BOOK REVIEW OF- Karma’s Ukulele
BY Lekshmi Gopinathan
· Publisher: Lekshmi Gopinathan (11 July 2017)
· ASIN: B073Q3C4ZG
THE PLOT IN BRIEF-
One bad-ass nomad, ten cities, ten strangers in an epic travelogue. Arya, Bani, Naina, Parvathy- who are these women? Who is the twenty six year old hippie, travelling across Asia, strumming her ukulele and armed with a dagger? What do you do when life splits you open, cracks your soul and leaves you beyond repair? A tale of pain, hope, strength and resilience spanning three years and weaving through Pokhara, Jaffna, Srinagar, Hyderabad, Bangalore, New Delhi, Gorkha, Varanasi and Mcleodganj. A medley of relationships, memories and heartening music. A legendary nomad, an Aghori, a young boatman, a war refugee, a poet, a yogini, a Rastafarian, a camel rider, an actor and an entrepreneur come together in a heart wrenching adventure. She is NOT your regular hero! This is NOT your regular story!!
What is a Ukulele? In general, The Ukulele is a four strings, six strings, or eight string instrument. It is originally from Portugal. The Hawaiians named the instrument the Ukulele, meaning Jumping Fleas when they saw the rapid movement of the Portuguese musicians. There is metaphorical tone to this word being used the title. The book revolves about jumping fleas, a travelogue, a route and a destiny. Great travel writing consists of equal parts curiosity, vulnerability and vocabulary. It is not a terrain for know-it-all or the indecisive. The best of the genre can simply be an elegant natural history essay, a nicely writ sports piece, or a well-turned profile of a bar band and its music. A well-grounded sense of place is the challenge for the writer. We observe, we calculate, we inquire, we look for a link between what we already know and what we’re about to learn. The finest travel writing describes what’s going on when nobody’s looking. And that’s what the novel proves us. On a different we can say that we—all of us—want to feel special. We want to feel the glory that shines on us when we reach beyond our boundaries to grab at something greater, to live a heroic life, if only for a day or a week or a moment. This simple yearning is in us all, hardly recognizable, often only the merest hint that there is something more to us. This is why we seek out new places…we want to remember a somewhere that gave us the space to expand ourselves, to become a little more of who we truly are.
REVIEW OF THE BOOK-
The book features all the emotions of life keeping a travelogue at its backdrop. There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person’s life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn’t take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn’t led you better.
And that is what exactly our protagonist was up to. I really loved the way the author had described the beautiful journey of seeking the truth. The goal of all principled people is to recognize truth. Simple or complex thoughts and feelings standing alone rarely express any universal truths. Thoughts and feelings combine to create profound truths and compose extravagant falsities. Truth making exposes certain falsehoods, and lies shed light upon irrefutable truths. Art reveals the pageantry of nature along with the unmitigated grotesqueness that accompanies an earthly life. The search for truth begins with an intellectual journey into darkness whereas the search for beauty requires an imaginative act trussed with the classical beauty of Apollonian lightness. Aesthetic appreciation represents the perfect reconciliation of the sensual and rational parts of humankind’s animalistic nature. Similar to aesthetic experience – contemplation of beauty without imposition of a worldly agenda – love depends upon human sensory-emotional values, a judgement of values and sentiments.
The author amalgamates memories with truth. He further puts in the concept of hide and seek. Using the travelogue as the catalyst he portrays the fact that Stored personal memories along with handed down collective memories of stories, legends, and history allows us to collate our interactions with a physical and social world and develop a personal code of survival. In essence, we all become self-styled sages, creating our own book of wisdom based upon our studied observations and practical knowledge gleaned from living and learning. What we quickly discover is that no textbook exist how to conduct our life, because the world has yet to produce a perfect person – an ideal observer – whom is capable of handing down a concrete exemplar of epistemic virtues. We each draw upon the guiding knowledge, theories, and advice available for us in order to explore the paradoxes, ironies, inconsistencies, and the absurdities encountered while living in a supernatural world. We mould our personal collection of information into a practical practicum how to live and die. Each day we define and redefine who we are, determine how we will react today, and chart our quest into an uncertain future.
5 stars out of 5
1. Originality of the plot and sub plots- 9/10
2. Net emotions in the story- 9/10
3. Usage of words and phrases-9/10
4. The title, cover and the illustration-10/10
5. The net impact on the readers- 9/10
Life is truly a matter of choices, reactions, and actions. Each and every choice is governed by our reactions which in turn affect our actions and consequently the future turn of events