Sunday, July 31, 2016

Akash Verma: "I have witnessed caste based discrimination personally" (Interview) !!!

It has been 4-5 years since I am fan of the author, Akash Verma. And this happened just after reading one book of his named "Three Times Loser". I recently read his new novel named "A Broken Man" which is based on the mindset with which a Dalit boy grows up in a region where caste discrimination is prominent. Hence, I thought of interviewing him finally about several questions I had in my mind. 

1. Hello Akash, can we know where were you from last 4 years  after releasing Three Times Loser? Why did it take so much time to bring your next book in front of the world?

It takes me while to get away from the story that I have recently finished. But yes after Three Times Loser it’s rather been long. I had to switch careers during this and turned into an entrepreneur after having been a corporate professional, so that took a while. Also A Broken Man required research as well for the protagonist here is a Dalit and to get his thinking and psyche right I had to put in a fair amount of struggle.  

2. How has been the response for Three Times Loser from the last 4 years from the readers?

Three Times Loser has been well acclaimed and has been receiving love from the readers for last four years. However I think that the shelf life of a book is fairly long, so in that sense it still has a long way to go.

3. Tell us something about your newly released book- “A Broken Man”?

A broken man, my recent book, is the story of love and hope. It is the story of Krishna a Dalit boy from Bihar who struggles to overthrow the chains that hold him back and Chhavi is a high caste Brahman girl fighting for the rights of others, propagating equality in a politically charged Lucknow University campus. After Krishna saves Chhavi from getting torched during a protest against reservation, love slowly blossoms, only to be ruthlessly crushed by a society that thrives on divisions of caste and religion. 

From student politics in Lucknow to the interiors of Bihar, from the corridors of power to the glitz of media and the film industry in Mumbai, A Broken Man is the quest of a deprived Krishna to redeem hope from despair, love from separation and success out of repeated failures. 

4. How did you think of writing a book on caste discrimination based on a backward class society?

I belong to a middle class family where you grow up with everyone around, meaning all strata of society. I have witnessed caste based discrimination personally. Moreover Mandal was a dominant issue when I was passing out from school and took admissions in college. It has stayed with me and became a backdrop for A Broken Man. 

5. Weren’t you doubtful that metropolitan readers might not pick it up?

A metropolitan reader is first a human being and then a city inhabitant. So a good story to my mind would have a universal appeal. I write because I want to tell a story and not particularly worrying about who and where is going to read it. However a broken man is the story of eternal love and invincible hope which to me is a fairly common human quest.

6. Why is it that your last two books have saddening titles consisting of words like “Loser” and “Broken”?

Three Times Loser despite having a not so happy ending is the story of optimism and moving on despite having faced failures in the matter of heart. A Broken Man is the story of hope and fighting against the odds despite facing tremendous challenges and repeated failures, and coming victorious in the end. The essence of the book is that the potential within each one of us is infinite. It is completely up to us of how much we can tap.

7. Has there been any talk related to any of your three books to be adapted into a movie?

Yes there have been and interest was shown by some parties however none turned into a finalized project till now.

8. Can you throw a little light on what your next book is going to be based upon?

I have a broad outline of my next book in my mind. It’s going to be a crime thriller set in Gurgaon. Quite different from the books that I have written so far. I am currently researching it. 

9. Any words for your readers who are falling in love with your books?

I can only wish that my books make my readers happy in the present and hopeful about the future.

Break Free by V. Rajesh (Book Review-4.25*/5) !!!

2 decades ago, people usually communicated with the same kind of people and there wasn't much challenge regarding communication until and unless one had to talk with a very senior person. But these days, specially in the corporate world and post-office, one has to be on his toes when it comes to perfection while communicating with someone. It has become mandatory to not hurt or depress someone with your speech and dialogues. To ensure that you do not make any mistake while communication, V. Rajesh has come up with his new book named "Break Free" which also has the tagline "Unlock the powerful communicator in you". The book is published by Rupa Publication.

This book is written very wonderfully which explains you each point at a time with great examples and tips. In the end of the chapter, author also manages to give "Key Takeaway" and how can one adapt this so easily that it becomes walking the talk for us. This book is recommended not only to the people in jobs where communication can effect your career but also for teenagers and students who can sharpen their skills from now itself. The book is divided into two parts in which the one is dedicated in giving away the tips while the 2nd one explains things with stories. I personally liked part 2 better than part 1. It's not that part 1 is bad but for me, Part 2 worked better as I am a fiction lover. Haha!

Author even goes on explaining what mistakes we do while writing emails and even SMSes. This book is sincerely different from other books that are written on communication as it is not talking only about those obvious points of being a good listener etc. It is talking about the points that even you'll realize while reading does make effect in a communication but not given importance. After reading this one, now I am excited for reading the previously published books of V. Rajesh. I give this one 4.25 stars out of 5.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

101 Entry-Level Jobs by T. Muralidharan (Book Review-5*/5) !!!

      Not many books are interestingly written when it comes to career or education. This is the main reason these books are never treated like other books by readers and you'll find them only in the bookstores at Railway platforms or bus depo. But then are always exception and one of them is the recently released book by Rupa Publications named "101 ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS" written by T. Muralidharan. Mr. Muralidharan is one of the India's top recruiters and career columnists so there could have been no better person to write something like this. The book discusses only the jobs that can be fetched as a fresher after earning either a Graduation or Post-graduation degree. The qualifications that are eligible for the 2 million new entry-level vacancies in the next six years are BE, BTech, BCom, BA, BSc, BBA, BCA, BPharm, BL, MBA, MCA, MBBS, CA, ICWA, CS and Diplomas.      

           The author have explained various industries in which jobs are open for a fresher and he guides properly about what the industry works in and what many roles are going to be available in that particular industry as a fresher. Then he answer many questions such as what are going to be the responsibilities, skills that are required, stress levels, salary and future career prospects for each of the specific roles that the author discusses. Each and every designation is explained so well that you won't be required anyone else to explain it you in a better way. I also liked this book believable and written after a good research as the salary as fresher and after attaining the experience of specific years is rightly mentioned without any superficial amount. 

             Author has not given any false statement throughout the book as per what knowledge I already had about few of the posts. Also, you might not find many designations that you have heard from your friends because they are not for Freshers. The Practitioner's view given after each job description by a person working in the same position is wonderful to read as it makes more clearer to us regarding what an individual gro through the years in that position. I will recommend this book to every student who is in 9th std or more plus I would like to ask parents to ensure that you have this book in your home as soon as your child reaches in secondary school. Someone who does not know where to venture can surely find an interest after going through all the industries and designations described in this book. I give this book 5 stars out of 5. Yes!!!



Everyone has a story by Savi Sharma (Book Review- 1*/5) !!!

      I recently picked up "Everyone has a story" which is written by debutante, Savi Sharma. The book is published by well-known Westland Publication. The main attraction towards the book was the extreme promotions that the writer have done on Amazon and everywhere else. The book has also landed up in the Top 10 Nielson Bestseller list. But after reading t his book in 1.5 hours, I can say that it's one of the mediocre books that Indian debut authors write. It has nothing that can move you or make you think about the characters and their feelings. The book lacks soul which has played negative for it.      

           When the tagline says "An Inspirational Romance", you expect a lot from that book because not every book claims to be that different and out-of-the-box. The cover page has many mono-syllables and words printed on it which makes the book look more special and distinct. Unfortunately, the book seems to be written just for the sake of writing something that can be published in the form of a novel and sold in the market. Otherwise, everything that the author tries to say, she herself leaves the topic in between and move on to some other topic. It seems as if author is not confident herself about keeping the reader interested and engrossed in that particular topic that the characters are discussing because of which she just ends it abruptly and something else begins which can be called as love story which has everything except romance. 

             When one of the character is introduced as traveler and later on his traveling journey is discussed, you expect something incredible and exciting from that chapter as the character moves out of India but the narration is so weak and plain that you are unable to feel anything out of it. That main section itself fails the book. Overall, I would say that the book needed little more detailing either from point of view of characters or situations or love story. This seems to be an incomplete book and written just for the sake of writing. I give this book 1 star out of 5. Soulless! 



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Anupama Garg: "I was compelled to write to clear the myths about Tantra." (Interview) !!!

 I read the book "The Tantric Curse" last month and its effect in my life has been tremendous because of which I felt like interviewing the first time authoress, Anupama Garg. Please do read to know that she thinks about Tantra and Tantrics. 

1. Hi Anupama, how has been your experience after becoming a writer? What changes are you noticing in your life?

Hi! I don’t really consider myself a writer, however it definitely feels very good to know that people are appreciating my work. My life is very much the same except more mails to answer, more messages and recognition as a writer. 

2. Tell us something about your first book- “The Tantric Curse”.

The book, through its central characters, takes the readers into the world of authentic Tantra giving an un-bashed account of the dark and light in Tantra. It is an intense and passionate love story, inspirational handbook of life explaining the principles of Tantra all rolled in one. It is a gripping book set in present-day and is fast paced.

3. What compelled you to write a book on such a topic?

I am a student of Tantra and have been under training of my Guruji Baba Batuknathji, a well know tantric. This explains the fact, I have written about the path that I am walking. “The Tantric Curse” throws light on the principles of Tantra. Tantra is a field that is largely unknown, hence misunderstood and misrepresented. It is passed on through the age-old Guru (teacher) shishya (disciple) system and is imperative that it goes into worthy hands. Like every kind of power, it too has the potential to be misused. I was compelled to write to clear the myths about Tantra. It happened as my Guruji directed me to write instead of complaining as to why is Tantra misunderstood and grossly maligned.

4. Since when are you following tantric life and what changes has it made to your life?

I was formally initiated about 25 years back. Any spiritual practice aids in understanding the larger picture and makes one compassionate. It has helped me to become a better, calmer, happier, grateful and a stronger individual. 

5. Why do you think are people having bad image of Tantrics?

Tantra is maligned, misinterpreted and misrepresented, as never before has a genuine practitioner told what it entails to be a Tantric and what exactly is Tantra. People are afraid of the unknown and have associated Tantra with negative power. Often media and television have reinstated the fact, time and again by calling delinquents Tantrics. 

6. Are you going to write only about Tantra and Tantrics in future or you might shift your focus from this topic?

 I have not really thought whether I will write at all !!

7. Can we get some insight about what your next book is?

Have to still decide if I will write and if I do what it will be.

8. How has been your association with Rupa Publications while working with them on your first book?

Rupa Publications has been excellent at handling the entire project with the right sensitivity and understanding. My association with them is comfortable and easy.  They are open minded, very supportive and straightforward which works very well with me. One of the most admirable aspects is the promptness with which they respond. As an author I feel that the rejections I got from other publications were perfect in the larger scheme of things ….else Rupa would not have happened!! 

9. Any words for your readers who like your book?

I am really happy and grateful for your appreciation of the book.  I hope this book aids you to develop a great relationship with yourself, inspires you to learn from every trial that life offers you and makes you a better person. This book has techniques which are tools to start your journey of self understanding. Wishing you all a meaningful and wonderful life!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Parenting in the age of sex-posure by Dr. Vandita Dubey (Book Review- 3.5*/5)!!!

       Well, some books are meant for a specific age-group or people playing specific roles in life. But if someone not in that target audience reads it and understands it very well, it means the book is more than enough of doing the change which it is intended to. One such book was handed to me named "Parenting in the age of sex-posure" written by Dr. Vandita Dubey and published by Rupa Publication. The authoress have tried to tell us about how sex is everywhere aaround us these days that it is hard for anyone to ignore it. And the small children who do not know anything about it also comes to know because of several things going around them on regular basis that you can't censor any of them. In such a situation how parents have to deal is what the whole book is all about.   

            Author have given many examples and scenarios which are related to sex in a child's life which can be controlled and dealt with if parents are alert and aware. And she believes that it is very easy and nothing to shy from children while discussing. She has given many tips about how parents can initiate the talk or how they can make it just another topic to discuss among themselves. She has managed to convince us in some of them while some suggestions really seem to be just ambitious but not executable. The author have raised several serious yet normal issues in today's world like touching of genitals, homosexuality, the access of sexual content on Internet, child sexual abuse, bullying etc. 

            The book is written in simple language like newspaper articles broken down into several chapters. You can read this book directly from anywhere which makes it easy guide whenever you want to read about a specific point itself without going chapter by chapter. Overall, I would say that this book should be read once by every parent even if your child have reached 15+ age. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. 



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ancient Chants for modern living by Aatmanika Ram (Book Review- 4*/5) !!!

       On the occasion of Eid and a National Holiday, I picked up a book named "Ancient Chants for modern living" written by Aatmanika Ram and published by Westland publication. I have always found the books fascinating which links the old saying and formulas with the contemporary scenarios and world. This is one such book which is asking us to recite shlokas whenever we find ourselves in trouble or we are wanting to protect ourselves from unwanted troubles in life. Author believes that a human being faces both- mental and physical adversities throughout his life because of which he goes off track. To maintain his decorum in such situations, author have shared shlokas for each of them specifically to be recited in those circumstances.    

            Author have not only shared the shlokas with us but also translated it in English and made us familiar with what it means to say. Not only this, for a specific problem, author have also suggested which temple to visit so that we can come closer to the God concerned with the issue. A very rare case but here, the author have also let us know why Hinduism discusses several Gods while other religions believe in only one. The another great thing in all the chapters are the examples that the author have given. It makes it easy for the reader to understand what kind of circumstances arise in different phases of life. I have also liked something which not many authors discuss in such self-help or spiritual books but Aatmanika have done it time and again- Making the reader realize the importance of financial and monetary power. She has made it quite evident in her writing that for a peaceful life the foremost approach for any human being should be of saving money as much as possible because 75% of issues in life can be solved just by it. Kudos to the authoress for pointing this out so clearly. 

            In the end of the book, authoress have mentioned all the shlokas mentioned in the book under the issues for which they must be recited. I found this book quite different and interesting. It is a must read and something to have with you as these shlokas might change our life even if we may not believe in its power. I give this book 4.25* out of 5. 



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Broken Man by Akash Verma (Book Review- 3.5*/5)!!!

       I had read Akash Verma's Three Times Loser when it got released some 4 years ago. Since then I have been asking the author to publish his next book as TTL had impressed me a lot. To whomsoever I gave that book have fallen in love with it. Even today, my friends are rotating it among themselves. Akash Verma have finally come up with his new book after a long gap named "A Broken Man". The story is basically about how casteism and discrimination based upon it is prevalent in many parts of India from years. The character of Krishna states the phase that they have to go through as they are regularly reminded about what their real stature is. They are not allowed to live a normal life like every human beings and not dream big as they know opportunities are not for them.    

           Akash Verma have brilliantly sketched this character which starts winning your heart right from his entry in prologue and then in the flashback. The entrance of Chhavi gives story the needed boom after which book goes to the next level itself. Reading about the politics in the university was so fresh for someone like me who have never experienced it that I wanted to read more and more about it. The debates between the lead characters during the street plays are one of the best scenes in the book. Later on, the initial interactions between both the characters post-rivalry is also treated very well. In short, I give full marks to the first half of the book. The characters of Gope, his team, Chhavi's father, Krishna's parents are also amazingly crafted.

          The problem arises in 2nd half when the romance prevails the wonderful set-up of politics and caste discrimination issue. It takes the same face of other romantic and college campus love stories and takes you 4-5 years back when such stories were written back to back by Indian authors. But the book gains pace again in the latter part of 2nd half when the protagonist gets recognition in his organization for his writing skills and the change that happens afterwards. Author has been able to send across the message that anyone who has been pulled down for something all his life should not feel weak as the real potential lies within himself which can take him to heights. The poetry are also beautiful but so much Hindi in an English novel does not suit the book. Rest, I would say that the book is a fine attempt and I give it 3.5* out of 5. Read it for its amazing first half!



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