Winged Post

The Dove’s Lament – Literary Review

The Dove's Lament
The Dove’s Lament

Most humans often compare, complain and whine about the various problems and shortcomings that they face in life. None can dare measure those issues as being ludicrous or unnecessary, for no one but the person who undergoes problems would know the gravity of the situations and would be forced to come out with different potential solutions. However, what the whiners and touch me nots cannot measure is the enormity of the other people’s problems, for they would never have given ear to the languish escaping the mouths of stricken individuals. Wearing dark glasses, all that they would see is a dark world that offers them nothing but dim light to walk, failing to notice the crippled, wounded and dying people surrounding them. When the glasses are removed by chance, reality hits them in the stomach like a speeding locomotive – and it really hurts.

The Dove’s Lament does exactly that, making reality hit hard in a place where pain is felt all the more – at the heart!

We think we’ve seen it all, heard it all and well… experienced it all. Kirthi Jayakumar, through The Dove’s Lament, tears apart that false curtain of deceptively woven lies into shreds, leaving the reader gasping for breath. It is not every day that one comes across a book such as this. A book that makes the heart to stop beating for awhile, trying to come to terms with reality.

Genocide, the first story of the book gives the readers a glimpse of what is to follow. What had so far been to many readers only a figment of imagination of some obscure author while penning a novel, is visualized and brought alive, when readers realize through the essays at the end of each story, that Kirthi has recreated through her stories, the horrors experienced by people, people like us!

I saw Joseph Gahiji amongst them, knife in tow. Could it be really him, the man I knew? Could it be the very benevolent gentleman who brought his granddaughter to the same school as Habimana every day until the war broke out?

Sentences like the above rent hearts into two, as the story takes the reader into the mass killing that took place in Rwanda. We are not able to imagine even for a moment that it is just a story – Kirthi sees to that. Truth is felt in every sentence that one reads.

Fire in a Ring of Ice is a story set in the backdrop of The Srebrenica Massacre. The woes of a family struggling in war are brought out in a way that brings tears to the eyes. The son being compared to a creeper brings the imagery alive before one’s eyes. The separation of the men from the women in the house moistens one’s eyes, while the thoughts of the dying father bring hope to one’s hearts about the creeper – son being alive somewhere, to our solace.

For the Love of a Motherland is set in the Middle East amidst one of the longest conflicts going on in the world, the Israel – Palestine dispute. The innocence of the children in the story and the frank manner in which they speak their hearts out make one pray that the ending is not a blood smeared one. Kirthi has brought out emotions that play with one’s minds. The story brings out the pathetic condition of people who have lost their dear ones, their houses, their countries and their identities.

He noticed the boy get up from his spot at the table. ‘I will come with you, Papa.’

Papa! The soldier turned immobile momentarily at this long awaited first call of the boy.

‘Papa? Can I?’ The soldier’s resolve firmed. He would reclaim his future, and give it to his son.

The uncertainty in the minds of children and adults alike is wrought out in a manner that evokes pity on the characters, all the while reminding the reader yet again that this is not just a story, but reality.

Home is set in almost the same background as that of the previous story. The occupation of the West Bank by the Israeli forces and the displacement of thousands of Palestinians are brought alive to the readers through the eyes of Amal, as millions of thoughts zoom in and out of her mind. The story ends with a ray of hope as Amal inhales the heady feeling of being at home, in her motherland.

Sacrifice brings to the fore a trait that is not known to many around the globe. Two brothers born up in the same family are brought up for different purposes. The ugly practice of Bacha Baazi is dealt with in this story, as a story of brotherly love, misunderstanding and sacrifice unfolds, leaving readers with lumps in their throats. The activities of the youngest brother remind one of the affection shared amongst siblings around the world.

The Smallest Coffins is perhaps the story with which all readers would be able to connect easily, not only because of the enormity of the brutality but also because it is the most recent one that all can remember. The class room scene is hilarious and typical of a normal school children mentality story, till disaster strikes. The involvement of the family feud and the connection at the end bring a sorrowful wakening to the story, reminding the readers that the smallest coffins are indeed the heaviest. That such love could possibly be inside so small a form is mind numbing.

Desiccated Land is set in the geographical crown of the Indian sub-continent, Kashmir. The partition of India and Pakistan, and the gory scenes that made blood run in both countries, especially in Kashmir is brought alive in this story. Kirthi Jayakumar has the inane ability to delve deep into the minds of people and bring out their emotions. The love, misunderstanding, misdeed and the terrible aftermath is heart rendering to read.

Princess is another story from the land of India. An evil that is rampant in India is prostitution. What people usually do is to overlook or ignore the consequence of prostitution in families that are forced to sell the product of their own flesh and blood. The pain of the mother in seeing her daughter suffer the same fate that she did and yet being unable to make any other move than the one she did is the worst fate that could befall any mother. It happens in this story. Kirthi’s efficiency in story telling has moved up a couple of notches in this story alone. Such is the power of her pen, in revealing the pain of individuals, families and communities to the world.

A Night to Remember is set in the dark world of prostitution and human trafficking. The pathetic situation in which a girl child is sold to a brothel is told in a detailed manner. Poverty plays a role in many families into sending members for this heinous act.

From the ante-room, she was sold into the heart of permanent hell.

Ironically, it was the heart of momentary heaven for the men who knocked on its gates.

Lines like the above showcase the ability of the author to play with words while breaking the ear of the reader with the seriousness of the situation. The breakthrough to the protagonist of this story is the bold act taken at the end of the story, bringing hope.

Explosion makes the readers explode with emotion and tears. Suicide bombers who destroy many parts of the world and communities with their ruthless acts form the crux of this story. The love between sisters and the helplessness at the end make this a dolorous read. Families torn apart because of the war and the longing for peace among the characters remind readers of the grim reality of life in many parts of the world.

Imprisoned deals with the drug dealers and their trade in countries like Colombia. The story deals in its journey life in prison for young inmates and seasoned criminals, along with people serving sentences for wrongs done by others. The thread of connection in this story is awesomely interwoven thanks to Kirthi’s ability. The fact that drug dealing is an evil that must be rooted out is brought out clearly in the story. The fair child of December makes hearts heavy…

Esther’s Story is the jewel of The Dove’s Lament and is a fitting climax to this book that contains stories of tribulation and sorrow, for this story ends with the silver lining to cast away all misgivings that one would have gotten about this cruel world filled with people committing vile deeds. Habimana’s mother is filled with the encouragement that flows into her through the acquaintance of Ujasiri.

She nodded. Later that evening when I helped her with the sombe, she told me her name was Ujasiri. It meant courage.

Resilience.

Kirthi Jayakumar has given to this world a book as rare as Gollum’s ring. The Dove’s Lament is one of the rarest books to have been published in the recent times in terms of the problems dealt with, the manner in which the issues have been brought out, the deeply etched memories of the stories that just refuse to fade away into oblivion as other stories do, the relevance of the stories in the current world, the pathos surrounding all the stories, the heavily researched essays that substantiate each story, the usage of apt words in places befitting them, the ache that is produced in the hearts of readers, the determination that the book forces one to take, and above all, the burden in the heart of Kirthi Jayakumar to bring to light the atrocities happening in different countries of the world. The Dove’s Lament by Readomania is a precious possession of Indian Literature that appeals to International audience. Kudos to Readomania for publishing such an irreplaceable wonder!

Look black – Idiom Thaatha

Look black

The meaning of the idiom look black is to show little or no sign of hope whatsoever in life or in future.

Examples

1. When he was fired from his job, his career was in jeopardy and life looked black – from his position.

2. Everything looks black when hope is lost – for hope is the elixir of human life.

Take the edge off – Idiom Thaatha

take the edge off

 

The meaning of the idiom take the edge off is to mitigate or make less severe anything that is not pleasant.

Examples

1. The bars of chocolate that I had helped me take the edge off my ravenous hunger.

2. When the students responsible for the riot in college came and apologized to the principal, the act took the edge off his anger.

Water Under the Bridge – Idiom Thaatha

Water under the bridge

 

The meaning of the idiom Water Under the Bridge is to refer to past events that are no longer important.

Examples:

1. The manager came to the wedding in spite of the trouble that the groom had caused him earlier, as he considered them water under the bridge.

2. The ex-convict could walk to the grocery store without any inhibitions as his evil deeds were water under the bridge.

Olivier Lafont – An Exclusive Interview

Winged Post is happy to have Olivier Lafont, the French actor and author of the mythological novel Warrior‘s exclusive attention and is thrilled to post the interview conducted with him.

Olivier Lafont with his recent novel 'Warrior'
Olivier Lafont with his recent novel ‘Warrior’

How was your transition from France to India? Any difficulties that you faced?

My family moved from France to India when I was seven years old, and the transition was difficult. I joined the American Embassy School, so I had two new cultures to adjust to, American and Indian. I also didn’t know any English, and had to learn it as quickly as possible to join the regular stream of education. The main difficulties I faced were cultural and linguistic. It did take some time, but I grew to love India – which is why I’m still here now.

 

How did you improve your skills in English?

I was able to develop skill in English because I was genuinely interested in the language, in reading, in writing. I became obsessed with my dictionary, even packing it in my suitcase when we traveled so I could learn new words.

 

If not fantasy, what would have been your chosen genre of writing?

That’s a tricky question, since fantasy is a fairly integral part of me and my history. I think I would have probably gravitated to science fiction.

 

If ‘Warrior’ is made into a film, which character do you think you would be fit to play?

I would play Saam – I know him through and through, and have lived his life in my writing.

 

Can you tell us about the research you made for writing this novel? What obstacles did you cross for undertaking the research?

The general research that forms the background of ‘Warrior’ is a lifetime of reading about Indian history, mythology, religion, philosophy. Once I had the idea and structure of the story in mind, I began to explore the pertinent subjects more specifically. Since I like to keep my writing process fairly organic and unpredictable there were many new elements that appeared along the way, so I’d spend time through the writing researching these elements. I don’t think there were any obstacles to my research, it was all straightforward.

Olivier Lafont
Olivier Lafont

After the promotion of ‘Warrior’ can we expect a sequel?

There are some ideas I have in mind, and I’d love to continue the story. There’s a whole world of ideas and themes here I’d like to explore. Let’s see!

 

Your relationship with contemporary writers?

I don’t know any contemporary writers very well, although I’ve met a few. Writing is a private endeavour, whereas media and performing arts involves more people, so most of the people I know are from the media and performing arts.

 

Any issue in India that you consider needs immediate attention and action?

I feel very strongly and urgently about the environment. Whatever may happen politically or socially, the vital bottomline for humanity is the health of the planet. We’re coming dangerously close to the point where all our modern influence won’t be able to turn back the critical mass of negative effects. That said I’m still hopeful about human ingenuity and determination, and that we can turn this ship around if we can get enough people to realise that this matters right now.

 

Does ‘Warrior’ have any message to the society?

I don’t have any message I want to communicate, frankly, with ‘Warrior’. I just want readers to have fun reading it. That said, there was one underlying social theme I wrote in very consciously, that of integration. I believe that integration, especially in a country as amazingly pluralistic as India, can be effectively and beautifully expressed in our art and our culture.

 

What do you think you can do as a writer to change any evil in the society? Have you done anything before?

I think it depends on the person’s ideology. I don’t think I would write a book about a social issue specifically, that’s not how I operate as an artist – and I don’t think people pick up a book in this genre to read about a social cause. If I feel strongly enough about the issue I prefer to be directly active about it. However I do believe that a writer’s ideology is reflected in his or her work. My social ideas and opinions are present in my work, and whatever impact they may have on a reader is the change I feel I can effect through my writing.

Feel free to use the following links to stay in touch with Olivier and his writings. 

‘WARRIOR’ BOOK TRAILER LINK

http://youtu.be/qDLMISZAzME

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Olivier-Lafont/625633327480645?ref=hl

TWITTER

https://mobile.twitter.com/OliLafont

‘WARRIOR’ AMAZON LINK

http://www.amazon.in/Warrior-Olivier-Lafont/dp/0143423630/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417183321&sr=8-1&keywords=olivier+lafont+warrior

 

 

Warrior – Literary review

warrior cover

I vividly remember the blood curdling screams that pounded my head into a dulling sensation after sitting hunched up in the midst of my cousins, having listened to tales of monsters in unimaginable forms perform wicked deeds of infinite cruelty. I was scared of them-yes; but I never tired of them. There was in me a passion for stories related to legends, fantasy, magic and mythology. Unlikely heroes who were made so because of necessity, natural heroes who made it look easy whatever they did to become heroes, modest heroes who did not want to be seen doing heroic deeds, selfish heroes who did not want to brave the world and be heroic but were compelled to do so for the sake of someone else – my world was never short of heroes.

People who grew up in close-knit families would still remember with a wistful grin the thrilling and heady feeling they experienced in listening to folktales and myths being spun expertly by their grandmothers. The tales were often accompanied with gruesome laughter, inane sounds and shrieking banshees that made one’s blood freeze with terror. Added to these factors was the singular fact that the stories were usually told after supper under a feeble hurricane lamp that transmogrified a harmless cousin into a seemingly marauding Frankenstein.

It was no surprise then that stories involving monsters, heroes and myths imprinted a lasting impression and continued to make their abode in a corner of my mind, though in a forgotten state. The awakening my mind received regarding mythology was through the pages of Warrior, the mythological adventure story written by Olivier Lafont. What an awakening it was!

Saam, the protagonist of the novel is a demigod with tremendous powers. He lives in Mumbai as a watchmender keeping his powers under wraps. But the situation demands otherwise. The world struggles and totters under the scheme of the Enemy. It is the End of Days and everything that is to be done to save the world can be accomplished only through Saam. He takes on a perilous journey across India and ultimately the world, accompanied by his love Maya – a mortal woman, Ara – his half-brother, Moti and Fateh – two warriors of renown and allies of Ara, Fazal – a scholar and Lalbaal – a friend.

To say that the journey is dangerous would be an understatement. Not knowing the identity of the enemy, the group seems to be on a wild goose chase when the object of its pursuit is found nowhere in this world. The only choice left is to travel to another world resembling this world in another time – a daunting task indeed. However, the greatest difficulty encountered by the group is time – which they do not simply have. The End of Days has to be stopped, if possible, within three days. With time running out, to keep oneself alive and effectuate the immobilization of the End of Days seems to be a hopeless and frightening task. Yet, the group moves ahead, led by Saam – for it is the only hope the world has.

Olivier Lafont surprises the reader in one too many ways. Indian readers would immediately be glued to the story as the setting is predominantly in India, especially Northern. Readers of other countries will get a first hand taste of some of the greatest mythological stories that define India. It is indeed a wonder that a writer with French origin has written a novel that delves deep into Indian mythology and woos readers with its intricate plot and fast paced action. Warrior is a proper mix of action, adventure, fantasy, mythology, brotherhood and family ties. There is of course a tinge of romance. Added to the flavor is betrayal, terrible in its consequence.

Family

India is known for its tradition of strong family ties. Indian culture is made strong and viewed with respect by people of other nationalities due to its deep family roots. It is no wonder that the mythological tales of India are mostly about family affairs, sometimes gone wrong. The author has centred his story on a family heirloom. This single act of Olivier Lafont spreads the strong aroma of Indian culture in which huge importance is accorded to items used by their ancestors.

Saam is portrayed as a demigod with more powers than most other demigods roaming the earth. He has an intense hatred for his father, a god the world fears and reveres. Saam would readily plunge his sword to avenge the death of his mother by his father. The affection between Ara and Saam is warm, affectionate and also heart-wrenching at times. To depict such a variety of emotions surging through the hearts of the half-brothers and make the readers smile, frown, curse and also cry requires great talent; Olivier Lafont does this with ease.

When reading about Ara, one cannot but be reminded of Loki from Norse mythology. The casual arrogance of Ara, his smirky countenance that the reader can readily visualize, his nick name (read the novel to find out) and the strained yet loving fellowship he maintains with his brother resemble the cloudy fellowship between Thor and Loki. The author’s skill in writing is evident in the subtle manner in which the strained relationship between the brothers is brought out in many scenes. The helplessness that the brothers feel in certain situations mists the readers’ eyes.

Though the main characters of this novel are demigods, there is brought out of them human qualities that make the reader undergo variegated emotions. The struggle that Saam undergoes to control his anger and tears, the vulnerability that Saam feels while facing Maya, the distrust that Saam reserves for his half-brother Ara, the fury that the raksha Fateh uses to fuel his training for 300 years, the disappointment that Ara nurses in his bosom and above all, the nature of Saam’s father, a god, to reach out passionately for the love of his demigod son, at the least his friendship – all these speak volumes of the adept writing skills of the young author.

Research

Olivier Lafont has dug the earth quite deep for this novel’s research. The connecting of seemingly different events of the world and making them fall in line to give credibility to the story has been immaculately done by the author. His strength lies in his characters effortlessly traversing the boundaries of time and being believable. The introduction of Lieutenant Geoffrey Gordon from the Skinners Horse of the British Army for instance, has the touch of a master. So is the mention of Einstein, the theory of quantum of mechanics and the year in which Einstein was writing about the behavior of light.

The mention of a Baker carbine cavalry rifle talks again of the intense research having gone behind the making of the Warrior. The credit given to Indian craftsmen for making the rifle better sends roots deeper than before into the Indian soil and Indian mythology. The making of different mythological characters cannot be done as easily as characters are created for a normal novel. Credibility needs to be in balance for the reader to continue reading, for the readers would already be familiar with the mythology. This has been done nonchalantly by Olivier Lafont. The habile touches of the author in bringing us this novel will be appreciated by critics around the world.

Verdict

Olivier Lafont has brought on a silver plate, golden apples worth devouring. The author has made a clean dive into the unfathomable and age-old traditional & rich pit of Indian mythology and has created a unique story with characters that are heroic, godly, believable and very much necessary for this troublesome world to grind into the readers the belief that the future of the world is not bleak. However dark the clouds may gather, there will be a silver lining. The noble and the good must always stand against the evil irrespective of the strength of the enemy. For, to oppose the evil is to be true to your conscience. Olivier sends us the message that the age of chivalry is not yet dead. There still are heroes who will rise when the world needs them. The Warrior is clear about it. This is a novel that will inspire readers and give birth to many more stories worth reading. This book is a jewel that would adorn the shelves of mythological lovers throughout the world and continue to increase the readership level. This is certainly a book to read, and at once.

Rating: 4/5

 

Jiggery-pokery – Vocabwagon

Jiggery-pokery

The meaning of jiggery-pokery is to behave dishonestly or deceitfully.

Jiggery-pokery is a noun.

Examples:

1. Although everyone praised Zadok for his fantastic marks in the board exam, Sam kept quiet because he knew that the high marks were by means of jiggery-pokery and not by fair methods.

2. The jiggery-pokery happening in election leaves one in a state of confusion and uncertainty.

Benthos – Vocabwagon

Benthos

The meaning of the word Benthos is the sediments deposited in a seabed or a lake.

The word Benthos is a noun.

Examples:

1. The rescue team was baffled by the massive structure of benthos under the local lake.

2. The hobbits were too engrossed in their new found treasure under the water to notice the dark elves slithering amidst the benthos, towards them.

Costs an arm and a leg – Idiom Thaatha

Costs an arm and a leg

The meaning of the idiom Costs an arm and a leg is to refer to anything that is hugely expensive.

Examples:

1. The CEO backed out from the tender race at the last moment as he realized that it would cost his company an arm and a leg.

2. Ezra felt drained after his purchase of a new car. It has cost him an arm and a leg.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Vocabwagon

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

The meaning of the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is to be extremely and extraordinarily good or wonderful.

The word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is an adjective.

Examples:

1. This is by far the most supercalifragilistic dish I’ve ever tasted.

2. His supercalifragilistic dancing moves set the crowd grooving.