The soul of the little boy,
the young man, and the old man does not change even though the body
changes. And even if the soul moves on to another body after the body
dies, the soul stays the same.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2
A yellow sapphire, the Pokhraj,
links the past, the present and the future through birth and
rebirth. This upbeat story of Jewish characters touched by Indian
culture suggests possibilities of reincarnation, brings thoughts of
life from the moment of conception, and opens windows to the inner
workings of the soul.
It follows karma as foretold by
an Indian fortuneteller, a rich picture of life as we have never
The clues are all there, but do
we know how to understand the signs?
The Pokhraj works philosophy,
romance and laughter into a mysterious futuristic tale.
Irina Gajjar's paranormal tale
"The Pokhraj" is a fascinating journey of romance set against a
backdrop of Jewish culture and Hindu philosophy of karma and
reincarnation. It follows the life of the protagonist Sheela, right
from the moment of her conception to her birth, and through her
childhood and adolescence to her adulthood, whilst it traces how the
Pokhraj - a yellow sapphire that is supposed to bring good luck -
connects her past, present and future. This creatively
conceptualized, exquisitely written novel simultaneously brings
alive the joys of parenthood and the power of strong family ties.
Natalya and Victor Landau are happily married and successful in
their respective professions. Like most modern-day couples, this
Houston-based Jewish couple's fast-paced life leaves little room for
starting a family. Natalya feels that all she needs to complete her
happiness is a child and is worried about her biological clock
ticking away. Victor, on the other hand, is not "ready for the
drastic change in lifestyle that a child would bring" and wants to
postpone the idea of starting a family indefinitely. However, an
unknown force influences him to change his mind and prepares him for
fatherhood. The arrival of their adorable daughter Sheela is a time
for much rejoicing by Natalya and Victor and marks a great change in
their lives. The couple's little bundle of joy inspires their
friends and loved ones to have children too. Besides being doted on
by her parents, Sheela is showered with lots of tender loving care
by her grandparents, especially her paternal grandmother Rebecca,
with whom she seems to share a special connection from the very
A horoscope written by an Indian fortuneteller predicts that Sheela
will be a beautiful and intelligent girl, with a great future ahead
of her. It also indicates that Sheela has "many feelings that linger
from the past," due to which "she fears and avoids large bodies of water,"
and that in her present life she will "reunite with two souls remembered
from at least one earlier life." Sheela displays considerable psychic
and intuitive abilities from the moment she is born and as foretold
by the fortuneteller, she turns out to be a bright and exceptional child.
As she grows up, Sheela blossoms into a very attractive young woman,
but haunted by shadows from her past life, she is unable to get romantically
involved with anyone. On a trip to India at the age of nineteen, Sheela
is gifted a small yellow sapphire, which she gets set into a ring and
always wears for good luck. The ring helps her gain an understanding
about her unusually close bond with Rebecca and her fear of swimming.
Later Sheela discovers the "incarnation of everything her heart and
soul" craved for all her life in a photograph shown to her by her best
friend Zyan. However, she is shattered when she realizes she is in love
with the man Zyan is apparently planning to marry. Will the man of Sheela's
dreams remain an impossible dream? Will Natalya's worries that her daughter
may "wind up a dried up old maid" become a reality?
At once mysterious and plausible, "The Pokhraj" is a spellbinding tale.
Crafted with a fine blend of richly portrayed characters, an intriguing
plot, a stunning depth of human emotions and philosophical insights,
this page-turner is highly recommended.
Bookwire Review, October, 2005