Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Prey by Ganges

Author: Hemant Kumar

Format: paperback

Language: English


Price: Rs 295

Publishers: Wisdom Tree, 2011 

ISBN Number: 9788183281867

About the book:

Back Cover Blurb
A cold, rainy night in a forest across the Ganges, deep in the heart of eastern India.
An unarmed man with anger in his heart and a fortune on his person.
A handsome Thakur with evil on his mind and blood on his hands.
Both chasing a rare diamond, but for completely different reasons.
As the chase draws to a nerve-wracking climax, the night, too, is ticking down to a bloody end.
There are the others too—the Thakur’s beautiful wife, the sleazy psychopath, the angry muscleman, the corrupt dairy manager’s stunning daughter and the aging ranch hand with angry welts across his body and soul.
Each is a pawn in this bizarre game of life and death, and each with a story to tell. Or hide.
Will there be a sunrise for Shambhu? Or will he die like his friend, whose brutal murder triggered his perilous journey?
Find out…
Talking to Hemant, the writer (quite elder to me) was a pleasant experience. But I had my fingers crossed when I received the parcel, "what will be inside- oh! A book of course- but what’s going to come along with it...will it be that kick below the line- that would make me believe –“You can’t ask for praising your work, you simply earn it through well planned dedicated effort.”
Quoting a few lines from the novel- not because I am a Bengali by birth- but because in spite of lacking a sweet tooth, my mind got sweetened as I read these lines-
“A well- crafted rasgulla is like a beautiful woman- translucent skin, fine texture, mouth watering appeal, lingering aftertaste.”
I would like to mention- the novel is not so sweet to taste- it is rather a heart crutching experience- though a good one.
I confess - that was the wordplay I was looking forward to for a long time. Simplicity never requires to be verbose- if you pick the right word and spread the colorful letters to make a marvelous descriptive, you achieve the feat of a legendary artist. The idea is to make the story gripping- then the idea has to be to make it trilling per say. Hemant Kumar’s “Prey by the Ganges” achieves the feat- for it reminds me of the cultural equality of ancient times, reminds me -"so what now the places are named as Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Bengali, Sikkim or Orissa, once upon a time- these were linked." They do even now- they share the aura of togetherness- through their customs, their language and even their livelihood.
You can’t draw Santaram here but for those who ventured into reading the translated works of several Bengali authors of the golden era- would recall the thakur clashes reverberating through novels like Gora, Devi Choudhurani, or even parts of Palli Samaj. I haven’t read much of the novels from Orissa, Assam and Bihar- thus, my paucity of knowledge limits me from mentioning other textual references. You could even get glimpses of Aronnok and touches of Ray films getting mingled as Kumar, etches out his powerful characters bone by bone. Ironically the story begins with a ghastly murder- a man beaten to dead – literally clubbed down- was that a form of merciless killing performed by tribes around the world?
Often a death issues the flow of a novel and in the Prey by The Ganges- we have a painter falling for the temptation of a rare diamond, eventually getting killed and setting his childhood friend on a quest of revengeful intensions to the very heart of turmoil. A psychopath for a landlord is a dangerous villain; a belle who can draw sensual appeal is a Hellenic recreation of history itself – the earthiness within village politics, the inculcated conspiracy- the clans at loggerhead- story is like a chess board battle coming alive in front of my eyes.
If war requires proper addressing- before you think of the great battles fought and won, lost and remembered through epics and oral legends- this fiction will demand your attention and make you forget that its around 400 pages journey through the trails of a medicine man seeking justice.

About the author:

Growing up in Bihar through the troubled sixties and seventies, Hemant has witnessed turmoil from such close quarters, that he says he has looked into the bowels of the monster called violence. But in the same turmoil, he says he has come across character of extraordinary solidity – in men and women of ordinary means. Hemant says Prey By The Ganges has cooked in his mind for as long as he can remember.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: Gestures: miscalculated poetries by misunderstood Poets

Author: Yaseen Anwer, Heena Ansari, Nikhil Sharma, Rinzu Rajan & Swati Sevlani

Format: Paperback 
Language: English
Pages: 89
Price: Rs. 200
ISBN Number: 978-81-8253-251-9

about the book:

If the seniors by age are talking about philosophy and politics—the tender minds question the most powerful force ruling all forms of live- “Love”. From romantic inclination to unconditioned affection- their taunt pens grow serious while digging into the deepest realms of growing quest for ultimate answers to emotions less expressed and more felt within.

Today’s random poetry is penned down by youngsters who find verse either rhythmic or free- an affordable medium to express their mind. Presently I am speaking about Yaseen Anwer, Heena Ansari, Nikhil Sharma, Rinzu Rajan and Swati Sevalani.
Gestures- miscalculated poetries by misunderstood poets, is the team’s collaborate venture that was an extension of Poet’s corner.
“Poet’s corner is the brain child of a group of young dynamic wordsmiths conquered by the quill. Their aim is to master the art and to take it to a level of grave those appeals to both the laymen and poets in likelihood.”
-          Quoted from the book.
Yassen Anwer makes it clear enough- ‘I was not a poet/ and never expected to be/My pain forced me to write/and text became poetry.”
If we are to consider Yaseen’s “Victims” – we can feel the words pinching at our skeleton, itself-
“When victims seek sympathy
 The echo not only travels length and breadth
It reaches to the core and approaches the zenith.”
Heena Ansari- for whom a fading bond is still alive in her words-
“but believe me/swear, always/I feel you around me, like air.”
And Swati Sevlani- who communicates through nascent expressions getting the chance to know about the existence of the day.
To quote “I surpassed”-
“She was lost, she was puzzled…
The mingles and jingles gone somewhere,
She opened the door, embraced the nature,
All she had is to whisper.”
Rinzu Rajan started writing poetry as a means of revealing her ebbing thoughts. Her work- “an ode to my city- Delhi” has revoked quiet admiration from my end. If we are talking about “ebbing”- she does have a few words to spare for it as well. Her poem “Ebb and Flow” tells me that her feather has survived the plight attached to growing up-
“Gravity is the tide
On which we levitate
Buoyed to the ebb and flow,
Of exaltation and tribulation.”
Nikhil Sharma, on the other hand, seemed to have grasped the potency hidden beneath the composure of stillness. Thus he writes in the poem “Walls”-
“of  exasperation in dogma,
Or imposed vicariousness,
What’s left of this vagrant soul,
Day of final calling, and eternal sleep,
A eulogy, and some tears,
But me,
To this band of daring writers in verse I would just say-
“I am thirsty
I am hungry
To read more and more.”
 The poets participating in this collection have been mentioned in a recent poetry session organized by Dum Dum Motijeel College. May the flames of their poetic hunger be kept burning for decades to come.

about the authors:

Yaseen Anwer

Yaseen Anwer has done his schooling from New Delhi (Dr.Radhakrishnan International School and Jamia Senior Secondary School) and at present he is doing his engineering from  Bangalore (Dayananda Sagar Institute of Technology).


Heena Ansari

Sprinkling laughter and joy around, Heena Kausher Ansari, is a free spirited soul aiming to put a smile on this world's face. A self styled people's person, Heena, is a firm believer of the old adage that talking resolves any issue.


Nikhil Sharma

Nikhil Sharma was born in Gujarat in the year 1984. His father worked with J&K bank. He did his initial schooling from Mumbai and then the family permanently settled in Jammu.

Rinzu Rajan

She started writing in early 2007 after a few personal debacles, and since then has been writing poetry and short stories. Although she has no formal training in creative writing she managed to break the ice by attending workshops and events to sharpen her skills. Since then she hasn’t looked back and the ink has flowed off her pen in concourse.

Swati Sevlani

Swati Sevlani, love to call as Swati Shobha Sevlani, is touching the thin lines of journalism. Working as freelancer writer and practicing editing skills in renowned English newspaper.

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Book Review: A Bridge over the Impossible

Author: Dilip Gude

Format: Paperback

Language: English


 Rs. 250


ISBN Number: 978-81-8253-261-8

About the book:

A writer who is able to divide his work among
1)      Inspiration
2)      Emotion
3)      Responsibility
4)      Inquisition

                And finally draws the line with poetic references to the theme of “exemplary” needs to be regarded with reverence. Not so because, Dilip Gude, in his book “A bridge over the impossible” has been able to crave out his thoughts with utmost care and has shown immense understanding of the situations he has by far felt and lived through.
Gude negates the popular story of falling into the steady steps of the tortoise. In his poem “Inspiration” he makes the chivalric attempt of stating-

“2. Be the rabbit even if you lose.”

The poem has strong undertones capable of giving the readers the boiling zeal to make his dreams come true.

“ 1. Amass your strength, bid your skills
Inculcate haste and gobble energy’s spills
Summon your resources and imbibe each.”

If we are to follow the idea of “when there is a will there is a way”- I presume the following lines would surely find their way in an enthusiastic orator’s discourse-

“Heighten your senses,
Brighten yourself to stand apart
From the census, Break all ground,
make the path. Lead the lost and
found, shower on them success’s wrath.”
If the section of Inspiration was bathed with fiery words, "Emotion" opens the floodgates of a wounded mind. Or else it would have never began with the words-
“Hurt is just a chemical altercation in brain
Detach from it like dry lotus leaf in rain.”
The move we yell for our rights, the more we chant slogans in order to taste the elixir of freedom, the closure we creep towards our doomed graves. Rightfully expressed, by Gude in his poem “Responsibility”-
“2. You don’t own your life,
people around you do.
Your freedom is limited to freeing
Them from slack’s clutches’’ crew.”
Yet what touched this beating heart were the lines mentioned under the section dedicated to “Inquisition”-
“3. Imagination is the greatest
Architect o reality’s future.
Illumination of a dream
Underlies every invention’s facture.”
A bridge over the impossible” has the feel of semi philosophical sermons placed in verses for the weakened hearts to find their way out of the tunnel of disillusionment.  The book thus justify its serialized presentable, i.e. every poem is chronically numbered and gets grouped under a major theme- instead of carrying gaudy titles for themselves. The title thus stands true to its position- show the way to cross over hurdles in all spheres of human existence.

About the author:

Dr. Dilip Gude is a medical doctor practicing in Internal medicine at Medwin Hospital, Hyderabad, India. He has published over 70 articles in various national and international medical journals. Apart from his clinical practice he is an art aficionado and has unencumbered passion to poetry, screen-writing, photography, painting, dance and art in literally every form.

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