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Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Science of Getting Rich - Book Review

Man always has had the desire to get rich. He has been finding ways to become rich. One such attempt was made a hundred years back. Wallace D. Wattles claimed to have discovered the truth of New Thought principles. He wrote books containing those principles. One such book is the Science of Getting Rich.

The underlying principle of the book is that there is a thinking stuff from which all things are made. Man can form his thought and by impressing his thought upon formless substance produce the thing he wants. The author says there is abundant for everyone out there.

Apart from the usual things like act as if you have what you want, make your actions consistent with your thoughts, keep away from negative influences, the book sets forth some controversial ideas. The author says that do not spend your time in charitable work or charity movements. All charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate. Do not dabble in theosophy, spiritualism or kindred studies. It is very likely that the dead still live and are near; but if they are , let them alone, mind your own business.

I liked the following lines in the book. It is not right or noble to live only for the soul and deny mind or body and it is wrong to live for the intellect and live for the body or soul. Go as fast as you can but never hurry. Do, every day, all that you can do that day, and do each act in an efficient manner. Doing what you want to do is life; and there is no real satisfaction in living if we are compelled forever doing something which we do not like to do, and can never do what we want to do. There is never any hurry on the creative plane ; and there is no lack of opportunity. Wherever you find a boastful person, you find one who is secretly doubtful and afraid.

The writing style is outdated. Yet it cannot be forgotten that this is one of the first books in the self-development series. We can imagine how revolutionary the idea must have been in the year 1910 when the bookstores where not inundated with self-help and mind science book. It is for this reason the book is highly recommended.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Healing with Herbs - Book Review

Much has been written on Ayurveda and the herbs. But what makes healing with Herbs by Uma Swaminathan unique is that it draws much from the Siddha method of healing. Siddha method of healing is unique to South India. Though many Ayurvedic texts have been opened up in simple words for the lay people, Siddha medicines remained a close guarded secret. They were always an enigma for the esoteric secrets which they carried.

Healing with herbs introduces us to many medicinal plants which are around us. Fortunately every medicinal herb is accompanied by its photograph. So it is easy to identify them. Though I had known that false daisy was used for healing wounds, the book told me that it can heal earaches and is a good medicine for diabetics too. The book is full of many such herbs and their medicinal usages which are not known to the rest of the world.

The book also speaks about aroma therapy by devoting a special section called the power of Scent. The section recipes that rejuvenate and make you radiant include the herbs that are integral for any beauty therapy. The book doesn’t simply discuss herbs. It also tells us about oils, honey, sugar, salt and grains.

It doesn’t stop by merely telling the medicinal usages of herbs. A part of it is a recipe book too. The author lists a large variety of drinks, sweets, rasam, salads, sambar, main dishes, side dishes which are made from the herbs and good for the health.

I liked the book for the new usages which it brings to light. But I wish the Hindi names of the herbs would have been mentioned. The writer has mentioned the Hindi names at some places, but I had difficulty in understanding many herbs because I couldn’t identify them with their Tamil and English scientific names.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Corpokshetra - Book Review

Mahabharata is an epic. It has a large canvas. Its conflict is eternal. Its characterization is varied and multi-layered. No wonders it continues to attract people even today. It has inspired many writers, playwrights and filmmakers. They have tried to give their own interpretations of the epic through their works. Corpokshetra by Deepak Kaul is one such attempt. Apart from Mahabharata, Shashi Tharoor’s the Great Indian Novel (which itself is inspired from Mahabharata) is an inspiration for Corpokshetra.

Corpokshetra transforms the Kurushetra into a conference room. The game of dice gives way for poker, cricket and golf. The characters drink whiskey and gin. Instead of Sun god, a famous film star called Big C who is hosting a game show and who though married had an affair with a siren called Sulekha father’s Karna. Draupadi has a golf swayamwar. Dronacharya and Parasurama are golf instructors. Hastinapur, Anga are all body corporates. Krishna is a consultant who charges hefty fees and who loses both his money and clients for he is spending much of his time in the conference room where the great war is happening. Karna is denied an opportunity to participate in the game for he is not a member of the club.

Recreating Mahabharata itself is a challenge. It is a great risk. It is a walk on the rope. Yet debutant Deepak Kaul does a decent job. Though he doesn’t cover the entire expanse of Mahabharata, he fairly recreates some of the famous characters and the scenes in today’s era. Having said I did not understand why the characters who are living lavished corporate lives stick to old words like priya, putra, mitra and beta while addressing each other. It would have been great fun it they would have called each other darling, buddy, dude and babe. Also though the book is of only 118 pages, it becomes boring after a certain point. May be you will like it if you are a great fan of Mahabharata or working in a corporate setting. At the end of the book the author dishes out lessons from Mahabharata which we haven’t learnt even after so much of water has flown down the bridge. Isn’t that a good reason to buy this book?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Everyone has a story - book review

Everyone has a story by Savi Sharma is story of an upcoming writer Meera and a traveller Vivaan whom she meets by a chance. She writes a story about the traveller. They are attracted towards each other. This is when the traveller suddenly disappears, leaving Meera’s story incomplete. He has gone to the distant lands to quench his thirst of travel. She is heart broken. How can he go without even saying a bye, is a thought which cannot overcome. The traveller has gone away, but Meera hasn’t gone away from his heart. Her love pulls him back to India. But he has a past. Will Meera accept his past? For this you will have to read Savi Sharma’s Everyone has a story.

What I liked about the novel is that it is written in two voices that of Vivaan and Meera. The writer does a good job with this experimentation. The two voices in the story give this novel a different dimension. It makes a simple story told numerous times appear different. Plus there are subordinate characters like Kabir and Nisha who are in love and have their own set of problems.

I liked Savi’s writing style. I liked the following lines in the novel. ‘In the end, we always regret the choices, we didn’t make, the love we didn’t accept and the dreams we fight for.’ ‘Every day I scoured this Earth to find happiness. I didn’t find it or anything else to soothe my soul at all. I found wonderful places.’ ‘The worst thing that a man can to a woman is making her fall in love with you when you have no intentions of loving her back.’

The subtitle of the book calls it an inspirational romance. But neither is this book the alchemist nor is Savi Paulo Coehlo. Yet she does a decent job. If you are looking for a light read, go ahead and grab this book.

Friday, 15 July 2016

My return

Income tax returns is a topic which makes the tax payers, especially the salaried persons wary. ‘We do not understand anything about it.’ ‘Our tax is deducted at our office – TDS. Don’t you know?’ All these statements only speak of ignorance. We are earning our money through our hard labour. Shouldn’t we be aware of what income tax returns are? It is high time that we educate ourselves and file our income tax returns regularly. In today’s age of internet filing of income tax returns has become very easy. Just a click and your return will be filed. What’s more? You can do it yourself.

All of us speak of good governance. All of us want acche din. But shouldn’t we contribute towards bringing the acche din the good days. Yes we should. The easiest way to do it is to file income tax returns. Where from does the government get money? What is its source of income? Income tax is one of the main sources of income for the government. Where does this money collected from tax goes? It goes towards infrastructure projects and welfare schemes. You want smart cities right. Then file income tax returns. You want no poor to go to sleep without food, file income tax returns. Rise in income tax means rise growth of the national income.

Filing of income tax returns has personal benefits too. First of all it goes to show that you are an honest citizen and have nothing to hide. You can easily avail loans. Go to any bank or other financial institution and ask for loan. The first thing they will ask you is past income tax returns. So isn’t filing income tax returns beneficial to you? You want a visa to visit another country. Again you will be asked your income tax returns. Filing income tax returns will help you in improving your credit score.

How to file income tax returns? How much time do you spend on facebook and social media? I am sure the answer is couple of hours. If you can use computers, you can file your own returns within a few minutes. So please file the returns and help your country and yourselves. 
I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.

My pledge

‘Why should I pay the taxes?’ My younger brother Rohit asked. He had just entered the house and was fuming. I let him cool. After some time I called him.
‘You were saying something about taxes, weren’t you?’
‘Yes. I have lot of complaints of the tax system in the country.’
‘Why?’ I asked calmly.
‘First you have to pay taxes because you are earning.’ He said.
‘Yes. But the taxes are used for building roads, railways and other public conveniences.’
‘I agree Bhaiya. But my tax is deducted from my salary. TDS – Tax deducted at source.’
‘So why should I file income tax returns? They have got their taxes. Now what more do they want.

I felt like laughing. But I had to control laughter for the sake of my younger brother.
‘What if you have paid extra taxes?’
‘Extra taxes?’ He asked. He was perplexed.
‘Don’t you want to get the extra taxes paid by you back?’
‘Can I get it back?’
‘Yes of course. It is your right.’
‘But how will I get them back?’
‘Simple file income tax returns. You will get a refund.’
‘Yes refund of the taxes which you have paid extra and above what you were required to pay.’

‘Then filing income tax returns is beneficial.’ Said Rohit who just had a change of mind.
‘Are there any more benefits of filing income tax returns?’ He asked.
‘Yes of course. First of all you are discharging your duty of being a responsible citizen. There is nothing to hide. Secondly if you want to apply for loans in future, the first thing you will be asked is past income tax returns. If you want visa to travel to a foreign country, you will be required to show your income tax returns. Having filed your income tax returns would be of help in improving your credit score.’
‘Thank you Bhaiya for guiding me. I too pledge to file the income tax returns.’
I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

My child healthy child

 The day my daughter was born should have been the happiest day in my life. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Not because I was expecting a male child. But because the doctor told my baby was underweight. ‘You will realize once you become a parent.’ My mother would tell me all the time. I never took her words very seriously. But that day I realized what she was saying. My heart went out for my tiny one who was now kept in newborn intensive care unit. Her fragile skin was pierced so many times. Sometimes for giving injections. Sometimes for taking out blood samples.

Will my baby grow properly? Will she gain weight? Will she ever look like those cute chubby kids which I saw in advertisements? The mind kept on playing all sorts of games. So who can be better person than me to voice opinion as to how important it is for the child to catch up the lost growth.

Wait for a month. Your baby will be normal.’ Were the consoling words of the doctor. Not only that doctor but even my aunt who is a gynecologist assured me that all will be well in a month. ‘The baby will gain 20 grams weight each day.’ She had told me. ‘Will she catch up on the lost growth?’ I asked. ‘Yes of course.’ Was the reply.

But will ever a parent’s child will be content with the assuring words of the doctor. No, not at all. Until the parent sees his child making up for the lost growth, gaining enough weight, achieving all the landmarks on time, he will not be convinced with the words of the doctor which may be scientific and even backed by experience.

I had tears in my eyes when the doctor told me that my baby was gaining weight. Though the weight gain was abysmal. But as a parent it was a comforting thought that she wasn’t left behind. She was catching up with other children. With every passing day she gained weight. She was the first one to turn on sides amongst the children of her age, most of them were well rounded babies of my relatives and friends. Soon she surpassed them in everything. She was the first one to crawl. The first one to walk and the first one to talk.

Now I am the happiest person on the earth. My daughter is no way left behind. She is physically and mentally sound. Good nutrition, positive thinking and help of the caregivers are the one who are to be thanked for her healthy growth. Now that my baby has covered up all that she missed and is growing properly a huge burden has been lifted from my chest. I feel relieved. Now that she has covered all the growth which she had lost, I am relaxed. Now I am able to enjoy all the happy moments of parenthood. Those missed moments when the doctor told me that I had become a father albeit that of an underweight baby. Thank you everybody for being a part of my journey. I reiterate that it is very important for a child to catch up on lost growth.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

The world outside my window - book review

Ruskin Bond’s the world outside my window is very different from his other books. Yes he has written about insects, birds and trees in his books. But they were seldom the main characters in his books. The character sketches and life in the mountains were always the USPs of his books.

But in the World Outside My Window he exclusively talks about the insects, birds and trees. The book is divided into three sections. The section the wonderful world of insects is about butterflies, honeybees, scorpions and many other insects. Though the second section is called birdsong in the mountains, it has chapters on the birds from the citites as well. In the last section the loveliness of ferns, he speaks about the trees.

He tells us how the female scorpion eats up the male soon after the mating. He tells us that as men woo the women with chocolates, the male insects attract the female with the fluids which they secrete. While speaking about crows he says ‘Many crows seem to have been humans in their previous lives. They possess all the cunning and sense of self-preservation of man. At the same time there are many humans who have obviously been crows. We haven’t lost their thieving instincts.’ He says the birds like crows, sparrows and mynas who can live with humans continue to thrive as cities grow. But the wilder lot is diminishing with the depleting forests.

He candidly states that in the long run, it is the common man and not the scientist or conservationist, who can best give protection to the birds and animals living around him.

In the chapter on owls, Ruskin Bond does what he is best at doing. He draws character sketches. Though it is not in sync with other chapters in the book, I liked reading it.

Many birds, insects and trees mentioned in the book are not known to many of us. Now you cannot imagine how a insect would look after reading its details, the way you can do with human characters. It would have been better if their pictures were included in the book. Also the book is poorly proof read. It has ample errors of punctuation. I wish these were avoided.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Think and Win like Dhoni - Book Review

This is the era of marketing. Great personalities like Einstein, Chanakya, Steve Jobs and many others are packaged into self-development books. These books sell just by the cover. Only after the reader reads it he comes to realize that very less is written in the book about the personality who adorned its cover. The writer very cleverly sold his own thoughts by having an icon on its cover. Unfortunately the book stores are inundated with such books which cheat the readers.

But Sfurti Sahare’s Thinks and win like Dhoni is an exception. This book has warmth of genuineness. This book offers the qualities which are rarely mentioned in other self-development books. The book is divided into five sections which contain five traits of Dhoni. These according to the author are simple, achievable and they are within us.

In the section the right attitude, the author says that the Dhoni’s greatest strength is his fearlessness. According to Dhoni, fear is just an illusion of the mind, which doesn’t exist in reality. The more you entertain fear, the more you will attract it in your life.

According to the author the breed of angry young men has become obsolete. They do not stand a chance in this changing times where mind games and mental skill rule supreme. Dhoni was not born with a calm mind. He says, ‘I wasn’t so calm at a young age. I don’t like to lose, so when I was young, I had trouble controlling my emotions. But soon I realized that aggression is a waste of time and energy. Then I consciously practiced calmness and over a period of time, I learned to control my aggression.’

In the section Goals the author says while a novice sets big, expanded goals with the moon as the destination point, achievers sets small, achievable goals towards the very destination point. The difference is that a novice usually misses to reach his destination while an achiever, more often than not hits the goal post. At another place she says it’s not difficult to achieve clarity of mind if we waste less time on over thinking and complicating it by conjuring up unnecessary hypothetical situations. She further says that you should chose your goal; you should never mind if you win or lose and not forget to tally. To tally means to sit back and see what you have done right, what you have done wrong, and identify areas you need to work upon.

The section follow the process is the most important section in the book. It says there are no other procedures other than that to follow the process. We affix a goal and strengthen it with the right attitude. But if we cannot follow the process, winning will always elude us. Further she says losing your temper is not a part of the process. It has the potential to upset your psychological form. According to her when a person is obsessed about the result and has little patience in the process, a hurdle or impediment in the way makes him give it up easily.

The section a peaceful walk home is about unwinding, living in the moment and multitasking. The last section to be the chosen leader is about Dhoni’s people management skills.

This book has the potential to change your life. That is the reason why you should read it. Unfortunately the book is poorly proof read and is ridden with typographical errors (pages 37, 57, 64, 65, 76, 83, 91) I hope these errors are corrected in the next editions.