May 23, 2016

The Mountain Shadow: Book Review

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This novel is a sequel to the earlier novel Shantaram. The earlier novel ended with the protagonist Lin (a.k.a. Shantaram) realizing that his friend Abdullah is alive. Shantaram also parted ways with his girlfriend Karla. Karla had married a rich business tycoon and  Shantaram started living with Lisa. The novel also ended with Sanjay taking place of the head of mafia gang and others unwillingly relenting to his command. 
"Writers never really die, until people stop quoting them."

This novel starts with Shantaram's emotional conflicts with Lisa. Lisa was in two minds about Shantaram , and more so because she knew that deep inside, Shantaram still loved Karla. Also, Lisa didn't want to get stuck at a place or with a person. She was also of bisexual nature. All these things started complicating their relationships. Finally, one day Lisa broke up with Shantaram. What hurt Shantaram was not the break-up, but the high expectations from Lisa, even at the time of break-up (like money, loan, car etc.). After that Shantaram goes on his last salvation mission to Sri Lanka, a mission which will free him from the mafia gangs world of Bombay. In his absence, Lisa was murdered by one of Shantaram's enemy. He gets together with his girlfriend Karla in quest of the murderer. Post this point the novel starts revolving more around the Karla-Shantaram relationship. This is one refreshing aspect of this novel. 

Some time later, his friend Abdullah takes him to Idriss- the wise sage on the mountain, who was the Guru of KhaderBhai. A large part of novel is dedicated to the Karla-Shantaram spending time in Idriss's mountain aashram. Devotees and people loving philosophical conversations keep flocking to the Idriss aashram, and Shantaram-Karla duo starts loving this place. 

The novel also deals with Lin's friends Gemini Gorges winning lottery worth millions (actually it was inheritance property discovered), and how they face hassles facing the new-found limelight.

Another plot involved in the novel is the Shantaram-Sanjay-rival gang equation. Sanjay gang's rivalry with opposition gang keeps increasing and it reaches to a point where KhaderBhai's own cousine child  Tariq who was his coming up heir, was killed along with his protector Nazeer. Both these person were very close to Shantaram. Sanjay's working style was being hated upon by more and more people in his own gang. Abdullah was planning for a revolt against him. So there is a three angled crime scene going in the mafia world of Shantaram .

Shantaram moves out of mafia gang and starts living solo, working freelance. Karla starts spending more and more time with Shantaram. Karla's husband was responsible for Lisa's murder, and they finally were relieved to have him dead indirectly. The novel ends with a sad note of a bloody war between Sanjay gang and Abdullah, where both Sanjay and Abdullah dies. Karla and Shantaram's story ends on a happy note finally.
Truth is the freedom of the soul. We’re very young, in this young universe, and we often fail, and dishonour ourselves, even if only in the caves of the mind

 Unlike its prequel novel "Shantaram", this novel deals more with the abstract things- the relationships, the philosophical talks, the psychological stuffs and how human minds think on various matters. Love and relationships takes a center stage in this novel. Karla's overpowering character and Shantaram's humble nature has been shown brilliantly. The contrast of fast city life and the soothing life in the lap of mountainous nature too has been focussed. All in all, an interesting read.

P.S.- I have collated together some wonderful quotes from the novel. You can read them here. In case you want to know more about the earlier novel in this series- "Shantaram", You can read the book review of Shantaram here.

May 15, 2016

The Mountain Shadow: Some Quotable quotes

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In my next post, I will be posting book review of the novel "The Mountain Shadow". But before that I thought to compile all the nice, quotable quotes from the novel. Here they go:-
  1. "They’re nothing. Just a fringe group. Nobody listens to them." ‘The fringe usually works its way to the centre that ignores or insults it.’
  2. Writers never really die, until people stop quoting them.
  3. I stand for your right to create and present art, but I think that rights come with responsibilities, and that we, as artists, have a responsibility not to cause feelings of hurt and injury in the name of art. In the name of truth, maybe. In the name of justice and freedom. But not in the name of art.’
  4. One of the great mysteries of India, and the greatest of all its joys, is the tender warmth of the lowest paid.
  5. Religion is just a long competition to see who can design the silliest hat.
  6. Fiction is fact, made stranger. The truth about anything is a lie about something else. Come on, step it up, Shantaram.
  7. The way to love, is to love the way.
  8. If you’re not living for something, you’re dying for nothing.
  9. Be prepared for war, the more so if you despise war.
  10. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you, and do not do to others, what you would not have them do to you.
  11. Good is only half the truth, and truth is only half the story.
  12. You know what the difference is, between war and peace?’ the man sitting next to me whispered, a smile in his voice. ‘I’m guessing you’ll tell me,’ I whispered back. ‘In peace time, you sacrifice twenty to save one. In war time, you sacrifice one to save twenty.’
  13. People who abhor crime, as I do, often ask why men who commit crimes, as I did, do such things. One of the big answers is that the low road is always easier, until it crumbles away beneath desire. One of the small answers is that when life and freedom are at stake, the men you meet are often exceptional.
  14. Truth’s a sweet thing, unless someone’s cutting it out of you, and then it’s a very bitter thing.
  15. What is civilisation? Idriss once remarked. It’s a woman, free to live as she wants.
  16. When it means nothing to anybody else, and it means everything to us, isn’t that love?
  17. If you’re thinking about it, you can also put some thought into the fact that you don’t have the right to take your own life. Nobody does.’ ‘Why not?’ Rannveig like the runway asked, her eyes wide, innocent of the cruel, broken question she’d just asked. ‘Think of it this way, Rannveig, does a deranged person have the right to kill a stranger?’ ‘No.’ ‘No. And when suicide is in your head, you’re the deranged person, and you’re also the stranger, in danger of the harm you might do to yourself. No matter how bad things get, you don’t have the right to kill the stranger that you might become, for a while, in your own life. The rest of your life would tell you, at that point, it’s not an option.’
  18. Faith is unconditional love, and love is unconditional faith. Vinson, Naveen and I were men in love, without the women we loved, and faith was a tree without shade.
  19. Corruption is a tax imposed on any society that doesn’t pay people enough to repel it themselves.
  20. Men don’t like to be that honest about love: to put the gun in a woman’s hand, and hold it against their own hearts, and say, Here, this is how you kill me.
  21. Can you define destiny?’ Ambitious demanded. ‘Destiny is the treasure we find in the awareness of death.’- Idriss.
  22. The purpose of life is to express the set of positive characteristics to the most sophisticated degree that you can, by connecting with pure intention to others, and our planet, and to the Divine Source of all things.’
  23. Generosity is the spiritual language of love, humility is the spiritual language of honour, and devotion is the spiritual language of faith.
  24. Teachers, like writers, never die while people still quote them. 
P.S.:- If you haven't read my earlier post on the quotes from this novel's prequel "Shantaram", please catch them here. The corresponding Book review of the Novel 'Shantaram', can be read here.