Chanakya Returns

Author: Timeri N. Murari
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9789383064021
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Chanakya Returns tells the story of Chanakya, the modern day reincarnation of Chandragupta Maurya’s Chanakya and his machinations which brings the downfall of a modern day empire, not very dissimilar to the downfall of King Nanda’s Empire.

Author Timeri N. Murari gives you an insider’s perspective on the political power plays between a father and his daughter through an extremely well written narrative filled with intense characters. Avanti is the typical kid of a rich and powerful father and a timid and contrite mother, who is accustomed to the life of worldly pleasures. She is drawn to her father’s enigma, a consequence of his power, wealth and conniving character, without realizing the darker secrets behind his enigma. Chanakya, a victim of Avanti’s dad’s antics, has long sought revenge and finds Avanti his perfect pawn for his intentions. Thus, begins a series of events embroiled in love, betrayals and politics that forms the plot.

The author amazes me. He carefully entwines the story around Chanakya’s calculative mind. The protagonist, Chanakya, is eloquently devious, instilling seeds of ideas and playing around with the minds of the others so subtly that it seems like their original idea. He is a patient man who has waited for his turn for a long time, carefully plotting his plans in the mean time. Avanti is not very likable, be it her immature, father-idolizing, spoilt-to-the-bone self or the grown woman who disappoints the readers expecting her to grow up to a bold, honest politician. Shakuntala, who tries hard to prevent her daughter from following her father’s footsteps and fails miserably, has been portrayed as the typical unhappy wife who cannot stop hoping for her husband’s dawn of realization on right and wrong. All other characters that make their short lived appearances add their own flavor to this story.

It did feel a little slow in the beginning but the plot picks up at its own pace. Certain scenes like the guy with the suitcase seem unnecessary, prolonging the narrative. The political scenario is a clear reflection of the current Indian politics. The tribal rebels, the mining that would erase thousands of acres of Forests and its inhabitants and people’s woes are a little close to one’s home and you get to see the perspectives of the various people involved. It truly makes you ache for a just ruler. Read this book not just for a fine story but also to gain your own perspective on today’s politics.

Read The Hindu’s Article on this book and its other reviews.

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Leadership: The Gandhi Way by Virender Kapoor
Author: Virender Kapoor
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9788129134578
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
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Leadership: The Gandhi Way is a novel by renowned author Virender Kapoor, the title of the book is self-explanatory.  In this book, Kapoor draws lessons from Gandhi’s life and his style of leadership and tells us how we can implement those in our own lives. He explores the parts of Gandhi’s life that may not seem very important to ordinary eyes but could give great lessons.

“He reveals how Gandhi carefully analysed situations before formulating the best way to deal with them. It was thus that he formulated the idea of Satyagraha. He also shows that Gandhi understood the power of emotional appeal, and used sincerity rather than empty rhetoric to maximize on this. In other words, he walked the talk. These and other strategies by Gandhi provide important lessons for leaders of any era, in any capacity. The key, he reveals, is to adapt, rather than adopt, Gandhi’s philosophy in action.”

The book was very thin and if you went by the number of pages, you could easily finish it in one reading. I decided to take the book to college and it bored me more than my lectures. I tried hard, but if I did not have to write a review, I would have left the book in the middle. I understand that there is a lot of time, patience and money put into the making of a book but when I have to write such a review, it genuinely upsets me.

Self-help books are doing wonders in today’s market but apart from this, I don’t know if there was any reason to write such a book. The language is highly repetitive and he mixes his views about different things in different chapters which make the reading experience completely monotonous and irritating. Apart from some anecdotes from Gandhi’s life, there is nothing really interesting in the book. The theme is blurry, the writing style is pathetic and it is a sheer waste of money and paper.

FINAL VERDICT
I would NOT recommend this book to anybody. If you really want to change your life, there are many better books out there. This one is just a waste of time and money.

Though the author has written some marvellous books in the past, sadly, this book was a big disappointment.

Oops, looks like this book did not go down well. However, we do have an article by Virender Kapoor about ‘banana bosses’ – maybe that would be more to your liking? Check it out here!

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The Origin of the Young God: Kumarasambhavam

October 20, 2014
Kumarasambhavam by Kalidasa
Author: Kalidasa, Hank Heifetz (translator)
Publisher: Penguin Publications
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780670086894
Rating: ★★★★☆
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The greatest long poem in classical Sanskrit by the greatest poet of the language, Kumarasambhavam, celebrates the love story of Siva and Parvati.

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Review: Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat

October 16, 2014
Half Girlfriend
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9788129135728
Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
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The new Chetan Bhagat book is the latest in a series of fertilizers with which you can hope to get half – results.

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Review: Korma Kheer and Kismet: Five Seasons in Old Delhi

October 13, 2014
Korma, Kheer & Kismet by Pamela Timms

Author: Pamela Timms
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9789382277149
Rating: ★★★★☆
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In her book, ‘Korma, kheer and kismet’, Pamela Timms walks us through her romances with the streets of Old Delhi and their hidden savories, beaming with an energy and love, only a foreigner can carry for India.

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Review: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

October 9, 2014
o Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Author: Joshua Ferris
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780241003831
Rating: ★★★★½
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To rise again at a decent hour is the recollection of the past few years of a Dentist Paul O’Rourke’s life in the Big Apple – New York. With a well settled practice and a satisfying career, Paul is driven by loneliness.

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Reviews of all Man Booker 2014 nominees!

October 7, 2014

Booker fever has started! On October 14, a panel of judges will choose the best of English language fiction.This year marks the first time that American authors have been allowed on the list and also, unlike last year, focuses on novels that are ‘contemporary, not historical’, with two novels flirting with the theme of social media.

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Review: J by Howard Jacobson

October 6, 2014
J by Howard Jacobson

Author: Howard Jacobson
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780224102056
Rating: ★★★★☆
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J is a love story set in the future, cacotopian period of oppression and commonplace brutality, which is recovering from a catastrophe, conceivably similar to The Holocaust.

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Book Review: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

October 4, 2014
The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan

Author: Richard Flanagan
Publisher: Chatto and Windus
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780701189051
Rating: ★★½☆☆
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The Narrow Road to The Deep North is about a group of Australian POWs during World War II who were used as disposable labour by the Japanese army and forced to construct the Thailand-Burma Death Railway. A third of them died of hardship, disease and malnutrition.

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Review: How to be Both by Ali Smith

September 29, 2014
How to be both

Author: Ali Smith
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780241146828
Rating: ★★★★½
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How to be Both is not just a book. It is an art form by itself. Depending on your luck, you might get one version of the book, or the other. Your understanding of the story could change, depending on which version you happen to read.

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