Thursday 28 August 2014


The poem came first or its title?
This question is very vital.
How does a feeling turn pretty?
How do you make sorrow witty?

How is it that we all feel the same,
yet some give feelings a name?
While some stay unnamed, unsung
and other reach areas far-flung?

How a Crow that lands at Ruskin's,
turns into welcome guest;
while a Myna at a regular house,
is just a thieving pest.

How a broken heart of Tagore,
brings memories of his paramour.
Some hearts break more heart,
As if it's an art, of some sort.

How being miserable brought, more glory to Premchand?
How when I am miserable, I just ask life for a refund?

The answer still eludes me...

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Book Review- Private India- Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

ISBN- 978-0-009-58639-5
Genre- Fiction/ Thriller
Pages- 470
Publisher- Arrow books

The best part about reviewing books by famous authors is that you can comfortably skip the introductions but keeping in tandem with the rituals of the book review format and thanking blogadda for this wonderful opportunity, I'd like to introduce this book by two popular authors. The first one is Ashwin Sanghi whose The Krishna Key set new landmarks in Indian historical fiction; it is a rare honour for a writer to have all his books in the bestsellers category. His writing style is simplistic and there is rarely any ambiguity or artsy delusions. His USP lies in the sensational content that he uses in his books.

I cannot recommend following him on Twitter due to the awful amount of 'quotable quotes' that he posts. Easy there, buddy! :D

James Patterson has had a successful stint internationally with his "private series". 
Check out the other books by him if you haven't already. As it says in his introduction- "The pages turn themselves".

This book falls in the genre where if you're a follower/ fan, you will actually have to buy and read it no matter how this review goes but let's get started-

About the cover-
The cover photography has been done by Alamy/ and has Mumbai all over it. If you delete the author and book details, you can use the same cover for a book on Mumbai tourism. It has the essential Taj Hotel, Gateway of India photos replete with the Bandra-Kurla sea-link. The silhouette figure of a running person which is the trademark of the private series is pretty nice. The cover design has been done by and the fonts are pretty bold and the embossed title totally makes you wanna buy the book. Good job!

About the book-
The back cover introduces the plot where in Mumbai seemingly unconnected murders are taking place and in a DaVinci Code fashion, there are strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses. This seems to be a favourite area of Ashwin Sanghi's and I think it is bordering towards being 'played out' in terms of conceptualization.

Yes, there exists a Mumbai branch of "Private" and Santosh Wagh is heading it. The cases are given to Private India by the Mumbai Police as the Indian cops, who are understandably overworked, deem fit. Which is kind of funny!! Police wouldn't transfer their cases, at least in Mumbai. But hey! fiction...

The first thing that hits you when you flip the pages of this novel is the text size on its pages. It is slightly larger than usual and might be easier to read in dim lights and everything but it made me feel like I am reading my kindergarten alphabet book. Well, that's an exaggeration, but you get the point. The font is slightly larger and it is slightly awkward. Not a big issue. The book starts with a murder, (well it is a murder mystery so don't think it was a spoiler) and the pace is set right there. The chapters are short and quick paced and it is very hard to put down once you pick it up. If you are a keen observer, you can actually identify the places where Sanghi ends and Patterson begins. Both writers bring their flavours and diversity which is interesting as we switch from short, to the point sentences (Sanghi) to sleek lines ending with a punch (Patterson). I might be totally wrong here though but it was an interesting exercise to ponder. No, Sanghi doesn't bring his whole arsenal though. This book is strictly about Mumbai and there is no way the detectives have the time and energy to roam around the country and look for mysterious clues which revive readers' interest in Indian history. It's a shame though because that would have been awesome.

For all the "Private" fans, yes, we have Jack Morgan in the book and he does well while sharing the spotlight with the other protagonist Santosh who works under him. The novel ends at page 447 and there is a special treat which you might not be able to make the head or tail of but yay! Santosh's character is an ex-cop and the initial build-up about his conflict was interesting, could have been explored more deeply though. Oh and one warning, do not look for logic! It is neither a literary novel nor a thriller with brains, the novel is just like Jackie Chan doing cool moves in a suit- you have to say "wow! Awesome" and then stop thinking and expecting because there's no more tricks up his sleeve. Also, if your dad is in Mumbai police, do not read this novel. :D

The language is pretty easy and the descriptions are vivid but short. The characters are painted in black and white and there are minimum layers and very few complex back stories to distract oneself from the main plot. Ashwin takes care of the Indian mythology-related thrill which is scarce and there is fair amount of terrorism stuff thrown in. The books seems to be in the 7/11 hangover and there are bombings and Mumbai stuff that kind of drag on. The thrill that the Indian fans can derive from it is immense and Patterson's presence only makes it more glamorous. I'd also term it one of the most stylish thrillers that have come up in recent times in terms of content. Private's Jack Morgan makes the whole chase more 'international'. You can almost imagine a Hollywood-Bollywood amalgamation as you go through the pages. Yes, the book is like the Mission Impossible movie with Anil Kapoor in it, only he gets to do more cool stuff! :D

I would rate this book with 4 out of 5 stars but as I said, lower expectations.


Tuesday 12 August 2014

Book Review- Ramayana - The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince- Shubha Vilas

Title- Ramayana - The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince
ISBN- 13: 978-81-8495-530-9
Author- Shubha Vilas
Publisher- Jaico Books
Genre- Mythology
Price- Rs 250
Pages- 252

The Author
The author, Shubha Vilas is a spiritual man with degrees in law and engineering and writes inspirational stuff that is based on Sanatan philosophy. He also interacts with youth in educational institutions and delivers motivational lectures so, he has this natural talent of connecting with people and that shows in his writing which is not aloof from practical day-to-day life.

The Cover
The cover shows Ram and Lakshman protecting Vishwamitra's rites from Maricha and Subahu in an animated artwork. The elegant drawings and exquisite colors paint a very vivid and bright picture and bring a sanctity to the whole book.

The Book
The story of Ramayana is not alien to us Indians as it is told and retold to us throughout our cultural upbringing at various stages. Lessons from Ramayana are a part of the Indian psyche now and the character of Maryada Purushottam Ram is an epitome of virtue to all of us. The question arises as to what can the book further tell about the epic that we don't already know and well, the answer is that there is a reason Ramayana has been told and retold in India- the subtextual meanings, the beauty of narration, the lessons- they can never cease to fascinate the intellectual appetite of the spiritual-seeker. The book has notes at pages where the author has provided insights about the story and also added notes on various other versions of the epic. It is a book that would interest the young and the old alike.

The Quality
The pages are crisp and the language is easy to understand; the beauty of the prose is intact and the story flows effortlessly. The fonts have the genteel aura of a sacred text that helps the reader attain trance while reading. The story is interesting for the ones just reading for the thrill of it and the pace of the plot is not sacrificed for the demand of wonderment or spiritual insights. Sign of a true classic!

The historical contexts and the side notes about various characters and mythical beings surely would interest the history buffs like myself. The book is a true treasure and I cannot thank blogadda and Shubha Vilas enough for the opportunity of reading it. I cannot wait for the Book 2 and I am thinking of gifting the set to my parents.

Rating- I don't think there are enough stars in the world for me to rate an epic like Ramayana. I give it infinite stars out of 5.


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Book Review- Manage Your Manager- Kritika Sharma

Title- Manage Your Manager
Author- Kriti
Publisher- BlueJay Books Pvt Ltd
ISBN- 978-93-82891-04-8
FB page-
Price- Rs 150
Pages- 162

Here's another review in the series of reviews on request that I started doing recently. This time I had the opportunity to review this book by Kriti which is about dealing with office politics and day-to-day problems at work. Obviously, it has a specific target readership and comes like a guidebook for all those who are struggling with their managers or HR departments and dealing with tough situations at work. The book also teaches you how to strike a balance between the work and personal lives.

A word about the author first. Kritika Sharma is a wife, a working woman, a cooking enthusiast and has done masters in Business Management. The high spirited-ness can be gauged from the fact that she found time to write a book amidst all these roles that she was donning. Hats off!

About the cover- the cover has a no nonsense appeal to it with the clear depiction of what is inside the book. An office coffee mug with the inscription "Dos and Don'ts @ Work" adorns the cover page. The back cover has few tele-commercial like questions- Do you feel neglected by your manager? Do you have a feeling that your manager is a bit biased? Have you ever thought- 'only if I knew what to do..'? If your answer is yes, then this is the book for you. This seemed a bit cheesy to me but I feel people who really are in these problems would like such clear cut approach about the book.

The book is divided into two sections- A. Direct Managers and B. The Others. More attention as obviously been paid to direct managers and the cases are presented in the form of commonplace problems written as case studies and the problems or solutions have been explained with correct reasoning and explanations as per the author's wisdom and intellect.

The language is fairly simple with no fancy words and the pages use recycled paper which are of good quality. The small publishing houses in India are really doing some good work of late. Impressive.

At the end of each chapter, there are summaries in the form of survival tips which I found to be the most helpful part of the book. You can nicely sum up the advice their and apply them in your case and act accordingly. Another good thing is that the book does not have any pretentious air about it and the situations and dilemmas are presented with an empathetic approach toward the employee ie the reader. The manager is referred to as a 'she' which I found to be a delightful change from the normal. The book if value for money in terms of content and the presentation is not that flashy so, that might not lure the ones who seek company of big words (think Deepak Chopra and their ilk). The book also does not have any moral pretensions and seeks to give the most practicable advice, assuming that you're a hard working employee who is not a brown-noser for sure.

This book also is going to be helpful for people who are facing personal life crisis which is somewhat related to their career situation. The advice is more like a wise colleague who is also a friend telling you while stating examples from her life. It strikes a chord and is friendly and not hard to digest.

I recommend the book to all those who are in need. It is priced modestly and can make for a very good gift to your friends who are in some sort of work-related crisis. I rate this book with 4 stars.


Sunday 3 August 2014

How I solved the #WhatTheBlack mystery

Ok, so as you might not be knowing, I am a a bit of a detective. And I did happen to solve successfully the puzzle by the blogadda people. Here is presenting a short sketch of how I did it!

By the by, it must not be any mystery by now that #WhatTheBlack is the Colgate Slimsoft Charcoal Toothbrush. Priced at Rs 60, it is an amazing product.

Day 1, I got this mysterious black box which got me thinking. What could it be?

It turned out to be an egg. What? A black egg? It seemed like an interesting clue. So, the answer lies in somehing which is normally white but is now black -- yes that was my first thought.

As I cracked open the shell, I saw chocolate and the plot had just thickened... I knew it was gonna be a tough case to crack

 I thought really hard about it and then I just licked it because a good detective has to get his hands/ tongue dirty on the job. It was .... YUMMY!

I thought about washing the egg and then maybe the clue will reveal itself and OMG! There it was! It turned purple!! Which meant...

Absolutely nothing. So I just took out a plate and ate it.

While tasting the chocolate the answer to the riddle came to me.

But I forgot what it was due to the amazing taste...

Over the next two days, I got clues like black paper cup, black newspaper, black tissue paper and keeping the recurring theme in mind, I figured out the solution. Here is how-

Yes, my deduction was kinda aided by the word "colgate" on the last day's dispatch receipt but nevertheless! I decoded it! (A little bit of googling might have helped me there)

It was elementary my dear Watsons!