What is the toughest thing to do? Well, everyone will come up with a different answer to the question, right? Based on one’s persona and nature his/her priorities in the life are different and so does his/her ambitions.
Based on our ambitions we set our goals and during the journey to achieve it, we make choices. These choices are responsible for everything we do and every experience we go through. It is often seen that these choices drag us into the least expected (or unexpected) consequences. So life is all about actions and its consequences which no one can escape from.
Why we are talking about philosophy or life? Well, recently we were approached by author Manoj V. Jain’s team to inform about his new book – A Man From Mandu. Manoj Jain is an intelligent author who mostly writes on thought-provoking topics. We’ve previously read his book “Dystopia” which talks about parenting. Here is a quick link to our unbiased review for Dystopia.
As we’ve already witnessed the work of the author, we were curious to go for this book and we wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to read the book. Fortunately, from our team, I got a chance to read “A Man From Mandu” and here are my views for this book, which are, by all means, uninfluenced and unbiased.
|Book Title||:||A Man From Mandu|
|Author||:||Manoj V. Jain|
|Publishers||:||Notion Press (30 May 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||
1485 KB 498 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters||:||11|
I strongly believe in the philosophy or not judging a book by its cover. It is the content within, which matters. At the same time, I recognise the influence of book covers in purchase and or reading decisions. It works as a doorway to the virtual world you are going to explore in the pages enclosed. So, let us take a look at the cover page of “A Man From Mandu”.
From the title of the book we can expect illustrations of a village and a person on the cover page.
And, as you can see, the cover page shows the face of a person which is dissolved in the background of a hilly town. You can also see a few birds are flying in the sky. This illustration is quite thoughtful. The book is all about self-discovery of a person, so the upper part of his head dissolved into nature explores the metaphor quite effectively.
The cover is easy on the eyes and at the same time, it is not so attractive that it will force you to pick the book at the very first glance.
Overall, a moderate book cover.
It all starts when two ladies plan to pay a visit to an Ashram located at a few hours distance from a metro city.
Actually, both of them are good friends since years. One of them is married and settled with her husband and family in the USA while the other lives in India. The girl living in India had a fulfilling job. Yes, she had. Due to some controversies associated with her work regime, she is jobless now. Money is not a problem for her, though. The friend from USA came to offer the hairs of her firstborn to an Ashram as per the newfound religious and spiritual beliefs of her with her husband.
Anyway, both the friends used to meet at least once a year in most of the cases, mostly when the girl from USA come to visit India. They manage their schedule in a way that they got considerable time to spend with each other. And this visit was no different.
On their way to the Ashram, when stopped at a tea-stall for some refreshments, their car-driver met with a man. The man informed them that their visit to the Ashram will be fruitless as the Ashram remain closed for the visitors on this weekday! To add to that, the man has shown them his ID card which tells that he is one of the guides who took visitors to that Ashram. And, he is free today as today is the off day for the visitors. Disheartened and disappointed for not calling the Ashram office before leaving for this journey, the lady from the US was quite concerned as she has a tight schedule.
The man who informed them came to their rescue! He took them to a near by temple at the bank of a holy river and helped them in getting their ritual complete.
How genuine the man is? By the way, was the man speaking the truth?
Well, a series of incidents from this point onwards turned into a quest which was meant for something else and turned out into completely different! And to get answers to the raising questions about the same, you need to read the book :).
While talking about any book, our main concern is not to give away the spoilers as they will ruin the reading experience. It is like talking about a suspense move where you should know the brief, but not the key elements, otherwise, you won’t enjoy the actual experience. We’ve tried to keep the spoilers at the bay in the bird’s eye view of the story and will try doing the same when talking about them in this segment as well. However, please read with consent that some of them are unavoidable.
The story revolves around 3 prime characters Dhawal, Tarini and Paulomi. Aavishkar Baba is the most interesting character of the book. Various thoughts and comments by Aaavishkar Baba came at regular intervals in the book which are worth taking a note of. Actually, all the chapter titles and taglines are nothing else but the QOTD (Quote Of The Day) taken from sermons of Aaavishkar Baba. If you want to read this book in a very fast forward manner (of course, you will miss the essence and the interesting parts of story then), these QOTDs are the best way to go. Here is one such quote:
Faith can move mountains, and your doubts can create them.
The author puts in his deliberate efforts in making characters and growing them gradually in an effective manner. You may think that Tarini and Dhawal’s intimate moments could have been edited out, however, if you see the entire story and its context, you will find that it is written to effectively elaborate the shift of paradigm. Of course, it makes the book to be read by adult reader’s only. Anyway, the book is effective for the adult (mentally) and mature readers only. So it doesn’t make much difference.
The open-ended stories, told by Aavishkar Baba during his sermons, are the key segments of the book. Whatever wisdom the author wanted to convey, he has conveyed it through those stories. And not only the people attending sermons and prime characters but even readers may also connect to those stories. And I consider it as a success of the author.
I have noticed that often people skip some segments like Author’s Notes, Glossary, Preface, Foreword,… etc. It is not a good habit. Actually, those are the segments where you often get to know about the journey of the author from conceiving the idea of the story to getting it published, and/or his/her thoughts and vision about various segments and/or aspects of the story/characters and/or other important stuff.
The book is missing the chapter index. There are 11 chapters in the book and each chapter moves the story forward quite effectively.
The book has some lines which are missing some words or could have been written in a better manner. For example:
He sat cross-legged, his shawl careless around his shoulders and …
At the same time, the author also represents his vast vocabulary effectively.
He arched his shoulder back, each muscle and sinew standing out and he twitched once.
The author brings in some real-life lessons in regular explanations also. It is not restricted to Aavishkar Baba’s QOTDs only. Here is an example:
And Biru understood that there are always prices to be paid, that there is a cost of every action, sacrifices for every dream, for every success and he too had to pay the price.
The author also explores the mindset of the current generation in terms of relationships and commitment through simple lines.
“Yes, there is never a shortage of eager men”, she said, smiling to herself, “especially since I am not looking for a longer-term commitment.”
This conversation about Gurus and Godmen is something a majority of readers can relate to their thoughts:
A Guru guides you. Sometimes we are seeking answers beyond the five senses but do not know the path. If one is looking for a road direction, we look at Google Maps or ask someone for help. Similarly, in life, when we are looking for answers, we use the Guru as a guide to help us find the destination. Some Godmen have turned into conmen, but by and large, most of them are compasses, like lighthouses, showing the way through the darkness to weary ships.
Moving ahead the conversation the book has some lines like:
In general, with social media today and everyone’s search for a quick fix to their problems, it’s very easy for a man to become a Godman especially in India where all of us are so religious, superstitious and gullible.
In the book, some effective one-liners are also there
It takes time to build a brand whether it’s a Guru or a dishwashing liquid.
Of course, I would like to quote all the QOTDs of Aavishkar baba, but have to restrict myself from doing so. I would rather quote another interesting segment from the book.
So be careful in what you choose, in what you commit, and in your relationships wiht your studies, your work, your parents, your lovers, and friends. Commitment and responsibility come with freedom, ropes are binding us all, and you have to know which ones to untie and which ones to keep.
Of course the segment “… come with freedom, ropes are binding us…” could have been written in a better manner, but the central thought is full of wisdom.
The book also talks about the way we have started living our lives. Rather than enjoying our food, we are quite more interested in taking it’s photos and publish it on social media, rather than enjoying the natural beauty or phenomena, we would like to snap it through the lens and show it off. The author brings in an important question:
Shouldn’t we be valuing happiness more than our portfolios?
From the above quotes, you must have got an idea about the quality of writing you may find in the book.
Reading this book reminded me of the following book:
The book had every chance to become philosophical and thus quite heavy in terms of reading. The linguistic aspects of the book are worth paying attention to. The author’s logic “to infuse open-ended stories in the main plot” works in favor of the book. You won’t ever feel you are reading something heavy. In fact, these short stories are so linked with the main track that it will give you a feeling of reading a thriller blended with a short story collection. This reading experience, according to me, is the USP of the book.
Overall, a easy to read yet a little philosophical book which requires your attention. You are free to read it is just as a story or you can learn valuable lessons from the same also. In those terms the book reminds me of the PanchTantra stories.
Around 8 stars out of 10.
- Buy Book From Amazon India – Paperback
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- Buy Book From Amazon US – Paperback
- Buy Book From Amazon US – Kindle Ebook
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