2013 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Book: Ajaya: Epic of the Kaurava Clan -Roll of the Dice: Book 1


Front_ Ajaya_cover_final_4-10-2013 (1)After falling in love with RAVANA and BADRA, I think now it’s time to add few more people in the list. Trends are not just in movies, It is catching up with Novels too.. Didn’t get it, antagonist are more smarter than the protagonist like  Amir Khan, Sonu Sood etc etc.  isn’t it such a coincidence that Starplus is also screening Mahabharata and you see so much of difference in perceptive of looking at characters from this book and the Serial.

Like many others, I was waiting for the release of  ‘Ajaya, Roll of the Dice’. The book is worth the wait. Now waiting for the part II.

Book Details

Title: Ajaya – Epic Of The Kaurava Clan: Roll Of The Dice
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
Author: Anand Neelakantan
Edition: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN: 9381576033
EAN: 9789381576038
No. of Pages: 456

About the Book: Ajaya: Epic of the Kaurava Clan -Roll of the Dice: Book 1

THE MAHABHARATA ENDURES AS THE GREAT EPIC OF INDIA. But while Jaya is the story of the Pandavas, told from the perspective of the victors of Kurukshetra; Ajaya is the narrative of the ‘unconquerable’ Kauravas, who were decimated to the last man.

At the heart of India’s most powerful empire, a revolution is brewing. Bhishma, the noble patriarch of Hastinapura, is struggling to maintain the unity of his empire. On the throne sits Dhritarashtra, the blind King, and his foreign-born Queen – Gandhari. In the shadow of the throne stands Kunti, the Dowager-Queen, burning with ambition to see her firstborn become the ruler, acknowledged by all.

And in the wings:

* Parashurama, the enigmatic Guru of the powerful Southern Confederate, bides his time to take over and impose his will from mountains to ocean.

* Ekalavya, a young Nishada, yearns to break free of caste restrictions and become a warrior.

* Karna, son of a humble charioteer, travels to the South to study under the foremost Guru of the day and become the greatest archer in the land.

* Balarama, the charismatic leader of the Yadavas, dreams of building the perfect city by the sea and seeing his people prosperous and proud once more.

* Takshaka, guerilla leader of the Nagas, foments a revolution by the downtrodden as he lies in wait in the jungles of India, where survival is the only dharma.

* Jara, the beggar, and his blind dog Dharma, walk the dusty streets of India, witness to people and events far greater than they, as the Pandavas and the Kauravas confront their searing destinies.

Amidst the chaos, Prince Suyodhana, heir of Hastinapura, stands tall, determined to claim his birthright and act according to his conscience. He is the maker of his own destiny – or so he believes. While in the corridors of the Hastinapura palace, a foreign Prince plots to destroy India. And the dice falls…

My Review:

The book begins with introduction of Suyodhana.  He we can see how the real name has been changed and popularized as Duryodhana , that how we know the Kauravas as. temple built for him in Kerala.  Each character is listed and relationship with other character are explained. I liked this idea, It takes out lots of confusions and makes it clear for new readers too.  Like in Asura, here too Kauravas fight for equality, against caste system etc etc. I think for the Benefit of making Kauravas the heros, the main Sin committed by them, Disrobing  Draupadi is Omitted by the author.  I am not going into details of each episode written, as We all know most of it, and if i tell out, then most of the interesting parts of the story would be out.

Otherwise, the book is simple and yet another try of Anand to portray an Antagonist as Protagonist.  several incidents are created to show the same. and of course few of the original are omitted to justify . Over all a first-rate try.  A good book for epic fans, as it has a different perspective to the told and re-told epic.

About the Author: Anand Neelakantan

I Was Born in a Quaint little village called Thripoonithura, on the outskirts of Cochin, Kerala. Located east of mainland Ernakulam, across Vembanad Lake, this village had the distinction of being the seat of the Cochin royal family. However, it was more famous for its 100-odd temples, the various classical artists it produced, and its school of music. I remember many an evening listening to the faint rhythm of the chendas coming from the temples, and the notes of the flute escaping over the rugged walls of the music school. However, Gulf money and the rapidly expanding city of Cochin, have wiped away all remaining vestiges of that old-world charm. The village has evolved into the usual, unremarkable, suburban hellhole-clones of which dot India. Growing up in a village with more temples than was necessary, it was little wonder that mythology fascinated me. Ironically, I was drawn to the anti-heroes. My own life went on? I became an engineer, joined the Indian Oil Corporation, moved to Bangalore, married Aparna, and welcomed my daughter Ananya, and son, Abhinav. However, the voices of yore refused to be silenced in my mind. I felt impelled to narrate the stories of the vanquished and the damned; and give life to those silent heroes who have been overlooked in our uncritical acceptance of conventional renderings of our epics. This is Anands second book and follows the outstanding success of his national #1 bestseller, ASURA Tale of the Vanquished (Platinum Press 2012). Ajaya Book II, Rise of Kali, is due for release later in 2014. Anand can be reached at: mail@asura.co.in

Interview with Anand Neelakantan- author of Asura and Ajaya.


Leedstart publishers gave me an opportunity to interview one of my favorite authors Anand Neelakantan.  So, let me not further make you wait to read about him.. the questions are marked in Bold followed by his answers.. 

Ready steady Poooooooooooo………………………………..

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In ASURA ,I see that you have taken an Indian mythology. you have added a character Badra. how did Badra happen?  he seemed steal the show. how to do you relate yourself to Badra??

 When the stories of great men are told, it is often the common man or Aam Admi who gets ignored. Bhadra is the forgotten common man. Bhadra is no body and Bhadra is everybody. I wanted to create a third perspective of Ramayana and connect it to modern India. Bhadra became the bridge. I am related to Bhadra like every Indian is related to him.

 Incase you were asked a write a novel original to self, as in not taken from mythology, how would it be??

 I have not decided to write only about mythology. Asura and Ajaya are about Ramayana and Mahabharata, but soon I will be writing about day to day life.

 Did any time while writing this book, you doubted about the  acceptance of readers?? Indians quite believe characters of mythology to be GODS.

 Yes, but our Gods are quite human. Many of the Bhakthi poets even scold the Gods. It is a part of love towards God. Hinduism may be unique in this tradition. For us, God is not someone who sits in the heaven and judges people. She is within us. Criticising God is criticising Self and self realization.

 I found the illustration given in the book very  traditional and authentic . were they done by you?  I also understand that you are a cartoonist. do you have any plans to making a book with illustrations or just cartoons telling the entire epic or a story?

 

No, the illustrations were done by an artist called Ashokan, who is a traditional mural painter in Kerala. Unfortunately, like many Keralities, he has left to work in Dubai as the profession he loves does not help him make his living. I draw cartoons as a hobby, but I am not that professional to illustrate in books. Cartoons telling the entire epic is difficult, but will be great if done properly

there are so many good aspects in the book. you talk about Asura who were against cast system, treated women equally etc etc. Can we see you addressing present day problems ( economics, rape, fluctuating Govt.)without or without connection with epic in future?

My writing is my observation about life and my times. Using epics is just a method. The greatness of our epics is that it is relevant in any age and in any culture. I shall continue to do the same.

 Writing and writers

Right now I see a trend that you are taking up ” accepted negative Characters”  side, giving the story in a new perspective, sometimes telling un-revealed facts too . what has made you take their sides?  In future which other antagonists are going get our attention?

Next one is Rakshasa. He was the anti hero in Mudra Rakshasa, the classic in which Chankya is the hero. Amatya- the Tale of Chanakya’s foe. It will deal with India in crisis at the brink of Alexander’s invasion.

 I see most of the books being converted into movies these days.  If at all ASURA has to made as movie, whom do you suggest to be your lead roles. ( let me tell you, there was a time when Telugu hero, NTR used to take up “Anti-hero” roles and give a new perspective to cinema.)

Having grown up in awe of six times national award winner Mohanlal’s acting prowess, I cannot think of anyone else as Ravana. Other choices would be Amitab Bachan, Chiranjeevi or Kamalahassan. I have seen most of NTR’s epic movies in Tamil (Telugu I cannot understand that well) and he was a legendary actor.

what are your suggestions to aspiring writers? yes I am one among them, how do you think we need to proceed with our ideas?  who is your favorite author? is there any specific reason why you like him/her/them?

Keep writing, keep editing and keep rewriting until you are sure of the quality of the work. Rewrite known books for practise and try to bring your own style and shut your ears to criticism. Write from your heart and live the moment when you write something.

There are many favourite authors. Rather, there are many favourite books. I read a lot. Apart from Indian classics and epics,  I love Midnight’s children, War and Peace, Lord of the flies, Great Gatsby,  freedom at midnight, God of small things, Mark Twain’s and P G Woodhouse’s most books, Agatha Christie’s most books, Somerset Maugham, Kafka, O Henry, Jeffery archer’s short stories (not novels though), Michael Chriton, Basheer, M T Vasudevan Nair, Catch 22- the list is endless.

 Personal.

 I understand that you were working for IOCL. I am just curious to know how this writing happened? what made you chose this alternate profession?

 I am still working for IOCL. Writing happened by itself, initially as a time pass, later as a passion which possessed me. Now, I write on most days. I wish I could be a full time writer.

 10 years back did you think you would be amongst top writers in India? 10 years ahead where do you see yourself?

No, I had not thought about that. It just happened. 10 years ahead, I do not know. However, now I dream of a being a writer who would be read many centuries after my times, just like I am being read today.

 Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

I would only say that, read Ajaya with an open mind. It is from Kaurava’s side, so what used to be white may turn to be grey and what used to be dark may also become grey, because the light is shone from another angle and shadows and figures may change places in this new light.

Thank you answering my questions. we wish you a good luck for AJAYA.

Thank you for your wishes and your interview questions that helped me to know more about my thoughts.

 

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Please ready my review on Asura here.. and I am sure Ajaya is going to be still great.. you can buy these books from here and here. I am sure for his humbled nature, Anand will go long way in his writing career.. wishing him all the good luck.. 

 

 

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little more about me: for Tharani


Tharani passed a beautiful award. So, the post is dedicated to her.

Hey Tharani.. I am sorry.. I am late… but at least I am making a point to do it.. :).  So, I am simplifying your rules and answering the questions alone.. I know I am cheating, forgive me.

1.What does your name mean?

hey dear, coincidentally my name to means star.. morning star.

2. What are your hobbies

Right now its music. yes, I joined classical vocal music and Venna.  I used to dance, paint and write poems. but with Bunty around I am not getting time for anything.

3. According to you, what was the driving force that let you into the blogging world?

Don’t know.. I just started it, as it had my name in URL. then forgot about it. later it was RM, whose regularity in blogging made be come back and write stuff at least periodically.

4. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?
few of them came to me and told I looked good wearing the ink-blue saree on Friday. It felt nice receiving complements from young boys you see..

5. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new?

opposites attract right.. so I get attracted to men who are left hander, good looking(smart-need not be fair), intelligent .

women: working mother struggling with kids, somebody who is struggling in Vizag with peoples mindset.. Bitching about Boss. :D.

6. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?

Crying. I wish I could hold back my tears in many instances.

7. What was the best news you ever received?

I entrance exam results after my 12th std, placement and i am getting labour pains before Bunty was born.

8. If you could hold on to just one memory from your life forever, what would that be?

the time we spent as a family with everybody around. that what we do when we live in distance relationship.

9. What’s your favorite dessert?

simple vanilla ice-cream with fruit salad.

10. What are the top three things on your bucket list?

there is only one wish, move back to chennai or to someplace where me, hubby and bunty live together..