Category Archives: Books

10 Day You Challenge- Day 7: 4 Books

Books are again one of my favorite past time and interests and given that I read a lot choosing 4 books becomes very difficult. Obviously both Urban Shots & Down The Road are not included in the list though they are special to me more than any other book. 🙂

So here goes the list of 4 books which I really loved-

1- One, Richard Bach– If there is a book which I think changed me as a person it was One. A lot of my world view was changed after reading this book.

2- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand– There is so much written about this book that I cannot possibly add anything further. All I will say that I generally have some of my favorite excerpts of this book typed on my comp and I read it time and again when I get a chance.

3- Srimad Bhagvad Gita– This is one of the best philosophies of the world, I have read it couple of times and don’t think have a got even half of the essence in it. Every time I read this it brings out a different perspective in me.

4- Harry Potter Series- Again enough has already said about the HP series and how it takes the reader to the world of fantasy.

Image Source: Google Images

Life is What You Make It- Preeti Shenoy

Author: Preeti Shenoy
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Price: 100/-

Life Is What You Make It (LIWYMI) is the latest book by Preeti Shenoy, and I was more than looking forward to it; not only because her last book was a bestseller but also because this was the first time she was moving away from (my perception of) her comfort zone. I have been following her blog since long and her last book was non-fiction 500 word blog-post like articles. So when her new book, LIWYMI was a piece of fiction I desperately wanted to read it and with Blogadda sending the book to me, all I had to do was sit on the couch and read it.

The book is a story of a girl named Ankita, and her life battling with conservative parents, multiple guys who fell in love with her, shifting her entire life from Cochin to Mumbai and on top of it an unknown ailment which was driving her life crazy. The story starts with Ankita’s first step in the adult life starting in the college. The story swiftly moves into her first experience with the love in a long distance relationship and a second with another guy she meets during her college. Her life changes when she gets through her MBA and her entire family shifts to Mumbai, where she attains the high point of her entire life and becomes a super achiever like nobody could keep her spirits down.

This is where the story changes track from the usual college tales, the protagonist, Ankita, gets in the grip of one of the most complicated and unheard of mental condition leading her to quit her visions of a great future and a successful corporate life. The book proceeds to become a tale of struggle to reclaim oneself, a tale of courage while fighting an unknown within, a tale of a survivor. The story keeps you engaged throughout the book while beautifully portraying multiple shades of the personality of a protagonist.

LIWYMI is an easy and pleasant read but what makes it outstanding is the message and intent behind the story which has more depth then usual college tale. The idea of spreading the awareness about a mental/psychological illness and the process of how it is cured makes this book great in real sense. Characterization and narratives are very real and are the strongest point of the book, the reader can relate so well with Ankita and her plight that one feels they the character is known to them since ages. The pace of the book is uneven, where first half of the book is a bit slow and goes in great detail while her time in Mumbai and the period of her illness are pretty fast paces, which keeps it interesting but on the same time leaves the readers with some unanswered questions around the condition and the character.

Overall LIWYMI is a fresh tale with substance, from an Indian Author, without losing the charm of the story. The book ends on a positive note giving a message or optimism and hope in most difficult of circumstances. The book leaves you with a sense of empathy and concern for people suffering from various psychological disorders and makes you aware of the plight a patient of such condition might face.

Summary: A nice realistic tale with substance around psychological ailments. A light but still substantial read. Every bit worthy of the time the reader would spend reading. A must read for people who prefer realistic tales of courage and internal struggle told through fiction.

Rating:  4 / 5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Rantings on Osama and Launch of a Friends Book

So my feed reader, newspaper, televisions, and both real and virtual discussions are all packed with the same event. The untimely death of Osama Bin Laden, untimely as it happened tad too late. So while the whole world is going gaga over it finding conspiracy theories if he is still alive, was he killed after being captured yada yada, I really feel how it makes a difference to my life. Though it does makes me feel like I am in the middle of a Jeffery Archer novel (not that I love being in one) but then the significant events happening over a time difference of 10 years do take the pace and steam out of the story.

However, the events and the way they unfolded were quite ironic, or rather laughable. So if I recount the series of events, there was a covert operation, which involved breaching the air space of an “important” ally and conducting a critical military operation right in the heart of a civilian area. Obviously this was done without informing the “ally” and was ordered by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who incidentally also interfered in the local leadership of Egypt, bombed Libya, deployed additional troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, way to go for peace.

Coming back to the most wanted terrorist of the world, who was living in a million dollar mansion in one of the posh Abbotabad area at a stone’s throw of the military academy of the “ally”. This shouldn’t come as a surprise that this “ally” is also receiving critical 3 bn USD aid in terms of war planes and other military supplies to strengthen their military and intelligence agencies for war against terror. The minor fact that the mansion where Osama was living since past 5 years, is owned by the agencies funded by the same army and intelligence is not really relevant. I guess its high time Oxford dictionary needs to revamp their definition of peace and ally.

What is really funny is, that the same American government doesn’t wants India to follow their suit and take down people like Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed, who are openly living in Pakistan and appear on National television every other day. So to cut a long story short the message is while US can kill terrorists attacking their soil and India should act restraint against their terrorists and their ally. Not to mention our honorable government who is a step ahead of US and is currently singing melancholy of bilateral ties and discussion, I mean can’t you learn from 3 wars and effin 60 years of discussion dance?

Anyways as I said all this doesn’t make a difference to my life, I hope the truth of what happened that night would emerge to the world sooner or later.

One of my co-authors in Urban Shots has come up with his own book titled “The Lotus Queen”. The book is set up in Medieval Rajasthan and is a historical fiction based on the mysterious life of queen Padmini and the rather infamous siege of Chittor. So if the genre is your type do give it a try.

Worth of Husband & A Book Launch

Recently, PhoenixRitu posted on her blog about estimating the worth of a housewife (I would use the term homemaker instead of a housewife. I somehow don’t feel housewife is an appropriate job description and the term is sexist too), where she assigned a monetary value to the chores performed by a homemaker. Though I really don’t think a monetary value can be attached to the role of homemaker, because of a simple reason once you attach a value to her it makes the person behind replaceable(which as a concept doesn’t go well down my throat).

Anyways, I thought it would be only fair if a similar post assigning the worth of the odd jobs which a husband does is done. So here I list some tasks which are thrust on the docile species known as husbands-

1- Driver- 5,000
2- Security Officer- 10,000
3- Forced Shopping Companion – 10,000
4- Shopping Bag Carrier – 5,000
6- Peace keeper between the MIL & Wife- 2,00,000
7- The person who bears the six month long headache when “Nothing” has happened- 50,000
8- Official rat, lizard, cockroach and other insect killer – 30,000
9- The official Liar who is supposed to answer the question “Am I Looking Fat”- Priceless.

So the fact remains you cannot assign the worth of a husband or a wife in monetary terms. The worth lies in being with each other and existing as a couple more than individual task accomplishers.

Now coming back to some other important events, my second book “Down The Road” has been launched last Saturday. The event was a very successful one and was grace by the presence of Ambassador from Denmark along with some well known Indian authors Vineet Nayar and Kulpreet Yadav. The event was an important milestone as an author for me as I was sharing the stage with Abhijit Bhaduri, Ahmed Faiyaz and Nikhil who all have their works in “Down The Road”.

Here are some snapshots from the event-

You can read more about these events in the press coverage which followed-

Interview


Feature

Over all “Down The Road” is another chapter in my journey of life as an author, can’t wait for the next chapters to come. Meanwhile if you would like to share my joy of going “Down The Road” you can buy the copies on Flipkart, IndiaPlaza, Landmark, Crosswords

RashmiRathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar

Author: Ramdhari Singh Dinkar

RashmiRathi

Publisher: Lokbharti Paperbacks

Price: 95/-

Though I have labeled this post in the category of reviews, I don’t think it is a review.  Why? For a simple reason that I don’t think I am eligible enough to review work of the great author. But the post is being featured here just to make sure all my book loving readers know about this one and the reasons why I think they should read this book.

So basically the author of this book is not your normal author, he is a winner of Sahitya Academy Award, Padma Bhushan, and also the central hall of the Indian parliament adorns his portrait as a mark of respect. Coming back to Rashmirathi, as a composition it has two things which have caught imagination, my fantasy and my delight the first being poetry and the second being the epic tale of the Mahabharata.

The elegance or the uniqueness of the poem lies the way the old tale of Mahabharata has been captured. In most of the illustrations, the Mahabharata always gives the perception through a third person’s eye or the victors’ (Pandavas) eyes. Rashmirathi provides an insight into the battle through the eyes of Karna, one of the most influential yet ignored and unlucky character in the tale.

The literary value of Rashmirathi is simply brilliant, the poetry never ceases catching your attention and delves you inside the mind of Karana and presents his side of things and his view of the Dharma. However, in the current age where Hindi as a literary language has taken a lot of backseat readers might find understanding of some words difficult use of a hind dictionary or internet might be required.

Summary: Overall a brilliant read, totally mind boggling and makes you think and capture multiple perspectives and the ethics of right and wrong. However, if a long Hindi poetry which spans across 176 pages is not your forte then this might not be the book for you.

Rating: 5 / 5

Ps. I have tried my hands on translating some poems of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s Rashmirathi here and here. Should make a good impression on what the book has in store for you.

 

Tweets, Protest and The Book Launch

This space is getting ignored more often then I would have liked to. But in my defense last few days were pretty hectic, there was Cricket World Cup, there was work, and did I mention Cricket World Cup?

Yeah, India won the quarter finals against Australia, semi-finals against Pakistan and finals against Srilanka. As I am reading in the news this win from India has caused a loss of two captain and a foot; apparently the Australian captain Ricky Ponting & Srilankan captain Kumara Sangakara resigned from their captaincy. While the Pakistani Captain Shahid Afridi, lost his foot as reported it was last seen in his mouth during an interview to PTV.

However, this time I was totally involved in the world cup as seen in the picture below, but what stole the piece cake during this cricket watching experience was twitter. You can read how fabulous the experience was from Monika & IHM. I cracked a lot of jokes around the matches

Srilanka says they don’t need a Poonam Pandey to do a full monty, they already have a “Mahela” for that in their team

Srilanka would be playing with one less player, Ashish Nehra dropped due to fractured finger

However, the highlight of the tweeting was my open tweet to Mr. Raj Thackarey which  was then RTed by Amitabh Bacchan. I believe in my entire span of more 17,000 tweets this was most forwarded and shared tweet and being a fan of AB himself it is good to know he read, agreed and shared something I felt & I wrote.

Coming back to some more serious things in life, I feel India is at crossroads today. It’s a country which is growing at 9% but it is also a country which is one of the most corrupt nations in world. Today, India is on the verge of what seems to be a revolution. Social activist Anna Hazare has started a fast until government includes the civil society members while drafting the Lokpal bill.

I feel strongly against corruption and I have decided to support the revolution. My reasons for supporting the revolution are-

  • Supposedly the government led by all Congress, BJP and the Third Front have not been able to pass the weak Lokpal Bill in 42 years. I don’t trust any of them to do it now.
  • The last year has all been packed with Scams, be it CWG, 2G spectrum, Adarsh Society, Mining in Bellary and obviously nothing has been done.
  • The current government actually thought Sharad Pawar deserved a seat in the GOM for drafting the Lokpal bill.
  • I don’t agree that an institution like Lokpal would not have power to register FIR or prosecute.
  • I also don’t agree the provision of severe punishments via Lokpal to the people making “frivolous” complaints while the people complained about cannot be punished. This seems like a perfect vendetta forum for anyone voicing against corruption.
  • Leaving the bureaucracy out of the purview of the Lokpal is again something I don’t think would combat the corruption. The corruption starts at the root level and goes top up via the bureaucrats.

So I plan to support him in whatever little ways I can, may be fasting on the weekend or joining the candle vigils or wearing the white strip. So if you feel convinced by what I said then please join me to support the JanLokpal bill and Anna Hazare. If you need more information please visit India Against Corruption Website to make your call.

On a completely different note, I would be in some esteemed company for my book launch in Bangalore; Ahmed who has been a great supporter and motivation would be there. Abhijit Bhaduri, the famous author of “Mediocre But Arrogant” and “Married But Available”, who I have admired and followed closely through all these years. Nikhil Rajagopalan, who is a fellow blogger and a budding author also featuring with me in “Down The Road”.

So if you are in Bangalore on 16th April, please make sure you reserve your time for “Down The Road” book launch at Crosswords, Garuda Mall. Please read the official declaration of the event here.

Down The Road Launch Invite


 

Down the Road is now available on Flipkart, IndiaPlaza, Landmark, Crosswords please book your copy now.

 

 

 

Down The Road

When I first heard these words, the immediate response in my mind was a Bryan Adam’s song “Heaven” which has a line  “Now nothin’ can take you away from me, We’ve been down that road before, But that’s over now,  You keep me comin’ back for more”. If you haven’t heard the song you can hear it here, it is one of my personal favorites.

I believe that everyone has been “Down the Road” before whose memories can’t be taken, which keeps you coming back for more, no matter how further you move on in life there is always good time to relax and go “Down the Road” across the memory lanes. Surprisingly these roads for the most of us exists in our childhood and youth, in our schools and colleges, in the canteen and lecture halls.

So this time to take you to a series of small trips of these Roads there are 16 Authors and 28 tales woven carefully in the schools and colleges, amidst friends and crushes, revolving around “The Road” you might have been before but then it’s over now and you keep coming back for more; my publishers have come up with another anthology of short stories titled “Down The Road”.  The book would be launched soon pan India and yes this one also has a story written by me.

Down The Road

Down The Road

So folks what do you think about going “Down The Road”?

Urban Discussions Yet Again

We are doing an Urban Shots event yet again, this time at-

Venue: Reliance Time Out, Cunningham Road, Bangalore

Date: Feb 26, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Now I can assure you with Ahmed & Malathi this is going to be one of the most entertaining discussions. As me & Ahmed simply don’t seem to agree on most of the things we discuss and arguing around two most contrasting world views. With Malathi the thing is entirely different, despite her impeccable resume spanning from social service to foreign affairs what fill me in awe of her is her stint with Indian Express; for someone who has grown up reading Indian Express and find a idol in Arun Shourie you can be assured that the discussions with her would be cherished. So if you are in Bangalore, I don’t think this is an event to miss. See you on Saturday 🙂

Corporate Atyachar

Author: Abhay Nagranjan

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

Price: 100/-

Corporate Atyachar is another book in the league of what I call been there done that books. The book spins a story around a fresh out of college graduate in the world of HNI (High Net-worth Individual) Banking and wealth management. Though the story of the book revolves around some clichéd topics like horrifying weirdo clients, a disgusting boss, and the nuances of the wealth management industry; the essence of the book lies in the way the story has been told. The best part which makes the book different and more enjoyable is that Abhay has stayed clear off the usual romance angle in the book and has stuck to what he does the best, adding situational humor in the wealth management setup.

The protagonist is fresh out of college, with no certain direction or goal in lives. He finds his life in the job where he submerges himself to survive and extremely disgusting boss which he names as Human Ball Scratcher (HBS). The characterizations are fairly good bringing out the finer aspects of the industry and highlighting the idiosyncrasies of the high profile net-worth clients. The story of a dominating banker, a puppy loving yuppie, Thai massage loving old man all leave a very amusing note in your mind enjoying the situational humor.

The story is pretty fast paced and well written, however the event sequence is rather flat. The story begins with a moderate pace and maintains it through out the book. The ending of the book is not what we call as firmly terminal, the author has left it dangling in a subtle manner so that the scope is sequel cannot be ruled out. On the downside the editing effort on the book could have been a bit better; some grammatical and contextual mistakes could have been avoided.

Summary: A nice realistic tale of a guy who is caught in wealth management industry amidst horrible clients and a dreadful boss. A nice light read for entertainment and can be surely picked up for a nice time on 2-3 hour flight.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs Of The Maharani Of Jaipur

Author: Gayatri Devi

Publisher: Rupa & Co.

Price: 495/-

A Princess Remembers is a very well written autobiography by Late Gayatri Devi, the maharani of Jaipur. I picked up the book primarily for the reason to know more about one of the most beautiful Indian women, I am not sure but she just might be the first Indian women to be listed in the 10 most beautiful women of the world by Vogue. The book however was the complete contrast to my expectations as it was everything but the story about a life of a beautiful woman and I must add that it exceeded my expectations by a mile.

The book is a brilliant tale of the lives of the royal families of the princely states. The book is a glimpse of the contribution the royal families in gradually eradicating the menaces from the society like ‘Purdah’. The book also in a small yet significant manner reflects that how the subjects of the princely states loved, respected and connected the bond with their rulers explaining why some parliamentary seats have never been taken away from the ruling family despite more than 60 years of democracy.

Another thing which book gave me an insight into was a different aspect of the freedom struggle of India. I always believed that the freedom struggle was joyous moment for every Indian apart from the communal violence which gripped the country. The book enlightened me with the plight or downfall of the royal families and how they had happily sacrificed the standard of their lives and status to ensure a single entity of India would be formed.

I am not sure how much the other readers would relate to it, but it shed the light on the ways of Congress and it’s corrupt and power hungry ways starting right from 1947. Personally speaking reading the headlines about the rampant corruption today, I could relate that this has been the tradition since the Indian independence. Also the book made me aware about the efforts & works of C. Rajgopalachari (the first governor general of India) to form a transparent, and ethical opposition against congress.

The book is an interesting and very evenly paced read starting from the childhood of Gayatri Devi’s mother to her own struggle to represent her people in the democratic setup. The book is very well written ensuring almost all the aspects of her life are covered in detail for the reader to have a holistic picture, at the same time the flow has enough pace to engage the reader throughout the length of the book.

I am not very sure what would have been the purpose when Lt. Gayatri Devi wrote this book, but it sure broadened my perspectives about her from the one of the most beautiful Indian women to the modern Indian women in the early & mid 20th century, a social reformer, a concerned & ground rooted politician, and an elegant sports person.

The book is one of the gems if you like the autobiography genre; it could have been better if her adult life would have been covered in as much depth as her childhood and romance. But still the books makes for a totally worthwhile read.

Summary: A riveting tale of a princess & a maharani living in the era from the royalty to a democracy surviving and succeeding the transformation. The book is light and enjoyable read written in a simplistic and elegant way. A must read for Autobiography fans.

Rating: 4.5 / 5