Posted in "my books"

Thank you Kevin Cooper @ kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com for being an angel!

Kevin has been spending his priceless time reading my books these days, all seven that I rewrote and republished in septhember, you most probably have read their names twenty times already!

He started with Spirits of darkness and light here is the post:
https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/spirits-of-darkness-and-light-booktalk/

Then before I could share it with my readers he gifted me another amazing review:
https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/black-mist-and-other-stories/

not one but two posts! I don’t know if is heart is made of flesh or pure gold! It is a huge, mammoth help for me to have friends like Kevin, Troy, Caroline and you all! I will always be indebted!

BTW the second post he did on Black Mist and other stories:
https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/the-cover-story-of-black-mist-booktalk/

Black Mist and other stories:
Kindle ebook:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/b00ontgsbe
Paperback:
https://www.createspace.com/5058824

SPIRITS OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT

The kindle ebook

The paperback
https://www.createspace.com/5142082

Posted in twins

Agnishatdal Ashar 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy

Agnishatdal Ashar 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy @ https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Santidev Ghosh:

I’m listening now as I type this, and find his music amazing. While my grasp of Bengali is still somewhat wanting, the intonation, rhythm, and less measurable qualities of his singing place him in my view among some of the greatest performers of his style of his day. Perhaps when my ability with the language is bettered, I’ll be in good position to enjoy it in full. I found a link after a quick search of his name here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwLeG19I5Ds The devotion to his teacher marks him as a far more diligent student than many at this point, and his inspiration by Tagore to so carry on his style apparent in his performances.

Sunil Manohar Gavaskar:
I’ve not watched cricket before, but found a recording from a game near the end of his career here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EMEGQWfZ0s Despite my naivete about the game, I can say that it’s impressive to see him play on the field, and his sportsmanship is evident.

Budapest Missives 3: The Problem with Race:

Juliette makes a good point here, that fear and reviling of the Other doesn’t have to be universal even in nations where it’s common and accepted. We all have our likes and dislikes of certain categories of people, but this is not something that absolutely must be: we can do something about it, to not be the slaves of the more primitive parts of our brains, to not be so motivated by our instinct for tribalism that we lose sight of what makes us more alike than different.

Red Heels Pt. 4:

Our heroine exchanges cameras and pictures with her person of interest, a man with a shared penchant for vintage photography and morning coffee with not-so-strangers. The mention of Rilke was interesting, as I’ve read little of his work, something that may be worth looking up, in English, as the closest I come to knowing any German is the pseudonym of one of my cats, Herr Rickmeister Fluffenhoffer.

Time stands still:

Eleanor offers a beautifully evocative image of what looks like a possibly abandoned storefront with a young boy before it preoccupied with something unknown to the viewer on the sidewalk. Good b&w rendition, as that has a starkness that reveals contrasts that many color shots do not.

A Family Crisis:

Raghunandan tells a humorous story of a gathering at dinner with a ten-year old girl’s confession to her family of something not so scandalous as it at first seems. Knowing some of Raghunandan’s previous writing, I expected some kind of twist to this, and wasn’t disappointed. But just what it was turned out to be wholly unexpected, and a good surprise at the end.

Love deeper than the night:

A short verse, both poignant and economical in size, evokes love in one of its many forms using the metaphor of a strong caffeinated beverage to drive home its point.
Happy birthday to both Raghunandan and Sharmishtha this month! I’d like to offer my best to each of you on completion of another lucky trip around the Sun! May there be many more and be at least as good to you if not better! A happy birthday this month to actress Meryl Streep and to tennis player Leander Paes as well!

Gulzar:

As a songwriter, this man seems quite accomplished. I’ve listened to this: https://
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1h_gfnGTZ0 from the movie Khamoshi. Lovely stuff, even without fully “getting” the lyrics. Then again, with his more playful approach to the lyricist’s art, maybe I’m missing the point! Another was here: https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Wu7JsGN2wHo

This month’s recipe,

for lobster curry, sounds absolutely delightful. Lobster is a treat for me, so this will be good for special occasions. I may be able to find many if not most of all of the ingredients in conventional grocery stores. I’ll gather those as they are available and I can competently prepare them, then cook this, maybe with the help of a local friend with experience in Indian cooking, and I think I know just who… *looks at Christopher in mind’s eye*

All peachy: All peachy on the desert front!

This looks like a fun story, with Mr. Green and Miss Grey, both misleading each other about their species in this cute little romance. I suppose there are benefits to avoiding a predator/prey relationship when it’s online and there would be that awkward incompatibility of species otherwise! This looks to me well worth the pitance of $1.00.

Bhandananda Uvach 2: Thus spake Hypocritananda:

A good point about government and the odd failure of politicians professing religious motivations who nonetheless act contrary to the actual teaching and values of the faith. I see the same thing here with American politics, though focused on pseudo-Evangelical Christianity rather than Hinduism.

Kagaje ankibuki – Lines on paper, and Kash – If only!

Beautiful verse the two of these, in both Bengali and Ingreji. Good use of form, economy of wording, and of course the ever-graceful Bangla script!

Rathyatra:

Interesting! I’ve seen some of the videos currently online, and here’s a link to one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFiQwPW7zpk I’ll warn you beforehand, there may be issues with getting this one to stream!

India this month:

With four festivals this month, including Rath Yatra, along with Eid ul Fitr, Gurupurnima, and Nagpanchami, there is much to celebrate. And though snakes are cool, I have more respect for teachers than I had in my school years, so Gurupurnima would probably the festival of choice!

Pieces of Past: Alexander’s Invasion:

Alexander was one of the more fascinating kings of his day. I’ll add that he was tutored by none other than the philosopher Aristotle himself, and may have furnished his old teacher with biological specimens of plants and animals from India as well as from his other conquests. I definitely agree that despite other mistakes by the British in India, unifying it under one administration was one of the good things they did!

Well, this concludes this months critique, and I’ll see you next with the reviews for Shraban, 1424!

Posted in twins

Agnijaat Ashar 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy

Agnijaat Ashar 1424 Critique by Troy David Loy @ https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy

Self Publishing Ideas 1 – choosing the platform:
This is a useful how-to for publishing things online yourself. I’ve never tried Createspace, as my first platform of choice was KDP. The former may be a good choice for any print works of mine. Must read more on formatting on both it and the latter during off hours!

Rani Durgavati:
The fact that this 16th Century queen fought and forced the retreat of a vastly more powerful foe as many as three times is a remarkable feat in itself, especially Akbar’s imperial forces. I noticed that in many places in history, killing oneself rather than surrender to an enemy with less than honorable treatment of prisoners, even brutal treatment, is arguably the better option. So it was with Durgabati.

Psychos and Morons:
Queries of phone hacking? It boggles the mind why anyone in their right mind and not working in a criminal organization or the Intelligence community would want to. Then again, this post is not titled Sane Folk and Geniuses, as the final two answers show.

These people need to “exploit” their own grey matter before asking this sort of thing in a public forum, much less expecting an answer.

Caste System 6:
The Authoress discusses the exploitation of certain castes for political gain and the decline of Indian intellectuals as a real force in governance and critical evaluation of policy. The control at the village level by politicians serves to cement this in expedient but unethical ways, and not for the long-term wellness of the state of the country.

That inner voice:
The Authoress discusses a phenomenon well-documented in the scientific literature: that there are thinking processes going on beneath the threshold of our conscious awareness. And this thinking can make itself known through vague feelings of wrongness or sudden awareness of things not previously known or thought, but often verifiable when investigated carefully. If it’s knowable then it can be shown. Scientific skeptics (skeptics who are scientific, as opposed to those who merely “skeptical” of
science) are familiar with this as well, and stage conjurors skilled in mentalism use this in their performances.

BAKHTI SAINTS: Ramananda – Glimpses of Indian History:
Being one of the most influential religious leaders of his day, one who contributed to not just one, but TWO religions is a remarkable achievement. His use of common language in preaching was evidently an effective way of getting his message to those he wanted most to receive it. The fact that he chose devotion to Rama and Sita over Vishnu is MOST interesting as well.

Nature @Kolkata in Ashar:
The Authoress notes the recent monsoon season and general trend toward cooler weather in Bengal. Of Interest are the festivals this month, Rathyatra and Eid ul Fitr, as well are mentioned Nagpanchami and Gurupurnima, those last two noted in previous issues of the Twins.

INDIAN RAGA NOW:
A critique of popular Bengali and Hindi music as the state of those arts currently stands. Some of it good, some of it less so, often MUCH less so, as trends have gone on since the Seventies. Something work considering when buying albums online.

SPOTLIGHT ON – Gheorghe Zamfir:
Pan flutes are cool, and this artist plays one. It was well worth the brief instant invested to check him out…Oh, LOOK! Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=1mHuf8owjoQ Give it a listen, as the music is incredible.

Window to West – Beauty and the Beast:
I’ve yet to see this myself, but worth buying online, and I’ve a good idea where…The Authoress discusses briefly the actors and feel of the movie. I must watch!

Sweet Memories – Sharmishtha Basu Day: The Day of the Lotus – Happy Sharmishtha Basu Day: A prayer and poem celebrating the Authoress by one gregory57 of intentblog.com

Runaway:
A cow debates an egret on the wisdom of escape from his owner, with the egret having the sounder reasoning.

actual culprit:
Never steal snake eggs using a proxy, as this tale suggests, especially magical ones whose mothers are protective of their eggs! Steal once, pay twice!

With the theme this month being summer, there are seven items: a brief poem; a digital painting reminding me of a boy with surfboard at shore; a diamond verse with something delicious (Mango icecream!); a 7 x 2 diamond verse reprimanding the Sun for being a jerk; a short story about nasty shapeshifting critters and the error of dismissing the advice of elders (There’s a reason they get to be old!); a longer verse on the heat and misery of summer heat in the city; and finally, a short but succinct essay on four causes of summer annoyance in Kolkata. Quite good!

That’s it for the month! I’ll see you soon, for Shraban, 1424!

Posted in twins

Agnishatdal March, Chaitra Critique by Troy David Loy @ kestalusrealm.wordpress.com

Agnishatdal Chaitra Critique by Troy David Loy (https://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)

Jijabai, Shivaji’s Mother:
Behind every great man, there is always a woman. So far, I know of no one who came into the world without a mother to make it possible, and Shivaji was no exception. This woman of prowess and martial skill evidently raised her son as befits the strategist and tactician he was to become later in life. Her fortitude was, in my view, outstanding!

Ghulam Ali:
Here is another great performer whose works to collect. I’m listening to his music on the very night I’m writing this, and he’s quite the singer! The man has an unmistakable and unforgettable voice. Here’s a link to nearly 2 1/2 hours of his songs:

Nostalgia:
Aayush relates a brief story of two young people missing…something in their
relationship. Now is indeed the moment life is free, even when we ourselves are not!

Red Heels:
Breiuc relates a humorous tale of dressing to kill, or to be killed once you read to the end. It’s short, but funny.

Eleanor Leonne Bennet and Juliette Roques:
Sometimes email says it all, as much as a full bio, and here these ladies introduce themselves through their writing and work. So, I’ll take this opportunity to welcome both to this eZine! Greetings!

What Will the New, Look Like?
Carolyn shows us an optimistic future, an outcome of human endeavor to which could just be, even if the present looks dark indeed where world affairs seem concerned.

Worth hoping for, though work is sorely needed to make it happen!

The Big Game:
As Swati here points out, life is indeed a game, and rigged or not, is best played with skill and wisdom, and with a great quote at the end!

Wichita lineman:
Dom gives a brief but heartfelt verse, what many feel but often miss the words to say.

David Stewart’s interview was interesting, especially given that he’s a GURPS player as well as a writer and teacher!

Help Make Reading More Diverse and Enjoyable:
Good advice on self-publishing! Independent writers have a lot of power, if only they put it to use.

Sanjeev Kumar:
With little doubt a fantastic and gifted actor, it’s tragic that he died so soon. I’ve seen one of the films he starred in this afternoon, Shatranj Ke Khiladi: Here’s the link I viewed from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zvc_yJY4ZQ

Chaitra Recipe: Gajar Ka Halwa:
Mmmm. Yummy sweets! And best of all, a sweet that takes well to refrigeration. This month’s recipe will be a tasty thing to keep me going on long nights!

The Red Butterfly:
Miss Sharmishtha’s upcoming book tells the story of a young woman, Tiasa, in line for the throne of a small kingdom, ruled by her grandmother, who encounters great dangers in her future domain. I’ll have to keep a lookout for this when it’s published!

Shranbaner dhara, and Maab Ehsaan:
Two verses for this issue from the authoress herself, both enjoyable, and both good for practice reading in the respective vernaculars.

Bengal This Month:
So two pujas for this month, and widely celebrated in throughout rural Bengal! American festivals seem dull by contrast, and far too city-bound.

Post Vedic Era:
An age of fundamentalist fervor, this period was not a kind one to the disadvantaged by birth, wealth. or circumstance. A dangerous time to live indeed!

Posted in twins

Agnijaat critique by Troy David Loy @kestalusrealm.wordpress.com

Agnijaat Chaitra Critique by Troy David Loy (https://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)

Indian Raga Now:
Manoj Bajpayee, Rahul Bose, Pooja Bhatt, three of the more fortunate actors where roles played are concerned. I must see their movies!

Spotlight on Milind Tulankar:
I’m listening to Tulankar’s online performances, as I write this. I must say, as instrumental music, they’re brilliant. Jaltarang is not an instrument I’m used to hearing, but I like these even from the first listen. I’ve found a link to a playlist of his music here:

Chandbibi:
A woman who stood up to the might of the Mughal empire, and successfully at that, until her death during a siege in 1599. I doff my hat to her!

Demonic?
There are strange ways available for espionage and unethical surveillance, by the most simple means, even by teenagers, much less more experienced hackers. Things like this will keep a person up at night, especially with the computer running the whole time, like mine when rendering large fractals!

Pain is their cocaine:
This is a commentary on the contagiousness of gloominess, in both demeanor and worldview when morose people try to live it!

Bhakti Saints: Nimbaraka
Here is a man who had some fascinating ideas. Theologically there were his five methods of salvation, and philosophically there was his concept of Bhedabheda, which bears a closer look.

A New Dawn:
An upcoming book by the authoress, here is the tale of the family life of Ronit and Raina Rai, and their daughter Chaiti. There are ups and downs throughout, including the early days of Ronit and Raina’s marriage. Here and there there is tragedy, as with the accident that kills Asim and maims his widow Preeti. Preeti plays a substantial role in the story as it progresses, though I’m uncertain as to her relation to Ronit and Raina. Still, this bears a good read when it comes out!

Soul Devourers:
Introduced in the Agrahayan issue of Agnijaat, this is a story of fearsome events and sinister cults. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when reading this excerpt. Here is an account of a young woman’s encounter with terrifying forces and her attempts to survive with her mind and soul intact.

The College Trip:
I love a good vampire story, and having read the novelization of the movie Life Force, I prefer this
one, more supernaturally based, with a sort of creepy psychic parasite who latches onto a young student named Prema.

Basantipuja:
Interesting, this celebration. Hindu festivals fascinate me, with the colorful and personable Gods they honor, the stories behind them (We humans are story-telling beings, after all!), the fun to be had, and the spirit of community in organizing and attending these events.

Verses:
Good poems this month, with my favorites being Distant Star and Lost treasure. The cadence for all of these is quite evocative.

Few cartoons for you: Chameleons:
These are fun! I love the tricky chameleons here, and their clever means of bagging a meal of gullible butterflies.

Posted in twins

Critique of Falgun, February Agnishatdal by Troy David Loy

Agnishatdal Falgun Critique
Swami Dayanand Saraswati:
An interesting figure, whose work in transforming Indian society deserves wider
attention. His unsolved death under suspicious circumstances may one day be
explained, unfortunately in a historical rather than criminal legal context now that all
guilty parties are long gone by now!

Shivaji:
This leader of the Marathas was brilliant, in my estimation, and a worthy opponent of the
Mughals, who kept them at arm’s length with his battle prowess. What would India be
like today if one of his calibre were still around?

Barsaat aur Tun ~ You and rain:
Aayush’s poem struck a few chords, in this heartfelt celebration of human vulnerability in
love. And it is no crime to be in that condition, I think.

Pal ~ Moments:
Harshita offers a verse on the passage of time and the futility of wanting what’s done to
return once it’s done and gone forever. Each instant is unique, and will not come again,
literally lost in time.

Gift of Life:
Sakhi gives a good argument, I think a sound one, for becoming an organ donor. I’ll
have to ask my own doctor about the viability of that at my age. It would be great to do
some genuine good even after my own demise!

Observation:
Swati discusses the act and value of close observation of even the most seemingly
ordinary things, and how that is good food for our senses of awe and wonder. Nothing is
‘merely’ anything, no matter how seemingly prosaic at first glance.

A Tale from a Mango Tree:
Raghunandan relates a whimsical story of a hungry Kaga needing help in bagging a
meal. I was amused by its resolution, and the explanation of same at the end.

Treats of the Month:
There’s a lot going on this month!
First: Happy Birthday, Carolyn Page!
What to look for When self-Editing your manuscript Part 2: more useful tips for self-done
work on one’s manuscript short of a professional, and a yet further step to becoming
one!

Sakhi’s and Dayton’s interviews were windows into the writing of two very gifted
individuals who in my view both deserve wide notice in writer’s circles.

Spotlight:
Amjad Ali Khan and Sons:
Excellent! The three musicians here have produced some fantastic pieces, and this
already has me listening to their instrumentals on YouTube. I’ve found this link a
beginning listen to the Master’s own work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=3utGH37HzCk

2×2 cute couples:
Yay! Movies to check out! The acting partners here were previously unfamiliar–shame,
shame on me! So I’m now looking at their movies online. I’ll share here the link to Chhoti
Si Baat, with two of this month’s actors, Amol Palekar and Vidya Sinha: https://
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjWvii4nY54

Falgun Recipe: Gujhia:
This month’s recipe seems a temptation to the tastebuds, out of Uttar Pradesh! It will be
a challenge to try making, but worth it. I’ve found a few Indian groceries in my area, and
should have little trouble getting the ingredients!

Creator’s Quill:
Some interesting things this month from the authoress!
The Charons: a piece from the story that made me a writer: Here’s an excerpt from
chapter 5 of the authoress’s book, which impels me to read the whole again, from cover
to cover.

Bengal this Month: It’s love that takes the stage this month, with Valentine’s Day, Holi,
and Shivratri three big celebrations for the romantic!

Pieces of Past: Vedic Era:
A good discussion on the importance of the Vedic scriptures on Indian thinking and the
subcontinent’s major ruling powers throughout history.

Posted in twins

Critique of Falgun, February agnijaat by Troy David Loy

Agnijaat Falgun Critique
Indian Raga NOW:
With actors Ranveer Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan and singer Himesh Reshammiya, this
month’s media stars will prove fun to watch and listen to online. Over the past few years
I’ve been honing my taste in Indian movies and music. The talents of these three will be
a good addition to that.

As men wish…;
The treatment of women in India has often involved being controlled, including the
shameful practice of marrying them to foreign enemies, and forcing their adherence to
alien customs that affront their dignity.

Invasion in bedrooms?
Hmmm. Police using drones? When usable in the context of peeping into peoples’
windows and spying on them, this brings privacy violations to a new level, a dangerous
one, in my view. It smacks of totalitarianism no matter the state.

There are harmless lies and there are sinister, evil lies:
Humans are both moral angels and devils in one, at least in principle, and in some of
us, the moral devil wins out. Here is a warning of what happens in the wake of corrupt
governance and its effect on people.

BHAKTI SAINTS: Ramanuja – Glimpses of Indian History:
An excellent look into a prominent figure of Medieval Indian sainthood, whose teachings
have with little doubt had a far-reaching influence.

Story Time:
Two features this time: A Love Story and The Protest: both of these were good reads,
taking unexpected directions as they played out.

Holi:
As a spring festival, this is perhaps one of the most delightful, and one of my favorite
Indian holidays. It is shameful that nothing of its like exists in my country!

Verses:
Of these, the following really stood out for me: A flower, Your eyes, A harbour, A rose,
Stay, and Sita. I wish the doggerel I wrote back in 2006 was even half as good as these!

Few cartoons for you:
These were fun! My favorite was ‘I want to eat the world,’ which reminds me of a
terrifyingly powerful politician with tiny hands and a thin skin.