Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Feb 28, 2017

READER: "Out come is not the point' - Geraldine Brooks in Pulitzer Prize winning book "March"

Spotlight is my small effort to support authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE,  please click here for details.
“I think we are rare creatures in that we can observe and marvel at the universe and ask questions about our purpose.  That is enough for me.” - Geraldine Brooks

I remember, when I met Geraldine Brooks at Hindu Literary Festival in Chennai for the first time, we discussed another author’s comment that the written words are not cathartic. And I was happy to note that she disagreed to it as well. I sincerely believe that what we write or read, at a very deeper level affect us and our thought process, emotions and feelings. And that’s exactly what I found while reading Geraldine’s book ‘March’ as well. 

It changed the way I thought about people I have been reading about in her book ‘March’ like Emerson, Thoreau as well as about the American Slave History. I could also relate to the storyline, as the way she structured the plot, weaving her way into past and present, is the kind of style I wrote in my book “Songs of the Mist”.

There are so many things from her book I learned, like the way she describes nature or the way she wrote about physicality of the characters, specially her characteristic style of writing about feelings, specially the erotic feelings without being sexual…

"... yet I could not let go of her. I felt like Peleus on the beach, clinging to Thetis, only to find that, suddenly, it was she who held me; that same furnace in her nature that had flared up in anger blazed again, in passion." - Geraldine Brooks in ‘March’
At the Hindu Lit festival in Chennai

But what I could relate to the most was the conclusion…

“You are not God. You do not determine the outcome. The outcome is not the point.” - Geraldine Brooks in ‘March’

Bhagavad Gita’s most famous shloka talks about that too. We are to perform our duties, act as per our nature and not worry about the fruits of our actions. And the reason, I relate to it deeply, is that in my book the Monk says the same thing to the young boy, who is running away from pain and heartbreak.

Meeting Geraldine Brooks in Chennai...
“Can you give any action more than hundred percent of your striving? If not, then why worry? You just could not give two hundred percent. So once you are done a task with your hundred percent efforts, dedication and sincerity do not worry about the result. Move on. Instead of worrying, you should focus on other actions required of you. It is in the nature of nature to provide you with the result as no action goes waste.” - The Monk in “Songs of the Mist” (Pg 154)

And as I come to the end of Geraldine Brooks book 'March', she shared an important thought and a solution, which is universal in nature as well. The following lines from her book gives me hope and happiness...

… there is only one thing to do when we fall, and that is to get up, and go on with the life that is set in front of us, and try to do the good of which our hands are capable for the people who come in our way.says the character 'Grace' in the Book ‘March’

I enjoyed meeting her and reading her book. Here is part of my interaction and some of the wonderful thoughts from her Pulitzer prize winner book ‘March’. Hope you will also enjoy reading it…

In her library
Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, attending Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issues.

In 1982 she won the Greg Shackleton Australian News Correspondents scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York City. Later she worked for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. In 1990, with her husband Tony Horwitz, she won the Overseas Press Club Award for best coverage of the Gulf War. The following year they received a citation for excellence for their series, “War and Peace.”  In 2006 she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University.

She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March. Her novels, Caleb’s Crossing and People of the Book, were New York Times best sellers. Her first novel, Year of Wonders is an international bestseller, translated into more than 25 languages and currently optioned for a TV series produced by Andrew Lincoln. She is also the author of the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire, Foreign Correspondence and The Idea of Home.

Brooks married fellow journalist and author Tony Horwitz in Tourette-sur-Loup, France, in 1984. They have two sons– Nathaniel and Bizuayehu–two dogs, three alpacas and a mare named Valentine. They live by an old millpond on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and spend as much time as possible in Australia.
- Text curtsy Author's Website

I love literature; I always have.  I write first for myself--a book I would like to read.  It seems to take me about three years to write a novel, but it’s hard to say because there is a long period of thinking about a book, even while working on other projects, before one sits down to write. 

For me the challenge is to decide who tells the story, and to clearly hear that narrative voice.

With Alpacas
Animals are a very important part of enriching life for me, so we have dogs, alpacas and a horse.  I also love to cook, and adore nature, so I’m lucky to live by the sea and woods.

“I had been there, one a spring morning, wherein the fog stood so thick on the river that it looked as though the bowl of the sky has spilled all its milky clouds into the valley.”

“It is a mountebank, this river. It feigns a gentle lassitude, yet coiled beneath are the currents that have crushed the trunks of mighty trees, and swept men to swift drowning.”

“Swiftest hint of a smile I believe a human face can make - like a tic, almost -before her countenance returned its accustomed gravity.”

“Though his was the soft hand of a man unacquainted with physical labor, his grip was almost painfully firm, as if he wished to leave in no doubt of his power. It was, I thought, the overzealous handshake of a boy playing at being a man.”

View of her garden
“To me, the divine is that immanence which is apparent in the great glories of Nature and in the small kindness of the human heart.”

“But it is a hard thing when a man is ruined by the very idea that most animates him.“

“If there is one class of a person I have never quite trusted, it is a man who knows no doubt.”

“The brave man, the real hero, quakes with terror, sweats, feels his very bowels betray him, and in spite of this moves forward to do the act he dreads.”

“I now felt convinced that the greater part of a man’s duty consists in abstaining from much that he is in the habit of consuming.”

“I was overcome with a rush of confused emotion: delight at the sensation of my first kiss, mortification at my lack of restraint, desire to touch her again, to touch her all over, to lose myself in her. Alarm at the potency of my lust. And guilty awareness that I had an obscene power here. That if lust mastered me, this woman would be in no position to gainsay my desire.

“But this, also, true: I wanted her. The thought of her -arched, shuddering, abandoned - thrilled me to the core.”

“To believe, to act, and to have events confound you - I grant you, that is hard to bear. But to believe, and not to act, or to act in a way that every fiber of your soul held was wrong - how can you not see? That is what would have been reprehensible.” And even as I said this, I knew that if I stood again in the cattle show ground, and heard him promise to go to war, I would hold my peace again, even knowing what terrible days were to follow.”

As I read her book, I realised that she has certain real life characters from the period like Emerson and Thoreau merged with fictional characters. She did explain the characterization in an endnote, but I was wondering, where one draws the line between reality and fiction. 

“I think one should probably stay within the known facts of their lives, but in a novel one has some liberty to play within these boundaries--to concoct additional dialogue true to the kinds of things they are known to have said or set down.  If one goes beyond that, I think one should change the names and then in an endnote say the character is “based on” the real person.  March is actually my second novel.  My first, Year of Wonders, has a character based on a real person, but I changed the name because I changed some facts and because we don’t have enough writings from the real man to know his mind sufficiently.  Same for my novel Caleb’s Crossing.  I kept Caleb’s real name but changed others where I changed known facts about them.” - Geraldine Brooks

She usually works at home. She moves around depending on the seasons. Mostly she works in her study but sometimes in winter, she sits in the kitchen at the table near the fireplace, and in summer in the garden under a shady apple tree.  When not working on her novels she said, tries to help her younger son, navigate the world of adolescence. 

She has just started a new historical novel set in three time periods: 1860s, 1940s and present time.

GENRE: I love all kinds of genres, including science fiction/speculative fiction. 

1. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, which is a deeply felt, gorgeously written meditation on love, family, spirituality and history.

2. Jane Austen’s Emma because it is so perfect in its portrait of a single individual in her society.


– Shashi 
CEO & Partner ICUBE Projects
Speaker | Author of “Songs of the Mist” & "Kuhase Ke Geet "
Haiku Poet | Writes India’s #1 Spiritual Blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind
(Global Ranking #36)

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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"The Days of Abandonment' by Elena Ferrante

39th Edition of Shadow Dancing with Mind...

WELCOME 2017: 39th Edition of Shadow Dancing With Mind
As the year 2017 started with the relase of my second book ‘Kuhase Ke Geet’, sharing the first edition and 39th in the list of Shadow Dancing With Mind Edition. It has regular features like Thoughts, Reader and some great books by new authors in the Spotlight. The ‘Spotlight’ section is my small effort to support upcoming authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.

Hope you will enjoy the edition, please do write to me, in case you would like to suggest, advice or discuss on the thoughts I have put up in the posts…


“Violence is as Hindu as curry” - Wendy Doniger writes in her book “On Hinduism” and goes on to add that the “Classical Hindu India was violent in politics (she forgets to mention that India was the only country which never waged war towards any other country in its history), … etc. but I just couldn't stop laughing when she says that perhaps at the very heart of it (Hindu Violence) is climate, with its un-durable heat and unpredictable monsoon…
Though I have other issues with her, including her sad interpretations of Vedic Scriptures, I will go on to other examples how our ancient Vedic currency is being short changed by supposedly great intellectuals…

Many of our decision that we take have its roots in the evolutionary process of mankind. Especially when it comes to how we react emotionally in our romantic relationships. I believe that we are designed to be one partner person rather than the most prevalent supposition that we are there to spread our genes and increase the robust gene pool for the species to survive…

When I read the news of Anwesha’s discovery about the power of Pranava Naad ‘Om’, I felt that all is still not lost in India in context of our ancient culture and heritage. In my earlier post on Creation: The Big Bang and the eternal sound ‘OM’, I had signed off with the following words…
“We live our life in the steps, not at the end. When the time is right, we will find our space in universal design. That space is the reality of our consciousness; rest is layers upon layers of memories, desires, and insecurities of mind…

In the beginning the river Ganges is so swift and fast that nothing much remains same on her way over a period. It carves its way out of the mountains and forests and reaches the sea to submerge. That is the way we begin our life too. In our childhood, we are full of energy and as we reach the end, we become sluggish and powerless….

As we take tentative steps of living day to day, we forget to realise that without a sense of belongingness, kindness towards all that we have been blessed with and inner flowering of love, it just brings us closer to an end....

The most awaited event of the new year for me, since last few years, has been Hindu Literary Festival which comes to a close today. This year too, it brought me in touch with wonderful writers from across the world. The interaction with humble Markus Zusak - Author of the book 'The Book Thief', unassuming and prolific Author Shashi Tharoor - who could produce a well researched book on British Colonialism, based on his viral video. The  wonderful sessions of many authors and commentators, I attended was absolutely enlightening. Spending some time with Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, getting to know her thoughts and ideas, meeting my old friend and mentor Timeri N Murari as well as some friends from Chennai Blogger's Club added an extra interest to the festival.

Spotlight is my small effort to support upcoming authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.

Please click on the books below to read more…

1. ‘The OtherSide of HIm’ - Alice Rene (Action Thriller)
2. ‘TheResurrection of Evil’ - Neelabh Pratap Singh
3. ‘Mock, Stalk& Quarrel' - A collection of satirical tales edited by Indrani Ganguly
4. ‘TheHappiness Switch' by Christine Ellis
5. ‘PIGMENT -The Limbs of the Mukuyu Tree’ by Renée Topper
6. ‘Seven ElevenForgotten and Other Stories’ by Barnaby Hazen - Literary Fiction
7. ‘Through theMind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery’ by J.P. Willson - Self Help
8. ‘TJ’s LastSummer in Cape Cod’ by Garfield Whyte - Coming of Age

9. ‘BrokenShadows’ by Tarek Refaat - Suspense & Thriller

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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38th Edition                   

SPOTLIGHT: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

To be uploaded

SPOTLIGHT: 'FRIENDSHIP: A True Story of Adventure, Goodwill, and Endurance' by Francis Mandewah

To be uploaded

SPOTLIGHT: The Politics of Unity: An Invitation to the High Road by Michael Cuddehe

Spotlight is my small effort to support upcoming authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.
“The wealth of a nation is like the blood in the body. It needs to circulate everywhere in order to maintain optimal health.” Michael Cuddehe

When the author of the book Michael Cuddehe told me that the purpose of "The Politics of Unity" is to enliven Dharma in public life, my interest in his book grew. As I read more and get to know Michael better through my interactions, I realized that the reason he wrote the book is different. Yes there is a mix of ego i.e. get to be known as an ‘Author’ - probably make some money and get invited to talks etc. but more importantly, I believe he wrote the book from the historical perspective and with a political purpose. There is a good mix of Aesthetic enthusiasm as well, which makes the book more readable as well.

Michael Cuddehe is a veteran market analyst, trader and fund manager. He has spent the last 35+ years tracking and analyzing global political and economic developments and is currently the Managing Member of Strategic Global Advisors, LLC. He is the publisher of Risk & Opportunity, a quarterly political and economic newsletter, and the author of "Chronicle of Catastrophe: A Contemporaneous History of the Bush Years."
Mr. Cuddehe has been active in politics as a candidate for U.S. Representative and as a member of the Platform and Executive Committees of the Natural Law Party. He is a Certified Teacher of
The Transcendental Meditation Program, and a founding member of E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), an NRDC affiliate, which works with business leaders dedicated to promoting environmentally sound public policy and business practices.

Purpose – to make a meaningful contribution to Humanity.

Satisfying my editor.

    “The wealth of a nation is like the blood in the body. It needs to circulate everywhere in order to maintain optimal health.”

    “Left/right, conservative/liberal are the left and right legs of the body politic. They are both needed to move forward.”

    “A self-realized individual, giving expression to his/her full potential, will spontaneously live and operate in harmony with natural law, becoming an asset to society. Brick by brick, a society composed of such self-actualized individuals will spontaneously become an ideal society.”     

    “How different our national life would be if the universal perspective of the wholeness of life were a lively backdrop to political process and policy considerations. It would provide a supportive foundation for mutual respect, honorable process, conflict resolution and the crafting of policy solutions meeting the needs of all parties, and society as a whole.”

These quotes summarize the practical application of the principles of balance, transcendence and natural law which, when enlivened, will mark the rise of dharma in public life.

Our technological ascendance is presenting us alternately with the means to create heaven on earth, or to destroy ourselves utterly. The outcome of this transition is dependent on how we organize our affairs and conduct our relationships with each other—our politics.

In 'The Politics of Unity', Michael Cuddehe identifies the primitive thinking, perverse incentives and political dynamics keeping us divided, distracted, and stuck on the low road of endless conflict, and then lays out 10 steps to the restoration of a healthy political process, opening the door to the creation of a better, more sustainable world, utilizing our technology for the good of all.

"The Politics of Unity" is a guide to the high road in the political process; a social blueprint for a better world.

Michael tells me that the first draft of the book was done in 1990 and the final iteration took a year. He thinks of his book as a guide to the high road in the political process; a social blue print for a better world. When asked if he would stop writing if some one asked him to, he says that it is unlikely. If he did, then he would probably continue his focus on markets and trading, and/or teaching. The favorite spot for his writing is his office. The energy of the place and the organization is supportive and he finds no disturbance, which is conducive to his writing style.

He is a world class trader, in 80’s was in top five Commodity Trading Advisor and adds with a smile - a good father as well.

He is currently developing a workshop entitled “Bridging the Partisan Divide: Nonviolent Politics” to offer…
- A model of healthy politics that will produce optimal policy without partisan warfare.
- A method for engaging in constructive dialog with people who disagree with you.
- Understanding of the forces systematically creating division, mistrust and conflict in our society.
- The knowledge and tools needed to neutralize the impact of these forces on your life.

He also plans to begin publishing on his blog to coincide with his workshop.

I am 94% Irish, the balance Scottish and English; grew up in the Navy, moving every few years; went to Catholic school. I love the mountains - have been to Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath. Met Bichendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest, on the path to Tapovan, after her climb of Shivling mountain. Love the ocean too – lived in Malibu and Laguna Niguel. I am a private pilot, multi-engine and instrument rated; owned a Beechcraft Baron

GENRE: Historical Fiction
Narrative history and historical fiction. Learning about different times and cultures in the context of good storytelling and character development.

City of Thieves about the siege of Leningrad
The Art of Racing in the Rain, for sheer delight.

– by Shashi 
CEO & Partner Interior Contracts Firm ICUBE Projects
Speaker | Author of “Songs of the Mist” & "Kuhase Ke Geet "
Haiku Poet | Writes India’s #1 Spiritual Blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind
(Global Ranking #36)

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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'Death Desire Destiny' - Junliette Power  |   Biographies by Mary Feliciani

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