Monday, December 30, 2019

Operation Jinnah, by Shiv Aroor

Operation Jinnah, by Shiv Aroor

A girl is kidnapped in Pahalgam, Kashmir, her two friends shot dead. This kidnapping would have been no different from others, had it not been for the girl - Varuna Rana, the daughter of the famously infamous Admiral Nirbhay Rana. Whispers of his name had surfaced when people talked about a mission from the past which was shrouded in a cloak of secrecy so thick that it had become more of an urban legend or myth. When his daughter goes missing, and a ghost from his past comes to haunt him, Admiral Rana must assemble the same team that helped him on a mission seven years ago in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, this time with his daughter and the reputation of his beloved motherland, India, at stake. With less than nine hours to deliver, the whole team – Lieutenant Commander Akeela Thomas, Lt. Vikramaditya Singh and Lt. Saraswati Subramaniam, dive into a mission with no way out. Will they succeed, and save the face of India, and more importantly, will they come back alive?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta review

Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta (Ram Chandra Series - Book 3)

So, after reading and reviewing both of Amish’s previous books, I have decided to do so for the third book as well. I expected a lot from it, and it gave that and a lot more. This, in my opinion, is by far the best amongst the three. What I liked about it best are the plot twists, which are numerous and quite unexpected at that. Before I go into my experience about it, I would like to give you a short summary of the story, as this is about Raavan’s past, something not most of you will be familiar with.
The story does have elements of the author’s creativity, but the approach is very different and takes a shot at justifying the cruel behaviour of Ravana.

Raavan, the eldest son of Rishi Vishrava and his first wife Kaikesi, was perfect at everything he did, except one thing - compassion. With ups come the downs, and this was Raavan’s - compassion. Despite being the best, he was never actually loved by his father, but instead was an embarrassment. All because he was a naga. A naga was a being who had outgrowths which would continuously hurt, and sometimes bleed, and if not treated, could lead to death. Raavan had an outgrowth at his navel, and Rishi Vishrava blamed this on Kaikesi, saying that he was paying for her bad karma. On Kumbhakarana’s birth, when Rishi Vishrava realised that the baby was a naga too, he sent a woman to go and kill the baby. However, Raavan along with the help of his maternal uncle Mareecha, escaped with Kaikeyi and Kumbhakarana to start a new life. Equipped with his ruthlessness and skill, he sets about to build a trading guild like never before. Everything seems to be going perfectly for Raavan the pirate king, until the death of a loved one finally pushed him over the edge, into this darkness that he couldn't seem to get out of. As the darkness engulfs him, he slowly starts to plot the end of the Aryavartas. He would steal everything from them the way they stole the one person dearest to his heart.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Draupadi: The Tale of an Empress, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Draupadi: The Tale of an Empress, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Here I am, yet again with a review of a book written by Saiswaroopa Iyer, and like her other books, this book is written to inspire. Picking another woman who remained strong through the roughest of times, she presents to us her latest book, ‘Draupadi: The Tale of an Empress’, and as the name suggests, it takes you through the life of Draupadi, the princess of Panchala. Almost everyone will know the story of Draupadi from the Mahabharata; the wife to all five of the Pandava brothers. There are many questions about Draupadi that have remained unanswered in the Mahabharata - like why she would ever consider entering into a polyandrous wedlock of her own will, or how her relationship with the Pandavas was after the game of dice. A book narrating a commonly heard story isn’t unique and wouldn’t draw much attention.

So, what makes this book so special? For starters, it’s the author’s creativity and her ability to describe all the emotions Draupadi felt with extreme ease that you connect with her very well. Secondly, some of the accounts of events are different, and when I say different, I mean that they are almost the exact opposite of what I’ve heard. I would like the readers to remember that this is a fictional retelling of the story of Draupadi and therefore it has different accounts of some parts of the story. Amongst all the different versions, none are untrue and are just different interpretations of the story. However, these tweaked versions were actually fascinating and did explain some of the actions taken by Draupadi. One also wonders how the empress must have taken the near impossible decisions she did, and Saiswaroopa Iyer has managed to envision Draupadi perfectly, and hence, imagine what Krishnaa, mind you Krishnaa, not Krishna, was feeling to perfection.

I quite liked the book and it was a pleasant read. If you want to try another one of Saiswaroopa Iyer’s books after this one, I would recommend ‘Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined’.

© 2019, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.