Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book review :The Steradian Trail

The Streradian Trail by M.N.Krish, makes for an engrossing read ! From the contents of the book ,it appears to be the first novel penned by the author & that is what is indeed admirable.The author who is from IIT has written  for business magazines earlier.

The cover is yellow which goes to yellow brown & towards the top it is brown.Currency symbols are scattered in no particular order on the yellow brown cover.A reddish brown geometric symbol made up of many squares is also featured on the cover.It is just like a bird in flight, with wings spread out.The title of the book is stated on the cover followed by an infinity symbol.It says that that this is book 0 of the infinity cycle ! Follows that, the writer hopes to write infinite books !

This story is about  professor Joshua who is visiting India & as he plans to return to US ,his home ,he is held back for his safety.He starts investigating & is soon  embroiled in a  mystery ! His classmate Lakshman, is his confidant in this mission which has already taken away the life of one of his students.Initially,the duo face no dangers & as the plot progresses,their lives are in danger.

This is also the story of Divya who is knowledge personified &  nothing misses her keen sense of Mathematics. Her friend Veenu helps her with crucial inputs in demystifying the riddle.Do they succeed ? What happens to Joshua & his friend ? Do they remain alive as they dig deeper & deeper ? What is at stake which puts  their life in danger ? This book  is also a tribute to Ramanujan ,the world famous Indian mathematician.

I loved the read,as it is laced with humour.The author uses the tryst with destiny speech of our erstwhile Prime Minister Nehru in a very different context & it makes us guffaw loudly.Another instance is of the monkey menace in the laboratory which makes the reader smile a  lot.The practice of  bestowing honorary doctorates to all & sundry is featured in the book.And it makes a mockery of the people who are scholars This is indeed, a sad state of affairs. Instead,doctorates are generously granted to businessmen,politicians,etal who have no relationship,whatsoever with learning.

The book lists the cultural practices of the brahmins in Chennai with their idiosyncrasies like Sri Ramajayam,their faith in Gods ,their places of pilgrimage,vegetarianism, filter coffee etal. This makes it very delightful .The author seems to be in favour of vegetarianism though he tries hard not to preach it.

Though Mathematics is the subject tackled here,the author keeps it light & hence the book does not get boring or dull.  The description of degree coffee of Kumbhakonam,where Ramanujan's house is makes it very compelling  to visit Kumbhakonam just for tasting  the degree coffee !

The author laments that a museum dedicated to Ramanujan is hardly known to many, even in Chennai & is  all due to the efforts of a school teacher.

The language is simple & the book is divided into small chapters The result is, that I was egged on to finish the chapters as they were small.It is devoid of technicalities of Mathematics & hence interesting.It makes me take pride in the work of Ramanujan.

I would recommend this book to one & all as it is humourous  & has mystery & lots of drama.It informs us that the Ramanujan's theories are being discussed & debated even today so many years after his death ! In India ,we seem to have forgotten him.

I am thankful to Storizen for giving me this opportunity to review this book !

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