The Yogi Witch - Book Review

 


The Yogi Witch

By Zorian Cross

 

Publisher - HarperCollins India (20 June 2023)

Language - English

Paperback - 352 pages

Genre – Fantasy

Buy At - Amazon

 

Book Blurb:

GoodReads:

Raised by a trio of witches, Jai Gill invites us on a journey of magic, mystery, and mayhem - all while teaching yoga during the day and slaying demons at night. As Jai begins the journey of not only embracing his magical legacy, but also making peace with his sexuality, his magical life is shattered when he falls in love with the boy next door; the man who's destined for a life steeped in evil. Love is, after all, a curse for all witches! Myths become real and the mundane becomes enchanting, as Jai and his witchy family remove the veil that separates reality and fantasy, all enjoying endless cups of lavender tea and sinfully delicious goodies that are magically removed of all guilt.

Amazon:

By day, Jai Gill teaches yoga, reads tarot and, like many young gay men, obsesses over a pop diva. By night, he slays demons. He is a witch, after all!

Orphaned at birth, Jai was raised by his grandmother and maternal aunts, from whom he inherited his magical legacy. Their family home is an ivy-covered mansion in the heart of Lutyens's Delhi that doubles as a yoga studio for the city's elite, as well as the headquarters of their family coven.

All is going well till a handsome boy moves in next door. His family secrets are far more sinister than Jai could have ever imagined. Love, after all, is a curse for witches.

Myths become real and the mundane becomes enchanting as Jai and his witchy family remove the veil that separates reality from fantasy, while enjoying endless cups of lavender tea and sinfully delicious baked goodies that are magically removed of all guilt.

 

Review:

At first the book felt quirky yet cozy with the aunts teaching yoga and asanas in the morning, brewing special teas with exotic ingredients and truth serum, lighting candles for the witchy sessions and baking goodies, making their home an amalgamation of scents and flavours. It started as a comfortable read, delving less into serious topic. Mostly I could imagine a combination of witchy things like in ‘The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches’ and tea secret recipes like in ‘Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers’. Till that horrific incident in school happened.

“Chandni Chowk is one of those places that can either charm you or disgust you. A beautiful mix of the sacred – with the historic Jama Masjid, Sis Ganj Gurudwara, Fatehpuri Mosque and the Central Baptist Church – and the profane, with criminals such as pickpockets and scam artists looking to fleece the avid tourists. Crowds queue up to bask in the historic splendor of the Red Fort and to savour the sinfully delicious treats from the street vendors in the Paranthewali Galli. One can sit down at the original Karim’s or Moti Mahal for butter chicken that’s still made with the same recipes that nawabs and kings feasted on.”

There are a lot of reference to pop culture and trending apps and music in the book. Few tidbits on mythology and ancient traditions in certain culture were very interesting. I loved, loved the tea brewing recipes. Brahmi, lavender, ginkgo leaves, jasmine, star anis and spearmint leaves. Peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, organic honey and saffron. Beautiful description of food – preserves, pickles, tea cakes, charcuterie boards laden with cheeses and cold cuts, and Karah Prashad. A mix cauldron of cultures and religions.

“Seven is the most magical of all numbers. Seven colors of the rainbow. Seven heavenly realms. Seven circles of hell. Seven notes of a musical scale. Seven wonders of the ancient world.”

There were many Sanskrit terms, on chakras, and verses from the ancient books. Some Latin terms. Meaning and significance of symbols used in world history, like Hitler’s swastika. Then there was grimoire, pentagrams with gemstones for banishing the demon, amidst beautiful nostalgic Delhi locales thrown in, conversations on djinns, examples from puranas to argue veganism vs non-vegetarianism, and a love story albeit gay. All held my attention and interest. But up till page 200, after which there seemed a bit of information overload on chaos round, secret society and world domination. The plot seemed to shift all of a sudden to a different direction. There was too much of twists and turns and action and adventure after that, changing the pace of the novel way too much for my liking.

“Vedic Indians referred to it as ‘Surya’, while Ancient Greeks named it ‘Helios’. Egyptians had a sun god – the mighty Ra – as did the Ancient Norse – who called him ‘Freyr’. The Celts, too, had a similar diety named ‘Lugh’.”

The narrative was good, engaging, so overall it was a good read. Fantasy perhaps is not my genre, but if you are up for Fantasy, do pick this up. The LGBT superhero bit does great to the story indeed. Happy Reading!

 

About the Author:

Zorian Cross is a multi-award-winning theatre professional based in New Delhi. Since 2009, he's acted in over thirty-five productions, written over fifteen scripts, and directed ten productions – including a jukebox musical, a cabaret, and an original ballet that he conceived. His plays have been performed in over thirteen cities across the world, including Sydney, Brisbane, Chicago and Dubai. His short play, The Coming Out, is still regularly performed in Bangalore. Along with that, Zorian has also been a guest writer with numerous publications, including ScoopWhoop, iDiva, NDTV, and is currently writing a weekly column with Lifestyle Asia India. Zorian is also a certified Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga teacher, as well as an Occultist – specializing in Tarot, Astrology (Vedic and Western), Kabbalah, Eastern and Western Schools of Mythology and Mysticism. As an ardent activist for the LGBTQIA+ community, and feminism on the whole, Zorian has appeared frequently on various news channels to share his point of view, as well as, doing his bit in the quest for equality, equity, and liberation. Don't be surprised to find him performing stand-up at one of the various comedy clubs across the city – tickling your funny bone with love, and a naughty twinkle in his eye.


 This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program.

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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

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  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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