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BOOK REVIEW: Pencils & Erasers to chalk out a road map for life

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit four years ago, life came to a standstill. For most people, morbidity overshadowed the excitement of living each day and boredom marked every moment of existence. However, for many, it was an opportunity to look at life from a different spectrum. As philosopher, mathematician and author Bertrand Russell said about Boredom and Excitement, “A life too full of excitement is an exhausting life, in which continually stronger stimuli are needed to give the thrill that has come to be thought as an essential part of pleasure.”

The apparent stagnancy of the pandemic period offered the necessary stimulus to rethink life and its meaning. True, the stimulus was indiscernible to many overwhelmed by the sudden shock of the global crisis. But those who could see beyond the darkness realised the true spirit of life and living. Sujay Mayekar, who spent 14 years in the corporate world, talks about how imperative it is to raise certain pertinent questions to chalk out a road map for a fulfilling life in his debut book Pencils & Erasers.


The book, which portrays a microcosm of the philosophy of life and living, begins with the ‘beginning’, the Big Bang. As he talks about the gradual enlightenment of mankind following the Big Bang and explains the concept of ‘Anaadi Anant’ with a scientific analogy, he exhorts all to find the meaning of the ‘space around us’.

As civilisation progressed and man evolved as the superior being on Earth, science played a crucial role in shaping his views. And as mankind progressed, civilisation was ravaged by wars, maladies, economic crises and greed. While a section rose as superpowers, the others remained dominant and at the mercy of the masters.

The Covid-19 pandemic, however, proved to be a great equaliser. It wreaked havoc in first-world and emerging countries and brought global superpowers to their knees. It humbled the arrogant and tamed the reckless. But most importantly, it made humans realise that it was time to stop playing God over other species. It stopped the clock so that the ’Superior Species’ could rethink their ways of living.

When God threw me, a pebble, into this wondrous lake/I disturbed its surface with countless circles./But when I reached the depth I became very still. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Mankind hit the nadir and took time to recuperate from the shock. As he recovered, he realised the importance of having a road map based on the basic questions of life. Mayekar’s book guides individuals to draw a road map based on mathematical concepts and logical inferences.

The author rightly points out that a life’s journey is, and should be, steered by an individual’s sense of achievement and not by the conventions of success for “success can only be one ingredient of happiness” (Russell: The Conquest of Happiness). To do this, one has to have a plan that is based on logical inferences through the right questions

Mayekar’s lucid way of describing complex topics, such as the philosophy of humane existence, makes the book appealing to readers from all walks of life. An artist himself, his simple sketches dotted across chapters add visual relief. What makes the book interesting is that Mayekar draws analogies with corporate concepts, science fiction and mathematics to explain life and living.

Mayekar conceived the book during the pandemic. While his pencils and erasers kept shaping and reshaping the ideas on paper, his family and well-wishers egged him on to publish this as a book. Pencils and erasers are all we need to draw the contours of our future and refine and define those to achieve what we want.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle for now.

Book: Pencils & Erasers; Author: Sujay Mayekar; Pages: 55; Price: Rs 200

~ Team Sunday Monitor

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