Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Books I read in 2020 #2

Find the previous post here

Review of Week 2 ending on 15/1/2020

 1.      Jim Corbett Omnibus – Jim Corbett – Ok, so the omnibus included some of the stories I had already read, such as the Maneaters of Kumaon. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading the book as much as I had enjoyed reading the stories for the first time. I absolutely loved the chapter on Robin, the author’s dog.

[I had, a long time ago, fantasised myself as a forest explorer and used to wear my father’s old discarded raincoat (with two big pockets) and search for clues in the thick bushes around my home. I had my revolver (fashioned out of old newspapers), currencies (leaves of a wild plant), old canvas shoes from the previous year of school, a discarded Click-III camera hanging on my shoulder to add to the effects. I remember carrying the ‘pazhampori’ made by my mom as emergency snack in those pockets while I carried on my role of explorer. A dog to follow me and track the beasts of the jungle would have completed the picture, for by then, I had managed to add a discarded cap too, to my wardrobe… Thankfully, I did all these role plays while the elders enjoyed their afternoon siesta or else, I would have been ridiculed or told off in the least – such pleasures of life!!!]

I was instantly transported to that magical time when I read Corbett. Of course, I would have not had the courage to go into a real jungle with or without a dog at my heels. So, Corbett feels like a hero even to an older me.

Other titles in the book were all so interesting that I was spellbound once again. I wished I could walk along those jungles with him – not to shoot or even sight a tiger, but for the simple pleasure of being able to be in the lap of nature.

After reading Corbett, I could sense that he felt no pride in trophy hunting – even if he had hunted for glory at the beginning. As soon as he understood life better, he saw the worthlessness in hunting for trophy. A keen observer and learner, he derived much pleasure in being a part of the nature and not in killing the animals for fun. He understands a tiger  or leopard takes to eating man not out of choice, but of compulsion. In most cases, the reason such animals turn man eaters is man himself. Man is not the natural prey of these big cats and so they turn man eaters only by compulsion of old age or wounds that make them incapable of hunting their natural prey.

Even if you are not a wildlife enthusiast, reading Corbett could be beneficial for you. It will give you a better perspective of nature and why it is important for us to protect nature and be a part of nature and not work against nature.

2.      Time Management – David Tracy – I started this book in the earnest because many a times I find myself staring up a mountain of tasks each day. It is not that I take up things I cannot handle, but it is mostly my inability to manage time to do the things I take up.

Although I have an idea of time management and follow some methods, sooner or later I find myself reverting to old ways - procrastinating and struggling with time. So, from time to time a refresher course like reading helps me to be back on track and this book is one such attempt. 

This book took me longer than I would’ve liked to finish. Not because it was hard to read but because I had a very busy week and could read only during bedtime on most of the days.

I didn't start the books I thought I would read next, and I think those will be put on back burner as I have started with the Ramachandra series by Amish. I had read his Meluha series years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the first book. The second one was ok and the third one I endured because I didn’t like leaving the series unfinished. On the whole, I loved the premise and presentation. I hope I would like the Ramachandra series too- I read a sample from the book sometime ago and although wasn’t so excited as Meluha, I was encouraged to go on. Somehow, it didn’t happen and so here I am, trying to read it this week. 

3.        Scion of Ikshvaku – Amish – This is a novel based on the epic Ramayana and it tells the story of Ram in an entirely new way. As in the case of Meluha, I am impressed with the freedom and courage the writer took to take such a popular story and give it an entirely unusual treatment.

Of course, there are different versions of Ramayana as numerous writers had written the story from their perspective. However, in this modern age of intolerance and limited artistic freedom, it is nothing short of a wonder this book (for that matter the Meluha series too) didn’t ruffle some delicate feathers.

Anyway, I hope to finish at least the first book by the end of the week.  Until then, enjoy reading… 

Notes: I had a busy week with a lot of editing for our vlog and so reading has been a casualty. In spite of that, I had used some time in between to read some Malayalam blogs and to respond to them. I have also been able to meet my weekly target of writing at least a blog and so, overall, I am happy with the outcome. And yes, I also managed to read a short poem or two from Kumaranashan’s kuttikavithakal sometime during the past week.

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