VARAAHA SERIES is my first book in English, which is yet to be published.
Each one of the stories you find in the said book appeared earlier as blog posts.
C T Joshi, South Asia's most recognised journalist, has an appreciation for those blog posts and began writing short reviews for those. I copy paste below the first of those reviews:
"Short review for the article entitled LIFE SKILLS:
It is a simple and straightforward story. That is the beauty of it. I knew Mr Varaha Murthy quite well. Simplicity and straightforwardness were his strengths as an individual.They are reflected in this short story remarkably, making it touching and heart-warming.
Another speciality of this story is, it doesn't say why Dorai's mother doesn't like him. Reasons may be many. Intelligent readers can guess their own reasons. It is not only a story but also a riddle for readers."
- C T Joshi
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"Life skills" has even appeared as a story in the volume entitled "Labyrinth of Relationships". Cover page image figures in the gallery below, whereas it could be purchased through link https://www.amazon.in/Labyrinth-Relationships-Capt-Sahana-Sundar-ebook/dp/B07MK3L5YG
Varaaha Murthy was a man of deep concern for people. He was concerned about the negative trends that are creating havoc in our society, be it religious bigotry or gender inequality or social intolerance. He was always pained by injustice, unfairness that are being witnessed today incessantly, increasingly.
This noble quality of Varaaha Murthy comes out lucidly and vividly in this piece. It is a mirror to the modern society.
But he is not an incorrigible pessimist. He points out how society itself is fighting against some of the negative developments. One only wishes his optimism comes true.
One may not agree with all that he asserts. Especially about the seeming end to some of social malpractices that prevail today. To some extent he rambles with too many points crowding this writing. But no one can question his sincerity, his social concern and his deep awareness of what is happening around us today.
- C T Joshi
Indology is the study of ancient India. Its scope is vast that an Indologist needs his whole lifetime to study ancient India.
The paradox is that Western scholars gave a much-needed push to Indology when Indians themselves had forgotten their glorious past during the long periods of onslaught by foreign conquerors.
Varaaha Murthy provides a brief glance of a few important aspects of ancient India's thoughts and schools, principally religious ones.
It is very brief naturally since the subject is so vast and all-embracing. But It should be enough to create interest in one to go further deeper into the subject.
I would like to point out one development.
It is true that there was animal sacrifice as a ritual long long back as stated by Sri Varaaha Murthy. But in course of time our ancestors realised that it was wrong, gave it up completely and replaced it with a symbolic practice which did not involve animal sacrifice.
- C T Joshi
Versatility and positive, constructive thinking are perhaps the forte of Sri Varaaha Murthy. He has Interest and knowledge of so many things under the sun that one wonders whether he was a human encyclopedia..Indeed he WAS. The variety of subjects and social concerns of the ongoing series of his writings is itself an indication of this. At the same time he does not go on writing anything vague or rambling. There is always in his writings positive constructive approach and responsiveness to anything worth considering. That is Varaaha Murthy in short.
A major segment of our society consists of prisoners including a large number of under trials. They are one of the most neglected sections. To make their plight all the more pathetic is the fact that society rarely accepts them even though they have changed for the better leaving behind their dark past. The social stigma sticks to them like their skin.
Especially the conditions of under trials is bleak. They do not know how long they will remain behind the bars and more importantly what future holds for them.
These days the Governments have been laying stress on the prisoners' reformation and rehabilitation. It is a wholesome development. But we have still to go a long way.
It is good that Varaaha Murthy has discussed this vital but sidelined issue in a separate chapter.
- C T Joshi
The feature is a lively piece which brings before the reader's mind the informal setting of an ancient village.
Unfortunately that village too has changed into a mechanical set up with no feeling, no warmth, just a miniature town.
The episode of the wonder of bicycle reminds me of a scene, long long ago, in my home city of Belagavi. There is a large railway overbridge dividing two major areas of the city. One fine morning all traffic on the overbridge came to a grinding halt. Every one was looking at a spectacle-- the spectacle of a young woman riding a motorcycle! That is human nature. Innocent enjoyment of anything new or wonderful. It is good for humans, both physically and emotionally.
But that is what is missing today in both urban and rural parts. Varaaha Murthy has brought it out in his easy typical style.
But there is one point on which I would differ from Varaaha Murthy. That is the scourge of untouchability. Varaaha Murthy says there was interdependence and mutual trust between the upper castes and the untouchables.
Interdependence yes. But mutual trust no. It was master-servant relationship. One depending on the other. And no love or understanding between the two. Untouchability was a scourge then.
Unfortunately it is still a scourge now. It still prevails in many parts of our country.
- C T Joshi
A more apt heading for this piece would have been 'Man is active and overactive'. Only negatively. Because the piece is a genuine concern of the author about the way man is going about the destruction of environment, mindlessly, senselessly.
It is true as Varaaha Murthy has pointed out, the main factors that are responsible for the loss and destruction of the Nature are: Religion and Politics. These are the two factors for most of our worries today. Though it has almost been a habit to blame everything on them. A large number of our religious and political leaders are self-centered and opportunists of the first order..
But there is one another principle factor that has played havoc with our dear Nature (dear-- both literally and figuratively).
And that is our excessive materialism. Our excessive money-mindedness. Man's greed has been growing out of all proportions taking a heavy toll. Be it any field.
Money has become the mantra. Leave alone trade and industry. They are legitimate avenues of making money. What about politics? What about even religion and social service? They too have become money-spinners.
One instance will do. The UNESCO, a major wing of the United Nations, wanted to declare our precious but vulnerable Western Ghats as a heritage site banning most of environment-unfriendly activities, and protect and preserve this biodiversity-rich gift of the God to man. But no. Our politicians opposed it. Insensitivity at its worst. Why? Because the Western Ghats are a veritable goldmine which could be exploited to their hearts fill, and their pockets-full.
A more apt title for this.... at its worst...
- C T Joshi