Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Review: Pralay - The Great Deluge by Vineet Bajpai

The first book that I read by Vineet Bajpai was Harappa - Curse of the Blood River. The writing style, the characterization, and the whole narrative was so engrossing that I had to read the next in the series.

If I can make a comparison, it was like watching Bahubali part 1 and then waiting anxiously for part 2. This review comes very late but as they say, better late than never.

Pralay - The Great Deluge by Vineet Bajpai

Pralay - The Great Deluge, by Vineet Bajpai is the sequel which starts off where Harappa ended. The protagonist, Vidyut is badly injured while trying to fight an unknown enemy. The story reverberates with instances of darkness and evil spilled through a civilization that is trying to breathe it's last. The narrative follows the same style of flipping back and forth between different eras that relate to one another through stories of 1700 BCE Harappa, 2017 Banaras and 325 AD, Bithynian City (Turkey).

In an intelligent interplay of narrative, Vineet once again manages to engross the audience and yet again leaves us longing for more.

Vineet introduces many new characters and paints them so vividly through his words that each one holds his own. His knowledge and interest in our history and mythology clearly shows through in the way he presents each situation in the story with fiction cleverly woven in.

You are introduced to Trijat Kapaalik, a "maha tantric", an aghora but why does he dread the great Dwarka Shastri, Vidyuts grandfather? What does he mean when he says, 'Kapaal arpan toh hoga aaj, prabhu, kapaal arpan toh hoga' (the skull offering will happen today for sure, my lord)

When Manu meets Matsya, you can almost feel the divine presence of the mighty fish that salvaged all creation, one of the dashavatara, divine avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Does Vivasan Pujari die at the hands of the people of Harappa or does he lay a curse on the entire civilization? What causes the great Pralay that the author refers to in the title and who will survive it?

This is a must read specially if you've already read the Harappa, as Vidyut, the 21st century Devta challenges to topple the World Order. 
A gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Letting Go...

It had been a week when my Nanaji (maternal grandfather) first complained of extreme pain in his hip. He was over 80 years old and it took a lot of coaxing to bring him to our house. We took him to the hospital for a checkup and he was instantly admitted. Tests revealed that he had broken his hip bone and the infection was spreading fast through his body. After all tests he was given a drip and what happened in the days after that is very blurry in my memory. I remember visiting him on the third day and his condition had already deteriorated beyond comprehension. He was in a state where there were several tubes going into his body, for food, medicines and even for oxygen. I remember sitting by his side trying to talk to him, praying so that he could hear those prayers, hoping that he would get better. It was painful to see him in that condition, sleeping yet twitching in pain; unaware of what was happening to him.

It was only a week later when his body was brought home - my own pain seemed irrelevant as compared to that of my mother and her sisters. That was it, the person they loved and looked up-to was no longer there. The grieving went on for a week with relatives coming to meet my parents. Soon life started settling back and all I could remember of him was this old yet energetic man dancing his heart out at my sister's wedding. This was the first incident when I actually understood the pain of losing someone you love. Of knowing that you would never see the person again, never!

I had witnessed deaths in the family before this but I wasn't as mature at the time and it had been easier to get over the pain.

This time, it seemed like my world had changed. We were all trying to come to terms with the loss and move on. Time changed and soon my brother's wedding came into the picture. Preparations were in full swing when God decided to put us to test once again. And this time he had a bigger lesson for me to learn.

My father's sister passed away within two hours of meeting me. My Bhua (father's sister) was not very old, did not have any known illness except for her painful arthritis for which she had been taking medicines for as long as I can remember. She stays just 5 minutes away from my parents place. We used to see her almost everyday and she had become a part of our lives completely.
I would come home from work and she would be sitting with my grandma listening to her stories.
That unfortunate day, I returned from work and she made me tea - I told her I'll do it myself but she insisted saying that sometimes I should let her do the work, "you never know when I'll make tea for you again". She even joked that my grandma never liked her tea but she would have to drink it today no matter how bad it turns out. Of course the tea was fine! While I was having my tea she showed me all her shopping she had done for the upcoming wedding of my brother whom she  always loved like her own son. After some time I left with my mom to run some errands for the wedding while my Bhua said she'll head back home.

We were sitting at a shop when we got a call from my dad that Bhua was unwell and he is going to her place. We went back immediately as my brother was asked to accompany my dad to the hospital. We were still unaware of the gravity of the situation. Soon my Bhua's daughter came over while her younger sister and father headed to the hospital. 15 minutes later we got an update that Bhua had had a brain hemorrhage and was being taken to a more specialized hospital which was at-least 40 minutes away. All of us at home kept pacing the room awaiting some positive update. After 40 minutes my dad called to tell us that we had lost her. Just like that, one hemorrhage, a few minutes of prayers later she was gone, FOREVER. My heart still cries and my eyes well up each time I think of that day. And all I hope was I wish I had somehow told her that I cared about her very much. I always wonder if she knew it was her time to go or if she had felt any pain during her last hour. Had she actually felt something earlier that she ignored but something that if diagnosed could've saved her with treatment. We will never know. Was it really her time to go, NO! She was still young and could have lived to see her own grandchildren grow. She could have lived much longer. That night and the days that followed made my heart go numb. I couldn't feel any emotion anymore and life just seemed futile. Why should I love someone and get attached when eventually without notice they would die?  Life turned into a robotic mode - if someone asked me something I would respond, if left alone I would spend hours doing any activity that would help me while away my time.

Two deaths in a year jolted my existence. But slowly as life progressed, my brother got married, I was back in office and I was trying to get back to blogging. Without my knowledge these incidents had changed me into an extremely attached person. I became over protective of my parents and siblings. I would get mad at them if they didn't take care of themselves. I stopped doing things I had to do simply to spend more time with them (at times even when they were busy I would hang around)
A year went by and slowly after reading a lot of blogs and personal stories of loss I tried to let go. I knew I had to do it else I would drive myself nuts. Letting go did not mean I stopped caring. It meant that I did not have to solve everything for everybody. It meant that I had to allow my dear ones to make their own mistakes and live as they are destined to.

But as life would have it, a year later I lost my paternal grandmother to disease. Another death that had us witness a loved one go through extreme pain and helplessness. I wasn't ready for another loss. Not so soon and yet when it happened I could do nothing but stand witness to God's decision. I remember watching her body burn, this was the first time I had ever entered into a cremation ground. I had only seen it in movies. But I had to do it. I had to watch the whole process in order to come to terms with what had happened. It took me days to console myself but a vision of my paternal grandmother, grandfather (who passed away when I was younger) and my Bhua, smiling at me came to me like a transcendental experience. It made me realize that wherever they are now, they are happy. Looking back I realize maybe my Bhua was in a lot of pain due to her arthritis and that her going was necessary for her. And my grandma was tired of living without her daughter and needed to go to her as well. These are stories I tell myself that console my weeping heart.

Letting go of things that are not in your control is very difficult but you have to learn to do it. I still pray fervently for my near and dear ones. I still believe that prayers do have strength. I'm still scared of losing someone close to my heart. All I want to do is to make sure they know I love them through whatever I can do for them.

I want my parents to know that I love them dearly - knowing that they are enjoying their lives is what I live on.
I want my brother to know that I have always loved him like a mother loves her child. He will always be my little baby. I hope he doesn't make too many mistakes in life and is always happy on the path he chooses to take.
I want my sister to know that despite all the fights we used to have as kids, she is the one person who is my sounding board, my hearts reflection of positivity.
I want my brother in law to know that he is an elder brother I never had growing up. I respect him and love him dearly.
I want my sister in law to know that I love her too. She is the young energy of the family now.
I want my husband to know that no matter how much we disagree on things, I love him with my heart.
I want my cousins, uncles and aunt's to know that you all are always in my prayers and I wish you all a life of good health and happiness.
I want my dear friends to know that they have really changed my life - and I want to thank you for being there always.

As I learn to live life by letting go of things I cannot control, you may wonder what made me write this post - the loss of another soul, another near one God decided to free up from the burdens of life!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Book Review: Let Go Of Me by Ekta Saigal Pandit

"When you think of ideals and crave for that ideal love, it is a reflection of this kind of love that you desire. The absolute love."

Let Go Of Me, book review, Ekta Saigal Pandit

Asmi - she could be you, your friend, or even me! 

Let Go Of Me by Ekta Saigal Pandit is like a reflection of our own inner turmoils written as if Asmi lives somewhere inside us.

Publication: Heritage Publishers
Price: Rs 295/$10.99 (available online HERE)

Let Go Of Me is a story of Asmi and Sagar. Two extremely different people leading very different lives. Their destiny brings them together with a strange pull between their souls. While Asmi leads a very 'normal' life with her husband, kids and in-laws, she battles daily with a strange sense of emptiness within her. A strange voice within her and a strong sense of love in her dreams keeps her going. She is yet to understand the visions she has when life brings her face to face with Sagar. Sagar has the eyes that seem to read her, to know who she really is deep inside and to feel her need as another separated soul would. 

But Sagar has a past to hide, a present he cannot disclose fully lest he lose Asmi. Sagar continues to love her yet hides from her all that a soulmate should reveal. Sagar is a part of Asmi that she can only breathe and cannot control. She chooses not to alter anything in Sagar, but whether she can give him her unconditional love even after finding out his present ordeals is for you to find out in this 221 page - sometimes tearjerker, sometimes goosebumps giver - book.

"Where was her soulmate? Why had she found no soul mate in all her thirty eight years? What was it that stopped her from sharing herself completely with anyone?"

If you believe in love, if you believe in soul mates, and if you believe in the power of the Universe - Let Go Of Me is something you will surely enjoy reading.