Yet another author whose works I’ve become a complete fan of – Devdutt Pattanaik. If there is too much hype surrounding him today, I would say every bit of it is worth it. I started reading his books from his later viz Shikhandi being the first one and now this. I have come across his other ‘Seven Secrets’ series titles and hope to read all of them in due course of time. Because one can only imagine how much knowledge – the sheer depth of it – can be contained within one person.
Like there is a pioneer in every genre of writing, I would say Pattanaik has taken up that space when it comes to demystifying Hindu mythology. And this is coming from someone who has been a staunch atheist for the better part of his life. And whose reading of Hindu mythology has been confined to children’s textbooks with colourful art and observation of family or community rituals.
Without going into the merits or demerits of my own beliefs in this regard, I can objectively say that a writer deserves all the more credit when he or she manages to deconstruct complex subjects to make it appealing to every kind of reader. Without compromising on quality everywhere. Maybe I’m saying purely from the point of a view of a reader who delves in the sheer pleasure of reading before anything else. Even then, Pattanaik’s writings have a huge significance today, given the constant churning and questioning of cultural foundations of society. It’s not a bad thing and Pattanaik only helps further this cause, while espousing the belief of ‘multiple truths.’ That is a belief I stand by personally. It would be easy to confuse this with ‘multiculturalism.’ But I would say multiple truths are more universal in scope – because even the tiniest of human groups have differences that they need to work with constantly – just like life partners.
Like Shikhandi, Seven Secrets of the Goddess talks of the very vital aspect – the role of women in society. It goes from the extreme ie Kali to the very mild ie Gauri and every aspect that lies in between. Pattanaik elaborates on every version of tales relating to Gods and Goddesses as seen by different communities of India. The influence of Western, Islamic and other cultures on Hinduism is also dealt with in this regard. And from this emerges a very interesting narrative which I believe also explains the current dynamic of Indian politics.
Concepts like gender and feminism perhaps cannot be explained merely with a few chapters or references to religion/mythology if one wants to view everything through a rational perspective. The author, having been trained in medical science himself, does not ignore this fact. Which is why he balances the spiritual and material references very carefully. This encourages critical thinking and doesn’t just end up being a portrait of a religion that has been wronged by others or seeks to stand out. It seeks to inform without a bias in an age where objectivity is like proverbial needle in the haystack.
To get your copy of the book, visit Flipkart
1 Comment | tags: books, God, Goddess, Hinduism, mythology, narrative, religion, review, society, women | posted in Uncategorized
Let me start this review by being brutally (honestly?) honest here: I’m a huge fan of Sorabh’s work. On the screen and stage mainly as a standup comedian. And I’m aware that this is not his first book. But to be brutally (!) honest again, I could not make much out of his first book – The Wednesday Soul – though it had the similar Delhi Belle vigilante as the protagonist/theme. But maybe it was not meant for a mortal like me. Having said that, I can surely his next – Under Delhi – makes up for my experience in so many ways. And I’m also being brutally honest here! (!). I have always known that the best standups are also among the best writers. And Sorabh proves that no less with this cracker of a pre-Diwali read in Under Delhi. For those (which surely includes zillions of people) aware of his razor sharp jokes and sketches, this is more of a treat since the one liners and metaphors are trademark Sorabh Pant.
And this is totally besides the fact that a lot of the latest standup shows, including Sorabh’s, have been talking about women’s safety in India and especially in Delhi. Much as I hate to stereotype the national capital, having lived there and so on, the fact remains sadly that the city’s men (most, NOT ALL, please read between the lines before you plan to kill me) are Yo Yo Honey Singhs in real life. And so are a lot of men in other cities but yes, I agree that the Capital gets more media attention than other cities and towns. Besides, some of the offenders are actually from the heartland like Bihar and UP, as the book also shows. I found shades of Lisbeth Salander (Dragon Tattoo) in Tanya Bisht – the protagonist of Under Delhi and I liked that. I also loved the characters that defy the so-called Delhi man stereotype. And many words and phrases across characters and chapters in the book clearly show the author knows what he’s doing. That classic head vs heart struggle of a vigilante is also portrayed nicely. All in all, an awesome reading experience because dark humour is one of the toughest genres to excel in yet gives highs like no other!
So, if this review proved helpful then go right across to Flipkart and buy the book!
Leave a comment | tags: books, capital, defence, Delhi, India, review, safety, women | posted in Uncategorized
Still waiting for that college PYT to for the movie show? Or, haven’t mustered enough courage to even say hi to the office chick? And the that ‘hunk’ stealing all your would-be thunder right under your nose? Well, is it because he is the resident room freshener, drives that SUV and has a swagger that will put even George Clooney to shame? Well, you have not lost your chances yet. Here’s a quick guide to how you can be an Indian with your pocket being pinched for less than Rs 500:
1. Axe/Set Wet Deoderant: topmost on the list because this will have women/girls/ladies of all shapes and sizes running towards you – Rs 160
2. Emami Fair & Handsome – all the ‘cute’ ones will treat you like their male alter ego – Rs 5 (chhota pack)
3. Dollar Club underwear you can fight the bad guys even with your eyes closed – Rs 150
4. Close-up toothpaste – you can keep laughing with your lady without embarrassment – Rs 50
5. Start motivating yourself by calling yourself on the phone – does not require money but some imagination – and say this to yourself at least a dozen times – “I’m not a loser”
6. With the change, treat your lady to streetfood and sit together on the river/seafront – this is a tried and tested formula
I added the last point since it’s not so bad to have that experience after all, even if your means to that end differ.
(Prices are as accurate as possible)
7 Comments | tags: India, men, money, women | posted in Random Thoughts, Uncategorized