Sunday, June 28, 2020

Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta by Amish Tripathi (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

19th Book of 2020!

It is such a wonderful feeling when you finish a book by your favorite author and also end up finding the book as one of his best works. I am just done reading “Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta” – the latest i.e. 3rd book written in the Ram Chandra series by Amish Tripathi. The first two books in this series were based on the characters of Ram and Sita respectively which I have already reviewed. I had found Ram to be engrossing as Amish had redefined the story in his version but I wasn’t much impressed with Sita due to the repetitiveness in respect to Part 1. But talking about the latest book in the series which is based on Raavan, I must say that this is the best book among the three and something which is now making me look forward to the 4th and 5th book in this series curiously.

This book is also of almost the same number of pages as Ram and Sita but Amish’s writing in this one is what he is known for- great incidents, retelling of epics in his own way, giving religious insights, acknowledging the facts of Vedas, sharing Sanskrit shlokas and mantras in between, deciphering the philosophical aspect out of the scenes etc. Even when the book is of about 370+ pages but it never bores you with the way narration has been done with regular time-jumps to ensure only the special events from Raavan’s life are given big coverages. The description of events, aesthetic values in scenes and characterizations along with their correlation is done in a crisped manner which makes you imagine so much throughout that after finishing, you’ll feel you have just done watching something on screen. The action-packed scenes are just too good and I must say it is the USP of this book.

Raavan as a character has always been misunderstood by us who are aware about Ramayan but this book makes him so known to us but still kept unknown. Yes – that’s the way the story and character has been presented to us. Sometimes, you’ll find him genuine or barbaric or emotional or pitiful or justifying or non-dharmic or you might love him at times and detest otherwise. Raavan’s characterization by the author makes this book a landmark in Indian writing. Similarly, Kumbhakarna’s portrayal is something which wins your heart in each and every chapter.

Some points that I would like to mention which impressed me are as follows: - the importance of “108” number in India in the initial chapters itself which makes you excited to know many such stuffs further in the book. The whole description of Vaidyanath temple celebration made me feel the same ecstasy as Raavan. Recently, when I started getting involved in religious activities, I always wanted to understand why Lord Vishnu’s idol is made in black with such big eyes which is very well explained by Amish in a sequence of Jagannath temple. A scene where Raavan makes a little girl kill her father is speechless- I don’t know how to explain the impact of that scene on me as a reader. There’s one poetry that’s mentioned which has been written on the relationship of Sun and Earth – it’s so beautiful that I don’t even find such poetries in the Poetry collection books by the new-age authors. Raavan’s emotions for Vedavati and that whole big section which covers the major segment of this book is very beautiful- little Bollywood-ish but it keeps you glued. And talking about the climax of the book- IMPACTFUL! It makes you excited to read the further part eagerly.

Now talking about the drawbacks of the book:- Well, there is not much I could find out but I must say that the book has few scenes which are very violent. Hence, some people who can’t take it might feel uneasy while reading it. Secondly, not all characters are given equal weightage like Raavan and Kumbhakarna which makes the other characters almost negligible in this story. But this has also been a good point about this book that like every book written based on mythology and epics, this one doesn’t have too many characters to confuse the readers. Thirdly, I felt that the story is written in a manner which sounds quite modern whereas I feel that author should keep the aesthetics of the ancient India more alive while writing so that it keeps us connected with our roots – It shall be another benefit of reading such books.

Overall, this is one of the best works of Amish Tripathi for sure. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 undoubtedly. Please do read it to experience an impactful story about Raavan – the biggest villain we ever had.



Thursday, June 11, 2020

"Index Investing" by Abhishek Kumar (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

18th Book of 2020!

One thing that I have realized the most while talking with my friends during this lockdown phase is – people have started believing that earning money is comparatively easy than saving it as everyone understood the importance of having money in their accounts during such times when salaries are being cut, not being given at some places, employees being laid off etc. And it becomes very important for people to understand how to multiply their saved money in order to reap benefits of their hard-saved money also. Abhishek Kumar’s book titled “Index Investing” is an effort to help us understand how to approach stock markets and putting our money in that direction with safety. The book also has the tagline which says "A Low-cost, low-risk strategy to investment success".

After completing the book, I realized that I had reviewed Abhishek’s 2nd book exactly a year back named “Master your Money, Master your Life” which was an excellent read which taught me some great tips on saving money. This book is just next level to it where it talks about what to do with the hard-saved money. The writing style of Abhishek Kumar is really very intriguing and it keeps you hooked through the philosophies, suggestions and ideologies he endorses. Even at points where you feel that author is being too aggressive or opinionated, you still go along with him rather than disliking him.

This book is divided into four different sections: 1. The Theory of Investing 2. The Psychology of Investing 3. The Business of Investing and 4. The Solution. The chapter names are very interesting and the way author begins each chapter taking us slowly by holding our finger towards the topic and then dives deep into it gradually makes it very easy for you to cope up with this domain. Stock Market and Financial terms are never easy for a layman to understand but Abhishek has ensured that we understand as much as possible – though at few places I felt that author could have given us little more understanding of few terms.

The best part is that author doesn’t discuss only the technical aspect of investing but also about the psychology and attitude that each one of us have in this ecosystem- the Investors, the agents, the stock broker, financial advisor, broking firms, media etc. Author tells us how no one can predict the future of any stock or shares available in the market and makes us aware about the different kinds of tactics that these people play with investors to fool and extract money out of them. Author also discusses how we end up paying more in form of many charges that we never understand and how major chunk of our returns are not credited directly to us- but goes to these people who invest on our behalf.

Lastly, author discusses how we should be doing all the stuff towards investing in stock market all by ourselves by intelligently investing in Index funds. Author shares with us many pros of the same along with the quotes by famous people in the field on Index Investing. I liked how author opens our eyes regarding not to think of becoming rich through this medium of money multiplication but ensure that we are only ahead of the inflation rate always. This is something that shall stay with me for long.

Talking about the drawbacks now, as I said even in the review of author’s 2nd book, author takes quite a long time in providing his final solution. It can be better if author keeps on giving the Pros of his suggestion over what is happening wrong elsewhere rather than listing down all the wrongs first and lastly mentioning about the solution by the time which reader becomes all negative about the topic as the book carries only the criticism. Secondly, the chapter on Solution is so short that it could have been a blog or a Linkedin article. I wish author could have given examples, graphs, diagrams etc. to make his readers understand the concept and its affect more rather than being confident that the readers shall take up the solutions without any doubts. Also, I wished author suggested few Mobile applications etc. which can help us in Index investing and ways to understand that on the name of it, we are not being made to invest in something else.

Overall this book is informative and shall help you discover a lot of things in both the cases – if you are already an investor or thinking to be one. I give this book 3.75* out of 5. Recommended for young generation who have started earning.



Sunday, June 7, 2020

"Satya : Tumhara saath hi shashvath hai” by Satyendra Singh “Apurna (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

17th Book of 2020!

It is not every day that I pick up a Hindi book for my reading time but when I do, I ensure that the language of the book makes me feel mesmerized and fall in love with my mother tongue more. My Hindi is good but the slightly difficult vocabulary that I get to experience in Hindi fictional books is what I love rejoicing as it helps me develop my language further. This time I picked up the book named “Satya : ...Tumhara saath hi shashvath hai” written by Satyendra Singh “Apurna”. I read the e-book format of the same on Amazon Kindle which was around 250 pages and took me 10 hours to complete due to my less experience with reading Hindi books.


The book is basically a love story between the two characters- Satya and Shobha based in the times of 1999 and 2000. The millennials might find the movement in the love story quite slow but as I have seen the love blooming in those phase, I can understand the old school format in which the book has been written. The narration of the book is nice as you shall feel that it is being spoken by the characters themselves even when the same is written in 3rd voice. The characterizations are done very neatly in the book which makes you understand the mental state of both the main protagonists of the book and also of the other characters who are involved in the story either as Satya’s or Shobha’s acquaintances.


The 1st half of the book is bit slow and I really enjoyed the book when it went into its 2nd half as it is when certain other layers of the story starts to get revealed and you understand the background and other struggles of the characters too. The values that both the characters possess makes them come together and fall apart several times but when they get to know each other’s condition it is then that they realize the power the other character had been displaying all these days.


There are several poems in the book as the character of Satya is someone who loves writing as per his situations which is also something that you shall cherish while reading. Similarly, another thing that I would like to appreciate author for is to exclude any kind of vulgar scene in the book just for adding intimacy. Author has written this book based on pure love and feelings without getting into any cheap thrills to sell it.


Now talking about the few drawbacks:- As I have already mentioned, I felt that the book is quite slow in the 1st half and even in 2nd half too- Author could have easily made this book 50-60 pages less by keeping the story crisp. Secondly, I felt that many segments sound repetitive as regularly, the characters keep on calling each other or meeting below the hostel or library – author could have made these segments sound unique and new by varying the locations and conversations. Lastly, I felt that author didn’t do justice with many of the characters who are spoken in the book such as Pooja- the lost love of Satya- there is no mention about that story at all. Similarly, other one or two characters disappear all of a sudden and are not mentioned later on.


Overall, if you love reading school/college romance and also want to try to read a book in Hindi, this book shall surely help you go through. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

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