24 September, 18
Dear IBC readers and members,
I am delighted to share with you a review written by Ananya Ganesh, a young reviewer. She is the daughter of prolific blogger, speaker, vlogger, and columnist for Swarajya and other portals, as well as erudite speaker on history, Shefali Vaidya.
Seeing a young platform like the Indic Book Club graced by young enthusiasts is a great boost. The book young Ananya Ganesh is reviewing is "Drop: A Novel" (by Yuvaveer) (if the link does not work, please copy and paste this URL in your browser: https://indicbookclub.com/book/5ba907f69421f9404152e392), and published by Chinmaya Prakashan. A book for young adults, it seems like a breezy and useful book for youngsters. I strongly urge our members to give this review and the book a read.
Drop: A Novel - Review, by Ananya Ganesh
When my mom handed me Drop: A Novel, I almost rolled my eyes. ‘Here is another book I am supposed to read because Mom wants me to’, I thought. But when I flipped through it, the book seemed interesting and I decided to give it a shot. Within a few pages, I was hooked.
Drop is a novel that involves 5 main characters; Andy, Pragnya, Swaroop, Nitya, all young adults in their teens and early 20s and and the mysterious ‘Yatri’, who appears as a constant in their life as the four friends journey across India. The physical journey is a metaphor for a deeper, inner journey. The friends go on an adventurous road trip across India, and discover their inner selves.
The story kicks off at the Kapila Muni temple, Gangasagar, with Pragnya (an inquisitive and opinionated journalist) contemplating the validity of the belief that the Siva Murti drank milk. As she voices her thoughts out loud, ‘Yatri’, a mysterious photographer turns up and explains to her that she couldn’t say it wasn’t valid, because she hadn’t tested it herself! He then goes on to explain capillary action to her. He tells her that she has no right to dismiss something without trying it first. He also asks her a lot of hard questions about the nature of news, about her own professional ethics and the difference between news and views. Pragnya slowly understands, and thanks Yatri for helping her open up her mind.
As the story evolves, the other characters join in, Andy, the young man from the USA grappling with grief, Nithya the bubbly young lady, full of life and Swaroop, the silent but deep thinker with Yatri being the enigmatic, constant, omnipresent, self-contained individual who inevitably answers everybody’s questions, whether pertaining to the external world, or questions of the soul. I think Yatri stands for the individual’s conscience.
The group travels across North India, trying white water rafting in Rishikesh, tracing the Ganga all the way from Gaumukh to Varanasi to visiting the Triveni sangam in Allahabad. In that journey, they learn to overcome their fear, learn to cope with grief and discover the true meaning of love and friendship.
The story addresses, among others, questions concerning life, destiny, religion, spirituality and love, all presented in a way that is pertinent to modern life today, for example, a question as deep as ‘what is moksha’ is tackled in a conversational way while talking about conflict between religions, which in turn is presented as a conversation that occurs when the group is observing Swami Vivekananda’s room.
As a 12-year-old, I found this book very engaging, as the questions asked, and their answers are all very pertinent to life today. The writing is also especially engineered to meet a modern child’s taste, but with a touch that makes it distinctly Indian and Hindu.
Having said that, ‘Drop’ would be of value to anybody, teenagers as well as grown-ups and followers of other religions included. The questions and their answers apply to anybody at any point of time, anywhere, doing anything.
The novel and the accompanying activity book provides important life lessons, that otherwise might take years to even be understood. Even with the aid of this book it still would take a long time, with extra study involved to fully understand all these concepts and how they relate to you as an individual, but this book makes a good starting point, forcing you to think about who you are as a person, what are your strengths, what are your fears. At times, the book does get too complex though and requires attentive reading.
I especially liked how the book makes complex concepts that take years of intensive study simple, and easy to understand. For anybody reading the same concept in other books, it would take much longer for the concept to be understood.
I really liked this book, and I would recommend it to anybody who would like to understand deep concepts like life and death, purpose and forgiveness, dharma and karma in an easy manner, with several real-life examples and characters that are easy to relate to.
The book is written in chatty, easy to understand English and as most of the discussions take place as conversations between young people, the book is easy to relate to for someone like me.
The book is published by Chinmaya Prakashan and would make a great birthday gift.
- Ananya Ganesh