Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Great to have a day dedicated to `celebrating reading'
To mark the occasion of World Book Day, Business Line sought to obtain the views of a few authors on what the day means to them.
Come electronic communication come Internet, books will go on forever. They are the lifeblood of a country's culture.
M. V. Kamath
To me, books are the next closest to living beings.
They speak to you, commiserate, understand... and so long as you respect them, they will stick by you.
They almost have a mind of their own!
The day means one must finish reading all those books one always meant to read like classics by Leo Tolstoy and the third Harry Potter or throw them out of the house and admit once and for all that you will never get around to reading them EVER. The day also means quoting from Pierre Bayard's bestseller How to Talk About Books That You Haven't Read.
It's great to have a day dedicated to `celebrating reading'. When we are living in the times of 300-plus TV Channels, DVDs, gaming and endless distractions, this can especially play a role in bringing back to children the importance of the written word. I can recall how the wonderful world of fantasy definitely enriched my own childhood!"
Nandita da Cunha
"by page 35 of this 260 page book, we have a good idea of Da Cunha’s inventiveness, her eye for description, her musical ear and her playful turn of phrase. Here, for instance is her description of the Flatte Chief --
‘He had thin and wispy bright yellow hair that fell to his knees, which colour seemed to leak all over him, right down to his yellow veined flat feet. Strangest of all, he had piercing yellow double-rimmed eyes, with which he looked her up and down. What with that and his doleful expression, he reminded her of a slice of lemon gone sour!’
Each place that Tara journeys through is attractively described. Flatte land is a beautiful sunshine filled land, full of the chimes of golden bells, where the inhabitants live on gold leaf trees, on which golden apples grow. Sharpes live on the stems of Moneytrees and their streets are paved with diamonds. Maya is ruled by Illusory Laws – everyone hears what they want to hear, so Melan Kohli always hears the blues and Tara, happy melodies.
Or take the names of her characters, which would charm children and adults alike – the musical clutch of Queen Rana Aria, Herr Moan Niem, the seer, Seetar and Geetar, the wise sisters, the rejuvenating tonic, Harmonica, Prince Ta-din-ak-din; we have the sad Chief Melan Kohli, Caliph Sojah, Khem Mystry, adept at black magic, Maneck Tarantella, the crazy old Flying Spider, Biswacks the candlemaker, and even Jatack-in-the-box.
Da Cunha uses her talents to make good (and original) use of all that the literary and cinematic palette has to offer, the staples that engross children – fantasy, both of the Lewis Carollian and the newer Rowlingian variety, the magic spells and mystery of Tolkein as well as Snow White, the dark forces that are for ever trying to take over the world and the array of supermen who have arisen from time to time to fight them; she also understands the unshakeable appeal of the clash between Good and Evil, of pitting brother against brother, of turning the most trusted one into the betrayer"
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Westside Plus, Times of India
Magic of Maya by Nandita Da Cunha
Fantasy never ceases to amaze. Whether you are 8 or 80, the innate desire for escapist fantasies forms the crux of human emotions. Magic of Maya strikes that very chord in every individual, thus ensuring a diligent interest from every reader, old and young.
Magic of Maya is the story of 10 year old Tara, a spunky & unusually strong headed girl in a quiescent village. It illustrates the travails & adventures the young lady faces in a quest to save her world from falling prey to certain destruction. But what set this novel apart from so many other fantasy novels is its simplicity and its extremely simple narrative style which brings to life the various curious creatures in the land of Maya. The various tongue in cheek names & references elicit a chuckle as soon as you realize where the author is going. Mr. Kolorov Muzik (Color of Music) is who else but a great musician handed the job of bringing Tara to the musically enchanted land of Maya. Dholakia is a well rounded individual not so representative of his race in generic terms. The Flattes and Sharpes are a particularly funny take on the truly diverse nature of the two genders.
The author, Nandita Da Cunha, rarely shows signs of first time jitters. She manages dry humor as well as macabre characters with fluid grace and effortless ease. The novel has its fair share of tumultuous twists & astonishing turns. The chapter where the identity of Tara’s father is revealed leads to a whirlwind of activity which further draws the reader into a thrilling vortex of perfidy and the clichéd triumph of good over evil. Magic of Maya is one of those novels which seem disenchanted with the purblind leadership & shallow outlook of people in today’s world. A fantastic La-La Land where music permeates the air through pipes and houses change color depending on the mood of the occupant offers the reader a brilliant ethereal land where he identifies with his innermost concupiscence.
There are a few penumbral sections in the novel but these are few & far between. Comparisons with the Lewis Carroll novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’ are not unwarranted but to deem this novel as a rip off would be an unfair judgement. Overall, the novel is an honest and stimulating work of art. The novel might not be an epoch defining moment in literature but it is definitely an indication that honest first timers can churn out works which are original, entertaining & full of the chutzpah expected out of a good work of fiction.
By Robin Singhvi
Thursday, March 01, 2007
"Nandita da Cunha, resident of St Andrews Road, has always thought of herself as a "Bombay girl" And she certainly encompasses all the qualities of a true-blue Mumbaikar - dynamic, creative and ambitious. No wonder then, that being an MBA graduate, an adept pianist, and a full time consultant at KPMG Consulting, she also had the time and drive to write her first full length novel at 24. ...
According to her publishers Rupa, the book has done exceptionally well in the metros, especially in Mumbai where the first lot sold out in the first month itself."
Sunday, February 25, 2007
"It's as fantastic as fantasy can get. That is, The Magic of Maya by Nandita Da Cunha for you"
"And it is indeed this journey that fascinates, particularly the young reader. Here houses change colours according to moods, they move and open doors on their own. And the inhabitants, they are all the colour and stuff that strange dreams are made of. Da Cunha's imagination grows wings, as she describes the different states. There are golden apples, whispering woods, underground piping that produces music, flying spiders and dancing. So very full of sights and sounds."