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Ganesha Goes to Lunch: Classics from Mystic India (Mandala Classics) Paperback – March 25, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Mandala Classics
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Mandala Publishing (March 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601091028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601091024
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kamla K. Kapur (aka Kamal Kapur) was born and raised in India, and is a citizen of the United States. She got her Bachelor's in English Honors from India, and her Masters' Degree in literature from Kent State University, Ohio,USA. She also took classes in creative writing from the University of Iowa, and the University of California in San Diego. During her time in the USA, many of her poems were published in prestigious American journals and quarterlies.

She returned to India (1974-78), was a freelance writer for The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, and The Tribune, and taught English Literature at Delhi University. Her poetry and short stories were published in the original English and in Hindi and Punjabi translation in journals and magazines. In 1977, she won two prestigious Indian National Awards, The Sultan Padamsee Award for Playwriting in English. Her full length play, The Curlew's Cry, a bi-lingual play, was produced by Yatrik, New Delhi. A Punjabi translation of her play, Clytemnestra was produced by The Company in Chandigarh. Her award-winning Zanana, was produced at the National School of Drama, New Delhi. Seven of her plays were published in Enact, New Delhi.

Since 1985, Ms Kapur has been commuting between the USA and India. Her full length plays, Hamlet's Father, Kepler Dreams, and Clytemnestra were showcased at the Marin Shakespeare Festival in San Francisco, Gas Lamp Quarter Theatre in San Diego, and Dramatic Risks Theatre Group in New York, respectively. She was selected by the New Mexico Arts Division as the Playwright in Residence for two years. Five of her short stories have been published in Parabola (New York) and two in the anthology,The Inner Journey: Views from the Hindu Tradition (2007). She has recently completed her first novel, The Autobiography of Saint Padma the Whore, a chapter of which was published by in Our Feet Walk The Sky (Aunt Lute Press, Berkeley, California, USA), and a fantasy novel, Malini in Whirlwood.

Ms. Kapur has published two books of poetry: the critically acclaimed, As A Fountain In A Garden (Tarang Press.Del Mar,CA,USA-Hemkunt Publishers Private, Ltd., India, 2005) and Radha Sings (Rolling Drum and Dark Child Press, USA, 1987). Her poetry has also appeared in Yellow Silk (Berkeley, California), Journal of Literature and Aesthetics (Kerala), and the anthology, Our Feet Walk The Sky (Aunt Lute Press, Berkeley, California, USA).

Ms. Kapur was on the faculty of Grossmont College in San Diego, California for 18 years and taught creative writing courses in play writing, poetry, creative non-fiction, fiction, and courses in mythology, Shakespeare, and Women's Literature. She lives half the year in a remote Kullu Valley in the Himalayas and the other half in California, with her husband Payson R. Stevens.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ganesha Goes to Lunch by Kamla K. Kapur is a collection of twenty four stories drawn from the oral tradition of mythical tales in India. The stories are retold in contemporary language, and maintain the essential structure and characteristics of the folklores. Kamla's choice of stories ranges from tales about why Ganesha has elephant's trunk, to the marriage of Shiv-Parvati to the creation of Brahma and universe. The story of the friendship of Sudama and Krishna is retold as is the tale of Vishwamitra-Vashisht rivalry.

The Bharatiya (Indian) tradition thrives on stories passed on from generation to generation. Each generation adds its own experience to knowledge and reinterprets the understanding passed to them. The Hindu myths by their very nature don't have absolutes. They represent Gods or men trapped in their vices, roused or limited by their virtues, acting in response to the demands that existence as humans on earth demands from us. The attempt is to create examples as prototypes to deal with contradictions and complexities that daily strife, be it in war, peace, family matters, need, greed, valor, and amorous desires lead us to. This had lead to several epics about avataars or incarnations, and as humans Gods lead exemplary lives, faulting at times, and suffering for them. In Kamla's collection, the gems from the boundless sea of folklore are picked, polished and repackaged to lure Western audiences as well as those Indian readers who have learned most from English education and English Literature.

The book has a number of pictures and illustrations, which allow a non-Indian reader to visualize the God or character in question. We Indians grow up with these tales, and somehow we imbibe their lessons into our being without realizing when or how.
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Ms. Kapur has done a fantastic job collecting and re-telling these tales from classic India. Her writing is beautiful and engaging and magnificently profound. I recently got this book and read a tale or two each day on my commute to and from work, and while I thoroughly enjoy Ms. Kapur's writing I really enjoy the reflection afterwards on the meanings of the tales and what they mean to my life within this universe. As with all of the very best writing, it engages the soul long after reading it.
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Ganesha Goes to Lunch is a grand mix-up of Gods and mortals... all doing the best they can considering the limitations (and non-limitations) of their realities. The treat is that we are afforded a front row seat and, while enjoying ourselves all the while, suddenly discover that teachings of profound wisdom have somehow been assimilated.

A wonderful and imaginative journey with the power to inform, inspire and - ultimately transform the reader. Thank you, Kamla Kapur for the (wild elephant) ride!
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A friend recommended this book as an introduction to Hinduism and I absolutely love it! Each chapter is a different story, and it's very informative about the Hindu Gods. There are so many morals and the author has a beautiful style of writing. Definitely recommend!
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Ganesha Goes To Lunch is such a beautifully written piece of work that captures the lush and mystical world of ancient India through it's classic tales of the Gods and Goddesses of Hindu religion. Having studied many of the various stories and texts from India I found Ms Kapur's retelling of these tales to be full of life and immediacy, wisdom and magic, and easily accessible for anyone either beginning to learn about eastern cultures or those that know the stories and just want to revisit them in a new and fresh way.

Her writing is clear and fragrant as fresh jasmine growing along the Ganges on a spring morning. Highly Recommend!!

DJ Martin - Mission Enlightenment Foundation
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To find a lasting happiness, I have examined the human condition in all its aspects. I found this pleasant, yet powerfully profound book to be in the pantheon of the thousands of volumes that I have been blessed to read. I was daunted in my investigation of Hindu thought by the immensity of it's cosmology. This charming book took me by the hand, as a child would, and led me to the family table to partake of the feast. Enjoy.

M
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I love reading this book. I'm reading it for the second time now and I'm loving it just as much as the first time. When I close the book at night after reading a story or two, I go to sleep with a smile on my face and a happy feeling in my heart. I really, really love this book! Thanks!
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It is no surprise to me that nearly all reviewers have rated this beautiful little book with all the stars possible. Not being a student of the huge panoply of Hindu characters I found this a delightful, fascinating and never overwhelming way of being introduced to a small fraction of the myths and characters which make up the richness of the HIndu tradition. Kamla's collaboration with a tremendously talented illustrator just intensifies the pleasure in exploring these stories.

Having met the author both in California and Himachal Pradesh northern India and gotten a sense of her character I am not at all surprised that she has captured so well the significance as well as the humor contained in these stories, which originally were told to her by her own parents. Although her own religious background is Sikhism (a wonderful expression of which is found in her more recent book The Singing Guru) she has shown an impressive breadth in tackling the Hindu Ganesha's stories as well as the Sufi tradition in her earlier book Rumi's Tales from the Silk Road." I highly recommend them all and hope that she is encouraged to continue her path of exploring other subjects in this clear and engaging way.
"
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