Saturday, April 18, 2020

Sita: Warrior of Mithila by Amish Tripathi (Book Review: 2.5*/5) !!!

15th Book of 2020!

Well, so as I didn’t have Work From Home access earlier, I thought of completing Amish Tripathi’s Ram Chandra series peacefully by reading all three books written till date but unfortunately just after completing the first book itself, I got the access and since then life has been terrible. Somehow, I have managed to complete the second book in the series named “Sita: Warrior of Mithila” and got the chance to draft this review after a week of completing it. Tough days working from home!

Amish Tripathi has become the king of this genre where mythology is being fictionalized through the author’s imagination and creativity. Hence, the expectation from the author is very high considering that now there are many authors writing in this segment. Unfortunately, the charm of Amish which was displayed in Shiva Trilogy can’t be seen in at least the first two books of Ram Chandra series. And mostly, I am very disappointed with this book- “Sita: Warrior of Mithila”.

Amish has mentioned in the beginning regarding how he is using the hyperlink concept while writing the first three books in this series where the story of three characters- Ram, Sita and Raavan are narrated parallelly and from 4th book onwards, the story shall take forward inter-linking all of them together post Sita haran scene. Reading Ram was still a nice experience considering the detailing and new aspect of story-telling of Ramayan in Amish’s version as everything was fresh. But with Sita, the problem is that Sita, herself, is nicely introduced in the 1st book itself, even her friends, her acquaintances, her land- Mithila- everything is mentioned. This book offers no new insight at all.

More than 70% of the book is repetitive as all of it is already been covered in Part 1. Even about Sita, we don’t get to know anything new even after this book is meant to get deep into her character. But more than her, the law and different aspect of morality is discussed but very less about Sita. Also, somewhere author was trying to discuss Ram as less as possible as the book on him is already out but that makes you feel that your favorite character and the Hero of Ramayan is being ignored and avoided. If you want to read this series, I can very confidently say that you can skip the Book 2 of the Ram Chandra series.

I hope the 3rd book on Raavan shall be something different as he has not been discussed much in the first two books and his journey up till Sita haran is in different world altogether. I am really looking forward to finding the Amish Tripathi I know again. I give this book 2.5* out of 5, unfortunately. At least, the book could have been summed up in less than 250 pages, it would have been better for readers.



Sunday, April 5, 2020

Ram - Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

14th Book of 2020!

One of the first good news that excited people during the phase of lockdown was the announcement of re-telecast of Ramayan series on DD National. As I have already watched the series with great concentration in my childhood, I remember 90% of it and hence I thought rather than watching the same, it is a great time for me to read the three books written by Mr. Amish Tripathi in the Ram Chandra Series- there are more books to come in this series. The first book on Ram came in the year 2015 with the title “Scion of Ikshvaku”. I had not read it until now because I wanted to read when all the books are out as my memory is very weak and I have to re-read all the books once a new book in a series releases. But finally, it took me 3 days and I have completed the book.

Amish is the man who changed the whole literary scenario when he came up with Shiva Trilogy and taught all- publishers, writers and readers that a book based on mythology with a writer’s own version can do well even with the new generation. Post that there have been many books released by many young authors who wrote on the same topic which made it easier for me to analyse if Amish Tripathi has gone a level up with his new series.

Scion of Ikshvaku is the story based on Ramayan - the epic and this book majorly focuses on Ram and how he is a blamed prince and then goes on to become a leader people loved in his kingdom and then a law-abiding citizen who goes on for 14 years of exile just because he believed that something he did to protect citizens wasn’t the right approach. Author has taken a lot of liberty here and the kind of modifications done to the originality of Ramayan is surprising and shocking as well. Few things are surely going to make you smile and curious but few modifications surely disappoint you. The best part about the narration is that Amish has not boosted the speed of the book to make it sound fast-paced and action-oriented but kept it very light and simple. The narration goes very slowly for the readers to consume it with the same speed.

The characterizations are superb and not many characters are introduced just for the sake of making the story complex. Even those are mentioned in the start of the book which makes it easy for you to refer while reading. There are few characters whom I didn’t know about such as Manthara’s daughter- Roshni which has been introduced in the book which comes as an exciting element. Also, author knows how to make readers emotional as few scenes really makes you feel lump in your throat such as the scene when Ram first feels love for Sita, another where he ties sacred thread given by Sita etc. Another observation I had is that Amish doesn’t add “a” in the end of the character’s name and keep it as per our Indian tradition such as Ram (and not “Rama”), Lakshman (and not “Lakshmana”) etc.

Author has made great efforts in trying to make the story sound as contemporary as possible due to which there are references of Nirbhaya’s gangrape, how law is necessary for a region etc. It works sometimes whereas it doesn’t work at some places. You will also find references of Shiva trilogy and Mahabharata in this book. Amish has embedded a lot of his imagination and interpretation and therefore, if one needs to know the real Ramayana, this book is not the right one to pick up. Hence, I would always call this series as Amish’s Ramayan set for 21st century.

Now talking about the drawbacks- I have already mentioned few loopholes above. Secondly, I felt that very less part of Ramayan has been covered even after 360 pages of story. This is definitely slow. Some originalities of the Ramayan are the base of it which I believe shouldn’t be touched at all- rest can be played with. There are very few philosophies discussed in this book whereas I was expecting more of them due to my impression of Shiva trilogy- another problem is - whatever discussed is repeated too often.

Overall, this is definitely One-time read which you shall love exploring when you wish to read something very light and even-paced. Amish Tripathi is an example for the new writers to understand balance of how much detailing and description needs to be made of any situation, character, scenario or nature. I give this book 3.75* out of 5.



Thursday, April 2, 2020

How much is too much? : Divorce in India by Neha Mehrotra (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

13th Book of 2020!

There are some books that reach you at a time when you don’t have clarity yourself- if it was meant to come at this point of time in your life or it is just a co-incidence. This book by the debutante authoress named Neha Mehrotra titled “How much is too much?: Divorce in India” is a take on women who are on the verge of getting divorced/thinking to do so/have already gone through it. The authoress, Neha, has herself gone through this cycle hence she has accordingly written her own experience along with it raised many questions and points that shall make you dig deeper into the society that we live in.

This book published by Notion Press in around 92 pages is a short book but speaks volume. In India, as soon as anyone who has completed education and started working, is enforced to get married- which leads to people either getting into an arranged marriage hurriedly or come up with their current immature relationship in front of their parents and get into love marriage. Both of these alternate steps are done just because society wants us to get married within a particular age-limit. And this book initially discusses Neha’s pre-marriage pre-marriage journey and then how her life changed in a very short span of time itself when the reality surfaced her life with the same partner not responding in an expected manner after marriage.

Being a woman herself, Neha has generally spoken from women point of view, but not once while reading this book did I feel that men were generically termed as someone who are the reason why marriage fails every time. I have so many of my acquaintances about whom I hear are in a painful marriage because their husband mistreats them and several other reasons. We always feel how hard it is to go through this whole procedure of getting mistreated or ignored and then thinking of divorce, taking that decision and then going through the process of divorce and its after-effect – This book tries answering all these questions in the face of Neha’s own experiences from women point of view as they are the first person to be blamed for a failed marriage due to the prejudices in the society.

The book hits you regularly due to the conditions and confusions and dilemma a woman has to go through once the marriage seems not to be working anymore. Also, how many women are keeping quiet and staying in a marriage just for the sake of respect in society of herself and her family is discussed which is more tragic. The good part is in the 2nd half on how author tells about the after-effect of getting divorced. Reading those sections made me realize how tough it gets post separation after staying with someone under the same roof for so long. How traumatic it becomes sometimes. The book covers a lot of details that a woman under the same condition can learn from and take the further steps accordingly.

Now talking about the drawbacks- I felt that as author mostly covered only those conditions which she experienced whereas she should have talked with more such women and covered every kind of conditions in which a woman seeks divorce and how hard/easy going through the path then is. Also, the divorce procedures are not elaborated but that is the main thing I was looking out to learn from this book. Author could have given detailing on the same including several other conditions in which who is being favoured by our law. 

Also, I understand that the topic is too negative and when someone has experienced it itself, there are too many negative things to talk about and less positives, still I feel, author should have mentioned taking divorce and the whole thing as a positive experience rather than something which is again a difficult experience for women. Because I feel few women who must be thinking of getting freed from the bond might get scared and live the same way even after author’s intention to settle them free from marriage which are not working in any which ways.

Overall, this book is a needful book for the women going through this and needing advice. I give this piece of work 3.75* out of 5. I would wish the authoress to write another book on the same topic either in form of fiction or non-fiction giving more clarity on many unanswered questions in this short book. This book is worth your time.



7 Sutras of Innovation by Nikhil Inamdar (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

12th Book of 2020!

So finally, I get Work from Home facility which has come up as a Speed-breaker to my reading marathon in this lockdown period. It took me 5 days to complete a book of 264 pages which I had targeted to complete in a day before WFH came into the picture. Anyway, there are still 12 days to go before we are back in the World hopefully living the way we were so I still have time to read with a better management along with office work. This time I completed reading “7 Sutras of Innovation” written by Nikhil Inamdar along with the association of Marico Innovation Foundation. The book’s tagline on the cover page says “Stories of Scale-Ups that are Transforming India”.

This book basically speaks about the 7 Sutras needed to be taken care for an entrepreneur or an organization wishing to do something innovative and new. Within the starting few pages itself, you are introduced with these 7 Sutras which makes you curious about what else shall the book discuss in further 250 pages or so. But from here author picks 8 Global Firsts and Game Changers who followed whatever they could from these 7 Sutras and applied in their process which made them the success they are. The name of these organizations are Goonj, Forus Health, Tonbo Imaging, The Better India, Agastya International Foundation, ISRO, Rivigo and St. Judes.

All these 8 institutions are awarded by Marico Innovation Foundation for their innovative capabilities. Author, in each of these chapters, begins with the person’s vision who first thought of opening an organization of the kind and then discusses the challenges the company faced in establishing itself. Author also talks about their specialty which made them distinct from others. In the end of each chapter, author points out specifically the number of Sutras the company followed and how. As all these organizations are very different from each other, anyone who has an innovative spark or entrepreneurship goal shall get to learn and analyse a lot as to how these pointers can be applied. These Business Insights are a great work which makes the title of the book justified. Also, this makes you understand that howsoever different the sector of an organization could be, just by following the same Sutras, each one of them can succeed.

Now, talking about the drawbacks of the book, I must say that the biographies section doesn’t elaborate a lot about the founders and the company but only gives us an overview of the same. It would have been great if we got to learn a lot more about each one of them. Secondly, I felt that the Sutras that author ticked for each organization in the end were sometimes not very well co-ordinated as to what was described in its biography section which surprises you sometimes as to when was this followed by the organization. Thirdly, in the paperback copy that I received, few pages were inserted in the wrong order which made my reading experience little difficult.

Overall, this book is only for the entrepreneurs or the aspiring ones who understand the game otherwise this book shall not be very helpful for you. I give this book 3.75* out of 5.



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