Saturday, October 25, 2014

Anuradha Goyal gives Kama a Wonderful Review!

Life is beautiful when the universe lets you know in its inimitably subtle manner that balance is the real God and the mystical rhythms that govern all in existence work tirelessly to even things out. This morning Kamadeva: The God of Desire received its first unabashed bashing on Goodreads. What was worse was that this particular critic added that he hardly ever gives negative reviews.I considered dissolving in tears but decided to be a man in the manner indicated by Rudyard Kipling - "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/ and treat those two imposters just the same", suck it up and take it on the chin. (If you are feeling perverse do check out the review right here.
Aside from stress eating and stuffing my face with biriyani and ice cream cake, I thought this particular author had behaved with suitable maturity. Almost as if the higher powers that be wished to reward my behaviour  for refraining from hunting down the critic and forcing him to love my book at gunpoint (Don't worry, I was planning to use my nephew's realistic toy gun), a Twitter search coughed up a wonderful review for Kamadeva: The God of Desire by Anuradha Goyal, author of The Mouse Charmers, blogger and travel writer. Now, I am all smiles and wondering if there is any ice cream cake left to celebrate the balance that has been returned to my world :) Yay!

Here are some of the finer points of her review: "Anuja has picked all the episodes in Puranas and Itinhaas where Kamadeva made an appearance and weaved it into a lovely story. 
I have read author’s earlier book Arjuna as well, and I think she has grown as a writer manifold. The language is smooth and it flows through the narrative – especially when there are long dialogues and never ending debates between various characters.
I enjoyed reading the book. If you like Indian mythology and the God of Desire tickles your curiosity – read it." 

You can read the entire review here.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Hey ppl! Do check out THE ONE THING YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT contest and win a signed copy of Kamadeva: The God of Desire!
There must be something in your life without which you absolutely cannot live. What is it? Send us a photo of that special something you simply cannot do without with a brief description of why you feel that way in the comments section. CHeck out this link on Facebook and be sure to participate and share with your friends: THE ONE THING YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT contest

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blogger Sruti Nayani's interview avec moi!

Kamadeva - The God of Desire’ was an excellent read, partly due to the fact that I had not read enough of Kama and Rati. Anuja Chandrmouli seemed to come along and pick out my favourite comic books (as in ACK) and just make it her job to write them into a proper story.

There is nothing more I could ask for than this. So, you could read My Review of it and also read Anuja Chandramouli's take on the whys and hows of it...

Could you describe the journey of ‘Kamadeva - The God of Desire’? How did it begin? What kind of research was put into it?

This particular journey has been absolutely exhilarating to say the least! I was wrestling with a wicked bout of writer’s block after my first book, ‘Arjuna : Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince’ and it was around that time, I succumbed to the charm and seductive lure of Kama. Before I knew it, a happy obsession with the enigmatic wielder of the Sugarcane bow and flower - tipped arrows took over my life.

Not that I am complaining. His is a fascinating story and it was a wonderful experience to gather together every precious nugget of information pertaining to him by scouring the familiar and happy hunting ground that is the wondrous world of Indian mythology.

It was even more fun to fill in the initially frustrating gaps in the narrative which no amount of research could plug with my imagination and educated guesses! So, in my book you will find that fact (if you can consider recorded myths as such!) and fiction blend harmoniously to create what one of my favourite writers – Kalki (of Ponniyin Selvan fame) referred to as faction!

You can read the rest of it here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blogger Sruti Nayani's Review of Kamadeva: The God of Desire

Anuja Chandramouli’s latest offering is quite different from the previous ‘Arjuna - Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince’. I did think Arjuna reminded me of the Amar Chitra Katha version of the  ‘Mahabharata’, but that is where ‘Kamadeva - The God of Desire' is different. I remember reading enough Kamadeva in ACK but I do not think it ever carried a version, such as this.
Kudos to Chandramouli for the way, in which she describes the story, with an all new taste of wit and laughter.
You can read the rest of the review here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review: The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

Neel Mukherjee’s Man Booker shortlisted, The Lives of Others is a study in skeletons. Those bony frameworks that support the human organism grinning all the while, irritatingly smug about the knowledge they have accreted about the terrifying things that lurk beyond the grave from rotting flesh and squirming maggots to the solitary journey of the soul along an unlit passage. Mukherjee concerns himself particularly with those skeletons that have been banished to the deep recesses of the closet by the Ghoshes, as bourgeois a family as they come, where the sceptre of the painful secrets they harbour need not pose a threat to the living who would rather concern themselves with the fripperies and fopperies of a superficial existence. If that were not ambitious in itself, he also ferrets out the bony remnants of the corpses that a nation released from the iron grip of the British Empire has made it a habit to relegate to the hidden chamber of wilful ignorance by slavishly catering to the demands of the very rich at the expense of those who languish below the poverty line.
            Three generations of Ghoshes live together in a four – storey house in South Calcutta feeding off the short – lived prosperity that was made possible by the patriarch, Prafullanath who built his business empire on the foundation of great personal loss, its subsequent pain and a ruthless desire to get ahead at all costs even if it meant hoodwinking a grieving widow or riding roughshod over those weaker than him. Evil omens stalk the family that is already splintering from within as the Ghosh siblings, daughters – in – law and children endlessly slug it out, incessantly jockeying for a bigger share of the family assets and increased leverage in their airless corner of the world, causing the old man to remark morosely, “I feel I have just been a conducting pipe between the bad in the past and the bad in the future.”
            Even as his family remains locked in their infernal squabbling, neck-deep in the juices of base inequities such as incestuous bonds, substance abuse, the relentless pursuit of taboo pleasure, furtive practices of forbidden sexual peccadilloes, and casual cruelty, Supratik, a young college student with his head well and truly turned by misguided idealism supplemented by his obstinate impracticality leaves home hoping to change the world by redressing the wrongs meted out to the have-nots using brute force and bloody insurrection if need be.
            Mukherjee strips his colourful array of diverse characters to the bare bones affording his readers a voyeuristic glimpse into the intimate secrets contained therein triggering shock, amazement and often, shame. For, he extends the same unflinching treatment to a country that has gone mad with greed, divesting it off the layers of hypocrisy and pretentiousness which continue to cloak it, long after the fictional events this novel chronicles from the 1960s, even as the rift widens increasingly between those who are insulated by extreme wealth and the rest who are left out in the cold. None can remain untouched by guilt for having contributed in infinitesimal ways to the class divide that has made victims out of too many to count, trapped in the knowledge “that the world is as it is, and knocking your head against its hard shell is only going to break you, not dent the world.”
            The narrative forges ahead into the thorny terrain that Supratik has chosen to traverse, to the assorted variables that led to the rise of the Maoist Naxalite guerrillas, taking the time to meander into the heart of the turmoil that is always rocking this particular household throwing into sharp focus, their petty foibles that mirrors the rot in the society that birthed them. As Supratik and his family hurtle towards their fate, melodrama rears its head and saturates the proceedings with a curious mixture of horror and disbelief, striking a few discordant notes regarding the logic underlying some of the pre - climactic events that see the inexplicable return of the prodigal son who is a wanted man bringing predictable disaster in his wake. This aside the intense action culminates in an explosive finale that will leave a chill in the heart which will not be easily dispelled.

An edited version of this review appeared in the New Indian Express, which you can check out here. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

My Interview!

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
Even as a little girl, I used to have a certain knack for storytelling. My grandmother would make me tell the tale of Krishna and his defeat of the evil Kamsa to every single one of her guests and I would always get a big round of applause and a whole lot of oohs and aahs. Later at school, my friends and classmates would beg me for stories. It gave me a kick to put up a big fuss but eventually I’d give in and secretly I’d be very flattered when a big group gathered around for my little tales. Around that time, I won prizes for essay writing and the teachers used to read out samples of my writing to my classmates as well as the seniors and for the first time, I realized that this was something I could actually do well without screwing up too badly. 
That was the beginning and I guess, it was in the cards that my life would be devoted to writing and telling stories. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
After the release of my first book Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince, I went through a bit of a dry spell, creatively speaking. Was working on a horror story hoping to become India’s answer to Stephen King, but my efforts came to naught and I was going bonkers. My publishers approached me at the time and we tossed around a few ideas for my next book. We shortlisted Parashurama and Kama and for some strange reason, I was really drawn to the latter. Perhaps, he struck me with one of his arrows... all I know is that I became quite obsessed with Kama. It has been an amazing experience getting closer to him and writing down his story. 

You can read the rest here.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Great review on Kamadeva: The God of Desire in the New Indian Express!

Kama is deva, a god, but he hardly gets his due anymore. Agni, Vayu, Indra are all invoked with mantras on some earthly business or the other, but Kama’s name is uttered furtively and then greeted with titters. He is one half of a modern byword for pornography: Kamasutra. It is just as the god, in Anuja Chandramouli’s Kamadeva: The God of Desire, tells his stepmother, the goddess Saraswati: “It is highly unlikely that in future people will build temples in my honour or compose beautiful songs for me. I will be lucky if I am remembered enough to be featured prominently in pornographic material; worse still is the distinct possibility that the god, Kama, will be lampooned as the divine pimp!”
Anuja does not go into the ‘why’ of Kama’s fall. That is known to be an outcome of long colonial rule, for Khajuraho and countless other temples across the country testify that Kama’s business was sacred enough to grace their walls till a few hundred years ago. Victorian prudery knocked this minor god off his pedestal, but ironically, the influence he lost in India is now strongly visible in the West.
What The God of Desire does, without trying too hard, is it strips all the accumulated innuendo and salacity that have wrapped Kama over the past couple of hundred years, and shows him in many shades of grey (no pun intended). He is sensitive, sensuous, beautiful, thoughtful and even righteous.
There’s never a dull page in this history of Kamadeva...You can read the rest here.