Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘yoga’


If Truth Be Told: A Monk Memoir
Om Swami | Harper Element | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.54 PMAmit Sharma grew up in Patiala and flew to Australia to study and eventually work in the IT software industry. Then one day, he decided to renounce his family, wealth (including a Porsche) and friends in Sydney to embark on a spiritual journey because he says, he “wanted to devote his life to the search of Truth”. He returned to India, sought out Kashi, gurus, tantric yoga and wisdom. He says he attained “enlightenment” in a forest and that ‘tantra’ is not about tantric sex but realizing the self. Today, he runs an ashram in Uttaranchal and seeks followers.

*

Item Girl
Richa Lakhera | Rupa| Rs 195

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.39 PMThe story hidden between the pages of this thriller – set in the underbelly of Bollywood studios – zeros on rape, blackmail and ‘ma-behen’ invectives to paint what the blurb at the back of the book announces as “the dark side of showbiz”. It’s a tedious read – the ramble, the hectoring, the sloth of thought and the language of tired clichés (the plants were rotting alive; feet sounding brittle and hard on scratchy shabby grass; her first film turned out to be a stellar hit). Rupa needs to tighten its editing skills and Lakhera her story telling abilities.

*

For Tibet, With Love
Isabel Losada | Bloomsbury | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.56.25 PMIsabel Losada, a journalist from Battersea, England, travels to China, India and London to decipher how Tibet can win autonomy from Chinese rule. Along the way, she learns that world can’t be changed by staging world concerts or by calling the Chinese evil. Aptly subtitled as a “beginners guide for changing the world”, Losada in this book finally reaches out to Dalai Lama asking him what she and others who felt like her could do? He tells her to continue writing, learn from Gandhi’s ‘constructive determination’ and accept the ‘humanism’ of the Tibetan culture. Wise.

(The above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 15 February 2015)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Sarojini Naidu: Her Way With Words
Ed. by Mushirul Hasan | Niyogi Books | Rs 395

In modern day slang, you could say Sarojini Naidu had the gift of gab. In the tumultuous years that she worked closely with Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru (roughly from 1914-49) they called her “India’s Nightingale”. In this work, Prof Hasan takes a fresh look at Naidu by collating essays by PK Ghosh, Bina Roy and VV John, on her life as an orator and freedom fighter and a poet. The book also includes her essay on Gokhale and a selection of her poems introduced by the late British poet, critic and literary magazine editor, Arthur Symons.

*

The Devil Colony
James Rollins | Orion | Rs 350

This sticky thriller on a tribe of Israelites cheated out of American future takes its cue from the author’s interest in the Mormon belief that that Native American clans originated from a fleeting lost tribes of Israelites. “While modern DNA emphatically disputes this, pointing to an Asiatic origin for early American natives,” he says there is no reason to disbelieve the Mormons, either. Many people would disagree with Rollins particularly since there was much friction between Mormon settlers and Native Americans in the mid-1800s, including massacres and wars. But for those who like to dwell on conspiracy theories, The Devil Colony is a thriller worth Delhi’s summer sweat.

*

The Valmiki Syndrome
Ashok K Banker | Random House | Rs 250

In his introduction to the book, Ashok K Banker bemoans the fact that we seem to be neck deep in culture dedicated to the cult of self-help. “Dharma,” he says “was not a ‘concept’ created to teach the corporate executives the importance of business ethics. Yoga was not intended to be taught as an alternative to aerobics. Bhagwatgita is not a management textbook.” So what is The Valmiki Syndrome about? “It’s a set of stories. Call them parables,” says Banker. All of which answer one basic question: Is all life just about getting richer, sexier, leaner, fitter, faster, higher, stronger? Or is it something more?

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 1 July 2012)

Read Full Post »