Book Review #47: When Life Turns Turtle

Name: When Life Turns Turtle–Journey of a Bollywood Tramp
Author: Raj Supe
No. of Pages: 468
Genre: Spirituality-Based Fiction
Publisher: Platinum Press (An Imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)
Price: Rs. 399/-
Published in: 2016

How did I get it? From the publisher.

Raj Supe’s fluent narrative and genuine search for truth will bring him many readers.~ Ruskin Bond

Indraneel is a young and successful film-maker, an alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In an intoxicating relationship with a young and beautiful aspiring actress, his next film is being hailed as a blockbuster. Things couldn’t be going any better. Suddenly, without warning, Indraneel’s life overturns. Hurt floods his heart and soul, seemingly beyond redemption…

He arrives in Rishikesh, a mountain town by the river. The artist within him, as well as the bruised individual, senses the timeless love and solace emanating from the Ganga and the Himalayas, but innumerable whys continue to invade his thoughts. Introduced to Shaman, a bookseller with a difference, and a ‘closet guru’, the deeply sceptical Indraneel is introduced to a bewilderingly new, yet strangely magnetic world of spiritual seeking.

As the seasons pass, as pass they will…Indraneel gradually opens his mind to what he finds around him, delving step by step into the truth about spirituality and human existence. A measure of peace finally descends on his tormented mind.

But the world beckons yet again and Indraneel stands at a crossroads once more. He is asked to make a difficult choice. Will he submit to the strong current of spirituality now flowing within him? Does a spiritual life mean giving up everything else? Can he ever go back to the world? Will he find the happiness he so desperately seeks?

The world that Raj Supe creates is vividly described with a true artiste’s eye for detail. Set in the ‘belief land of Rishikesh’ on the banks of Ganga – ‘perennial river of India’s mystical past’ – his story leads the reader through light and shadow to the goal Indraneel, the protagonist, has set himself – a life of spiritual bliss…Raj serves up a rich repast from which no reader can depart unfulfilled. ~ Benjamin Gilani

RAJ SUPE (aka Kinkar Vishwashreyananda), is a poet, storyteller and novelist. An MBA, he has had a career in advertising, research and creative consulting, before turning to literary and spiritual pursuits. Some of his literary works include the spiritual memoir, Pilgrim of the Sky; the anthology Hundreds of Shells; and translations such as Cloudburst of A Thousand Suns, and the Sahitya Akademi awarded Rainbow at Noon. He has also worked on film scripts and plays. His writings convey the passionate intensity of a seeker and the sincerity of one who hopes for an ideal mix of traditional mythic imagery and the urgencies of modern life. In the words of a leading poet, ‘he has the anonymity of the saint-poet on the one hand and the self-expression of the modern writer on the other’. Raj is Editor of the spirituality e-magazine, The Mother [], as well as the co-founder of Foundation for Contemplation of Nature []. Raj was initiated into the Order founded by Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath and met his Guru in the person of Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja. He now leads a simple life on the banks of the Ganges.


I loved the title and I loved the cover. A red hibiscus in water alongside a pair of wooden chappals, against the backdrop of hills, looked serene and spiritual. The book in my hands looks beautiful too. The plot is well-paced and it keeps you hooked. Unlike most philosophical stories, it is not boring and unnecessarily stretched at all.

The protagonist, Indraneel Barua, a successful film-maker but a unhappy personal life. An ugly divorce followed by a bitter relationship leaves him devastated. His childhood and best friend , Arunodaya, advises him to take a break and visit Rishikesh. Indraneel agrees on an impulse. As he opens up his heart and soul to Rishikesh, he founds peace. The river calms him. The intended short holiday turns into a life-long affair.

For me the beauty of the book lied in the fact that it was spiritual not religious. Even though the way of spirituality in the book is through Hinduism, it was not overbearing. It describes how amidst of nature and its powers, one realizes the true meaning of life. It talked about the philosophy of life through the story of a believable character. A character, Indraneel, who had everything in life that a common man dreams for, fame, success, wealth. Yet he is unhappy. In the pursuit of happiness in the form of love and a partner, he faces heartbreak. Every human has faced failure in some form or the other, and many of us has been devastated by it. The book gives the message that all is not lost and that if we surrender ourselves to the greater power, all will be well.

Overall, it is a calm read.

I give “When Life Turns Turtle” 4 stars on a scale of 5.


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