Archive for the ‘novel’ Tag

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

A short and sweet philosophical book written in a story-telling style.  I feel this acts a tonic to realize the power lies within oneself.  And everyone need to read some verses again and again in a regular interval to invoke the inner strength and good qualities.  I liked some short stories shared in this book and the lifestyle of people living in desert.  One of the philosophical statements which I liked is “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve:  the fear of failure”.

Kaaviri Maindhan – Anusha Venkatesh (Vol 2 and 3)

Completed the tamil novel Kaaviri Maindhan by reading the volumes 2 and 3.  The pluses of this story are its the continuation of Kalki’s novel ponniyin selvan and imagination introduced by the author in linking certain characters.  The references made on songs by Nandhanar and Thirugyana Sambhandar with respective temple towns are good.
Coming to the minuses I feel in the book like weakly substantiated historical information especially with Chola prince Aaditya Karikalan allegedly killed by Idumbankaari, a Pandiyan freedom-fighter.  Also, in some places I’ve felt the story is too slow to read and repetitions of multiple dialogues in same context.  Some of the instances and strategies could be easily guessed by frequent reader of historic novels.  As a whole, I felt the 3 volumes could have been compressed into a single 600 pages book to make it very interesting to read and affordable to keep a copy by everyone.

2 States – Chetan Bhagat

Yet another time-pass novel by Chetan Bhagat, but worth give a reading for the fun-filled contents.  I’ve felt more emphasis was given to characters and lifestyle of Tamilians, as its natural to read the novel from the eyes of a Punjabi.  It was cinematic on how Punjabi-lad wooing Tamil Brahmin family and Tamil-girl impressing the Punjabi parents.  I’ve felt more humorous sense during the final wedding chapters.   All his novels would be definitely best-seller for masala-loving Bollywood-tight Indian society.

Kaviri Maindhan – Anusha Venkatesh (Volume I)

Readers who loved Ponniyin Selvan would be interested to read this Tamil historic novel.  Its a story on Chola empire which starts exactly after 5 years of Ponniyin selvan novel plot.  The readers could re-visit their favourite characters Vandhiya Thevan, Arulmozhi Varman, Kundhavai, Aazhvaarkadiyan and others.  The author Anusha Venkatesh did her part best in describing the scenes and making it interesting to read.  In this first volume Kandhamaaran, the Kadambur prince looks like the protagonist.  Yet to read the remaining 2 volumes and update the blog.

Harry Potter – Part 2 and 3

Completed reading the books “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.  Harry completes his second and third year at his Hogwarts school by learning many magic skills.  Rowling is good in story telling by providing some mysterious plots.  Harry found his parent’s identity and their best friend.  Readers would find it interesting to surmise the culprits on the course of story.  I’ve given a break to Harry Potter series now to read a Tamil novel.  After that, I’ll be entering into Wizard World soon.

HP and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

I too indulging myself with the Wizard Utopia of world-wide Harry Potter fans by reading this first volume.  Nothing to praise about the exemplary story-telling skill of the author, as its implicit for the fame.  Its worth reading the book for kids as it shows the bravery and good-will of characters Harry, Hermione and Ron.  Also, it improves the basic vocabulary and imagination for school goers.  Looking forward to read the subsequent miracles in Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardy.

Sindhu Mudhal Gangai Varai – Raghul Sangruthiyaayan

Many readers would have heard about the book “Volga-vil Irundhu Gangai Varai” which is very famous on explaining the invasion and lifestyle of Aryans in Indian sub-continent during BC Era, written by the same author.  Inspired by that novel, I was tempted to give a read on this too.  This novel was not much informative and exhaustive as the former one.  I would recommend first time readers to go for former novel.

The story lies in the timeframe of around 500 BC when Magadha empire (location: present Bihar) was ruled by Bimbisara.  The protagonist Simman belongs to Vaisali kingdom, located north-east to Magadha.  The people of Vaisali claim they are pure Aryans, leading a life of democracy/ideal communist, doesn’t accept a King to rule them.  During his teenage Simman travel to Takshashila (location: present Punjab province of Pakistan) to gain knowledge from world-renowed teachers.  Takshahila and Vaisali had people with the same type of ideologies.  He stays in Takshashila for 8 years, learn academics, sword-fighting, horse-riding, farming, dancing, etc.  He stays in his Guru’s house and he fall in love with Guru’s daughter Rohini.  He lead an army of Takshashila to fight against the Persian invasion and exhibit exemplary fighting.  As a token of his victory, Takshashila leaders rewards him with high post and ask him to marry Guru’s daughter.  After a year of marriage, he decides to go to his motherland Vaishali with wife Rohini.  It was the right time on his entry to Vaisali, as its about to face a severe attack from Magadha King Bimbisara.  The story go on like this, as expected he leads the army and keep his country safe from enemies.  As a whole, this novel gives a limelight on lifestyle of Aryans, practise of slavery and war strategies during that period.

The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

This novel based on “objectivism” and “individualism” is quite interesting to read.  I like the protagonist Howard Roark, because of his humbleness and self-respect.  He is a college-drop out Architect, but perfect in whatever thing he does.  I would like to live in a home built by Howard Roark now.  The lead lady Dominique Francon sometimes behave crazy in marrying one guy after another.  Howard Roark’s classmate and virtual arch-rival Peter Keating and the philosopher Ellsworth Toohey lives in normal way of life every human lives in the world now.  But the persons who exhibit individualism are Howard Roark, Dominique and industrialist Gail Wynand.  Eventhough it is ideal or sometimes look stupid to live a life visualized by Ayn Rand, but during some difficult times, everyone should think about to take decision based on Ayn Rand’s philosophy to live a satisfied life.

We could see many similarities between this novel and Atlas Shrugged as both exhibit the same philosophy of supporting “egoism” of man, but in different storyline.   The characters of both novels could be easily compared based on their life style and ideology as:

Howard Roark — John Galt

Dominique Francon — Dagny Taggart

Gail Wynand — Hank Rearden

Peter Keating — James Taggart

Ellsworth Toohey — Francisco d’Anconia (in slightly different way)

Anyway, I feel this is a good novel to read, which introduce a new world of objectivism in reader’s mind and some persons may get influenced by Ayn Rand’s philosophy.  But I was not influenced by her words.

ISI – Pa. Raghavan

A complete insight to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency of Pakistan government has been done in this book.  How ISI was formed post-independence, reason behind it and recruitment procedure makes the starting of the book.  Even though Pakistan was under Army rule more than that of Democracy for many years after its independence, it was being on failure side on all of its 4 attacks against Kashmir.  This was majorly due to lack of co-ordination between intelligence and army.  The domestic intelligence was monitored by Intelligence Bureau (IB) and ISI was majorly involved in issues of Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.  But later ISI was given full control to monitor IB and track activities of Pakistani politicians.

ISI was initially trained by CIA of United States of America and continuously backed by them on resources and intelligence front.  ISI tried to unite all the local Kashmiri militant groups and form a big power against Indian government.  But the militant groups differed in their goals like, Lashkars wanted extended Islamic region in world, Hizbul Mujahideen wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan and JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front) & Azad Kashmir wanted Kashmir as a separate country.  Because of these differences of groups, ISI failed to unite them and it was major blow to ISI.  But they are being the front-runner in providing military resources and any sort of help to Kashmiri militant groups.  The coastal gundas and goons in Maharastra region were heavily backed by ISI and they were the creators of Dawood Ibrahim.

Also, ISI was the first hand agency to ignite Sikhs agitation on Khalistan movement, which is nothing but making Punjab as a separate country.  During the time of India-Pakistan partition based on religion, some leaders of the Sikh community felt they will get treated as second-grade citizens in both Hindu-based and Muslim-based countries and they were in wish of separate country.  Because of secular face of India, they’ve joined to it, but the Punjab province was treated as Hindi language speaking region by Indian government.  This made some Sikh leaders anger towards India and started agitation against government.  ISI was happy to help these Sikh lions in all means in 1970s.  But when Indian government decided to separate out Himachal Pradesh and Haryana from Punjab province, the agitation was lowered by Punjabi-speaking localities and acted as a failure to ISI.

The interesting part in the book I felt was involvement of ISI to train Taliban students.  Afghanistan (Bhastoon tribes) lads were picked and given training in Kunaar region by ISI in order to help Afghanistan for the 10 year Afghan-Soviet war of 1980s.  War ended with victory to Afghanistan and it was considered one of the best strategical-political win of Pakistan among Muslim-ruling countries.  Because of the intelligence leveraged by ISI, Afghan groups were able to taste the victory with the support of America and Osama Bin Laden (a Saudi millionaire who was not very popular at that time).  After the war, around 10,000 Afghan militants under Mullah Mohammad Omar get trained in Pakistan formed Afghan Mujahideen and felt Muslim people were not following the laws and rituals in order of Kuran.  With the blessings of ISI, they headed towards Kandahaar and then to Kabul and established the infamous Taliban rule.

ISI was at its peak during Ayub Khan and Jiya rule in Pakistan and had full role in influencing the politics and Army leaders.  Benazir Bhutto was not favoring ISI and during her rule, the agency faced lesser power than Intelligence Bureau.  During Musharraf period after September 11 attacks, Pakistan faced severe pressure from America to stop relations with Afghan militants.  It was a tough time for ISI to suppress and evacuate their own Afghan trainees but they did it to some extent.

Particularly I like the humourous language used by the author on descrbing certain events in the book.  Its worth reading it at this high time of Mumbai terror attacks.  For readers it raises serious question on involvement of ISI on this planned scary mission.  I’m one among many Desis who want Indian government to take stringent action against terriorists.

The Inscrutable Americans – Anurag Mathur

This short novel narrates the experience of an Indian lad who is visiting USA for his higher studies. Whatever he see, feel and think new in the alien land was presented here. Gopal is the protagonist, hails from Jajau village of Madhya Pradhesh belongs to orthodox vegetarian family starts his way to USA for one-year diploma higher course. From the maiden flight experience to the new college apartment he faces everything new. His friend Randy introduces him the style of American living by taking him to dance bars, introducing some girls for dating, etc. He tries to find a sweet-heart in college and doesn’t succeed on the same. He feels enigmatic about Americans language on saying football as soccer, ball played by hands as football, usage of “got it”, “have a nice day” after every short conversation, etc. It’ll be humorous on how Gopal narrates his experience to his brother by letter and explain to his friends about his family-business of hair-oil company. He too face some bad experiences like getting man-handled by some black men, blinking alone without any girl as companion in club, feeling house-arrest during snow-days, etc.  As a whole, its a good time pass novel like Chetan Bhaghat’s “five point someone”.