Living with the Himalayan Masters

Living with the Himalayan MastersSwami Rama is one of the greatest maters from the Himalayas. Swami Rama is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in India, he studied in both India and Europe and received his spiritual training in the Himalayan cave monasteries and in Tibet. His best known work,  Living with the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the east. It is the gift of experience which he gathered from the sages of Himalayas and from his beloved master.

Living with the Himalayan Masters is the embodiment of the Swamiji’s life, his spiritual journey, and his experiences with the masters of different traditions. He addresses the issues that all of us confront at least once in our lifetime, and shares his experiences in such a simple and loving manner that they become a part of us.

This book shows us who we are and what steps we must take to be happy and successful. It inspires us to work hard and have faith in our own self-effort. At the spiritual level it introduces us to our  own mystical and esoteric self as we encounter the adepts hidden in the caves and monasteries of the Himalayas and other remote parts of India, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan.

The stories in this book infuse our hearts with over-whelming gratitude for the sages who selflessly share their boundless love and yet remain unrecognized by the multitude.  Swamiji  is one of them.

Living with the Himalayan Masters has its own spirit. The book  touches  each person at their personal level.

Lavanya N

II CAME L

 

The Zoya Factor

The Zoya FactorThis summer with the IPL excitement and obsession everywhere in India, cousins from everywhere calling to tell me how RCB lost and Mumbai Indians won and all the excitement surrounding cricket, I thought this would be the perfect book to pick. Cricket, well Indians love this sport. It’s crazy how a cricket match of any sort automatically brightens almost every Indian’s mood, from rushing home early from work to saying no to parties, cricket does do a lot to us Indians.

The Zoya Factor is a delightful book which falls under the chick lit category  i.e Chick Literature (books that are all girly and feminine) written by Anuja Chauhan who worked with the Pepsi Brand for 13 years while working with JWT, Delhi and during her spare time wrote this novel. She was closely associated with cricket advertising and I guess that led to cricket being the setting of Zoya Factor. She is an Indian and has retired from her job as The Vice President and executive creative director in 2010 to pursue her literary career.

She has also authored   For Bittora (October 2010) and “Those Pricey Thakur Girls” (January 2013). She is famous for her phrases ‘Yeh dil maange mor’, ‘Be a little dillogical’, ‘Kitkat break banta hai’ which are the tag lines for very famous Indian consumer products.

This book is in the first person narrative where the protagonist is Zoya Singh Solanki, a Rajput girl who is a Karol Bagh resident (typical Delhiite area). She works as a client service representative with an advertising agency. She is in charge of Zing Cola (spoof of pepsi) and absolutely loves everything about her job!

She is super excited about working with Shah Rukh Khan, every Indian girl’s perfect Raj. She’s made to leave an ad film shoot featuring Shah Rukh to work with the Indian cricketing team, this is when the real drama and fun kicks in.

Guess what? Zoya is born on the exact second when the Indian cricket team won the first World Cup in 1983, its well no big deal for her but all of a sudden this is what changes her image from being called ‘Gaalu” by her brother to being ‘Zoya Devi’. She has breakfast with the team before they play a match and invariably they win that particular match, might be too much of a coincidence and when she doesn’t, they lose. Nikhil Khoda the new skipper finds it ridiculous when his team members agree that Zoya is their lucky charm. He is this typical ‘I don’t believe in luck, hard work is what brings us to the top’ type of a guy. They share this love-hate relationship. The story revolves around cricket, friendship, typical Indian mentality and a lot of other fun elements.

What appeals the most to me about this book is how Anuja Chauhan has based her characters and how although it’s fictional, it captures the True Indian mindset. From everyone being so crazy about cricket  to how superstitious we Indians can be. The characters just come alive; they’re present in all of our lives, from Rinku chachi to Zoravar. The characters are so appealing and every Indian individual can relate to them. She weaves together cricket, superstition and romance to delicately and realistically. It makes you smile at every point and in your head you’re actually imagining a similar character or experience in your life.

It’s an excellent book to read when you just want to read something fun. It lightens you up and automatically makes you laugh hysterically at so many points. So pick it up from the nearest book store, grab a cup of coffee and just sit back, relax and enjoy this vivacious, comical and happy book.

Simran Jain

II CAME ‘L’

Divergent

DivergentVeronica Roth  is an American author known for her New York Times Bestselling novels, the Divergent trilogy which includes the books Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant that are a combination of the genres, Science Fiction and Dystopia. She is the recipient of the Goodreads Favorite Book of 2011 and the 2012 Goodreads winner for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction.

The story describes the lives and havoc revolving around the future citizens of North America where every citizen is a part of any one, of the five factions, namely Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent) or Dauntless (the brave). Beatrice Prior, daughter of an Abnegation family, chooses a different faction for herself, which leads to her having to leave behind her family and friends. Divergent shows Beatrice’s troubles and the challenges she has to face in the completely different faction she chooses. Along the course of the first and second books, the plot is observed to change focus from Beatrice’s life in training to major defaults in the whole system of faction-division and ultimately landing in the scenario of war, between those factions.

This trilogy, bearing a huge resemblance with The Hunger Games series, is a fast-paced, capturing book with its target audience being us- the youth. From intellectual combats, physical battles and sarcastic humor, to a hint of teenage romance- the books have it all. In a world, which is today, looking towards ideas of war and destruction, colonialism and dictatorship, one wonders if, in the coming years, this plight of ours will in any way have resemblance to the land of Divergent.  Having loved the characters, plot and the author’s style of writing, I highly recommend the Divergent series as a must-read.

Ashritha Achar

l PPES ‘O’

 

 

 

 

Life of Pi

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature nor do the children of men experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Helen Keller.

Yes we have all watched the movie, but the book is what gave me the real thrill of the life of adventure.

Life of Pi“Life of Pi” by Yann Martel is a fantasy adventure story and one of my personal favorites. Let me begin with a brief synopsis. This is the story of Piscine Patel, fondly referred to as Pi, and his misadventures. Pi is a teenage Indian boy who is the son of a zoo owner. He is also a practicing Hindu, Christian, and Muslim! The main topic of the first part is his experiences with his family, his faiths and most importantly growing up with animals.

The second part of the book is about his adventures at sea. His family decides to immigrate to Canada, bringing most of their zoo animals along with them to sell in North America. They board a cargo ship, but unfortunately the ship sinks, and Pi spends a total of 227 days floating in the Pacific Ocean, he wasn’t alone though, he was accompanied by a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a 450 pound royal Bengal tiger. Luckily, the lifeboat is stocked with survival supplies and a detailed survival manual. Pi sets up equipment to collect water, learns to fish and catch turtles, and makes a raft for those times when he needs to stay some distance from the tiger. Everything he has learned about animals serves him well.

The first three animals die one by one, but the tiger and Pi survives until they float and reach the Mexican shores.  Each reader could spend quite a bit of time pondering the spiritual implications of the deep relationship that develops between Pi and Richard Parker, which was what Pi named the tiger, over the course of their confinement together. At first, Pi is scared out of his wits that the animal will eat him. Then he tries to keep the tiger happy with food, fresh water, and regular routines. This is the longest and in my opinion the most thrilling part of the book.

The final part of the book is an interview between Pi and a couple of Japanese maritime officials. Pi narrates his story of his ordeal at sea with the animals. However, the Japanese officials find his story incredulous and unbelievable, so Pi provides another story, without the animals. The Japanese officials find parallels between the two stories, and later on, Pi asks the officials which story they prefer, to which they respond that they prefer the animal story.

I could analyze this novel in so many different ways. No one can deny that this is an adventure novel. I am impressed with every detail of the story. The fact that it made me picture life like images of every scene in incredible. The author definitely did a great deal of research and produced a wealth of information regarding marine biology. Some of the descriptions of survival tactics were a little disturbing and the reader could for a second think of it as a horror story.

However, I think we may find it disturbing because we as humans live a life of comfort and usually don’t find ourselves in extreme situations where we lose our humanness and revert to animalistic measures.

One of the things that make Life of Pi such an extraordinary story is that it covers so many fascinating subjects. Martel provides overviews of animal behavior, survival at sea, the limits of reason, and a boy’s coming of age. The final level of their interaction is a surprise that will only startle those who haven’t had the delight of close mystical relationships with animals.

I would like to conclude that “Life of Pi”, by Yann Martel is a beautiful book that appeals to all those interested in a life of adventure and adore all the gifts of nature and is definitely a book worth reading.

Evelyn Charles

I PPES ‘O’