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The book shelf this week is mostly meditative and spiritual.


1. "Rumi: A New Translation"; Written by Farrukh Dhondy; Published by Harper Perennial; Priced at Rs.299

"My soul's a furnace happy with the fire ... That burns within - its nature is desire, For love, my friend, if you don't wish to burn, in that same fire, you have a lot to learn...."

The elegant volume of verses -- a lucid translation of 13th century Sufi seer Jalaluddin Rumi's poetry -- is an introduction to Sufism -- the faith of freedom. The great work of Rumi, "The Mathnawi", has often been referred to as the "Koran in Persian" and it stands in direct contrast to interpretations of Islam which give rise to terrorism and ideologies of political dominance.

The anthology offers an alternative to those who believe in non-violent Islam in the face of terrorist 'jihadism', allowing them to merge with the spirit of the nature, the beauty of love and free faith. God is the ultimate goal - and appreciation of his creation is the path.


2. "The End of the Gods: The Myth of Ragnarok"; Written by A.S. Byatt; Published by Penguin Books; Priced at Rs.399

The story of Ragnarok plays out the endgame of Norse mythology on the destruction of life on this planet - and the end of the gods themselves. As the bombs rain down on the battle of Britain, one young girl evacuated to the countryside.

She is struggling to make sense of her new wartime life. Then she is given a copy of the "Asgard and the Gods" - a book of ancient Norse myths - and her inner and outer worlds are transformed.


3. "The Ineligible Bachelors"; Written by Ruchita Mishra; Published by Rupa & Co; Priced at Rs.195

Kasturi Shukla is a fresh MBA graduate with a new job in hand. She is also geeky and single at the age of 24. The biggest itch is Kasturi's marriage-obsessed mother who wants to get her married at the earliest.

Does Kasturi find love in the world of IIT-IIM or in the Greek god incarnate that her boss is? With office buddies by her side, she embarks on a funny journey to find Mr Right.


4. "The Whole Being: A Journey Towards Harmony & Happiness"; Written by Rishi Kumar Mishra; Published by Rupa & Co; Priced at Rs.495

Fragmentation is the cause of all confusion and conflict - and ultimately of human unhappiness. Despite our familiarity, in the modern world with a state of fragmentation, a deeper impact in us seeks wholeness and hence much thought, debate and discussion occurs around the subject.

The book - a long philosophical essay - explores ways to arrest the fragmentation process to bring out the whole of being.


5. Book: "Wisden On India: An Anthology"; Edited by Jonathan Rice; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs.599

Compiled by writer and cricket lover Jonathan Rice, the anthology charts the progress of India through the pages of Wisden Cricketer's Almanac.

Using match reports, articles, notes, obituaries and illustrations - it brings the extraordinary teams and their equally extraordinary nation to life. It mines over 100 years of the Almanac's eloquence and eye for detail, and paints a vibrant portrait of India.

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