Tag Archives: ashwin sanghi

The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi

The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi Title: The Sialkot Saga
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher: Westland Books
ISBN: 978-9385724060
Genre: Thriller, Indian Fiction
Pages: 588
Source: From the Author
Rating: 4 Stars

I remember reading “Chanakya’s Chant” a couple of years ago and being completely taken in by the book. There was nothing that I did not like about it. I mean here was an Indian Historic thriller that finally did justice to the genre. I could not stop reading the book and finished it in a day. The same happened (well more or less, given the size of this one) while reading ‘The Sialkot Saga’.

‘The Sialkot Saga’ has one of my favourite Indian authors back in the game (I was not a fan of The Krishna Key and some others written by him, to be honest) and how! The book spreads across decades and centuries, till it reaches present day India and will sure have both historic and thriller readers in for a treat.

What is the book about you might ask?

Well, the book is about power – the race to it and it involves two people – Arvind and Arbaaz, both raised in the wake of partition of India and how their lives merge, collide and intertwine at every given step – whether they like it or not, both personally and professionally. They are adversaries – so there is a lot of blood, moments of corporate politics, of anger and in all of this there are moments of humanity, grace and kindness, which take you not by surprise but more like you expected them at some point or the other. Arvind and Arbaaz are characters that won’t easily let go of you and when the book is over, there is this lingering sense of sadness that stays with you and you cannot help but think about the people whose lives you have been a part of as you read through this magnificent thriller.

The historic angle of the book starts from Emperor Ashoka’s reign and ends in today’s time. The book is a tome but you never think of it that way. The pages turn rapidly, all thanks to Ashwin’s seamless and racy plot. Calcutta and Bombay (as known in those times) are vividly described, so much so that I felt I was taking in the Bombay, Delhi and Calcutta of the times before the 80s when I was born.

Sanghi’s writing is crystal clear. Of course he shows but there is also a good mix of showing and telling which I think works wondrously for this book. At no point, did I want to close this. At no point, I felt that there needed to be heavy-duty editing done. It was fine. It is fine the way it is. I would strongly recommend it.

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Online Launch of “Hitched” by Nandini Krishna with Ashwin Sanghi

Arranged Marriage and all that it entails for a Woman. One doesn’t seem to think a lot about it and taken into account of what a woman feels towards it, more so the modern woman.

Nandini Krishna goes all out in her debut book, “Hitched: The Modern Woman and Arranged Marriage” exploring the concept through real-life incidents and snippets which make for some humorous and insightful reading.

With this in mind, Flipkart in association with Random House India launches the book online on the 6th of August 2013, at 3 pm.

Hitched

For more details: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151729967863559&set=a.397237208558.175559.102988293558&type=1

To buy the book: http://www.flipkart.com/hitched-modern-women-arranged-marriage/p/itmdmsbgdznte5bc?pid=9788184003734&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=hitched&ref=65ee6c2b-f03f-4a73-b7fd-6c75e152bcce

An Interview with Ashwin Sanghi

Ok. So I was a little blown away after reading Chanakya’s Chant. I mean, the plot intrigued me for sure but it was also the writing, which was hands down taut and had so much to say. And that is when I decided that Sanghi’s interview had to be a part of my blog and here it is…Hope you enjoy it. The review will soon follow…

Why historical fiction?

I grew up reading Amar Chitra Katha. In school, my favourite subject was history. Sure, I hated the boredom of memorization but I loved reading about wars, kings, revolutions and spiritual movements. I was transported into a mysterious and magical world of the past. I see India’s present (and our future) deeply rooted in the past. No matter how big a banyan grows, it has to depend on its roots for stability and strength. As economic growth happens, the new emerging generations of Indians will need to fall back upon their history, culture and mythology to keep themselves rooted.

Wasn’t it difficult to run parallels in the book, one historical and the other modern?

Not really. I usually spend around six months researching a subject before I get down to writing the story. By the time that I start
writing, I have before me a road map that plots every twist and turn in the plot. In the present instance, I had two independent plots
before me, one ancient and one modern. I simply needed to analyze the points of commonality and ensure that they meshed at the right places… a little bit like coordinating the arrivals and departures of two trains via the same platform.


A thriller and a semi-literary novel. How did you manage the writing for this one?

I don’t know which one of my books you’ve christened “semi-literary” because I’m not part of that exalted circle! I’m simply a commercial paperback writer who enjoys spinning good old-fashioned yarns. My primary objective is to entertain my audience. If you’re looking for allegory, intricately woven descriptive passages, hidden meanings or award-winning literary prose, I’m not your guy!

Ashwin, the writer…

During the release of Chanakya’s Chant, Dr Shashi Tharoor said that writers like me are writing for Indian audiences almost exclusively. In his view, my breed represents a new generation of Indian writers who don’t really care whether western audiences will appreciate us. Dr. Tharoor called it “the smuggling of Indianness past the immigration inspectors of English literature”. Thus, Ashwin the writer is also a smuggler!

Ashwin, the reader…

My grandfather used to give me a new book every week provided that I wrote a review about the one that I had read the previous week. This tradition started when I was ten and went on until I was twenty-two. I owe my love of reading to him and to my mother who would make reading more palatable by smuggling in a few more interesting paperbacks. Thus, Ashwin the reader was also created via smuggling!

From Jesus to Chanakya, what is the next on the table?

History gets my creative juices flowing, so it would have to be historical fiction… that’s more or less the DNA of my genre. Beyond
that, I can share that the story draws from from an event that happened in the 7th century AD. For the rest, you’ll have to read the
book when it’s complete!

How does it feel to know that Chanakya’s Chant was touted above Salman Rushdie’s books?

It wasn’t really. What Shashi Tharoor said was that Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children opened the door for Indian writers like me who are writing with an Indian sensibility for an Indian audience and that we have taken the process to its logical conclusion.

Why wasn’t there more detailing in the mind of Chanakya in the book?

The one single element that I cannot and will not compromise on is pace. Character development, building the scene, background
information and discussions of protagonist’s motivations… they all take away from pace. I use them sparingly, possibly to the chagrin of some readers, because I would not want my reader to have to consciously think about whether they need to turn the page.

Your top 10 all-time favourite books…

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle; War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy; Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie; Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer; Messiah by Ian Rankin; All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren; The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov; Roots by Alex Hailey; The Almighty by Irving Wallace.

Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi is available at all leading bookstores.