Maun Muskaan Ki Maar By Ashutosh Rana

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I have always admired the actor Ashutosh Rana’s conversations in Hindi. His command of the language and his ability to play with the words are impressive. Since he is in a field where words matter a lot it has probably let him hone his skills a lot more. So, I picked up this book when I heard about it on one of his TV appearances. It also popped up on Amazon Prime Reading, so I borrowed the book.

Maun Muskaan ki Maar by Ashutosh Rana

Maun Muskaan Ki Maar is a collection of short stories and anecdotes from the author’s life. Coming from a small town in Bundelkhand, he has that rustic touch both in his language as well as in his thought process. It is this rootedness that he presents through these stories, almost nostalgically.

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Rana displays an in-depth knowledge of Indian scriptures with his analogies often using the devatas to explain a rather contemporary situation. In a story about a man obsessed with having a red-beacon on his vehicle he compares it to the sun given by Indra, and how it is worshipped wherever it goes. In a satire, he says the moon cools us for hours every night but is worshipped on rare occasions because it is not Sun. He tells us that – what you earn with principles is Lakshmi, what you earn without principles is Alakshmi and what you earn with principles and affection is Mahalakshmi – so chase the Mahalakshmi. Loved the way he described Mayapati as one whom May follows and Mayavi as who follows Maya.

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At places, he shares profound wisdom in some nuggets. At one place he says – to be successful in life it is important to have the commitment and resolve but to lead a peaceful life we must look at the options available to us. Most of us so focused on the goals that we forget to look at the options. Another one I liked – To control a well-educated scholar, feed his ego.

Belief

I love his thoughts on Belief. In one story that science is a belief that we can see with open eyes. But, the seed of this blind faith. Was it not the blind faith of the inventor of the airplane that I will fly the whole family on a plane one day? Faith or belief is evidence but blind faith is an action that eventually leads to evidence.

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In another story, he presents a hilarious take on ‘Internet Trolls’ by comparing them with restless souls and how they collaborate with each other. In the story that gives the book its title, his trademark wit talks about killing enemies of all kinds with a silent smile.

Stories are from every day, about people around us, but they always leave you with a nugget of wisdom to chew at leisure.

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Language, Rustic Wit

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book. I read it slowly one story at a time. I enjoyed the language. There is a fair bit of Bundeli sprinkled across. The author’s play of words with philosophy and wisdom wrapped in raw rustic wit and humor engrosses you. However, I must tell you that his best stories are in the beginning. Towards the end, some of them have been not edited so well. Some are just random recalls with not much to say. Of course, compared to his own stories in the beginning. I think these stories could have been left or worked upon a little bit more.

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I have been looking for contemporary literature in Hindi. This book filled that gap for me. Given the popularity of the author, it is bound to reach more readers. I am told it is a bestseller in Hindi. I look forward to his next book Ram Rajya too as and when time permits.

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If you enjoy reading Hindi, read Maun Muskaan Ki Maar.

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