some really cool recipes. Here’s one – Spiced Baby Watermelons.

From My Book Universe…

Chris’s review of Cards On the Table by Agatha Christie reminded me of a to-do I had. I’ve wanted to read all Christie’s books for a while now. Time to start, so I think I’ll aim to read and review one every month.

Oh yes Good Reads does need a locate my book feature 😀 Mella Hopper depicts it well in her cartoon.

From My Crafting Universe…

Stephanie crocheted these lovely potholders/dishcloths that even have loops to hang them up. I should try and make these sometime.

For all my friends who either have newborns or are expecting. Karuna’s made this lovely 1st Year Baby Book for her daughter Anika, that you should make too :)

From My Doggie Universe…

From what Jennifer says it seems the ticks situation is bad in Ohio too. There have been quite a few tick fever cases I’ve heard of lately.

Angel has this lovely Grain-free Homemade Carrot and Banana Dog Cookie Recipe that I’d like to make for my dogs but how the hell do I get my hands on coconut flour. Any idea where I can get it?

My friend Sindhoor finished the course on Canine Theriogeniology that I kindof let go in the middle (I know, bad girl me). Here’s her take on to spay or not to spay….

From My Online World…

Shankar’s put up a great list of Advanced Techniques for Search on Google you should bookmark for future use.

I am always on tenter hooks when working for clients on Facebook. It’s so easy to slip and have a face-palm moment. Here’s the goof-up on the Walmart page from last week and 10 tips Infographic from Shortstack to make more meaningful status messages once you’ve avoided the goof-up. :)

Whitney had a Pin Party on her blog this weekend that sounds like so much fun. I’m looking forward to participating in the next one.

Phew, that was long and took a while, almost the whole day but the upside is I caught up with most of my reading in Feedly. Now I just need to do it a little everyday. Will let you know how that works out.

What have you been upto last week?

June 24, 2013   8 Comments

Book Review: Scammed: Confessions of a Confused Accountant by Anonymous

Title: Scammed: Confessions of a Confused Accountant
Author: Anonymous
Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: Grey Oak/Westland India (2011)
Genre: Accounting Fiction
Read: Paperback
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: FlipKart
Summary: (Goodreads)
Life is miserable for Hitesh Shah, despite his coveted job in a top accounting firm. Labelled a nerd by colleagues, ignored by women and rebuked by parents, Hitesh cannot resist when offered a lucrative job as the CEO of an off shoot of the failing automobile company, Supreme Motors. So what if the owner Venugopal Reddy, a sleazy businessman with political connections, actually wants Hitesh to fix the company to save his skin? Hitesh’s drive and quest for success helps turn the Company’s fortunes around; he is seen a rising corporate star, he begins dating a model and is pampered by parents.

Championed as the poster boy of emerging India, Hitesh’s fairy tale ends quickly. As his cursed luck would have it, he is soon on the run from the law – allegedly as the perpetrator of a financial scam and accused of defrauding thousands of investors! With his back against the wall, and growing public and media opinion against him, will Hitesh come out of the mess he finds himself in?

My Review:


Cover: So-so!

Paper and font: Smell-Worthy! Would have preferred a bigger font though.

Readability, language: Oh boss, It’s easy yaar!

Why did I choose this book: An anonymous author got me wondering about what was hidden in the book.

A depressed Hitesh who is at a dead-end at work gets a lucrative job offer. He gets to be CEO and set-up a company. But in trying to solve one problem he takes on a host of them. He gets money, car, house and status at a huge price. Caught in a scandal not of his creation, Hitesh is on the run to save his life.

Considering that this is the story of Hitesh who is an accountant who unknowingly is involved in a scam, the title is appropriate. The cover is very ordinary, nothing that makes the book stand out. The blurb though does spark an interest and expectation of action in the book.

I haven’t read a lot of accounting based books so this was a new sector for me. The intelligence and audacity behind scams astounded me. This book was a learning in White Collar crime in India. The plot is well laid out and the perpetrators are known, what’s unknown is how Hitesh will get out of the pickle.

Set in Hyderabad and Vizag the book is full of ‘boss’ and ‘yaar’ to a point where it started to irritate me. But yes, the author is authentic to the places and people in Andhra today. And in a country currently passing through a phase of scams, the story is believable.

The characters in Scammed are quite well chalked out. I don’t know if it was the intention of the author but I came to detest Hitesh. Initially I thought he was naive but you soon realise he’s plain dumb. He gets used by two girls, abused by his parents, walked over by his boss, scammed by his new bosses and in all of this he doesn’t learn. And yet in the end he gets a second chance and the girl. He’s the poor victim!

Like almost all big scams, even this one has a lot of facets and levels to the scam. They are all introduced, matured and tied up in the end by the author. I don’t have any complaints of the story, though the love bits were a bit ‘katcha’, not well written and as I read it I was thinking, is this for real.

The climax wasn’t so bad but the end was disappointing. Why do authors have to write an ‘After __ Years’ at the end.

The language of the book is good except for exceptional mistakes like the lead characters name changing from Hitesh to Aditya suddenly at one place in the book. The dialogues are realistic and you can almost hear the character say it, but if ‘boss’ and ‘yaar’ is actually used so much, I’m glad I don’t live in Hyderabad, I’d go nuts.

After reading the book I’m wondering why the author chose to stay anonymous. There’s definitely nothing in the book to give him or her reason to hide. Looks like the “Anonymous’ is just a sales gimmick.

A good book to read if you have an interest in politics and finance, and love the words ‘boss’ and ‘yaar’.

About the Author:
A little investigation led me to find that the Anonymous author was Ahmed Faiyaz. A BookChums interview said, he was known as “a Chartered Accountant and Management Consultant by accident, a civil servant by day and a writer by night. A voracious reader and a lover of cinema. And of course the Managing Director, Grey Oak Publishers.”. You can follow his blog at simplyfiction.wordpress.com

Special Note: Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Vidya for lending me this book. Head over to Vidya’s blog to read her review of Scammed.

Buy On: FlipKart

June 18, 2013   2 Comments

Three Books and a Reservoir

This has been a good week, it’s been a long time since I took a break and five days of putting my feet up and not having a to-do list was just awesome.

Che and I decided to take an impromptu holiday and headed out to a friend’s farm near Hassan on Monday. I’d been to the farm a few years back, but I hadn’t ever seen it at the start of the monsoon. It’s green!
The farm is on the banks of the Hemavati Reservoir so there is no shortage of water but the monsoon still transforms the land. Everything becomes an unbelievable lush green and you can’t tear your eyes away.

Hassan has lovely weather, cool through the year but right now it was nippy and refreshing at the same time. The cold winds bring in a drizzle ever so often and showers now and then. It’s almost like a constant drizzle with muted sunshine sometimes and rain otherwise. It was heavenly weather and I spent most of my time outside with a book and umbrella.
The breathtaking views and drizzly weather made for the perfect setting to read, and read I did. Made a significant dent in my reading list; got three books read. Yippee :)

Sitting outside also meant I saw some interesting fauna. There were these beautiful cranes I saw that hung around the cows, pure white bodies with a golden ruff of feathers starting at the head and running down the back. Also saw this very colourful frog. Do you no their names? Is the frog poisonous?

Che and I took several walks down to the water but somehow I wasn’t destined to reach the water. Every time I reached the ‘Village Gate’ it would start pelting rain and we had to make our way back trying to hide behind our umbrella as there is no cover available on the plains. The village folk say the arch in the middle of the reservoir plains is the gate to an old village that got submerged when the reservoir was created. But around the arch I found stone slabs with engravings that seemed to belong to a temple or place of worship. Wonder what had been here? What did the flourishing village look like before it was relocated?

Among other things… I was really worried about leaving my plants unattended for so long. The Guru Garden guys had recommended using water-soaked gel, so that’s what I did. It worked like a charm, the plants were all alive and well, even though we were a day late to return. To make it more potent, I had added nutrients to the water the gel was soaked in; and there’s been a definite spurt of growth that’s very visible in the tomatoes and mint.

My fruits have increased in number and are getting bigger. :) I hope it’s not too long a wait until my tomatoes are red and ready.

I’ve been trying to make blog reading a habit, well, for starters atleast follow my blogger friends blogs regularly. So here’s some posts from friends this week that I enjoyed and think you might find interesting.

Farida has a way with words, here’s short story by her that got me smiling. And all that said in 55 words; you should read Gift!

People teach us lessons in some of the most amazing ways. Vidya’s insprirational story is featured this week on Indiblogeshwaris.

Bored of snacks? I get tired of one type of snack quickly and love variety. Seems in the US, I’d have options – Jennifer is a part of a program that gives you goodie boxes for $7. Wonder when we’ll get something like this in India?

People without pets have no clue about how much fun we have even when we are pulling our hair out. Leah’s had an episode of that this week with her cat Rocco. 😀

The week starts again tomorrow with lots of work on the to-do list but there is some travel and fun in it too. I’ve got my fingers crossed for it to turn out as well as it seems. What are you looking forward to next week?
Have a great week ahead!

June 16, 2013   No Comments

Book Review: My Wife and Other Problems, My Husband the Only Problem by Johnnie and Barbara Alves

Title: My Wife and Other Problems, My Husband the Only Problem
Author: Johnnie and Barbara Alves
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Better Yourself Books (2011)
Genre: Autobiography (short stories)
Read: Paperback
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Printasia
Summary: (Goodreads)
Here the writer-couple is poking fun at each other, making mundane matters laughable and painful confusion bearable.

My Review:


In school every year we would have a book sale organised and run by Christian Nuns and all proceeds would go towards a charitable cause. I used to save money through the year to be able to buy a couple of books. They were Indian prints, not great quality and fairly expensive, not by today’s standards but back then in the 90’s, thirty rupees was a lot of money. I remember reading Heidi, The Little Princess and a few others thanks to the Nuns. Heidi became one of my all time favourites, read so many times that I have lost count and I still have that old copy from childhood. :)

Last month I had a another sinus attack and off I went to St. John’s Hospital to get it checked before it got really bad like two years ago. The Nun’s had a stall up at the entry and the sight of those books filled me with nostalgia. Feeling all warm and fuzzy I decided the Doctor could wait, I needed to browse. As I skimmed the titles, one book jumped out at me, it would to any married woman 😀

“My Wife and Other Problems, My Husband the Only Problem”

At 100 bucks it wasn’t a big risk and my money would anyway go to charity so I didn’t think much and just picked it up. And it paid off, the book was a laugh riot, well mostly.

Three fourth of the book is written by Johnnie Alves and the rest is finished by Barbara Alves. We women always have the last word don’t we 😀

The Alves’s live in Bombay and the city shines through in Johnnie’s writing. The people and Anglo-culture brought many a smile to my face as I remembered friends and people I know.

Johnnie’s writing is like a breath of fresh air, simple with no fancy words, he tells stories that make you laugh. However he does seem to be giving a sermon in a few stories. Barbara on the other hand; I expected a lot more of her. Don’t get me wrong, she’s good. But after Johnnie’s introduction to her, I had pictured a more potent Barbara.

The book is a collection of short stories in which Johnnie and Barbara recount stories from their married life, the high’s and low’s and up’s and down’s, that any husband or wife will immediately relate too. Of course both of them may interpret it differently and that’s right there in the title – The husband would see sarcasm but a wife sees truth in the title “My Wife and Other Problems, My Husband the Only Problem”.

This is a fun must read for anyone who’s married or been married 😀

June 11, 2013   No Comments

Swatch, Wood, Fruits and a Flood

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy, and I haven’t been able to blog much. Just getting the book reviews posted was a challenge. But things kind of eased off a bit recently and Che and I have been doing a lot of stuff.

Last Sunday I went to the Microsoft Office 365 Education Indiblogger Meet. This was my second Indiblogger event. I’d felt like such a stranger at my first one, it was nice to look forward to faces this time. A shout out to my friends – Vidya Sury who is such a wonderful bubbly person, Farida an awe-inspiring woman who writes ‘Chapters From My Life’, Priya who writes a Home Living in Style blog, and last but not the least Siddharth, who is so little and yet so much… :) It was nice catching up with you guys. Special thanks to Vidya for tipping me off about the event and offering me an incentive to attend.

The event itself was so-so – the seating arrangement was non-existent, and so was the food. We had been promised lunch but we only got starters, which also disappeared even before the serving plates were put down. The Microsoft guys spoke for ages, and after a while a lot of people drifted away. I did have fun but more because of the people not the event. Highlight was that I won a Swatch watch in the twitter #Cloudblogathon contest.

This week Che also had a shoot at the KYNKYNY Furniture factory and I tagged along as assistant. Watching the precision they work the wood with was an awesome experience. I love the work and Vivek’s obsession with perfection. I hope to own a lot of KYNKYNY furniture someday :)

The highlight of my week was seeing fruits on my tomato and chilli plants. This is the first time I’m growing vegetables and herbs and I was so looking forward to this.

Other than all this, just when I thought I had caught up with my reading list and brought it under control, I got flooded with new books. Che gifted me with the Feast of Roses & Shadow Princess, book 2 & 3 of the Taj Mahal series by Indu Sundaresan for our 3rd anniversary. Vidya gave me three books at the Indiblogger event – The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian, Scammed: Confessions of a Confused Accountant by Anonymous, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. Got Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck from Booksneeze. And there’s two more from authors – Rising of a Dead Moon by Paul Haston and Jacob Hills by Ismita Tandon Dhanker.

I’ve got a packed week ahead with books and a holiday. :) Che and I are taking a few days off to visit a friends farm. I’m looking forward to some time away from the city, without lists and to-do’s. I so need some quiet time. Have you ever felt like you’ll burst if you don’t get away for a bit?

June 9, 2013   3 Comments

Book Review: The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

Title: The Krishna Key
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Paperback: 475 pages
Publisher: Westland (August 24th 2012)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller
Read: Paperback
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Goodreads)
Five thousand years ago, there came to earth a magical being called Krishna, who brought about innumerable miracles for the good of mankind. Humanity despaired of its fate if the Blue God were to die but was reassured that he would return in a fresh avatar when needed in the eventual Dark Age—the Kaliyug.

In modern times, a poor little rich boy grows up believing that he is that final avatar.
Only, he is a serial killer.

In this heart-stopping tale, the arrival of a murderer who executes his gruesome and brilliantly thought-out schemes in the name of God is the first clue to a sinister conspiracy to expose an ancient secret—Krishna’s priceless legacy to mankind.

Historian Ravi Mohan Saini must breathlessly dash from the submerged remains of Dwarka and the mysterious lingam of Somnath to the icy heights of Mount Kailash, in a quest to discover the cryptic location of Krishna’s most prized possession. From the sand-washed ruins of Kalibangan to a Vrindavan temple destroyed by Aurangzeb, Saini must also delve into antiquity to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice.

My Review:


Cover: Eye-Catchy!

Paper and font: Ebony and Ivory that’s Smell-Worthy!

Readability, language: An easy and fun read.

Why did I choose this book: After reading Chanakya’s Chant that was good and The Rozabal Line that was BAD, I had to read The Krishna Key to see if he gets better. He does.

The story involves a historian Ravi Mohan Saini getting sucked into a web of intrigue when his close friend is killed and he is accused. Prof. Ravi evades the police and is on the run while the assassin who believes he is Vishu’s 8th avatar is killing people and stealing valuable artefacts. The pieces being stolen are supposed to belong to Krishna’s time and when put together unlock a valuable secret.

The title is appropriate and the book has a nice cover that shows a padlocked door that is slightly open so a sliver of light shows, though the embossed book title in gold print wears off as you read and by the end, the book title is unreadable. Almost as if the book wants to hide it self 😀

Sanghi lays out a very intriguing plot through the story, constantly keeping me on my toes. It’s clear he has researched really well (the citations confirm it) for the book as he weaves a web that all ties up in the end. Sometimes it was difficult to believe the same guy who wrote Rozabal Line wrote this book. The Krishna Key is as good as Rozabal Line is bad.

Sanghi starts each chapter with a snippet of Krishna’s history from five thousand years ago and then comes back to today’s day and age as Prof. Saini rushes from Dwaraka to Somnath then Mount Kailash and other places trying to solve the Krishna puzzle. Saini describes the places well so I found it easy to imagine it all and to help he also has a lot of illustrations through the book.

Saini has quite a few characters in the book but they are memorable. He has given them all personality and depth. There’s Inspector Radhika Singh who makes you feel warm and proud even though she is quite a cold woman. Then there’s Priya Ratnani who is the eager student who wants to learn for learning sake and Prof. Ravi Mohan Saini who is intelligent and wise and yet gets swayed by love when it comes to Priya. That’s the first bone of contention I have with Sanghi. Did he really need to build in a love story to sell this book? Even without it the story is tight; the love mish-mash makes it wishy-washy.

The Krishna Key is a well written story in all aspects but one. The story is tight with a good pace, there are no lose ends, the characters are well sketched, the places well described with a good climax and anti-climax. My only complaint is the RSS propaganda. Just as in Rozabal Line, The Krishna Key is also filled with data about how it all started with Hinduism, only here its packaged better.

Of all the three books I have read by Ashwin Sanghi, The Krishna Key is the best. I may have trashed Rozabal Line but with each book Sanghi is getting better. I’m looking forward to his next book, it definitely looks like it’s going to be even better but I’m hoping it won’t be a Hinduism promotion again. You don’t need to be a mythology or folklore buff to enjoy this book, but if you are, you just might enjoy it a wee bit more :)

About the Author:
Ashwin Sanghi is an entrepreneur by day, novelist by night and has all the usual qualifications of an Indian businessman. ‘The Rozabal Line’ was originally self-published in 2007 under his anagram-pseudonym—Shawn Haigins. In 2008 Westland published the book in India under his own name. Ashwin lives in Mumbai with his wife, Anushika, and his eight-year old son, Raghuvir. His website is www.ashwinsanghi.com.

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

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June 6, 2013   1 Comment

Book Review: The Legend of Amrapali by Anurag Anand

Title: The Legend of Amrapali
Author: Anurag Anand
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Srishti Publishers (January 2012)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Read: Paperback
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Goodreads)
Amrapali – the Nagarvadhu of Vaishali!

The Legend of Amrapali is the story of mayhem and turmoil brought about by the obstinate desires of one man – a man blinded by the intoxication of power. It is a story of sinister plots and political wizardry, of chaste love and unbridled passion, of naked ambitions and dogged loyalties that lead to the transformation of an innocent young girl into one of the most revered, even worshipped, and occasionally feared personalities of her times.

My Review:

Note: Thanks to the guys at MySmartPrice for offering me “The Legend of Amrapali” to review :)

Cover: Garish, could have been more subtle.

Paper and font: Paper and font is good but I would have preferred a smaller book size.

Readability, language: Reads well with simple language.

Why did I choose this book: Amrapali is one of those women of legend, how could I miss it.

Amrapali is one those women from Indian Legend that stand out because they stood up to men. They were the first women to fight for equality and Amrapali has fascinated me since childhood. I remember reading about her in Amar Chitra Katha as a child and admiring the spunk.

I’ve had The Legend of Amrapali on my reading list for a while now and I’m glad I got down to it. This is the story of Amrapali, the events of her childhood and youth that shape her life, and how she learns to accept life and destiny on her own terms.

The cover is beautiful in choice of colour but the gold leaf around the cover kills it. I could have done with out so much gold. The blurb though is enticing, it kept the book on my to-read list all this time. :) The title set me up to expect a full story but at the end somehow I felt a little short-changed.

This the story of a baby found in a mango orchard, and brought up by a farmer couple. Amrapali grows up to be not only beautiful but also accomplished at all she does. She has a strength of moral character that is to be admired. Life throws a lot her way, the death of her mother, the killing of her fiancé and the lust of one man who is trying to ruin her world. Her spunk in facing it all head-on leaves you smiling in encouragement.

Set in Vaishali around 500 BC, Anand has done a good job of describing the city, the people, the politics and the life in those times.

This is Amrapali’s story and she takes centre stage but Anand also has a host of other characters that you associate with as you read. I found myself smiling at little Amrapali as she asked direct and baffling questions. As a young girl she broke my heart with the strength she showed. I felt sorry for her father Somdutt when he was helplessness. Anand has done a good job with introducing us to Amrapali – her childhood, her youth and her revenge.

Anand gives us a brief glimpse of Amrapali’s youth before the story starts of her as a baby. We watch her grow, lose the love of her life and then get nominated and voted Nagarvadhu. Finally coming full circle at a good pace back to the start; but here is where Anand disappointed me. I had expected to hear the whole story of Amrapali, not just of how she became Nagarvadhu. I was hoping to know more about her life as a Nagarvadhu. The end of the ‘Legend of Amrapali’ left me feeling incomplete.

At one point Anand introduces an unnamed man into the story who fascinates Amrapali and sparks an interesting her. But at the end Anand just drops that thread, and I was left wondering if Amrapali does find love? Hmm, maybe that’s book two.

The book is well written and has a good pace that keeps you constantly glued to the book. It’s a quick read and great of a rainy evening. If you love Indian Mythology and Folklore this book is definitely worth at least one read.

About the Author:
Anurag is a banker who wrote his first book ‘Pillars of Success’ at the age of 25. He currently has six published titles. See his other books on his website – www.anuraganand.in.

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June 4, 2013   3 Comments