What an amazing world we live in.

You know someone for almost 30 years, and only now discover the hidden, almost-mystical side to them.

My Mumbai-based friend Lakshmi Narayan has just published her second book (& here’s a link to my review of her debut novel) and what a revelation it is.

“Whisperings from Beyond” is a collection of thoughts, precepts, call them what you will, one for each day of the year, making this a book to keep by your side and dip into regularly.

It was in her introduction to her book that I saw a side of my otherwise down-to-earth, no-nonsense friend, a side I never knew existed.  Couched in her own inimitable style, Lakshmi explains how this collection came to be:

“This collection of “thoughts” has been coming to me on a regular basis from November 2008 to present day.  Where do they ideate from? Is it my alter-ego? I’m your average aunt-next-door, averagely good, averagely bad, averagely intelligent, averagely mixed-up.  So why do these “thoughts” – so unlike my conscious concepts or leanings – bombard me?”

Now that’s the Lakshmi I know! Articulate, no nonsense, and delightfully self deprecating.

It is in this no-nonsense way of hers, that she opens her heart and shares her thoughts with us, explaining that prayer has always been important to her:

“From personal experience I can honestly say that prayer has been the single most motivating factor in my life and it has definitely moved mountains, making the impossible possible.”

The author offers us a thought – more like a short reading – for every day of the year and on opening the book, I turned straight to my birthday reading.

2 September

It is called “Accepting the unacceptable” and the final stanza of Lakshmi’s musing gave me pause for thought :

…If we stop resisting

and go with the flow

soon enough

good will come

out of the bad and

the seemingly bad”

There are thoughts on topics as varied as money, value systems, resisting temptation, negativity…something for everyone, which is part of the appeal of this book.

You can dip in and out, and always find something to make you think.

A good-looking book, attractively presented.

Published in 2017 by Hay House, “Whisperings from Beyond” costs Rs399.

You can order it here, by clicking on the link…but, hey! You all know how to do that without any explanations from me, right?

Bonsai Kitten by Lakshmi Narayan

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The first day of a new year deserves something nice and new, and so the first novel by my friend Lakshmi Narayan fits the bill totally.  Since I have known Lakshmi from our far-off Mumbai days, her début book “Bonsai Kitten” resonated on a personal level, but all readers will enjoy her Singapore story with a twist.

The twist is that the main protagonist, the gutsy Divya, is Indian, and so Singapore and its hectic, international lifestyle is seen through the eyes of an outsider.

It is not a plot spoiler to tell you that “Bonsai Kitten” charts Divya’s evolution from ignored, unloved, cheated-upon wife to a happy, independent career woman.

The author clearly has great affection for Singapore and it shows.  There is much detail about the food and the customs and the eclectic mix of foreigners who make up Divya’s happy, noisy, friendly support network, faced as she is with her husband’s cold, unloving betrayal of her.  We move through Singapore learning as we go, very much as our heroine does.  We also learn much about Divya’s south Indian heritage, something she finds both comforting and paradoxically wearying.

We all feel for Divya, and empathise with her from start to finish, and I for one never lost the faith.  I just knew, deep down, that she would prevail.  My heart warmed to her from the beginning, when we learn that she lost a much loved daughter, and those pages of the book are written with a raw emotion that is moving.

The author tells Divya’s story from 2 perspectives, a clever idea that is cleverly done, and these differing perspectives add extra dimensions to the story.  Never has the Cosmic Jester been as centre stage as in this fun read.

Published in 2012 by Jufic Books, the paperback costs Rs 195.

If you would like to start the New Year with this new book, it couldn’t be easier.
Just click on the link below :