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The Secret Of The Nagas

February 29, 2012

When I first saw this book a few months ago, I was tempted to pick it up. But I was just getting out of  my disastrous run with Indian authors, which I do a few months every year, and decided not to pick it up.

But it lay there, as soon as you enter the book store, every time, taunting and tempting me. Just as I figured what could be the harm, a friend highly recommended the book as well.

And a copy fell into my path… and easily, one the best books I’ve read in recent times, that too by an Indian author.

This book is not for those who dislike mythology. For people who are not aware of the intricate relationships of Indian mythology, this will probably seem like a good read.

The Shiva Trilogy as it is called, beautifully draws on mythological Indian characters and Gods in a reincarnation situation. It is, fortunately, not the 21st century but a land where Kings still ruled. Yet, in their reincarnated forms, these people are human yet gods.

I started at the second book, so it is sort of like walking into a movie midway. Yet, I was impressed by the way the author drew in various characters of mythology into different situations with familiar relationships.

Perhaps I’m easily influenced by plotlines where the author manages to insert a different set of characters into another situation yet keep true to the essence of the relationships. But I rarely like the book. I was interested by Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel but lost interest midway.

Kali & Sati, two faces of the same coin. Shiva/Neelakanta and Rudra – reincarnations perhaps. Ganesha, Veerabhadra, Nandi… all of them exist in this. I like the way that these characters, which are considered avatars of the same God, are treated as siblings in this story. There are reasons behind every action and land, and they seem so logical that you might almost believe this was the mythological story.

Perhaps it is also the fact that Shiva is one of the few Gods that I admire. He is completely in his human element here, yet being the decision maker and Lord.

I look forward to reading the final part of the trilogy, which I’m told is tentatively scheduled for the end of 2012. Don’t you just hate it when they leave you hanging for the ending?

***

On a separate note, out of insomnia, I picked up a book that was abandoned halfway more than a year ago – Confessions of A Wall Street Analyst.

This book seemed highly relevant and interesting during a particular journey of my career. It might Wall Street seem so much more fun and exciting. As I continued where I’d left off, I realised that it does not get any less exciting now that it is no longer relevant. I continue to see the warning flags that the US regulatory agencies should have seen… it is the journey of Wall Street that has brought us to one of the greatest economic hurdles in history.

Concepts that I had forgotten, little rules that we had to navigate by and yet find a story, rumors and facts, speculation and billions of dollars that seemed inconsequential – the life of a Wall Street Reporter.

Real life reporting is no where are glam as the book would perhaps make it seem. Much of your time is spent chasing down analysts who do not want to speak or trying to put the phone down on one who speaks too much but tells you nothing. Then you worry about if what you have is authentic and you can print it. Then you spend more time substantiating what you have written to your editor, doing more follow ups and always trying to stay a step ahead of your peer and a step inside the law.

And yet, when you live in that little hole with your computer as the source of light and a telephone as your contact point, it feels quite adventurous.

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