Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Book Reivew: The six symbols of ink by Meliza Merlinde

Book: The Six Symbols of Ink

Author: Meliza Merlinde

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Publisher: Olympia Publishers

Pages: 306


Living in a world governed by cruelty and persecution, where the Ink Mark symbol is the law and where kindness and love have long been forgotten, Ashley has always believed that her symbol is faulty, that she is not worthy. However, she discovers that, far from being faulty, her Ink Mark actually identifies her as one of the Four; the special ones who will fulfil the ancient prophecy and rid the world of its inhumanity.

But can an ordinary girl like Ashley possibly live up to this expectation? Who are the other three and where can they be found?
This is the beginning of a quest where demons, giants and the true wickedness of mankind are interwoven with friendship, loyalty and faith. Which ones will triumph...?


The six symbols of ink is a story of revenge, friendship, love and dark magical aura. The book is a great piece of fantasy which can transport you to a different world in just 300 pages. There are elements of violence in it also some gross incidents but what is fantasy if it can’t tickle your imagination beyond extremities.

The starting of the book was a big turn off for me. That is the point where most of the readers can feel a little off because there were a lot of missing information. I had to google twice to see if I am really reading the first book in the series. There was a lot of information without any explanation and lot of action without any reason. I thought there was a need of one more chapter in the starting to get the readers used to of the world the author was designing.

But when we pass that phase the book is amazingly interesting and fast paced. I struggled for around 40 pages but after that the book became a page turner. I was really excited with the two way story that was happening. It gave me a break from the present things and made my brain churn with the things moving towards the bigger picture. What I loved about the book were the aspects it touched. It takes you to an unbelievable world where anything is possible.

I loved how there were different elements layered in the story. There was flirting, there were wars, fights, creatures, giants and what not. I love stories where there are alliances and groups that work together towards the big show.

If I talk about the characters then I loved Zhila and Corlias. These two always showed what was expected from them. I don’t like characters who change their traits with the moving story. And these two were the same throughout the book. From the minor characters I loved the king and the queen. They were for a very little time but they left an impact on me. It felt they were from a parallel world which is dark and weird. I think they could have been given a bit more part in the story here and there; taking in account the role they play in the book is vast and important.

I didn’t like Ashley that much because she was growing as a character and there were a lot of flaws if one looks in the bigger picture also there was a huge gap between her history and my understanding. Maybe she grows in a better way in the next book but for this one I didn’t enjoy her character much.

Also the relationships that the characters shared was a bit dicey. It felt like it was not well thought of. They were arranged in the cubicles where they could fit in. there was a lack of dimension I believe. Apart from this there were only some editing flaws which hampered the reading a little bit.

If I see the bigger picture then this was a great fantasy world which I was introduced to. There was everything which I expect in a fantasy novel. There were plot holes, big one sometimes, mainly in the background setting and execution but overall it was a good fiction fantasy. It can entertain you without any doubts. And I am really anticipating the end. I think the series is worth a try.

About the author:

Meliza van der Linde grew up in the affluent, multi-ethnic society of South Africa, the variety of cultures, languages, and religions has shaped Meliza's passion for writing. Seeing the struggles of a Third World Country and its people striving to accept the different culture has always been an ember to her fire.

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Book Review: Marcle and the Pondan Land by Arus Stream

Title: Marcle and the Pondan Land

Author: Arus Stream

Pages: 206

Publisher: Olympia Publishers

Genre: Fantasy/Children's/Adventure


The book as the name and the cover suggests is a perfect children’s read with a lot of colors, surprises, beautiful friendship and everlasting love. Marcle and the Pondan Land is a very refreshing, easy and light read which can be completed in a single sitting.

The story revolves around a boy named Marcle and his sibling Dani. There school life, there friends and how entangled a small detail in our daily lives can be.

Important thing in this story is the mannerism and small lessons that are hidden in the book. So if you are looking for a book for your kid in order to teach them something; this book can do wonders. Without spoiling much I can give a few hints about the good things which are around every corner of the book. Like the way school life of these kids are projected, the way they behave around their household and how they treat friends. Everything is shown very nicely and can be a good learning extravaganza for your little ones.

Somethings were really off track too, like usage of few phrases again and again, minor editing mistakes, these were the outer and small problems. But the bigger problem was that the main aspect of the story “Pondan Land” wasn’t shown in its full form. It could have really elevated the story beyond any extremities. The unique characters could have been used more, there stories could have been incorporated but still whatever was used it was in a nice way to entertain readers of targeted age group.

Things I adored the most was the ending and the starting. There was way too much to know and grasp. The middle was just like a bridge between the two ends. Also I loved the illustrations, the color scheme, the spacing between the lines. These things are important if your target audience are children. This made the book a super comfy read.

Summing up- Marcle and the Pondan Land was a fun read, perfect for kids, away from hidden meanings. If you are an adult it can be good after a heavy and dark read which might have threw you in a reading slump.

About the book:

The adventure story of Marcle Brave Marshall is set in the land of the birthday cake ornaments, a place called Pondan Land. The story begins when a cake decoration is kidnapped by the queen of darkness, Dark Berry and her henchmen, Cone Black and Giant Belly Rush, who want to destroy and take over Pondan Land. The ornament stolen was the one that Marcle's younger brother, Danish, had chosen for his birthday, so Marcle sets out to find and free the ornament from the clutches of the evil Dark Berry. Will he succeed to find and destroy Dark Berry and save Pondan Land?

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Book Review : Quarter Life Crisis by Anshuk Attri

Book: Quarter Life Crisis

Author: Anshuk Attri

Publisher: Maple Press

Price: 225

Pages: 304


I am Prachur, a twenty-three year old guy from Shimla and I want to tell you my story. I don’t claim that my life is particularly worth reading, especially the first twentyone years. But things did become interesting by the time I came to finish my degree in engineering. At the time I was like every other guy of my age — pretentious and clueless about my future. I loathed the very idea of a mundane job. I felt that my lack of clarity about my future was my biggest problem. Imagine what I felt when I found out that Neera, my girlfriend, was pregnant! Quarter life Crisis is the story of my coming of age and my quest for happiness.


Quarter Life crisis is a book that was held together by some strong and powerful voices of characters. The story is nothing different from other romances in market but it has a subtle hint of maturity which sometimes even good books lack. I don’t read much of romance because they all end in the same alley but then sometimes what is the harm in visiting old paths just to reminiscence some fade touch of giddiness and blush.

The book has a very mediocre setting but in a good way. The best part is the way everything sums up to make this book. The topics are touchy mind you but there is no hint of vulgarity which people these days take as literature and put in their books. There was just a story in this, just a simply nicely woven story. And that is why reading experience was good though not best.

The blurb and cover doesn’t go hand in hand. On one hand the blurb attracts you but then when you complete the book and think about the title and the cover of the book you feel foolish for expecting something different and getting something else.

I loved the setting of the book, the background setting, and the areas where the story is set but at some points it is way too much. And I also felt at some points that there was no need of dragging the story this much. The book could have been wrapped in fewer words, in fewer settings but then author needed to engage the readers for a bit longer which made me yawn at certain points, which is indeed not a good sign.

Overall, the book was a good, light and not very fast read for me. The characters were great; the setting was nice, the story was mature but also seems heard at certain points. I can recommend this book to those who are in light reading but if you are searching for a different story this book is not for you.

About the author:

Anshuk is a twenty-six year old aspiring author with a postgraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain. Inspired by the works of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, George Orwell and Seneca, he hopes to find his place in the world of literature as a professional writer.

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Friday, 25 August 2017

Interview : Kamesh Ramakrishna Author of The Last Kaurava a Novel

In Conversation with Kamesh Ramakrishna

1.       Why do you think mythology was the one for you?

As a child, mythology was fantasy that made me feel strong and good. When I was bullied, in school or in the neighbourhood, fantasizing created alternative worlds where the oppression did not exist.[1] Imagining the stories and imagining what I would have done if I had been there was both therapy and training to empathize.

2.       Mahabharata attracts a lot of authors these days. Why do you think this happens? Why it attracted you?

The Mahabharata is not only rich in stories, it is rich in characters. A character has a life of its own and that makes it easy to use. In addition the Mahabharata supplies the plot plan and all the writer has to do is fill it in!

Why did it attract me?  Definitely the flexibility of the plot! Also, the Mahabharata gives karmic reasons for so many characters that it is amusing to imagine modifications.
3.       Who are your favorite characters from Mahabharata? Are there some characters on whom you focused more on your book?

I have no favorites!
This book is about Devavrata/Bhishma and focuses on the parts of his life that the Mahabharata neglects to say anything.

4.       I was wondering what exactly the cover of your book means? I couldn’t decode the real sense from it. If you would like to tell more about it and its reference with the book?

NOTE: I think that the cover should be replaced for the planned re-launching, so the comments below are probably irrelevant.

The cover shows a stylized flower, possibly a lotus, burning. I wanted it to hint that this is a novel about a war. Also, the lotus is a symbol for India, for the sub-continent that the mythology calls “Jambu-dvipa”, the Continent/Island of the Jambul.

How did I come up with this cover? Leadstart’s cover designer came up with a number of cover, but I did not like any of them.  Because of the ways in which I’ve re-framed the epic, the traditional portrayals of Mahabharata characters do not work. The idea of Bhishma in my book is not an old man with a long beard! My book does not have 11 armies consisting of over 1 lac horses and elephants, and 20 lac humans. The warriors in my book do not wear golden armor, carry long swords by their side, have composite longbows. They are not helped by the gods or other magical beings, nor do they have super-weapons.

So, it was very hard for the designer to come up with something.  But, in one of the designs he had a secondary motif of the flaming flower. I liked the motif and we experimented with how to use it and add a person. But there was simply no way to show any of my characters. So we went with just the motif.

5.       Mahabharata is a very fragile yet very strong tale. How you dealt with it in the long run?

I would disagree – the Mahabharata is not fragile at all. Generally speaking it is a perennially fresh story. The weak points are, frankly, interpolations and they are there because this epic was modified to carry messages and theories. The Bhagavad-Gita is completely unnecessary for the epic, especially since other places in the Mahabharata (Shantiparvan) give different advice on how to rule and take responsibility for actions. Making Krishna into an avatar of God is unnecessary and some ancient manuscripts do not make him God – none of the things he does requires his god-hood to sustain the story.
I am still working on novels based on the life of other characters that would fit with the narrative in the first book. Maybe 4 novels.

6.       What can readers expect from this book? What is the x-factor for freshness in this tale? What does your book have which can make people distinguish it among the rest of the pile?

My book replaces a mythic world with a realistic one. That will make people think about the reality of India’s history, whether archaeological discoveries support or describe events that could be the source of the myth or of parts of the myth.
The x-factor for reader who knows the Mahabharata is the focus on Bhishma and what his life was like and what he really thought when he died.

How to distinguish it from the rest:
The story is set in the Bronze-Age India of 2000 B.C.E.. There are no gods, goddesses, miracles, or other magical events or actions or objects. The technology is restricted to what could have been available around 2000 B.C.E.. Technical and Scientific Knowledge is also restricted to what we know was known at that time.

7.       What is in store after “The Last Kaurava”? What will be the next venture?

I am working on “The Last Matriarchs”, the story of Kunti and Draupadi.

If by “next venture” you mean some other novel – I am working on
a) Something entirely different, or
b) A story with Ashvatthama as a main character set in modern-day India, or
c) A collection of stories from the Mahabharata focusing on the psychology of the main characters.

8.       Do you prefer reading mythology or you are open to all genres? Who all your favorite writers, your favorite books and genres?

I read many different kinds of books. For a long period from the age of 13 to about 45 I read a LOT of science fiction – good, bad, mediocre, whatever – Asimov, Clark, Niven, Pournelle, van Vogt, Ellison, …  I’ve read Georgette Heyer and I’ve read Gore Vidal; I’ve read folk stories from all over the world; I’ve read modern novels and I’ve read Henry Fielding’s “The History of Tom Jones, a foundling”. I don’t think of my reading as genre-driven anymore, though “history” is probably a key component.

My favorite authors have changed with time, so I am going to sample from different times of my life: Gore Vidal, Robert Graves, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Yukio Mishima, Jack London, Roberto Calasso, Marvin Harris, George Gamow, Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Imre Lakatos, U.R. Anantha Murthy, R.K. Narayanan, A.K. Ramanujam, Thomas Mann, Enid Blyton, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, … Some of these authors didn’t even write fiction…

My favorite books – I don’t think in these terms but here are five … Gore Vidal’s “Creation”, Robert Graves’ “Julian”, Calasso’s “Ka”, Asimov’s “Foundation, books 1, 2, 3”, Mishima’s “Spring Snow”, Ramanujam’s “Folk Tales”, Russell’s “Why I am not a Christian”, Lakatos’ “Proofs and Refutations”, …
Oops, it’s more than 5…

9.       How was your journey with the book? From writing to publishing it, what all hindered the path and what made it smooth?

The path to publishing the first book has been a long and meandering. I first conceived of a novel based on the idea that the Mahabharata (The Great War) was a result of the Sarasvati drying up around 1900 BCE, during the height of what is called the Indus Valley Civilization, and the evolution of Hindu “Dharma” from that. That was 1991. I wanted to select episodes and modify them to reflect the proposed historical event, but the more I worked at it, the more it became clear that the background had to be built up and when I tried that the project became huge.

In 1992, I contacted A.K.Ramanujam and made a fool of myself because I knew very little about him (other than that he had written an anthology of folk stories). He was very kind. He read my summary and agreed to read the whole thing and told me to call back in a few weeks. I then read other books by him and freaked out – he was a giant of Indian literature and I had called him like he was my next-door neighbor. I did not have the courage to call him back, and when I finally did a year later, I found out that he had just passed away. I can only look back in horror & embarrassment.

In 1993, I mentioned this project to a close friend and he was excited – he suggested that I should make it an “Internet book”, publish a page with the background and one episode and invite the world to add episodes. He even had a prologue to a story he had written (It was much better written than mine) that he said he would add.  I could not see my way to doing this – maybe I should have.
In 1996 I showed my stuff to a well-known Indian writer. To be fair, he read it. His response was that I would never finish the project as it was conceived. He was right. That version was unwritable and perhaps unreadable.

Life went on and I stopped working actively on the book. I tried many different approaches to re-starting it, but failed. There was no story.
I gave up and wrote two papers on the idea and published in a Canadian journal and an Indian journal. Nobody read them, as far as I know.
I tried writing other novels, just to keep in practice. As a result, I have a number of unfinished novels sitting in my To Do list.
I started up again in about 2010. The project was still hopeless.
Then in 2013 I came up with the idea of writing just the life of Bhishma, since he was such a critical character in my concept. The first draft was finished in about 6 months, I worked with two editors for about 12-18 months and the book, The Last Kaurava a novel, was published in November 2015 by Leadstart.

What hindered? I was the biggest obstacle. I had/have terrible work habits – I only survived in the computer software job market because I was better at problem-solving than most people. I’ve pulled a rabbit put of a hat at the last minute a number of times. None of this helped me with writing this book.

What made it smooth? My family’s support, without a doubt. I credit the writing workshops I went to over many years in New York and Boston – they did not help me with this book (they had no Indian background), but the exercise of writing for an audience that gave critical feedback improved my writing. But I also credit the first editor (Jayashree Anand)  I worked with – I have never believed that an editor could help me, but her detailed feedback was truly fantastic. It helped me re-doing the first draft into a novel that could be sent to publishers.

10.   Any part of the book which:

a.       You want to change.
I removed the frame story from the version published in Nov. 2015. I also moved some of the discussions from the main text to an Appendix. The resulting story moves a bit faster.
b.      You find the best.
I like the opening chapter.
c.       You can re-read till death.
Don’t want to do that!
d.      You memorize by heart.
I will not do that – I will colour my other writing.

11.   I have noticed in all my reading experience that people have played with the story of Mahabharata. Young authors mend the truths sometimes. What have you done to avoid this?

I do not avoid it at all! I want to change anything that has magic, gods, anachronisms, etc..
-          My Bronze-Age story will not have a boy breaking a window by throwing a stone.
-          My story will not have steel long-swords which only came with the invention of steel!
-          There will be no gods, goddesses, rishis with magic powers, rakshasas, yakshas, apsaras, etc.
-          There will be no beautiful palaces built of gold and silver.
-          Characters will have jobs…

12.   Why the word “LAST”?

Devavrata’s step-brothers died without children and Satyavati asks her son, the Vyaasa (who is writing the story) to father children for them. So, Pandu and Dhritarashtra are the Vyaasa’s children! Not descendants of Kuru, at least not by birth. In my story, Devavrata has a son, Shikhandin (not true in the original). So, Shikhandin is a Kaurava. Bhishma and Shikhandin are the last Kauravas and the story begins with Shikhandin dead.

13.   Share your favorite quotes from the book?

I am trying to avoid remembering such writing details.

14.   Should the readers come with fresh mind to your novel or they can have some pre-conceived notions after reading the title?

Yes, absolutely! But if you come with preconceptions, be prepared to see them broken.

15.   Would you like to pass on a message to your readers before they try your book?

This is a relaxed book that will make you contemplate. Any fighting is brief and people do not fire arrows until their arms are tired. If you know the Mahabharata, you will find that just reading the first page will challenge the original in many, many places!

About the book:

"“I am Amba.” The voice rang in Devavrat’s ear like a forgotten melody. ... Ancient memories from lost time veered in and out of focus. The memories came with flooding questions. How could it be Amba? What was she doing, here and now? ...I must see her. He tried to turn. The stub of an arrow, sticking under his left shoulder, made him pause with every move, however slight.

Devavrat Bhishma is dying, wounded. He tells Yudhishthira the story of how the Kurus established Hastinapur as a trading outpost on the frontier of Panchnad. The river Sarasvati dried up creating a crisis for Panchnad as cities were abandoned and immigrants poured into Hastinapur looking for safety and support. The Kurus under Devavrat address the crisis with social policy. The success comes at a cost to Devavrat’s personal life. Devavrat’s narration becomes part of the epic poem of the Great War. The story survives, memorised as oral history by the Kavi Sangha, the guild of bards. A thousand years later, the story is written down by Vyaasa, the head of the Kavi Sangha, with help from many others.

“No Indian ever hears the [epics] for the first time ... It requires great courage, therefore to re-imagine [the Great War] as the author has done. He captures the reader’s attention from the start, with a sense of theatre, making the characters tangible and even more complex than in the original.
.…The book … conveys the high tension of the immediate.

S. Anandalakshmy, Ph.D.
Bala Mandir Research Foundation
Former Director
Lady Irwin College, Delhi"

About the author:

"Kamesh Ramakrishna grew up in Bombay (now Mumbai) and completed his undergraduate studies at IIT-Kanpur. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, specialising in Artificial Intelligence. He worked as a professor and a software engineer; received some patents; was software architect for some foundational products; was CTO for a startup; and in recent years, has been a consulting software architect. For over twenty years, Kamesh has been an avid student of history, archaeology, science and philosophy and the interconnection between these disciplines. Kamesh has published the core ideas underlying this novel in two reviewed journals - The Trumpeter (Canada) and The Indian Journal of Eco criticism. Kamesh lives with his family in Massachusetts."

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Friday, 7 July 2017

Book Review: Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi

Book: Half Pants, Full Pants: Real-Life Tales from Shimoga

Author: Anand Suspi 

Genre: Short stories

Publisher: Hector Beverages India Private Limited

Pages: 221

Price: 195


Half Pants, Full Pants is a collection of real-life stories of growing up in Shimoga. An ode to innocence and mischief, these stories are guaranteed to set off a journey back in time.


Short stories are always better when you don’t know what to read next. Half pants, full pants is a great book with some very simple and some very intricate tales which revolves around the lives of characters that are as real as air. This book contains true accounts from a small place Shimoga that you can find really touching and remarkable.

I loved the former stories more then the latter ones because they had an unmatchable charm in them. You can't put the book down no matter what. Every story takes you down the lane, make you remember the old days when you did all those things in your childhood. You smile without being conscious enough.

The good thing is that the author didn’t waver from his theme and stick to what was expected from the book. And the real life tales thing made everything much more better and warming.

Every character was special in the book, it is hard to pick one. There was so much in everyone that things were elevated beyond normalcy.

The cover and the title also makes you smile. Every single thing of the book is crafted in such a way that you become nostalgic. The good thing is the variation, it was everywhere in the book.

All in all the book was a great, quick and easy read. It had a everything which a grown up needs in this running world, to have a break and relish some moments of happiness.

Check out the spotlight of the book for more details Spotlight

About the author:

Anand Suspi has been an advertising writer for the past 20 years. He has spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas. He lives in Gurgaon and runs his own ad agency, AndAnd.

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Book Review: The Indus Challenge By R. Durgadoss

Book: The Indus Challenge

Author: R. Durgadoss

Genre: Fiction (Mythology/History)

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Pages: 324

Price: 250


Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark Brahmin’, Chanakya.
When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharata, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.
But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.
A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.


The Indus Challenge is not like every other mythological book. It has much more turns, much more stories hidden beneath the whole concept. There is not just one aspect to it, there are different faces, different phases at every other turn.

The story is normal, but with different angles. I have never read a book of such subject-matter. I was hoping to find something different from the book but great new deals of things were served.

The problem arrived in the never-ending narration of events. I was just so distracted from so many flashbacks that it became hard after some time to go on like that. The author though maintained a good bridge between the past and present still it was not working in the bigger picture.

I liked the tale of Queen Helena because I knew about her very less. Her side of the tale was intriguing. I loved all the proceedings, her anger, her frustration, everything about her was great.

Also I loved reading about Chanakaya, his presence, his magnificence is all laid out in proper forms. He is shown as sharp and witty guru, which is expected from him. The whole episode of the little adventure Rudra and Chanakaya go on is really nerve-wrecking. There are a lot of puzzles, lot of places and lot of situations.

Best part of all this was the group that was formed, the puzzles, the violations, the hindrances and the different tactics involved at every step.

The book was full of details, stories and suspense. It really lived up to the expectations if one forgets the long and boring narrations by different characters. The book was much better towards the ending. The middle was so okayish that it brought the level of the book down.

It is that sort of  a book which will make you want to read the next phase of Rudra’s and Chankaya’s life. Though I didn’t read the first book in the series but still it didn’t feel like I have missed that much.

Check the spotlight of the book for more details about the book Spotlight

About the author:

R. Durgadoss (his associates call him Dr DD) is an entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, writer and coach. He holds a PhD in Corporate Finance. He has a career spanning more than three decades with leading multinational institutions of high repute.
He has a deep-rooted passion for Indian mythology, history and philosophy. Since his childhood he has been able to attract a number of followers with his mesmerizing storytelling abilities. Wherever history is a mystery, he fills gaps with his creative spin.

Having held his audience spellbound with powerful storytelling during his lectures in international forums, he thought it was time to focus on a series of fiction in the historical/mythological genre. The Indus Challenge is the second book in this series.

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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Book Review: Rafflesia: The Banished Princess by Gautam

Book: Rafflesia: The Banished Princess

Author: Gautam

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing

Price: 395

Pages: 397


"Rafflesia: The Banished Princess"
The curtains draw up. Lights are dimmed. The musical is about to begin. As the beautiful princess descends on stage, the mythical creatures from her kingdom come alive. Flickers of brilliant colors
blaze across as mesmerizing music pulsates from one corner of the theatre to the other. A fairy tale is about to unfold…

As young children, we often come across things that stay in our hearts forever. For Appu, it is a fairy tale about a beautiful princess. He lives with her in a world filled with the magical creatures from her kingdom until the real world beckons. A reluctant Appu steps into it as a striking young man and struggles to find his place.

What follows is an evocative tale of love and loss, friendship and betrayal, as the story travels through the snow-peaked mountains of Arunachal to the golden deserts of Jaisalmer, the tulip gardens of
Holland to the lush greens of Kerala. Does Appu find what he had set out for? The answer lies in Rafflesia — The Banished Princess because in her story, lay his!"


The book Rafflesia is a very well knitted tale, surrounding a bunch of people who have a very different side, very peculiar way of behaving in the book, which makes the book a really enjoyable treat. From the very start the book travels in two dimensions.

Well, the trend of playing with flashbacks is so much in trend that it didn’t came as a surprise. The author managed both the scenarios with perfection and everything was complementing the larger picture in the long run.

I particularly enjoyed the flashback more than the present world because it had a lot of sincerity and pieces that were so innocent and emotional that it was so easy to connect with them. I always waited for the bigger Appu to vanish and smaller version of him to appear and tickle me everywhere with his little doings.

The characters in the book were of great range and I enjoyed them beyond any limits. I loved Appu, I adored Rahul, and I loved their mothers and their fathers. It was a great family saga written in a very simplistic manner which kept the pace moving with ease. Not at one point I felt bored but yes the book was extended without any specific need.

Also I felt that there was a need to decipher the meanings of the phrases used in a foreign language in brackets or at the end of the book because due to that the connectivity was broken and that is one reason why I sometimes wanted to skip the narration that dealt with the life of a grown up Appu.

Good part about the book is that it is relatable. It is easy to wear Appu’s shoes if you are an Indian kid. The appearance of such part is really enjoyable. The book tells you how Indian kids are so unique, they have a very different way to deal with things or rather they are brought up that way.

The hardship, the turmoil’s, the people accompanying the shy and reserved Appu is really delightful. If and only if some parts were trimmed while editing, some phrases were re-told so that they became understandable, the book could have reached the zenith.

Still it is a great read with right amounts of everything. The good thing is that it can attract any reader irrespective of her or his choices.

Image result for rafflesia the banished princess

About the author:

A B-School graduate, Gautam is a business analyst by profession. Considers the laptop as among his best friends and nurses a secret desire to turn an entrepreneur someday.

Buy the book:

Monday, 19 June 2017

Book Review: 37+ Grace Marks By Vishal Anand

Book: 37+ Grace Marks

Author: Vishal Anand

Genre: Fiction (Romance)

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

Pages: 190

Price: 175


What happens when you fall in love at first sight? That too in college, which is supposed to be the best time of one's life. But is it the best place to find love too?
Viraj falls head over heels in love with his classmate Nimisha, who could make boys on campus go crazy. While his friends Punit and Sahil just want to have fun - despite poor mark-sheets, grace marks to pass, and other everyday adventures - Viraj wants more from his life and love.
Life has led Viraj to the edge of a cliff. He has a choice to make – to forget everything and jump, or fight.
What brought him here? An unrequited love, encounters with law, or the dilemma of grace marks? Where does Viraj's story eventually end?

Welcome to 37 + Grace Marks, Viraj's journey to discover that there is more to life than marks.


37+ Grace Marks takes you back in your college days with ease. There is a lot to see and inspect in the chaos and mayhem. It is a book about friendship, love, college and a degree that isn't always easy to grasp.

The story is about a boy Viraj who is dealing with a lot of things at the same time which is very common of a situation in any book which deals with a college life, a girl, some brat friends and an interesting journey through the lawns of a college premises.

The characters of the book are not very appealing. If I talk about the lead character Viraj then he reminds me of Kundan from Ranjhana movie. Let me re-quote, just reminds and it is not a fact to be precise. He has everything a girl  never wants in a guy. I hated him every time he crossed my eyes with a new problem or situation in the book. I liked Nimisha for standing out for herself and being what she was throughout the book without changing at all.

The side characters like Laila, Mutthu etc were not complementing the story in any way. I liked Viraj's friends and I always longed for friends who are beside you even in your mistakes.

The story is very bland in the starting. The first 80 or so pages can be read in less than an hour because they have nothing interesting in terms of dialogues, characters and doesn't contain any twists and turns majorly.

The next 110 pages are also the same. There is very less of a story and certain emotions are projected meanwhile which took negative form for me in one way or the other. There were very less likable part in the book. If I had to jot down them then I would pick the essence of friendship and the college life shown somewhere in between the book. I just liked that.

Apart from that the book wasn't up to the mark. I can recommend it to only those who are new to reading or are interested in reading a very light and extremely quick book to reach their Goodreads reading goals in 2017 a bit faster.

Connect with the author:

  • Twitter: @vishalanand07
  • Facebook:

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Interview : Karan Vir Arora Author of The Sixth: The Legend of Karna: Part 1

In Conversation with Karan Vir Arora

1. Hi Karan. Thanks for being in conversation with me. I would first of all try to know how you formed an interest in mythology. When people are running behind romance and thriller how come you thought about writing mythology?

First of all I will not call it Mythology for me this is as true as reality for me it's Ancient history as I believe most of the events of our epics like Mahabharata were true Also Ancient Indian History part Mythology is fundamental to our culture and way of life, it is who we were our roots our Identity. Every street has a temple, every other city has an important mythical landmark. Romance, thriller, action genres are fickle. Our mass population is entertained by them today but twenty years ago different genres had people’s eyeballs. Mythology/Ancient History is ever interesting, ever fascinating and all-encompassing of every genre you can think of. I gravitated to it because I recognized its immortality both as an entertainment venture and a subject of interest & knowledge to share & make our youth aware about our rich culture & heritage. Thrillers are fun today, mythology has been fun since the birth of civilization.

2. I am also an ardent lover of Mahabharata and have read quite a lot of books on it. With so much in market how do you think your book would be different and appealing?

Literature in ancient history/mythology currently focuses on the “greatest hits” characters from our stories - Rama, Sita, Krishna even Arjuna, Characters that are instantly recognizable and have been represented over and over and over. With tens of thousands of gods and goddesses in our myths most books coming out are voluntarily limiting themselves to a handful of characters who we know all too well. My book holds a light on an under-represented character from a time gone by, a time forgotten and uses him as a mirror to express deep, hidden, under-represented reflections about our modern world.

3. Why Karna? Any specific inclination towards him, no doubt he moves the reader the most.

From childhood because of my namesake I got attracted & over time fascinated by him post researching & learning about him. Karna in my opinion is the perfect embodiment of ourselves in Mahabharata. Growing up in a society he clearly does not belong in, being rejected by one group due to his background only to end up being used by another group pretending to be family for that very background and all the while not being recognized for who he has become, what he wants to do & after facing so many obstacles, struggles, constant torture & onslaught of disappointments he carved his name in history as the greatest warrior in world also the most gracious philanthropist of his time & no doubt of this time too .… That is a great representation of our identity in the world irrespective of what century we live in. That draws me to him more than other historical  characters.

4. What can readers expect in this trilogy? What difference your book has which will make the reader glued till the end of the series?

Readers can first and foremost expect a new perspective of mythology. We know our epics as tales told to us from the stars but the nuts-and-bolts reality of war, pre-war, post-war time during these epics has not been explored. What was Karna’s true path in this complex battle? What do we not know about him in this story, and what can we learn from it? Another story thread is running in our modern day India that you will see in the first book is leading to greater, more terrifying, more glorious events. At the end of this series my fervent hope is readers have enjoyed a good story while gaining more knowledge about our epics in general and Karna in particular.

5. I found about Vimanika Comics. There is whole lot of comics displayed on the website. Please throw some light on this venture of yours.

Vimanika Comics has been the leader in Indian comic-book entertainment for the last ten years. We intersperse the medium of sequential art storytelling with our revered myths to bring to readers a unique, world-class experience. We sell mythological comics and comic-related merchandise around the world. Shiva, Durga, Karna, Kalki are some of our many god characters & personalities. We have published multiple bestsellers and won awards that cement our status as a flag-bearer of comic-book innovation & evolution. Please visit to learn more about our company.

6. From 2008 till 2017 how has Vimanika Comics evolved. Has it helped you in any way to write your own book?

When we started Vimanika was a small, budding startup company standing face-to-face with comic book giants and fighting to be recognized. In 2017 we are an internationally published book-house with multiple headquarters around the world, a steadily growing audience, a strong social media presence and strong partnerships with celebrities and organizations. We are proudly publishing daring, bold content while celebrating our culture’s roots. Our entertainment merchandise is also making waves around the world. Talking to new readers, learning new ways to tell stories, working with multiple artists has absolutely helped my writing. The words printed in my book owe much of their strength to our faithful readers and our well-wishers who have rooted for us since our early company days.

7. Why Mahabharata why not Ramayana? Is it only because of the central character of your book or is it because of the epic as a whole?

Mahabharata is on the surface a war epic but there is so much more to the epic than that. It studies love, family, greed, friendship and power in a way that is vastly different from Ramayana. Karna is also a vastly under-represented character which makes for interesting storytelling. He is a hero in some parts of Mahabharata, a villain in  others and a tortured tragic character in the rest. That is ripe fruit for good character development and stories.

8. Do you plan to write more after this trilogy? Want to try any other genre?

I am trying multiple genres in this trilogy. All good books are those that don’t clearly belong in a single genre. Much of the trilogy’s future will depend on the audience response we get. There is definitely a lot of possibility though, and I want to be optimistic.

9. Do you also prefer reading mythology? Or you try everything? What are your favorite authors, genres, books?

Yes I sure do ! Mostly Mythology/Fantasy & Ancient history. My favorite Authors to start with are J.R.R Tolkien (LOTR/Silmarilion/Hobbit) I owe it to my elder brother to introduce me to Mr. Tolkiens world of fantasy as it use to be our bedtime story every night :) Ashok Banker (Ramayana /Mahabharata series, Krishna Coriles). In more historical related titles NS Rajaram (In Search of the Historical Krishna) & Maj Gen GD Bakshi's (The Indian Art of War The Mahabharata paradigm) are some of the books that blew my mind and helped me to enter our rich, mysterious exciting world of Ancient History/Mythology more ferociously.

10. Any part of the book which:

● You want to change.
No part. Cause it's not being narrated through me but Karna himself. 

11. Your book has a very interesting cover image. Why did you choose this particular artwork? Don’t you think this goes a little off with the image of Karna?

In the first book’s cover we see Karna as a baby in a basket being slipped into unknown waters of blood by a lady (you have to read the book to find out who she is ;) .There is a reason why we went out to make sure the waters were bloody apart from the metaphorical implications, there is a sense of mystery & depth that I wanted to show, it is important that the readers know this is first and foremost a journey. Just like baby Karna we are on a journey that is new, unexplored, adventurous & dark in its own way. There is a time for the powerful warrior pose of Karna to grace our series’ cover, we should not be careful to jump to that yet.

12. Tell us about your journey after your book was completed? The evolution of a manuscript to a proper book? What role does the publishing house played in this?

My publisher, LeadStart, has been extremely supportive and helpful through the post-manuscript process. I have had the idea for this book for over 18 years now though I wrote down the raw story-line & plot 15 years ago it took me 10 years to pen down the actual script as I was not a naturally gifted writer in-fact nothing near one it is not only Karna journey as a warrior but my journey as writer too that is encompassed in these pages , like every creative endeavor it evolved and shaped itself as it was being formed and finished. With stories such as this it is important to let go of the control you think you have over the idea and let it live on the page . Once the manuscript was done I approached  LeadStart who was quick to choose it & provide everything necessary for the final book before Leadstart this script got rejected by 12 well known publishers lol. There was also a high chance for delays and mishaps (not unusual for any book publishing) but the folks at LeadStart ensured that the process was smooth and efficient.

13. Mythology is for mature readers, for the ones who have patience to grasp the aura. Do you think young readers have the patience to dive in mythology? Or do you think it’s the content more than the genre?

I don’t subscribe to the idea that mythology/Ancient history related stories & fiction is for mature readers. Ancient Indian history are narrated to most of us first at childhood by our grand mothers or grand fathers. There is a reason why you see just as many kids as adults at a Ganesh Chaturthi procession, just as much enthusiasm for children as for adults during Diwali or Sankranti. We underestimate our young readers as a culture. It has never been easier to read books than it is today. With the touch of a finger you can buy and read books from all around the world no matter where you are. Young readers can and are reading our myths and celebrating them, we just need to find the right tempo to present these to them. We don’t fully grasp the metaphors and depths in our epics until we become mature, but they are still enjoyable stories that invoke emotions that transcend age. 

14. What are your favorite incidents from the epic Mahabharata?

All of Mahabharata is a treat to me, but nothing beats my Karna his story & incidents in Mahabharata are the most fascinating i.e., his battles with all the five Pandavas climaxing at Arjuna was the most favorite incidents if you ask, just to see him destroying all of them then letting them go was unseen in the history of wars, & finally almost decimating Arjuna if only Krishna wouldn't interrupt in time it was overwhelming to say the least.

15. There are many characters that didn’t attract limelight though their lives were extra-ordinary for example, Maharaja Shantanu, Vidhur, Amba, your thoughts over this?

If it was up to the history and myth lovers in our nation every hero would have a day dedicated to their memory. While a few characters in our stories have international recognition, there are many who are forgotten today. That is not necessarily a bad thing; our stories are timeless. What might be forgotten today is celebrated tomorrow. The lack of limelight doesn’t take away the good qualities of these characters. Hence my dream to make such larger than life personalities known to the youth today as much as I can .

16. Would you like to pass on a message to your readers before they try your book?

Read as much as you can, celebrate our heritage as often as possible and do as much good Karmas as your life allows you. This is a message applicable to everyone irrespective of whether they pick up this book or not. To my readers specifically, if you feel lost, beaten, disappointed & dejected by life this is the boom for you, you will benefit greatly from Karna he is epitome of inspiration of how someone who had nothing was nothing become a King & the greatest warrior in the history of mankind not because he had a rich father (though his father was a god & though he was royal blood which he was unaware off) but because of his desire to achieve something, to be someone of significance to be the best him , to show life on his terms that he was not to be messed with no matter the consequence! 

Om Suryaya Namaha 

Thank You author :)

About the Book:

Karan vir Oberoi, a real-estate magnate living in New York has recurrent dreams of someone that looks like an ancient warrior clad in golden armour adorning golden earrings. He feels a deep bond with the warrior but the dreams remain a mystery to him. After miraculously surviving an assassination attempt, Oberoi is determined to seek answers. His quest for truth leads him back to his homeland India where his true destiny awaits him. Karna, the legendary hero from the Mahabharata is considered as one of the most valiant and generous kings of his era. He defied social customs and traditions to achieve immortal glory by his virtues and skills. He became a king and trusted friend of Duroyadhana - the crown prince of Hastinapur. Embark on a journey with Oberoi as the two worlds blend and as he seeks the answer to his existence. Will history repeat itself or will Oberoi choose to venture into an uncharted territory? Unravel the mystery. Read the legend! The Sixth - The legend of Karna is a masterpiece in storytelling by Karan Vir Arora - an Award winning CEO/Creative Director Vimanika Comics. He ushers us not only into his passionate research of fifteen years but the grandeur of a forgotten era, and presents before us a completely new and unexplored facets of Kama in his debut novel and the rumoured bestseller.

About the Author:

An Award Winning Founder & Ceo of Vimanika Comics which also is an Award winning Indian Comics Company. Also a Certified Personality development Trainer & Motivational Speaker.

An Award Winning Founder & Ceo of Vimanika Comics which also is an Award winning Indian Comics Company. Also a Certified Personality development Trainer & Motivational Speaker.

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Friday, 16 June 2017

Interview : Rahul Rajan Author of Rudravan

In Conversation With Rahul Rajan

1. Hello Rahul, thanks for being in conversation with me. I would first of all like to know about how you indulged in mythology?

Hi Jasleen, it’s a pleasure J. Frankly, while the Indian audience has woken up to Mythology in the past 7-10 years, it’s been fairly close to my heart for long. My grandfather started me off on this path, first with bedtime tales and moving me on to my first copies of Amar Chitra Katha. In fact, he actually worked on the interpretation of the Vedas while fighting cancer, and managed to complete it just before his death. I’m not sure if that fact influenced me in any way, but I’d like to think of it as fate….preordained, I guess. Actually, it’s not just Indian mythology that interests me. I’m quite a big fan of Greek, Egyptian and the Norse myths as well. I think a bit of that reflects in my writing as well.

2. Why Ramayana? And why Ravana? Do you find him more appealing then Lord Rama or did you find him over-shadowed and wanted to throw some light on him?

You know, as opposed to the majority, I always found the Ramayana more interesting than the Mahabharata. The fact that this was a clash between two beings who could decimate the earth and the heavens if they so wished really appealed to me. It’s the best fantasy/superhero fiction, and it has no equal.

So why write an interpretation? Because in spite of all this, it felt incomplete, somehow. And that ties in with your question on why Rāvan..! Sacrilegious as it may sound, I feel some parts of the story don’t add up.

Rama was born to kill Rāvan. That was the purpose of his avatar. And yet, the events were only set in motion after Rāvan abducted Sita. Just imagine, if the whole banishment to the forest thing hadn’t happened, the epic wouldn’t have taken place at all! Rama would have spent his whole life in Ayodhya, blissfully ignorant of the reason of his existence! That’s like leaving the fate of the universe to chance.

I guess from a logic point of view, I needed a reason to understand why. And once I started, I couldn’t stop looking. And somehow, each question seemed to draw me closer to Rāvan. Why did he need to be killed? And then, how was the boon of Lord Brahma bypassed so easily? And if it had to be a man, then why not ParashuRām? He was an avatar of Vishnu as well. The list of questions was endless. And once I started connecting the dots, they all seemed to link to Rāvan somehow. The search suddenly turned into a story about him, almost on its own. And from then on, the story flowed naturally.

3. I feel that Ramayana is an anti-feministic saga? Taking in notice what happened with Sita at the end of the tale? What are your thoughts over this?

Wow…tough question. Well, no, I don’t think the Ramayana is anti-feminist at all. If the concept of “feminism” equates to that of a woman being confident, self-assured and independent, then the portrayal of Sita was pretty apt. Let me try and explain. Sita was not forced into exile. She went with him out of love, not any obligation. She made that decision, out of her sense of duty, her own Dharma, not as an obligation. We need to understand that difference without losing our own perspective.

Now, the hard part. The trial by fire, and her eventual second exile. This is where Rama-baiters have a field day. But here’s what I have to say, and it might not be what “modernists” want to hear.  “You cannot judge the past by the standards of the present.” Bound by the law of that time, Rama had absolutely no choice in the matter. He was king. And the king was morally obligated to uphold Dharma, as it was defined then, far more than anyone else. So he chose to suffer as a man, rather than diminish the authority of his position.

And he suffered quite a bit. It is mentioned in the Ramayana, that all joy from his life vanished after she left his side.  Sita had her twins, Rama had nothing. When he had to perform the Yagna, he got a golden statue of Sita made to sit beside him. It served to show everyone that never for a moment did he doubt her purity. It was his public act of defiance, the most he could do.

And before you say I’m presenting a one sided story, let me tell you that Sita knew this for a fact. Never once does she believe that he can live in happiness without her. If you look deeper into their situation, you feel bad for Sita, but you feel pity for Rama.

She lived life on her own terms, including choosing the manner of her death. He was bound by oaths and duties throughout. How is that anti-feminist?

4. Do you think Ravana can rule the hearts with the help of your book? Or you have just penned the story as it is shown in all these years?

Well, the book was never written with the intention of Rāvan ruling anyone’s heart. It’s more of a perspective on the events that led to his death, and how despite all his power, the deck was always stacked against him.

Yes, I do believe readers will see a very different Rāvan. He is not the magnificent hero that Rama is, nor the invincible, and yet humble warrior that Hanuman is. In fact, whenever they are in conflict, you would see that Rama is the better man, at least morally. And yet, you will find yourself empathizing with Rāvan. Because he behaves like a man, trapped in a world of Gods. You know he is wrong, but a part of you still wants him to win. You know he will die, but you want to prolong the inevitable. I think that sense of empathy, that sense of giving Rāvan the respect I feel he has been denied so far…I think that’s all I am looking for.

5. What makes your book different from others? What can readers expect?

It’s hard to answer this question without sounding presumptuous. I think first of all, it’s written as a thriller…a mystery. You will find yourself wondering what will happen next, despite the story staying true to the events of the original epic. You know Ravan is going to die in the last day of battle, but until the last paragraph, you will not know how. I think that’s the best part.

The other is the sense of logic in the story, the interweaving of so many secondary myths to form one meta-story. It’s like the strands of a spider-web all coming together at the center. Everything is connected.

Lastly, unlike most mythological reinterpretations, this does not attempt to present Gods and Demons as humans. This is mythology-plus, if I may say so. These are beings that can destroy planets on a whim, consume suns, collapse whole universes. I think the cosmic scale of this story is quite unlike what readers have been exposed to until now.

And lastly, it’s not a black and white story of good vs evil. It’s good vs good, with an equal and opposite justification throughout. I really think…no…I believe…firmly…that the readers are going to love it.

6. What are your favorite books, genres and authors?

No surprises here. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, Arthur C Clarke’s “The Odyssey series”, the original pulp fantasy works of Robert E Howard, David Edding’s “Tamuli” series, almost all books of Clive Cussler (Action-Adventure) and Michael Crichton (Sci-fi adventure). I think the fantasy/sci-fi/mythology mash-up really is my thing. I am also a HUGE Superhero fan, and might have the largest collection of DC/Marvel. And I think a lot of that has also found its way into my writing. I would have loved to write humor as well, being a P.G Wodehouse geek as well, but I don’t think I have that kind of ability.

7. What are your future plans in writing? Will you try anything extra-ordinary just like this book of yours? Or will you be trying any other genre?

Yeah, hopefully I’m not a one book wonder. I have some ideas on what I want to write on next, and I have begun work on that. Research mostly. I’m not sure about the word “extraordinary”, but it will be on a scale larger than Rudrāvan. Regarding the genre, I am going to be dipping into mythology once again, but not to the extent of this one. I want to really experiment with the fantasy and sci-fi angle a lot more, with mythology playing second fiddle this time. I think I want to carve a unique space for myself, my own personal sandbox, so to speak. And yeah, it’s not going to be one book. It’s time I entered the world of trilogies. J

8. What is hard: thinking about the concept, writing the story, editing it or getting it published? Tell your story from start till the end.

Getting it published is the hardest part, really. It’s almost painful, the kind of effort that you have to put in there. But to answer your question completely, I guess thinking about a concept is not tough for a writer, even an aspiring one. Most of us are quite imaginative, and never short of ideas or concepts. I think the tougher part is sifting through hundreds of those and finally deciding on which one to choose. Rudrāvan too happened quite like that. Then comes the plot. The theme, the dilemma, the characters, the twists etc. Then the plot linkages, making sure each event flows logically into the next and your story doesn’t suffer from a case of deux ex machina, which I think lots of writers fall prey to. Then comes the research, ensuring that you don’t get the basics of what you are writing wrong. Writer’s liberty cannot and should not be misused. Post that, a seasoned writer can write the story pretty easily. I know I only face a real problem with descriptive parts, but that’s just me, I guess. Editing, for me, was both educational, and laborious. Educational because I realized that even after multiple rewrites, there was a chance I was not getting my point across. Laborious because of the sheer effort to going back to story with another person and taking them through it word by word. It was grueling, to say the least.

Finally, getting published is a nightmare. I think it’s really hard for a first timer to get picked up. The dynamics of economics are simply stacked against you, and the quality of your writing has precious little to do with it.  I was lucky Leadstart picked me up. But it was just that…luck.

9. What role does the publishing firm plays in an author’s life, especially in the life of a debutant author?

I think a publishing firm gives an author credibility, more than anything else. This is not to diminish self-published authors in any way. God knows I was ready to take that plunge myself. But I guess the sense of professionalism a publishing firm adds is critical. Getting an editor assigned, discussions on cover layouts, page layouts, font sizes, advice on media mgmt., e-com and e-book listing, all of that is pretty important. Obviously firms lean forward a lot more in the case of an established author, while a newbie gets the no-frills version. But that again is dictated by market dynamics, which unfortunately for us writers, is a fact of life.

10. Any part of the book which:

·         You want to changeà  I would have loved to change the sales figures for sure J. You know, pre-booking in millions, a film deal…the works. Seriously though, I should have worked harder on the art. J. Else, I don’t think I’d like to change anything. It turned out just as I had imagined it would.
·         You find the bestà Far too many. Rāvan lifting Kailash, Ram breaking the Pināk, The battle of Dandakaranya, the conversations between Shiva and Vishnu, Ravan’s first encounter with Vishnu, Parashuram’s battle with Kartavirya Arjun, Hanuman defying Ravan in the court of Lanka….far too many, like I said.
·         You can re-read till deathà Only JRR Tolkein can be re-read till death.  I’m not there yet.
·         You memorize by heart. Hahaha….I think it’s the dialogue between Rāvan and Hanuman. I had a ball writing it.

 “You insolent bastard,” growled Rāvan, “do you think you can so easily escape from Lanka?”
Hanuman laughed, “Escape?” he asked, “I did not come here to escape, Ravan. I came here to break your world…just as I have broken your sons.”

11. Your favorite quotes from the book?

There aren’t too many quotes in the book. But there is a passage where Ravan first learns of Ram. It is after Ram breaks the bow of Shiva.

“The prince of Ayodhya, they whisper…as they see him hold the broken bow, and the smile on his perfect face reappears. He turns to look at them, and a silence falls once more as he raises the bow of Shiva.
And then the sound that follows drowns even the thunder of the shattering of the Pinaak. It is the sound of the name of its conqueror…the name of the prince of Ayodhya.
Ram…they say…they shout…again…and again…and again…Ram!”

12. This book certainly shows that it needed a lot of research work and knowledge in the subject matter. Tell us about your journey of this phase?

I think I answered that partly before. See, before knowledge comes interest. If you are interested in a subject, you won’t mind reading tons of literature on the subject. As I’ve already said before, mythology is my calling. I never tire of the subject. In this case, the basic knowledge was already there. The real problem was actually with that knowledge. The inconsistencies that were far too many to ignore. The tough part was finding a solution where none had even envisioned a problem. But here I found our mythology to be wondrous. I had to create very little of the events myself. As I began searching for one answer, it would lead me to another path with another question getting answered. I ended up with a whole list of facts and people connections that I had not known previously. Some of them were automatic fits into my story, and some I had to adapt. A certain event that seemingly existed in isolation, but in my eyes, tied into a larger story.

It was like a genuine mystery. “The mystery of Ravan’s death,” if you want to name it.

13. What are your needs as a writer? A long follower list or readers with a genuine understanding? Do you think the race is never-ending?

Well, I’d be lying if I said fame and adulation don’t matter to me. But I also know that my choice of genre, and my style of writing limits my numeric target segment. And I am ok with that. But I really want my core readers to love what I write. Their…what did you say …”genuine understanding” is really important to me. More than that, I want them to proudly acknowledge that they love my writing. About the race part, I guess only the top dogs are in any kind of race. The rest of us are too far down in the food chain to actually worry about such things. But if it ever came down to it, I’m cool with any and all competition.

14. Do you think the book market is expanding in a wrong way? What chance does a debutant hold in the midst of the chaos?

Hmmm…not sure about this one. I do think that the major publishers are playing it very safe, and it’s very tough for a new author to crack the code. When things like safe word count, safe genre, previous writing credentials (which are mostly none for a first timer) enter into a writer’s world, he is limited in a huge way. And frankly, history has shown that publishers almost always get it wrong. Just look at JK Rowling. So it’s pretty disheartening for a debutant. But my advice is to not lose hope. You just have to believe in what you have written. Be open to criticism, and even reworking your book entirely. But in the end, if you are sure, and nobody is still willing to bet on you, bet on yourself. I know that’s what I would have done.

15. Would you like to pass on a message to your readers before they try your book?

If you are fans of mythology, fantasy, even sci-fi, you will love this book.
Most reinterpretations offer a different viewer’s perspective of the original tales. This book goes beyond that. It offers you the perspective of each player involved, and never lets you choose a side. It forces the readers to become the jury in a grand trial with each side arguing its case equally well.
The second is the mystery element. Despite knowing the end of the story, readers will struggle to guess how that end would come about.

Lastly, the story is set on a cosmic scale. It takes away the homely representation of our myths and replaces them with beings whose existences span universes, and who actions can instantly lay waste to entire worlds.

It will show our Gods in a light in which they have been seldom seen before, and give our legends the respect that is their rightful due.

Thank You author for the wonderful answers :)

About the book:

The greatest villain of our legends, burnt down every year, reduced to ashes again and again, only to rise anew. His is a cycle of death and rebirth that never ends, a legend that refuses to die. And there is a reason for that.

The tale of Rāvan still screams to be told, to break free of the falsehoods that have buried his truth. But in the vastness of our myths, there are bits and pieces of his legend scattered all around, leading us to the truth of what could well be the greatest unsolved mystery of all time. The truth of Rāvan's life, and his death by a God in mortal flesh…

Rāvan's origin, as the descendant of Lord Brahma, his devotion to Shiva and his conquest of Swarga speak of a great king, stronger and wiser than even the Devas. How then does he succumb to lust, cowardice and finally, foolhardiness?

And what was Rāvan's sin that made his death necessary? The abduction of Sitā was a mere front, for the Rām avatar had been born long before that. Why did Vishnu stand against him, when he was blessed by both Shiva and Brahma? How was Rāvan, blessed with invincibility, defeated so conveniently, by a God in human flesh? Could Rāvan not have thought of that, and prepared against it?

And why did Shiva allow the death of his greatest worshipper, the one he himself had named?

What if the Rāmayan was just a part of a greater story, a cosmic game
of chess between Vishnu and Rāvan? What if our greatest epic is merely the end of a tale that had begun long ago?"

About the author:

"'Rahul Rajan is a self- anointed master of all knowledge least relevant to the real world, and more suited to an era that he admits 'never quite existed.' Dropping out of college to joining the Merchant Navy to seek adventure in far off lands (not realizing that he was about 500 years too late), he counts sailing through the Bermuda Triangle and the Amazon River amongst some of the highest points of his life. Aften a severe back injury forced him back on shore, he completed his BSc in Physics from Fergusson College, Pune and then completed an MBA in Marketing from the SP Jain Institute of Mgmt. & Research, Mumbai. Fate then took him on the turbulent waters of the corporate world, where he worked with Procter & Gamble for seven years before moving on to Philips. And now, disguided as a mild mannered cubicle dweller, fighting a never ending battle for sales and distribution, he spends his nights typing away on his laptop, creating imaginary worlds and creatures that have dwelled in his subconsicous mind for far too long. He is settled in Gurgaon with his wife Ruchi and two sons Abhimanyu and Shaurya. He can be reached on Facebook at ''Rahul Rajan's Rudravan""

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