Monday, November 29, 2021

Another Time Another Place by Chandni Sengupta (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!


38th Book of 2021


So, I’m enjoying my reading weekends these days as every Saturday I pick up a book and very successfully, I complete it by Sunday evening. The distractions seem to have completely disappeared from my weekends. It’s great as now I am reading last few books of this year and after that, it’s going to be a fresh cycle again consisting of new target and new set of books. This weekend, I wanted to read something short and light hence I picked up Chandni Sengupta’s “Another Time Another Place”. The book is published by Rupa Publications in around 194 pages. It’s a pure love story talking about two characters – Samaira and Mayank. It was very interesting to read about them in the blurb of the book as well as in the initial chapters when their characters are introduced.


It's very serene the way book takes us specifically to one character at a time and tells us the story from their perspective. I got a feel that I am regularly seeing two people in their respective bedrooms reacting to the same situation and responding differently. Also, the way authoress has kept their personalities pole apart yet the way they come close to each other so naturally makes it all sound quite believable. I liked how author has worked on the characterizations as you are able to visualize both in front of you. Even the other characters are used in their limited roles quite well. I liked how they didn’t take much space into the main story. Chandni remains focused towards the characters and their growing relationship between them throughout the story.


Sengupta doesn’t shy away from speaking about the contemporary world and its way of looking at the other gender. Similarly, how sex is no more a taboo is discussed openly which tells how guys end up sleeping with 25 odd girls just for the sake of one-night stands and doesn’t even feel ashamed of discussing it with the new partner they are trying to get indulged with. It makes you little awkward while reading but then, you know, you can’t deny what’s happening around you. I liked how author has carved the character of Samaira, a 32-year-old girl, who has never been in any physical relationship until then. It is very difficult to write about such character in today’s time, but author makes it all sound relatable and realistic.


Author also describes how people are married in wrong relationships and the prominence of divorce taking place around us. It tells us how parental pressure ends up ruining the life of youngsters just for the enthusiasm of getting their children marriage by a certain age limit. There’s a twist in the pre-climax that halts the relationship of Mayank and Samaira which comes as a shock even to us – as readers. The climax is about to give us some news but the way it ends makes you believe that there’s more to this story and this can’t be the end of it. You know somewhere Chandni has already planned a sequel to this story as something remains missing when you end the book and keep it on your heart and think about what should and shouldn’t have happened.


Talking about the drawbacks – As author simultaneously talks about both the characters from their point of view in 3rd voice, sometimes, she just jumbles up between both and the chapters with the characters’ name doesn’t solve any purpose occasionally. Most of the book is about their chatting and conversation on phone which makes it boring after a point of time as you want to read more about how they interact with each other when they are together in person. The climax could have been little more powerful which I believe ends very abruptly. It seems many scenes are written in a hope that this might get adapted into some digital format as it sounds less like a novel and more like a scene of a romantic movie. There are some typos and spelling mistakes. I am clueless how this gets missed these days when there is so much proofing at the publisher’s end. May-be WFH has made some people casual. Haha!


Overall, this is a good book for people below 24 years of age who might feel it as a fantasy world. This is also a fine book for beginners to start their journey of reading with. I give this book an average 3 stars out of 5. I am looking forward to reading more stuffs from Chandni Sengupta.





Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Three Khans: And the Emergence of New India by Kaveree Bamzai (Book Review: 3.25*/5) !!!


37th Book of 2021


Well, just 2 days back, I completed my target of 36 books set for the year 2021. I thought that I won’t be able to move beyond the target due to the psychological slowdown that happens once we achieve a set target. Hence, I picked up a book named “The Three Khans and the emergence of new India” written by Kaveree Bamzai. It’s based upon our favorite three superstars who have ruled Bollywood for almost around 2.5 decades – Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan. For someone like me who is 1989-born, my whole childhood has been about being fan of either one of these three actors as we keep on changing our interests in our growing year. Haha! But particularly, I was a big fan of Salman Khan hence every time I get a chance to read about him or the other two Khans, I just pounce upon it. Hence, I chose this book to go beyond my target.


Before this book, I have read almost a similar book written by Sanjukta Nandy named “KHANTASTIC: The untold story of Bollywood’s trio” which speaks about the lives and careers of the trio Khans. Another book which is completely based on Salman Khan named “Being Salman” written by Jasim Khan is something for which I travelled 4 hours up and down just to get it on time from the hands of the author directly. Hence, while reading this one, I had expectations of reaching the hidden layer of the personalities which has not been discussed yet in magazines, articles, books and other contents accessed by me. This 230-pages book is surely interesting as it keeps your curiosity alive throughout and you wish to know what happens next in the careers of the three Khans.


Author manages to talk about all three of them giving them the same space in the book though there’s little less about Aamir as he’s mostly a private person hence one doesn’t know much about him. Kaveree covers about how they initiated their careers in different ways without knowing each other and gradually, their path intersects and brings all of them on the same track to be competing for all their lives post that. We get to know the kind of struggle they have to go through in terms of their ambitions, roles, personal issues etc. yet their spirit to keep the spark alive within them of performing incessantly. You get to know how deep they used to think even at the start of their career as in one of the instances in the book, both Aamir and Shahrukh accepts that they got successful initially not because they were great actors but just because they were new faces.


Author then gets into the space which made the three personalities vulnerable and disheartened due to events that impacted their career or personal lives such as – the kind of investments SRK made for Ra.One as he had huge hope from the movie and what its debacle did to him in terms of confidence and motivation – Similarly, for Aamir Khan, how his divorce affected him and made him take support of alcohol to keep himself sane – for Salman Khan, as all of us know, his broken relationship with Aishwarya and several other events of his life kept knocking him down which made him take unwanted actions which damaged his reputation like anything. Author also talks about the disagreement and a bit of anger both Salman and Aamir had towards their father for bringing in other ladies in their life apart from their mother. I didn’t know about this part at all.


Along with talking about the Three Khans and their whole filmography until the recent lockdown era, author talks about various other issues that Bollywood has been dealing with – such as the debate on nepotism, Insider vs Outsider, comparison of actors with yesteryears’ legends, Me Too movement, die-hard competition etc. Bamzai keeps on letting us know about what happened with India parallelly in terms of politics and other issues. She also acknowledges few incidents when each of the Three Khans spoke about something that led them towards controversy. But she has also missed many important events such as SRK’s Wankhede ban, Salman’s involvement with Modi etc. Reading about references of Arjun Rampal’s NCB enquiry and Aamir-Kiran’s beautiful relationship in the book, I was just thinking if author could have waited for little longer, she could have covered Aryan Khan’s case as well as Aamir-Kiran divorce too. The book ends with talking about the new era of Bollywood where multiple actors are becoming popular with the different kind of work/art that is getting created and delivered to us. I just loved reading this whole section as it is so contemporary that I could relate with it.


Now talking about the drawbacks about the book- I must say that yes, the book is surely interesting for people who love the three Khans because it just makes you happy to keep reading and knowing about them continuously for hours. But the issue is the kind of hatred that authoress has regularly shown towards Hinduism as religion, Hindus as people and BJP as presently elected government favouring Hindus. She also goes beyond this and tells how people support Hrithik, Akshay, Ajay, Ranbir, Ranveer just because they are Hindus. As far as I know, meeting and discussing about movies and actors with so many people, I have never heard anyone preferring or hating the three Khans for their religion. This is just the garbage filled in the minds of people who think like this – unfortunately, the author here too seems to be from the same section of society.


Even on the last page, there’s a reference of criticism towards the current government. Author has regularly emphasised on this point that since the new government has come into the picture, the dynamics have changed for the Muslims and how it has become difficult for the Three Khans to survive. I don’t know in which parallel universe is this happening. Also, I feel that very important part from the three actors’ life has been excluded conveniently which doesn’t give the right picture on their career statistics as well as personal lives. There are many typos in the book – majorly in the 2nd half of the book – it seems that Kaveree tried to complete it on a deadline which couldn’t allow herself, editors and publisher do a final proofing.


Overall, I believe along with talking about Khans, this book is also trying to brainwash us towards thinking about Bollywood and cinemas from a religious and political perspective which I believe is truly unwanted. If that part could have been excluded, this book could have served better information on the actors and Bollywood but currently, it’s more about propaganda and agenda against the current Government particularly. I give this book 3.25 stars out of 5.






Monday, November 22, 2021

LIGHTS! WEDDING! LUDHIANA! by Jas Kohli (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!


36th Book of 2021

There are few authors you always remember because of the unique element they bring on the table. You remember some because they write historical fiction in a completely different way whereas you like another because their mythological fiction makes you go back in time and imagine yourself playing the part of the protagonist. Similarly, one author for me whom I always remember whenever it comes down to humoristic writing is Jas Kohli. Every time he writes a book, he assures that you are actually Laughing Out Loud multiple times while reading his books. Therefore I liked Chetan Bhagat in his initial 3 books because his books carried few instances where he actually made you laugh though the quality has taken a toss now. But Jas Kohli’s books are a complete laugh riot. Specially, the latest one named “Lights! Wedding! Ludhiana!” published by Rupa Publications.


The name of the book is kept in the same format as his previous book which was named “LIGHTS! SCALPEL! ROMANCE!” – it had impressed me so much that I had given it a rating of 4.5 stars and this book is no less. It seems as if author’s comic timing is just improving with every book. Particularly, in LWL, what surprised me is how every sentence, ok well, if I have exaggerated, every paragraph makes you laugh at least for the first 2/3rd part of the book. I was just surprised with the quality of writing, command on the language, imagination of the scenes, format of the story, characterization of every member participant in the story and what not.


Right from the 1st chapter itself when the author describes the family which is moderately dysfunctional, you start getting the smile on your face. I liked how in this chapter and in every other chapter, even if there’s a character discussed only once, the way author describes his/her personality with complete detailing and backdrop sounds so funny and perfect that you just can’t stop yourself from believing them to be the real characters. The chapter “Walk cum Mock” where husbands are talking about their wives’ expenditure is so damn funny that I just couldn’t stop myself from laughing loudly in every other sentence. Also, the way author portrays Reeta’s anxiety whenever it comes to her looks and fashion makes you relate with many female members you know in your life who are equally self-obsessed.


I liked how the story took the turn and dealt with a serious topic in such funny setup in the later part of the book where author very cleverly discusses the challenges of new relationships, adultery, extra-marital affairs, marriage, divorce laws etc. I liked how wittingly this has been executed. Similarly, the environmental issues are laughingly discussed but it speaks of everything that we are facing currently in regards to climate issues.


Talking about the drawbacks – I must say that the laughter quotient gets little less in the last 1/3rd part of the book. Also, the wedding part occurs in this section itself and I had high hope as the scenario could have led author to make us laugh more but unfortunately, author ends up describing different marriage ceremonies more than trying to explore places of laughter in them. This ended up disappointing me a bit in the pre-climax and climax.


Overall, this is a laugh riot and one of the most entertaining and funny books I have ever read. I will rate it similar to author’s previous work i.e., 4.5 stars out of 5. Go and get it. Highly recommended!






Tuesday, November 16, 2021



35th Book of 2021


Reading a self-help book even when the concepts become howsoever repetitive gives you the boost you need in your low phase. Still, I have now started avoiding self-help books because I feel almost all of them try to speak the same things which you have read in your first 10 books itself. There are very few authors who speak of concepts which are yet to be revealed or write a chapter/quote which can impact you in a completely new fashion. But as an avid reader, I can’t end up reading every author’s book to find if there’s something new in it hence, I keep myself away from the genre these days.


I got to know about this book named “Become your best self right now” which is a compilation of a chapter or excerpt taken from popular books written by esteemed authors. So, basically, this book shares with you 31 chapters from 31 different bestselling books written by 31 different popular authors. Can you imagine the capacity and scalability delivered in this book in terms of knowledge? On top of that, the book is not even 200 pages which means you can either read a chapter daily for a month and absorb the concepts completely or you can finish it in just a single sitting itself. I must tell you, the book has so many beautiful sentences that I got busy in just highlighting the transformational quotes throughout my reading journey. Every time, I found a quote, it felt as if it was better than all the previous ones I had marked till now. Such is the level of the content compiled for this book!


The few of many chapters from the books which I really liked reading are mentioned below:

-          The Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma

-          The Subtle Art of not giving a Fu*k by Mark Manson

-          The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

-          The Power of your Subsconscious mind by Joseph Murthy

-          7 Mindsets for Success, Happiness and Fulfilment by Swami Mukundananda

-          Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

-          Om Swami etc.


The book has divided the content in three parts where each of them primarily focuses on Success, Wealth and Life. My personal favourite from which I really learnt a lot are Part 1 and 3. The authors who are speaking on different aspects of Success and how you can achieve it are from the likes of Devdutt Pattanaik, Stephen R Covey, Dale Carnegie, Joseph Murphy etc. Murphy’s book is nicely summarized with two examples which helps you understand the concept aptly. Talking about the Life part, it majorly focuses on spiritual aspect of living where we are regularly told to cherish the moment rather than worrying about past and future. Hence, every excerpt primarily focuses on the same in the initial chapters, but latter chapters are completely diverse; such as the one written by Paramhansa Yogananda. That chapter is written in some different space altogether which will make you read it more than three times to grasp the complete understanding of it. Yet, I am not sure if I have understood the deeper meaning hidden behind it.


Talking about the 2nd part, which is on Money and Wealth, I got quite disappointed as none of the chapters are picked which can tell us about practical ways on focusing upon the wealth factor in our life. Most of them gives us the solution of thinking about getting rich and eventually, with the help of subconscious mind and energies, we will get rich. This is not a great advice to be given for people who need to learn about wealth. This is definitely good for people who are already in the process of investment and multiplication of their earnings and savings but not for people looking for practical tips and suggestions. This section literally frustrated me.


The book, in whole, will definitely teach you on how to focus upon your priorities and happiness rather than others. It has enough motivation to pull you up from the bed and redefine your days, routine and habits. Few chapters will even impose a different way of looking at things within you – the way you never looked at world, people and things before. Now talking about the drawbacks, well, it doesn’t have many. So, the 1st one has already been discussed about the Wealth section. The other one is about skipping some important and effective chapters from the books they have already considered for the compilation and mentioning another substandard chapter from it. Like, Robin Sharma has effectively transformed many lives by making people wake up at 5 AM in the morning whereas the book has picked up a less effective chapter which discusses about living in the moment. There are many such instances which I believe should have been considered to cover as many aspects as possible by compiling diverse topics rather than similar stuffs together.


Overall, this is a good start for you if you have not read any of these popular books to get a crux of how these books speak with the readers and brings the change in us. This will make you pick up at least one book out of 31 mentioned here which will open the reading horizon in your life. I give this one 4.5 stars out of 5. Definitely recommended!






Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Hindu Refugee Camp, Lahore by Sachin Garg (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!


34th Book of 2021


Well, today I am talking about the new book written by Sachin Garg named “Hindu Refugee Camp, Lahore” which is garnering great praises by everyone in the reading fraternity. I have known Sachin as an author since a decade and seeing him grow as a love story writer to slightly spiritual stuff and finally to this is quite inspiring and praiseworthy. Even as an individual, I have seen him grow from an author to publisher to stand-up comedian to a man who tries to be funny through his memes on social media yet write a book which is on such a serious topic. This book is themed around the partition of India that happened in 1947 and the after-effects of it which can be felt till today – and choosing such a deep topic in these times when millennials are least interested in going through past stuffs is quite a daring task.


Author has chosen to retell us the story of the real-life characters – Ghulam Ali and Zahira Raza who got separated due to partition and the only mode of their communication was the conventional system of writing letters to each other. I liked how author has also managed to make us understand about the tough times in that era when even letter didn’t get deliver immediately and one had to wait for weeks and months to get the response from the other side whereas few times, it didn’t get deliver at all due to some problem in the route through which the letter travelled to the other region. If you’ll concentrate upon the dates that are mentioned at the start of each letter/chapter in this book, it tells you its own story about patience and conviction of being connected with someone without getting judgmental or loving conditional.


Author had very little information on these real characters hence author has very wittingly and cleverly fictionalized most part of it and tried to be as relevant as possible. Like it happens in the Travel and Lifestyle vlogging in Youtube that a person who is recording himself and sharing the video with his audiences can’t have only himself in his digital communications hence they share their friends in the videos too, author, here, also doesn’t restrict this story to be about the two protagonists only and adds many other characters even in the letter format which I believe is a very smart attempt which keeps the book interesting and engaging.


The story speaks about love, hope, loyalty, pain, loneliness, separation, isolation, violence, depression, tough decisions, patriotism etc. hence as a reader, you will go through various emotions and the moment you’ll think that maybe the ending will give me smile, it does but it makes you cry a little more. I liked how author has tried to communicate with us about the kind of power people have to hold on to one person for so long even when they are unable to meet, hear, see, or connect with the other person whereas these days, we just move on from relationship if the person is unable to attend our calls when we want to talk with them. This book teaches a lot about patience and unconditional love and loving the differences of each other in a positive manner. Also, reading about how a person has been rejected by both the nations makes you just shriek inside thinking about his condition and mental state. How scary it must be for someone who knows that no country is accepting him!


Personally, I also found the depiction of the father-daughter relationship very beautiful. A man who has never seen his daughter is still in love with her. He still feels that his daughter is most beautiful. He wants to live in the worst conditions just for a hope that he wants to meet her someday. He ends up loving her more than the person he fell in love with without even seeing her. It was an emotional ride to read the emotion of a father for his daughter and I just felt every piece of it within me while going through it. Incredible stuff!


Lastly, talking about the drawbacks, I must say that because the book is on a very dark topic, author should have kept it shorter – I believe at least 40-50 pages as it might become boring for some to continue. It really became hard in between to continue reading it in long sitting due to the slowness in the pace of the movement of the stories in the letter format. To be frank, you would want to skip few paragraphs in between which is not a good thing from narration point of view. Other than this, I believe this book is one of the best attempts by Sachin even though I haven’t read all his works. I give this book 4.25*out of 5. I hope to read more distinct topics from him in future.






Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Blue Jinx: A Gemstone Murder Mystery by Nisha B Thakur (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!


33rd Book of 2021


Generally, the thrillers are written in long format which makes me doubtful before picking them up considering if I have enough time to complete them in a sitting or two. While searching for a shorter version, I stumbled upon Amazon Kindle and got this book named “The Blue Jinx: A Gemstone Murder Mystery” written by the authoress, Nisha Thakur. The book is of just 137 pages which made it very easy for me to complete it within two sittings itself. As it can be made out from the title of the book itself that it is a murder mystery, I liked how the story is plotted around that theme.


I must appreciate the author for the nice characterization as I could relate and imagine all the characters mentioned in the book. It makes the whole setup sound real because generally when your story includes paranormal activities too, it becomes hard to relate to the whole thing. But because the way author has introduced all the characters and their respective connections with each other, it becomes very easy for us to connect the dots and decipher who’s black, white, and grey.


The 1st half of the book is okay where Nikhil is trying his best to show his talent at Hemant’s project but due to certain abnormal and uncertain activities happening with him, he is unable to focus on the project. As a reader, you want to understand what is happening and how he can get rid of it, but author takes too much time to get to the point which becomes quite repetitive. Later, in the 2nd half of the book, the things progress faster, and we get to learn about how the murder took place. I liked the flashback story which leads to the murder as I found it quite relevant and relative to the whole scenario. It didn’t disappoint me at all.


The climax of the story is nicely closed giving the reference to the title of the book “The Blue Jinx”. You get a new perspective on how a gemstone can change things for you. I have experienced it myself so I could relate to it. Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I must say there are many typos and grammatical mistakes in the book which needs to be sorted out as it’s possible in the Kindle version. Similarly, the book is sometimes spoken from Nikhil’s perspective whereas also in the 3rd voice which becomes confusing. Author should have stuck herself in one of the voices or she could have written the story from multiple character’s voices too. I also felt that there’s a love angle being developed between the two characters, but it wasn’t nourished well in the book. It felt incomplete.


Overall, I would say this is a fine attempt in terms of psychological thriller written by an Indian author. I give this book 3 stars out of 5. You can read it if you are looking to read a short thriller in a sitting or two.





Tuesday, October 12, 2021

400 Days by Chetan Bhagat (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!


32nd Book of 2021


So, some writers stay with you for long even when they don’t impress you every time they write. Chetan Bhagat has become one such author for me as I have been involved with his books since he wrote his 1st one. It is because of him that I got acquainted with many Indian fiction authors and I respect him for whatever revolution he has brought in the literary and book world in India. His latest book released 3 days back and the hidden fan within me couldn’t stop himself from reading this 352-pages book after office hours. The title of the book goes by the name “400 Days” which is published by Westland publication.


This time the book is not about the murder mystery but an abduction case where a girl is missing and again – the case reaches the private detectives- Keshav and Saurabh. I really liked the start of the book as author takes us into the story and characters slowly. Till the time the case doesn’t reach the Bhagat’s detective protagonists, you just love the way characters are introduced and the story being taken further. As soon as Keshav and Saurabh enters, the story gets a push initially where they start applying their brain and bring things in a better state than where it was after the police investigation. Though I believe that police are shown in quite bad light by Chetan in his thriller stories but still, I must say that the way detectives are shown working on the case gives some justice to them.


As the story moves forward, Chetan doesn’t want it to be all about the thriller case only. He is quite Bollywood-ish and filmy hence you’ll find his fitter detective falling for his client and ending up getting emotionally connected with her and the case. Now, this affects the pace of the story because sometimes it ends up as a romantic angle more than the thriller aspect. Even though the whole section is enjoyable and relaxing, it starts irritating the curious reader in you who wants to know the person behind the abduction of the 12 years old girl. If you see both these plots separately, I must tell you that it’s great but the way it comes in between of the engaging mystery solving spree, it impacts your interest in the thriller.


There are few aspects that Chetan has tried to counter in his book, and I must say he is quite successful as it gets noticed – the reason why I am also mentioning it here in the review. How the modern relationships are broken even when it’s all fine in the people’s eye is represented so nicely. Similarly, the dilemma and problems when one thinks of getting divorced is given prominence which I believe is responsible attempt from the author because it could have been skipped to show the glamorous part of leaving someone just because you don’t want to continue anymore in the toxic relationship. I also liked how well Chetan has handled extra-marital affair rather than mentioning it just as multiple sexual encounters between two people.


He also reflects on how the children gets affected because of experiencing regular fights and arguments at home. Their psychology gets completely disturbed due to it. The consideration of saas-bahu angle and how a boy gets confused about whom to give more importance between mother and wife is given lot of prominence in this story which I believe is fine to discuss as this is a major issue in many Indian households. How social media can lead to big crimes or damages in a normal family is highlighted as the major takeaway which I believe should be a concern for modern parents who just give mobile phone to their kids and never check what they are up to. Similarly, how blind faith on someone can lead to your victimization is given prominence in the story. So, Chetan has basically tried to touch upon many social concerns which I believe has been executed properly. Lastly mentioning, the fitness spirit of Saurabh in this part of the Detective series tells us how rather than accepting your bad shape, we should get up and improve our lifestyle, habits and try getting into shape rather than crying about being body shamed.


Talking about the climax and revelation of the criminal, I must say that Chetan has again missed the jackpot here. You just can’t keep speaking about half dozen characters in your whole book and suddenly introduce someone new in the pre-climax and make him the culprit. This is the easiest way of writing a thriller. There’s no talent here. In fact, it should surprise the reader at the end that I never thought he/she could have done this. This book doesn’t give those vibes at all. Though I liked how the romantic story between Keshav and Alia is given a beautiful ending which actually made me feel emotional.


Overall, I found this book very stretchy. It could have been shorter by 100 pages. I give this attempt 3.5* out of 5. It is an okay read but nothing that will make you put this in one of the best books read this year.






Thursday, September 30, 2021

AGAINST ALL ODDS: THE LIFE OF KISHORE V. SONPAL by Hetal Sonpal (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!


31st Book of 2021


Reading autobiographies/biographies is always the Go-to thing for me whenever I have to return back to reading after a long gap. This time again I have been away from reading for quite some week and I was looking for some unusual biographical account and I got to know about Rupa Publication’s new release named “Against All Odds” written by Hetal Sonpal. This book is written by the author where he describes his father- Kishore V. Sonpal’s life in detail. This memoir account is shared with us in just 130-around pages which I felt is the best part about this book as it has not been stretched at all. This is one of the rare biographies where the incidents and events are mentioned very crisply without adding any extended effect to it. Everything is portrayed on ground levels without exaggerating anything.


I have always thought of how it would be to read memoir of someone who’s not a celebrity or very popular personality and this has been almost the 1st attempt when I have read something from the same zone. Not even once you’ll feel bored or alienated while reading about a person you have never heard about before. The book becomes more special as a son has written his father’s life with immense love, courage, ode, and tribute. You can feel the emotions running in Hetal’s heart and mind in every word and sentence he has used in few scenes where you get to understand the bravery and values of his father.


The book starts with an incident that happens with the earlier generation of Kishore which makes them dive not only in poverty but immense debt too. When he’s born, his family is already struggling for survival which made him understand the value of money very early on. Later, in the first 10 pages of the book itself, author makes us realize how Kishore decided to never live on loans and debts which our generation has become so used to. There is also an incident later in the book where the protagonist makes his teenager children manage budget of the house so that they learn early on about how money is earned, spent, and saved. I have heard/read something like this for the 1st time and I would love to copy this in my family whenever I come to that stage.


The best thing that I learn from Kishore Sonpal’s life is the value of integrity. How he never wished anyone’s bad but always wanted to live simply in minimalistic lifestyle and assure that everything he does is right, and nothing goes against the values and principles he has followed since his early ages. His respect for Swami Vivekananda, Vinoba Bhave, Mahatma Gandhi is nicely represented in the book, and you get to learn so much about how right role models can shape your own life towards good.


There are instances discussed where he didn’t fake medical bills to gain benefit; in fact, asked the company to allow him to submit the bills of the healthy products he purchases to ensure he remains fit. Similarly, he never tried to earn anything in between when he worked in public as well as private sector makes us understand that money is not everything. Even after coming from financially unstable background, the way Kishore kept taking challenges and risks to try something new every time he tried shifting from one type of work to another is inspiring and power packed.


The way he supported his wife in the way she wanted to develop her children in the best school of the town despite less budget talks about his calibre towards personal life and relationship. Similarly, in the latter part of their marriage, how he helped his wife in taking up entrepreneurial challenge displays his open mindset towards women in that era. Author also mentions that he was known for remembering everyone’s name, birthdays and all the important days associated with the person he was close or worked with. Mentioning such qualities in this book has been an impact that was needed to make people realize the importance of less-talked soft-skills.


I am glad that author added the family tree in the book but I wish if it could have been in the start so that I didn’t have to maintain the same while reading the book by myself. Hetal has added few of the work written or maintained by his father in the end which is such a beautiful ending to the book as it is mostly about spirituality, life, values, lessons etc. I really liked every word written in this segment. I believe author can publish a separate book altogether where everything written by Kishore Sonpal can be complied together – it would be a gem for sure. Overall, I won’t say any drawback per se because the intention and execution of this book makes you understand how you can leave behind your legacy even if you are known in a very small set of people. I give this attempt 4.5 stars out of 5. You can easily read this book in a single sitting.






Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Year That Wasn’t: The Diary of a 14-year old by Brisha Jain (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!


30th Book of 2021


There are so many lockdown and pandemic related books releasing these days that I doubt even picking them. Still, I went ahead and ordered Brisha Jain’s book named “The Year That Wasn’t” which also has the tagline of “The Diary of a 14-year old”. Imagine, the author is just 14 years old and she has managed to write a 230 pages full-fledged novel which is almost a non-fictional piece of work. I remember reading Anne Frank’s book a long time ago which was also written in a diary format when she was trapped as a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. This book is almost similar in its execution where the 14-year-old girl is speaking of her life during the times when Coronavirus was a virus spreading in a country away from her home and gradually, it travels all the way to her country as well as home too.


The book is based upon the Year 2020 hence the diary entry starts from 1st January 2020 and ends on 31st December 2020. I liked how authoress had a positive tone throughout the book while talking about many things that happened during the pandemic. She has maintained the dignity of a good national citizen while speaking of critical subjects without trying to be too opinionated. I had presumed that the book would be kind of a woke-attempt but no, it is so pure that you can understand the author as a person too. Through her writing, I feel that Brisha stays just next door and I know her well. And the way she has written things precisely and beautifully, I would want to keep talking to her about what’s happening around and what she thinks of them. I am speaking of all such personal emotions because of her maturity and knowledge which are evident in every word and sentence.


I liked how she added the Covid statistics in the end of every entry because she understands that readers might not relate with the exact phase she is trying to describe. That’s a good inclusion. Every time she talks about Indian Prime Minister and his speeches during pandemic, the respect with which she refers him is something the adults should learn as we see people on Twitter and Facebook abusing the National Leader. She talks about every point that he had made during that phase right from announcing Janta Curfew to extension of lockdown to making India aatmanirbhar etc. Brisha also gives Book Recommendations regularly in her entries and all the books she mentions are not fairy tales but the ones which can make teenage children grow sensibly. It tells from where she has got the intellectual dimension from – GOOD BOOKS!


The author also talks about many other events and concerns which happened during this period such as Galwan valley attacks, migrant workers case, vaccination progress, online classes, Tablighi Jamat incident etc. The way she has ensured that she covers every aspect that she went through and experienced during this tough phase makes it a wonderful reading experience as you relate with most of them as everyone has gone through the same. Nowhere does she try to go over the top to explain things as the author knows that everyone has been through the same pain hence doing anything not required will make the attempt sound fake. This is another skill that she possesses at the age of 14 which will help her write and communicate better in her life later.


Overall, this book is a very good narration of the period all of us don’t want to remember but the way this book has been represented makes you go down the memory lane with a hope that everything will get better as you turn every page. I liked how author has closed the book speaking of arrival of 2nd wave by when she had accepted life to be improving. That chapter really made me feel for her and all of us. I would suggest all of you to gift this to your children as they are really going to get a perspective on life – how to see things positively even when everything around you are collapsing horribly. I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I wish Brisha Jain a very good future as a writer.






Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Stranger in the Mirror by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!


29th Book of 2021


There are many Bollywood personalities who are quite open about themselves, and you understand them a lot. There are many Movie directors and producers who are generally behind the scenes when it comes to moviemaking, but they assure they are close to their audiences by being Reality-show judges or Interview Host or being a pro at handling their social media handles. Similarly, there are few who are interested in creating movies only and doesn’t expose themselves at all and hence you always have a sense of curiosity in knowing about them. One such personalities is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who is the proud director of movies like Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and recently released, Toofaan.


It was a complete surprise when I learnt that his autobiography has been released which has been co-written with Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta, who is herself a very sound author and popular personality. The book is named “The Stranger in the Mirror” which is published by Rupa Publications in around 320 pages. This is one of the rare books where I have completed it by reading only 20-30 pages daily because I wanted to consume it in a way where I can imbibe much of its qualities in my working lifestyle. Now that I have finished reading it, I can very easily say that I have learnt a lot from it and how to be a constant personality throughout your career so that everyone you meet has the same thing to say about you.


This book is written in a style that you’ll feel you are watching a movie which is shifting its timeline back-to-back to keep you interested in the story. Mostly when I have read any autobiography, it always starts from the author’s birth/childhood and ends up with the chapter which discusses his/her most recent life-event. This is completely different from all such attempts. Here, you’ll be surprised reading the next chapter after completing one as it will be completely different than the one you read just now. This makes you excited to know the other side of Rakeysh’s personality.


The book talks mainly about the world of cinema which has consumed Rakeysh in a way that his life revolves around it. Right from how he began from the world of advertising and then slowly moved to direction tells you about the amount of effort and commitment he has put in his work and craft. How certain good practices and relationships helped him with the opportunities or the help at the right time displays the importance of having good people around you. Rakeysh has been very vocal about the people who supported him in the life and career in several chapters throughout the book which tells you about the power of gratitude and how it keeps compounding to give you great results when you expect the least.


He tells it all- his days of success as well as failure. He hasn’t hidden anything which helps the reader in you to connect the dots with your life and see how you reacted in the similar conditions. He also talks about how he had to regularly consider keeping his only house on mortgage because every time he wanted funds, people didn’t agree, and he was all by himself to make that movie he wanted to. He also describes how small experiences or incidents made him think about the certain topic and then finally decide of creating a movie on it. He states how difficult it became for him when he took his scripts to the actors who kept refusing the movie continuously making it difficult for him to proceed ahead with his dreams.


When he is not speaking, his favourite people are talking about him or their experiences of collaborating with Rakeysh in their own words. I would like to mention some of these people such as Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Waheeda Rehman, Ronnie Screwvala, Madhavan, Prahlad Kakkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Narayana Murthy, Farhan Akhtar, Atul Kulkarni etc. Even his family has spoken about him in depth such as his sister, his wife, and children. All these pieces will make you understand the character of Rakeysh more and what makes him one of the rare personalities in Bollywood. His craft of making cinema without thinking of its success or failure tells you about the passion for movies that he has. 


Overall, the book is surely interesting, and it will help you know the process of moviemaking more than what you already know. Next time when you would be watching ROMP’s movie, you’ll watch every scene deeply as you know it has been picturized keeping certain aspects in mind. I really loved his emotional feelings for Amitabh Bachchan and I could connect a lot with it being Big B’s fan myself. Reeta has played the major part in bringing everything together and scripting it in a way that makes you feel that you are directly talking with the director. I will not say that this is the most inspirational or motivational autobiography, but you would just love knowing this person who is fighting all the odds to continue his passion of making movies. I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5. Last but not the least, I loved the last chapter where it is described on how the title of the book got decided. Kudos to Reeta for giving the book a very beautiful end.







Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Beeja ka Jaadu by Rida Chauhan (Book Review: 5*/5) !!!

28th Book of 2021


I remember reading the book named “Wadiya Singh visits Planet Sparkle” published by Sonalika Publication and I was so impressed because I had purchased it for a 6-year-old niece; and the content of the book made me feel so bliss about how beautifully the social messages are imbibed in the children through lovely stories right from their developing years itself. I wished if similar books could get published so that children can benefit most out of them which will also help parents provide values to their kids in the form of stories. As all of you know that I assure that there is equal amount of content in Hindi as our non-English population is huge which are left out whenever we try to convey something in English. Hence, when I got to know about the new book from Sonalika Publication named “Beeja Ka Jaadu”, I really got delighted and picked it up for the same niece and before gifting her, read it myself. Haha! The book is written by Rida Chauhan.


This time the book is about the boy named Arjun who lives in a village. His father is a farmer. The issue here is that his father is idler and doesn’t work at all. Arjun himself tries to work as much as possible along with his studies and household activities. He is a workaholic and a very good boy. One day, he meets a man who gifts him a seed which turns out to be magical. When he goes next day in the field to sow it, suddenly, the seed starts talking to him and asks him to tell any three wishes which can be easily granted by the seed. This makes Arjun very happy. Now these three wishes are where Rida has tried to provide the message to the children through which they can learn great lessons to be a good person in life.


Like the previous book, Sonalika Publication and Rida again focuses on providing good messaging on nature and how it needs to be prevented for the betterment of the society in long run. This is a value which needs to be inculcated in kids as we, the previous and current generation, have already ruined enough on this Planet. It’s time that the next generation is aware about the benefits of nature and preserve it as much as possible.


The story also delivers a good morale value of how a person needs to wish well and best for others which ends up helping them achieve well in life. How we can find happiness in our own life by sharing and providing happiness with others is nicely portrayed through the story. I liked how in the end the Chauhan has also focused on the message knowing that kids might not grasp the purpose the story is providing.


The book also has meanings etc. in the end of the book for few Hindi words in case someone is unable to understand. I believe authors can keep it on the same page itself where the word is mentioned so that children can refer them then and there as some might not know that the meanings are present at the end of the book. There are fun exercises in the end which allows children to paint Arjun and his world as per their imagination while reading the story as well as they get a chance to find 10 differences from the two images. This book again has illustrations and images which makes the reader travel to the world the story is talking about. I feel this is one of the best practices to be followed by the publication house.


Overall, this is a very good initiative and every parent and grown up should ensure that the children in their vicinity are reading such books and stories to learn big messages of life through short stories. How can you rate this book at all – I give it 5 out of 5. Kudos to Rida Chauhan for the amazing short story.






Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Writing Buddha Podcast 4 | Akash Verma on love, relationship, heartbreaks, Extra-marital, divorce | Part 2 (Video)


Hi Friends,


Hope all of you took out time from your busy schedule and watched the Part 1 of my Podcast with Akash Verma. In case, you haven't, the link for the same is again re-shared in the end of the post.


In this Part 2 of the Podcast, Akash Verma, the founder of Chokore & National-Bestselling Author discuss a lot many things from which youth and even the grown-up can learn and take the lesson from.


We discussed everything from Love, Relationships, Heartbreaks, Extra-marital affairs , Divorce etc.


Please watch & leave your comments on the Youtube video.



Akash Verma is the co-founder of a fashion startup centered around

Indian designs -, and a national bestselling

author. Akash has 24+ years of experience in FMCG and Media at

senior levels with Coca-Cola, Red FM, Big FM, and TOI. Akash’s

work has taken him across the world, and he finds this experience

very relevant while giving shape to his stories. Akash practices

Buddhism as a life philosophy and loves Travel, History, Cinema,

and Music.

Akash Verma is a renowned thriller author and has authored six

books till now. National media have covered him in publications

such as The Pioneer, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times,

Financial World, The New Indian Express, The Hindu, and The Week

to name a few. He has also appeared at renowned literature fests

and interviews. His publisher is Penguin Random House, India.


Akash is a Science Graduate and holds a PGDBM degree. He is based

out of Gurgaon. Akash’s parents are eminent and awarded Hindi



Website :







Purchase Akash Verma's books from Amazon:



Follow me on:-


My Blog:-









About Me

My photo
Book Reviewer | Movie Reviewer | Bibliophile | Business Analyst