Caption of the upcoming book
Why would the Moon take back her soul?
As I prepare to release the sequel of my book Secrets of Zynpagua, fond memory of my First media coverage comes back
Travel, satire, fantasy, and now theatre — young author Ilika Ranjan is game to try varied genres
At a time when all the budding writers are focusing on romance, Ilika Ranjan has taken a different route, not sticking to a set track. Her new book, “The Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess”, is aimed at children and young adults.
This fictional creation tells the tale of the cursed land of Zynpagua. The only way to redeem Zynpagua is to bring back its princess, who in turn has powers to influence the universe to send life to the land. “This book is written from the heart and I have worked a lot on my language,” says the author. “The USP of the book lies in its good English and the lyrical angle I’ve given to it. It is a fantasy book that has characters different from the other children’s books — the princess here is not our usual delicate girl. She rides a horse, and the other characters are Spanish-speaking, smart and contemporary.”
The author has also created an animated introductory song for the book along with sketches of each character.
An MBA from Symbiosis Institute of International Business, Pune, Ilika worked in a bank for several years. However, finding herself in opposition to the banking culture, she thus quit her job to become an entrepreneur and author. Her debut book, “Puppet on a Fast Track”, was a satire on the corporate sector.
“The corporate sector exploits its employees in a very camouflaged manner. It has always been said that the consumer is king, but in my entire six-year stint with the bank, I realised that the consumer was anything but a king. The employee is only asked to make presentations and blindly follow what is put on their desk. Not everyone is ready for this kind of work, so I quit and wrote ‘Puppet on a Fast Track’,” she explains, adding, “I have been very polite in my attacks on the corporate sector, I should have been harsher.”
A blogger, an entrepreneur and also a travelogue-writer, Ilika says she wants to write a play next, “something like The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie.” Referring to the world record of the celebrated crime writer’s play, now playing in the U.K. in the 62nd year of an unbroken stint, Ilika says, “I want to beat her record.”
SECRETS OF ZYNPAGUA : SEARCH OF SOULMATES
‘Life will ebb out from her soul,
That is my mission my goal,
My head burns and smoulders like coal,
My heart cajoles.’
Drudan sat beside the coconut tree which was overlooking the foaming sea. It was an eerie night and the Moon had a strange halo around it. Drudan was angry and weak but an undercurrent of revenge kept his blood boiling and his heart beating. His marvelous creation, the violet light had been destroyed.
Before leaving Zynpagua, Drudan had declared that he knew where Soto was, but in reality, he knew nothing. Using his magical abilities he had sensed that Soto was somewhere near the confluence of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean and thus he landed in the city of Kanyakumari in India.
Now, sitting on the banks of the Indian Ocean, he murmured ‘Vile Anika, I detest you and will kill you. You impressed the stars and rescued Sussaina. You caused the Sun to rise in Zynpagua and destroy my violet light. Oh! my violet, my wonderful creation, my soul, my heart. I am so dead without you, so dead indeed. ’
He held his head and pulled his hair. ‘Ah! It is painful being without you my violet, so painful. I feel lifeless, lifeless, lifeless…but I promise, this pain will give me strength. I will nurture this pain and create something as fatal as violet. Oh my weeping soul, I promise I will extract that Anika’s soul.’
He looked up and gaped at the Moon. Then he yelled ‘You gave Anika life and now it will be you who will take away her life.’
He continued to look spitefully at the Moon and then turned his gaze towards the sea.
‘The Moonlight has a mystic effect on the sea’ he thought.
It was a full Moon night and the tides were rising high, adulating the Moon.
Drudan fixed his gaze where the water of Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean united, three shades of water mixing uniformly to lose their identity.
He thought ‘Leo’s soul split and gave life to Anika; if I unite the souls, they can lose their identity. Then it will be farewell time for both. The Moon gave you life Anika; I promise I will use the Moonlight to take life away from you.’
Though Drudan failed to locate Soto here, this discovery had made his hopes rise high. He had been observing the movement of the tides in the moonlight for several days. The full Moon definitely had a magical effect on the waters of the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. This point seemed to him a power generating point, capable of uniting anything. Drudan had been pondering if he could collect a sample of this water and test it scientifically.
He had tried reaching that point on his bee once but as he approached closer, his magic stopped working and his bee changed to crimson handkerchief and was swallowed by the sea. Had he not been an adept swimmer, he too would have been drowned in the sea. But this experience made Drudan even more convinced about the inexplicable effect of the Moonlight at the point where the two seas and the ocean met.
Drudan promised himself ‘Let the Sun rise and the stars protect that wretched land. I will dissolve their Princess’s soul’. Laughing aloud he yelled ‘Yes, I will dissolve Anika’s soul’.
He then stood up and walked towards a fisherman who was tying nets on the boat.
‘Friend, I need your help’ said Drudan to the Fisherman.
The fisherman looked at Drudan intently but did not answer and continued tying the nets.
Drudan repeated ‘Friend I need your help’
The fisherman ignored Drudan once again.
His insouciance made Drudan livid and he yelled ‘ You insect. How dare you turn your back on me’.
Pointing his finger towards the Fisherman, he roared ‘ Blaze!’
The fisherman instantly caught fire and was reduced to ashes. People around were so petrified by the site that they began to run. Drudan blew air and trapped everyone with a magical spell.
‘ Please don’t kill us. We will do whatever you command’ pleaded one of the fishermen.
Drudan laughed and said ‘ That’s like a good man. I am your commander from today. I will rule you. Give me a house to stay and food to eat.’ The fisherman said ‘ Sir, we are poor people. We don’t have a house to give you. We live in huts. But there is an old palace vacant at the shore of the sea ’.
Drudan narrowed his eyes to locate the palace at a distance. It was a massive heritage building in ruins. Drudan pointed his fingers towards the citadel and said ‘New I want you to be!’.
The Palace instantly became new and glittering.
The fishermen were awestruck. Drudan realized that and decided to take advantage of their fear. He yelled ‘ All of you will live with me in the palace or I will kill you’
One of them braced courage and asked Drudan ‘ Sir, what do you want from us? We are underprivileged people who catch fish and sell them to earn a living.’
Drudan pointed at the point where Moonlight was falling on the confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. He said ‘ Get me water from there and free yourself’
The fisherman gasped ‘ No Sir , It is impossible. The sea is cavernous, we will die. You know magic then why can you not get water yourself’
‘You fool, if magic worked there I wouldn’t have bothered to talk to you’ said Drudan absolutely exasperated.
He raised his hand and pointing it towards the fishermen, said ‘ Trap them in a net’.
A huge fishing net appeared which covered the fishermen. Soon they were taken in the captivity of the net.
Drudan rubbed his palms vigorously and blew air towards the net. It began to rise. Drudan calmly instructed the net ‘Head towards the heritage palace while these insects are trapped in’.
The fishermen began to yell ‘ Help Help!’
Drudan began to laugh aloud and said ‘ Let us leave for the palace my dear useless people’
Then he tapped on his forehead and said ‘ I need a vehicle to travel. What should I create? Something as slimy as me. What?’
Then he laughed aloud ‘ Yes, It should be a flying snake’
He picked a pebble from the bank and blowing air on it, he said ‘ Oh sea snake, let us escape!’
A yellow coloured snake with big black spots appeared in front of Drudan. It was so long and thick, that even Drudan gasped in surprise. In no time the snake curled itself around Drudan. He began to yell ‘No, No, you are choking me!”Share
That was the dawn of hope rising bravely from the conspiring night. None imagined that it would be She who could challenge the time. Yes, no one but Susainna knew as she waited with hope and purpose—her daughter would do it in due time.
She smiled with the memory of the day when the stars
had transferred her mystic abilities to her infant daughter and sent her to the Earth. Now she had to patiently wait for her to grow in the safe hands of the Indian family. Her eyes swelled up with tears with the memory of the rainbow leaving her daughter at their doorstep. How the lady of the house had jumped to find the infant girl and had hugged her affectionately. Sussaina’s daughter was instantly adopted by the Indian household. They named her Anika.
Sussaina wept and wept. The memory of sending her frail daughter immediately after her birth, ached her soul. But what could she have done? Drudan would have killed her.
Oh, what a beautiful baby she was.
Sussaina silently sat in one corner of the shadowed region and began to murmur the words:
She would rise,
From the coyness of her existence,
To let the world shine with brilliance,
To challenge the stones, the stars, the air, and the clouds,
To clean the muck her people would never be proud,
Yes, my girl will return to question Drudan for his crime,
And give back the most beautiful time.
Sussaina began to sing this song, with tears glimmering like pearls on her cheery face. She knew her misery had come to an end. At last, her daughter had found a home and would grow up in no time.Share
If you have missed the story, please read the recap in the left hand side column- Secrets of Zynpagua, Return of the Princess
Anika spent the night glaring at the Moon. After a while it occurred to her that when the announcement was being made the Sun was sending its’ rays. Sun signifies royalty and then she exclaimed! Continue readingShare
If you have missed the story, please read the recap in the left handside column- Secrets of Zynpagua, Return of the Princess
Anika felt someone pull her back on the bed. She could not understand why her question made Frederick so angry. She recollected what Frederick said last and immediately opened her eyes to watch the sky. The firmament was still a clear black sheet ornamented Continue readingShare
If you have missed the story, please read the recap in the left handside column- Secrets of Zynpagua, Return of the Princess
She thought of approaching Frederick for a solution and immediately pulled out the Spanish chocolate from her pocket.
Her sturdy boots dug deep in the ice while climbing the frozen mountains. Continue readingShare
If you have missed the story, please read the recap in the left handside column- Secrets of Zynpagua, Return of the Princess
As the bullock cart proceeded, Anika saw simpletons sitting in a group. Few men had their chest bare that flaunted a scorpion tattoo. Some wore stockings while the others were wearing ill fitting pants. Most of them flaunted golden chains on their neck. On moving ahead, Anika saw a group of men with turbans, preoccupied in weaving a cloth, few others were peeping from a shop like structure, set amidst the array of houses, selling metal artifacts.
Anika promptly asked Vivian “I cannot see any woman here!”
Vivian replied “They stay indoors”.
Anika was quiet for the rest of the journey. Most of her questions were answered.
The cart hurriedly crossed the market and reached the foothills.
Anika and Vivian got down and thanked the man. Hunger kicked Anika’s stomach but she maintained silence and ascended the mountain. When they were at the hill-top, Vivian pointed towards a small house made of mud with thatched roof that flaunted a creeper blooming with red flowers. It was the most appealing, petite and peaceful place which cajoled Anika to run inside and sleep in its arms. She dashed towards the door and opened it. There was a living room and on one of the walls, was a painting of Sussaina, Soto and little Vivian. One corner of the house had a tiny kitchen, and towards the other side a small room.
Fatigue had taken its toll on Anika and she looked pooped. Vivian seemed disturbed yet rushed to cook something for her. He lit the clay stove stacked with wooden twigs and made the most delicious porridge Anika had ever tasted.
Seeing Vivian’s state Anika asked “Do you know Sabrina?”
He told her “She is my friend. One of the most learned, brave and intelligent girls in Zynpagua. She excels at riding, good at fighting with bows and arrows, swords and poles. I don’t know what the punishment would befall on her. King Drudan is a vicious man. Under his heinous rule, people have become callous and inconsiderate. I wish I could kill Drudan.” Vivian was livid with fury.
Anika murmured “We have to save Sabrina!”
Vivian’s countenance relaxed and he suggested “Anika we will think about this tomorrow. You are a deadbeat, please take some rest.”
Vivian laid two cots woven with coir outside his house for them to sleep. Anika could not get any sleep. The memory of Sabrina and what transpired in the morning continued to snag her……..Share
Vivian was surprised “Frederick? How do you know him? He was our uncle who disappeared.” Anika was perturbed “Frederick was our uncle? He is in Spain and speaks in a different language which I am able to understand. In fact, I traveled there after drinking the pomegranate juice. He is in a place with high mountains. Once Frederick resurfaced from a Spanish chocolate and said- The Moon is calling. Read the stars! He also informed me that you were coming to take me” Vivian jumped with joy “Dear sister, our uncle is alive. One day we will find our father as well”. He voiced aloud.
“A day will come
When the Moon will be milky white
The Sun, Venus and Mars will be ready to fight
To destroy the shadow
And rescue our Mother.
You can do it, no other
Impress Sun, Venus and Mars
They are eager to use their powers
Our freedom lies in the hands of stars
They will shower their blessings like flowers”
Vivian then plucked a leaf from a nearby plant and applied its juice to Anika’s bleeding lips.
She again questioned Vivian “How are the trees and plants growing here without the rays of the Sun?”
Vivian replied “The trees and the plants loved our mother. They refused to leave Zynpagua with the Sun when she was captured. The Sun cannot let any innocent being die and therefore promised them to send invisible rays to form chlorophyll.”
Vivian suggested “Anika let us go home and relax”.
Anika gratefully nodded and followed Vivian. His house was located on the hill top. A peasant was passing on a Bullock cart and Vivian requested him for a ride. He readily agreed.
Anika questioned Vivian yet again “There are no cars here?”
Vivian replied “Dear Sister, remember I told you Zynpagua is a cursed land and as the years pass, we will get more primitive. We can only use bullock carts here”.
As the cart moved ahead, Anika saw little houses built of wood and mud bricks with walls of reed stuffed with straw. These petite brown structures were symmetrically arranged along the uneven road. At one of the crossroads, Anika saw a huge copper statue of a young boy with a sword. He looked familiar and Anika guessed “Is this the statue of our Uncle Frederick?”
Vivian was thrilled “Yes this is the statue of our uncle Frederick.”
Anika was curious “How did he disappear?”
Vivian replied “No one knows”……Share
Vivian replied “Today is the Annual Chariot Race Festival. Drudan will reward the winner and give him a post in the army. While the commoners are occupied in watching the Race, you change your guise here before anyone notices.” Vivian peeped straight in Anika’s eyes and murmured something. Her white frock transformed into a silver tunic. A Black band appeared in her short cropped hair, and her shoes were replaced by sturdy brown boots. Anika immediately checked the pockets and was satisfied to find the Spanish chocolate which she had carried with her .She was fascinated by her new look. A question popped out instantly “How did you do that?” Vivian replied “Pajaro gifted me with her magical power before she died. They are equal and opposite to those of Drudan. He can use his magic only for doing evil and I can use mine only for the good of others”…. before Vivian could complete, a huge hullabaloo diverted his attention. When the two turned, the man with the white turban had won the race. The trumpets were being blown signaling the arrival of King Drudan. Two black horses came charging in, mounted by fierce looking warriors. They pushed the throng to the sides, clearing the pathway. Then a group of children came in running and sprinkled red flowers on the road. Two men walked in blowing the trumpets and then Drundan’s chariot arrived. He wore a colourful red gown flowing till his feet and a silken blue scarf. Anika strained her eyes to see Drudan. He was a tall man, with very fair complexion and no hair on his head. A star shaped diamond was studded on his forehead. There was an eerie calmness in his expressions. He walked towards the Podium and whispered in the minister’s ears. The minister shook his head and nervously announced the name of the winner.
As the victor approached closer, his white turban fell off. The people were stunned to see a gorgeous looking girl instead of the man.
Vivian gasped “Oh my God! This is the fisherman’s daughter- Sabrina.” Drudan ordered his soldiers to arrest the lady. Vivian cried aloud “No!” Someone from the mob slapped him. Another one pulled Anika by the hand and took her to the King. Drudan roared “This lady Sabrina has the audacity to take part in a game meant only for Men. Such impudence by any woman has never been tolerated. She has challenged our moral system. Women are meant to be behind the four walls of domestic chores. Put her behind the bars. I am going for a visit to the seven kingdoms. Once I am back, I shall decide her fate.” The assembly cheered and then one soldier dragged Anika in King’s presence. He bellowed “Who are you? Vivian hurriedly came forward and pleaded “My lord, this is Anika, my sister. We were simply passing by. Please grant forgiveness my Lord”. The King ordered one soldier to slap Vivian and Anika. It was such a hard blow that cut Anika’s lips and she began to bleed. Vivian fell on the ground. When the King had left, Anika stood up crying “How will I change this world. I am too young and fragile”.
Vivian hugged her “My little sister, don’t worry, you can do it. I know you can do it!
Anika said “How is Drudan alive for so many years?”
Vivian smirked “Black magic is making him live.”
Anika questioned him again “Why can women not participate in any games?”
Vivian said “That is because Zynpagua is known to give birth to miraculous women with extraordinary powers. Drudan fears one of them will bring his death.”
Anika sounded feeble “How will I destroy such a powerful man?”
Vivian unintentionally responded “By reading the stars!”
Anika stared at Vivian “You know Frederick?”Share
How many Children Fiction Indian authors have we heard of lately?
Hardly any. …
The last Indian Children Fiction bestseller that made echoing presence in International market was Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Mowgli has cast an inimitable impression in our minds for years.
Where are the authors who can create similar fiction for children in India?
Needless to say that they do exist but Indian Publishers are busy competing in the stereotyped adult romance genre.
Most of these publishers are busy pushing children fantasy books written by International authors in Indian market.
Barring Scholastic, I am not aware of any publishing company investing their efforts in increasing readership amongst children and encouraging Indian authors.
The attitude and indifference of publishing companies are appalling. Why are they making life tougher for Indian authors in an already difficult market like India. A recent statement adopted by Random house/ Penguin books is worth the criticism. To making a submission to them an auto reply comes that states that the submission has been received and in case the script has been accepted the author will be approached within 3 months otherwise it is understood that the script has not been accepted
This autoreply shows the culture that prevails in the Organization. A ridiculous callous attitude.
Does a rejected author not deserve a courtesy rejection email?
Why should Publishing companies contribute in frustrating the creative talent in India? I can only request them not to make India a dumping ground of International fiction but also DEVELOP creative talent in India.Share
Chapter 3 : Arrival in Zynpagua
(If you have missed the story, please read the story recap on the left hand panel)
The crowd was cheering aloud as they watched the chariots race with each other. The bullocks were fiercely charging towards the destination. The man in the red chariot overtook the one on the yellow and the gathering burst out enthusiastically. The man riding the Yellow chariot was wearing dark blue stockings with a light blue shirt and a black jacket. Anika noticed that he had worn a white turban that covered his hair and face.
The racing chariots were blowing the dust that mighty breeze carried with it everywhere. The milieu was flooded with the encouraging uproar of the men and thundering sound of the drums signaling a celebration. Anika whispered to Vivian “Where are we?” He replied “We are in Zynpagua”. Anika noticed that the entire place was lit by huge lamps. She whispered to Vivian “Is it nighttime?” Vivian sadly replied “No, it is daytime. We have not seen the Sun since our mother was captured. Look at the sky”
Anika looked up and was aghast to see a dark black sheet without any stars only a faint feeble Moon and smoky clouds speckled around it.
Anika enquired “What are the people celebrating?”Share
Anika thought for a while. She too had been hearing a painful voice on a New and Full Moon night.
Anika asked yet again “But when the planets are seeing that Drudan is cruel, why can they not send their benefic rays on their own?”
Vivian smiled “Because dear sister, humans are creations of God and not the planets. Only a human can ask the planets to destroy another human”. Continue readingShare
King Soto and Queen Sussaina had no children. Queen Sussaina treated her husband’s younger brother Frederick as her own son. He was eight years old. One day Frederick went to the forest with his friends but did not return. The King’s Soldiers searched every nook and corner of Zynpagua but could not find him. The Queen was devastated. Seeing her sorrow, the stars blessed her with a son, Vivian. The King and Queen were elated by the birth of their son. For the next four years their attention was entirely on Vivian and they forgot to take care of their Kingdom- Zynpagua. Due to their neglect, evil and malice began to spread in Zynpagua Continue readingShare
If you have missed the story please read the recap of the book in left hand panel.
She confidently announced her arrival, went running on the stage and delivered a humourous speech. The audience laughed and cheered. Anika continued excitedly but after a while forgot the lines and began to mumble. The prompter yelled from behind and yet Anika could not remember her lines. At that moment, a young boy leapt from the roof of the stage and made a dramatic entry. He delivered an outstanding speech and saved the play. Before he left, he picked Anika on his shoulders and waved farewell to the audience. The play proceeded successfully. Anika was very relieved to see him and said “Thank you so much! Who are you? Did Ms Annie send you?” Continue readingShare
If you have missed the story please read the recap of the book in left hand panel.
Chapter 2: Anika meets Vivian.
It was pouring outside but the rain did little to assuage Anika’s upset mood. The re-appearance of Frederick and the familiar painful voice from the Moon contributed in tarnishing her frame of mind. Anika’s mother was very worried seeing her state and took the two girls to join the theater classes. Continue reading
Four years back when I decided to quit my six years banking career and start as an entrepreneur, most of my friends discouraged me from starting a tourism company. The premise they gave was that there are too many travel companies in India, infact four in every street in any city in India. Continue readingShare
(If you have missed the story please read from the beginning from the left hand panel pages on Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess, story recap)
Back in Singapore, for almost two weeks, Anika did not see Frederick or heard the call of the Moon. She tried distracting herself by reading children short stories and fantasy books. But nothing helped. Continue readingShare
The boy replied “Mi nombre es Federico” (My name is Frederick) Just then Anika was sucked in by the air. The next moment she was back on her bed in Shillong. She faintly heard the voices of her grandma and Radhika. They were calling out her name. Radhika came running inside the room and angrily questioned her “Where were you? Why were you not answering when we called your name?”
She then rushed out to inform her grandparents that Anika was in the room. As Radhika left, Anika saw her sister’s knees and hands were bandaged. She felt miserable for …
Secrets of Zynpagua : Return of the Princess
The story continues………………………..
Anika suddenly sat up in the bed and began to tremble. She murmured “Spain? Who is in Spain?” Grandmother looked perturbed and said “Why are you shaking. What is wrong?”
Anika feebly responded “No..Nothing. I am feeling very cold” Grandmother covered Anika with two layers of blankets and said “I am putting off the lights. You must sleep” and then left.
The room was dimly illuminated by the night lamp. After sometime when Anika opened her eyes to check the time, she saw a young boy standing in the …
Thank you for the encouraging response on my blog (best children fantasy books).
Here’s inviting everyone who still have a child in them to swim in the world of Fantasy.
Please join me in the journey of a Princess to discover- ‘The Secret Of Zynpagua’.
Here comes the PROLOGUE
That was the dawn of hope rising bravely from the conspiring night. None imagined that it would be she, who could challenge the time and go back and face the change. Yes no one, but Susainna knew as she descended with hope and purpose —- Her daughter would do …Share Share
My first book, the closest to my heart: Somewhere my journey as an author and an entrepreneur began from here.
A lot has been said and written about corporate culture. My seven years of working in MNCs has made me realize that the real problem of corporate world is the lack of adept leaders. The book is a satire on the leadership of today and a wake up call for all young management students/ professionals, that despite their outstanding educational qualification, they blindly follow what is brought to their table at work place. Very few question the relevance and in …Share Share
Sometimes when cupid doesn’t strike, you have to find the bow and the arrow, stand behind cupid, aim from above his shoulder and hit!!
At times love is arranged.
Destiny got Monica, koyal and Pikoo together to share the same hostel room while pursuing their studies at Pune. Monica is in the third year of law course while Koyal and Pikoo are in the second year of management. The three shared the hostel room last year and despite the glaring difference in personalities, became a family, each rendering endless support to the new fangled camaraderie.
Monica is a Punjabi damsel …Share Share
Economics gave God the solution!
This little short story dawned in my mind when I was reading one of the travel books on ancient India. The exact lines stated were ‘cattle and women were the movable properties that men could carry as they moved from one land to the other.’ I felt a surge of temper and my head could sense the tightening of veins. We women feel so deprived and disrespected even now, then what would these cattle equivalent women must have felt? Unfortunately even education fails to change many mindsets for women. Then what is the solution……………Economics and believe me God has discovered the solution!
Here’s the narrative Continue readingShare
Today’s TOI front page news stated Indian Kids EQ declining fast.
Are we surprised? When the adults of today are engulfed in the stressful challenges of life and spare hardly anytime to pass the values and share the warmth with their children, is this a shocking fact?
A more relevant question is ……Do Indian Adults of today value EQ( Emotional Quotient) at all?
Infact being emotional is taken to be a negative trait at workplace, where one spends 3/4 of the day. Then how is one to realize emotions are important.Share
The editorial dated 19th Oct on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that was extended in Kashmir in July 1990, stands testimony to the fact that unhindered power leads to misuse and exploitation.
The abominable instances of civilians being dragged to torture centres to face electrocution, beating and sexual humiliation cry out the necessity of amending the act. However in the past in the year 2005, the Justice Jeevan ready committee was formed post outcry at Manipur following the death of T. Manorama. Despite the recommendations of Jeevan Ready committee, the government did not take any action post which , the then defense minister Pranab Mukherjee rejected the plea on the pretext of ‘ impossibility of ground forces to function in disturbed areas without such powers’
The question is are we truly citizens of a democratic country.?Share
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin:
A tremendous epic of all times in which the transformation of each character is absolutely hard hitting, real and compelling. The reader is forced to transcend to that era feeling the pain and ruthlessness of circumstances, and witnessing the hardening of personalities in the book.
Every page pushes the reader to explore what next? This very aspect is warning me to be wary of the information I render in the book review, without revealing any of the hidden mysteries.
The descriptions in the book are so vivid that one can genuinely experience the milieu and relate to the difficulties experienced by the characters by virtue of the weather and the hostility of the terrain.
The Song of Ice and Fire is written in a series of which six books that have been released and the author is yet to introduce the end.
Book one: A Game of Thrones.
Book two: A Clash of Kings.
Book three: A Storm of Swords.
Part one: Steel and Snow.
Part two: Blood and Gold.
Book four: A Feast of Crows
Book five (recently released): A Dance with Dragons.
The book is inundated with characters each reflecting shades of both grey and white. The prominent characters of the book are
Lord Stark of Winterfell- Eddard: (My Favourite character) A strong and principled man, a great leader/ ruler, wonderful father.
Catelyn Stark- Wife of Lord Stark: Dutiful and brave wife but a bitter step mother.
Robb Stark: Lord Eddard and Catelyn’s eldest son. A Valiant and fair prince also a responsible brother and a dutiful son.
Sansa Stark: a vulnerable damsel living in the world of fairies who gradually comes in terms to agonizing truth of life.
Arya Stark: Gutsy and valiant, a mature and strong lass.
Jon Snow: A roughened and strong boy with great depth, despite being a bastard.
Bran: A kid victimized by conspiracy.
Rickon: youngest son of Lord Stark
King Robert Baratheon: A complete failure as a king, as a husband, as a friend and a compulsive womanizer.
Cersei: Wife of King Robert, a scheming woman, malicious and vindictive.
Jaime: Cersei’s brother. Cunning and revengeful, yet the man demonstrated shades of kindness and justice as the story advances.
Joffrey: Cersei’s son: A spoiled brat, merciless scalawag.
Tyrion: a gentleman despite being disparaged and demeaned. Sharp and watchful
Daenerys: A gentle teenage lass, forced to wed a Dothraki, Khal Drogo.
Dire Wolves: A telepathic relationship between themselves and Eddard Stark’s children. Protectors of Stark family.
Book 1: A Game of Thrones.
Lord Eddard and his sons locate six dire wolf pups (with their dead dire wolf mother) in the midst of snow , on the way back after slaughtering an absconder from the Wall (with his sword Ice, made of Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke.) The Banner of the Starks of Winter fell was a grey dire wolf racing across an ice-white field. Jon insisted the discovery of the pups signaled that the Stark kids were meant to have it. Thus the wolves were adopted in Stark household, one for each child.
After some days King Robert arrives at Winterfell with his and his wife’s family. He urges Eddard to become his hand. Eddard Stark reluctantly accepts his offer taking his two daughters with him and leaving Robb, Rickon and dying (after he fell) Bran with Catelyn Stark. Jon was sent to the Wall to become a nights’ watch.
Lord Eddard being a noble man was surrounded by conspirers at King’s Landings. King Robert’s wife, Cersei was the mastermind behind the scheming. Eddard also realized that Cersei had an affair with Jaime, and all her children belonged to him and not Robert. Paying no heed to the warnings given by Eddard, Robert falls prey to Cersei’s game plan and gets killed by a bear. Lord Eddard tries reaching out to Robert’s brother Stannis, but is charged of treason and Joffrey orders his head to be butchered. The Stark family receives a blow; with Sansa Stark left at Kings Landings, Arya escapes, and Robb is forced to collect an army against Joffrey to avenge his father’s death, Catelyn leaves Bran and Rickon at Winterfell to joins Robb.
There is a parallel story of Daenerys Targaryen being forced to marry Dothraki head, Khal Drogo and eventually the Khal succumbs to a wound and dies because of an evil lady Maegi. Daenerys loses her child in the womb but three dragon eggs that were gifted to her at her wedding, come to life.
Book 2: A Clash of Kings.
To challenge Joffrey as the legal heir to the throne of the Kings landings, Renly and Lord Stannis form their respective armies. Robb also seeks alliance with others to avenge his father’s death. Catelyn requests the Frey’s to assist Robb in his war and in turn he would marry a girl from their household. Frey’s agree. Robb wins all the battles as he advances towards Kings Landings.
Lord Stannis also resorts to black magic or a dark art with the help of a lady called Melisandre. Arya is being taken to the Wall in disguise by an uncouth man Yoren, who saved her when Eddard was being slaughtered. Tyrion takes over as Joffrey’s hand, as instructed by his father. Sansa Stark, begins to come to terms with reality, on the harshness of life and true intentions of Joffrey and Cersei, is promised by Sir Dontos, that he would aid her escape from Kings Landings. Brann is a cripple now, who gets vivid dreams of a three eyed crow and that of wondering like a wolf. Lannister army kills Yoren, Arya escapes, but is made captive again and she lands at Harrenhal.
A shadow enters Renly’s camp and kills him, when he and Lord Stannis declare war against each other. Catelyn Stark, a witness of Renly’s death, takes Brienne, with her, who is suspected to be Renly’s assassinator. Later lady Catelyn frees Jaime and sends him with Brienne, in exchange of promise of getting her daughters back.
Jon and his friends along with Lord Mormont of the Wall, head to the woods, to encounter the wildlings. Later he is asked to befriend the wildings to know their plan. He befriends Ygritte, a wildling (girl) and wins Mance Rayders trust.
Daerneys is left with a small group after the death of Khal Drogo, and they are subjected to hunger and starvation due to lack of food as they march ahead. Theon Greyjoy in the meantime betrays Robb and captures Winterfell where Brann and Rickon escape, but are declared exterminated. Lord Stannis tries to fight the army at Kings Landing but escapes disappointed.
Lord Tywin decides to get Joffrey married to Margaery Yyrell, Renly’s widow and not to Sansa Stark.
Book 3: Part 1: A Storm of Swords. Steel and Snow.
The plot gets thicker from book three and full of unexpected twists and turns. Without killing the suspense, to simply summarize in few lines; Arya escapes Harrenhal, to meet yet another kingdom and another series of challenges, Sansa is made to marry someone who is completely opposite to what she had dreamt of, Robb does not marry Frey’s girl but Jeyne and succumbs to a conspiracy. Bran heads to the Wall to find the three eyed crow. Jaime is on his way back to Kings Landing in captivity of Brienne. Jon escapes the wildlings to reach the Wall to save his black brothers.
Book 3: Part 2: A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold.
Joffrey has an unfortunate wedding. Jaime reaches Kings Landings. Tyrion is imprisoned as a suspect of murder. Sansa escapes. Arya reaches her mother and brother but witnesses callous circumstances. Jon reaches the Wall to fight with his black brothers against the wildlings………..the story continues, yet to finish reading the series.Share