They say time and tide wait for no man. I think that that is true. Life seems to go by so quickly when we’re having fun, yet each moment seems much longer when something is a chore. At times, we are obsessed about the past or too focused on the future that we forget to live in the moment. One of my favorite poems looks at that too, how we don’t have time to stand and look at what is around us.
Sometimes I’m surprised by how different a story is from the first impression that the cover gives. And surprised in a pleasant way. This book, which gave an impression of a sci-fi novel but turned out to be anything but, is one such.
About the author:
Hermann Hesse (1877 – 1962) was a German author who later became a Swiss national. As a Western man profoundly affected by the mysticism of Eastern thought, he wrote many novels, stories, and essays that bear a vital spiritual force that has captured the imagination and loyalty of many generations of readers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.
My thoughts on the book:
Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha is a good book! It takes us on a journey through philosophy, through the eyes of the protagonist Siddhartha, a Brahmin boy. He is the traveler, the person curious to find answers to the questions only he seems to have, and loved equally by all around him. For finding those answers, he decides to go on a journey and become a traveling ascetic, a Samana. He travels with the Samanas along with his friend Govinda, living in and with the pain that is part of a Samana’s life. When he realizes that even being a Samana doesn’t have all the answers, and that he’s learnt his fill from the Samana group he is traveling with, he moves to find a new teacher, the Illustrious one, Gautam. There he realizes what he needs, that can’t be taught. After a talk with the Buddha, he realizes he’s lost a friend but found himself. He leaves there and finds a teacher in Kamala, the well known courtesan. He binds himself to riches for her, but still can’t get out of the restless state of his mind. He leaves there soon as well.
The beauty of this story lies not just in its narration but in its philosophy as well. Through Siddhartha, we find our own lives at times. The restlessness to learn more, to get some unanswerable questions answered, and still not be satisfied. We may not always travel physically, but we let our minds travel through thoughts. We want to find ourselves, our dreams and our goals, and not just in our learning. I saw all this. The narration doesn’t get visualized, but the effect of the narration in my mnd stayed longer. Even nature can teach us things, that is also a wisdom from this book.
Enjoyed the story, and I would read it again as well.
Author: Herman Hesse
Translated by: Joachim Neugroschel
Price: INR. 250
(July 28th, 2013)
About the authors:
Rashma Kalsie is a writer and playright. She has been involved with many NGOs and is the founder of the Indian Diaspora Dramatics Association in Australia. George Dixon has been writing short stories for ten years and has published five books on Kindle.
Impressions from the cover:
A novel where Gods are online and having fun doing social networking. It also involves corrupt politicians in some way because the subtitle has it and there are politicians in the cartoon. The cover also makes me thing it is humor genre.
Impressions from the blurb:
Validates the impression from the cover, but Gods are among humans than in heavens maybe. And it might be more philosophical and explorative of life as well.
My thoughts on the book:
Looking solely at the title and the cover, the impression that I got was a story of gods having social networking and such, and a tale of corruption (as the subtitle says) also happening along. Maybe the gods use their online privileges to try and stop that and such. Also, with the story having gods, the narration would be magical and bring out a world where these heavenly deities work their magic.
The book begins with Christ (Chris in the book) buying a computer, and starting a Facebook account. He notices most of the gods are already there. Buddy Roy (Buddha), Krishna, Vishnu, Ati etc. are the gods online. Christ stays in a cottage that is between heaven and earth. The book also has these odd characters like Sunderaman, who is Krishna’s boss. He comes across as someone who lives to eat. The book, though humorous and witty in title, doesn’t have as much humor as philosophy. The conversations online are mainly between Krishna and Christ.
For me, the tone of the book is very important. In this case, it was flat. It didn’t feel interesting to read, rather it felt like it was an essay. Once that appeal factor goes, the rest doesn’t work out well. To name a couple of things, I couldn’t understand why Christ, who uses some “finger movements” to silence the salesman can’t just get a computer with that magic. He drives a VW Camper, but is amazed at the goods he sees on sale. Vishnu is on Facebook, as is Krishna. I know it is fiction, but can Vishnu’s avatar exist in the same world as Vishnu himself? If Atheists don’t believe in the existence of God or deities, can there be a God of Atheists? Some actions, some characters didn’t make sense. And to give a suggestion to Sristi, the publishers, if an author has an alternate name, it would be good if he uses one of the two. On the cover, it says George Dixon. In the acknowledgement and dedication part inside, it says Phil Cherry. And nowhere does it mention that both are one and the same.
I like the premise of the book, and it promised humor to the reader. There was a little humor, but it didn’t come across well. For me, this book was more miss than hit.
Title: Oh! Gods Are Online…
Authors: Rashma Kalsie and George Dixon
Publishers: Srishti Publishers
Price: INR. 150
(July 7th, 2013)