Thursday, August 20, 2009

for the PEOPLE

Few months back, I chanced upon PEOPLE magazine. I was completely bowled over by it. In fact, I would go on to say that PEOPLE is the best celebrity magazine in India right now. It does not have trashy celebrity gossip, and unnecessary interviews on crazy hookups that are purely for publicity stunts. All the film magazines have become trashy right now, they do not have any content. Same filmstars, same questions. How much can one read about Kareena Kapoor and Katrina Kaif really. Every time they have a release, they are back on Covers. Agh!
But PEOPLE has exclusive pics, fashion and celebrities from all walks of life. It is surely interesting.
I wanted to subscribe, but the Offer was not that lucrative. My local vendor gave me much better offer and I sort of subscribed it. If you are into celebrity magazines, this is the best on stands. Go Grab it!
People magazine can be subscribed from this link.
Image courtesy:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Books on my Shelf!

While reading 'The Feast of Roses', I got incredibly interested in reading more about the Mughal era in general and women in particular. Nurjahan's story was fascinating; and her ambition to possess the power to rule the kingdom, considered preposterous at that time, was in fact very courageous for a lady.

So, a little research, led me to 2 books:

The Twentieth Wife

This book is also by Indu Sundaresan and deals with Nurjahan’s life before marrying Jahangir. I have read good reviews about this book too. And after having read 'The Feast of Roses' myself, I can vouch for Indu Sundaresan. I liked her snese of detailing and making every character come alive. Best deal at Indiaplaza for Rs 287 with some shipping charges if this is the only book you are buying.

Taj: A Story Of Mughal India: A Story Of Mughal India

A book on one of the most remarkable architectures of India, not about the building but the story behind building it. It is written by Timeri N. Murari. Best Deal at Flipkart for Rs 275 with free shipping.

I’m itching to complete both at the earliest and will be back for the reviews for sure.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan

Knowing the book-freak I am, one of my friends recommended this book to me. At that time, I had lots of books ordered or on the verge of ordering, so I just made a note and saved the icon of the book (means picture of the cover page for posterity). 

Anyways, I have completed this book in a record 3 weeks. Yup, it is a record of highest time taken to read the book. It has nothing to do with the attention-grabbing quotient of the book.

The book is about Emperor Jahangir’s ‘Twentieth Wife’ Noorjahan. Noorjahan is one of the most distinguished and illustrious of Mughal women. During those days, women had very little role in public life but Noorjahan dreams of such power – unheard of and unprecedented for any women - and accomplishes her goal. Noorjahan comes across as a shrewd, ambitious and gutsy woman who makes a lot of enemies along the way but no friends.

This intriguing and fascinating story of Noorjahan holds quite a few revelations (atleast for me):
  • Noorjahan was actually the 20th wife of the emperor
  • She got married to Jahangir when she was 34 years old – quite old for the years of yore
  • Jahangir was Noorjahan’s second husband. She was married earlier to someone else earlier and had a daughter from her first marriage
  • Shahjahan (prince Khurram) was not Noorjahan’s son
  • Shahjahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal was Noorjahan’s niece and Noorjahan was instrumental in getting her niece married to Prince Khurram, who was later known as Shahjahan
  • Noorjahan’s real name was Mehrunnisa
  • In her pursuit of power, possessing the title of ‘Begam Padshah’ and authority to command the kingdom, Noorjahan makes and breaks several collaborations within the palace – with different sons of Jahangir in different times since she did not have a son of her own.
I think I have already blurted out half the book. But in any case, this book is not a thriller. It is the quest of a woman to become the most powerful lady of the kingdom.

The stories surrounding Mughal princesses are intriguing. We have often heard the love stories of Jahangir-Noorjahan and Shahjahan –Mumtaz Mahal. There is a prequel to the book called “The Twentieth Wife”. 

‘The Feast of Roses’ starts from the time when Noorjahan is already the wife of Jahangir. It is also a glimpse into the inner dynamics of harems (harem = living quarters reserved for wives and concubines and female relatives in a Muslim household) of kingdoms – how a king used to have several queens (mostly to form alliances), and were also allowed to have several concubines and slave girls; how women could just be spectators of court proceeding, never the participants and how there was a hierarchy inside the harems.

This book is an captivating story of how Noorjahan dreams and gets the role much powerful than any Mughal queen had ever dreamt of. I absolutely loved this book, more so because the narrative was quite illustrative – the prevalent social norms and the mannerisms. Must read!

P.S. It also has a very user-friendly family tree at the beginning for people like me who keep forgetting who was whose wife and who was whose son!

And by the way, my "The Twentieth Wife" is already on the way from India Plaza, and I have also bought this book called "Taj: A Story of Mughal India By Timeri N. Murari"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A very Good Offer for All Book Lovers

I came across this offer while going through my most preferred site for book-shopping – Indiaplaza. They have an offer called Indiplaza Book Club Membership Offer. For all the people who buy a lot of books throughout the year, it is a boon. Read all the details here.

My take on this is:
- You buy this Membership for Rs 500 and immediately when the Membership is activated, you get a free voucher worth Rs 500 for buying books. So you are not really paying anything for this Membership.
- Through this, you will get assured 25% discount on all the books throughout one year.
- My extensive research has shown me that most of the books are cheapest on Indiaplaza despite paying the shipping for the first book.

I have already taken the Membership and today I start my first purchase of free books worth Rs 500.

It can’t get better than this!