Some book reviews

  • Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby  (Vanshvel)-  By Dr Malati Karwarkar
Excellent guide on nutrition. I read Marathi version Vanshvel and I know that this will be my go-to book , my bible on nutrition for the rest of my life.
Late Dr. Karwarkar would have been of my late grandmother’s age. Yet her ideas were quite ahead of her times, are even now to an extent ahead of the time, in the area of nutrition. Indians, while rightfully proud of their food and traditions associated with it, choose to selectively ignore vices of various methods of cooking, preparation, combining of food components, all the while saying that modern ideas are nowhere as effective as traditional wisdom. Dr Karwarkar explains how our food culture needs to be modified to suit the changed lifestyles and quite logically. Her language sounded very contemporary to me and very practical and the hacks and tricks /tips that she has shared are very much suited to Indian dietary style. She predominantly discussed Maharashtrian cuisine, at least in the Marathi edition that I read, but the principles she discusses could be applied to entire Indian cuisine. It is sad that such books are not popular.They should be made a part of school/college curriculum as food and nutrition is basic need of people belonging to all the professions. Kudos to Dr Karwarkar and I am in her debt forever.
  • Ayurvedic Garbha Sanskar: The Science and Art of Pregnancy – By Dr Balaji Tambe
While in principle, this book promotes the best of ancient Indian traditions, it is very difficult to implement all of these traditions in practical life. Today’s lifestyle, living conditions as well as the medical procedures have changed and unless one has time, resources (lot of money, helping hands, lot of space and so on) and the will to go against modern aspects of life, it will be impossible to follow this book word by word.
For my own pregnancy, I tried whatever was practical (and whatever ayurvedic medicines I could afford to purchase repetitively) and decided to take rest of the advice in this book with a pinch of salt.
What I would have really preferred to read is how to make the most of your pregnancy, given the altered modern lifestyle. A lot of auyrvedic remedies suggested in the book cannot be prepared by end readers of this book at home, but have to be bought from an expert ayurvedacharya or from the author’s own product-line.
I have great respect for Shri Balaji Tambe, and my family members and I are regular viewers of his various TV discourses and programs. This respect led to the purchase of the said book during my pregnancy. Its approach of explaining pregnancy and various aspects with shlokas from various ancient Ayurveda books followed by detailed explanation is interesting. However, it fails to address modern pregnancy related ailments and complications. While it has touched upon some of these complications, there are not enough guidelines on how to handle such a situation. Issues related to modern lifestyle such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low or over supply of milk etc find passing mention – nothing detailed.
All in all, a book I could have easily passed up.
  • If Truth be Told: A Monk’s Memoir – By Om Swami
A beautiful memoir. Several ideas and concepts resonated with what I have been learning about spirituality growing up. I have been a regular reader of his blog at Omswami.com. This is largely a memoir, a story, and not like a spiritual treatise. The style of writing is quite contemporary and flowing. I was engrossed with it from the moment I picked it up. I have finished reading it in less than 4 days.
  • Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology – By Devdutt Pattanaik
Being a Hindu, I had a background in these concepts. However as years passed by and I grew up, I had relegated these concepts somewhere at the back of mind. The very one that I got introduced to as a child, when I would ask so many questions and was open minded. As time passed, I followed worships and rituals at times very blindly and other times would ignore everything in favour of the concept of abstract spirituality. This book served as a refresher and was an enjoyable read.
  • Mi Pahilele Shankar Maharaj – by Yogi Dnyananathji
I have come across several narratives of Shri Shankar Maharaj that also had his philosophical teachings explained in simple language. This small book is mainly a narrative of events that author witnessed while in company of Shri Shankar Maharaj. As a collection of stories it is a good read.
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