Book Review: A Century Turns - William J Bennett

Friday, October 22, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

A Century Turns: New Hopes, New FearsTitle:A Century Turns - New Fears, New Hopes--America 1988 to 2008
Author: William Bennett
Published by : Thomas Nelson
Hardcover: 336 pages

This book is a rough outline of all the political controversies and lowpoints of America between 1988 - the start of the Senior Bush era, through the Clinton years and finally the Junior Bush era. Bennett offers his insights and comments of the good, the bad and the ugly on the political scenario in America during this tumultuous period.  The author has tried to summarize the events during this time, trying to stay as much impartial as possible (He is a strongly conservative republican), however as in all books of this genre, whether left wing or right wing, the bias will tend to float to the top.



Thursday, October 21, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Today it is one of those days
in which the stone in the chest weighs more than ever,
in which, with each breath, in each pore, it is a deep pain.

Today it is one of those days
in which the idea of death scares less and seduces more,
in which the tears struggle to appear and but remain in my eyes.

One of those days
in which love is a chimera,
happiness utopia, life an odyssey.

Today it is one of those days
in which summer is cold, still dark by day,
solitaires still in the middle of the multitude.

One of those days
about which one only thinks to destroy or to create monsters fabulous,
words more offensive, gestures more obscene.

Today it is one of those days
in which I watched the clock and wished that it finishes
and I requested that tomorrow it is not one of those days.

That is to say, it is one of those days that you would definitively like to erase off the calendar…


Indian Bowlers are Weak?

Friday, October 15, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Harsha, as always has hit the nail on the head. The tour to South Africa, for me, will determine if this team is capable of a sustained stay at the top, after the soon to be retirement of the Fab 3. However , I disagree with his saying that the present bowling is not good enough. I agree that on flat Indian pitches the Indian team's bowling has been found out, but, In South Africa, on helpful pitches, Zaheer and his merry men may be a handful.

I remember that, on the previous tour as well, the Indian bowlers were ticked off before the start of the first test, but how well they responded!! Without Anil Kumble though, it remains to be seen how Harbhajan responds. For me he has always been over rated. He has wickets, but I do not think they have the "Impact Index"!!


Gowda Saraswat Brahmins

Thursday, October 14, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Gowda Saraswat Brahmins, popularly referred to as GSBs, are Konkani people having Konkani as their mother tongue. Their origin is to the Saraswat Brahmins who lived on the banks of the now extinct river Saraswati of Punjab. These Brahmins were one of the Pancha Gowda Brahmin groups who lived north of the Vindhyas. Throughout the course of history, the Saraswat Brahmins have migrated to a variety of locations and are found mostly in Western coast of India, and in the present day, in Europe and the US also.

The Mahabharata (Penguin Classics)The Saraswat Brahmins are mentioned in the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and in detail in the Bhavisyottara Purana. The Saraswats mentioned in Mahabharata and Puranas were well versed in Vedas. They are said to have concentrated on studying subjects like astronomy, metaphysics, medicine and allied subjects and disseminating knowledge. To trace the Gowda Saraswat Brahmins ancestry the story of the Great Sage Saraswat Muni (son of Rishi Dadichi) is quoted. Even when there was a famine in north India he continued to teach Vedas to thousands of disciples. The entire Saraswat Desh started becoming arid and with no means of growing their crops, the Saraswats had no choice but to pack up and move. This period of history saw many civilizations abandoning their settlements. The migration happened over many centuries, the last of the exodus being around 350 BC due to a wide spread famine which lasted for 12 years. The Saraswats migrated in three directions, to the South-West (Sind), North (Kashmir), and to East (Bihar). The Saraswats who moved South East were mainly from the Saraswat Desh and they followed the Ganges and reached Trihotrapura or modern Tirhut in upper Bihar. This was in 400-350 BC. The major settlements were in Kanyakubja (Kanpur area), Magadha and Mithila. The Lichhavis were the ruling dynasty then, to be followed later by the Mauryas. With their inherent ability to adapt the Saraswats easily mingled with the locals, not trying to compete with them in agriculture, the major occupation in that area. The Saraswats lived in this area during the reign of the Maurya and Pala dynasty. After the Pala kings, the kingdom was plundered repeatedly by hordes of Muslim invaders and local kings from central India. Life in Magadha became unbearable for the Saraswats, and so, around 1000 AD, almost 1500 years after they left the Saraswat Desh, the Saraswats moved to Goa. Having migrated from Trihotrapura which was in Gowda Desh, they called themselves Gowda Saraswats. The migration from Bihar to Gomantak is recorded in the Sahyadri Khanda of Skanda Purana.


Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O’Dell : A Review

Monday, October 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Transforming Church in Rural AmericaTitle:Transforming Church in Rural America
Author: Shannon O’Dell
Published by : New Leaf Publishing Group/New Leaf Press (February 15, 2010)
Paperback: 200 pages

I live in India, I am not a Christian by religion and yet I have been reading Shannon O'Dell's book, "Transforming Church in Rural America". This book is enlightening and heart-warming read from start to finish. The author takes us on a journey from his early years as a youth pastor of a large church and then being asked to serve in Rural America. Living in this country, I do not know what the big fuss is about, but as I read through the pages, the picture becomes clearer and I am drawn into Shannon's experiences.