Week One: The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi.

Short Mein Bole Toh: The book felt like I’m lost on Wikipedia, clicking article after article through links and inter links; finally forgetting what the original point was.
If you’ve time then read the rest of my opinion of the book.
Desi Dan Brown. Long stories. Great research. Funny. Don’t read.
Those were some of the reactions I received when I announced that I was planning to read Ashwin Sanghi’s The Rozabal Line.
Let’s rewind a bit. I got the three books by Sanghi a little after Diwali last year just to see what was it that people were talking about! Itna hype kyun?! Then I wondered if I should read Krishna Key or Chanakya’s Chant or The Rozabal Line first. I decided to read his first novel for two simple reasons:
  1. Hmm.. this book takes up the missing years of Christ and brings him to India. That’s new, should try this book.
  2. Too much overdose about Krishna and Mahabharat; and I know literally nothing about Chanakya. So why not read about Jesus, who has been written about so widely that there is nothing new to say!

Boy was I wrong. Thanks to a misrepresented assignment in my first year of BMM, a classmate had said to the class that Jesus was in India and we had laughed. The professor included. What she said that day, came from the book Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten, I suppose. Every time I was reading a new line, I was reminded of something from her assignment. Obviously, that’s where Sanghi’s story was inspired from as well. 
As for nothing new being there to say, let’s just say that I lost it when the book said Mary Magdalene was from Magadh. If that’s new, I think we should totally throw the term “new” out. There’s a thin line of difference between new interesting and new ridiculous.
The book is gripping but shifts between periods in history and myth too rapidly for my taste. I barely understood what happened to someone in Jerusalem during Christ’s crucifixion that I was thrown into present time Afghanistan or London. Characters going into past life, discovering secrets of mankind, Dead Sea scrolls, Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, Vatican City, the Sossoons (Same Jewish family of David Sassoon I suppose) in England etc. are thrown into one huge cauldron expecting a broth that is delicious simply because it has all the rich ingredients.
What it ends up as: Parmesan cheese grated on top of rasamrice. It may work for you, but certainly not for me!
A book with a typo on the back cover?
(Violent as voilent)
After a while, the book got so tedious that I started counting the number of typos and errors in the book. Needless to say, there are many! (See my book copy’s picture) However, that wasn’t what irked me the most. 
The simplification of the concept of Karma, is a little too stretched in the book. (Bookhad explains this better by using math language/sign/symbols I will never understand. Link at the end of the review.) Someone was treated so and so in a previous life and hence in this life will be with that person with good taking over or justice being served or whatever. I couldn’t care less because it was just too convenient as a plot device.
All said and done, I have to acknowledge Sanghi’s thorough research. The book is sprinkled with Greek, Latin, Hebrew phrases along with countless obscure references to texts and events around the planet. All of which is true and credible. Then again, I started to imagine the author sitting with a huge white board and Encyclopedia/History of the World open with Wikipedia open on the laptop and drawing a link between random events.
All in all, this wasn’t the best book to start neither the year nor my challenge with. But it’s done now. Needless to say, I am not going anywhere near the other two books any time soon. I’d rather sit and read C. Rajagopalachari’s Mahabharat again. It’s complex, but not as farfetched.
Who should read: If you love Dan Brown novels and want to see a desi rip off. Possess immense patience and want to try an Indian author of popular fiction who is not named Chetan Bhagat.
Who Should not read: If you’re like me. You demand a good book! And /Or are sad to see a plot line with good potential go waste.

If you want a proper review of the book and not the opinion of a crazed 22-year-old book lover then you can read it here on BookHad.
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3 thoughts on “Week One: The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi.

  1. Damn…I read Chanakya's chant last year….mostly because I am fascinated by that era and well Chanakya. But it had been a huge disappointment. Well….this one is similar I guess.

    Like

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