Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Aug 19, 2014

Up, Close & Personal: Chanakya Returns by Timeri N Murari

It is my honour that Timeri N Murari wrote introduction to my first Spiritual Fiction "Songs of the Mist" published in Dec, 2015
Over the year, it has been my pleasure to meet and interact with Timeri N Murari, a Chennai based novelist, journalist, playwright and screenwriter; whose best seller ‘Taj’ has been translated into 25 languages. His screenplay of the award-winning Hindi movie Daayraa (1997) was voted one of the ten best films of 1997 by Time magazine. The first time I met him at our book club ‘Sans Seriff’ at Apparao Gallery, where he gave a talk on his pilgrimage to Mount Kailash - “Limping To The Center Of The World” (To read review of the book, please click here).

Pic Curtsy Aleph Publishing
In our discussion at the time, he has remarked about his characters, “Once the story starts growing, one character starts taking over” and this is what is the ‘central character’ of his latest book, ‘Chanakya Returns’ which was recently launched at Odyssey in Chennai.

The book is about Ancient Guru Chanakya, (an Indian teacher, philosopher, and royal advisor to the Emperor Chandragupta) who is reincarnated in the body of a Character Mohanlal who is just a lowly clerk in the beginning. And as the story grows, Chanakya slowly seeps into a powerful position of the top political family of the country, as the trusted and capable advisor to almost everyone in the family. From the beginning, the story anchors you with a deep thoughts and beautiful description of power play, of love and betrayals.

“Love, I advise, and I speak from experience, is a fragile as rotting silks and will disintegrate when infidelities, jealousies, betrayals, impotence infect it. The heart is not to be trusted as it is brainless and mistakes lust for love while the loins mistake love for lust" – says Chanakya in ‘Chanakya Returns’

The way Chanakya works his political machinations within the family is powerful as well as amazing insights into the working of a psyche.

"I lean over, my mouth near the delicate curves of her right ear, and whisper my Shastras. … In sleep a whisper enters the deeper caverns of the mind and lodges there in the crevices and folds of the reason and thought to guide the prince. Of course, he can ignore every word, that is free will, but it is my duty to keep repeating myself in the hope he listens and acts accordingly."

Timeri N Murari announcing the winner of Hindu Literary Prize 2014

I really enjoyed the journey through the political landscape that Tim Murari has created within the book, which could be placed geographically anywhere in South East Asia. When I asked him about this ambiguity, he says, “I did not want it to be identified with any one political party” But I am biased towards reading it from the point of UP and Bihar, a place that I come from. The Family in ‘Chanakya Returns’, of course have an uncanny similarity to the Family Politics that these places have been suffering from since Independence.

.. and the ending is beautifully crafted into an intriguing choice and revelation, leaves you asking for more and probably we might get it too, as Tim Murari informed me in our subsequent discussion.
"Death is not the end, it is the beginning of actions. It always alters the pattern of the lives of those who survive it."

Finally, I would like to share one of the things that Tim Murari feels quite strongly about. The plagiarizing of the real Chanakya’s Book ‘Artha Sastra’ etc. by famous Italian thinker Machiavelli. He makes it a point to say, through the character Chanakya in his book “My life’s work, my treatise on state craft, Arthashastra, was stolen by that Italian plagiarist, Niccolo de Bernardo dei Machiavelli”.

Now I will leave you with some of the thoughts from the book, which I could relate to at deeper level. But before that, here’s…

A brief Biography of Timeri N Murari
(Text Curtsy Timeri N Murari)

Timeri N Murari in conversation at Hindu Lit Festival 2014

Timeri N. Murari began his journalistic career as a police reporter on a small town newspaper in Canada before joining The Guardian in London. For 15 years, he wrote features and interviewed the famous, from Gloria Swanson and Melina Mercouri to Paul Newman and John Fowles. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Times, The Observer, The Hindu, Indian Express, Penthouse and other magazines. He wrote his first novel in 1973 and has since written 18 others, four non-fiction books including a memoir, MY TEMPORARY SON, and on his trekking pilgrimage to Mount Kailas, LIMPING TO THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD. 

He also has made Television documentaries for British TV on Homicide detectives in the South Bronx, Texas Cowboys and black families in the American deep South. ‘THE SQUARE CIRCLE’ (Daayra) a feature film which he wrote and co-produced, was chosen by Time magazine as one of the top 10 best films of the year in 1997. He later adapted it for the stage and directed the play at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre. Parminder Nagra played the main lead. His novel THE TALIBAN CRICKET CLUB was published in eight countries. Aleph publishes his new novel CHANAKYA RETURNS July 2014.

Text Curtsy: Timeri N Muri


Timeri N Murari at our Book Club 'Sans Seriff'

Power is to be pursued. It is an aphrodisiac, it is unending hot sex of 1001 positions, it is magical, it is miraculous.

Heat of women’s loins melts men’s minds.

“The world’s biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman” Arthshastra

Power and love are incompatible, for power cannot trust the love offered up to it on a gold platter. Men and women are devious serpents in a pit, coiling and uncoiling their calculations to win the love of power.

We are democratic country and we need our dynasties.

Thoughts needs silence, only the sounds of nature, the sigh of the wind, the call of a bird, the rustle of leaves, truly inspired me ...

I have not revealed my true identity to anyone as I know, from my previous existence, that when you are among strangers, you need to keep your true self a secret. You never know who is the friend and who is the enemy.

Its easier to inherit a throne than to win one by an outsider.

We have thousand ways to communicate in this day, but mostly with nothing wise to say, only the babble of disjointed thoughts.

Love is full of porous holes; it will drain away in time.

Democracy is always a famished beast that needs constant nourishment. (Fill the party coffers)

Hope, even if false, is better than being forgotten. No medication can purge love; the sediment clings stubbornly to the walls of a heart.

Sex is a contagion, once tasted, once explored, once sated, it devours the mind and the body.

Even time has not an antidote for such a sweet poison (love).

So common are the statues of Gandhi that he has been rendered invisible.

Self delusion is the charming trait of humans, we will ourselves into the hallucination.

Happiness is as brief as a wisp of breath, fragile, lasting a few seconds then vanishing. Think the thought ‘I am happy’ and you have driven it away.

Love is not happiness, it’s more a physical feeling centered in the heart and the mind, and thinking on love does not banish it. It can last a day, two days, a lifetime.

When you are young, daydreams nourishes you.

Memory plays tricks on all of us. It’s like the wet clay that you can mould into any desired shape to fulfill a fantasy, to recreate a better version of what occurred so many years ago. We believe that what we wanted, what we yearned for in, that mysterious zone below the surface of our thoughts, lie the dreams that we create which, after the passage of years, rise to the surface.

Aren’t our fantasies more comfortable than the heart break of reality?

…Love is watery. But water also has the power to submerge and wear down rocks.

Children understand love better than adults, which is why we regress when we fall in love. They know the happiness of receiving it and also the pain and disappointment when it is withheld.

Have you considered that even the universe could be puzzled by its own existence and searching for its creator? It wants an explanation for why it came into sudden being in five seconds, when it had been sleeping peacefully for an eternity.

In democracy the art of assassination has to be more subtle and revolves around the destruction of the rivals character…

There is some self interest behind every friendship. This is a bitter truth. Friendships are love affairs not consummated in bed but in classes, bars, on playing fields, on long journeys and they fill the void of loneliness that we all experience in this life. The bitterest betrayals are not between lovers or families but friends. They are our companions on this journey and when they vanish into dust and ashes, we know our own time nears. 

They are the last milestone we pass before the end.

Love is as vicious a weapon as power; it can gut the heart, wrench it out and stamp on it.

Always keep your secrets secret.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my take on this lovely book, if you would like to know more about the book or the author then do get in touch or leave a comment... It will be my pleasure to respond or connect you with the author....
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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