Free for download only on 4th and 5th March 2020

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Power of Handwriting Analysis

The Power of Handwriting Analysis by Pradnyaa Parikh claims that by changing the way you write D, T, Y, S and I you can escalate your self-esteem, communication skills and confidence. The book discusses as to what slants and baselines indicate. I found parenting with handwriting analysis interesting. The author also suggests career choices based on handwritings. A special section is also devoted to Corporate Graphology.

Handwriting Analysis isn’t a perfect science. At many places the writing is confusing, particularly because the samples produced in the book and the analysis do not gel well. The author should have made her points clearer by marking the samples using pointers. If you are interested in Handwriting Analysis this book may interest you.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Double or Quits - Book Review

Double or Quits is the story of Jyotsna Singh. She is an anaylst with an investment banking company. Aryan Sahani the promoter of Sahani Hospitals meets her in relation to floating of an IPO. Jyotsna is attracted to him. Contrary to the rules they enter into a romantic relationship. Aryan systematically induces Jyotsna to manipulate the figures to make unlawful gains. She is suspended from her job. She is even convicted for insider trading. Will she redeem her life?

With this novel Shilpa Gupta enters the Ravi Subramaniam’s style of writing. So there is no suspense as such. But the real and cruel world of investment banking is exposed. I feel that the author should have spent some more time and attention towards building the Jyotsna and Aryan relationship. Their bonding is simply unconvincing. Even the title Double or Quits sounds both odd and inappropriate. Shilpa scores by making the protagonist a woman. Jyotsna is not a prey, but a woman who is ready to take responsibility for her actions. The novel is a fast paced thriller. It is a page turner and gives the satisfaction of reading a good novel. Hence this novel is highly recommended.

The Princess of a Whorehouse: The Story of a Swamp Lotus - Book Review

The Princess of a Whorehouse: The Story of a Swamp Lotus is the story of Aparajita and her mother. The first half is told in the voice of Aparajita’s mother and the second half is narrated from Aparajita’s perspective. Aparajita’s father dies in an accident. A well wisher brings her mother to Delhi and sells her to a pimp. Aparajita’s mother finds a way out of the brothel, into a kind man’s heart. They get married. This ensures a normal life for Aparajita, who can now go to school like any other child. But what happens when her schoolmate comes to know that her mother was into the flesh trade.

The book is a short read. It scores on descriptions. The editing is tight and the story has both a place and flow. Where the author utterly fails is in dialogues. The dialogues are anything but real. So we have a down market pimp saying ‘Hang on for a minute.’ Bookish dialogues like ‘A major explosion occurred there. It’s a fateful day for us,’ steal the realistic setting of the story. Also as depicted in this novella adoption cannot take place by merely signing a paper. I wish the author had researched more on this aspect.

But this book is an easy read. It is one time read for sure.

Intimidating Obscurity - Book Review

Intimidating Obscurity a Pursue to Eternity is story of Stella. Her mother is murdered. This murder is followed by few others and Stella loses her near and dear ones. Then Rey enters her life. He proposes her, she wants to say him yes, but her friend Kimaya too loves him. Plus Stella receives a call asking her to deject Rey’s proposal. So Stella rejects his proposal and marries Robert. Rey marries Kimaya. One day Stella is found dead. Rey finds her diary and many secrets are revealed.

The plot appears interesting but the treatment is banal. There are bookish dialogues which do not sound real. As a result all the characters speak in the same tone. The author narrates the story mostly through dialogues. At many places the dialogues could have been avoided to give a good pace to the story. Unfortunately that is not done. Plus the grammatical errors mar the narrative.

Everything from title to book cover and writing style to characters in this book is amateurish. So open this book at your own risk.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Bag it all - Book Review

Some tales with their simplicity and honesty touch your heart. They remain with you forever. What more if they are damn interesting and inspiring? One such book is Bag it all by Nina Lekhi and Suman Chhabria Addepalli. This is the tale of Nina Lekhi who built the brand Baggit.

Nina’s story begins with her carefree and even careless youth. She is the party girl who is the only student to fail in painting. Her academic failure doesn’t stop her entrepreneurial journey. She starts her bag business from her bedroom and goes on to open her shops all over the world. The book is full of anecdotes of how she faced problems in her journey and how she overcame it. The book also journals her personal life, her marriage, her pregnancy. Nina’s husband became a full time meditation teacher. She discusses how she handled his absence and his decision.

Nina’s business is deeply rooted in morals. She is an ardent follower of Siddha Samadhi Yoga. She illustrates various situations where she chose to keep her word, even if it meant mounting losses.

This is a wonderful book. It is simple, yet unputdownable. Whether you wish to become an entrepreneur or not, this book will inspire you.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The 365 Days - Book Review

Maiden authors bring a fresh voice and a fresh narrative with them. Nikhil Ramteke’s the 365 days is one such novel.

This is the story of Shijukutty a fisherman from Kerala. As every other Malyali has gone to the Gulf and made a fortune, Shijukutty too goes to Dubai, leaving behind his wife and son. He has taken a loan to pay the agent who is going to arrange for his job in Dubai. Shijukutty boards the plane with many dreams. All his dreams are shattered into pieces once he lands up in Dubai. He is not paid the salary which he was offered. He works twelve hours in a day as a construction worker and languishes in a labour camp. Will the Gulf offer him the life of his dreams? For this you will have to read the 365 days.

This novel brings the miserable life of labourers in the gulf to the fore. It shows how they are cheated by the agents, exploited, made to work for long hours and live in inhuman conditions. The author, having himself lived for many years in the gulf, weaves this ugly world which exists in the belly of the glittering Dubai very well. He brilliantly captures the ambitions, desires of the blue collared working class Malyali. His real to life characters bring alive the life in the labour camps in front of us. It is the success of the author that we can feel their pain and their despair. The author has a good understanding of the dynamics of human relationships. Be it Shijukutty’s relationship with his wife or his room mates, the author simply gets it right.

The 365 days is a refreshing, riveting but a poignant tale. There are couple of spelling mistakes in the book. Also the protagonist at one place says that he misses the toothless smile of his son. At another place we come to know that his son is over two years. I wish creases like this were ironed. Yet, the 365 days for its story and emotions is a novel not to be missed.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Alien and the fairy without wings

Who says Colgate is all about brushing your teeth? The following story was weaved by my nephews with my daughter Niva as the protagonist of the story. Colgate has opened a new way for stories which are magical, entertaining as well as educative.

'What's that flying in the air?' Niva, who was playing in the courtyard thought. It was twilight and the object which she saw in the sky was strange. It wasn't a star. It was neither an airplane nor a rocket. It came nearer and nearer. 'UFO.' Words came out from her mouth spontaneously. Until then she had heard about them only in science fictions.

A strange creature stepped out of the UFO. 'Don't be afraid. I am a friend. It said and escorted Niva into the UFO. The UFO flied up high in the sky. 'We run a space scholarship in our planet, though our scholarship is not restricted to children of our planet alone. We identify bright students, with keen interest in science, from all over the universe and take them for a fiver hour space ride.

Was what Niva heard true. She was one of the brightest students in the entire universe. Reading her thoughts the alien said. “Yes Niva you are one of the best science minds we have seen.' The door of the cabin opened and a beautiful girl came in with a tray containing chocolates in her hands. If she had wings, she would have definitely made a beautiful fairy, Niva thought. 'These chocolates are made in our planet. They are sugar free and are known to improve cognitive and analytical skills in children. Have them to your heart's content, for their medicinal properties will disappear if you taken then to Fungfoo.’
'Fungfoo.' Niva said with her eye brows stretched.
'Oh, sorry, we call your earth Fungfoo in our language.' The alien said.

They flied up in the air. Suddenly Niva felt like she was weightless. She began to fly in the air like a kite. The fairy without the wings and the alien held her by her thighs and dragged her to the ground.

'This is space darling. You do not feel gravity here.' He said adjusting the steering of UFO.
'Then how come you guys are not feeling gravity?' Niva asked.
'That is because we astronauts are trained to work without gravity in the space.'
'So you are an astronaut?'
'Yes and the fairy without wings too.'
'So you guys aren't aliens?' Niva asked
'Well going by the dictionary definitions we are strangers to you. So may be we are aliens in that way. But we too are a highly developed race like you people.'

Come on get down.’ The alien said politely.
'Have we reached your planet?’ Niva was too eager to see another planet.
'No this is a space ship. Wear your space suit first.' The fairy came out of the curtain again. This time with a space suit in hand. She went to explain Niva that a space suit weighs 127 kg with 13 layers of material. It provides the much needed oxygen while in space.

Niva's eye widened on seeing the space ship. She had never seen anything like that before. Many men and women were working in their cubicles. “So this is your office in the space?' Niva asked.
'Yes, you have put it it very well in simple words. Space stations allow you to live and work in the Earth's orbit.'

That was when a girl who looked like a shorter version of the fairy came and yelled. 'Sir there is a new comet.' Everybody rushed to the window. 'It is so young. Perhaps we are the first one to notice it. Aishwarya we will name it after you.' The Alien said. Aishwarya blushed. She was named after Aishwarya Rai, whose beauty had created ripples among the Aliens as well. The Alien then explained Niva that comet heats up when close to the sun and gets its tail of dust and ice crystals. Thereafter the alien took out the rover from the garage and he took Niva on the red planet, known as Mars on the earth. Till then Niva had known only Land Rover. Now she came to know that Rover is a space exploration device which moves across a planet's surface. She had heard that the atmosphere on Mars was conducive to human survival. But she was the first one to encounter with an alien from the Mars. She was too excited to share the news with her friends. But she wanted to explore Mars completely first.
'Alien, your life is so exciting. Can I join your world?'
'Yes, but for that you will have to study. By the time you go to college, boundaries between planets will be blur. We will experience Universal brotherhood in the true sense of the word. We will visit each other's planets with ease and learn new things from one another.'
'Thank you Alien.' I will wait for that day Niva said as she took a selfie with the alien and the fairy without wings.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

31 Miles - Book Review

31 Miles: Can We Ever Win Against Ourselves?

is the first novel by Vinita Bakshi. This book takes us on a journey of void which most married women experience even after decades of happy marriage with two kids.
The core story follows the life of Mansa who is happily married to Abhijeet for two decades. Mansa is depressed. This is when she comes in contact with Rajan through online chat. Rajan showers her with romantic poetries and shayaris. At times his words are full of overt advances, which Mansa disapproves of. But Mansa has begun to quiver. She is looking forward to every chat with Rajan. She happens to go with her husband on a trip abroad, Rajan is away just by 31 miles. She is too eager to meet him.

After being turned down by Rajan she is depressed. She turns to a Guruma who helps her travel into another lifetime, where the seeds of her incompleteness, her sorrow are hidden.
In her debut novel Ms. Bakshi comes with a believable protagonist, though the online affair drags a too long. Also the past life regression takes the novel into another plane. Unfortunately this part doesn’t appear organic to the story and looks like a patch. The author asks us to read the sequel to know the trials and tribulations of the lead character in her next life. Well I am done with her lifetime as Mansa and that is more than enough for me. 

1857 Dust of Ages - Book Review

1857 Dust of Ages: A Forgotten Tale by Vandana Shanker dust of ages has an interesting premise. Shiv a young art historian stumbles upon some papers in his at his 200 years old haveli in Navgarh. It is about a British soldier searching for his wife in the chaos of 1857. Navgarh didn’t have a male heir at that time. It had a princess by name Meera. Her father had planned her marriage with the neighbouring State. This was more of a political move to save the autonomy of the Navgarh State. But Meera is in love with a British Officer named Richard. They elope. Will their relationship be accepted by the Royalty? How does Shiv discover their relationship after more than 150 years that too when it has been kept a secret. For answers to these questions you will have to read the novella 1857 Dust of Ages.

I really liked the premise of this novella. A young Princess falling for a British soldier is indeed interesting. The story oscillates between the present times and the past. I wish the romance and the chaos of 1857 was given some more space in the book. Also I found the ending rather abrupt. Except for these flaws the book is a descent read.