The Bestseller She Wrote

It had the bestseller she wrotecompletely skipped my mind that Ravi Subramanium’s latest book would be out in mid-October. As soon as I saw that his latest book was available, I boug
ht it on my Kindle and finished it in less than 3 days, as I have the other books that he has written.

I have enjoyed his writing style from the second book that he wrote. His writing is pacy while engaging. You begin the book and with his short chapters, there is immediate reading progress that you enjoy. In these short chapters or bursts he develops the broad sketches of the outline of his story and continues in the same speed till almost the very end. Then he begins slowing down and his finer strokes make their appearance and then the string weaves through all the threads to complete a beautiful fabric of a story.

To this, he adds a set of contemporary characters and events that makes his work easier to relate to to a contemporary audience.

His storytelling is a way of unravelling that I can enjoy once in a while. To me, it offered a nice change in pace and subject and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ravi Subramanium’s latest offering.

DROP

dropOver the whole of last week I was watching a set of videos posted on YouTube of talks given by the brahmacharis of the Chinmaya Mission. This Dusshera, Dhanya and I visited the Chinmaya Mission campus in Powai, Mumbai. It was from the bookstore there that we picked up the novel, DROP. Dusshera is about dropping your negative qualities and attachments, picking up positive qualities and then fortifying it all with knowledge, as per one of the videos I watched. This was perhaps in the back of my mind as I picked up DROP.

The book was written by a group of Chinmaya Yuvaveers and weaves a story around a journey that a bunch of young people take as they travel “within”.

I liked the book as a whole and would definitely recommend that other people read it as well. It comes bundled with a sort of workbook that I am yet to go through.

I think the book has a Hinduism under-current that I am not sure if the authors were trying to fight against in some stage and were trying to glorify in certain stages. Weaving together principles of Hinduism, facts and fiction is a very tight rope walk and I think that these Chinmaya Yuvaveers have done it pretty well.

The book offers a nice parallel between the journey inwards and the outward journey one along the banks of the Ganges to it’s source.

To the Brink and Back

In December, I finish 3 years working in the banking sector. I spent my teenage years reading books about the history of science. I always had an interest in understanding the reasons for why things are the way they are.

For some time now, I have been looking for some book on the historical facts behind the Indian economy. I have been reading Mint for a year and quite a few of the columnists there made references to the significant events that happened in India in 1991. It was there that my interest in learning about 1991 was piqued.

I first picked up the book by Gurcharan Das, India Unbound. The book, however, turned to look at the consequences of the events of 1991 and had fairly little to offer on the 1991 events themselves, where my interest lay. It was an interview in Mint with the author that got me to this book, To the Brink and Back.

The book is by Congressman, Jairam Ramesh and the book does have a fair amount of a biased narrative. I think Ramesh is quite frank about this. The book is about the political action taken in 1991 by Dr. Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh to take India through a transition period.

The first thing this book taught me was that the reforms was one in a series of reforms measures that had been carried out since 1966. To be sure, there are many books suggested for reading in this book which make quite a handsome list. These measures were seemingly not effective or did not work out. The break from the past that 1991 created seems to be visible more as we look back at it 25 years on with changes still unravelling, as though we opened a Pandora’s box. I did not see many books on the changes that 1991 wrought written by economists and am on the lookout for the same.

The book is one of the first accounts that I have read and Ramesh does a good job of it politically. He has also been promoting the book with the political angle that one of the most revolutionary economic changes that helped India propel into the 21st century was the unshackling of the economy and asks his fellow Congressmen to wear it as a badge. The Congress, though, still requires some unshackling of its own. The book is a good read and I think Ramesh has been quite frank and eloquent in the presentation of his books. I also loved reading his footnotes and annexures which are as good a read as the book itself and hence, don’t give that a miss like you usually do in other books.

 

Birthday Post

Every Birthday I write either on paper or on some digital media, a review of the year that is past. I usually do it on the day that is celebrated as my Malayalam birthday, partially out of fear that the Gregorian one may be banned.

This year has been pivotal for me and hence, I felt the need to store it for posterity. Hence, this post, here.

This year saw me getting married, go on my first foreign trip and make several important decisions which were left hanging in the air for one reason or the other. I’ll go in the reverse order of importance on this one.

I decided to make this my main blog.

I decided to continue following the course my career in banking will take. I have permanently left any hopes of returning to engineering as my core career option.

I decided to follow my interest in Astronomy as a hobby. I am yet to take concrete action in this direction, but the primary decision is made, as such.

I decided to follow developments in the world of geography and space exploration. Geography is a new addition, I will be following this with a particular emphasis. While following these developments, I will not be part of any organisation.

I decided to take up editing Wikipedia again.

Many of the above decisions were pushed with the fact that I got married. It led to some urgency in resolving these pending decisions that were in my mind so that my mind space could be allotted to resolving more pressing issues that involve leading a life.