Dr. Viraj P. Thacker, the best-selling author of ‘The Myth of prosperity: Globalisation and the South’, has remained passionate about continuing his Late Mother’s work of a lifetime in the areas of Women & Children, the Environment, Sustainability & Social Justice. This has also led him to set up ‘Manushi for sustainable development’ of which he is the international executive director.
I am sharing a collage of the events associated with the above initiative as well as a thought-provoking article on Globalisation that he has published recently.
Environment, sustainability and Climate Change are areas I remain passionate about. My next book might just be in this area…..
An Electronics Engineer and a MBA, Sambit is a Program Manager with Oracle. But this but the tip of his competence profile ‘iceberg’. He is an established author, a talented artist as well as a mentor.
Sambit had been kind enough to write a generous testimonial for my book, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’ when it was under publication. His testimonial is part of the book.
I had the privilege to read his book, ‘The Last War and other stories’ which has just gone into a second edition. I am delighted to provide my review here.
The Last War and other stories- Review
What would you say would happen if you were to take a dollop of Indian mythology, slices of long forgotten civilisations, a cupful of open-ended creativity and garnishing of science fiction and then mix all of that in a crucible ? What you are apt to get is a superb and rollicking tale called the ‘Last War’. This is what author Sambit Daspatnaik has served as the main fare in his book ‘The Last War and other stories’.
I do not want to give out much about the story and its context as that might spoil the surprise elements for the reader. Suffice it is to mention that I found the story and the audaciousness of the plot thoroughly enjoyable.
Sambit’s depiction of the Last War, the scale and the wide-angle perspective he uses, brought for me shades of J.R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings view of the world, replete with its magic. As Sambit writes in his foreword, the great war of Mahabharat fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas many millennia back, was but a forerunner of a much larger war to come. In the words of the author, “……. everyone was mistaken… it looked like the ancient magic was still around… new lessons were learned…old secrets were unveiled… new allies were made……”
Four other science fiction stories make up the book.
Genesis is all about a spectacular discovery of the ‘sphere’ made thousands of lights years away by a research expedition. But as they say, with every benefit or solution, there is a downside. In the ‘Holy temple of Eula’, an alien civilisation awaits the arrival of a new Messiah who would save them from the perils of a dying world. The story ‘Blink’ employs a wonderful context as it transports the reader into a star trek like space incident complete with a ‘who dunnit’ mystery. The last story, with the wonderfully appropriate title of ‘Resurrection’, transports the reader into the distant future of Mankind with a dying sun.
All in all, Sambit Daspatnaik uses a simple and racy style in his narrative and this, coupled with the excellent and imaginative plots, makes this book a delectable fare and un-putdownable.
I would go with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 for the ‘Last War and other stories and would recommend it to the reader.
Author – ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and Other Stories’, Leadership Coach and incubator and Visiting Professor at IIMs.
“Baba, why is that train bogie standing in the middle of the road?” asked Niren, pointing to a single carriage, surrounded by tongas, carts and people walking on the road.
“Niren, that is a tram, a modern day invention. It does not need any engine to pull it. Can you see that pole on the top? It draws electric current from that cable on top to move”, replied Sujit.
His eyes twinkling, Sujit asked, “Would you like to ride the tram?”
“Yes! Yes!” the boys shouted as they started running towards the tram.
“Niren, Suren! Stop, do not run ahead like that”, so saying, Bina turned quickly and rushed towards her sons, her maternal protective instinct taking over. That was when the first wave of nausea and dizziness hit her and she lost her balance.
Snippet: The first horse drawn tram made its appearance in Calcutta in 1873, operating between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat seat. Electrified tramways started operating between Khidderpore, Esplanade and Kalighat in 1902. Close on the heels of Calcutta came the introduction of tramways in Bombay, Nashik and Chennai.
Trams in Delhi began operation in 1908 and with the shifting of the Capital to this city, the network continued to expand.Tramways ferried people between Chandni Chowk to Tis Hazari in the north and Pahar Ganj and Ajmeri gate in the south. However the system had to be shut down in 1963 due to urban congestion.
Interestingly, Delhi’s dalliance with the trams might soon be revived as Delhi Government plans to introduce ‘trackless trams’ in the heritage Chandni Chowk area.
Delhi Trams feature in the story, ‘Ashtami’, part of my forthcoming book ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’ which is scheduled to release in February ‘21. For updates, do visit