Novels

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Fiction

Erica Bauermeister, the author of The School of Essential Ingredients, has written other novels and they too revolve around the art of cooking. The essence of her writing is that cooking good food and keeping a good relationship are not different from each other.

Lillian owns a restaurant. Every year, she conducts cooking classes and it is with limited number of seats. On the night of first Monday of every month, she closes the restaurant for the customers and opens her kitchen to her students. Lillian teaches her students to how to ditch the recipes and go by their instincts and depend on their senses. Though the classes are once a month, the students become close to each other with each class. The School of Essential Ingredients is all about how cooking changes the lives of Lillian’s students.

At first, we have Lillian herself. She is a motherly character to all the students who attend her cooking classes. Lillian owns a famous restaurant that goes by her name. She doesn’t believe in recipes. She learnt how to cook when her father left her and her mother for another woman, and her mother, threw everything into air and immersed herself into the world of books. Lillian understands that the only way to bring her mother back to being herself is with food. With the help of Abuelita, who runs a spices and other ingredients shop, Lillian prepares delicacies that appeal to her mother’s senses. We have eight students for Lillian’s cooking classes. Claire is a young mother of two and wants to learn different dishes so that she can try them at home for her family. She has a loving, caring and understanding husband in James, who encourages her to take the classes. It is also narrated that James proposed to Claire in Lillian’s restaurant years ago. Carl and Helen make an elderly couple who have passed most of their lives together since they married very young. Carl and Helen love each other more than the recently married young couples. That doesn’t mean they had a smooth sailing marriage. Helen has an affair, but chooses to come clean with Carl and stay with him when she realises that she loves him no matter what. They struggle together until they are able to let go of past and be the same as ever with each other. Other students adore this couple. Antonia is an Italian kitchen designer working in USA. She still is not comfortable with her new location because she is unable to completely understand the fluent English of Americans thought she understands English. She misses her country and food, but is learning to enjoy American culture. Tom is young widower who lost his wife to lung cancer. He chances upon the cooking classes commencement announcement when he goes to Lillian’s restaurant with his friend and signs up for the class because his wife loved to cook and he wants to stay closer to her this way. He is always sad and his sadness is evident to other students and Lillian. Chloe is a girl who has passed out of high school and tries to earn money for college tuitions by getting a job of a busser in an eatery. There she meets Jake, a cook, falls in love with him and moves into his house. She has a tendency to drop things, and as she drops customer orders, she is fired and keeps changing her job. Her boyfriend becomes sarcastic and taunts her every waking minute. Lillian finds Chloe on one of her ever changing jobs and offers the girl a job when she loses yet one more. Chloe wants to learn how to cook so that she can prepare delicacies and win Jake back. She too joins Lillian’s cooking classes and her mentor waives off the fee. Isabelle is an old widow who is forgetful, but laughs at her failing memory. She is there to keep herself indulged in her old age. Ian is a young man who is attending the cooking classes because his mother gifted him the coupon for Lillian’s cooking classes. He believes in preparing himself before starting something new. He prefers to update himself by discarding the old ones and is not attached to anything. He attends the cooking classes and falls head over heels in love with Antonia who is opposite in nature to him. Antonia is aware of his feelings for him, but waits for Ian to muster courage to ask her out. What will Lillian teach her students? Will Claire learn to cook marvellously for her family? Will Carl and Helen stay together even after the cooking classes? Will Ian ask Antonia out and will she agree? Will Tom overcome his sorrow? Will Chloe get back to normal with her boyfriend? To find answers to all these questions, read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.

The School of Essential Ingredients appeals to not only your mind, but also to your heart and taste buds. Each chapter has a hidden recipe, which is not an actually recipe. You will enjoy reading this tasty novel. You will feel each character speaking to you and knocking on the doors of your emotions while the aroma and taste of what they cook rise to your senses. Whether you are a foodie or not this well-written novel is worth your time. It will not keep you awake all night to finish one more chapter, but it will surely not let you leave it midway.

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Harida Honalu by Usha Navaratnaram

ಹರಿದ ಹೊನಲು – ಲೇಖಕಿ ಉಷಾ ನವರತ್ನರಾಮ್ (Harida Honalu by Usha Navaratnaram)

English translation of this book review is given after the Kannada version.

ವಿಮರ್ಶಕರು ಶ್ವೇತಾ ಏಚ್ ಎಸ್

ಶೈಲಿ : ಕಾಲ್ಪನಿಕ, ಕೌಟುಂಬಿಕ, ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ
ರಚನೆ: ಉಷಾ ನವರತ್ನರಾಮ್

ಉಷಾ ನವರತ್ನರಾಮ್ ಅವರು ಅನೇಕ ಕನ್ನಡ ಕೃತಿಗಳನ್ನು ರಚಿಸಿದ್ದು, ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಸ್ತ್ರೀ-ಕೇಂದ್ರಿತ ಮತ್ತು ಕೌಟುಂಬಿಕ ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯನ್ನು ಉಳ್ಳವುಗಳಾಗಿವೆ. 2-3 ದಶಕಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ, ಅವರ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗಳು ಕನ್ನಡವನ್ನು ಆಸ್ವಾದಿಸುವ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರ ನಡುವೆ ಬಹಳ ಪ್ರಖ್ಯಾತಿ ಹೊಂದಿತ್ತು.

ಈ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಪಾತ್ರಧಾರಿಗಳು ನಿರ್ಮಲ ಮತ್ತು ಅವಳ ಕುಟುಂಬದವರು. ಪ್ರಾರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ, ಓದುಗರಿಗೆ ಮದುವೆಯ ಮುಂಚಿನ ಅವಳ ಕುಟುಂಬದ ಕುರಿತು ವಿವರಗಳನ್ನು ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಅವಳ ಹೆತ್ತವರಿಗೆ, ಮೊದಲೆರಡು ಹೆಣ್ಣು, ನಂತರ ಗಂಡು ಮಗುವಾಗಿ, ಕೊನೆಯವಳೇ ನಿರ್ಮಲಾ. ಹಿರಿಯ ಮಗಳನ್ನು ಶ್ರೀಮಂತ ಮನೆಗೆ ಮದುವೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಟ್ಟರೂ, ಅವರು ವರದಕ್ಷಿಣೆಯಾಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ಕೇವಲ ಉಡುಗೊರೆಯಾಗಿ ‘ಸ್ಕೂಟರ್’ ಒಂದನ್ನು ನಿರೀಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅದನ್ನು ಪೂರೈಸಲು ಆಗದ ಕಾರಣ, ಅವಳ ಗಂಡ ಅವಳ ತವರು ಮನೆಯ ಸಂಪರ್ಕವನ್ನು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ಕಡಿದು ಹಾಕುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ, ಮೊದಲ ಮಗಳು ಬದುಕಿದ್ದರೂ ಸತ್ತಂತೆ ಆಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಎರಡನೆಯ ಮಗಳು ಸನ್ನಡತೆಯ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಮದುವೆಯಾಗಿ, ಹೆರಿಗೆಯ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾಣ ಬಿಡುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಮಗು ಸಹ ಉಳಿಯುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಹೀಗೆ ಎರಡನೆಯ ಮಗಳನ್ನು ಸಹ ಕಳೆದು ಕೊಂಡ ನಿರ್ಮಲಾಳ ತಂದೆ-ತಾಯಿಗಳ ಸಂಕಟ ಹೇಳ ತೀರದಾಗಿದ್ದು, ನಿರ್ಮಲಾಳ ಬದುಕು ಹಸನಾಗಬೇಕೆಂಬ ತೀವ್ರವಾದ ಹಂಬಲವಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಅವಳ ಸಹೋದರ ಕೂಡ ಅವಳನ್ನು ಒಂದು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಮನೆಗೆ ಸೇರಿಸುವ ತನಕ ತಾನೂ ಕೂಡ ಮದುವೆಯಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಪ್ರತಿಜ್ಞೆ ಮಾಡಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಇಡೀ ದಿನ ಅಗಲಿ ಹೋದ ತನ್ನ ಇಬ್ಬರ ಹೆಣ್ಣುಮಕ್ಕಳನ್ನು ನೆನೆಯುವ ಆದರೆ ಬದುಕಿರುವ ತನ್ನನ್ನು ಕಡೆಗಣಿಸುವ ತಾಯಿಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಿರ್ಮಲಾ ಜಿಗುಪ್ಸೆಗೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಮದುವೆಯಾಗಿ ಗಂಡನ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗೋಣವೆಂದುಕೊಂಡರೆ, ಅಪ್ಪ-ಅಮ್ಮನಿಗೆ ಅದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕಾಳಜಿಯೇ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಅದೃಷ್ಟವಶಾತ್, ಪಕ್ಕದ ಮನೆಯ ಮಣಿಯಮ್ಮ ಒಂದು ಕಡೆ ಸಂಬಂಧ ತಂದು, ಎಲ್ಲರ ಒಪ್ಪಿಗೆ ಪಡೆದು, ಮದುವೆ ಮಾಡಿಸುತ್ತಾಳೆ.

ಗಂಡನ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅತ್ತೆ-ಮಾವಂದಿರ ಕಾಟ ಇಲ್ಲ – ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಅವರು ಬಹಳ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆಯೇ ತೀರಿ ಹೋಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಐದು ಜನ ಅಣ್ಣ-ತಮ್ಮಂದಿರು ಜತೆಗೆ ಅಡುಗೆ ಮಾಡಲು, ಮನೆ ಸ್ವಚ್ಛಗೊಳಿಸಲು ಇಬ್ಬರು ವಯಸ್ಸಾದ ಹೆಂಗಸರು – ಇಷ್ಟೇ ಜನರ ಕುಟುಂಬ. ಐದು ಜನರಲ್ಲಿ, ನಿರ್ಮಲಾ ಮದುವೆಯಾದದ್ದು ಎರಡನೆಯವನಾದ ಅಶೋಕನೊಂದಿಗೆ. ಹಾಗೆಂದ ಮಾತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಮಹಾಭಾರತದ ದ್ರೌಪದಿಯ ಕಥೆಯಿದೆಂದು ಭಾವಿಸಬೇಡಿ. ಹಲವಾರು ಖಾಯಿಲೆಗಳಿಂದ ಬಳಲುತ್ತಿದ್ದು, ಯಾವುದೇ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾವು ಬರಬಹುದೆಂಬ ಭಯದಿಂದ ಹಿರಿಯವನಾದ ಅನಂತನಿಗೆ ಮದುವೆಯಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಮನೆಯ ಯಜಮಾನನಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಬಹಳ ಗಂಭೀರನಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಎಲ್ಲರ ಮಾರ್ಗದರ್ಶಕನಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಮೂರನೆಯ ಸಹೋದರ, ಅಜಯ್, ಹೆಚ್ಚುಮಾತನಾಡದೆ, ಮನೆಯ ಹೊರಗಿರುವುದೇ ಹೆಚ್ಚು. ನಾಲ್ಕನೆಯವನಾದ ಅರವಿಂದ ಅತ್ತಿಗೆಯನ್ನು ತಾಯಿಯೆಂದೇ ಪೂಜಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಕೊನೆಯವನಾದ ಅಮರೇಶನು ಸಹ ಅತ್ತಿಗೆಯನ್ನು ಬಹಳ ಹಚ್ಚಿಕೊಂಡು, ಅವಳ ಸಂಗಡ ಏನ್ನನ್ನೂ ಸಹ ಮುಚ್ಚಿಡದೆ ನಿರ್ಮಾಲಾಗೆ ಬಹಳ ಅಚ್ಚುಮೆಚ್ಚಿನವನಾಗುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಕಿರಿಯವನಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಇನ್ನೂ ಕಾಲೇಜಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಓದುತ್ತಿರುವ ಅಮರೇಶನು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಂದ ಕಡೆಗಣಿಸಲ್ಪಟ್ಟು, ನಿಂದಿತನಾಗಿದ್ದ ಕಾರಣ ಅವನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಿರ್ಮಲಾಗೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಮಮಕಾರ.

ಬರೀ ಗಂಡಸರೇ ಇದ್ದು, ಅವರ ನಡುವೆ ಮಸಲತ್ತು ಮಾಡುವ ಕೆಲಸದಾಕೆ – ಇವರೆಲ್ಲರನ್ನು ಸಂಭಾಲಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು, ಯಾವುದೇ ರೀತಿಯ ದೂರಿಗೆ ಆಸ್ಪದ ಕೊಡದೆ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಸರಿದೂಗಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗಲು ನಿರ್ಮಲಾಳಿಗೆಆಗುವುದೇ? ಆ ಕಾಲಘಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಸರ್ವೇಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾದ ಒಂದು ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ-ಕೌಟುಂಬಿಕ ಕಷ್ಟಗಳನ್ನು-ತಲ್ಲಣಗಳನ್ನು ಲೇಖಕಿ ಬಹಳ ಸೊಗಸಾಗಿ ವಿವರಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಕಥೆಯ ಮುಂದಿನ ಭಾಗವನ್ನು ಮತ್ತು ಸುಖಸಂಸಾರವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದುವ ಆಸೆ ಕಾಣುವ ನಿರ್ಮಲಾಳ ಬುದ್ದಿವಂತಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ತಿಳಿಯಲು, ನೀವು ಈ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯನ್ನು ಓದಬೇಕು.

ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಪಾತ್ರಪೋಷಣೆ ಕೂಡ ಬಹಳ ಸೊಗಸಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಈಗಿನ ಟೀವಿ ಧಾರಾವಾಹಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡುಬರುವ ಅಸಂಬದ್ಧ ಅತ್ತೆ-ಸೊಸೆ, ಅಥವಾ ತೊಂದರೆ ಕೊಡಲೆಂದೇ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಲ್ಪಡುವ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳಂತೆ ಅಲ್ಲವೇ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಪಾತ್ರವೂ ಸಹ ಕಥೆಯ ಓಘಕ್ಕೆ ಸಹಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಒಂದು ನೈಜ ಚಿತ್ರಣವನ್ನು ನೀಡುತ್ತವೆ.

ಇಂದಿನ ಕಾಲದ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯನ್ನು ಓದಿದರೆ, ಈ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ಅಷ್ಟು ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ತಟ್ಟದೇ ಇರಬಹುದು. ಆ ಕಾಲಘಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಇನ್ನು ಅಂಬೆಗಾಲು ಇಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರ ಮನಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಅರಿತು ಇದನ್ನು ಓದುವುದು ಒಳಿತು. ಯಾವುದೋ ಅಳುಮುಂಜಿ ಕಥೆಯಿರಬಹುದೆಂಬ ನನ್ನ ಊಹೆ ಸುಳ್ಳಾಗಿ, ಒಂದೇ ಓದಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮುಗಿಸುವಂತಾಯಿತು. ಹಳೆಯ ತಲೆಮಾರಿನ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಸೂಕ್ತವಾಗುವ ಈ ಕಥೆ ಈಗಿನ ಆಧುನಿಕ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ಮಂದಿಗೆ ಅಷ್ಟು ಪಥ್ಯವಾಗದು. ಇದನ್ನು ಓದದೇ ಹೋದರೆ ನೀವು ಏನನ್ನೂ ಕೂಡ ಕಳೆದು ಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಬೇರೆ ಯಾವುದೇ ಆಯ್ಕೆಗಳಿಲ್ಲದೆ ಹೋದರೆ, ಇದನ್ನು ಖಂಡಿತ ಒಮ್ಮೆ ತಿರುವಿ ಹಾಕಬಹುದು.

Given below is the English translation of the book review given above.

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Fiction, Family Drama, Social
Author: Usha Navaratnaram

Usha Navaratnaram has written many Kannada novels. All of them are either women or family oriented. About two-three decades ago, her novels were known among women who could read, write and speak Kannada as well as enjoy the language.

The story of this novel revolves around Nirmala and her family. To begin with, the reader is told about her family before her marriage. Her parents have four children: two daughters, a son and at last, Nirmala. The first daughter is married to a man whose family is wealthy enough and still demand a scooter from the in-laws, not as dowry but as a gift. When they can’t provide what is asked, the husband stops all the communication with his wife’s family and doesn’t let his wife also to talk to her parents. Thus, the first daughter is as good as dead. The second daughter marries a noble man, but dies during delivery. The baby doesn’t survive either. Therefore, the second child is also lost. The old couple’s plight is they have lost two children and they don’t want to lose the remaining daughter, Nirmala, too. Their son strives to get her married to a good family and vows to marry only after getting his sister married. Nirmala is fed up of her mother, who is always wailing about daughters who aren’t there and doesn’t care about the surviving one. She just wants to get married and go away to her husband’s place hoping there situation would be better. But her parents have ignored the matter of her marriage. Thankfully, Maniyamma, their neighbour brings a marriage proposal for Nirmala and after everyone agrees, she gets married. At the husband’s place, there are no in-laws; they are dead long ago. It is a family of five brothers with two old ladies to cook food and clean the house. Nirmala is married to the second of the five, Ashok. She isn’t Draupadi, so we can let go Mahabharatha here. The first brother, Ananth, doesn’t want to get married because he has too many health issues and is afraid that he might die anytime. He is also the family’s caretaker; a very serious person and everybody consult him before doing anything. The third brother, Ajay, doesn’t talk much and out of the house most of the time. Aravind is the fourth one who treats his sister-in-law like his mother. Amaresh is the last in the line and totally adores his sister-in-law and doesn’t hide anything from her. Of all the five, the last one is still in college and other four reprimand him for everything, so Nirmala has a soft corner for him. In a house full of men and a scheming cook, how does this new bride take care of everyone and keep them happy without giving a chance to complain? The author has written a story with believable difficulties that may occur in domestic life of that era. Read the novel to know the intelligence of the girl who wants to have a happy-married-life.

What are commendable about the story are the well developed characters. Unlike the new age saas-bahu serials, the characters in here don’t sit jobless and hatch plans how to pathetically torture each other. They are well developed characters with their own lives to lead that aid the story to proceed.

If you read this with a mindset that is constantly running in these times, then you might not be able to relate to the story as this is set back when women were trying to break free one step at a time.

I thought this might be a sob story, but it isn’t. It is a story that you can finish at one go. It is written well enough for people of the previous generations. It isn’t a loss to read this story, but it isn’t that great also to recommend to everyone. Pick this book up when you have nothing else to read and have shunned other books.

ವಿಮರ್ಶೆಯನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುವಧಿಸಿದವರು ಸತೀಶ್ ಏ ಜೀ
Book review is translated into Kannada by Satish A G

Sarasammana Samadhi by Dr. Shivarama Karanth

ಸರಸಮ್ಮನ ಸಮಾಧಿ – ಡಾ|| ಶಿವರಾಮ ಕಾರಂತ (Sarasammana Samadhi by Dr. Shivarama Karanth)

English translation of this book review is given after the Kannada version.

ಶೈಲಿ: ವಿಡಂಬನೆ
ಲೇಖಕ: ಡಾ|| ಶಿವರಾಮ ಕಾರಂತ

ವಿಮರ್ಶಕರು ಶ್ವೇತಾ ಹೆಚ್ ಎಸ್

“ಸರಸಮ್ಮನಸಮಾಧಿ” – ಇದು ಒಂದು ವಿಡಂಬನಾತ್ಮಕ ಕೃತಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಮಹಿಳೆಯರನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ಸಮಾಜವು ಹೇಗೆ ಗುರುತಿಸುತ್ತದೆ ಮತ್ತು ನಡೆಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬುದರ ಕುರಿತು ವಿಮರ್ಶೆ ಅಡಗಿದ್ದು, ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯರ ಭಾವನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮತ್ತು ನಿಜಜೀವನದ ಬೇಕು-ಬೇಡಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಬೆಳಕನ್ನು ಚೆಲ್ಲುತ್ತದೆ. ಶಿವರಾಮ ಕಾರಂತರ “ಸ್ತ್ರೀ-ಕೇಂದ್ರಿತ” ಅನೇಕ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ “ಸರಸಮ್ಮನ ಸಮಾಧಿ”ಯು ಕೂಡ ಒಂದು. ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯ ಪರಿಸರವು ಮಂಗಳೂರು, ಮೂಡಂಬೈಲು, ಮಂಜೇಶ್ವರ ಮತ್ತು ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನ ಕೆಲವುಭಾಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿತ್ರಿತವಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಆ ಕಾಲ ಘಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿದ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಾಗಿದ್ದವು. ಕಾರಂತರು ಕೂಡ ಕರಾವಳಿ ಭಾಗದವರೇ ಆಗಿದ್ದರಿಂದ, ಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿನ ಜೀವನಶೈಲಿಯು ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಸಹಜ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಂಬಿತವಾಗಿವೆ.

ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಎಂಬ ಸಿರಿವಂತ ಯುವಕ ಮೂಡಂಬೈಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ವಾಸವಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಆತನಿಗೆ ಹೆಣ್ಣು ಕೊಡಲು ಅನೇಕ ಕುಟುಂಬಗಳು ಸಾಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತಿದ್ದರು. ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯನಿಗೆ ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಮತ್ತು ಮಂಜೇಶ್ವರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನೇಕ ಗೆಳೆಯರಿದ್ದರು. ಅವನು ವಿನೋದ ಪ್ರಿಯನಾಗಿದ್ದರೂ, ಅತಿಂದ್ರೀಯ, ಅಗೋಚರ ಶಕ್ತಿಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಮತ್ತು ದೆವ್ವ-ಭೂತಗಳ ಬಗೆಗಳ ಕುರಿತಾದ ಕಥೆಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ವಿಪರೀತವಾದ ಕುತೂಹಲ ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದನು. ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಬಂದು, ತಮ್ಮ ಹಳ್ಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ದೆವ್ವ-ಭೂತದ ಕಾಟವಿದೆಯೆಂದು, ಪಿಶಾಚಿಗಳ ಚೇಷ್ಟೆಯಿದೆಯೆಂದು ಹೇಳಿದರೆ ಸಾಕು, ಅವರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಹೊರಟು ನಿಲ್ಲುತ್ತಿದ್ದನು. ಕೆಲವು ತಿಂಗಳುಗಳ ಅಂತರದಲ್ಲಿ, ತಮ್ಮ ಗಂಡಂದಿರು ಮತ್ತು ಕುಟುಂಬಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅಸಹನೆ ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದ ಹಲವು ಮಹಿಳೆಯರ ಕುರಿತು ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಕೇಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಈ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು – ಮಹಾಸತಿ ಸರಸ್ವತಿ-ಯನ್ನು ಪೂಜಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆಂಬುದನ್ನು ಅರಿಯುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಮಹಾಸತಿ ಸರಸ್ವತಿಯು “ಸತಿ ಪದ್ದತಿ”ಯಂತೆ ಗಂಡನ ಜತೆ ಚಿತೆಯೇರಿ ಪ್ರಾಣತ್ಯಾಗ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾಳೆಂದು ಪ್ರತೀತಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಗಂಡಸರೂ ಸಹ ಅವಳ ಪೂಜೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಕುಟುಂಬದ ಒಳಿತಿಗಾಗಿ ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥಿಸಲು ನಿರ್ದಿಷ್ಟ ಸಮಯವಿದ್ದು, ಭಕ್ತರು ಗುರುವಾರ ಮಧ್ಯರಾತ್ರಿ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನಕ್ಕೆ ಭೇಟಿಕೊಟ್ಟು, ಮಹಾ ಸತಿಯನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥಿಸಿ, ದೇವಾಲಯದ ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಕೊಳದಲ್ಲಿ ತೆಂಗಿನಕಾಯಿಯನ್ನು ಬೇರೆ ಯಾರು ಕೂಡಗಮನಿಸದ ಹಾಗೆ ಹಾಕಬೇಕು. ಒಂದು ವೇಳೆ ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಅವರನ್ನು ಕಂಡರೆ, ಅಂತಹ ವರಕೋರಿಕೆಯು ಈಡೇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬುದು ಬಲವಾದ ನಂಬಿಕೆ.

ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯನು ರಾತ್ರಿ ನಿದ್ದೆಬಾರದಿದ್ದರೆ ಹಳ್ಳಿಯ ಸುತ್ತಮುತ್ತ ಸುತ್ತಾಡುತ್ತಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಒಂದು ದಿನ, ಅವನ ಗೆಳೆಯನಾದ ಈಶ್ವರ ಭಟ್ಟ, ಅವನಿಗೆ ಮೂಡಂಬೈಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂಟಿಯಾಗಿ ಅಲೆದಾಡುವ ಗಂಡಸರನ್ನು ಕಾಡುವ ಭೂತ – ಬೆಳ್ಳಿಯಕ್ಕನ ಕುರಿತು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬ ಗೆಳೆಯ ಅವನ ಹಳ್ಳಿಯಲ್ಲೂ ಕೂಡ ಭೂತವಿದೆಯೆಂದು ಸುಳ್ಳು ಹೇಳಿ, ತನ್ನ ಮಗಳಾದ ಜಲಜಾಕ್ಷಿಯನ್ನು ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಲು ತನ್ನ ಮನೆಗೆ ಕರೆದೊಯ್ಯುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯನಿಗೆ ರೂಪುವತಿಯೂ, ಸುಶಿಕ್ಷಿತೆಯೂ ಆದ ಹೆಣ್ಣಿನ ನಿರೀಕ್ಷೆಯಿದ್ದು, ಜಲಜಾಕ್ಷಿಯನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅವನಿಗೆ ಇನ್ನೋರ್ವ ಗೆಳೆಯನ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿದ ಭಾಗೀರಥಿ ನೆನಪಾಗುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಭಾಗೀರಥಿಗೆ ಮದುವೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಆಕೆಯ ಗಂಡ ತನ್ನ ತಂದೆಗೆ ಹೆದರಿ ಓಡಿಹೋಗಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅವಳಿಗೂ ತನ್ನನ್ನು ಕಂಡರೆ ಒಲವಿದೆಯೆಂದು ಅರಿತ ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಆ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅದೇ ದಿನ, ಅವಳ ಗಂಡ ಧೈರ್ಯವನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ಒಗ್ಗೂಡಿಸಿ, ಎರಡು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ನಂತರ ಮರಳಿ ಬರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅವರ ನಡುವಿನ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪರಿಹರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಅವರನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು, ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಊರಿಗೆ ಮರಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಆ ದಿನರಾತ್ರಿ, ಅಷ್ಟು ದಿನಗಳಿಂದ ಹುಡುಕುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ದೆವ್ವವನ್ನು ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಸುಂದರ ಹೆಣ್ಣು ದೆವ್ವವಾದ ಬೆಳ್ಳಿಯಕ್ಕ, ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯನ ಸ್ನೇಹ ಬಯಸಿ, ಅವಳು ಕೇಳಿದ್ದನ್ನು ನೀಡಿದರೆ, ಅವನ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳಿಗೆಲ್ಲ ಉತ್ತರ ಕೊಡುವುದಾಗಿ ಭರವಸೆ ನೀಡುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ತಾನು ಭೇಟಿ ಮಾಡಿದ ಹೆಂಗಸರೆಲ್ಲರ ಕುರಿತು ಯೋಚಿಸಿ, ಒಂದು ನಿರ್ಧಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದು ತದನಂತರ ಅವಳನ್ನು ಪುನಃ ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗುವುದಾಗಿ ಹೇಳಿ, ಮನಃಶಾಂತಿಯನ್ನು ಅರಸಿ ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನ ಹಾದಿ ತುಳಿಯುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಸದಾಗಿ ಮದುವೆಯಾದ ನಾಗವೇಣಿಯನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗುತ್ತಾನೆ. ವರ್ತಕನ ಮಗಳಾದ ಅವಳ ಗಂಡನಿಗೆ ಇದು ಮೂರನೆಯ ಮದುವೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಮಧುಚಂದ್ರಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿದ್ದರೂ ಆಕೆ ಅಸಮಾಧಾನ ಹೊಂದಿರುವುದನ್ನು ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಅರಿಯುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನಿಂದ ತನ್ನ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹಿಂದಿರುಗಿದರೂ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗದೆ ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬ ಗೆಳೆಯನ ಭೇಟಿ ಮಾಡಲು ಅವನ ಮನೆಗೆ ತೆರಳುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಂದರಿಯೂ, ವಿದ್ಯಾವಂತೆಯೂ ಆದ ಸುನಾಲಿನಿಯನ್ನು ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಕೆಲ ಸಮಯದ ಹಿಂದೆ ಮಹಾಸತಿ ಸರಸ್ವತಿಯ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನದ ಬಳಿ ಅವಳನ್ನು ದೆವ್ವವೆಂದು ನಂಬಿ, ಆಕಸ್ಮಿಕವಾಗಿ ಹಿಡಿದದ್ದನ್ನು ನೆನೆಯುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅವಳನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಗೆಳೆಯ ಸರಿಯಾಗಿ ನೋಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದು ತಿಳಿದು, ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಅವಳು ಸಹ ದುಃಖಿತಳಾಗಿರುವುದನ್ನು ಕಂಡು ಮರಗುತ್ತಾನೆ. ತನ್ನ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹಿಂದಿರುಗಿ, ತಾನು ಭೇಟಿಮಾಡಿದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಹೆಂಗಸರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಆಲೋಚಿಸಿ, ಒಂದು ನಿರ್ಧಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದು, ಬೆಳ್ಳಿಯಕ್ಕನ ಭೇಟಿ ಮಾಡಲು ಹೊರಡುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಆದರೆ ಬೆಳ್ಳಿಯಕ್ಕ ಯಾರ ಭೂತ? ಈ ಹೆಂಗಸರ ಮತ್ತು ಇತರ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳ ಮುಂದಿನ ಕಥೆಯೇನು? ಅದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿಯಲು ನೀವು “ಸರಸಮ್ಮನ ಸಮಾಧಿ”ಯನ್ನು ಓದಬೇಕು.

ಸುಮಾರು ಒಂದು ಶತಮಾನದ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದರೂ ಕೂಡ, ಓದುಗರು ಇಂದಿಗೂ ಅದರ ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತೆಯನ್ನು ಕಂಡು, ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಪಾತ್ರದ ನೈಜತೆಯನ್ನು ಅರಿಯಬಹುದು. ಶಿಕ್ಷಿತರಾಗಿರಲಿ ಅಥವಾ ಅಶಿಕ್ಷಿತರಾಗಿರಲಿ, ಈ ಕಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಹಲವು ಸ್ತ್ರೀ-ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ತಮ್ಮ ವೈವಾಹಿಕ ಜೀವನದ ಕುರಿತು ಭ್ರಮನಿರಸನಗೊಂಡು, ತಮ್ಮ ತಂದೆ ಅಥವಾ ಗಂಡ ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ಬಯಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಕಾಲಘಟ್ಟಗಳಂತೆ, ಗಂಡಸರಾದವರು ಅವರ ಮಗಳ ಅಥವಾ ಹೆಂಡತಿಯ ಮನದ ಬಯಕೆಯನ್ನು ಅರಿಯಲು ವಿಫಲರಾಗುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಇವರೆಲ್ಲ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸಹಾನುಭೂತಿ ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದು, ಅವರಿಗೆ ಸಹಾಯ ಮಾಡಲು ಬಯಸುವವನಾಗಿರುವುದರಿಂದ, ಬಿನ್ನವಾಗಿಯೂ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟವಾಗಿಯೂ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಸುನಾಲಿನಿಯು ವಿದ್ಯಾವಂತೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದರೂ, ಅಶಿಕ್ಷಿತನೊಡನೆ ಮದುವೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಅವನ ಅಜ್ಞಾನದಿಂದ ತೊಂದರೆಗೊಳಗಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಹೆಂಗಸರನ್ನು ಪಾದರಕ್ಷೆಗಳಂತೆ ಕಾಣಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಮಾವ ಮತ್ತು ಇಂಥ ತಂದೆಯನ್ನು ವಿರೋಧಿಸದ ಗಂಡನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ರೋಸಿ ಹೋಗಿ ಗಂಡನ ಮನೆ ಬಿಟ್ಟಭಾಗೀರಥಿ.  ತನ್ನ ಹೆಣ್ಣು ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅತೀವಕಾಳಜಿಹೊಂದಿದ್ದು, ಗಂಡನ ಪೊಳ್ಳು ಸ್ವಾಭಿಮಾನ ಮತ್ತು ಜಿಪುಣತನವನ್ನು ಕಂಡಿದ್ದರೂ ಜಾನಕಿ, ತನ್ನ ಹಿರಿಯ ಮಗಳಾದ ನಾಗವೇಣಿಯನ್ನು ಉದ್ಯೋಗವಿಲ್ಲದ, ಎರಡು ಹೆಂಡತಿಯರನ್ನು ಕಳೆದುಕೊಂಡ ವಿಧುರನಿಗೆ ಮದುವೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಡುತ್ತಾಳೆ. ಅಷ್ಟು ಸುಂದರಿಯೂ ಅಲ್ಲದ, ವಿದ್ಯಾವಂತೆಯೂ ಅಲ್ಲದ ಜಲಜಾಕ್ಷಿಯನ್ನು ಯಾವ ವರನು ಕೂಡ ಇಷ್ಟ ಪಡದ ಕಾರಣ ಅವಳಿಗೆ ಇನ್ನು ಮದುವೆಯ ಭಾಗ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಇವರೆಲ್ಲರ ಕುರಿತಾಗಿ ಚಂದ್ರಯ್ಯ ಮರುಗುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಇವೆಲ್ಲದರ ನಡುವೆ ರೂಪವತಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದರು, ಭೂತವಾದ ಬೆಳ್ಳಿಯಕ್ಕನನ್ನು ಸಹ ಅವನು ನಿಭಾಯಿಸ ಬೇಕಾಗಿರುವುದು ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಸವಾಲು. ಜೀವಂತವಾಗಿರಲಿ ಅಥವಾ ಇಲ್ಲದಿರಲಿ, ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಪಾತ್ರವೂ ಕೂಡ ತನ್ನದೇ ಆದ ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆಯನ್ನು ಮತ್ತು ಮಹತ್ವವನ್ನು ಸಾರುತ್ತವೆ.

“ಸರಸಮ್ಮನ ಸಮಾಧಿ”ಯು ಒಂದು ಉತ್ಕೃಷ್ಟವಾದ ಕೃತಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಜನರು, ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಪುರುಷರು ತಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ನಿರ್ಧಾರಗಳಿಂದ, ಮಾಡುವ ಆಯ್ಕೆಗಳಿಂದ, ತಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನದ ಭಾಗವಾದ ಹೆಂಗಸರ ಮೇಲೆ ಯಾವ ರೀತಿಯ ಪ್ರಭಾವ ಬೀರುತ್ತಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಅವಲೋಕನ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರೇರೇಪಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಕೇವಲ ಭೋಗದ ವಸ್ತುಗಳಾದ ಆಭರಣಗಳು, ಸಿರಿವಂತಿಕೆಗಳಿಂದ ಹೆಂಗಸರನ್ನು ಸಂತೋಷಪಡಿಸಲು ಆಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ, ಆದರೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ-ಸಹಾನುಭೂತಿಗಳಿಂದ ಸಾಧ್ಯ ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಇದರ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ವಸ್ತು. ಬಿಗಿಯಾದ ನಿರೂಪಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರಬುದ್ಧ ಪಾತ್ರ ಪೋಷಣೆಯಿಂದ ಓದಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಸಾಗಿಸುವ ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕವು ಎಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಕೂಡ ಸಡಿಲಗೊಳ್ಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಹೆಸರನ್ನು ಕಂಡು, ಇದೊಂದು ರಕ್ತಸಿಕ್ತ ಕಥಾನಕವಿರಬಹುದೆಂದು ಭಾವಿಸಿದ್ದ ನನಗೆ, ಸಮಾಜದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅದರ ಕಟ್ಟುಪಾಡುಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ, ಮದುವೆಯ ಕುರಿತಾದ ನಂಬಿಕೆಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ವಿಮರ್ಶೆಗೆ ಒಳಗಾಗುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಿದ, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ನಕ್ಕುನಲಿಯುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಒಂದು ಸುಂದರ ಕೃತಿ. ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರೂ ಕೂಡ ಇದನ್ನು ಓದಲೇ ಬೇಕೆಂದು ನಾನು ಶಿಫಾರಸ್ಸು ಮಾಡುತ್ತೇನೆ.

Given below is the English translation of the book review given above.

Genre: Satire
Author: Dr. Shivarama Karanth

Review by Shwetha H S

Sarasammana Samadhi can be called a satire that mocks at how women are portrayed and made to behave by the society, but also about how they actually are in real life and what they want. The author Dr. Shivarama Karanth has written woman-centric novels, and just like his other works, Sarasammana Samadhi is also about women. The story is set in the areas of Mangalore, Mudambailu, Manjeshwara and, to certain extent, Kasaragodu. Back when this novel was written, all these places were in Karnataka, and near to where the author lived. The life in the coastal region can be found in a few instances in the story.

Chandraiah is a single youth and is wealthy enough for other families to want him to marry their daughters. He lives in Mudambailu and has friends in Mangalore and Manjeshwara. He is of jovial nature and is especially interested in paranormal and ghost stories. If one wants to catch his attention, he/she has to tell him that they have ghosts in their village. It will be more than enough to take him to their village. In a span of a few months, Chandraiah comes across a few women who are distraught with their husbands and families. These women go to pray to Mahasati Saraswathi, a lady who was said to have sacrificed herself in the pyre of her husband as Sati practice. Even men pray to her. There is a special time to pray for the goodness of the family life. The devotee has to go to her temple at the midnight of any Thursday, pray to Mahasati and throw a coconut into the pond next to the temple. All this has to be done without anybody noticing it. If anybody notices a man or a woman doing so, their wishes won’t come true. Chandraiah roams around the village and surroundings when he isn’t sleepy. One day, his friend Eshwara Bhat tells him about Belliyakka, a ghost that haunts men who roam around in Mudambailu alone at night. His other friend too tells that there is a ghost in his village too, but it isn’t true. He just wants to take Chandraiah to his home so that he can show his daughter, Jalajakshi, to this unmarried young man. Chandraiah is not only looking for a charming girl, but also wants to marry an educated girl. Jalajakshi doesn’t meet either of his expectations and he doesn’t show any interest in her. He suddenly remembers a girl, Bhagirathi, he had seen at his friend’s place. Bhagirathi is married, but her coward husband has left her scared of his father. Chandraiah knows she also likes him. So he goes to his friend’s village and talks to her. On the same day, her husband finally musters courage to come and gather her after staying apart for two years. Chandraiah leaves the couple to sort their issues and goes back to his home. On his wanderings one night, he meets the ghost in whose search he had roamed everywhere. Belliyakka, the ghost of a beautiful woman, asks his friendship and if he is willing to give her what she asks for in return to answers to his questions. Chandraiah tells her that he will come back to her once he decides of the women he has met. He goes off to Kasaragodu in search of peace of mind, but there he sees the newly married Nagaveni, who has come there with her third-time married husband on honeymoon, but it is evident that she is not happy with him. Nagaveni is the daughter of a merchant of his village. From Kasaragodu, Chandraiah goes back to his village and instead of going home he goes to his friend’s shop to chat with him. He doesn’t find his friend there, so Chandraiah goes to his friend’s home. There he finds Sunalini, a beautiful and educated girl whom he had accidentally held near Mahasati Saraswathi’s temple at the midnight thinking she is the ghost. He understands that she too is unhappy because his friend doesn’t love her, and pities her. After listening to her plight, he goes back home. He contemplates about all the women he has met, and goes to meet Belliyakka to tell his decision. But whose ghost is this Belliyakka? What happens to all these girls and women in the story? Read Sarasammana Samadhi to know more.

All the characters in the story are relatable. Though this was written almost a century ago, the reader can still relate to it. Women of this story, both educated and uneducated, are fed up of their married lives and want their husbands and fathers to understand them. Just like men of every era, men in this story too are unaware of what their wives and daughters want. What makes Chandraiah special is he is compassionate enough to understand these women’s plight and help them. Sunalini is an educated girl married to an uneducated man, and is suffering due to his ignorance. Bhagirathi has left her husband’s home because her father-in-law thinks women should be treated like footwear and her husband is afraid of his father to support her. Janaki is a mother worried about her daughters because her husband doesn’t care about anything except money and his false prestige. Yet, she happily marries her first daughter Nagaveni to an unemployed youth whose previous two wives are dead. Jalajakshi is an unmarried girl with not beauty and education, hence undesirable to men. Chandraiah pities each of them. But he has to deal with Belliyakka, the beautiful ghost too. Each character, whether dead or alive, has a life of its own and is well depicted in the story.

Sarasammana Samadhi is a well-written book that makes people, especially men, think of the choices they are making that are affecting the women in their lives and leading to lose their love. The essence of the story is that women cannot be kept happy with jewellery, but they also need their husband’s love. Not even once will you get bored reading this novel that has interconnected and developed characters. Sarasammana Samadhi means Sarasamma’s Grave in Kannada. From the title, I thought it must be a gory story, but it turned out to be a thought provoking satire that will also make you laugh at the society and its idea of marriage. I will definitely recommend this book to everyone.

ವಿಮರ್ಶೆಯನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುವಧಿಸಿದವರು ಸತೀಶ್ ಏ ಜೀ
Book review is translated into Kannada by Satish A G

1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell

Review by Shwetha H S

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Imprint: Adarsh Books
ISBN Number: 8187138378
Genre: Classic, Dystopian Fiction

The author of 1984, George Orwell, has many works to his name but was best known for the satire Animal Farm and dystopian novel 1984. His works are inspired by real life and politics around him and the world.

1984 is about the dystopian England called Oceania that literally controls the lives of every citizen. Oceania is run by the Party headed by the Big Brother. The Party controls the thoughts, food, activities, education and even the history. Newspeak, a retard of English, is used by citizens, and it is implemented to curb the thoughts of the people and avoid them turning against the Party. Sexual urges are curbed, natural instincts are cut, thoughts of betraying the Party is severely punished. Children are taught to turn their parents to the Thought Police if they find any clue of betrayal. The history is erased and rewritten as per the Party’s convenience to appease their current situation. Adults and children are fed stats made by the Party. Nobody knows what the real past is, what is happening to them at present and what will happen in the future. Among them is Winston Smith, a person who is living as per the Party rules but is able to remember and differentiate between the real and reel. He finds co-traitor in Julia with whom he also has a love affair. Love affairs are banned by the Party. Traitors are said to be with Emmanuel Goldstein and his Brotherhood, and against the Party and the Big Brother. Winston dreams of bringing down the falsehood. One day, O’Brein, an Inner Party member, talks to Winston and Julia of how to join the Brotherhood to help them destroy the Party. What happens next is both plausible and impossible.

Winston Smith is an above average guy who isn’t gullible. Julia is the cunning girl who rebels inwardly but is an obedient citizen in front to the world. O’Brein is the mastermind. Goldstein is never seen. There are many other fleeting characters that are used to emphasize on the iron grip of the Party.

1984 is a well written book. It takes your heart on a ride. A must read for every book enthusiast.

Loose Strings by Dr. Dale A Grove

Loose Strings by Dr. Dale A Grove

Review by Shwetha H S

What would have happened if many of our eminent scientists had not died or deviated from their scientific aims in their lives? Humanity would have technologically developed, but not sure for good or bad. In another universe, a world called Regnus is highly developed, so developed that its citizens are at the dead end of any kind of technological development because they have exhausted themselves in every possibility. To stay as the most developed world of theirs as well as neighbouring universes, the History Security Officers are assigned the tasks of distracting scientists of different worlds and hindering them from reaching their goals. On one such mission, Regnus’ History Security Officer Rakena meets Dr. Wolfe Sterling, who is trying to save science on Earth. What happens to the history science on Earth? Does Rakena succeed in altering Earth’s scientific history? Will Dr. Wolfe Sterling resist the alien beauty’s ventures?

Loose Strings has a good storyline with multiple time travelling and travelling between universes, complex ideas of physics which you don’t need to understand in depth to enjoy the story. Since all the characters are humans and similar to humans, the reader doesn’t have to think about the complexities of the alien anatomy. But the problem is there are so many characters; even the supporting characters have their own supporting characters and storylines. The story is fast paced, but there are times when there are abrupt shifts from one scene to another, or a character doing something which wasn’t actually necessary or called for. But the only point that becomes difficult to accept is the element of God in the Sci-Fi novel. It almost becomes like preaching Christianity to the readers with the help of aliens. Dr. Dale A Grove lets the readers down when he starts talking about God.

Except for the God part, the novel must be for its unique time travel and multiverse travel story. Sci-Fi lovers will enjoy this if they ignore the sudden inclusion of the Almighty.

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.

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Review by Shwetha H S

It has been years since Prince Charming rescued Princess Snow White. Don’t you want to know what she has been up to? David Meredith tells you what our naive princess has been up to in her happily ever after in a life after marrying Prince Charming in this story based on the fairy tale by Grimm brothers. Hang in there because this is not just a mere extension of a fairy tale.

Snow White is not a princess anymore. She is a queen now. With her husband, King Charming dead and her daughter Raven’s wedding nearing, Queen Snow White is indifferent to everything is lost without her loving husband. In a bid to get out of the depression, the Queen decides to take a stroll in her own castle and absentmindedly ends up in her tormenting but dead stepmother Lady Arglist’s chamber. There she finds the famed Mirror on the Wall. Contrary to the popular belief, or our understanding from the original Snow White tale, the mirror is not an ally of the villain and is just a reflector of truth.

The mirror shows and tells Snow White what she has been denying for all those years and tries to make her see the light. It makes Snow White realise when and why she actually started hating her stepmother, the strength she had to brace against Lady Arglist’s abuses, the helpless determination to escape from her tormentor, how she was saved by her dwarves and her prince, how her husband made a lady out of a girl, how her husband helped her in the matters of court, how she had found the long lost courage to stand for herself in the absence of her husband against usurpers, love and devotion of her husband displayed vividly on the verge of her death and escape from it, and love and admiration of her Raven proven when King Charming dies unexpectedly. Through all this, the mirror makes Queen Snow White understand that she and her husband lived wonderful years together, she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, her daughter and her kingdom, and she was no more and damsel in distress.

Through this story based on a fairy tale, the author David Meredith conveys the message that girls should stop acting damsel in distress and waiting for their Prince Charming, and instead should stand tall and charm their way to their life goals. This is a story worth reading because it tells you what happens after the mythical “happily-ever-after” and even Snow White had a life like us.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Review by Shwetha H S

Written during the times when modern world was taking its first steps towards destroying itself, George Orwell’s satire Animal Farm perfectly depicts what went wrong since the beginning. The famed author took the threadbare society and showed them through his work that they actually need to cover themselves before pointing out others’ nudity. Though said to have used characters based on real life people, George Orwell has brought out human traits in each animal individually.

Pompous and manipulative pigs, loyal dogs, slogging horses and other innocent farm animals fight and win their freedom as well as the farm from humans. The initial equality wares off when the two pigs, Snowball and Napolean, fall out with each other and Napolean uses his pet dogs to chase out Snowball from the farm. What follows next is the sheer mirror image of how the foundation for our present society was initiated. Though written the then England in mind, this satire clearly applies to every land on which humans walk. It is not only about how humans treat other living beings, it is also about how one human treats another. As you read one page after another of this book, you will cringe in your place because you will realise that you have seen one or the other situation from the book in your life. You will want to strangle the pigs, admonish the dogs, comfort the horses Clover and Boxer, and think what to do with other farm animals. At one point you will even wish for Snowball to return so that the story can have a happy ending, but no, Snowball is not the saviour. This message of this satire is that you are your own saviour and nobody is helping you because everybody’s got their own battles to win. But if the cause is same, why not stand united and rather be an usurper than a timid underdog tolerating cruelty?

A quote towards the end of the book that should drive things home hopefully: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

The Time Machine by H G Wells

The Time Machine by H G Wells

Review by Shwetha H S

To see the downfall of the entity for whose prosper you and the generations before yours have toiled is like losing faith in your purpose. No matter what you do, things will eventually turn out the way they are meant to be. Even if you go back and forth in time using a time machine, what is going to happen, will happen. The way H G Wells makes you understand this concept is worthier than the whole concept of time travel this story of The Time Machine is based on.

Through The Time Machine, H G Wells paints a grim picture of how mankind digs its own grave, one inch at a time. When the protagonist, the time traveller, travels far into future i.e. 802,701 A.D to find a sickeningly beautiful and frighteningly suffocating Earth inhabited by humans who are unlike us. Why? For one, humans have branched into two sub-species; one Eloi who are beautiful, delicate and petite midgets, and other Morlocks who are no lesser than beasts. Evolution has taken the good out of all the attempts of this age humans to make an organized society. Rich have evolved into Eloi who are good for nothing and poor have evolved into dreaded Morlocks. So, how does this dystopian world, which is far removed from the futuristic world that we hope and are working towards, function? What happens to this time traveller who chances upon this era?

The images that H G Wells has managed to paint through his words are quite moving, but not disturbing in these times of internet when we have almost new catastrophes to see day in and day out. But, back in the days when The Time Machine was written and published, to provide a glimpse into a possible future without a crystal ball must have been amazing. This was done without any loopholes in the narration. Lucky was H G Wells for having born in those times when new concepts were sprouting and desired. And lucky was that time which could witness the rising of sci-fi, most of which has come true by now. The Time Machine by H G Wells is a classic sci-fi that should not be missed.

The Errant Hours by Kate Innes

The Errant Hours by Kate Innes

Review by Shwetha H S

The Errant Hours by Kate Innes in a historical fiction, but in real it is not a complete fiction. Most of the characters are real and existed in the era when this story took place. Though the storyline couldn’t relate to the title, story is nevertheless enjoyable and manages to keep you reading it. Every character that has dialogues in the story is interesting and has its own perspective about the happenings.

The story is about Illesa Arrowsmith, a girl who has lost both her parents, trying to save her brother from being killed by cruel and deceiving forest keepers of the King. In the process of saving her brother, she meets a lot of people who are ready to help her and her brother. She is not happy, but you can say she was lucky in finding help wherever she went; it is another thing that she put herself in harm’s way too. The author has done a great job in depicting the lifestyle of that era, so it is not difficult to imagine Illesa and others busy in random chores. The story keeps moving ahead and every now and then it will be like “Ok, now Illesa will not be able to escape”, then there will come someone to help her. One of the main characters to help her is Sir Richard Burnel. He is there with her through thick and thin, whether he wants or not, and so does she. But sometimes it does feel like too much of coincidence, but the story has to go on. Even if the author tried, this story couldn’t have had unnecessary characters. Also, this book actually has one main story and three sub-stories, so it is something to look forward to.

A good story with good research about history related to 13th century Wales makes The Errant Hours a good one time read. If you read it again, maybe it is because you are not from that part of the country where the story takes place and you are confused with the names they have for different parts of the day. You see, the Errant Hours!