Tag Archives: ramayan

BOOK REVIEW: ‘SHIKHANDI … And Other Tales they don’t tell you’ by Devdutt Pattanaik

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Copyright@shravancharitymission

‘SHIKHANDI … and other tales they don’t tell you,’ by Devdutt Pattanaik.

The subject title was published in the year 2014 by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books. The price of the book is Rs 299. Although, I had heard about this book some time ago I had not read it. I took the book to hand only recently. It comprises of some 176 pages.

    The book deals with the discovery or Invention of Queerness. There are different types of people in the world with different types of physiology. There are races, religions, communities who define queerness in their own peculiar manner. Before planning to write this book I’m sure the author must have done a great deal of homework. He must have studied various communities, races and religions to spin out the content of this particular book. I find a growing trend in some publishers these days where they place the name of the author more prominently on the cover page, and in bigger fonts, than the title of the book which only goes to show that the publisher has more confidence on the brand of the author on account of his or her accumulated titles than the subject book’s content. But this obviously comes after the author has made a mark for himself. Is this one such case I wonder?

    The subject title was published in the year 2014 by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books. The price of the book is Rs 299. Although, I had heard about this book some time ago I had not read it. I took the book to hand only recently. It comprises of some 176 pages.

    The author has made a few daring attempts in the book to put Hindu Gods and Godesses in utter starkness that makes them look frivolous which the author could have avoided. And that also gives one a feeling that the intention behind that act of God is not comprehensively understood or narrowly missed by the author well enough, even when, he has gone through Hindu texts, and some fifty-four select bibliographies that he mentions in the book. The author runs all over. From queerness to hijras, cross-dressers, Gods, mythology and the short stories therein, and then finally it appears as if the author has lost direction. Where, one starts missing the central theme of the book, but was it even there one wonders. In some pages, one wonders, if it is just a collection and free-fall of short stories which is not what the book was intended to be.  Even the emotions of characters are not elaborately emoted. The author goes on to say that India is an agricultural community and so it was common to see women as mere fields with men as the farmers who sow seeds.

    The author has captured the content of this book in thirty chapters mostly out of Hindu mythology—Mahabharat, Ramayan including South Indian and other religious texts such as Purans, Bible and Greek mythology. The author builds the content of queerness on the premise that—Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women. Feminism clarifies women and men are equal. Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.    Queerness isn’t just modern, Western or sexual, says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. Take a close look at the vast written and oral traditions in Hinduism, some over two thousand years old, and you will find many overlooked tales, such as those of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife being put under a cover. Playful and touching—and sometimes even disturbing—these stories, when compared with their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness. Net-net the book is about the queer retelling of, Indian myths, by the author. But I also have a different take on this book.

    The book would have been more powerful had ‘Queerness’ not been the title or the central theme of the book. For it is dominated more by short stories where queerness spins out as a by-product. And the stories needed to be presented with more of a foreground and background. Author ne dil khol ke nahin likha hai yeh kitab. He has tried to stuff in a lot of content in very few pages and therefore the book doesn’t impact you.

  I would give the book six out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL LOW?

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

123

    ‘I’m feeling low, sad or depressed’ is something we all hear almost on a daily basis from friends, colleagues, peer groups, relatives and even close family members. You may call it depression, a state of mind, a dejected syndrome, life style occurrence or all in one, as it is difficult to delineate? So, for the time being let’s call it a ‘Sad State of Mind (SSOM). The frequency in some may be high and in some low. However, it spares no one, except children up to a certain age group. Does it therefore mean, that as soon as you start facing life you encounter SSOM?

    Perhaps yes, and it transcends all age groups, sex and even professions. Where, it encounters everyone in the journey of life. I too have suffered from SSOM. It comes uninvited, and at odd hours like an unwanted guest, not knowing how long it will stay. One day when I got frustrated. I decided to cross check with some of my colleagues and friends if they too were infested by SSOM and most of them said yes. I wasn’t surprised. As it leaves you hapless, makes you lethargic and impedes you from doing even your normal chores at home and routine work at office. And, in this manner it also affects India’s GDP and leads to a negative trail. So, I decided to do something about it.

    First, I thought of ways and means to prevent it, if not cure it. Or, find a sound way to dispel it but failed in doing so. So, I decided to survey some men, women, students, professionals, academicians and politicians with just one startling question:

67

‘WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL LOW?’

    Sample size was two hundred. And to my astonishment no one sulked at the very question. In fact, everyone just promptly replied in a one-liner, which I am writing below as quote-unquote or verbatim. Results showed that every person had a way of resolving his or her own SSOM but broadly preferred to stay under the nine sub-headings mentioned below.

SURRENDER TO #ALMIGHTY … He will take care

    I talk to God. I visit the temple. I chant verses from holy Ramayana. I read a few pages out of my handy Gita. I flip through my Holy Quran. I go to the Gurudwara. I pray to Goddess Durga. I read a few pages of Holy Bible. I watch a devotional channel on TV. I recite Hanuman Chalisa. I ponder over my equation with God. Mind you, I didn’t find anyone telling me that I go to a powerful person to resolve my SSOM.

INTROSPECTION & MEDITATION … helps you in rediscovering yourself.

  I meditate. I introspect. I ponder over my past. I start worrying about my future. When did I help someone last? I try and remember. Why did I hurt someone? I think. Why did I make fun of someone? I regret. Perhaps it’s a reminder for some noble deed.

TO SERVE … gives a feeling of soul cleansing.

    I donate. I feed my cat to some milk. I feed ants. I feed a cow. I feed a street dog. I feed my pet dog. I feed an old beggar.

PHYSICAL EXERTION … refreshes you to take on the world.

    I take my dog for a walk. I go for a swim. I jog for a while. I go cycling. I go golfing. I go swimming. I go to the gym. I go to the spa. I do indoor exercises. I do deep breathing, it helps. I go fishing.

ENTERTAINMENT … rejuvenates you.

    I open my bottle to have a swig. I read a novel. I switch on the TV. I go for a movie. I watch cricket. I start playing computer games. I read jokes. I play indoor games. I laugh in my toilet, as you would in the laughing club. I sing in my bathroom. I watch a cartoon channel. I Play with my Pet. I listen to music. I play my keyboard. I smoke a cigarette. I eat excessively.

MIND DIVERSION … helps you forget.

    I read anything just anything lying around. I start writing. I start painting. I go and sit in the lawn amidst plants. I call up my girlfriend. I call up my boyfriend. I call up Dad. I call up Mom. I call up my daughter. I call up my son. I call up my daughter-in-law. I call up my wife. I call my up husband. I call up my best friend. I speak to my boss, he gives me some sound advice. I start thinking of pending work in office. I speak to my mentor. I flip through a magazine. I read newspaper. I go for a drive.

KILLING SSOM … with other powerful thoughts.

    I think of my last holiday and the pleasant moments with my family. I build determination to confront the situation that makes me feel low. I recall, ‘No matter how bad things are they could be worse.’ ‘Nothing is permanent’ I say to myself. I think of the best surprise of my life. I think of the best episode of my life. I think of an ugly episode of my life. I still have a healthy body and soul so why worry. I have a loving family so why feel low. I have a bright career so why feel low.

DOING NOTHING … just another way of handling by not reacting.

I sulk. I just shut my mind for some time. I know something good is coming next so I don’t bother. I just doze off. I take a small break from work. I just have a cup of tea. I do nothing and wait for the mood swing to be over. I stop eating. I fiddle with my mobile. I consider it to be like common cold, so I just move on. I believe in- no matter how bad things are something is going right and no matter how good things are something is going wrong; this balances life. Even the President of the US suffers from SSOM so who am I? Feeling low is cyclic, so why worry. Once in a while we all feel low, perhaps it’s the order of the nature. Chalta hai- don’t be too serious about life, let life be serious about you.
    The moral of the story is we all feel low at times, and many a times during a lifetime. Whilst, such occurrences happen, we should not feel isolated and down beaten as it happens to most human beings on the planet. Life is not a bed of roses but a constant struggle and more the struggle is shared more life becomes easy to take on and this is a small attempt towards that.

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

Share if you like it

*

    Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

 

*****