The Calling

I have always been drawn towards inspirational reads but I shy away from picking books of the-callingthis genre because they are usually preachy and fail to keep me hooked for long.

When I chanced upon The Calling: Unleash Your True Self one look at the blurb and my attention was hooked onto the fact that I had gone through a similar crisis in my personal life as the protagonist. Since the book promised a spiritual soujourn through a fictional plot, I was rather excited to read it.

The blurb on the back of the book reads:

The Calling is a spiritual adventure. It is an encounter with the truth, the wisdom and the force that is innate to us all.

At the brink of a divorce and personal breakdown, Arjun took a trip into the heart of the Himalayas, on the insistence of a sadhu, who predicted that the journey up to Hemkund Sahib would align him to his purpose and change his life forever.

At every turn the mountains holds secrets and tests that urge Arjun to evolve into the person he had denied to be – himself. Pretenses, falsities, confusions and untruths fall apart as Arjun is forced to confront the mess he had created in his life.

What started off as an opportunity to escape reality, turned out to be an opportunity to escape from the dwindling spiral of self-created misery. Filled with spiritual insights and sprinkled with light humor, this story will help you find your calling, your voice and who knows, even your true self.

My Review: 

The cover of the book highlights a man in a suit looking perturbed as he is standing facing the snow-capped Himalayas. The glass wall of the corporate world hints at his troubled work life, his stressed state is a testament of his personal woes and the ice blue skies, painting a rather cold picture hint at the peaceful search of peach and enlightenment as the Himalayas are famous to be home for those seeking salvage from falsities of life on the road of self-discovery.

The title of the book does full justice to the plot and inspires the reader to seek  an answer or two about his own purpose of life. I was particularly drawn by the author’s dedication of the book to Sonu Nigam whom she refers to as her inspiration.

The book starts on the note where Arjun, the protagonist, troubled by his wrecked personal and professional life is driving through the serpentine tracks of Delhi-Shimla highway flustered by the series of events that have landed him on the verge of a divorce and a plummeting career. The book takes off on an emotional high drawing the reader by the striking resemblance to the stressful life of the protagonist to that many of us lead.

“The world will change. But why did you change by becoming frustrated with the world’s doing what it is supposed to do- change? Let the world change, but don’t let your state of positivity change. Let the world change, but dont let your state of certainity change to doubt because you dont like that change. Let the world change, but don’t let your happiness change in accordance with the apparent despair the world projects onto you. If you hold on to your state of understanding and power and render that unchanged, then by the sheer stability of certainity you will change the world.”

The nuggets of wisdom scattered all along Arjun’s journey to the Hemkund Sahib to unravel a purple thread, add to the drive to keep reading without taking a break. Though soon enough, I could feel a faint resemblance of this courageous journey of seeking answers and redemption to the plot of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma and also that of the old TV show aired on Doordarshan when I was a baby “Kab Tak Pukaroon”. 

The call of the Himalayas, the yearning of self-discovery, the pursuit of seeking answers to the Whys plaguing Arjun’s existence take the story further but gradually fizzle out the steam that made me feel the book was unputdownable in the start.

I quite liked the many points of introspection that inspire Arjun to revisit and reflect upon his life and the subtle jabs of humor in the interactions between Arjun and Chandu that help to lighten the air as you tread along. The argument on how disagreements hold the arguing people together and that only kindness can help them find a common ground hits home for me.

However, the good in the book ends at that for me.

I failed to be lured by the sketches of the Sadhus painted by the author because somehow the emphasis was more on their physical appearances than on their spiritual wisdom. There is no denying that the tests put forth by the (second) Sadhu were powerful lessons that make perfect sense for everyone. However, the protagonist comes across as rather unprepared to learn anything new from his experiences. The frequency with which Arjun bounces back to his negative thoughts, is suspicious about everything around him even when he’d been touched by divinity (with near death encounters more than once) make for a weak plot.

“You are known by what you do about where you are. If you want to know the power of an individual, see what he does with his space, the world that he owns, his home, his family, his work and his area of influence. The circle he draws around him marks his sphere of control and responsibility. The condition, the progress, the destiny of the space assigned to you  is in your hands.”

The encounter with the third Sadhu only added to make the plot duller, coming across as an attempt to prolong the narrative. Much ado about the Sadhna stone made me lose interest despite my love for the spiritual insights which were few and far between. The ending was rather rushed and could have been better if the author hadn’t schemed it on a rather filmy ending.

The language is simple, narration lucid with an imaginative presentation of a person’s pursuit of freeing himself from the shackles of self-created misery to meet face to face with his calling.

If you love reading breezy fiction and would enjoy an interjection of inspiration that guides you towards unleashing your true self, this book is just for you.

About the Book:

Title –  The Calling: Unleash Your True Self

Author – Priya Kumar

Publisher – Books That Inspire

Genre – Inspiration/ Fiction

Pages – 166

Price – INR 299

ISBN – 978-93-5258-970-8

About the Author: 

Priya Kumar is the author of the national best seller, “I Am Another You”, Priya Kumar’s books have won six international awards. She is an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, who has inspired over a million people across the globe toward peak performance through her Personal Breakthrough Workshops. Her writing, like her speaking, is an extension of her purpose-to make people’s lives better.

Rating: 3/5

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