Review of The Quest of the Sparrows

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Author : Kartik Sharma and Ravi Nirmal Sharma

“The Quest of the Sparrows” by Kartik Sharma and Ravi Nirmal Sharma is a story which depicts the spiritual journey of a common young man, Partiban. It basically revolves around the paramount aspect of life which is related to non material values. The story constitutes of divergent encouraging elements which as a whole make it a gripping tale.

As the front cover says ‘explore the joy of freedom’.. the book is all about searching a real self. Moreover, the book title suggests, that the story is inspired by the peaceful and free life of a sparrow. The book deals with the life of a man, Partiban, a reluctant guru. He begins an interesting journey which is filled with several ups and downs. According to Partiban, this spiritual expedition of 600 kilometers on foot to Ganpatipule in Ratnagiri was a practical spirituality workshop to achieve one’s true potential. He sets out this trip in order to make his followers realize that survival isn’t the goal of life. A much significant contribution still awaits us, which is related to holy beliefs and ideas. The group of followers is composed of several distinct types of people who were going through some or the other wretched conditions of life. As Swami Partiban and his disciples didn’t carry any sort of money or belongings with them in the journey, the story contains different anecdotes of how they manage their stuff and try to sustain in this trek. The book also takes you to the past of Partiban’s life where he was bewildered about certain situations and how he comprehends some amazing lessons of life through his father. Also, the book consists of an important character, Shruti ( Partiban’s girlfriend), daughter of a rich industrialist, but he couldn’t marry her because of his financial crisis. The story basically reveals the concepts of joy, peace and freedom via several characters that are represented in the book.

As you gradually get involved in the story, it will raise numerous questions in your mind. Will guru Partiban and his followers complete the journey? Will they reach to their destination? Or will they give up in the middle of this spiritual test? Will they perceive the true meaning of life and their existence?

The cover picture of the book is noticeable and of course the title perfectly suits the story. The thoughts expressed in the story are certainly deep which also shows author’s great intellect and research. It is a simple tale but very effective. The insights of life mentioned in the book can change one’s perspective of looking at things. The book is capable of lifting you up and can absolutely swing your mood.

I liked the author’s writing style as he presented some of the supreme notions of life without much preaching. The book in a way answered many questions that were constantly going in my mind while reading. Besides narrating about the carefree life of sparrows, the author has discussed about self evolution, meditation and the importance of connection to divine.

Several points which are mentioned in the book are thought provoking. Through this book one can introspect in his/her life which is extremely valuable. It was an easy and a fast read for me. The theory of “Practical Spirituality” is captivating and can help people to link to their spiritual side. The book can take you to an entirely different world where you can search a real meaning of happiness, liberation, courage, selfless attitude, and faith. Apart from explaining numerous beliefs and suggestions the story also demonstrates practically how one can achieve tranquility of mind and joy while leading a meaningful and creative life. The analogy that has been expressed in the book is commendable. It reminded me of this famous quote:
“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”

This is a highly recommended book especially for those who are keen to find answers of their inner requirements or want to explore a fully different viewpoint of life.

Rating : 4/5

Reviewer : Shivani Chauhan

Review of Losing my Religion

Losing My Religion

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Author : Vishwas Mudagal

“Losing my Religion” by Vishwas Mudagal is a fascinating story of a young lad, Rishi Rai, a gamer & an entrepreneur. The book deals with how he gets involved with some unforeseeable events which change the entire state of his life. A fast paced novel with multitude of elements such as adventure, friendship, success, failure and romance which as a whole enrich the storyline.

The book presents you an absolutely passionate tycoon, Rishi Rai. The story begins with the Rishi’s financial predicament where he feels totally dispirited by seeing his gaming revolution declining. He failed in his attempt to make his dreams come true because of which he was totally shattered and disheartened. As a result, he went bankrupt & his life had gone haywire.

But as it is said that there are winds of destiny that blow when we least expect them. Something similar happened with Rishi. During his venture to take a break from everything as he had lost all his belief in all that he had been doing, he met Alex, a hyperactive, crazy, American hippie. Subsequently they together set out an unexplored journey across India, which changed the entire course of Rishi’s life. Their expedition covered several places in India. Heading towards Malana Valley had proved to be one of the most horrifying and mysterious trek for them. The story deals with how they got trapped in strange cultures or traditions of the place, thereafter dealing with an extremely freakish crowd in Malana valley and eventually getting out of it. Following to it, they moved to Om beach on the west coast where they started a shack and here Rishi met Kyra, a cryptic and enthusiastic gamer. Apparently, this turned Rishi’s life upside down. The book depicts that how this lady with a secret perfectly alters the circumstances in Rishi’s life in an imperfect way! The story also involves a fully clever and crafty entrepreneur, Mr. Wolf. His ideology related to business was thoroughly different from that of others. Besides, he played an essential role in the story. The climax of the book leads to a huge mahakumb where a series of odd and perplexing events take place. An unanticipated end of the book will certainly leave you in an extreme shock and amazement.

It is truly an amazing piece of literature with a different chain of events that ultimately lead to an extremely startling conclusion. Each character that has been represented in the book describes a strong emotion & image. All the constituents involved in the story are powerful and gripping. Such as an intense friendship shared by Alex and Rishi is remarkable, also an exceptional bond between Kyra & Rishi is a true illustration of love and affection.

It is a well written tale without stretching any of the portions, either the adventurous trip of Alex and Rishi or the ultimate finale of the story. The book is a mixture of fine segments of human sentiments, thrill, romance, dreams, ambitions, failure and victory.

This is a fresh story with an extensively new plot. The writing style of the author is utterly wonderful. The kind of sentences and expressions used in the book clearly demonstrates author’s sheer brilliance. The life of a young, zealous entrepreneur is been portrayed here which undoubtedly can inspire many energetic youngsters out there. The courage or the calculated risk taken by Rishi surely describes the zeal for success.

For me, it was an immensely interesting and addictive read. I never thought that business could be so much fun! I enjoyed each and every fragment of the story. The places, temples, valleys, beaches, and mountains across the India are illustrated in a phenomenal manner. The title of the book didn’t give me the hint of the storyline but as I got linked to the book, it was completely engrossing. After turning each page, I was more anxious to know the eventual outcome of the story. I liked the theme of the story i.e. never give up for any reason. You gotta believe yourself to achieve anything in life. Set yourself free. Confront your fear and turn the mental blocks of your life into building blocks.

A highly recommended book for everyone especially to those who want to read something new and captivating. It would definitely make your day!

Concluding with some terrific lines in the book :
“Leap out of the existence you have wrapped around yourself & take the plunge without thinking of the consequences. You’ll fall, no doubt. But sometime during that, you’ll witness a miracle taking shape around you. That’s called losing my religion.”

Rating : 4.9/5

Reviewer : Shivani Chauhan

Interview of Prathap Kamath

Prathap

1.What are your outlooks & interpretations about literature?

I look upon literature as a justification of my life; it is the only thing that gives me complete satisfaction, in reading as well as in writing. It has consoled, encouraged, intoxicated, and taught me throughout in life. Literature, for me, is an imaginative way of interpreting life. It fulfils itself in finding an apt form that has something new in the way it tells about life everyone can feel as her/his own. I belong to the school that believes in the need of literature’s commitment to social reality. Its purpose shouldn’t be just to concoct stories or poems for the sake of getting published. It should germinate as the result of a felt existential need to say something deep about life lived in our times.

2. Tell us about your world beyond literature.

I teach English for Postgraduate and Undergraduate students at Sree Narayana College, Kollam, Kerala. I am also a Ph.D research guide with Kerala University. I am married and have two daughters doing their school-final.

3. Your book “Blood rain & other stories” is a combination of suspense, violence, corruption, revenge and selfishness. So, how much of the book is realistic?

All the stories in this book have been triggered by things that are happening and have happened around me. Violence, corruption, crimes instigated by revenge, and selfishness have become the defining features of the times we live in. I have tried to contextualize my events within the political/cultural scenario of Kerala so as to make my characters representative of a social reality. Their individual issues are made to spill into the social space and vice versa. It is in this sense that these stories can be called realistic, and not in the generic sense of the term ‘realistic fiction,’ for in the rendering of these stories I have, on several occasions, taken recourse to fantasy, and non linearity of narrative time.

4. What draws you to writing?

An unbearable sense of the meaninglessness of life, unless it is redeemed by the act of writing. I write to keep myself sane and from not falling into the pit of depression.

5. What genre do you like the most?

Fiction, both the short story and the novel.

6. Would you like to share your experiences while writing the book “Blood rain & other stories”?

It was written over a period of five years. The stories were written with long gaps in between. I am not a prolific or regular writer. I write only when I feel like. When I don’t write, I read the best in literature. I started my career writing in Malayalam, and Blood Rain and Other Stories is my first book of fiction in English. Writing in English was a refreshing experience; it lent me a greater freedom and ease to formulate my ideas in aesthetically gratifying forms. It was very exciting to have LiFi, my publisher, accept it for publication. I wish to express my thanks to Dr. Bina Biswas, Editor with LiFi, for linking me with the publisher.

7. Who are your favourite writers? What do you like the most about their books & creations?

I have many favourite writers, in Malayalam, my native language, and in other languages, all of whom I have read in English. To name them all would be impossible here. They belong to all ages, from the epic to the present. I have preferred European Continental and Latin American fiction to English fiction (British/American). The Japanese Haruki Murakami is the most recent favourite. I love these writers for the insight they give into reality through stunning forms.

8. Which books inspire you?

I am inspired by novels that are a blend of eye-opening world view, inventiveness of plot and language, and authenticity of details or information content. For instance, a novel like Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose or Nikos Kazantzakis’ Zorba the Greek or Herman Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund.

9. Did you ever face writer’s block?

Yes, several times. It leaves me depressed as it does with all writers. The best way to overcome it is to wallow in it, go deep into its morass, until it throws you back into writing on its own.

10. How has literature influenced your life?

It has influenced me by watering my imagination, in helping me create a cosy world of my own where I feel safe from the “thorns of life.” It helps me in expanding my sympathies, and understanding of reality. Above all, it gives me a solid purpose to live.

Thanks for the wonderful answers and giving your time. Wishing you a bright future.

Interviewed by Shivani Chauhan