Atha Kāljnānanprakaranam: The Knowledge of Death Related to Time (Edited by Pandit Shoe Shankar Mishra and C N Burchett)

Atha Kāljnānaprakaranam: The Knowledge of Death Related to Time (Edited by Pandit Shoe Shankar Mishra and C N Burchett)

Review by Shwetha H S

Whatever were the intentions of the editors when they began working on publishing the shlokas compilation and its translation, they have failed in it. Atha Kāljnānanprakaranam is based in the collection of ancient shlokas made by Shri Banwarilal. Maybe the shlokas actually teach us something good, but we never know because they are in Sanskrit and not everybody understands that ancient and mother of all languages. Hey! They have provided translation too in Hindi and English. But the translations are so miserable that they will make you cringe out of frustration because you aren’t learning anything from this book and it doesn’t even justify at least its title. The editors must have given the background of the book, neat translations and explanations about why such shlokas were made in the first place. This book is a complete laughing stock, that too in a pathetic way. Please don’t bother reading this unless you have some money as well as time to waste.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Review by Shwetha H S

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dreams.” This is a great quote from the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and is the theme as well. This book, having inspired many people to enjoy their lives and go with the flow, has been interpreted in many ways. This was originally written in Portuguese and later translated into many languages from across the world.

A story of a boy from a well-to-do family becoming a shepherd to travel and see places instead of becoming a priest, and learning the truth about nature, The Alchemist is a soul-searching journey and a treasure hunt. The boy travels to the Pyramids from Spain in search of treasure based on his recurrent dreams. What happens next is what his journey constitutes of. Through the descriptions about reading the omens, the author encourages the readers to start trusting their gut instincts instead of others. The author talks about the principle of favourability, the Universe and beginner’s luck. The author also talks about how help arrives when required and not all the time. That is how he teaches “Ask and you shall receive.” As per the author, there is always a reward for going by your instincts and enjoying life as it comes. Apart from the reward, you get to be one with the nature.

The Alchemist is a story, which touches your heart, told in a simple way; way too simple that nobody misses understanding what Paulo Coelho wants to tell you. The descriptions are not excruciating and are just enough to give you an idea if you are good with imagination. Absolutely no nonsense. This book will be your go-to book sooner or later.

Celebrating the Best of Urdu Poetry by Khushwant Singh and Kamna Prasad

Review by Ashutosh Singh

It was not long ago that I stumbled upon an interview of Munnar Rana (one of the living legends of Urdu poetry). The most fascinating thing he stated was that ‘Urdu’ is purely a language originated in India. Also, the Urdu dictionary contains just 110 odd words of its own, the other 70% words are from Hindi and other languages. These facts kindled an urge to read more of it. The books currently present for starters are not much, most of the poetry books present right now are written in either Arabic or Devanagari scripts with no explanations to the poetry. “Celebrating the Best of Urdu Poetry” crosses these barriers and is perfect for anyone who needs an introduction to Urdu poetry. It was published in 2007. The poetry and ghazals are selected by Khushwant Singh and Kamna Prasad. Khushwant Singh was and still is one of the best Indian writer and columnist, recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards. The poems are printed in Hindi (Devanagari) as well as in English phonetics; the same is then artistically translated and explained in English by Mr. Singh. Most of the translations are ingenious and ends up being poems in themselves with soothing rhymes. The book covers the excerpts of the masterpieces of the Urdu poetry and ghazals from 17th to the 20th century. It starts with an introduction from Mr. Singh, which talks about the rise, decline and beauty of Urdu language. The book is compartmentalized chronologically, with a brief history of the poet and then his verses. Few lines from the introduction part “Maangey Allah se bas itni dua hai Rashid main jo Urdu mein vaseeyat likhoon beta parh ley (All Rashid asks of Allah is just one small gift; if i write my will in Urdu, may my son be able to read it.)” The book is a bottle of wine, not to be gulped at once but to be savoured sip by sip. Somewhere you will definitely find verses with which one can closely relate to. Books like such may create few more followers of the intricate but amazingly soothing language, which is on the verge of its demise.