5 INDIAN MYTHOLOGICAL FICTIONS ONE MUST READ

India has a very rich and diverse cultural heritage. If you study India’s history, you will see the lavish lifestyle of the people back in the days. But it is not limited to recent few centuries only. This richness goes way back to the times of gods and goddesses. All this is recorded in the books of literature of the Indian heritage. 

India also has a wide range of books and scriptures one can read if they are into Indian mythological genre or simply mythological genre.

It is a country famous for its wars and folklores and hundreds of things that make Indian history quite an interesting subject. Most of us have grown up listening to these stories by our grandparents. 

Some of the authors have revamped these stories in their creative imagination. Some characters are taken from the most famous stories of Indian history and represent a different aspect of those stories. These have been widely appreciated and loved. Here’s a list of top 5 Indian Mythological fictions one must read at least once:

  1. The Pandavas series by Roshan Chokshi:

An amazing book for the youngsters that tells the story of a young 12-year-old girl named Aru Shah. Her family runs the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in America. Things turn around for Aru when her friends force her to rub an ancient lamp which releases a sleeping demon. Next thing you see is Aru on an unexpected adventure to set thighs straight by finding the reincarnations of the Pandavas and her journey through the kingdom of death. The series has not yet been completed. But is humorous and full of adventure. The author subtlety and cleverly connects the ancient world to the modern world. 

  1. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni:

You might have heard the epic of Mahabharata many times. But have you heard it from the perspective of the one major cause behind the war, Draupadi? The Palace of Illusions tells this epic from the perspective of Draupadi, her feelings, how she struggled to find a loving home all her life and how she felt when she might have felt when she was gambled away in a game of chess by her five husbands. The book sums the story in 360 pages and tells her side of the story.

  1. Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi:

One of the most beloved books of people, the Shiva trilogy is a must on this list. Amish Tripathi is known for his storytelling and lucid writing. He intertwines the story of Lord Shiva with a fictional background. He beautifully narrates how a common man because of deeds and karma become a God for people. The first part is The Immortals of Meluha, the second The Secret of  Nagas and the third is The Oath of Vayuputras. This is a must-read for all the Shiva as well as mythological lovers. 

  1. The Ramchandra series by Amis Tripathi:

Another brilliantly written series by the author Amish Tripathi is his second expression into the world of mythic-fiction. Like his previous work, The Shiva Trilogy, The Ramchandra series is also a bestseller. This time Amish explores the epic of Ramayana, each book from the perspective of the three main characters the epic revolved around. The series consists of two books Scion of Ikshavaku and Sita: Warrior of Mithila. This series is much better than the Shiva Trilogy in terms of storytelling and plot. The first part, i.e., Scion of Ikshavaku is from the perspective of Lord Ram, the second part, Sita: Warrior of Mithila is from the perspective of Sita, Lord Ram’s wife. Now the third book of the series is awaited which will be from the perspective of Ravana. 

  1. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan:

Anand Neelakantan is famous for his books on the two most famous epics of Indian history, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The story follows the original storyline of the original Ramayana but what is different about this book is that it tells you the story from the perspective of Ravana. It gives you the story of the other side, the side which is never told while telling the Ramayana. It is a fresh approach towards the epic of Ramayana and is a page-turner.

There are several other books which are worth giving a read. The list could go on and on. These Indian authors have brought a different perspective of the stories we have heard like a hundred times before.

These books are worth your time. After all who wouldn’t love to divide into the royal, fantasy land even if you only get to experience it through a book and your imagination.

Books on Indian History which You Must Read

Indian History has been the theme for many books. Whether its fiction or non-fiction, there are plenty of books which deserve to be on the list of must-read books written on the topic of history. These books give one a detailed understanding of India’s history.

Be it comprehensive historical books or fictional accounts of a historical incident, there are many options for you to choose from. If you are a person who loves both reading and history then the following 5 books are just the right choice for you.

The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen is an Indian Economist and writer who had won the Nobel Prize in 1998. This book is a collection of essays and it will help one understand the Indian polity. It focusses on the importance of public debate, argument and intellectual diversity in the Indian civilization of the past. Sen writes about his view on how and what will lead to the success of democracy in India.

India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha is an Indian writer and researcher whose areas of interest include society, politics and history. India After Gandhi is a book describing the journey of modern India, from post-independence from the British in 1947 until the 1990s. The book will provide one with a thorough understanding of India’s social and economic spheres. It covers the country’s political history over the later part of the 20th century.

The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple is a Scottish historian, writer, critic, art historian and curator. He has won several awards and prizes for his writings. The book is a comprehensive description of the time period when the Mughal empire started declining in India. It will be a treat for people who love reading history. It is about the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, and it provides an account of 19th century India with the tale of the emergence of the British Raj.

Another famous book by him is White Mughals which is his fifth major book, it tells the story of the love affair between James Achilles Kirkpatrick and Khair-un-Nissa Begum at the backdrop of nineteenth century Hyderabad.

The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s first prime minister and he wrote this from 1942 – 1946. This book was written by Nehru when he was imprisoned by the British. It is a tribute to the rich cultural heritage and legacy of the country. It provides an account of all major developments in the subcontinent from the period of Indus Valley Civilization to the last years of the British rule.

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning writer, novelist and poet. The book is about the tale of the epic Mahabharata, written from the perspective of Draupadi (Panchaali). It tells the story of the woman who fights, endures a lot living in a patriarchal world. It is a historical fiction which traces the historical tale and the life of Panchaali.

The Kite Runner – A Book Review

Author – Khaled Hosseini

Publisher – Riverhead Books

Country – United States

Language – English

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a historical fiction which is set in Afghanistan and America at the times of the Soviet Afghan War. It is one of the most loved books by readers across the world. The Times describe the book as “Heartbreaking”. It was a number one New York Times bestseller for over two years, with over seven million copies sold in the United States. It has also been made into a motion picture after being a best selling novel.

The book is a beautiful and endearing tale of two friends, Amir and Hassan who grew up together in ”a peaceful but prejudiced Kabul”. They share a beautiful bond of friendship but the surrounding social prejudice intervenes in it. During their childhood years, they spend their days flying kites along the streets of Wazir Akbar Khan district. Amir occupies a special place in Hassan’s heart and he expresses his love for Amir in a few words, ”for you, a thousand times over”. These words happen to be the book’s most iconic lines. Hassan who was the servant’s son was a Hazara and suffered tremendous social and cultural discrimination for that. During a kite flying event, an incident changes their relationship forever. Eventually Hassan and his father move out of their house.

Their lives change dramatically when the Taliban arrives in Kabul and the Soviet Afghan War changes the entire atmosphere of the country. After 5 years, Amir and his father escape the country and move to America to start a new life. Amir continues to suffer with guilt for the past. It is after he grows up to be a successful writer that he receives a call from a familiar voice of the past and goes back to Kabul. The story takes a different turn at the end when Amir discovers the truth that his relationship with Hassan was deeper than he realised.

Born in Kabul, the author draws inspiration from his own life as well but the plot and characters of the book however are fictional. The characters of the book are beautifully woven and the story is unforgettable. Several conflicts within the plot makes the readers fall in love with the characters. The book created some controversy within Afghan readers as it portrayed Pashtuns as prejudiced towards Hazara people. The racial and religious extremism is deeply saddening and the violence is frightening. The kite has been portrayed as an important symbol which represents Amir’s guilt for his betrayal towards Hassan and thus he does not fly a kite after that incident until the very end.

The book encourages its readers to look at the world in a new way and provides a different perspective for a country which has long been stigmatised. The message conveyed by the book towards the ending offers some hope for its characters and also for war torn Afghanistan as well. The book is highly recommended and it is sure to make a lasting impression on readers.

Reading Habit

One of the many goals which we want to achieve in life, developing a reading habit should be one. It may seem tough at first but with time and practice, everyone can achieve it. While some have mastered it, others might be struggling to be consistent with it. Many of us have tried reading at some point of time and failed to keep at it consistently. This may happen because of a number of reasons but none of them mean that we can’t start with it again and give it a try. One of the most common ways in which people start reading is starting with a list of “Good books to start reading with”. The internet is flooded with such lists and many people have shared their suggestions. A book which has some literary value, is easy and engaging is a great choice to start with. According to many bloggers and writers the following list of books can help someone who has been trying to start reading for a long time.  

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

While it may work for some, others may not find it helpful. One of the common things which we fail to notice is the fact that most of us can’t bring ourselves to sit down with a book. This may be due to lack of time. In the middle of a busy day we fail to make time for reading. External factors like a proper surrounding can also be the reason for us getting distracted and impatient. So for people who can relate with these, a few suggestions can work. First of all, set a separate time for reading. Look at your schedule and take out a time which may be ideal for starting a new activity. Setting aside a specific time of the day for reading will help you focus more and be attentive.

Second, create a good reading atmosphere. Clean your surroundings and de-clutter everything around you. Attention depends a lot on external factors and an unkept background can often make you inattentive and disturbed.

Third, make a reading list. Write down all the books which you want to read next and keep ticking them off once you’re done. This will be like a to-do list and will motivate you to read. You can also take up reading challenges like ‘Ten books in a year’ or ‘One book a month’. Remember to start small and go one step at a time.

Fourth, start reading with a friend. Select a book and make a plan to discuss with your friend once you complete it. You can also start talking about it among yourselves and discuss about what may happen next. This will make you definitely finish the book and also speed up your pace.

Fifth, be consistent. Make it a point to read everyday. Even a small 15 minute would do. Once you skip a day it will become a habit and you’ll start repeating it. The same goes for the opposite. Once reading everyday becomes a habit you have developed the habit of reading quite well. So happy reading!

Daily habits of self-made billionaires that can improve life

There are billions of people in the world but only a few are billionaires. Not everyone has created phenomenal businesses and changed the world in a significant manner. What makes them different from others? What gives them the energy to pursue their goals and what others can learn from them?

Despite billionaires being different in their approach, expertise, and come from different corners of the world, they have one thing in common- habits. Almost all of them share a certain set of habits that make them successful. These don’t come from one’s DNA but have been adapted with time to achieve massive success and wealth.

  • Rise early: Each and every billionaire’s success mantra has been to wake up on time. Most of them said that their day starts around 5:30 AM. It gives a person more time to think in silence, work without disturbance, and can plan the day well. Now waking up early doesn’t mean getting less sleep. It is always recommended to sleep for 6 to 8 hours to function properly.

 

  • Maintain health: Without good health, life can be terrible. No amount of success or money would able to make the difference. Whether billionaires are 40 or 80, all make sure to maintain their health by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet. Some follow a strict workout regime, some also involve themselves in games. These sports help you teach about success and failure, which are essential skills for business and life.

 

  • Read: Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway reads 500 pages a day as he believes reading is the most valuable source of knowledge. Read books about how to do the right things, about how to behave well, how to be a good person, etc. To be updated on what’s going on in the world, read newspapers regularly.

 

  • Contemplate: Sit around and think! Daily at least for an hour give yourself alone time. In that either meditate or do some relaxing activity. Develop new ideas, organize your thoughts, and gain more clarity. It is best when done in the mornings.

 

  • Be disciplined: Set extremely high standards for yourself and the people around you. If you take an example of sports, you can’t win a game if you don’t have enough discipline to train yourself daily. Be a quick learner and don’t procrastinate. Limit all sorts of distractions that prevent you from attaining your goals. Always be eager to grow your skills.

 

  • Commit to routine: Whatever the routine you have set up, commit to it thoroughly. Typical elements of a billionaire’s routine include: waking up early, reading a lot, healthy diet, exercising regularly. Also doesn’t matter when you do your routine in a day, the most essential is that yes it is completed.

 

  • Do things differently: Many people simply follow the crowd. No matter how hard of truth this is, one can’t be a billionaire by copying others- doing what everyone else is doing. Go against the tide and make a path for your own self. If you find yourself stuck in the rat race, it may take time to get out of it but do so. Nothing comes easy and being a billionaire definitely doesn’t. Think about what you can do that will truly revolutionize your life.

 

 

 

4 Productive Things To Do During Quarantine

REMINDER: IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE PRODUCTIVE EVERYDAY. YOUR WORTH IS INDEPENDENT OF YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

PART 1

Here are 4 productive things to do during quarantine:

1. Learn to play an instrument

Playing an instrument is a great skill, you could start with an instrument that you have always thought of playing- a guitar, a ukulele, a tabla or an instrument that is fascinating to you. Though it will take some time to get used to the habit of following YouTube tutorials or online lessons, but once you get a hang of it, you’ll realise just how rewarding it is. With so much time on your hands you’ll not be under any pressure to reschedule your day and make time out of you busy schedule, instead you’ll be able to take it at your pace and pay more attention to details. 

Here’s a list of easy to learn instruments: Top 15 musical instruments you can easily learn & play

2. Read more books

There are hundreds of thousands of authors and an even bigger amount of books you could read. Books are an essential item for improving your language as well as your vocabulary. They develop your knowledge – and like instruments, they help sharpen your memory. If you don’t want to shell out money from your pocket and/or are sceptical to order paperbacks online from stores like Amazon or Flipkart, the easier way out is free e-book websites. 

You can try and give EPDF or PDF Drive a shot. 

3. Bake

Baking is incredible and extremely fulfilling: mix a few ingredients, put it in the oven – and bingo! You have a tasty treat for yourself. Baking can also be advantageous for mental health as it is very therapeutic and calming for the brain. Research show that it is a great stress reliever and can leave you feeling happier and more positive.  

Here are some YouTube channels that will make you want to run to you kitchen to get your supplies

  1. Bake With Shivesh
  2. The Terrace Kitchen
  3. Spice Bangla

4. Learn a new language

If you want to level up and attempt a more challenging activity, which will benefit you exceedingly- learn a new language. It is scientifically proven that learning a new language makes you smarter and helps in developing cognitive abilities. Learning a new language help strengthen your listening and multitasking skills. Research also suggests that it helps prevent the onset of Alzheimers. 

There are plenty apps and e-learning wesbites that can help you learn a language. These include: Affordable yet excellent language courses on Udemy and Coursera also offers such free and paid courses by prestigious universities from all over the globe.