Wednesday, 11 July 2018

A Girl A Stolen Camera and a Borrowed Bike - Book Review

A Girl A Stolen Camera and a Borrowed Bike The Tale of a Journey, is a title that is both odd and intriguing. However I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by reading this debut work of Nikhil Singh Shaurya. Though he calls it a novel, it is not a novel, not even a novella. It is a slim book which at the most can be called novelette.

But the author presents a nice and entertaining story. He creates multiple characters with back stories at ease. The story takes you on a nice journey of the Himalayan mountains. It has an element of surprise too. The language is lucid and except for one place there are no typographical errors. Quite a feat for a first timer.

At the same time it doesn’t mean that the book is flawless. The author utterly falls flat while getting in to the skin of a woman’s psyche in the first half. The heroine a medical student comes across as a woman who wants to lose her virginity on a Goan holiday to any Tom, Dick and Harry. This is hard to digest, particularly when she has been seeing a senior for some time. The author ought to have researched more to write in the tone of the girl.

Yet I am impressed. I liked the book. It is a breezy, quick read. No harm in laying your hands on this book. You will enjoy it despite all its flaws.


Sunday, 8 July 2018

Krishna Rajya - Book Review

We all know that Lord Krishna has been an astute politician and a seasoned statesman. But this role of his has never been appreciated and fully explored. Prafull Goradia and Jaganniwas Iyer have filled this void through their book – Krishna Rajya.

We all have heard of Ram Rajya, the state of utopia. But Krishna Rajya? How could there be any Krishna Rajya when Krishna was not even a king. According the authors very little political science has been distilled from India’s long and abundant history. Is Arthshastra the only ancient text which speaks about economy and political science. Absolutely no. The author duo has taken great pains to present a concept like Krishna Rajya which is daringly novel. It is neither preachy, nor eulogy. It is contemporary and modern thesis on political science visa-vis the ancient Indian culture. According to the authors Mahabharata is a historical document. The places mentioned therein are verified. It diligently records all the major events in Krishna’s life. Even the earliest scriptures like Shatapatha Brahmana, Chanayoga upanishad, Aitreya Aryanaka and the Nirukta mention Krishna.

The most interesting aspect of the book is that it is a comparative study. So alongside Krishna we have chapters on Plato, Otto van Bismarck, Abraham Lincoln and Saradar Vallabhai Patel. Thanks to the book. It liberates Krishna from the mythological rasleelas and makes him stand along the tall order of political thinkers. Krishna Rajya is a great contribution to the writings on political science across the world and should not be missed.

Friday, 22 June 2018

A Cage of Desires - Book Review


Shuchi Singh Kalra’s A Cage of Desires is an offspring of Shashi Deshpande’s marriage to Mills & Boons. Renu is a housewife trapped in a loveless marriage. One day a young dashing tenant enters her house and her life is turned upside down. She finds all the love that was missing from her life standing at the threshold of her gate. Will she step out and embrace it? To know answers to these questions you will have to read Shuchi Singh Kalra’s A Cage of Desires.

The book underlines that women, like men, are sexual beings too. They too have desires of their own. At the same time it shows the perils of seeking sex outside the marriage. The characters are real, laced with a tinge of fantasy which all us crave for. The last quarter of the book is full of twists and turns. They are entertaining for sure. But they rob the story from the realistic plane in which the other part is set. The author succeeds in riveting the readers to their seats. The book contains some beautiful lines. I reproduce them.

That’s the thing about truth – it doesn’t flinch, it doesn’t falter, it sears and burns. And the truth singed her heart, scarring it in places she never even realized existed.

Truth and lies are like oil and water. You can shake them up all you want, but they will never mix.

There’s a kind of love that makes you go down on one knee, and there’s the kind that brings you down on both. You don’t need the latter, because no matter what you do, you cannot make anyone love you back.

I may push you off the cliff but I’ll still break your fall because I may have the strength but I do not have the heart to destroy you.

While Mills & Boons heroines are spineless bimbettes, Renu is a brave woman, but not a super-heroine. She is some one like all of us, with her own positives and weaknesses. What I didn’t like about the book is too much of sex scenes. Yet I enjoyed A Cage of Desires. Shuchi you have earned an admirer.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Trust Me Not - Book Review

Trust Me Not by Ankita Verma Datta is the story of Reeva Rai. Reeva is the rising star in the corporate industry. She has a boy friend who is the most eligible bachelor in the country. But then she is faced with a dilemma. Beneath the corporate belly lies tale of exploitation. Governments are managed, poor are uprooted and rendered homeless. Will Reeva survive this cut throat industry? To know this you will have to read Trust Me Not by Ankita Verma Dutta.

The problem with Trust Me Not is that its cover and blurb promise it to be a thriller, but the first half of the book reads like a mills & boons novel. The language is good and error free. The novel shines in the second half, but fails miserably to hook the reader in the first, the way any good thriller should. If you don’t Trust Me Not, enter at your own risk.

Monday, 21 May 2018

A Selfie a day keeps forgetfulness away


The slanting morning rays were entering in the drawing room through the eastern facing window. It was a Monday and I was in a rush to get ready. That was when Niva, my daughter crawled up to my feet. She held to my calves. She wanted me to pick her up. A smile opened on my face and I lifted my darling daughter. She caressed my face with her hand. Her touch was so soft, so true, devoid of any selfish motives. I was thoroughly drenched in the love which she showered on me. Unconsciously my eyes fell on the wrist watch. It was quarter past eight. I had to go to office. I tried to persuade the apple of my eye. 'Father has to go the office. He will return in the evening with toys, fruits and lot of goodies for his babies.' I told her. She jerked her head and disapproved the idea of her father putting her down. The moment I lifted her by her shoulders, she began to cry and she was back to her joyful self when her head rested against my chest and her bum comfortably ensconced on my elbow. 'You wont allow your father to go to office, will you?' I asked her. 'No.' She said. That was the first time she had used the word no. I was elated but torn between the desire to enjoy some more company of cynosure of my eyes and the possible repercussions of my reaching office late.

'Okay shall we take a selfie?' I asked her.
'Safee, safee.' She babbled.
I took out the phone and took our selfie. She was too happy to see her in the photograph. I put her down with my mobile phone in her hands. She sat there with the mobile phone in her hand, admiring her round face like a moon.


This picture remains special. Whenever Niva sees it, she comes running to me and hugs me tightly. Clinging to my legs she says Baba and I pick her up and hold her tightly to my chest. Wriggling and loosening my grip she says 'Safee. Safee.' I try to capture this moment in my heart, for these moments of innocence will not last permanent. Today I am her world, but tomorrow she will go out to create her own world. Though she will love me, the time we will spend together will shrink. Over a period of time I may even forget her babbles and little moments of joy which we shared. Her first smile, her first baby step and so many other first things. But thanks to selfies, now I have repository of memories, which I will dig out when I grow old and have nothing else to do and when Niva is busy finding her own little sky, carving an identity of her own.

The debate whether we should allow our children to use mobile phone is endless. When we were children it was about television, now it is about mobile phones. But the fact remains that you cannot keep children away from mobile phones. They can be informative too. Everything in moderation is ok. 
 

Moreover no one can deny that taking pictures is fun. Now the Mobiistar phone’s front, dual Selfie camera that captures a 120° wide-angle shot. This Selfie experience is going to surely change the way we perceive selfies. Now we can have multiple people and locations in a single frame. Every one gets his/her own space and yet we are together. 120 degree shot is for sure no less than 180 degrees and will cover huge expanse of area, be it foliage of trees or an intricately carved temple, nothing can be missed from the frame, including your good self of course. So what are you waiting for? Grab your Mobiistar phone now.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

To Hell and Back - Book Review

Anurag Anand's To Hell and Back comes with a tag-line Not all Tragedies are Orchestrated by Fate. The book opens with Namrata and Akash taking the road. A white SUV blocks their road. Its occupants kill Akash, leaving Namrata untouched. Akash was a cofounder of a start up and his death caused by a road rage makes newspaper headlines. Was it really a tragedy or something sinister. After all not all tragedies are orchestrated by fate.

Anurag crafts two women characters whose lives are poles apart. Namrata is a young, independent woman who can even walk out of a marriage when she finds it is not working. Renu on the other hand is a demure housewife living in a village with outdated code of conduct for women. Girl child needless to say is unwelcome there. Yet she tries to catch the scratches of happiness that come her way. Describing her thought process the author says, 'But then each moment of victory deserved to be savoured, untouched by the fears and uncertainties of tomorrow, and this Renu had learnt to do very well.'

Describing the unhappy marital status of Namrata, the author says 'It is relationships are like rubber bands. Each time they are stretched beyond their acceptable boundaries, the boundaries redefine themselves to accommodate the breach. And just like a rubber band doesn't need much to be stretched to lengths it has previously withstood, the degree of incivility a relationship can take is also defined by what it has been through previously. Once you disrespect your partner in a particular way, the next time you will probably end up doing the same, in a greater magnitude, and possibly on a much feebler pretext, once you begin flinging cuss words at each other, the abusing becomes a veritable constituent of your relationship. Until the relationship, just like the rubber band, can bear no more and snaps.' What an astute observation of marital relationships.

And then their lives intersect for the good. The story takes a very different turn from here. Though the author has woven believable characters, I felt that Namrata overcame the agony of gang rape too soon. Also Akash's past deserved a little more mention. Yet To Hell and Back is lucid and holds promise for sure. Do read this book.

The Temple Bar Woman - Book Review

On the cover page of the Temple Bar Woman there is a micro review by Tosh Greenslade, an Australian actor. He says read this book now before it becomes the next blockbuster movie. Now something like this is bound to raise expectations. The book when read against this background was disappointing for sure. But that doesn't mean that the book isn't a decent read. It is story of Radha a school teacher. She is raped by a politician's son and sold into a brothel. A few twists and turns later Radha realizes that she and the brothel-keeper have a common enemy. Radha hatches a plan and succeeds in seeking revenge.

The writing is good. The language is simple and free-flowing. But the story is quite incredulous. It is hard to believe that a teacher like Radha will meekly submit to her fate and agree to entertain her clients. Rakshit is the good Samaritan here. But only to make him meet Radha, the author makes him visit brothels. He selects Radha and goes to her chamber to bed her. Thereafter when Radha arrives in his house and stays there for years together they make love only once and don't even mention it thereafter. Radha's political acceleration is too hard to digest. Also Vikram not identifying Radha is unbelievable.

It is for these flaws that the chances of the book being a blockbuster are very slim. Such tall claims rob away all the good things that the book holds. Read the Temple Bar Woman at your own risk.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Mango People in Banana Republic - Book Review

There are some people and books with whom you fall in love in first sight and there are even fewer which live up to the expectations. Mango People in Banana Republic by Vishak Shakti is one of such books.

As I read the acknowledgments on the opening page I knew I had many things in common with the author liking for Arundhati Roy, Deepak Chopra, Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, S N Goenka, Swami Dayananda.

Mango People in Banana Republic is the story of Ravi who is depressed with the corporate life and politics skirting around it. The story takes him to village where farmers are starving and committing suicides, Maoist jungles and Ashrams in Rishikesh.

The writing is simple, lucid and superb. The pace is great. The scenes are riveting, though not linear. I really liked reading about the lives of Ravi, Devang and Anand. This novel is both dark and spiritual. Though I found the reference to chakras and Rama slightly out of context, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is about both India and Bharat, the haves and have nots and the struggles, of course on different footings of both these classes. Mango People in Banana Republic is a highly recommended book.


Sunday, 22 April 2018

#DefinitelyPTE Going abroad was never so easy


Going abroad for education is a lofty dream which every young mind cherishes. But unfortunately there are many hurdles in achieving this dream

Finances
Studying abroad is mostly expensive and students from the middle class and underprevileged backgrounds most often are unable to study abroad because of the exorbitant expenses. Even banks are unwilling to extend loan if the student wants to study out of India.

Fake Universities
Many universities abroad are not recognized in India. Many universities have a bad name in the job market. Many courses, like Medicine require a person to pass an eligibility test conducted by the Indian authorities and the passing rate in such examination is minimal. So another hurdle which the student community faces is how to separate the grain from the shaff, how to select a proper university to study.

Entrance Examination
Every university has a different entrance examination and applying for each of them is quite a task. The syllabus, the pronounciation everything is different and there is dearth of coaching in this space.

Passport
Though now you can easily apply for passport online, once you visit the centre often the experience is that you will have to run for some document, some xerox copy, some print out, which the authorities want and you don't have. Plus the ordeal doesn't end there. You will have to undergo police verification. The less said about it is, the better it is.

Visa
I have heard numerous horror stories about getting visas. Again each country has a different rule. In the light of terrorist activities even governments are becoming extra cautious while granting visas. This is affecting students too.

Home sickness
Many students are too eager to go abroad but when the time to leave actually comes they don't want to go. Also many suffer from bouts of home sickness once they land in foreign countries.

However when it comes to English Test I would say that the students have nothing to worry. Thanks to PTE Academic which is the world’s leading computer-based test of English for study abroad and immigration. Typically, PTE Academic results are available within five business days. PTE is a three hour test divided into different sections to test your Speaking Reading, Writing,and Listening skills. The entire test is computer based. So no need to tensed about speaking to a stranger in person.
#DefinitelyPTE
It is approved by the Australian and New Zealand governments for visa applications and accepted by thousands of institutions in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland, including Harvard, Yale and INSEAD. So PTE Academic has made access to higher education abroad easy.

The best part is you can take the test any time any where. For PTE Academic works for 360 days a year and has 200 centres world wide. You also get access to preparation course and free sample questions to help you with preparation of the test. Check out PTE Preparation Course for further details. So thanks to PTE Academic now our VISA wooes are over.

#DefinitelyPTE

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Why I love the world


Humans have always been inquisitive about knowing foreign lands. This itch to travel, to know the world is much more than sheer curiosity. We all humans are made of the same flesh and blood and it would be no surprise that we are drawn towards each other. The world is a family and that is the reason why I love the world.
I have travelled many places and my kitty of travel stories is filled with umpteen anecdotes where persons who weren't of my race, religion or nationality, who spoke a language different from mine, held a set of beliefs which I didn't share, went out of their ways to help me. Locating my hotel, a tourist spot which was hidden some where behind numerous alleys, these friends really helped me. The smiles on their faces were genuine, the warmth which they radiated stood in my heart forever, telling me that the world is a nice place to live. Strangers from the far foreign lands have now become close pals, with whom I share the ups and downs of my life. 
 

Can you imagine what the world would have been if the two Fs were absent – F for food and F for friends. Well I have already spoken about friends. Food is a very important, rather most important reason of my survival. I am a sport to try new gourmets. I love the world because it offers such delicious, mouthwatering recipes which I first devour with my eyes and than tongue.
I like the world because whenever the din of my everyday life leaves me bogged and heavy, I can leave it all behind and travel to another corner of the world. Travel lifts our spirits for we leave everything behind. 
 

Friday, 23 March 2018

One Minute Super Dad - Book Review

Many books have been written on parenting for young mothers, but when it comes to young dads the book shelves are almost empty. One Minute Super Dad Dr.Prashant Jinal fills this void. Being a young father in today's modern age I can certainly say that parenting is no longer a woman's job. One Minute Super Dad will definitely serve as a guide, as a manual for inexperienced fathers.

The book opens with alarming statistics showing how young children are affected with spectrum of mental health disorders. By citing it the author underlines that today's father have a challenging role to play.


Today's fathers are no longer the dictators that they used to be a generation back. Yet it is equally true that there exists a communication gap between the father and children. The book equips you with a variety of open ended questions whereby this communication gap could be bridged. It also shares a number of techniques, both heard and unheard which would help in better bonding. The author uses a language which is both simple yet riveting. He quotes various research findings and it is indeed the author's success that you don't yawn while reading them. This book addresses a welcome change in the parenting responsibilities on the Indian scene. Hence it should be lapped up. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Save Water Save Life

We take many things in life for granted. One such thing is water. Most of us are blissfully unaware of the fact that like most of the resources the quantity of water on this earth is limited. 'Paisa paani ki tarah bahaya' is a phrase which denotes that money was spent like water. Thus money a valuable asset is spent like water, which in our country is of no value. But gone are the days and many parts of the country including the posh colonies are facing water scarcity. When it comes to environment Reduce, Reuse and recycle is the key. Fortunately like most things in life small steps can go a long way in saving the precious resource called water.

In our culture, water was always served in a lota covered with a small glass called bhanda. The person would pour as much water as he wanted in the small glass and drink it. This practice ensured that there was no water wastage. We should go back to the roots and start following this practice.


Rain water harvesting should be made mandatory. Though many municipal bodies have made it mandatory, unfortunately it still remains on paper. We are a country which receives ample rainfall. However majority of the rain water goes into the drain and sea, making it unsuable. With rain water harvesting we could create a water bank which would be of use in times of crisis.


Awareness through media will go a long way in saving water. A large section of our society is illiterate and semi-literate. Even the educated classes do not respect water. It should be impressed through the media that water is a limited resource, if we don't save it today, our posterity may die with parched throats. Ganga Arti is held at many places. This can be used as a platform to canvas about saving water. The same can be done at Ganpati and Durga puja pandals. 
 Don't leave the tap open. Closing the taps when not in use is very important. Many of us just let the tap open while we are attending to some other chores. Many municipal taps gush out thousands of cubic metres of water only because no one bothers to close them. All the dripping faucets should be repaired promptly, both at homes and public places. 
 Keeping the existing water resources clean. We need preserve something that is scarce. We should keep the existing water resources which includes lakes, rivers and wells clean. We should avoid throwing garbage into them. We should respect them and care them live our children. 
 
Many tanks over flow. Installing auto stoppage valves will save a lot of water from literally going down the drain. Reusing of waste water for cleaning and gardening is another way to conserve water. RO water filters discharge lot of waste water. New technology should be devised to prevent this wastage. Don't use showers and flushes. Use a bucket. By doing so you will use limited amount of water. Respect water. Don't use bottled water for bottled water industry reduces the water table, turns lands barren.

There are many ways which we can undertake to save water. Like I have signed this petition. You can sign it too and take your baby step towards water conservation. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Stepping Stones - Book Review


Stepping Stones Taking Towards the Goal is a very special book. It is written by a young girl of fourteen years age. This young girl wrote to many famous personalities and asked them for guidance. She culled out important lessons from these letters and wrote a book which would inspire young readers and help them in goal setting and achieving success in their lives.

The book is surprisingly well written. The author has shown tremendous dedication and devotion in her noble objective of guiding the young generation. She has persevered towards her goals and I am sure she will be successful in fulfilling her dreams.

The correspondence which she entered with galaxy of stalwarts forms a part of the book. It is sheer delight reading them. While some of the replies which she received are curt and formal, many luminaries have squeezed their time to write special letters to this young girl. I really liked the letters written by Anu Aga, D K Shrivastava, Ravi Wankhede, Abhay Bang and T N Ashok.

I look forward to read more books from the author. With such clarity and focus that too at such a young age she is bound to go places.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

 What I liked about Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is that irrespective of what sells in the market, it dares to tale an earthy story from the heart of the mountains. Destiny brings Nanda, an engineer, Kusru a man on his mission and Rekha a doctor together. All of them  have skeletons from their past. A new hydro-electric project has commenced in the hills. Everything from ecology to human thinking is affected by it. The novel touches lives of the poor and effects of terrorism. There are sacrifices behind every project, poor farmers are ousted from their ancestral fields, uprooted they are strewn across strange landscapes with wand of notes in their hands. The novel weaves all threads of a project adroitly.

This novel definitely offers something new. The writing is clean. Though the novel drags at a few places, it is worth giving a try.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Fear is the key - book review


Fear is the Key by Juggi Bhasin is story of a girl who has just disappeared. Nothing is known about her. Simon disappeared from a party where everyone from her office, including her boss cum boy friend Rahul was present. Rahul is shattered by her sudden disappearance. Neither the police is able to find any lead. That is when Rahul takes the investigation in his hands. There are three suspects. A pizza delivery boy, a swimming instructor and a driver. They all have seen Simon’s inviting bronze complexion and were drawn towards her. Some for lust and some for the money that voyeurism offered. The story unravels and we come across a gory, scary end.

I liked the book for its narration. It creates characters that are true to life yet intriguing. There is something which each of them in holding back. There are ulterior motives and hidden agendas. The office space is nicely described in the book. The same stands true with Rahul investigations. The Haryani cop Kripal appears to have fallen from the bollywood movies and landed up right into the novel. He hardly has any investigation to do. Rahul and Suhel’s past continues to haunt them. Suhel arranges a psychiatrist for Rahul. She too soon disappears – as if the earth had gulped her down.

The book cast a spell on me and I simply couldn’t put it down. Though I didn’t like the climax, it doesn’t mean that Fear is the Key is a bad book. If you love thrillers, you shouldn’t miss this.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Where there's a Will - Book Review

Where there's a Will marks the fantastic debut of Piorre Hart. Mr. Pratap Sharma, a billionaire business is found dead. He has left behind a will with his attorney, with strict instructions to open it only in the presence of all family members. The will is in the form of couplets which make no sense. Pranita Roy is a novice in the detective agency. This is the story of how she discerns the hidden meaning in the will.

There are no flaws in the book. The author maintains a superb pace in her writing and hooks up the reader from the first page. Though this is her debut novel, she knows very well how much to reveal and how much to withhold. The language is error free and the editing is superb. She succeeds in weaving all the suspects in front of your eyes. She makes the plot murkier by drawing Pranita towards Rohit, Pratap's son. Pranita's family is a huge put off in this story. I felt like turning the pages during her insipid conversations with her sister. The couplets remind you of Da Vinci Code, but fortunately all the similarities die there.

As I said earlier this in undoubtedly one of the most impressive debut I have ever come across. I look forward to read more from the same author. This book is highly recommended. 
 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

St. Botanica's Hair Repair and Anti Dandruff Shampoo

St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo comes in an attractive bottle. It is enriched with vitamins B3 and B5, almond oil, soy protein, moroccan argan oil, organic extra virgin coconut oil, lavender oil and tea tree oil. It is free from harmful chemicals. It contains no paraben, no sulphates and mineral oil.

Unlike the other shampoos, St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo left my hair moisturized. It has been my experience that whenever I shampoo my hair, the shampoos leaves my hair dry. But not with this shampoo. This was the most pleasant thing about it. Yes the white colour and lack of fragrance of the shampoo did disappoint me. But if this is because of the lack of harmful chemicals, I am ready to embrace St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This shampoo is worth giving a try. 
 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Brahmahatya - Book Review

Rajiv Mittal’s Brahmahatya is a daringly original novel. It opens brilliantly. There is an old widower, whose only son is abroad. The old man meets with an accident and is rendered immobile. There is an elderly woman, devoid of any emotions. She provides (both unofficial and unprofessional) health care services. Dejected as his father is unable to secure admission into the plush Govindarajan Memorial Residency, Ravi is forced to admit his father in the rickety Blessings. The old man dies and then a saga of revenge unfolds.

I really liked the premise of the novel. It keeps you hooked, at least initially. The writer succeeds in creating believable, real life characters and setting. But then starts the confusion. Initially I thought that there was spelling mistake when the author was referring Ravi as Naru Sir. I felt that the impersonation should have been more swift and clear. The novel drags after a fantastic start. The reference to mythology and scriptures though works at some places, appears disjointed with the narrative at more places than one. Bhavna’s sexual fetishes were unnecessary. Dr. Chari, though eccentric, doesn’t come across as a villain who deserves to be murdered.

Yet the writing is clean. The language is lucid. With a little tight editing Brahmahatya would have been a terrific read. Yet for the enchanting dark world that it sucks you into, Brahmahatya deserves to be read.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Big Switch - Book Review

 

The Big Switch by John Thomas is the story of Keith. Keith is a software engineer who has a nasty boss Mathur. Both promotion and the expected pay rise elude Keith for a very long time. Work is becoming monotonous and Keith is losing the love for his job. His personal life is on the rocks too. He has broken up with his girlfriend. Then one day a chance encounter with Ramesh changes everything for Keith. This life coach rekindles Keith’s passion for life. How? To know this you will have to read the The Big Switch by John Thomas.

The Big Switch pays a tribute to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, but smartly deviates from being its carbon copy. The writing is clean and the editing is good. The author uses simple language to narrate the tale. While reading the book, you keep on wondering if this is the personal tale of the writer. This is because there is a budding writer in the story and his first book is autobiographical.

I didn’t really enjoy the football part in the story. I have never played the game, so I was unable to understand most of the stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing part though. I feel the romantic angle involving Kyra could have been avoided. The book appears to be a realistic. Any working class youth can identify with the protagonist. Yet towards the end the book takes a melodramatic turn, which is difficult to digest. The grey colour of the font in the kindle edition makes the reading difficult. I wish it was standard black.

I liked the following lines from the book. ‘Everyone starts small. Be positive.’ ‘The destination is just an illusion. It is the journey that matters. Think about all the stuff that you have learned. Think about all the new people that you have met. I am pretty sure it wouldn’t have been possible if you didn’t follow your heart.’ ‘I understand that nothing seems to be falling in place for you. But you shouldn’t be scared. These setbacks are inevitable. The path to one’s dream is loaded with setbacks. These tough times, shouldn’t worry you.’

The Big Switch is a simple, motivational tale. That is the reason why it is highly recommended.


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Transit Lounge - Book Review

I love travel writing. It gives the immense pleasure of visiting the most wonderful places in the world. No wonders an arm chair traveller like me lapped up the book Transit Lounge. It documents the travel experiences of the author across thirty countries. This book is his personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argenina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belguim, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand.

The write ups are small. Neither too long to bore you, nor too short to leave you high and dry. The book is full of nuggets of the authors experiences. The author tells us how in Ghana the funeral is actually a sendoff ceremony rather than a mark of sorrow and grief. The writer is quiet in awe about motor cycle taxis in Africa. He seems to be unaware that in the tiny state of Goa these motor cycle taxis are a ubiquitous affair. Speaking of the middle east countries he says that Most of the times we do not realize that the world knows these countries from the lens of the western media which is not very kind to them. He says the family bondage in the small towns in US is as good as in any middle class family in India. London tubes he says need substantive investment to be called anywhere modern. London is a city of walkers, it has a widespread city transport too which helps people move around easily. His experience of checking into an unmanned Western Europe hotel is both harrowing and intriguing.

The author tells us how the imported goods, that were most sought after a few days ago, have lost their sheen. Denmark he says is the most prosperous nations in the northern Europe, where some people commute every day to work by flight. European cities are very tourist friendly he says. The common saying in Singapore he says is -irrespective of the economic status, everyone has a house, mostly built by government.

He bursts the bubble of prosperity by keeping the immigrant’s life stark naked in front our lives.

The book though very well written is ridden with mistakes. These typographical errors play a spoil sport. So incident becomes inddent, civic becomes dvic, class becomes dass and the crest jewel – click becomes dick. I wish the book was well edited and these mistakes were avoided. Yet I loved the book. It didn’t disappoint me.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Carthick's Unfairy Tales - Book Review

As a child I loved fairy tales. As I became an adult I started thinking over those tales. The flaws were apparent. The good people were always fair and beautiful, while the evil ought to be dark and ugly. The sole aim of the heroine's life was to win the heart of the prince. The tales were fatalist and some where even downright sadistic. Do we wish to tell such tales to our children? Certainly not.

Against this backdrop Carthick's Unfairy Tales comes as a bright change. This collection is a retelling of seven tales. To be honest out of the seven I had heard only three that of Cinderella, Pipe Piper and the frog prince. So the rest of the stories were brand new for me.

I really liked the way the author has shaped up the Frog Prince's story. He gives the Princess a spine. She comes across as a strong woman who can make intelligent choices and whose aim is certainly not marrying a man only because he is a prince (read rich and powerful in the modern connotation). I am sure I will be more than happy to tell such a tale to my toddler. Undoubtedly this is the best story in the collection.

These stories are told in unique voices. While the rat's narrative works well in the Cinderella's story, some voices appear inorganic, like a patch work just to sound something different. Also the Pipe Piper's story offers nothing new. Its just the same old story. With Cindrella and the Frog Prince the author had raise expectations. I wish there was a novelty in other stories as well.

What I liked about the book is that the writing is clean, the editing is superb. The author succeeds in maintaining a pace. The stories are of appropriate length. They are neither too short nor too long to lose attention span of the reader.

Carthick's Unfairy Tales is a unique book and you should not miss it.