Monday, December 30, 2019

Pebbles of Wisdom by Sadhguru (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

For me, Spirituality means Sadhguru as he is the one who has made me understand it better than anyone else. He speaks bigger things in such easier language that it becomes a possibility for you. Other Yogi Gurus that I have tried following either speak too basic that we already know through our parents or grandparents or speak in such difficult philosophies that it becomes a thing for old and not for us. This has made me read many books written by Sadhguru regularly since last few years and in each one of them, even if there are few repetitive things, I have managed to find out something new which excited me to learn more. This made me go for a small book named “Pebbles of Wisdom” published by Jaico which consists of around 108 quotes or one-liners said by Sadhguru in some or the other instances.

I have never spent money on any such books as I always feel that why would one pay anything above Rs. 50 for something that can be completed or finished within an hour of reading in times where we already have abundant knowledge available for free on Internet. But somehow, I had purchased this book in the initial period of me getting into Spirituality because of excitement which I actually read now after years of having it in my shelf. I just wanted it to be my last book of the Year 2019 so that I could end the year spiritually in terms of my reading journey. I also didn’t want to rush into a book hence needed a shorter format but an insightful one. And this book has been just that.

To begin with, one should go for this book only if one has followed Sadhguru and learnt basics otherwise everything shall just be words without meaning for you which shall irritate you more and take you away from Spirituality. If you have gone through the concepts that Sadhguru endorses, this book shall work like caffeine for you where you would get answers for so many confusions in life through the quotes that has been collated in this book and feel energized and positive suddenly.

Every quote is unique which makes your perspective about every topic have some viewpoint to keep into analysis for some days before changing yourself completely for good. The catalyst that each page and quote is, I must say, that 108 seemed to be very less at the end of the book, it should have been around 500 such quotes as with every page, I felt I was getting wiser and learning to feel gratitude more and more with many of my perspectives getting changed gradually too.

The quotes talk about everything – your mind, your life, your body, what you eat, how you eat, your responsibility towards planet, how you should treat the nature, your relationship with trees, your attitude towards other people, your mortality, meditation, yoga, patriotism, joy, peace, happiness, power of breathing, yogis, money, humility, ego etc. This book covers every nature of human being and every relationship that he maintains. It helps you to understand things from spiritual perspective and go for self-introspection and gradually towards self-realization and then, self-improvisation.

This is one of the best short reads for people into Spirituality. It is just that you need to be spiritual before picking this one. It shall finish within 30-40 minutes itself. To gain more from it, you shall have to keep re-reading it whenever you have time. The only drawback that I found in this book is that there are certain contradictions as some quotes speak something and then another one speaks almost opposite about the same topic. This is because the whole explanation of the same is not provided and just the quote is shared which might create confusion. Except that, I feel that there should have been more quotes in the book.

Overall, I loved it. I give the book 4.5* out of 5.



Sunday, December 29, 2019

We-Men@Work by Sanchita Ganguly (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

This year the number of books that I read on gender equality or on how girls should be empowered enough so that they have equal rights as boys is commendable. When society changes, such small steps such as a column in a newspaper or a blog post or a book plays a big part in spreading it in people’s mind. But then it also becomes equally important to ensure that the subject is treated with care in order to assure that wrong messages or ideology is not being spread that it ends up doing more damage than any kind of good for the society. One book that I recently completed reading on the same topic is written by a woman herself, Sanchita Ganguly, with the title “We-Men@Work” which comes with the tagline “A Conversation Starter for Practicing Gender Neutrality at Indian Workplaces”. The book is published by Notion Press publication in around 150 odd pages.

Sanchita’s motive behind writing this book is so pure and apt that you can feel the intention in each and every sentence. As I mentioned above, writing books on such topics becomes a big responsibility and I must say Sanchita has owned it very perfectly. This is one of the rare books I have gone through where it is not about demeaning men for the sake of proving that women are being pulled down from opportunities etc. Generally, it becomes very easy for any writer or columnist to write on how men are favoured over women and thus prove that both the genders are not at par with each other and women needs to be worked on. But here, Sanchita speaks without any bias being a woman herself, which is very commendable. Her 1st sentence itself in defining the book is that both the genders are biologically different and she carries this very well throughout the book on how both of them should be dealt with respectively.

The 1st chapter talks about how Gender Neutrality is different from Gender Equality which gives the book a great start as we are able to understand what actually is needed to be done to ensure both the gender feels that rules are meant specifically for them which has not been made by keeping them out of picture. Author then talks about how the shift in approaching gender starts early while we are growing up as kids, while searching for suitable match for marriage, pregnancy time and other many occasions. Author also covers how in workplace, the rules and regulations doesn’t do justice to both the genders always which creates very tough environment for both of them to prove their excellence and loyalty.

I am glad author also covers the dilemma of men’s work-life balance thing as this is something which no one speaks about but the way author has discussed in this book reassures my faith in authors speaking on this topic. The book also mentions the important question that who can help to beat this concern and bring the change and this being the last chapter is also a nice closure to this book which creates high expectations in you that if you try, there shall be change, also, things shall be changed accordingly by others too.

The book can be finished in a single sitting because of the way it has been published plus the division of chapters etc. The book has only positive vibes even after being on such complex topic. Few drawbacks that I would like to mention in the end of this review are:- The cover page should have been brilliant for this well-written book. Also, the title of the book is written in such a manner that you might not be able to understand what exactly it is. The book should also have discussed the recent Me Too movement and how it impacts the genders specifically. The way IKEA is given as an example occasionally, author should have come up with more such real-life examples to show how the things are already in place and these can be replicated easily. There should have been little more research.

Except the above few points mentioned, I must say, this book can be a catalyst at least in those minds who shall go through it. I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5. Please do read it if you believe in starting the change by being the change yourself.



The Heart of Success by Om Swami (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

Just as in movies, we appreciate the combination of few Actor-Director and ensure that we watch their movies always without missing any of them, for readers, there are similar successful combination of Author-Publisher where we ensure that we don’t miss reading the book of an author if published by a specific publisher. One such combination I always love is of Jaico Publication and Author Om Swami. As I had begun reading spiritual books few years ago, there were many books of Om Swami that I went through and understood complex terms and philosophies easily with the help of his beautiful writing.

This time, Om Swami has done something different and come up with a book more on Business Principles than Spirituality which is something refreshing and exciting. To start with, the cover page of the book is so beautiful that I picked the book because of it and later got to know that it’s by one of my favorite authors. The name of the book is “The Heart Of Success” with the tagline of “6 Business Principles To Up Your Game”. As the author was once into the corporate world before he took up spirituality, he has practical experiences of the game and that is what he shares in this great book.

Author shares the six sacred principle where the initials of each alphabet in the word “SACRED” are used to define each point such as to implement the pointers in life- S for Self, A for Approach, C for Competence, R for Resources, E for Efforts and D for Destiny. Similarly, to implement in Business, the pointers are as follows: - S for Sales, A for Accounting, C for Customers, R for Returns, E for Energy and D for Determination. I will not discuss what author has described within each of these points but I must say it’s a distinct approach towards how we handle ourselves in life and business and how we can bring great change by applying a different process and approach.

Reading about how author himself dealt with challenges in getting few things accepted at the management level plus other stories and funny scenarios that are mentioned in the book makes it an interesting read rather than just pointers and bulleted points within them. Author makes you walk with him in his own journey and learn from the applications he made in his process. The book not only ends with this but also discusses “The Insanely Epic Model” where again a word is identified from the alphabets in the word “EPIC” to derive the pointers which can help us in becoming brave and epic such as E for Enthusiastic, P for Persistent, I for Independent and C for Clear.

Overall, the book teaches you in how to excel in your working style and life which is of great help with easier implementation. I give this book 4 stars out of 5. Looking forward from more such books from Om Swami.



Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lute of the Nightingale by Khosrul Hossain (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

As my reading target for this year is nearing its closure, I am always looking for the books that I have not heard much about and are written from the new Indian authors. This made me pick up my next book which is not the usual stuff that we get to read- the book named “Lute of the Nightingale” written by Khosrul Hossain with the tagline that says “The girl who spoke with her ink”. The cover page and the overall texture of the book gives you an intimation that the story is very dark and shall need your emotional cells to be strong while reading it. And it is exactly the same.

It’s not very easy to write on a protagonist who is of an opposite gender and it becomes more difficult when the character also has a physical issue which, as a writer, one doesn’t suffer. And this is where I would like to mention that Khosrul has done a wonderful job of describing a girl’s heart and with the same protagonist, a patient’s heart as well. We understand the challenges such people face in the real life through this character.

Saying this, the book is not only about how this girl is suffering with her physical issues but also about her relationship with her mother, Taslima, and Keshob, who stays with them. The chemistry that is discussed and the kind of evolution in the relationship of Reshmi- the protagonist and Taslima goes through is what makes this book a deep acknowledgment of the author’s work. The girl who cannot speak and has a physical disability which is only making her weak day by day ends up falling in love with a boy named Himaloy who is a poet already suffering with a heartbreak. The way their meeting is described makes you imagine the beautiful movies where characters speak with each other through minds and souls. The graph of their relationship is also a turmoil which makes Reshmi suffer more than before.

While the protagonist’s story in itself is so messy, author still manages to talk about each and every character so well that at a time, you feel that every character is the protagonist of the book and not only Reshmi. The way flashbacks are narrated in the form of letters makes the book interesting and makes you excited to know what all has happened with Reshmi’s mother and how Taslima is still alive and so well around her. Also, there are several stories which are separate stories and are not sub-plots to this one are also very beautiful and exciting to read- mostly the last one made me really scared.

Overall, the book is insightful and tells you about imperfect characters who have taken decisions or have fallen into darkness due to destiny and how it impacts other people around their life. The book speaks so much about emotions, love, betrayal, pain, hope, bravery, heart-breaking incidents that you just can’t be grateful about your life which is so well given by the grace of God.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book – Firstly, I believe the book is quite slow which makes it little hard to go through it at times and it could have easily been 30-40 pages short. There are few grammatical concerns but those are really few otherwise the language that author has used for narration is something which I really liked.

Except this, the book shall be surely treated as a distinct book by the matured readers and as per my personal opinion, I give this book 4.25* out of 5.



Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Soul Of Truth by Shaji Madathil/Jessy Skaria-Translator (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

If you are interested in spiritual contents then it really becomes difficult in finding it because not all of them are written or portrayed in a way which shall connect with you. Hence, if we specifically talk about books, it is really difficult finding a book that is written in a way as you think and process your thoughts about spirituality. And fiction books which are based on the theme of spirituality is very tough to enjoy these days because people end up writing a very boring projection which is hard to grasp or enjoy. I find myself lucky that I got to read this book named “The Soul of Truth” by the author- Shaji Madathil which really entertained me for almost two weeks with its 350-odd pages of wonderful story of a character who is no more but speaks his thoughts on his life and death for 41 nights until his spirit completely leaves us.

The book is originally written by the author in Malayalam but it has been translated into English by Dr. Jessy Skaria. It is generally said that when the translation happens, the same soul of the author can’t be delivered in another language but I am just thinking, if I felt the story so much in a translated language, how wonderfully it must have been written in the original voice in Malayalam itself. Incredible! The book is about a protagonist who has lost his life and now he is narrating his story with us and his thoughts about life, death, philosophies etc. from his perspective and making us aware about things we don’t generally feel gratitude towards.

The book is divided into 41 different chapters where each night after the death, the protagonist, Uthaman, is remembering some of his memories when he was alive and connecting it with his current condition where every day, his spirit is getting little away from his family, friends, home etc. Uthaman, through his character, teaches us about how everything in our life comes to teach us something but it is upon us to take action and better our life. If we don’t, we shall end up having the nature of self-pitiness and lose everything one by one.

The way the life story of Uthaman is narrated by the author is very beautiful. The book flows slowly where in every chapter, only one part or scenario of Uthaman’s life is discussed but the way the chapter starts describing the current state of the spirit, what he is watching his family is doing in his absence, and on basis of both of these, a moment of his life is remembered by him at the end of which we are given a philosophical, spiritual or moral message on the same which makes us think about us and our approach towards our life and people. How people who loves us so much forgets us slowly is also discussed with the lasting chapters.

The book also tries to give us advice regarding how we aren’t celebrating our Planet Earth and killing it slowly. It also talks about other social messages as to how society doesn’t allow two people to fall in love even when they are comfortable with each other and can lead a good life. Similarly, how women’s period can be celebrated rather than making it a taboo is another good sequence. The life of an individual in village, city and even out of India is described very vividly which tells us the state of mind who can be in at different points in life. There are many such topics which are discussed with such an ease by marinating it with a fiction story that you never find them preachy but brings positive change in you and your thoughts. I give this book and narration 4.5 stars out of 5.

I recommend it to everyone who loves reading slow books which helps you evaluate deep inside you and search for answers for the questions you never asked yourself.



Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Love on the Everest: Love Conquers Everything by Deepthi Ayyagiri (Book Review: 2.5*/5) !!!

Kindle Unlimited is a great opportunity to explore the short stories written by the Indian authors which are famous in its own digital space. This lead me to the short e-book of around 50 pages titled “Love on the Everest” written by Deepthi Ayyagiri, the authoress who has many other short e-books on Amazon platform. The book also highlights its tagline on its cover page- “Love Conquers Anything” which tells us two parts- 1. The book is about love and 2. The book is about protagonist who is passionate about conquering the Mt. Everest.

Being a girl, writing a book on climbing mountain and that too from a boy’s perspective is surely a difficult job which Deepthi has done very beautifully as nowhere did I feel that the emotions of the boy was missing in the narration of the story. Keeping the size of the book in the mind, the narration is very fast-paced and I must say, authoress tried very well by still assuring that protagonist’s background is described briefly to ensure readers are able to connect with him. The story is not only about its romance genre but it also talks about the life at such mountains for the people who are wanting to explore it and the ones who help these explorers to achieve their life goals.

There are few knowledge points in the book which helps you to understand the environs and modus operandi of the climbers. The way story is treated makes you imagine it like the Music Singles which comes out on Youtube with a short story involving just two characters in the main story with an ending which makes you smile even after having tears in your eyes. The climax is treated beautifully rather than giving it the unrealistic ending even though there are parts in the book which sounds quite filmy and not very realistic.

Talking about the drawbacks now- I felt that author, having short story in her mind, didn’t extend few sections which weakened the emotional quotient of the book due to which you don’t feel the characters’ pain or delight most of the times even after you are aware what they are going through. Similarly, I feel that author completely skipped the training part of the climbers which could have made this book sound more researched and exploratory. Through the story, somewhere there should have been a thought triggered in the mind regarding going for mountaineering which I didn’t feel.

Overall, the book is a light read which you can go through in order if you are looking for a short story in the form of an e-book. I am sure authoress can do well with the long format stories as she shall get the opportunity of adding the segments descriptively along with taking care of the emotional quotient. I must end this review by saying that even after being a self-published e-book, it is very well-edited which is rare case these days. I give this book 2.5 stars out of 5.



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Insider by Bharat Choudary (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

If you must have gone through the post regarding the last book I completed reading, you must be aware that it was in Hindi language which took around 18 days for me to finish. Hence, the next book that I wanted to read after that had to be a great motivator to ensure I carry on the last phase of my reading marathon this year with great energy. Hence, I decided to pick up a short thriller book written by a new Indian author named Bharat Choudary. The book that I am talking about is of around 150 odd pages and titled “The Insider”. The title of the book is very attractive along with its cover page with does its job perfectly for you to pick it up and read its synopsis; after that there is no chance that you would not give this book a try.

Bharat’s writing is very simple which makes it easy for any beginner to go through the book with very ease. The book is written in a thriller genre hence the expectations from the pre-climax or climax of the book is always very high due to several popular Indian authors. I must say that author tried very well and the way the whole story is executed says a lot about his skills as a story-teller. I liked the characterizations made by the author which makes it easy for us to understand the mindset of each and every character involved in the story. I liked the plot of the story of how a writer’s life is projected with so many layers to it that after a point of time, it becomes difficult to figure out what would happen next with protagonist and other characters involved in the story.

The first half of the book is more about the development of the story and most parts of it is about the story that author has written influenced by a real-life half-solved mystery. Post this, author wishes to give it his own ending but then in the real life, some developments take place which ends up ruining the plan of the writer’s thought behind what to do with the climax of his story. And from here meets this aspiration of the author with a wanted criminal.

The 2nd half of the book consists of lot of actions and written with ultimate passion. You can actually visualize the whole thing with big action Bollywood actors. The pre-climax and climax is how the Race series in Bollywood is written where you find someone dead in this moment and then alive in the next and again dead and then again alive which keeps on going which keeps you on your toes. I had not assumed such twists in the story hence I had to re-read few parts in the end twice after making the notes in my journal hence I recommend everyone to keep on noting down the character’s relationship with each other in order to enjoy the climax.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I must say that author could have easily played with the story right from the first page if there would have been little twists done with the timelines of the story which could have given more opportunity to explore. Also, I feel that the conversational part between characters aren’t very appealing which sounds artificial on which author should work in his upcoming books. Similarly, the way climax is written is very confusing which could have been written in a bit easier manner. I feel that more genuine characters should have been added in the story to make it based in a larger world as currently, it involves only few characters and only moves around them.

Overall, this book is a light thriller which you can complete within 3 hours of time. I give this attempt 3.5 stars out of 5.



Friday, November 8, 2019

Vaidik Sanatan Hindutva by Manoj Singh (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

It has been my wish to read Hindi books regularly but never got an opportunity for the same. Finally, because of this new will and wish within me to understand my religion as much as I can as I have started believing that religions though sounding very traditional and old-school speaks of dimensions that we don’t even think about while listening about them. And I believe how well a Hindi author can write about our religions such as Hinduism, Sanatan Dharma etc., no other language and their authors can do justice to it. This made me pick up the book named “Vaidik Sanatan Hindutva” written by Manoj Singh in Hindi language. Picking this book made it more relevant because author’s education profile is B.E and MBA which means he is probably not a blind-believer but has gone through the intricacies before believing in the same and writing about it.

The book “Vaidik Sanatan Hindutva”, I must say, as many of the people are mentioning on the Internet is not out-and-out spiritual book but talks vividly about how we, as a human being, live and thrive on the planet Earth and even after knowing that without it’s well-being, we can’t survive a second, we don’t think twice before polluting it and depleting our natural resources. Author is basically frustrated with the way scientists have started searching for another planet realizing that planet Earth shall not be healthy enough because of us- human beings due to which we shall need to look for an alternative to keep our species alive. Author is angry about how rather than talking about how we can save our planet, we are searching for another planet to make it another hell like Earth.

The book starts with criticizing one of these scientists, a very popular, Stephen Hawking. And then author talks about how our very own religion which is originated in our country, India, itself speaks about the importance of the Planet and its well-being. How in all our religions such as Sanatan, rituals such as Vaidik rituals and religious holy books such as Rigveda, there is mention about worshiping of Mother Earth not because of some blind faith but because the Sages of those era understood the importance of our planet which serves us with everything selfless like a mother.

Author discusses about all such rituals in the Sanatan dharma which speaks of things like Gayatri Mantra, Mahamrutyunjay jaap, yagya, Yoga etc. which might sound regressive to this modern generation but how they are also scientifically important for us, our survival and planet is also discussed. Similarly, author also talks about the seasons in India and how each of them are beneficial to us in its very own way. The importance of Sun is mentioned vividly in the book which discusses its importance for all the living and non-living beings on this planet as it is the single source of energy for us.

And finally comes the most interesting part of the book where all the festivals are discussed which are widely celebrated in India. All of us have just blindly celebrated the festivals without realizing the real meaning behind their celebration or why they even exist on particular day and time. The importance of each festival, the rituals that are performed during those festivals are mentioned which makes us realize what kind of geniuses our sages were that even if we blindly followed everything they said, we would have been in a better place today. I was literally surprised to learn so much through these chapters. How all the rituals have been planned keeping all the segments of people, all the societies inclusive is thought-provoking and astonishing whereas we have always considered them as regressive thinking.

Author’s language throughout the book is in the kind of Hindi we love listening to whenever someone like Kumar Vishwas or Amitabh Bachchan speaks in a very good command. The way all the chapters and topics are classified with their appropriate sectioning in the index too makes it easy to grasp the book. I would recommend everyone to read this book topic by topic every day rather than rushing on to it. As this is the first Hindi book I have completed, it took me 18 days to finish the 238 pages of this but I am happy to have invested around 3 weeks in grasping this powerful book which taught me so much about me, my country, my religion, my society and the way I should be changing my lifestyle with small changes.

Talking about the drawbacks, I must say that the way author starts this book is very negative and disappointing as the way author pounds on the scientists is very bad. Also, mentioning the name of Stephen Hawking specifically was not required and looked very bad on author’s part. If author, rather than mentioning the same, had talked only about what he did later in the book, this book would have been a very positive book spreading only positivism rather than blame game.

Overall, this book shall provide you many insights as mentioned above along with improving your Hindi language. I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5. Recommended!



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Mithilesh Kumar: "Unlike Shri Ram’s life, we do not know many aspects of Shri Krishna’s life" (Interview)

I had recently read a book named Supercop of Aryavrat written by Mithilesh Kumarji. I loved the book and when I came to know that author is more than 65 years of age, I became more interested to know about him and hence, I took the opportunity of interviewing him which is here for all of you to read and understand him as much as me.

Hi Mithileshji, tell us something about your book- Supercop of Aryavrat. — My book SuperCop of ARYAVRAT is Shri Krishna’s story from Shri Krishna’s perspective.

What made you write this book? How did you choose Lord Krishna out of all the Gods for writing your 1st mythological book? — First, I want to clarify that this is not a mythological book, this is a historical novel. This is not the story of Lord Krishna; this is the story of one of our most illustrious ancestors, Shri Krishna who was born on July the 19th, 3228 BC and who died on Feb the 18th, 3102 BC. Being our ancestor, he was more than God/Lord for me. So I don’t address him as Lord or God. I feel I am nearer to him when I prefix his name with Shri as we prefix the names of our parents, grandparents, etc. — This is Shri Krishna’s story from Shri Krishna’s perspective.
            Now coming to the question what made me write this book, well, many friends informed me that they knew everything about Shri Krishna through TV serials, films and various books on him. Why another book? I asked them, ‘Okay, you know everything about him. Then tell me the names of all his eight principal queens.’ No one could go beyond four.  We do not know even this basic fact of his life. While researching on his life, I came to know that there are other aspects too we do not know and I decided to give words to his complete life story.

Since when you were inclined towards mythology and why did it take you so long to write this book? — Again I want to clarify first that SuperCop of ARYAVRAT is a historical novel, not a mythological story. The reason is and I repeat that Shri Krishna was a historical figure, and not a mythological one. How the dates of his birth and death were calculated is already available in public domain. But sceptics will still ask what is the proof that he really existed. A few hundred years from today the same question will be asked about Mahatma Gandhi too because people a few generations below the line will not believe that a frail looking man played an extremely important role pushing the mighty British away from India with what weapons — non-cooperation and non-violence. Next, before the Mughals and various dynasties of Muslim rulers, Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the king of Ajmer, Delhi and around. But in Delhi there are very few monuments of a period earlier than the rulers of Delhi Sultanate. In the matter of Shri Krishna and Dwarka, however, some artefacts brought out near Bet Dwarka from sea bed by marine archaeologists testify to the period. — In brief, he has been one of the our most illustrious and greatest ancestors and we must feel proud to be his progeny.
            After attaining sixty when I retired I wanted to start a second inning of my life. Writing was always my hobby even though it is a slightly monotonous job. Well, besides the creativity it gives me immense satisfaction. Since the time I thought of the idea of writing a book on Shri Krishna, it took me three-four years, reading about him from all the sources I could lay my hands on, then understanding various episodes of his life from realistic point of view, then deciphering the modern names of the kingdoms and cities of those days, and lastly drawing out the detailed plot. After that the job was easy. Giving words to all that and the book was ready.

As Amish Tripathi says that he didn’t plan to write about Lord Shiva but the story and book came to him from the Superpower sources. Did something similar happen with you too in this case? — No, I made a proper plan to write this book because I felt that unlike Shri Ram’s life, we do not know many aspects of Shri Krishna’s life. I have said in Preface that Valmiki was a contemporary of Shri Ram. He wrote the Ramayana that is the most authentic biography of Shri Ram. Later, great poets of different languages wrote their books on Shri Ram, keeping mostly Valmiki’s Ramayana as base. We keep Ramayana or another book on Shri Ram by some great poet at our home, and worship the book as well. On the other hand, Vedvyas was a contemporary of Shri Krishna, but he did not choose to write on the life of Shri Krishna that spanned for more than 125 years and 6 months and that remained as the pivot of most of the happenings of the Aryavrat of those days. Had he written it, it’d have been the most authentic biography of him. Instead, he chose to write a book on the 18-day war, the Mahabharata that we do not keep at home; keeping it at home is considered inauspicious.

How hard was it to research on Lord Krishna and how did you do it and since when? — The idea was in my mind since long as I said above. Then, researching on anything, any incident is not easy. That too when the story is more than five thousand years old. Besides when by the passage of time many incidents have been termed as miracles. But when you have determination, no power on the earth can stop you.

Weren’t you doubtful while writing that there could be controversy if you end up writing something about Lord Krishna which might offend someone? — I wrote the life story of Shri Krishna from the perspective of Shri Krishna who was one of our most illustrious ancestors. So there is no question of offending anyone.

What made you so specific that you didn’t share much about Bhagawad Gita in the book and focused on the character of Lord Krishna himself? — Because the story pertains to Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna in totality. Though Shri Mad Bhagwat Gita is an all time great scripture, renowned all over the world, it is only one part of him.

What is the next story you are planning to write? What is it based on? — I am contemplating another quality book, in another genre.

Can you please let us know what motivates you to write at this age of 65+? — Gurudev, after
attaining international fame and becoming the first Asian to win Nobel Prize in literature in 1913, for Gitanjali, and after writing evergreen and wonderful  novels, stories, dramas and getting lot of acclaim for songs as well, started painting at the age 60, and excelled in that too. Hence age is only a number and creativity has no age limit. We must take inspiration from him. Then, as I said earlier writing has been my hobby. Next, you must have seen cars of older generation sometimes needed to be pushed for getting started while the new generation cars are self-start. I am in the second category. So ideas keep on coming and my mind gets on perfecting them.

What would you like to advise to the youth of our nation and the aspiring writers? — To the youth of our nation I want to tell — you are the future of India. Excel in whatever field you are in and make your parents, your community and our country proud of you. At least try to achieve higher than what people of your immediately preceding generation have achieved lest your parents get known by your name. A father/mother feels proud when he/she gets recognised through his/her son/daughter.
            If you are interested in writing, you should be an avid reader first. After that you will realise that you too have a story that will slowly and slowly start bubbling out, to be told. Next, writing is a craft, develop it and perfect it. 6Ps for writing a good novel should be kept in mind. Plot, Prose, Practice, Perseverance, Patience, Perfection — each one with excellence.  



Monday, October 21, 2019

Slave Technology by Biju P R (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

All of us have definitely become slaves of technology in this world of affordable smartphones, laptops and data packs. It has really become difficult for all of us to stay away from the social media websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Blogging websites etc. But there is always the possibility about which track to follow when one is surfing through Social Media- the content that gives you positivity or the content that gives you negativity. If in any case, you start enjoying the negative content and also get involved in spreading the same, the technology that should be a boon for us ends up becoming bane and destructive. The 44th book of this year that I just completed reading on this weekend is based on the same named “Slave Technology” written by Biju P R who already has such researched books in the market. This book is published by Rupa Publications in around 144 pages.

The book is divided into 11 different chapters where all of them talks about the negative impact of the technology. As all of us while using Internet never takes it so seriously that it can actually change our mindset as per the contents we view, this book shall definitely act as a very big eye-opener where you shall be surprised with what all takes place because of the same Internet you have been using for uploading your pictures and check-ins on Facebook and Instagram. Author talks about the topics such as bragging on the Internet, rise of digital ghettos, the way gossips, rumours are spread, reputation is harmed, hatred is being campaigned, trolling is discussed in a full chapter, how sexism exists on the Internet, narcissism on Internet, people who scam others on Social media, how people end up falling in false love and then get betrayed and finally ends with censorship on the platform.

All the chapters cover whatsoever could have been covered in the same. As I have already read many articles in newspapers and Internet about the damage that social media does to people, community or country hence there was nothing new for me but I can say that author tried to cover all the points with statistics at few places to make them sound relevant.

The writing style of the author is like a journalist which makes it easy for you to read this book in a single sitting due to its easy language and user-friendly vocabulary. The references for all the articles that author has used in research while drafting/writing this book is mentioned at the end of every chapter. The amount of research that must have gone is incredible and that shows in the content of the book.

Talking about the few drawbacks, I must say that author has just mentioned all the drawbacks and shortcomings of the Internet but didn’t give any kind of solution- solutions even where it could be implemented at the individual level itself. Then, author has not discussed about the benefits of technology at all. So, if you are very positive about Internet and have not taken it that seriously till now, you shall end up getting negative and scared about your mobile and shall even sell it off and take a Black and white handset. Yes, the book is definitely very negative which I felt author could have balanced. I also felt that the author was biased towards a gender and religion which he made it sound as if they are too victimized by the acts of another majority on Internet which I disagree with. At some places, book sounds like an agenda too.

Overall, this is a nice book if you really want to know the negative impact of technology and social media in case you are unaware of what happens in the other world of Internet. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.



Friday, October 18, 2019

Lights! Scalpel! Romance! by Jas Kohli (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

Well, it’s not every day when you pick up a book and feel that you took the best decision of your life. This week I have been lucky by picking up this amazing book called “Lights! Scalpel! Romance!” written by Jas Kohli. If I am not wrong, this is his 2nd book after his 1st book called “Anything to look hot”. I wasn’t very much impressed with that book and felt that it could have been better and I feel after the gap of 4 years, author has really made many improvements as he again wrote a book based on the life of surgeons but this time, the book is several light years ahead from his previous book in terms of quality, story, treatment, surprising elements etc.

Jas Kohli’s writing style is very dynamic and the way this book is narrated made me imagine how in several more ways it could have been written such as - either in first voice of the character Nipun or in the first voice of each and every character chapter-wise or like personal diary entries of each of the characters etc. The book gives you more ideas that means every reader shall take story in their way and better it in their minds. Even though the book is not a thriller, the narration makes you read the book as fast as possible because of the entertainment and excitement quotients it has.

There are few books you can call as “Positive Book” undoubtedly, and this book is definitely one of them. Even when author talks about something which doesn’t go in the way of the characters, even then you feel good reading about it as author opens other dimensions to the story with it. The back page of the book says it’s a fictional romance but I must say more than romance, this book has humour. Yes, this book should be marketed as a Humorous book. The life of surgeons and what goes into the hospital- in front of us and backdoors is described so beautifully that you wish to read more and more about each of the characters.

The best part of this book which can be called its USP is the way characters are treated. I have rarely come across such books where all the characters are defined so perfectly that you can understand what they are like and how they would react to situations. Jas Kohli does it perfectly and makes all the characters your friends as you feel you know each of them personally. Along with telling a great story, author also makes us aware about many things without getting preachy such as the Hospital or Healthcare industry where there is lot of dirty competitions between doctors, doctors intently doing wrong with patients, negligence of few doctors, aggressive patients, affairs among doctors, doctor’s eye on beautiful patients etc. Along with it doctor also talks about other social issues but does it so beautifully that only if you shall read between lines will you understand how deeply it has been treated.

The conversational parts in this book are too good. In the previous book of author, I had talked about it as a drawback and this time, I am talking about it as the best part about the book. Wherever author wants to make you laugh or make you nervous, he is able to do the same successfully. Also, the one-liners, taunts, sarcasm etc. are so very good that it makes this book a repeat-read. It shall entertain you every time. The romance part of the book is not intense like Bollywood stories but a very realistic note on how people dream and then fail when you actually go into the live situation of impressing the person you want to get settled with.

The book is amazing, I must say. If you want a light-read plus a great laughter session. Go for it. I don’t have any such drawbacks to discuss except that cover page could have been more appealing. Book should have been focused and marketed more as Humour/Satire than Romance.

The 1st book of the author received 3.5 stars rating from me whereas this time it directly jumps to 4.5* out of 5. Yes, it is that good. Recommended!



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mayank Manohar:- "I was not confident about my writing and I was afraid of being judged by everyone." (Interview)

I recently read the book named "Shadow of the Past" written by Mayank Manohar. I was very happy reading the book as it belongs to the Romance genre but it's writing is very matured unlike other cliche novels these days. This made me think about interviewing the author and for all you, please go through the small Question and Answer session that both of us did for this interview to happen:-

Hi Mayank, please let us know something about your background. 

Hi Abhilash. I am from Patna, Bihar. I was born in Bangalore and brought up in Patna. I finished my schooling from Patna Central School before moving to Hyderabad, where I completed my high school from Narayana Junior College. I am an engineer-turned-journalist and I have worked with The Times of India as a senior correspondent. This is a bit about my background. I am a dreamer and a keen observer. I spend most of my time travelling, reading and observing people when I am not working. 

How did you get into writing and since when you have been writing?

Like every other kid, the first ambition of my life was to join the Army. But as you grow up, you realize your potential. I was in 12th grade when the idea of becoming a writer struck me for the first time. It took me five years to finally decide what I wanted to do and take up writing as my profession.

I started writing in 2010 when I had dropped one year after my 12th grade to prepare for engineering entrance exams. I started as a blogger but didn't tell anyone in my circle about it. I was not confident about my writing and I was afraid of being judged by everyone. Only after a few random people started appreciating my blog, it gave me the confidence to showcase my writings to friends and family.

What motivated you to write your first book- Shadow of the Past?

I was going through a similar phase while growing up and I know how messed up it is to deal with your past. Especially, when your past has a habit of surprising you every now and then. I know how important it is to accept certain things and move ahead with life. Even if people don't tell you, everyone is raging a battle within their head. Some choose to ignore it, some fight it and some get consumed by it. This was my attempt to connect with people, who are going through similar situations and tell them that it is okay if you have messed up as long as you know that you want to get better and move ahead with life. Life is too short to regret about things we have no control over.

Is it somewhere inspired from your life?

It is a work of fiction but every story is inspired by some or the other life events. It is wrong to say it is entirely based on my experiences but it has some aspects of my life too.

Were you confident about the story you had chosen for your first book?

To be honest, I was suggested by a few people to write a story with a happy ending. But I wanted to write something which is dreamy yet close to reality. 

Shadow of the Past is technically my second book and officially my first. I wrote my first book "Life's Unpredictable" in 2012 but it never got published. It received 19 rejections and now when I look back, I feel I was not ready to become a writer back then. 

I didn't write for the next one and a half years as the rejections shattered me from within. It felt maybe people who told me I was wasting my time chasing the impossible were right. Nobody believed me initially when I told them I wanted to become a writer. But when I was in the final year of engineering and during the placement drive, I realized that I am not meant to be an engineer. It took me 20 back-to-back rejections to finally muster up the courage to tell my parents that I want to pursue journalism and not end up as an engineer.

I started this book (Shadow of the Past) in 2015 and completed it in 2017. It took me two years to plot and complete this book and there is a major difference in the first and final draft. And now when I look back, I know why everything happened. It happened for a reason.

Did you feel any doubt while writing a Love story that people won’t accept it or it would woo only a certain age-group?

While writing this book the only thing that kept me going was the idea behind it. If you look around, many people are struggling with their past. Some are even afraid to talk about it or they choose to ignore it. I wanted people to find solace in this book and maybe find some strength to deal with their past if they are going through a similar phase. I was nervous initially but after I finished writing, I knew I have managed to do a decent job. 

How did the idea of including letters in the book come to you? How difficult was to write each one of them differently than others?

I am a fan of old school romance. I wish I lived in an era, where love letters were still a thing. The idea of writing letters to your loved ones is something that always fascinated me and that's why I wanted to include those letters. These days the idea of romance has changed and I thought it will bring back some old memories. 

It was difficult to write each one of them as I had to put myself in their shoes and react emotionally. Writing a book is similar to method acting. You have to feel the emotions your characters are going through and only then you will be able to do justice with them. I used to watch movies and read books, which would trigger those emotions within in order to write. 

The book has an open-ending. Are we going to see its sequel in the near future? If yes, by when? And will it be the last book in the series?

I always wanted to write a book, which leaves the reader wondering and allow them to think. I wanted them to take something back and reflect at the same time. Yes, I am working on the next one and hopefully, we will see "A Glimpse of Future" soon. Yes, it is a two-part series. 

How has been your association with Fingerprint publications?

It has been wonderful. I cannot thank them enough for the effort the entire team of Fingerprint has put in and helped me to understand the entire process of getting published. I was told by many people many things based on their experiences but it has been a pleasure to be associated with Fingerprint Publishing. 

What would you like to say to your readers about your further plans. 

First of all, I want to thank each one of them for reading Shadow of the Past and posting their unbiased reviews. It feels great to see when people say they could connect with the book or it was their story. That's what matters to me more. A writer is incomplete without its readers. I am working on a sequel to Shadow of the Past and all I want to tell them is this is just a beginning of something new and hopefully, they are going to see me often. 



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