This was my fifth periodic long-break in US after retirement. Books become the second best things to keep me busy. Browsing for news and articles and blogging or writing on Facebook remains the prime engagements after the time spent for household work. Yamuna prepares our lunch and I help her in all possible manners. I got interested in kitchen gardening too this time. But let me talk about the books that I read this time during my stay there.
1. I had bought and brought with me a book ‘Somanatha-The Many Voices of a History’ written by the distinguished historian Romila Thapar from India to keep my self busy. As we know and read in our school days, Mahmoud Gajnavi attacked Somanatha sixteen times or so, broke the huge Shiva linga and parted with huge loots of gold, silver, and diamonds along with elephants and slaves. The book of Ms Thapar deals with many sources and a lot of analysis based on popular ballads, inscription, etc. However, as I proceeded with the book, I got more and more confused. I do not understand what we or posterity will gain from such a presentation.Romila does not consider Mahmoud Gajnavi as the sole plunderer or perpetrator of Somanatha.
2. I had perhaps in 2010 brought ‘The Hindus-an alternative history’ written by Wendy Doniger to US and left it with Anand in Cary. I had not read much that time and even thereafter, as I hardly found it interesting then. Next time, I got busy with completing my photo autobiography ‘Over the Years’. Last year, there was a lot of hue and cry about the book because of an old man called Dina Nath ….The publisher in India shredded all the book. I was curious and wanted to read myself to find out the reason causing annoyance to the old man and his followers. I went through almost the whole of the voluminous book. I think if anyone goes through all the scriptures, epics and books of ancient India that reflects on the concept of Hinduism as connected stories, one in all likelihood will be confused. It will be more so for an westerner who has not read those as written in the language of the time. Wendy’s book is compilation of large many facts, stories, anecdotes, and myths too. She has talked again and again about dogs, horses, elephants and so many things influencing Hinduism. However, the book is certainly not for common readers. It may confuse the most about the religion.
3. Anand has a special interest in Tesla Motors and Elon Musk. I never knew that Tesla was a person’s name. Tesla was a great scientist and contemporary of Thomas Edison and a great inventor himself credited with alternating current electricity.Musk has named his car company that has earned a lot of name for its power source, electricity from battery-pack, after the name of Tesla. Anand read somewhere that the best written book about Tesla is ‘Tesla-Man Out of Time’ by Magaret Cheney, and got it through Amazon.com as usual. Tesla would have died much richer if he would have had business acumen too like Edison. Tesla was just a scientist of extraordinary talent and perhaps much ahead of his time. Interestingly, Tesla just as Jagdish Chandra Bose worked on the invention of radios much before Marconi, but for which Marconi has been credited.
4. I also got the book on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose written by Sugata Bose on Kindle through Anand. Sugata believes in the story given by the Britishers that Bose died in air crash. It is an interesting reading. I had heard him on TV channel too. He was impressive. However, I could not understand why he entered TMC of Mamta. May be, it was perhaps to carry on the legacy of his elders.
It gives me a great pleasure when I find my sons loving the books in many contemporary fields of knowledge as well as those of their profession. Anand has a very good library in his house.
Books still remain my best companion.