Rajeshwari Chauhan
  

 Daniel's Diary

 Blurb

When Mrinalini, an art restoration expert, ventures into the ruins of Rang-Mahal and the Palace of Sumangarh, an accidental discovery of a skeleton and a manuscript detailing the exploits of Daniel, a Portuguese artist, opens a window to the forgotten era of grace and grandeur. The blossoming of love between a Moghul Emperor and a Rajput princess, is seen through the eyes of a foreign traveller, who himself falls in love with Jodhabai.

The plot revolves around Daniel’s quest for beauty and passion, the ecstasy and agony of love. He marries the famous courtesan Mahamaya only to lose her. It also draws a modern day parallel in the life of Mrinalini, a woman who seeks refuge in artistic pursuits and architectural ruins when relationships in life confuse her.

Will she and Surajsinh be able to decode the clues left behind by Daniel? Will the curse of centuries-old unfulfilled love break into a happy ending for Mrinalini?

 Reviews

Ketan Mehta - Veteran Film Maker, Director, and Poet of the Silver Screen

 A delightful tale of discovery and passion…

       A delightful tale of discovery and passion, finely etched characters, careful detailing of ambiance and atmosphere, nuanced play of emotions.

Daniel's Diary is a fascinating debut novel by Rajeshwari chauhan.

 

Prof. Batukdas Nimawat - Writer/Professor

 A whiff of fresh air… 

       Daniel's Diary by Rajeshwari Chauhan comes as a whiff of fresh air. Recently there has been a trend of novel writing confined to college, university campuses. Chetan Bhagat started this trend that nosedived to almost petty kind of writing. As W H Hudson put it novel is the most handy form that anyone can attempt. To write a novel is one thing but to a good one is another. It depends on the choice of the subject. Aristotle emphasized on the choice of plot. Trivial plots inevitably results into third rate works.

On the outset, Rajeshwari deserves congratulation for choosing an interesting plot with elements of human emotions in the backdrop of history. Her knowledge of painting and art comes handy while she portrays Daniel's character who is a great artist .Mrinalini is a modern day art restoration expert who comes to Sumangarh for art restoration work. She meets here Surajsingh an MD of Discover India in disguise of a driver. In fact it is he who reads out Daniel's Diary to Mrinalini. He is a versatile man who wins Mrinalini's heart. Her stay in Sumangarh is like an experience of fairy world. She finds herself surrounded by mystery beauty grace grandeur and also snobbery of the royal life. Mrinalini is a bold modern girl who loves rich traditions of the past but detests hypocrisy and snobbery. Arrow, Suzan and Mrs Chopra are the examples of the Victorian snobbery that still exists in urban society. They pretend to know about subtleties of art but in reality they mimic so called connoisseurs of art. Everything about them is shallow and fake.
 
The novel has three layers-Akbar Jodhabai love story, Daniel Mahamaya union and Mahamaya's death and the present day Surajsingh - Mrinalini affair. Akbar's greatness as a ruler and lover comes alive. His secular outlook and love for music and art have been immortalized. Akbar as a lover suffers valiantly. He waits for five long years to receive Jodhabai's love. He believes that love must be won through patience and perseverance and not by force or coercion. Akbar had no formal schooling but he had a liberal democratic outlook that modern day politicians need badly. Rajeshwari deserves huge applause for presenting Mogul era under Akbar in a true secular light. It is unfortunate that history is often distorted and tarnished by bigotry and intolerant politicking.
 
The novel provides rich panorama of art music dance sculpture and architecture. The author's expertise in them makes the novel a rewarding reading. Daniel is a Portuguese artist whose sister marries Akbar and he enjoys proximity to the emperor and his harem. Daniel is enthralled by divine beauty of the Rajput princess. His love for Jodhabai is truly poetic and Platonic. His is a formidable character marked by bravery sharp wit intelligence and keen sense of perception. His love for courtesan dancer Mahamaya is consummated but she is killed on his first night of their union. He is imprisoned on the false charge of murdering Mahamaya. His diary reveals the mystery that surrounded the death of Mahamaya.
 
There are several minor characters that endear themselves-Dadasaheb, Bubbles, Chhimiya and so on. Chhimiya represents independent spirit without the label of a feminist. This drives home the truth that woman's liberation ultimately lies within her own mind.
 
The narrative power of the author is quite gripping. Her description of landscape persons and painting is truly vivid. The plus point of her writing is the strength of her research and detailing. Another facet that impressed me is her rich vocabulary sound symbolism and keen sense of humour. We hope for more creative upsurge in days to come. She is a writer with a mission and a sense of purpose. Literature or any art without purpose does not live long. Even art for art's sake has a purpose - the art. I congratulate Rajeshwari for her contribution to the world of art.
 
I make no tall claims but as a lover of literature and professor who taught literature all his life, I have found the novel a truly satisfying endeavour. 
 
 

Dr. Amit Nagpal - Author/Scholar, Brand Story telling Coach

 I would love to prescribe Daniel's Diary as a must read to my brand storytelling coaching clients…

       When words begin to dance in your front in form of pictures, the storyteller must be telling a great story. I have read Daniel’s Diary with intense interest, suspense and at times erupted into a loud laughter. The two love stories woven together make it all the more interesting. 

The narrative is strong from the very beginning, but it takes a few pages before one becomes clear of the plot and then one begins to get emotionally involved and absorbed. A great story must have twist and suspense and Daniel’s diary has both. The detailed narrative about paintings and architecture will specially appeal art lovers and creatives. The culture of Akbar’s times has also been sculpted into words beautifully. The elements of romance, humour, suspense, thrill/adventure are woven throughout the story. The life of kings and royalty post-independence has also been nicely portrayed. If Akbar’s character is sheer inspiration, Suzan invites hatred and comes out as a perfect villain. If Bubble adds to the bubbliness of the story, Dadasaheb adds to the grace of the story. Jodhabai’s character comes out very well and evokes a mix of sympathy (initially) and anger later, due to her stubbornness. Later of course both the tales get twisted. The poetry in the second half, and treasure hunt add to the intense drama. Mary and Daniel bring a new dimension of a foreign culture and Daniel himself is an important character in the story for various reasons. Different people connect with different characters for personal reasons and I have found Mrinalini the most touching. She is a good human being, a professional and is yet frail in her own ways. Sometimes she is clumsy and even silly, but that’s what human beings are, a bundle of contradictions. The story also has a mix of education (the Navratnas/nine jewels of Akbar), interesting historical facts, war and bloodshed, drama and melodrama…..and portrayed so well that it comes live right in front of your eyes. There is an element of tragedy in the romance too initially, but all is well that ends well. And the novel has a beautiful ending.
 
I would love to prescribe Daniel’s Diary as a must read text to my brand storytelling coaching clients.
 
 

Madhumita Ghosh - Writer/poet

 A book based on India's rich heritage, Daniel's Diary will appeal to readers both in India and abroad…

       A book I received as an unexpected gift, Daniel’s Diary, turned out to be an enjoyable read. Rajeshwari Chauhan, a young author, an experienced script and content writer, shows great penmanship and future promise. A story that unites the past with the present, history with art, it is a romance and a thriller at the same time. It is a tale of passion and mystery, exotic in the backdrop of the golden days of the Mughal king, Akbar the Great, the narrative coming back effortlessly to the present times.

The two stories narrated parallel in the book, are woven together with great ease and style. The story, with credible and convincing characterization, has an interesting plot with interesting twists and turns.
 
A book based on India’s rich heritage, Daniel’s Diary will appeal to readers both in India and abroad.
 
 

Pummy Sharma - Writer/Poet

 The author has given birth to a modern day classic by writing this amazing book…  

       The book (Daniel’s Diary) deals with two love stories: one set in history and the other is modern day love stories. The book has a lot to offer rather just being a love story. For me, reading this book was sojourn from boring daily life. Unlike the popular genres of romance novels, the book has chosen its own path. The historical love story is described in minute detail with splendor. At times it feels that you were present at the time when the story was taking place. One comes to know a lot about the traditions and customs of Mughal era. 
The book also deals with the story of a modern day girl, Mrinalini, an energetic girl with high dreams and pleasing personality. 
 
The author is hundred percent successful in recreating the Mughal era in this book. It was nice to know about the gallantry of Rajputs. At times it feels that you are watching a movie. The characters are fully alive and not merely caricatures. There are characters for whom you really care and you feel bad when something wrong happens to them. I particularly liked the love story that blossomed between Daniel and Mahamaya. And there is a wonderful exchange of couplets between both of them. 
 
The modern day love story between Mrinalini and Surajsinh is beautifully woven. First, there was a friction in talks between both of them. But as the story rolls ahead, this fiction turns into affection. 
As the story reaches towards the climax one may literally start biting his nails, though the whole book is full of suspense. And the suspense is not created by using old clichés; in fact the book is full of originality. Though every book has some faults in it but I was not able to find any fault in this book. 
I would recommend this book to every reader, though I specially want the young readers to read this book. I am sure the author has given birth to modern day classic by writing this amazing book.
 
 

Sudarshan Kcherry - Publisher/Scholar, M.D., Authors Press

 Heady Concoction of Art, Mystery and Romance...     

       Art, mystery and romance combine to form together a heady concoction in Daniel’s Diary, a tale which would resonate with those who like their fiction not only fast-paced, but with those who take a keen interest in arts and aesthetics. Mrinalini, a young, talented art curator is summoned down to the Palace of Sumangarh in order to restore some old paintings. The charm of Rajput culture meets an intriguing mystery as Mrinalini is drawn into the riddle of an old diary, all the while resisting the charms of the mysterious  chauffeur, Surajsinh.

For those who like their mystery stories to be interspersed with romance and artistic references, this is a must-read.

 

Khushi Gupta - Writer

 Intriguing and engrossing - Kind of novel I have never read before... 

       Love stories, painted with colors of history and suspense are a rarity. Rajeshwari Chauhan, in her novel “Daniel’s Diary” has made just the perfect painting of the type!

Daniel’s Diary is the kind of novel I have never read before. Intriguing and engrossing as the book is, Rajeshwari Chauhan has made sure that her readers don’t feel bored while reading the novel. Yes- It is that interesting. Narrated in an impeccable way, you would find it hard to let go until you reach the last page.

The characters are portrayed in a manner so good that they seem to be talking to you themselves. Mrinalini, an animal spirited girl, works for an organization that is famous for renovation of medieval paintings. She ends up restoring paintings at a Palace at Sumangarh. There she meets Arvindsinh, the owner of the palace; Surajsinh, the chauffer; Suzan, Arvindsinh’s friend; Laxmansinh, Arvindsinh’s paternal uncle and Bubbles, along with many other people. The story is about how the protagonists go for a treasure hunt, getting their clues from Daniel’s Diary named ‘Safina’. ‘Safina’ was the biography of a Portuguese traveler- Daniel D’Souza, who had come to India with his sister Mary in 1566 AD. Emperor Akbar referred to Daniel as Dinyaal Shah. He made him the head of the ‘Mussawar- Khana’. His diary would sail you to the sixteenth century India, crossing the sea when Akbar ruled, his personal life and many other things I won’t disclose right now.
 
History has always been boring to me and when I heard that the novel has history in it, I thought it’s going to bore me and nothing else. But now, after reading the novel, I realize how much I would have regretted not reading such a good book. An easy read, as you proceed with the story, you’d find your mind playing a movie with all the characters seeming just real.
 
This is the kind of novel, I felt upset after completing because somewhere in my heart, I just wanted it to go on and on. I wish the author writes a sequel to it. Just the right amalgam of love, satire, emotions, suspense and everything. A book I didn’t regret. A book you won’t regret. So, Readers, if you’re looking to read something different than the present day romance, go for it. I bet you won’t be disappointed. A book worth reading!
 
I wish the author heartiest congratulations on the book and the best of luck.
 
 

Sadia Riaz Sehole - Scholar/writer, Lahore - Pakistan

 Synesthesia and ventriloquism at its peak… 

       It is such a delight to digitize my review of Daniel’s Diary and clique it for its readers. As I flipped through the pages of the book, I realized a film playing in my head. Everything seemed too real, as it was happening to me. The emotions, the feelings, they seemed intense as they were when the events actually happened.
 
Turning one page after another led me to a dimly lit room with silence as a component of the atmosphere/setting of the novel. The easel stood in the centre. A black canvas was propped upon it. The artist (narrator) with a brush (pen) in hand gazed at it, as if lost in the very thought of painting perfectly the closely knitted trajectory of ‘star crossed’ lovers namely, Akbar-Jodha, Daniel-Maya and Surajsinh-Mrinalin.
 
The setting and the story took me into its trance and I wake up from somnambulance long after I finished its reading. Mrinalini is set forth by ‘Revival’ organization to restore medieval paintings those will later be displayed in the hotel of Arrow and his vocal wife, Suzan. Her curious nature leads her to unravel the history and mystery of Maya’s murder and Daniel’s forlorn death in dungeon through Daniel’s diary, “Safina” found at Rang-mahal.
 
A pendulum of narration oscillating between past and present takes its readers from Purtugal to Goa, Agra to Sumangarh. The story has a ideal blend of romance, thriller and suspense. The spontaneous use of Verses lends the book a lyrical quality. It is a literally enriching piece of writing appealing to all human senses through a remarkable use of painting, poetry and history.
 
Lives at micro scale seem interwoven with history at macro level. Synasthesia and ventriloquism appears to be at its peak in Daniel’s Diary. Use of untranslated words and expressions from native and non-native languages, and cultural enriched continental setting gives it an indigenous as well as a universal flavor.
 
The book to me is the author’s requiem and a lover’s dream; a heart’s passion and a paramour’s affection; obstreperous yet serene and innocuous yet phantasm, in essence it is efflorescent. I wind up by congratulating the author of the book for the uphill task that has been accomplished through Daniel’s Diary.
 
To overlook the book that over took me as its reader would be out of question. Happy Reading! 
 
 

Dr Sasiprabha Ps - Writer/Poet

 An admirable job in portraying purely Indian situation keeping the soul of English intact!   

       A writer succeeds in the true sense when his / her imagination conquers the sense of reality of the readers, dragging them to another world, another time period or another level of emotions which they havnt ever thought of and leave them there for a while! Congratulations to Rajeshwari Chauhan, author of Daniel's Diary for this is exactly what she has done ! Now a days rarely an Indian book do justice to the language called English, giving the reason that the story and situations are Indian and so we can do anything with the language in name of 'Indianisation'... Here the author has done an admirable job in portraying purely Indian situations keeping the soul of language intact! 
 
Perfect flow of story, well edited, altogether feeding both the emotional & intellectual aspects of the reader, who longs for a standard and different reading, to the fullest! A book that stands out with its head holding high in a market flooded with so called romantic chick-lits!
 
All the very bests to the author and waiting for her next masterpiece!
 
 

Meenu Mehrotra - Writer

 In a market swarmed recently with low grade fiction, Daniel’s Diary stands tall for its maturity and quality of narrative, structure and story…   

       There are a few books that you read, knowing what you are about to discover- you have heard about them from friends, know what they are about and expect a certain level of depth, amusement, and knowledge and then there are some you accidentally discover- enjoy, relish & the ones that leave  a lingering after taste of sweetness… Daniel’s diary is one of those.
 
Written by Rajeshwari Chauhan, Daniel’s Diary is a twisted tale of love, intrigue & passion told primarily through the eyes of Daniel. Crafted as parallel plots which are juxtaposed delicately & brilliantly, the story reveals the endeavors of Mrinalini who, ignited by the reading of an old diary written by Daniel ages ago, undertakes to resolve the mystery that lies trapped in its pages.
 
“I believe in following Chanakya’s philosophy of Bhakti, Yukti, Shakti & Mukti. First, try to get what you want with a request…that is Bhakti. If that fails, use crafty means and other strategic ways, that is Yukti. Then try using your power & connections…that means Shakti. If you fail even after using these three, you give up trying, and that’s called Mukti.” These lines more or less contain the soul of the book and highlight the determination and perseverance of a human being in search of his goals which is the cardinal theme of the book.
 
The Mrinalini- Surajsinh restoration work plot is weaved well with the Akbar- Jodhabai love drama and lends a delightful respite and relief as the stories alternate between this dual narrative structure. The shifts are seamless and the peep into different worlds keeps the reader hooked and on the edge.
 
The use of unusual & vivid metaphors & couplets add brighter shades to the tapestry of the narrative. 
Rajeshwari Chauhan leaves no stone unturned to bring alive the Mughal era right in front of the reader’s eyes and plays it like a movie. The author takes us inside to the court of Akbar’s Diwan-E-Aam -Emperor’s public hearings & gathering to Diwan-e-khas- his personal court to the world of Tansen-  to the hunting expeditions, to the very private Zenana- palace for ladies, to the lanes of Mewad, Agra, Chittod, to the bloody battlefields  to Dadasaheb’s haveli ,and  to the mesmerizing world of  Mahamaya & Rang Mahal where Daniel finally finds & loses himself .
Rajeshwari’s attention to intricate details transports you back in time and lights up the story with a paranormal translucence. It makes you want to stay there and soak the splendor & magic of a bygone era, which is exhibited with all its extravagance.  Interlaced with the modern times and restoration of the palace, the writer spins a compelling tale of mystery, lost love & pain.
 
The book though starts off at a crawling pace and before you begin to wonder, it surprises you; changes gear and picks up pace after chapter 5 and gallops wonderfully. Although the book is 368 pages long, it reads easily & flows smoothly from thereon. The use of couplets reminiscent of the Urdu poetry used lavishly in the Mughal era adds a rare richness to the narrative and makes for a fascinating read.
 
Although I would have loved to see more monologues of the main characters, the narrative does attempt to make up for the deficiency through generous action. The story is not as much character driven as plot driven but Daniel’s character etches out like a slow carving of a sculpture- hazy & formless to begin with and finely chiseled in the end.
 
In a market swarmed recently with low grade fiction and mostly immature love tales full of objectionable stuff written by young, so called first time authors, Daniel’s Diary stands tall for its maturity & quality of narrative, structure & story.
 
 

Ashwina Garg - Writer

 The author has taken great pains to make sure that each and every aspect of the novel is perfect…

       I have to confess. I don't like doing reviews. I know how hard it is to write a book and I don't like being critical about the efforts of other writers. Luckily, this book held my attention from the first page to the last and I didn't have a problem reviewing it.

The cover is lovely and immediately grabs your attention. The jade dagger, compass and mysterious ruins depicted on the cover give the impression that this book might involve a mystery and it does. 
 
Mrinalini is an art restoration expert and she visits the Palace of Sumangarh to help Arvindsinh, the owner, restore a few paintings so that he can convert the Palace into a heritage hotel. In due course, she finds the skeletal remains and diary of a Portuguese artist, Daniel, who apparently lived during Akbar's rule. 
 
Half the book deals with the life of Daniel, his stories about the court of Akbar and also the unfortunate twists and turns that his life take that lead to the mysterious death of the love of his life. The other half of the book is based in the present day and follows Mrinalini and the escapades of the royal folk of Sumangarh that leads to a dizzying climax where a centuries old puzzle gets solved.
 
The parts about Sumangarh is full of humour with lovely dollops of romance and adventure. I personally felt the part of Daniel's diary that outlines the love story between Jodhabai and Akbar was a tad superfluous. Who hasn't seen the 2008 epic film by Ashutosh Gowarikar, Jodhaa Akbar? In fact, the entire time I was reading this part, the image of Hrithik and Aishwarya danced before my eyes and I couldn't shake off the feeling of deja vu. Still, I enjoyed the subtle sensuality between Akbar and Jodha and his gentle wooing of her. I feel this part could have easily been edited so as to reduce the length of the book and make the book more affordable for the average reader. At 295, this is a pricey book and I wished it had been cheaper, but with 370 pages, I guess it's got a lot of bang for the buck. The latter part that described Daniel's love story was more interesting. Mrinalini's search for the truth and the unravelling of the mystery towards the end were the best.
 
Rajeshwari's Daniel's Diary is very well-written and well-researched book. It's obvious that the author has taken great pains to make sure that each aspect of the novel is perfect. There's something for everyone here...romance, humour, poetry, history, mystery, art and many captivating characters. It made me realize that a book does not need sleazy scenes and smutty words to be entertaining and thank you for that. I wish the author, Rajeshwari Chauhan all the best for her future books.

 

Sonal Agrawal - Scholar/Avid reader

 I have fallen in love with it. I read it continuously five times, still feeling like reading it again… 

       Rajeshwari Chauhan, an artist, freelance writer has great potential of creating paintings as well as creative writing. She belongs to Royal family Chhota-Udepur. Her passion for history and conservation of heritage has resulted in wonderful work” Daniel’s diary”. The moment I started reading it, the world around me started melting and I joined Mrinalini in her journey. A superb work, which needs no praise, no criticism as it is like Love, only those can understand its value, who has enjoyed it. It is great combination of suspense, romantic, history, mystery. Many genres in one.

Mrinalini, an art restoration expert, is hired by one royal family, who wants to transform the palace into heritage hotel. During her task of restoring, she stumbles upon a mystery and revelation of it leads Mrinalini back into era of Moghuls, where a foreigner describes love story of Moghul emperor and Rajput princess. The story continues with many ups and downs, many surprises and OMG facts.
“Daniel’s diary” is really a delightful work of literature. After reading many worthless popular fictions, it was really like finding oasis in desert. Beautiful description of lovers’ situations, similar in both eras, Historical as well as modern era. Through characters of Mrinalini, Arrow, Surajsinh and Suzan, Rajeshwari portrays pleasant portrait of emotions of lovers. A must read for those who believe that love can be explained only through unnecessary detailed description of sex. Love can be explained through ‘stolen glances’, ‘foot games under table’, ‘rude behaviour on surface and intense care in deeper’. Something really solacing who wish to read something genuine, something to remember and enjoy, not for time pass. Language is also poetical, it really keeps line between hard and simple language. The beginner reader won’t need dictionary and well-read will enjoy its fluidity.
 
I have fallen in love with it. I read it continuously five times, still feeling like reading it again.
 
 

Shikha Gupta - Writer/Scholar

 You feel like Sherlock Holmes, you feel like a lover longing for the beloved…

       Truly soul-stirring. The words make you feel royal, when you start sailing through it you feel as if you are sitting in a royal palace and travelling through an amazing era, an era of 'mystery', lots and lots of it.
 
Each and every character touches 'each and every chord' of your emotion, be it love, passion, anger, pain and agony. The two stories were so entwined with each other that you cannot detach yourself from any of the character. You feel like Sherlock Holmes, you feel like a lover longing for the beloved, its truly a well-written, well-perceived and well-executed piece of writing. The authoress has presented her part of soul to the readers. 
 
The couplets woven between the story carries immense depth, they reverberate in your senses...
 
Some people prefer tears over wine...
 
Who says that nothing is permanent....
 
 
 
 

Mallika Nawal - Writer/Scholar

 Just when you think you've discovered all, lo and behold – there’s more!  

       What I personally liked about the story was - just when you think it will be a plain-old love story (between Mrinalini and Arrow), as you read further, you realize there's so much more - history, mystery, and a treasure hunt. I also loved the style of writing... which tends to draw the reader in... as the reader becomes part of the adventure.

 Enthralling...the story is like the Matryoshka doll... Just when you think you've discovered all, lo and behold - there's more...
 
 

Arf Khan - Scholar/Avid Reader

 The essence of romance, the flavor of art and the depiction of Indian history snatch rapt attention of the readers of every groups…    

       The novel, Daniel’s Diary is a piece which carries the essence of romance, the flavour of art and the depiction of Indian history to its splendid height; these are the author’s tricky gems which enough to snatch rapt attention of the readers of every groups.

Its cover page with golden title is very attractive and follows the concern of “must read item Especially, the publisher - Vitasta's caption ‘LET KNOWLEDGE SPREAD’ and Robert Frost's words add feathers of different hues to the novel's already proud cap.
 
The story from its beginning to finesse completely draws a line of subtle grandeur and well knitted curiosity which would not allow us to take any break binding our expression to the ‘what Next’! However, the entire fiction is honestly written by fragmenting into the chapters which comforts to read, understand, digest and move further. At a time, Rajeshwari deals with the two different story in one novel, and we are arrested to read with great enthusiasm .This is charm of the novel and eager to pore over once again or once more.
 
When I see the characters, the story- meter Mrinalini whose mastery over her work and passion to get into the mystery over Daniel’s killing, awake in her a sense of real professional and nice human being too; the other so called Heroine a Rajputani Jodha is the symbol of Indian beauty and shyness who gives speed to the tell by her unexpressed love and care to her husband; this is heart touching and emotional as well……!
 
The story revolves round many showbiz of characters following various mood, temper and nature in divergent style. The Great Akbar was a caring husband and a king warrior too, Surajsinh was a chauffeur cum story narrator, Suzan was a skilled interior designer and also full of anger , Arrow an owner of the project then became a friend of Mrinalini , Bubbles with its funky -naughty and amiable character opens up scope for the reader of kid’s age.
 
Hence, many more to experience within 359 pages of the novel which sparkle the bright shimmer of history, mystery, love, compassion and above all the grand narration of the Indian beauty with Rajsi Thath. The novel is immune from all hypertension of manipulations and political zigzag, but it simply walks at the jogger’s park! Enjoy Reading Musically!
 
 

Amandeep Kaur - Blogger/Reviewer

 A complete package of History, Mystery and Art…    

       I started reading this book with knowing the Author first. The book jacket revealed me about Rajeshwari Chauhan’s who believes “Painting and creative writing are complimentary to each other” and her statement is proved true with her unique story. Creation is the artist’s life breath and with this book she proved herself as an amazing artist.
 
Ideally a book reading is successful only when you start absorbing what you read, think about it and then understand the impact it has created on your life for which it was destined and designed for. I believe the author’s is successful in translating her vision and sincere effort to bring out the best possible fiction.  
Many Congratulations to the author on doing her job very well done. I found her to be a very talented author while reading Daniel’s Diary. Her work of fiction reveals her hard work and research in greater sense.
 
Daniel’s Diary is complete package of History, Mystery and Art... a royal adventure! The plot of the story is constructed in a way that it effectively details all the characters and suffices the story properly by its unique structure. A touch with history as you progress toward the story. The real potential comes out when slowly and gradually moving towards the story, you found yourself absorbed into it completely.
 
Character of Mrinalini - the protagonist of the story is framed very nicely, she got fulfilling commitments, taking risks and quick decision - making in her blood. She is excited, adventurous, and at times nervous. She carries a spirit of a true artist. Mrinalini's search for the truth and the unravelling of the mystery towards the end is the most powerful and gripping part. Many other characters are introduced in the story time to time and each character is framed very thoughtfully to maintain the royal touch. Daniel, who is born talented with an art to replicate, wants to capture the magnificence of mughal court. All characters are unique and interesting. Story maintains humour while introducing the character of Surajsinh which portray him as a cold blooded, arrogant and over bearing driver.
Story progresses at the thought of Mrinalini that it is her destiny or probable the old masters who were calling her to that place. They wanted her passionate and magical touch which other might not have. Mrinalini is portrayed as a girl who trusts her instincts. The story is very vast that at one point it is in Jaipur and then you are so gracefully taken to history that being absorbed into story you can picture Agra and then the Indian culture is praised in beautiful way which is very excellent on the part of writer’s skills. The perfect correlation between present and history is done. The great climax is maintained while solving the centuries old puzzle by the protagonist of story.
 
The author has succeeded in every aspect to make the novel best and perfectly perfect. Recommending this as a best read to fiction lovers. Waiting eagerly for the next venture from the talented writer.
 
 

Vinita Agrawal - Writer/Poet

 A lovely, fast paced book, full of entertainment…   

       Read and thoroughly enjoyed Daniel's Diary by Rajeshwari Chauhan. A lovely fast paced book full of entertainment! It has so many captivating layers to it. Wishing the author and the entire team behind it, spectacular success with the book. You guys deserve it!

 

Nehali Lalwani - Writer/Scholar

 A flawless book, both in terms of language and editing… In addition, emotions are inherent…

       One word that can be used for the hard work and determination done by the writer in Daniel’s Diary - Flawless! Title of the story is substantial which makes a person adhesive to the book at very first glimpse as it adds expectation to the story and fortunately author has done a great job while narrating the story.

Cover of the book is also well designed with right selection of colors. Mesmerizing book cover!
 
I believe the author’s has really done well in rendering her visualization in the best possible manner. Here the hard work in research of the Author can be seen evidently. I as a reader loved the way author have tried to mention the historical part.
 
Author has managed to keep the reader’s interest maintained throughout! The pace of the story is exceptionally fascinating. The language is effortless to comprehend and there would be no intricacy in understanding the plot of the novel.
 
One thing I especially liked besides the previously revealed things is the ‘Editing’. Author has managed to give her readers a flawless book both in terms of language and editing. In addition, the emotions are inherent in the book.
 
Many Congratulations from my side to the author for coming out with such a master piece.
 
A must read book if you are interested in fiction historical love story. I am looking forward for the next venture from the amazing author. 
 
 

Sharanya Bhattacharya - Blogger/Reviewer at VANYA'S NOTE BOOK

 What I experienced was Goosebumps all over my body as the pages unfolds itself…

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference...” The lines of my favourite poem by Robert Frost welcomed me to the mystery of a book named Daniel’s Diary and what I experienced was goosebumps all over my body as the pages unfolds itself....
 
According to the back cover- When Mrinalini, an art restoration expert, ventures into the ruins of Rang Mahal and the Palace of Sumangarh, an accidental discovery of a skeleton and a manuscript detailing the exploits of Daniel, a Portuguese artist, opens a window to the forgotten era of grace and grandeur. The blossoming of love between a Moghul Emperor and a Rajput princess, is seen through the eyes of a foreign traveller, who himself falls in love with the Rajput Princess. The plot revolves around Daniel’s quest for beauty and passion, the ecstasy and agony of love. He meets the famous courtesan Mahamaya only to lose her. It also draws a modern day parallel in the life of Mrinalini, a woman who seeks refuge in artistic pursuits and architectural ruins when relationships in life confuse her. Will she be able to decode the clues left behind by Daniel? Will the curse of centuries-old unfulfilled love break into a happy ending for Mrinalini?
 
Just as I held the book in my hands, I fell in love with it. Not exaggerating but the cover page, the paper quality, the font, the way everything is placed in the book, my first expression was “Wow!” Personally, this genre is a very new genre for me. I haven’t read much of this genre but with this book, I earn to read more and more not only of this genre but also from the author, Rajeshwari Chauhan. Written in a very exquisite way, every page of Daniel’s Diary is like turning the pages of history. The author has very well described the history, the present and mixed both of them in such a way that the reader feels a part of this journey from the very first line till the very last line.
 
The characters have been etched in such a way that the reader feels connected to them and the situations at every point of time. As the diary unfolds itself and the puzzle pieces settle in and you feel that it’s over, there’s another secret waiting for you to reveal itself! Majestic is the only word I can find suitable for the book. Not many writers have the power of combining the history and the present in such a wonderful way. Rajeshwari, being a debut author did her best and it couldn’t have been better.
 
The reign of the Moghul Empire is the best part of the book. We all have had lessons in our childhood about the history of Akbar’s reign or the Moghul Empire to be precise, but no history book could’ve given such a wonderful insight to the period. I would like to term the writing style simple yet royal. The book has been beautified with couplets here and there and that being the best part of the book.
 
With every turning of the page you wish to know what is going to happen next and as a result, you keep on turning pages and reading it having a loss of the time you have been reading this. While the protagonists unravel the mystery of the clues left behind by Daniel, you find yourself sitting and trying to unravel the mystery with them and that, according to me is a writer’s achievement.
 
Yes, the book is over and it ended in a very predictable way and that’s the only part of the book which I do not like. I also feel the author could’ve made the present day story of Mrinalini more interesting. The History was an eye-catching feature but the present, compared to the history, seemed a bit dull... While I rate this book 4 out of 5, I would give Daniel’s Diary an opportunity to say- “Veni...Vidi...Vici... I came... I saw.... I conquered....”
 
 

Shalini Samuel - Poet/Writer

 Every word of the novel shows author’s prowess in paintings, history, archaeological sites, philosophy, and so on...  

       Daniel’s Diary begins with a romantic encounter. Mrinalini, a smart intelligent girl begins her travel and so our journey too. She takes us to an old Palace and introduces its descendant, its customs, art and architecture. She is on an official visit to renovate the paintings in Sumangarh Palace. Meanwhile Mrinalini gets a new companion, a little bubbly boy. He is also interested in painting and they join hands. With the help of driver Surajsinh, she discovers something special and that leads to Daniels diary. Yes reading others diary might be a crime. But that’s not same with an antique diary, am I right? 

The diary seems so interesting taking them into ancient Mughal Kingdom. Along with Mrinalini we too can read the scintillating love story that happened between a Mughal emperor and his Rajput Queen. Daniels pitiful life touches our heart and brings tears in our eyes. Why Daniel leaves Agra and what’s his relationship with Sumangarh is the plot of his diary. How Mrinalini discovers Daniels Diary, what she discovers from the diary and how her life changes are revealed slowly. Like a bud blossoming into a rose, the mysterious story reveals itself. One by one the mysteries line up, how Daniel meets Mahamaya and why did he kill her? Why was he imprisoned and is he good or bad? So many questions might come up in your head. Now and then we forget the mysteries and get engrossed in the romantic history.
 
If Daniels life touches your heart, Mrinalini’s thought provoking and brave words and action might lead you to a new arena. The novel is filled with meaningful thought provoking couplets, indeed a treat to poetry lovers. Every word of novel shows authors prowess in paintings, history, archaeological sites, philosophy and so on. Mrinalini’s encounters with Arrow makes us smile. Susan’s anger, Mrs Chopras complaining behaviour, etc… every character has been portrayed wonderfully. Daniel is the hero and he wins every heart.
 
A diary written centuries back speaks and guides, moreover touches millions of hearts!!!
 
 

Rookmani Radadiya - Blogger/Scholar

 Do catch the pages of Imperial ride with fire in your heart. I assure, you would love the trip!   

       Daniel's Diary by Rajeshwari Chauhan is indeed like a roller coaster ride. Written in Indian Classic style, it swings through two different eras. As you begin to read the book, the magic carpet of Aladdin will come and make you seated over it to take you along the Daniel’s diary ride - the fun ride which swings between the past and present, taking you from Portugal to Goa, and Agra to Sumangarh! Beautiful Urdu verses used by the writer, makes the story lyrical. Daniel’s puzzle will excite your adrenaline never before. ‘Daniel’s Diary’ is a treasure box of secrets.

The frilled skirt Mrinalini is sent to Sumangarh to restore medieval paintings at Palace being converted into a hotel, where her encounter with Arrow is hilarious. Her bouncy blood leads her to uncover the history found at Rang-Mahal. She also learns the difference between hallucination of love and Love indeed.
 
Daniel’s diary will make you fly through the Mughal-Indian era. History is being narrated in a fantastic and creative way that the book will hold even the reader who is not a history buff. Reading through it will make you feel as if you are fixing a jigsaw puzzle. And just when you think you have discovered all, hold your reins of curiosity tight… there’s a lot more!
 
Away from the novels today which print the stories of fast moving love lives in metro, this is about the treasure hunt of emotional turmoil; of historical restoration and prejudices. So do catch the pages of imperial ride with fire in your heart. I assure, you would love the trip!
 
 

Amit Rawat - Scholar/Reviewer

 We have heard about the extraordinary love story between a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput Princess but Rajeshwari Chauhan brings out the story from an angle never known or thought before…

       Rajeshwari Chauhan welcomes you to the world of Romance with 'Daniel's Diary'. We have heard about the extraordinary love story between a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput Princess but Rajeshwari Chauhan brings out the story from an angle never known or thought before. This very 3rd angle view as well as secret desire has been brought out beautifully which adds spice to the screenplay. 
 
The way Rajeshwari has brought out all the elements of human emotions which have remained true since ancient times to this day is fascinating . This is reflected in 2 love stories set in different eras which includes contrasting & exciting twists . Rajeshwari needs to be congratulated on an exemplary piece of story telling.

 

 

Gauri Garg Bhardwaj - Blogger/Scholar

 Rajeshwari Chauhan has described the palace so majestically that I imagined/visualized everything!

       After reading 'Daniel's Diary' it would be inappropriate to say that I have never been to a palace! Rajeshwari Chauhan (author of Daniel's Diary) has described the palace of Sumangarh so majestically that I imagined/visualized everything!
 
She portrayed the characters wonderfully, I liked Mrinalini much... I was feeling the same when she was reading the final pages of Daniel's Diary! Yes, those pages brought tears to my eyes too!
 
I won't reveal any secret as many of my friends are reading it, so can't write everything, just enjoy the journey of a beautiful palace! 

 

 

Udita Pal - Writer/Blogger

 Power pack of emotions and sense which today’s writer lack…. I don’t say this often but yes I expect this book to turn into movie.

       When I got the book I thought it will be just another boring book, about thing. But to my surprise book was actually nice and left a really good mark in my heart. Story was based on Mrinalni who was hired by a royal family who transform their fortress into hotel. During restoration process she comes across Love story. Book has everything one could’ve asked for. Power pack of emotions and sense which today’s writer lack. One more thing which I loved was the way she described things, especially sex. I don’t say this often but yes I expect this book to turn into movie. Beautiful work
 
What I loved:- Simple Language, No exaggeration, No irrelevant mentioning What Annoyed me:- Why book ended? And yes at some points story lacked depth. Story was run fast, as if train was missing.
 
 
 

Aparajita Dutta - Writer/Poet/Scholar

I will teach this book to my students in future’. This book is here to stay and bears the potential to withstand the storms of time…

       Daniel’s Diary, a book, hundreds of people have been talking about from various parts of India, is now creating a world of magic in the book stores. As I write this piece, the book is looking at me, gracefully - like an enchanting fairy princess, waiting for the artist to paint her beauty on the canvas, with the full cognizance that the artist will not be able to reveal the whole charm to the viewer!

The cover of the book is the gateway to that magical world of the Mughal Emperor, the Hindu princess, the innocent - emotional artist Mrinalini and her friends and love interests. The very title, Daniel’s Diary is engraved in gold that has adorned the crowns of the great emperors of India, the colour which is the embodiment of the charismatic Indian woman, the symbol which reflects beauty, love, pride and power. Daniel’s Diary carries all these elements as the gateway welcomes us to the world of this book. A picture of a diary, left open, on the cover, instigates us to know what is written in it, adding the aroma of mystery which persists till the vague end of the book. Of course, there are more elements on the cover: picture of the remnants of an antique building, with some green leaves, which stand out as the symbol of the present and of course, the majestic sword. If you are wondering, why am I talking about the cover, well, I would like to say that the cover is one of the axis of this magical world and of course, in order to know and understand the dimension, it is important to know about the axis too. The back cover of the book is blessed by the words of the Ketan Mehta, the veteran film maker, director and poet of the Silver Screen. From the very comments of this reputed personality, it becomes clear to all that the book is not the ‘use and throw types ‘which are over flooding the market. It has been created by dedication, hard work and sincerity.

Before proceeding to other aspects, I would like to talk about the mother of this wonderful child. She is not Aphrodite who created Cupid, the notorious flying chap who uses his powers to make people fall in love. She is Rajeswari Chauhan, a freelance writer, an artist and a teacher. She doesn’t need to give her baby, weapons to make people fall in love for her child has been created with those elements, passed on to him by the mother which makes people fall in love; there is really no need to throw an arrow. And, of course, it is not just love, it something beyond love… a mystery… a journey.

The very title of the book, ‘Daniel’s Diary’ makes us wonder, if this is about the diary of some guy called Daniel, then why people are calling this, a novel? Remember Rabindranath’s Tagore’s Chaturanga? It was a diary written under the genre of the novel. Take a look at Quarratulain Hyder’s novel, Aag Ka Dariya or The River of Fire - It is a novel too and then again it has diary, letters, verses and what not. Yes, all these are novels and their creators have acquired space among the most erudite authors of the world. Novel, as a genre was a typically western concept, which has come down to us, Indians, through the British Raj. Writing from within this foreign tradition, Rabindranath Tagore and Qurratulain Hyder worked out their way, creating new spaces and scopes for the genre of the Indian novel, extending the limit of the horizon of expectation to an unlimited universe, making it more difficult for the scholars to define the parameters of the novel, specially the Indian novel. This new tradition, which has started with Tagore, got its wings in the able hands of Quarratulain Hyder, is now conquering the skies of the world like a majestic phoenix. Rajeshwari Chauhan is the most deserving heir to this tradition and this Rajput artist, with her glorious legacy of Padmini and others has surely proved her potential and capability. The chapters are numbered, not named. Rajeshwari Chauhan has given us the full freedom to think of the title of the chapters and has not restricted us within the contours of her own imagination. The novel starts with an omnipresent narrator, who talks about Mrinalini and seems to know everything about everyone. As we delve deep into the novel, we find this narrator being replaced by the character, who reads out from Daniel’s Diary; the omnipresent narrator’s voice and the character, reading Daniel Diary’s play hide-and-seek, and ends with the voice of the narrator, completing the cycle of narration. However, besides using the form of a diary, Rajeshwari Chauhan has incorporated verses, from old traditions, adding a beautiful lyrical note to the prose narrative.

It is not easy to say the theme of the book. The apparent theme of love and mystery take up a whole new level through art and the process of creation. Here, every work of creation, speaks for itself and its creator. In the same way, Daniel’s Diary speaks volumes for the wisdom, versatility, creative aura and the adroit command over language of Rajeshwari Chauhan, the paintings, the diary and the music speak for those who created them and those who were performing them. Daniel’s quest for beauty and passion, the ecstasy and agony of love, gets intertwined with Mrinalini’s quest and in turn reflects the one which is within our heart and soul. When the walls of reality block our claustrophobic soul, when the chaotic feelings try to burst out in tears, when the dark smoke of agony denigrates our mind, creativity offers the halcyon meadow where blossoms our unique flowers of art, be it a verse, composed when the muse has turned down, a music when the anklets have refused to sing, a painting when the canvas fails to bear the colours and above all, a feeling of loving someone deeply, and not being loved back. A-midst the thick thorns and fears of rejection and dejection, Daniel’s voice comes out, “Love can never fail, Mahabali. At least your beloved knows about your love for her… but my beloved is not even aware of my love for her! I know that my love is unattainable, but for me it is enough that I love her. It doesn’t matter whether she loves me or not.” (Daniel’s Diary - pg 183). It is a journey through love and creation, a journey of love on the wings of creations, a journey which has started since ages, like the old waters of a river, and continues the flow till they converge somewhere, at some different locus and realize the true nature of the journey, start discovering the soul, which has been sleeping within. In the core of the main plot, lies Daniel’s search for beauty and passion, his deep love for the courtesan Mahamaya, whom he loses and leaves behind a diary which falls in Mrinalini’s hands. Mrinalini, a young lady and a passionate artist, undertakes the journey to decode the clues left by Daniel. A cheerful, a little messy, ebullient young lady, Mrinalini is an artist by passion and when relationships confuse her, leaving her alone in her own self, art is that phoenix which creates the escape route to her and becomes her real Prince Charming. The novel makes us fall in love, makes us believe in love even when we are not loved back.

The characters of the novel are extremely well depicted and well-drawn. Each and every character has his or her own flaws. They are not ‘too good’ or ‘too bad’ in nature. They are just like us, normal human beings; they ‘err’ because they are human beings, just like us. Starting from Mrinalini to the cute Bubbles, the characters seem to act out the novel while you read it. Even though the main motif is love, it is not always, ‘love… love… love… makes the world go round’ type of thing; of course, love makes the world go round but this world of Daniel’s Diary is dependent on mystery and creation too to keep itself alive. The comic reliefs delineate the author’s ingenuity to write something, not so serious, in a very serious temperament. The detailing of paintings and sculptures of the Mughal era , the portrayal of the court , the men and women , the use of contemporary colloquial language reveals the painstaking research that has been done on the Mughal era , reflecting the author’s sincere dedication towards her readers.

The way, love has been portrayed here is quite different and unique from the ones we see in the market these days. Chetan Bhagat has been followed by Durjoy Dutta, and their blind disciples, who are spamming the market with clichéd love stories. It is always a man, writing from science or engineering background ; the male protagonist is always some chauvinist nerd who ends up in one of the greatest institutes of India, IIT or IIM, and then falls in love with some pretty chick, of course, who has to be someone from a different stream, does some so called ‘adult things’ with her, which apparently creates a problem and then ultimately, the male protagonist solves the problems with his ‘super – cool’ brain and emerges as ‘the hero’. These novels or so called ‘chick-lits’ are now being sold everywhere, starting from coffee parlors to almost all stores of the metropolis. When one gets bored, disturbed, irritated and annoyed by these, when you wonder about the future of this publishing industry, Daniel’s Diary comes to us like an angel, restoring the lost faith and the hope that yes, there are original writers like Rajeshwari Chauhan, who has dedicated their lives to creativity, who has given ‘love’ a new meaning, who has created a new way to look at love and who has shown us the sweetness in the pain of love, when the beloved doesn’t love you back. The novel celebrates love and creativity along with pinches of other emotions; even envy, one of the so called seven sins, actually mollifies the wear and tear of the thorns of love.

The language of the book is a jewel of its own. It flows smoothly through the novel, along with the wonderful verses; the words have been carefully chosen and cleverly woven into the theme and the plot of the novel. The sweet – scented words adorn the whole body of the novel’s language like the olive crown on Athena’s head. The language of the book keeps the readers engrossed and the author doesn’t need the help of the contemporary colloquial slangs to keep the readers engaged with the book. Like all other elements, the language too makes you fall in love with the book, once again.
 
The editing of the book, layout, and printing makes the book complete. This is an era, when some ‘wanna be writers’ and self-proclaimed bestselling authors’ claim that editors are ‘paid’ to correct the grammatical errors of the work. This issue arises the question, that if an editor is there to correct all sorts of silly high school grammatical errors, then what are writers for ? So if one imagines and writes down something without knowing the basic grammar of the language, he or she becomes an author? It, kind of, sounds like a sequel to the recently released Bollywood flick, ‘Anybody Can Dance’, which may be named as ‘Anybody Can Write’! This apparent writer-editor enmity eventually gets reflected in most the books where you find silly grammatical errors on the 1st page; in these cases, the writer blames the editor while the editor humiliates the writer by asking him or her to go back to high school. This in turn, makes the critics confused; who should be blamed. Well, I am not defending the editor, but honestly, if one looks the point of the editor, it is very easy to understand the situation; the writer writes the book of errors and the editor has to correct it; the writer gets fame and money while the editor gets a little remuneration; the writer thinks editor should do it while the poor editor gets frustrated by the horrible mistakes and decides not to take the pain for the book, in the end, belongs to the author. In this author – editor battle, the book remains the victim. But Daniel’s Diary emerges the winner in this field too. There is no trace of war, not a single grammatical error, spelling mistakes or even error in punctuation marks – at least, I couldn’t notice any! The book reflects the true dedication of the author and the true scholarship of the author and her strong, firm base of grammar.
 
Daniel’s Diary is one of the books that one should ‘own’, ‘read’ and ‘feel’. It leaves you thinking and makes you go back to the 1st page once again. It is a book which you can read and re- read and the toughest job is when you are asked to talk about the book, you feel, you need to read it again in case you miss out on something. The book is a researcher’s delight. Personally, after my 1st ‘read’, the very 1st thing that came to my mind was, ‘I will teach this book to my students in future’. This book is here to stay and bears the potential to withstand the storms of time. It is not like the ‘best-sellers’ which get replaced almost each and every other day. It belongs to that category of books which are kept in the section for fiction, non-fiction and classics. ‘Veni…Vidi...Vici…’ Yes, the book came and conquered the readers like the white flower blooming in the dark smoke.
 
 
 
 
 

 Read Excerpts

O Candle, keep away from the tomb of by heart
Something is turning inside it with a start!

Running her colour laden finger from my temple to chin, she said with a smile:

Why the heart that burns in a furnace needs to fear
When a flickering candle flame comes near!


Before I could deduce why or how a statue would find its place in this wilderness, I sensed it coming to life and moving in a graceful sway. I realized that it was not a statue, but an ethereal beauty, indeed a forest nymph, drenched captivatingly under the cascade. Her flimsy pink apparel had turned transparent as the water droplets brought the fabric in h armonious unison with her alabaster skin. She stepped out onto a rock beside the waterfall and shook off excess water from her long dark hair - like pearls falling off a necklace. She caressed her hair and moved her hands in a graceful twist to tie it in a bun-knot on top of her head.

In that knot she tied my heart, my life... and my dreams! I felt the most wonderful sensations running through my heart and body.


I told him, "Love can never fail, Mahabali. At least your beloved knows about your love for her - but my beloved is not even aware of my love for her! I know that my love is unattainable, but for me it is enough that I love her. It doesn't matter whether she loves me or not."

There was a gleam in the Emperor's eyes. I wiped my tears and continued, "It is not difficult to remain happy if you are truly in love."

He replied, "It is not easy either. I have experienced its unbearable pain."

I smiled through my tears, "In my eyes, that pain has its own beauty. I dip my brushes in that pain and paint pictures with it. You must figure out a way to deal with your pain in a better way, Mahabali."


The drunkard was still complaining, "I want a permanent blazing fire in my heart... can you give me that?"

There were protests from others, "Calm down mate, there is nothing permanent in this world." Everyone agreed in unison.

Mahamaya resumed her singing. Lifting her hand she challenged:

Who says that nothing is permanent?
The Sun blazes since ages!
The air blown by Almighty is so potent,
That the fire still rages!

Amidst a big applause, Mahamaya looked in my direction. She was not surprised to see me there. She lifted her hand and blew at the hookah that contained smouldering coals:


In the game called love, you have burnt your fingers,
Your charred heart now is extinguished cinders.
Get back that flaming-fire to make your heart glow,
Remove the layer of ash, giving it a mighty blow.

Each word of my song will guide your stance,
Each step of my dance will make your heart prance,
I will myself fan the embers, just give me a chance.

 Media

Branwyn Cover Story - February 2014 Edition

A delightful tale of Love and Passion : Daniel’s Diary

The cover of the book is the gateway to that magical world of the Mughal Emperor, the Hindu princess, the innocent - emotional artist Mrinalini and her friends and love interests. The very title, Daniel’s Diary is engraved in gold that has adorned the crowns of the great emperors of India, the color which is the embodiment of the charismatic Indian woman, the symbol which reflects beauty, love, pride and power. Daniel’s Diary carries all these elements as the gateway welcomes us to the world of this book. A picture of a diary, left open, on the cover, instigates us to know what is written in it, adding the aroma of mystery which persists till the vague end of the book. Of course, there are more elements on the cover: picture of the remnants of an antique building, with some green leaves, which stand out as the symbol of the present and of course, the majestic sword. If you are wondering, why am I talking about the cover, well, I would like to say that the cover is one of the axis of this magical world and of course, in order to know and understand the dimension, it is important to know about the axis too.

The back cover of the book is blessed by the words of the Ketan Mehta, the veteran film maker, director and poet of the Silver Screen. From the very comments of this reputed personality, it becomes clear to all that the book is not the ‘use and throw types ‘which are over flooding the market. It has been created by dedication, hard work and sincerity.

A delightful tale of discovery and passion with finely etched characters, careful detailing of ambience and atmosphere, and nuanced play of emotions.

-Ketan Mehta
Veteran Film Maker, Director and Poet of Silver Screen


Before proceeding to other aspects, I would like to talk about the mother of this wonderful child. She is not Aphrodite who created Cupid, the notorious flying chap who uses his powers to make people fall in love. She is Rajeswari Chauhan, a freelance writer, an artist and a teacher. She doesn’t need to give her baby, weapons to make people fall in love for her child has been created with those elements, passed on to him by the mother which makes people fall in love; there is really no need to throw an arrow. And, of course, it is not just love, it something beyond love… a mystery… a journey.


The very title of the book, ‘Daniel’s Diary’ makes us wonder, if this is about the diary of some guy called Daniel, then why people are calling this, a novel? Remember Rabindranath’s Tagore’s Chaturanga? It was a diary written under the genre of the novel. Take a look at Quarratulain Hyder’s novel, Aag Ka Dariya or The River of Fire - It is a novel too and then again it has /diary, letters, verses and what not. Yes, all these are novels and their creators have acquired space among the most erudite authors of the world. Novel, as a genre was a typically western concept, which has come down to us, Indians, through the British Raj. Writing from within this foreign tradition, Rabindranath Tagore and Qurratulain Hyder worked out their way, creating new spaces and scopes for the genre of the Indian novel, extending the limit of the horizon of expectation to an unlimited universe, making it more difficult for the scholars to define the parameters of the novel, specially the Indian novel. This new tradition, which has started with Tagore, got its wings in the able hands of Quarratulain Hyder, is now conquering the skies of the world like a majestic phoenix. Rajeshwari Chauhan is the most deserving heir to this tradition and this Rajput artist, with her glorious legacy of Padmini and others has surely proved her potential and capability. The chapters are numbered, not named. Rajeshwari Chauhan has given us the full freedom to think of the title of the chapters and has not restricted us within the contours of her own imagination. The novel starts with an omnipresent narrator, who talks about Mrinalini and seems to know everything about everyone. As we delve deep into the novel, we find this narrator being replaced by the character, who reads out from Daniel’s Diary; the omnipresent narrator’s voice and the character, reading Daniel Diary’s play hideand- seek, and ends with the voice of the narrator, completing the cycle of narration. However, besides using the form of a diary, Rajeshwari Chauhan has incorporated verses, from old traditions, adding a beautiful lyrical note to the prose narrative.

It is not easy to say the theme of the book. The apparent theme of love and mystery take up a whole new level through art and the process of creation. Here, every work of creation, speaks for itself and its creator. In the same way, Daniel’s Diary speaks volumes for the wisdom, versatility, creative aura and the adroit command over language of Rajeshwari Chauhan, the paintings, the diary and the music speak for those who created them and those who were performing them. Daniel’s quest for beauty and passion, the ecstasy and agony of love, gets intertwined with Mrinalini’s quest and in turn reflects the one which is within our heart and soul. When the walls of reality block our claustrophobic soul, when the chaotic feelings try to burst out in tears, when the dark smoke of agony denigrates our mind, creativity offers the halcyon meadow where blossoms our unique flowers of art, be it a verse, composed when the muse has turned down, a music when the anklets have refused to sing, a painting when the canvas fails to bear the colors and above all, a feeling of loving someone deeply, and not being loved back. A-midst the thick thorns and fears of rejection and dejection, Daniel’s voice comes out, “Love can never fail, Mahabali. At least your beloved knows about your love for her… but my beloved is not even aware of my love for her! I know that my love is unattainable, but for me it is enough that I love her. It doesn’t matter whether she loves me or not.” (Daniel’s Diary - pg 183). It is a journey through love and creation, a journey of love on the wings of creations, a journey which has started since ages, like the old waters of a river, and continues the flow till they converge somewhere, at some different locus and realize the true nature of the journey, start discovering the soul, which has been sleeping within. In the core of the main plot, lies Daniel’s search for beauty and passion, his deep love for the courtesan Mahamaya, whom he loses and leaves behind a diary which falls in Mrinalini’s hands. Mrinalini, a young lady and a passionate artist, undertakes the journey to decode the clues left by Daniel. A cheerful, a little messy, ebullient young lady, Mrinalini is an artist by passion and when relationships confuse her, leaving her alone in her own self, art is that phoenix which creates the escape route to her and becomes her real Prince Charming. The novel makes us fall in love, makes us believe in love even when we are not loved back.

The way, love has been portrayed here is quite different and unique from the ones we see in the market these days. Chetan Bhagat has been followed by Durjoy Dutta, and their blind disciples, who are spamming the market with clichéd love stories. It is always a man, writing from science or engineering background ; the male protagonist is always some chauvinist nerd who ends up in one of the greatest institutes of India, IIT or IIM, and then falls in love with some pretty chick, of course, who has to be someone from a different stream, does some so called ‘adult things’ with her, which apparently creates a problem and then ultimately, the male protagonist solves the problems with his ‘super – cool’ brain and emerges as ‘the hero’. These novels or so called ‘chick-lits’ are now being sold everywhere, starting from coffee parlors to almost all stores of the metropolis. When one gets bored, disturbed, irritated and annoyed by these, when you wonder about the future of this publishing industry, Daniel’s Diary comes to us like an angel, restoring the lost faith and the hope that yes, there are original writers like Rajeshwari Chauhan, who has dedicated their lives to creativity, who has given ‘love’ a new meaning, who has created a new way to look at love and who has shown us the sweetness in the pain of love, when the beloved doesn’t love you back. The novel celebrates love and creativity along with pinches of other emotions; even envy, one of the so called seven sins, actually mollifies the wear and tear of the thorns of love.

The language of the book is a jewel of its own. It flows smoothly through the novel, along with the wonderful verses; the words have been carefully chosen and cleverly woven into the theme and the plot of the novel. The sweet – scented words adorn the whole body of the novel’s language like the olive crown on Athena’s head. The language of the book keeps the readers engrossed and the author doesn’t need the help of the contemporary colloquial slangs to keep the readers engaged with the book. Like all other elements, the language too makes you fall in love with the book, once again. The editing of the book, layout, and printing makes the book complete. This is an era, when some ‘wanna be writers’ and self-proclaimed bestselling authors’ claim that editors are ‘paid’ to correct the grammatical errors of the work. This issue arises the question, that if an editor is there to correct all sorts of silly high school grammatical errors, then what are writers for ? So if one imagines and writes down something without knowing the basic grammar of the language, he or she becomes an author? It, kind of, sounds like a sequel to the recently released Bollywood flick, ‘Anybody Can Dance’, which may be named as ‘Anybody Can Write’! This apparent writer-editor enmity eventually gets reflected in most the books where you find silly grammatical errors on the 1st page; in these cases, the writer blames the editor while the editor humiliates the writer by asking him or her to go back to high school. This in turn, makes the critics confused; who should be blamed. Well, I am not defending the editor, but honestly, if one looks the point of the editor, it is very easy to understand the situation; the writer writes the book of errors and the editor has to correct it; the writer gets fame and money while the editor gets a little remuneration; the writer thinks editor should do it while the poor editor gets frustrated by the horrible mistakes and decides not to take the pain for the book, in the end, belongs to the author. In this author – editor battle, the book remains the victim. But Daniel’s Diary emerges the winner in this field too. There is no trace of war, not a single grammatical error, spelling mistakes or even error in punctuation marks – at least, I couldn’t notice any! The book reflects the true dedication of the author and the true scholarship of the author and her strong, firm base of grammar.

Daniel’s Diary is one of the books that one should ‘own’, ‘read’ and ‘feel’. It leaves you thinking and makes you go back to the 1st page once again. It is a book which you can read and re- read and the toughest job is when you are asked to talk about the book, you feel, you need to read it again in case you miss out on something. The book is a researcher’s delight. Personally, after my 1st ‘read’, the very 1st thing that came to my mind was, ‘I will teach this book to my students in future’. This book is here to stay and bears the potential to withstand the storms of time. It is not like the ‘best-sellers’ which get replaced almost each and every other day. It belongs to that category of books which are kept in the section for fiction, non-fiction and classics. ‘Veni…Vidi...Vici…’ Yes, the book came and conquered the Indians like the white flower blooming in the dark smoke.

It seldom happens that a book gets smashingly wonderful reviews by one and all. To add flavor to the book’s already glittering success, prominent author Ashwina Garg’s words add few more mesmerizing charms to the book – “Rajeshwari's Daniel's Diary is very well-written and well-researched book. It's obvious that the author has taken great pains to make sure that each aspect of the novel is perfect. There's something for everyone here... romance, humour, poetry, history, mystery, art and many captivating characters. It made me realize that a book does not need sleazy scenes and smutty words to be entertaining and thank you for that. I wish the author, Rajeshwari Chauhan all the best for her books.‖

 Interviews

Rajeshwari Chauhan, interviewed by: Rubina Ramesh

 

“I was bruised many times but beaten never… and then, an oyster with nothing to irritate, never produces a pearl…” - Rajeshwari

 

1) Tell us how did Rajeshwari become a writer? Had she always aimed for this?

 
Though I was an avid reader, I always dreamt of being an artist. I became one and was doing well. Once, I got an order of dozen paintings for a heritage hotel. I made miniatures with characters involved in different activities. For viewers’ convenience, I wrote a paragraph for each painting, describing it. The idea was to familiarize foreign guests with the theme of the painting. People gushed about the matter being creative and insightful, and that nudged me towards writing. 
 
 
2) How was Daniel’s Diary concept visualised? 
 
As I was working on a history project, I was impressed by Akbar’s secular ideas, love for art, architecture, literature, sports, music, and so on. But, when I tried to see his romantic side with his Rajput queen, I found it very vague; so, I decided to capture that by adding bit of my imagination. In that process, Daniel - a Portuguese artist, who was member of Akbar’s ‘Mussawar-khana’, becomes a reporter through his diary. 
 
 
3) Did it involve a lot of research? How did you go about it?
 
Yes, whichever book on Mughals – especially Akbar, I could lay my hands on, I begged, borrowed, and bought. Internet was also of a great help. I had excess to libraries of some of royalties which had rear books – some of them were so old and crinkly that while turning pages, the bits of paper would fall off. I was like a person possessed, sitting up for the whole night, devouring everything before returning the books. 
 
 
4) Tell us about Mrinalini and Mahamaya.
 
Both of them are good hearted, sensible, sensitive, and talented. Mrinalini is modern, free-spirited, confident and caring personality with child-like curiosity, whereas Mahamaya is mature, graceful, soft-spoken and humble royal dancer of 16th Century AD. Both Mrinalini and Mahamaya are essentially good without being miserable.
 
 
5) Who are the writers who inspired you?
 
Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabidranath Tagore, and Jane Austen. 
 
 
6) Was there ever a moment you wanted to give up? What motivated you to go on?
 
I was bruised many times but beaten never. And then, ‘an oyster with nothing to irritate, never produces a pearl.’
 
 
7) How much is it necessary to market your book nowadays? Do you think it is easy to get your work to your target readers?
 
Proper marketing certainly can help a book to reach its target readers. In present era, importance of marketing can’t be underrated by any means. As such a writer is meant to write a book, and, its marketing is predominantly a commercial aspect – job of a marketing expert. But, of course, involvement of writer in its marketing can make the process easier up to certain extent.
 
 
8) Your story is very intrinsically woven. How did you get all your characters together? Was it pre planned?
 
I opted for details over broad-brush approach. I observe people and give their mannerism to my characters. Most of the characters are modelled from real people. Bubbles and Balbir could be the next door kids. As such, it was not that much planned, the characters began to appear as the story progressed. 
 
 
9) What's your advice to the upcoming new writers?
 
Write… rewrite…and fine-tune till you feel that it is perfect. 
Remember, ‘God lives in detail!’ 
Enjoy the journey. Patience and perseverance will take you to the finish line!
 
 
 
 

Rajeshwari Chauhan, interviewed by: Jaibala Rao

 

“Like Mrinalini, when my over-enthusiasm backfires, I sulk for a while and bounce back big time…” - Rajeshwari

Rajeshwari Chauhan, the author of Daniel’s Dairy has written a historical saga of Love, Hope, Betrayal and Loneliness. I had the chance to chat with her and get to know her, her story and characters better.

 
 
Q1)  What was the Motivation behind Daniel’s Dairy?
 
As a child I had seen a movie in which a love story was going back and forth between the past life and the present. It left an huge impact upon me. I was so fascinated by the idea of two parallel stories set in different era, crisscrossing each-other at some points. Unknowingly I began to collect threads from whatever I read, saw, felt, endured, shared, cared or believed. I began to weave the warps and wefts of ancient glory and modern chutzpah into a logical tapestry, not the reincarnation kind. The modern characters, while reading pages of Daniel’s diary are transported four centuries back, and when they take a break, the modern story continues.
 
Q2)  Did you find it difficult to write in this genre of historical fiction?
 
No, rather I enjoyed dwelling in those glorious times. Moreover, it charted a route for my unleashed horses, as I had to be within the frame in terms of dates and events. It was akinto joining the dots. I had to use my imagination between those dots and had freedom to go for a line, curve, or a wave.
 
Q3)  Your book is a mix of narration and Dialogues. Are you more comfortable writing narration or dialogues?
 
When I write dialogues for a play, I have to give inspiring quote to pack a punch. The same can’t be done in a fiction because I want the dish to simmer for some time before bringing it to a boil, unlike my plays in which I serve kind of instant food. I was equally comfortable writing this narration part too.
 
Q4)  The female characters in your book, Mirnalini, Suzan, Jodhabai and Mahamaya are four really strong and very different characters. Which one do you most Identify with and why?
 
Mrinalini is closer to me as I am an artist like her. I love company of children and spend my time with kids of Bubble’s age. I help them in their school projects, funfairs, plays etc. I have lot of enthusiasm and tend to put monotonous or mundane things in a ‘game frame’, like Mrinalini. When my overenthusiasm backfires, I sulk for a while and bounce back big time.
 
Q5)  If you go back in history, which era you would like to be in and who would you like to be?
 
I would choose a time around 300 BC – the time of Kautilya, Chandragupta Maurya, Alexander and Selucus Nicator. I would love to be the niece of Megasthanese – the Greek ambassador in the court of Patliputra, so, when my uncle sat to write ‘Indica’, I would sit beside and write an account of the lives of people living in the royal chambers!
 
Q6)  Is there a different approach to writing in the historical fiction genre?
 
Yes, while writing historical fiction, the facts have to be well researched. One must be alert about the social norms, prevailing conditions, mindsets of those times, use of items in terms whether they were invented or available. It was so put off by a popular historical fiction as in the beginning the characters were shown drinking tea in Akbar’s time! Tea was brought in India by Britishers.
 
Q7)  Which is your favourite genre and your favourite Author?
 
I love reading classics and biographies. Amitav Ghosh is one of my favorite writers. I love his fiction that is layered, and every layer has hidden nuggets to relish.
 
Q8)  Which is your favourite book?
 
There are many books that has left a mark upon me. ‘To kill a mocking bird’ by Harper Lee and ‘Sea of Poppies’ by Amitav Ghosh are among them.
 
Q9)  Which fictional character do you wish you had written?
 
Catherine of ‘Wuthering Heights’ is one that comes to mind!
 
 
Thank you for taking the time. I wish you and your book great success.
 
 
 

Rajeshwari Chauhan, interviewed by: Sharanya Bhattacharya

 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

 
“I like to preserve myself” – Rajeshwari Chauhan in conversation with Vanya’s Notebook

Today, as I am all set to interview the authoress of the much awaited book Daniel’s Diary, here is a sneak peek to what actually is Rajeshwari Chauhan. We can describe her as a freelance writer, artist, and teacher who loves to create realistic paintings on canvas as well as doing wall paintings; she has also contributed as a script and content writer for many creative and promotional literature, short movies, and plays. “History brings tremendous joy in our existence...” says the writer. So, here I present to you a chit-chat with whom her near and dear ones call the Pied-piper...........
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Before stepping in to the how’s, when’s, why’s and where’s of you and the book, let me welcome you to the Literary world. With this note, I would like to know your feelings. I mean, all your readers or ‘fans’ to be precise are dying to know, how you are feeling, now that you are the author of a book?
 
Rajeshwari— Thank you, Sharanya. It feels simply great... like all my efforts have paid off as the book is well received.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Now that the book is in your hands and is getting such a wonderful response, I would like to ask you, why did you choose this specific genre to write in?
 
Rajeshwari— I wanted the story to oscillate between past and present, fact and fiction, ecstasy and agony, history and mystery; a kind of a double delight – like a fruit that offers succulent pulp, and also a seed that contains an edible nut; a story that has soft as well as crunchy episodes.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Statistically keeping in mind the readership market these days, weren’t you scared of how the readers would accept your work, it will work or not, etc?
 
Rajeshwari— It was pure passion that drove me to write it. Of course, as you said, the statistics of readership market is of valid concern, but, at the same time, as a writer I did my best to perform my part.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: After reading your book and talking to you, I have learnt that you are very much similar to one of the protagonists of your novel, Mrinalini, to be precise. Was the character of Mrinalini etched to represent you to the world?
 
Rajeshwari— Bits of your life are bound to creep in when you write a novel. Yes, I have similarities with Mrinalini; and, they are not few in numbers, but still, Mrinalini neither represents me, nor is she my alter ego.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Your novel has two parallel tracks running at the same time, the modern era and a time that is roughly around 4 centuries back- Which era was more difficult to write on?
 
Rajeshwari— As such, none of them was difficult, but not that easy at the same time. Historical era dealt with certain facts, so that narrowed the frame down, and received a sharp focus; whereas, in the modern era, there were many possibilities, and it could be chaotic with your imagination going haywire.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: I had read somewhere that if given a chance you would like to transfer yourself to 300BC or to the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya rule to be precise, then why did you choose to write on the Moghul Dynasty or Akbar’s rule rather than writing on the Maurya Dynasty?
 
Rajeshwari— I was fascinated by the secular union of Muslim king and Hindu princess. The Indo-Islamic synthesis rippled along various fields, like culture, cuisine, art, music, architecture, literature, and language, to name a few. I hope, I am able to capture at least a spark of that volcanic fire of Akbar’s personality. He was like an entire Sivakasi firecracker factory on fire!
As far as 300 BC is concerned, I am obsessed and working frantically on it. But, since it required greater research, I dealt with Mughal era to start with.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: You had also mentioned that you would’ve loved to be Megasthanese’s niece and write an account of the life of people living in royal chambers, so, with that statement of yours, can we presume it to be the topic of your next book?
 
Rajeshwari— Yes…though it is in its embryonic stage, I am as delightful as a child with Kaleidoscope about it.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Who do you owe your success to? I mean, name one person who is the strongest and the most vital reason of you being at this stage.
 
Rajeshwari— As mentioned in the acknowledgements of Daniel’s Diary, there are number of people to whom I owe for this literary trip; but, if I have to name one person, then that person has to be my mother, Nalinidevi, who initiated reading and painting habits in me. She is a disciple of Somalal C. Shah, renowned artist and student of Abanindranath Tagore of Oriental Art Society, Calcutta. My mother’s stories and anecdotes would keep us spellbound. Few years back, she took us to see her school and hostel in Bhavnagar, and, I knew everything by the back of my hand, each painting, each hall, because I had seen everything in my mind’s eye while listening to her vivid description
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Describe one incident in your life which ignited the love for History in you for the first time.
 
Rajeshwari— My mother and father had their separate libraries. Mamma allowed us to use her books, but, papa was strict, and kids were not allowed in his library; so, secretly, I would turn the key, tiptoe inside, and pull out a book - one at a time. He had studied world history, and had lovely collection of biographies and political essays.
 Once I had picked this book of Russian ‘Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra’. It had lovely pictures and footnotes. Hearing someone approaching, I hid under the recliner and read about their tragedy with tears rolling down my eyes. I even scratched the picture of Rasputin, and made a hole where his face was.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Prioritize and state the reason why? - Fame, Money, Family, Yourself, History
 
Rajeshwari— Family first, as they give us the sense of belonging.
Second I would place myself, because I am the center around which my world revolves.
Third, history, as it brings tremendous joy in our existence.
Money would come next, because it buys comforts, and my hobby material. It allows me to be more generous.
Fame is the last on the list, as it dilutes you; and, I like to preserve myself.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: To the most tricky question of the questionnaire, owing to the fact that you are not much into socialising, I, on behalf of your fan-base would like to ask you- who/what actually is Rajeshwari Chauhan?
 
Rajeshwari— I am happiest when I am reading on a swing or a hammock in my garden. A birdbath there is a visual treat as many species of birds love to visit it. This is the place where my imaginations get manifested – either on canvass, or on a notebook, i.e. painting and writing.
My near and dear ones call me pied-piper, as I love to be with my students, and there is always something new round the corner; be it studies, games, projects, plays, funfair, tree plantation, animal care, short film making, quiz, or something or the other.
 
 
Vanya’s Notebook: Hope, I didn’t bore you much with my questions. For the parting note, I would like to request you to leave a few words for our blog and of course for your readers.
 
Rajeshwari— Oh no! It was absolutely delightful. Thank you so very much for giving me this opportunity.
Your blog, ‘Vanya’s Notebook’ is a wonderful initiative where you are not only providing an opportunity to the writers to get their work neutrally evaluated, but also an important platform to let their readers know about their creative process.
 
To my readers…what I can say, “I am grateful to you for your wonderful response to Daniel’s Diary. I hope, I will keep on fulfilling your expectations for times to come.”
 
 
Hope you liked interacting with Vanya’s Notebook throughout the interview. Wishing you loads of success for Daniel’s Diary and more to come.
 
“Thank you so much, Vanya for this interesting and meaningful interaction. My best wishes to you and your entire team for all your present and future literary ventures.”
 
 
Talking to the Royal blood of Chhota Udepur- Rajeshwari Chauhan; has been bliss for Vanya’s Notebook. We feel really honored to have been able to talk to such a wonderful talent of this Literary world and also to share her message to her readers.
 

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 Details

Specifications of Daniel's Diary (Paperback)
Contributors
Authored By Rajeshwari Chauhan
   
Book Details
Publisher Vitasta Publishing
Publication Year 2014
ISBN-13 9789382711216
ISBN-10 938271121X
Language English
Edition 1st
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 368 Pages
Book Type Fiction Book
   
Dimensions
Weight 200 g