Eat, Pray, Love

Dec 30, 2013 0 comments

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. This book almost made to my all time favorite. Almost! You will know why by the end of this review.Elizabeth Gilbert starts off this memoir of hers with her Divorce and a break-up. Kudos to the author for not making it a blame game or look like a peek into the private lives of a couple in disagreement. Just at the time when I start feeling depressed myself with the author's situation, she moves on to do better things, thankfully, like travelling to Italy. She is so good with the written word that she convinces us that travelling to Italy just to learn Italian, simply out of love for the language, is the next logical step for her to take.

The Redeemers

Oct 10, 2013 1 comments

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Redeemers, the story of youngsters who masterminded a movement against corruption is an easy read. It has a tempting back blurb and a plot that is good enough for a blockbuster movie. I would love to see such books on bestsellers list rather than the ones portraying Modern India as so-called 'cool dudes' whose life revolves around partying, girl friends, pre-marital sex, boozing and the like. That said, this book falls short in many areas to be a best seller. Nevertheless, it is worth reading once.

As I had mentioned earlier, the strength of the book is its plot. Also, to think of children/youth as the target to solve corruption is a good strategy. Simple ideas such as this leaves me fascinated but the idea lacks brilliance when put across in words.

Talking about the flip side, first of all the incidents leading G4(the 4 friends are collectively called so, reminds of me of some summit!) to start a movement of such scale are not very impressive. I could not feel any pinch when G4 and their parents meet with the fabricated accident. May be it could have been more elaborate, a little more taxing for the youngsters and their family. Same is the case with the way the movement takes shape. The details are so shallow that it fails to create an impression. G4 admitting to the fact that they are direction-less but are committed to bring a change doesn't convince the reader, leave alone the people they come across.

Another aspect that troubles the reader is the writing. There is repetition of matter, shallow details and poor characterization. And the book cover could have been better!

To sum up, this book is neither a page-turner nor a 'read-few-pages-and-toss-it' kind. All it lacks is a little bit of drama for the kind of subject it handles.

Follow Every Rainbow

Apr 15, 2013 3 comments

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though I have been wanting to read Rashmi Bansal's books for quite sometime, this book made me take the plunge immediately as its of much relevance to me personally, being an inspirational book on Women Entrepreneurs. 
Am at that crossroad in my life currently, where am forced by circumstances to either slow down a bit and solve the more important life's priorities before its too late or dance like a joker trying to balance work and home. I chose the former. Though I have never regretted my decision till date, building a second career, if possible in a varied field of interest than my first career , is always at the back of my mind. 

I loved everything about the book. Firstly, the book title, which is a phrase from a song in 'Sound of Music' and gives enough motivation to pursue something varied and look out for opportunities.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
'Till you find your dream.
A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live

Secondly, the grouping of the entrepreneurs as Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswathi -  the `ghar ki lakshmis` who brought wealth and prosperity to the home by co-opting family members into their business; those who had to fight for survival and rose to the challenge, slaying demons within & without and those  armed with a professional education and are carving out an identity through entrepreneurship respectively. Am not getting into the details of those who are featured and my favorites as each one of the story gives you something or the other to be inspired.

Thirdly, even within the sections (Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi) and across the book, there are entrepreneurs from varied fields. Though my favourite section happens to be Saraswathi which is more relevant to me, I enjoyed reading every other story as each one provides you with valuable insights. In addition, each story ends with an Advice to Entrepreneurs from the featured Entrepreneur. Especially, I feel more confident after observing the fact that many of the featured Entrepreneurs have taken the plunge at a later stage in life post their motherhood and that hard work and perseverance is more important than the age that are mere numbers.

Last but not the least, the Helping hands section on various courses and opportunities that's an eye opener for women who have the motivation but lack direction.

The only complaint I have, which is mentioned by the Author herself as a feedback she gets from many, is that there is liberal use of Hindi throughout the book which I feel doesn't add any value. 

Overall, a great read for those who want to pursue something in life to keep them motivated till they make things work and even for those who are already into the bandwagon.
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The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and other stories

Apr 5, 2013 1 comments

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a first time reader of Sci-fi genre, this collection of short stories was a great start for me - particularly as the stories are set in India. In addition, this seemed to be a wise choice after a failed attempt at reading 'The Hitchhiker's guide to Galaxy'(not that I did not enjoy the book but because I held an omnibus edition and found it overwhelmingly big to read :-( ). All stories with the exception of one(Three tales from Sky river - which I did not understand how it fits in this book) left me in awe at the imagination of the author.

Prince of Ayodhya

Mar 20, 2013 0 comments

Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok K. Banker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though I have grown up hearing stories from Ramayana, I have never attempted to read Ramayana in any form. From that perspective, Ashok K.Banker's retelling is a great start. Although am not sure how much width and depth of the epic AKB's series covers, the narration is captivating, characters are well defined and the writing style is apt for the time period the story is set in. Reading a book with 500+ pages is not an easy task. Not only has the author succeeded in this, but also he has left me looking forward to reading the other volumes as well.

Nevertheless, this book is a good read for anyone wanting to read Ramayana for the first time or otherwise.
A note to self:  Read Ramayana by other author(s) after completing this series and update this review.

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Night Train at Deoli: And Other Stories

Feb 28, 2013 1 comments

Night Train at Deoli: And Other Stories by Ruskin Bond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Collection of 30 Heart warming stories. Crisp narration, vivid descriptions, simple characters - accomplishing all this in a short story tells the reader what a seasoned writer Ruskin Bond is.

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Dollar Bahu

Feb 24, 2013 2 comments
A quick and light read. The book synopsis gives you the story outline and the story flows as expected with no surprises, twists or impressive characterization. The message comes across but it would have been more interesting had there been some depth. With such an ordinary story at hand, the author could have afforded to break the stereotyped characters. I mean why should women, mother in laws in particular, should always be the ones proud about their children being abroad? Why not men, the father in law? How about both of them? Why is the girl brought up against odds(Vinuta) always the 'good' one and the one who is pampered with wealth(Jamuna) or otherwise(Gauramma's daughter) are always 'spoilt'. In short, why are the characters black and white?

And the characters that Gauramma meets in US, everyone has a story that is told in few lines either by themselves or by Chandru. The characters come into the story very quickly one behind the other and leave as quickly as they entered. At the least, am happy that the book did not have a 'they lived happily ever after' end with Vinuta readily accepting her Mother in law. Overall, it makes a good casual read and nothing beyond.
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Random stuff about me

Feb 21, 2013 0 comments

I have read many bloggers posting random stuff about oneself and I enjoy reading such posts. Such posts are mostly tags, since am new to blogosphere and don’t have anyone to tag me :-P I take it upon myself to write this post. Haa haa, I wanted to get into some introspection and if not anything it’s going to be self-indulgence to read this few years down the road. Since the list grew too long, I grouped them for the sake of easy reading.

  • I love reading books and its one habit I am mighty proud of, for not giving up.
  • I can’t really tell what my all-time favourites are. Like fav color, fav food etc. It all depends on the context and mood.
  • I don’t like listening to/narrating movie plots, the kind we all do when in school/college.
  • I wish I had been exposed to (Mind you, just exposed not learnt) Carnatic Music so that I can enjoy the technicalities of music in depth.
  • Am quite ok at doing crafty stuff but everything ends up with a not-so-professional finish. I think this has got to do with lots of motivation but no teacher.
  • I love cooking and watching cookery shows. Inspite of the fact that am a vegetarian, I watch shows cooking non-vegetarian dishes too. I don’t flinch at the sight of meat like some orthodox vegetarians do.
  • I love browsing the internet and am quite good at it. I believe I have an eye for finding the right thing.
  • The most striking feature that I like about myself is my brain :-) Well, you might not be able to see it (pun intended) but am in awe at how it thinks what it thinks, how it arrives to a solution and how it connects the dots.
  • Am highly self-motivated, no matter whatever life deprives me of. At the same time, I lack direction and never seem to know where to start.
  • I don’t rush into friendship or any relationship for that matter. I believe it should grow over the years  naturally and not start with pomp only to be continued with bitterness and grudges.
  • With the exception of first few interactions when I keep my mind open and don’t form opinions, Give and Take is my policy. Be it respect, reciprocation of love/hatred, being in touch, favors. There is no one-for-one, though.
  • The good part is I do, almost everything, with utmost sincerity. And the bad part is I expect it from others too.
  • I hate procrastination. Just do it or better don’t say it.
  • Just because what I do or don't do might not seem right to you, doesn't make me wrong.
  • No, am not rude, insensitive or arrogant. It’s just a reaction. Remember? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
  • When I realize it is beyond someone's capacity to understand something, I give up. The universe will take care of them.
  • I am great at losing touch with people I look up to/like/share interests with and NO, am not at all proud of it.
  • I know nothing or little about the Indian political scenario. I have not come across any politician whom I can look upto. It’s always like a choice between known devil and unknown angel. The least I do is, cast my vote.
  • My face is the index of my mind. It clearly shows, much to my embarrassment, what’s on my mind especially when am in disagreement with something or just don’t give a damn.
  • I prefer peaceful walks and calm dinners to partying or get together with not so familiar people. On the contrary, I love attending weddings inspite of the crowd.
  • I can very well spend time by myself, if I wish to. Actually, I prefer that to uncomfortable company.
  • Am not particularly good at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, firsts etc. Even on occasions I do, I don’t feel the compulsion to wish unless it’s heartfelt or someone who I meet regularly. Mostly, I wish to avoid offending other’s sentiments. I honestly don’t understand the ‘It’s my day, am on top of the world, ALL SMILES’ stuff people exhibit. But hey, that’s MY opinion; I don’t have any personal grudges against people who enjoy special days. But please, don’t force your attitude on me.
  • I don’t have an iota of interest in sports and I don’t intend to do anything about it!
  • When it comes to finances, am very insecure and want enough reserve to meet unexpected circumstances before splurging.
  • Am nearing the end of my twenties and I am not worried/concerned about not having accomplished anything notable so far. I believe 35-45 is the prime in anyone’s life and am sure I will, at the minimum, find what’s my calling by then. Till that time, all I want to do is keep myself motivated and stay positive.
  • I can’t take too much of incessant talking, boasting, gossiping, looking down at others, sticking one’s nose in, saying something and doing JUST the opposite.
  • Talking over and over about the same thing just for the heck of it and not making a point is a strict NO-NO. Radio Jockeys are exceptions but don’t forget to play few songs in between :-P
  • In a sense, I don’t like being questioned in detail about trivial things. When am into something, don’t ask me every detail about how, when, what, why just for the sake of it unless it’s going to be of some use to you.
  • If you are one of the listed kind, please do me a favor by staying away. 'look at my life, its doomed', 'am just waiting for my end', 'anything is ok, i have no interest you know' 
  • Preach ONLY if you follow!

Writing to me is..

Feb 19, 2013 0 comments

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Writing to me is the unspoken word. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do with this blog. What better way than giving it a celebratory start with Blogadda’s WOW :-)

I am not a writer and am not sure if I have a way with words. But I intend to express the beautiful thoughts (so I believe :-)) that cross my mind but never find a stage. There are times when I have wanted to give a fitting response, a snap reply, express my opinion about a social issue or put forth a sensible point but have refrained myself from doing so for many reasons.
The reason could be anything ranging from accepting the individuality of thoughts to trying not to be rude to not having the right platform to simply acknowledging to myself that responding is a damn waste of time. Also, being a person allergic to verbal diarrhoea, I prefer to record these unspoken words as raves or rants or musings, whichever word fits the bill.

I am also a strong believer of the wonders a book can do the creativity of a child. Amidst all the celebrations, chaos and routine of life, am constantly struggling not to give up reading to nurture the undying curiosity of the child within me. And of late, I have discovered that reviewing a book helps me immensely in analysing my own thought process. It helps me in preserving the moments I shared with the book to posterity. So this blog will also record my opinions on the books I read.

Most importantly, Writing takes me into a meditative state of mind streamlining all the rushing thoughts into focused expressions. I want to decongest my mind of negative opinions and be conscious of my own self. I would be happier if my writing triggers a thought or two in the mind of the readers. 

The Secret of the Nagas, Amish Tripathi

Feb 18, 2013 2 comments
My rating for the Immortals of Meluha, the first in the Shiva trilogy was just 2 stars (It was ok). And I never had serious inclination to read the sequel. But there was only one reason for me to pick the book – the plot. And am glad I picked it up. I still couldn’t go beyond giving 3 stars (I liked it) owing to few shortcomings.

There is only ONE idea in this whole trilogy that appeals to me yet it is big enough to overpower my other opinions. The Plot. The idea of portraying Lord Shiva as ‘a simple man whose karma recast him as our Mahadev, The God of Gods’ and giving a fresh perspective to our mythological stories and characters is just BRILLIANT! I should admit, even before this trilogy happened, this perspective has been the most convincing one for me to have faith in Hindu gods, super powers they possessed, the power of our Vedas, Mantras etc. Of course, my imagination is very limited but the thought that there are things beyond my comprehension was and is enough for me.

Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

I picked this book reading the synopsis,'The story of a woman's search for strength and independence'. When I started reading it, I could very well tune myself with akhila and her family, as if they lived in the neighbourhood. The characterisation of akhila's father is a perfect depiction of a common man with a family to feed, unhappy job and hand to mouth monthly wages. He is that common man who struggles to keep his moral values at his job only to be paid back with being mocked at and cornered. he is that man who lives through his unhappy job to earn a living and how his wife makes sure his Sundays are special in her own little way. His sudden demise and how akhila has no choice but to replace him as the head of the family are very convincing. But Why the author leaves a hint of akhila 's father choosing his own end and in what way it helps the story is something am yet to find an answer.
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