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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query game of life. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas | Book #4 of Ramayana- The Game of Life Series


Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas | Book #4 of Ramayana - The Game of Life Series

Stand Strong by Shubha Vilas is the fourth book of the Ramayana –The Game of Life Book Series. Since I have read the first 3 books of the series; I was elated when I got the opportunity to read this one. Stand Strong is a modern retelling of the Kishkindha Kand of Valmiki Ramayana - it tells us all about the events occurring in the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha. Like the previous books, this book too doesn’t just narrate the stories from Ramayana but also imparts insightful life lessons to the readers. The book is motivational, enlightening, and encouraging, all in the same breath.

The story tells us in detail how Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, how Rama decides to help Sugriva in dealing with his brother, the impudent monkey king Vali and how the vanara sena unite to help Rama in His mission of finding Sita. There are so many stories and anecdotes interspersed along the main storyline, each of them adding to the beauty of the prose and enhancing the reader’s experience with new perspective and learning. The main strength of the book is its narration - it is lucidly written with a simple yet vivid description of the incidences happening in the Kishkindha kingdom all of which ultimately culminate towards the invasion of Lanka – the grand kingdom ruled by the demon king Ravana.

As I keep saying in all the reviews of the previous books of this series, the author has given due attention to all the characters in the epic. They are intricately sketched – each having their space and chance to shine and grab the reader’s attention.

The tagline of the book says – keeping faith and conquering fear. That is also the lesson the author is trying to convey through the book. It was fear which made Sugriva feel weak and insecure - although he was not as feeble as he had started to think he was. Fear is debilitating, it clouds our thoughts and cuts our wings. Fear is the factor that limits us to make the most of our potential. If we learn to conquer our fear, we will realize that fear blows our tiny problems out of proportions and make it look huge. We will be free to chase our dreams in the truest sense, only when we keep faith and conquer fear.

It is a great book for anyone who is interested in Ramayana or in Indian mythological reads. This book also offers insights into the game that is life – so if you are looking for an inspirational read, it will make a great fit.

You can buy the book here:



I will like to end my review of this book by quoting some pearls of pearls of wisdom from the book here:

- Intelligence is about having the clarity to identify where the problem lies.

- When love leads to respect, it is called admiration. When respect leads to love, it is called inspiration.

- Excess fear leads to rebellion. Excess indulgence leads to disease. Excess comfort leads to lethargy. Excess power leads to arrogance. Excess of anything, however good it may seem, only tugs one towards the bad.

- Sometimes perception appears larger than reality. Many problems in life when perceived with fear result in pain, but when perceived with clarity, the result is freedom.

- The defining characteristic of inner stability is the ability to focus in the face of calamity.

I received a free copy of the book from the author in lieu of an honest review.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas - A Book Review

I love reading books on mythology and books centering on Ramayana and Mahabharata are my favorite. There is something about these epic sagas that make them really interesting – you see they are never too old or out of date. Today, I am here with the review of yet another Ramayana centered book. It is ‘Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas’.
 The cover is attractive, I must say.

This is another of those book reviews that should have been here months ago. But, give it to ‘the-so-many-other-things’ in life, it got indefinitely delayed. And finally today it is up here.

Title:  Rise of the Sun Prince, Book 1
Series: Ramayana: The Game of Life
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
ISBN 13: 9788184955309
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 256
Price: Rs 250

The Blurb says:

“Ramayana: The Game of Life (Book 1), one of the world's great literary masterpieces, skillfully retold for modern audiences. Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives?

Yes, there is a need, yes this is different and yes, it is relevant. This new series of books, each following one khand of the Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought-provoking instruction. In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to life's deepest questions.

The narrative closely follows Valmiki's Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The first of this six-volume series, Rise of the Sun Prince, takes you through the divine story of Lord Rama from His birth up to His marriage. Through these pages are revealed the tales of Dasaratha's leadership, Vishwamitra's quest for power and the intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Ramayana: The Game of Life has all of this and much more - food for contemporary thought drawn from an enduring masterpiece.”

Any author who aims to recount this epic saga must have tremendous courage, for this is a saga of epic proportion that has been retold several times by several authors in different ways. So, how does one present the same story to the readers in a new way and grab their attention. Tough job it is!

Keeping that in mind, I think the author has done a great job with his first book of the six book Ramayana series. This one deals with the Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana. One gets to know how Valmiki starts to write the Ramayana, how Dasaratha came about to have three hundred and fifty three wives, how all his sons were named, what was Viswamitra’s role in Ramayana, the story of Ahilya and of course, every tiny bit details about the lives of Rama & Sita. There is so much to know and learn. When you read the book, you will realize that Ramayana is not just about Rama & Sita or Rama’s war with Ravana – there is so much more to it.

The author is not just recounting the story in this book; he is also revealing how the various lessons that Ramayana imparts is of significance in our lives today. There are foot notes on every page does the job. But, they are also the ones that often mar the flow in the story. I am not a very big fan of this style, but I guess the author was left with just this option. Sometimes, the foot notes were too long and detailed that I almost forget where I left the story! I guess, keeping them short, simple and to the point would be better.

Overall, it was a great read. If you are a mythology books fan, you can surely pick this one.

Some pearls of wisdom from the book.


- “The vessel that holds poison becomes equally poisonous. When you are angry at someone, remember, you suffer the most.”

- “a past incident is not what agitates the mind; it is the amount of attention we give it that unsettles us.”

- “The circle of indifference has the self at its centre. The circle of compassion has others at the centre. The former leads to apathy; the latter to empathy.”

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas (Book #3 of the Ramayana Series - The Game of Life)


Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas (Book #3 of the Ramayana Series)

For the past half an hour, I am typing… and deleting as I type. I am not sure how to start the post. It has been than a year now since I blogged here the last time. A lot of changes have happened in the past that can account for my absence in the blogging world. I am a mom now and that explains it all.

And talking about the review of this book - Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas - it should have been posted long ago, a year ago to be precise. Here is a picture of the New Year message the author had jotted down on the signed copy for the year 2016 and here I am posting the review in 2017.



My sincere apologies to the author for not being able to do it sooner. As a reader, I love reading books on Ramayana and hence, even after the inordinate delay, I couldn’t live with not posting a review of this book in particular. So, here I am here with a quick review. 

Author: Shubha Vilas
Title:  Stolen Hope, Book 3
Series: Ramayana: The Game of Life
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2016
ISBN 13: 9788184958249
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 312

Price: Rs 299

Re-telling Ramayana is a mammoth task and the author is doing it with utmost dedication and sincerity. This is the third book of the Ramayana series - The Game of Life by the author and you can read my review of the first two books - Rise of the Sun Prince (Book1) here and Shattered Dreams (Book 2) here. In his series of Ramayana, the author has tried to stay true to Valmiki Ramayana. As you read the book, you will realize how much research has gone into the writing it. I came across many unheard-of small tales which made the reading experience even more enriching.

The story in the book takes off from the point it was left in the last book. The trio - Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are settling down in Dandankaranya. Things are not meant to be monotonous for them - something or the other is always happening. Sometimes, they meet enlightened sages and sometimes they are fighting off demons. But, a chain of events start when Surphankha - sister of Ravana, the demon king of Lanka lays her eyes on Rama which ultimately leads to the abduction of Sita by Ravana. 

The writing style is lucid and engrossing. Everything is described in such detail that you could imagine it happening in your mind. The foot notes by the author are gems of wisdom. Just reading the book as you would read any other novel won't let you understand the crux. You have to go really slow with the book- absorbing the meaning and how the values it teaches holds good in our lives from the foot notes. At times, it does feel that they are disrupting the flow of the story. I too had such moments while reading the book and so, I would re-read chapters again. That is the beauty of Ramayana; you can read it again and again without getting bored. 

Another beauty of the author's writing style is that every character bloom and shine in his words. Every character, even the tiniest ones, gets their due share of space without being overshadowed by the main characters. That is the hallmark of a great story teller.

If you love reading books on Ramayana or Indian mythology, this series of books is a must have on your book shelf.

Some lessons in crisp lines quoted from the book.

Historical travel creates road maps.
Historical speeches create mindsets.
Historical habits create cultures.
Historical mistakes create wisdom.

The depth of contribution, the height of value system and the width of tolerance determine the real size of a human being.

Responsibility is not a choice, it's an honor.

Fame is like riding ocean waves.

In the absence of somebody's presence is revealed here true value. What presence cannot accomplish absence can.

Real faith is not about having insane, intense belief for a short duration but about having progressively increasing conviction for a longer duration.

Righteousness is like a surf board that keeps you afloat even in the midst of shifting tides of immorality.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Shattered Dreams - Book 2 | Ramayana - The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas


For the review of the first book of the series -  Rise of the Sun Prince, please go here.

Title:  Shattered Dreams, Book 2
Series: Ramayana: The Game of Life
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2014
ISBN 13: 9788184955316
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 387
Price: Rs 350


I had enjoyed reading the 1st book of the series, so when I received a mail from the author for a review of the book 2 of the series, I was elated and accepted the offer eagerly. I am so glad to have read this book. It is one gem of a book, and I must confess here that I enjoyed it more than the 1st one.


The story in the second book of the series revolves around the events before the announcement of Rama's coronation, the sudden turn of events leading to his exile and the agony that follows thereafter.


The beauty of the book lies in the narration and the way it seamless connects all the events. Each and every character get the due attention; so you can visualize each and every scene in your mind. The readers get to know about Dasaratha's inner fears and his love for Rama, Manthara's scheming mind, Keikayi's infamous tantrums, Rama's sense of Dharma, Bharatha's sense of duty, and also the devastating effects Rama's exile has on the citizens of Ayodhya.


Even if you have read other books on Ramayana before, you will get to know something new here - you will be able to see the events in a new perspective. Another unique specialty of the book are the foot notes. These are little pearls of wisdom which educates the readers about applying the lessons from Ramayana in their own life. So, this book does a double job - it not only regales you with the stories from the epic saga, it also makes you understand the crux of the stories and how they can be applicable in your life. For example, by abiding by the order from Dasaratha to go to exile Rama shows his detachment from worldly things; Sita by accompanying Rama into exile shows that her love for Rama is above the comforts of a palace, and so on.

 
The language used is simple and the narration is 'spot on'. This is one book, I can surely re-read several times. Of course, I can't wait to find out what the third book of the series have in store. It will be marked by the entry of another legendary character - Ravana, so, I am pretty sure that it will be quite exciting to read that too.


I took my time to read the book, as I believe that is the best way to absorb all the information and lessons you are going to get from the book. So, by advice is read it slow and enjoy the journey.


I strongly recommend it to all mythology lovers. You shouldn't miss the opportunity of reading this one.


I received the book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

My earliest knowledge of the epic ~ Mahabharata comes what I saw on TV as a child. Come Sunday morning and every body in the house would be glued to their television sets watching the epic tale. I was too young to understand it all, the complexity of the plots and characters, the philosophy, the wisdom yet, I was always awe struck by what ever I could grasp and even today, if I think of Mahabharata, glimpses from the TV series comes flashing in my mind.


I am so glad that I could relive that experience in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's The Palace of Illusions though not in its entirety or fully, but in a new way, in a new perspective that added a multitude of dimensions to the legendary tale. Divakaruni chooses Draupadi also known as Panchali, to narrate the epic saga and that is the charm of the book. It is in fact a feminist interpretation of Mahabharata. Vibha had recommended me this book when I had set out a list of to read books and I am glad to have picked this up. Thanks a lot Vibha!

The novel traces Panchaali’s life, beginning with her magical birth in fire as the daughter of king Drupad before following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright. As she endures a fierce civil war, domestic power struggles, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, her love for her brother and the perils of attraction to elusive men, who also the most hated enemy of her husbands, Panchaali brings a feminine sensibility to her male-dominated world.


The novel is named after the palace which was built by the asura Maya for the Pandavas and Panchaali Panchaali loved her palace and was proud of it.  It disintegrated when Duryodhana tried to claim it after the Pandavas had lost it in a game of dice to him. 


Though most of the story narrated comes from the legend tale, Divakaruni adds her imaginations and explores the mind of Panchaali. She gives insights to how she felt when she was born and was prophesied to be one to change the course of history, to bring about the greatest and the bloodiest war of all times. She tells us through this book, how she felt when she was humiliated in the Kaurava court and how the incident filled her heart with revenge and the vow she made at that time lead to the battle that wiped of the whole Kaurava clan and all those who supported them. Panchaali also reflects on her own actions, good or bad and even justifies them. I could sympathize with the character the author had painted of Panchaali and even could relate to her at some points. Divakaruni has very skillfully retold the story from the viewpoint of Panchaali adding her own twists and turns which made it even more enjoyable, refreshing and enlightening read. 


I would recommend it to anyone interested or not interested in Indian mythology. I am sure it will change the way you think about the epic ~Mahabharata.



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