Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Feast of Roses (Book Review)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Arjumand did not know that Khurram would build the Taj Mahal in her memory. Or that the Taj would come to symbolize this land her grandfather had adopted as his own. Or that as much as she had envied that feast of roses Emperor Jahangir had laid out for her aunt, posterity would remember her, Empress for four short years, two, three, even five hundred years from now.'

The above lines say so much about 'The Feast of Roses' that couldn't have been described better. It is the tale of the twentieth wife of Jehangir, the Moghul king of India. It traces her journey from her wedding, her turmoils, her various strengths to her minor faults that were only humane and unavoidable under the circumstances she was in.

The Feast of Roses is the second installment of the Taj Mahal Trilogy, second to The Twentieth Wife and followed by The Shadow Princess.

This was after long that I read a masterpiece by a gifted storyteller. She has bound together all the silk threads of the Moghuls- right from the tales of the zenana ladies, the eunuchs who served the royal ladies, their royalty, the luxuries that were but obvious for them to the undefined misery that they were under.

This is a poignant tale of Nur-ud-din Mohammad Salim, his beloved Nur Jahan and their journey as one. Even though it is a story of the 1600s, it is a mirror into the kind of life we lead today. It is unfair to say that jealousy,distrust,cheating etc are perils of the present society we live in. Only as we turns pages of the book do we realize that these are not new. In fact, at a point of time, I was happy that I am a part of this world and kingdoms do not exist in the world I belong to.

The author has explored history and even modified it according to the taste of the reader with a rare kind of writing. she has backed the story with facts which makes it look even more real and interesting. The amazing eye for detail in the narrative is sure to leave the story in the mind of the reader, untouched by the moments of the dragging hours and the lessons flowing unbridled, time and again into the reader's mind, its magic lasting for a long time.

-Divya Nambiar

Indu Sundaresan

Other books by the author: The Splendor of Silence by Indu Sundaresan The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #1) by Indu Sundaresan, Shadow Princess (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #3) by Indu Sundaresan, The Indu Sundaresan Collection  The Twentieth Wife, Feast of Roses, and Shadow Princess by Indu Sundaresan

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Luck as we know it

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Luck is a term that is often misconceived. Often as we venture out on this journey of life, we get to know that luck is indeed a very debatable term. Good luck, bad luck and ‘I-don’t-know-why- luck -doesn’t-favour-me’ luck, it’s all a part and parcel of life. Just like we all have our good and bad hair days, we encounter those moments when we start appreciating what is often called sheer luck.

Maarten De Jonge, a cyclist, evaded death on both of the flights after booking tickets for MH370 and MH17. His last minute change in plan has kept him alive to tell the story today. How else can this man’s life story be interpreted as? Death was a silent spectator, trying to encompass him in its grip but here he was, thanking his stars for being in his favour.

Call it God’s magic wand (if someone or something like that exists) or call it just a co-incidence, life can throw up some surprises. Let’s take another example. There was this young boy, around 11 years old, who was apprehensive of boarding that ill-fated plane. He even asked his mother about death and an afterlife- whether it existed or not! He kept turning to look at his mother again and again as he walked holding his brother’s hand to board that plane. Little did the mother and son know that this indeed was it- the last ‘living glimpse’ of each other they would have to preserve for a lifetime.

Yes. It’s cruel. Isn’t it? But who are we to judge the so-called good and bad things that occur in our lives and in the world around us? Aren’t we all just mere spectators who give names to these events as luck, fate and destiny? Is there someone somewhere watching us, throwing in surprises out of the blue, just when we were thinking that our life was devoid of such LUCK ?

- Divya Nambiar