February 25, 2017

Every Child Is An Artist

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. – Pablo Picasso

When young, the freedom to explore and think out of the box is more. Like a happy camper we follow our mind, for the fountain of youth flows inside it. We have our strengths, our weaknesses, our talents and our ability to make life more creative and enjoyable. But is it necessary that the abstract thoughts that run through our mind design the canvas of our life?

Everyone has a bee in their bonnet and to realize the dream one cannot keep living in a cloud cuckoo land. Thoughts do play a major role in our lives but actions are more important as they decide which course we want to choose for ourselves. However, the idea that thoughts create our world- cannot be sidelined; it is not hypothetical. Our life is an amalgamation of our positive as well as our negative thoughts. Positive thoughts help us move further with a hope and negative thoughts, although act as a barrier, are equally essential to maintain a healthy (read perfect) mind-balance. A mind that is bound by the strong ropes of beliefs and traditions, cannot aid in blowing away the cobwebs.
But a mind that is open and acceptable to the difference in perception, unlikeable suggestions, impractical notions and vivid imagination, is a mind that has characteristics of adaptability. There is a reason why children are said to have been blessed with an adaptive mind; they learn till they grow into individuals who fail to realize the importance of learning.

But where are we heading to with the continuous pressure and stress? With the level of expectations that we have for our children these days, their creative side is getting overshadowed by our desires. They are bearing the brunt of our expectations. And what is the result you may ask? The result is that they have become mere machines that function without getting anything down to a fine art. It won’t be wrong to say that parents are more like bows and their children like arrows; the way they stretch the string and aim the arrow, the arrows make their way accordingly. But this does not mean that if the parents want their children to become successful individuals, they cannot expect them to work hard in life. 

The approach is what needs to be altered. We are no longer old school people. Times have changed and so have the brains. Instead of forcing the kids to take up a career that might blow up in their face, isn’t it better to let them opt for a vocation they like? After all, an avocation that transforms into a vocation is sure to reap benefits. Moreover, who are we to decide what future has in store for our kids?

February 20, 2017

Book Review: The Mind Game by Devika Das

The Mind Game

Author: Devika Das
Publisher: PepperScript
Rating: 4/5

Confucius has correctly said- Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. It is the greed and the desire to have more that make the humans answer for their deeds. Happiness is not in achieving big things but it can be found in every little thing that happens around you. ‘The Mind Game’ is a sincere attempt by Devika Das to throw light on the delicate and hidden threads that hold the life together. ‘It is all in the mind’- is what plays a pivot role in the book. This is a non-fiction read that offers an insight into the complicated mesh inside our brains; the reasons why it becomes difficult for us to live happily and be contended.

Unlike the other non-fiction books that base the explanations on the real-life experiences, this one comes with lots of theories and philosophy. But the blend of day-to-day situations with logical explanations leads to interesting reading.

‘The Mind Game’ offers different yet enriching content and the authoress has taken care to not write about different aspects in broad strokes only; she has taken a deeper plunge and has successfully reached out to the readers. The book has a personal, emotional, humorous as well as spiritual touch. With a subtle cover and an apt blurb, the title of the book gives an impression of a murder mystery. It is only after one reads the blurb that the theme of the book is revealed. The Illustrations and the quotes are fabulous. The font (style and size) is fine.

Overall, the book has something fruitful to offer and is a light read. Give it a try.

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Review copy: Provided by Urbookmyreview.com

February 14, 2017

Book Review: Thinking with me by Subrata Roy Sahara

Think with Me

Author: Subrata Roy Sahara
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

It is rightly said- “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ‘Thinking with me’ is more like a self-help book that aims to make Indians realize the importance of doing good and being the change they want to see. With a clear and apt blurb, the author targets the colossal problems India is facing in the present time. Even though we are one of the most rapidly progressing nations, the country fails to provide ample opportunities for the citizens.

The author has touched upon some really sensitive issues like election system, education system, religion, media, etc. He has successfully highlighted the points that need our attention (as citizens of India). There is no doubt in the fact that we are changing- be it our mentality, our outlook, our approach to things and in terms of our personality. We are a part of the change but there are certain things that stay with us till we decide to leave them behind. The Indian attitude towards growth and development is such.

“Think with me” is not the usual nonfiction novella. It outlines the flaws in the system, in broad strokes. The title of the book is direct and apt. The cover of the book is subtle and catchy. I would like to compliment the quality offered by Rupa Publication. It is top notch! The author has carefully taken care of the blurb and presented it with utmost precision and care. The font (style, size) is perfect. The layout, content section, division of chapters, and the typesetting is fine.

Coming to the content in the book, the content could have had more details as I wished the author exposes the dark side brutally. For the ones who have a flair for nonfiction books and are open to varied perspectives, this book will definitely be well liked. The author has used lucid and extremely simple language ( a boon for all people, in general, and loss for the ones seeking creative writing). Nevertheless, this book does not leave its readers like a lost ball in high weeds, for it relates to everybody.

All said and done, the book definitely aces the test. Yet another marvelous feat by the author and the concept is worthy of appreciation.
Best wishes!

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Review copy: Provided by Rupa Publishers

February 11, 2017

Book Review: Khan vs Kahn vs Kanh by N. S. Ravi

Khan vs Kahn vs Kanh

Author: N. S. Ravi
Publisher: NotionPress
Rating: 3.5/5

Who doesn’t find interest in the spiced-up lives of the filmstars? There is more to this world of glamour than it seems to the normal people. And with the intention of voicing out those intricate details, ‘Khan vs Kahn vs Kanh serves the purpose. Three superstars, one mogul, and a chaotic encounter- that is what the book has in store for the readers. The plot revolves around three best actors of Bollywood, their accolades, their struggles and their life. All three of them hold the same pedestal- with a similar fan following and a similar approach to public stunts. But then one event changes the course of their lives.

This story is so much relatable as it showcases some of the most eminent controversies of our Bollywood. The author has successfully conveyed the message through the fa├žade. In the beginning the readers might be skeptical about the story, but it doesn’t take long for them to realise that the author has a whole bag of tricks.  

‘In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity’. ‘Khan vs Kahn vs Kanh’ is one such tale about three individuals who are in continuous struggle for fame and identity. In the race of proving their worth, they decide to stride on paths that can change the course of their lives forever. This is intriguing novella with a twisted plot and a good climax. The title is a bit puzzling but sounds perfectly apt once the pages are read. The cover design could definitely have been better; the blank canvas fails to attract the readers. I despised the font type and the formatting (typesetting). Following the standard rules could have been better.

The plot is gripping and the lucid narration acts like a cherry on the cake. The setting of the scenes is relatable and gives the readers ample opportunity to experience every moment. The use of vocabulary is splendid. I somehow felt that some of the chapters could have been pruned easily. Another turn off that I could find was the introduction to so many characters, all at once. The readers might be forced to flip the pages backwards and re- read the introductions. So many characters make the content baffling.

With fine editing and proofreading, this book is a complete package. Overall, this story is strong and emotional. A good read.

Best wishes to the author!

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February 04, 2017

Book Review: The Unpredictable Heart by Moksh

Unpredictable Heart

Author: Moksh
Publisher: Partridge Publications
Rating: 2.5/5

‘Unpredictable Heart’ is a love tale, which revolves around the two main characters- Mrinav and Jiya. The title of the book is fine but the punch line- ‘You may be a victim’ confused me. This line could have been omitted. The cover is not up to par; it is too simple to be interesting. Just when I thought that probably the blurb would offer something interesting, my expectations were crushed. I wonder what is the reason behind including the dialogues from the story as one-liners of the blurb. It is not only baffling but also aimless.
This book, being a product of Partridge, had set high hopes in my mind. But the grammatical mistakes and the weak formation of sentences served as a recipe for disaster. However, I would like to compliment the author’s ability to present this piece of fiction in a language that can be understood by everyone. The organization of content is fine but the lack of twists and turns makes one’s mind wander every now and then. The two lead characters fail to complement each other.

Mrinav is apparently an introvert who likes to crack jokes and drools after every girl who comes in his life (quite contradictory to being an introvert, right?) Opposite to him is Jiya, who is smart yet sentimental. Their story surely leaves a lump in the throat but the climax was too filmy to be called as a cliffhanger. The narration is finely tuned and paced.

The plot is gripping but the major drawback lies in the extended content about the conversation where the protagonists try to express their feelings towards each other. Here, to be clearer, I would prefer quoting Doris Orens- ‘Not everything that you want to say, needs to be said.’ It is high time that the authors realize that penning down each and every minute detail that is either inspired or adapted from a personal experience, makes the story boring and can result in turning the odds against you. The book is more like a conversation and the story gets lost somewhere there. This book, no doubt, is a quick read and the reason for this is the presence of numerous dialogues.

The plot lacks originality. It is very much predictable and might be liked by the ones who prefer mushy love tales/ college romance. For the ones who are looking for something deep and meaningful, this book might or might not serve the interest.

Another point that I would like to highlight is the abrupt ending of the book. The book lacks proper editing and proofreading as one can encounter punctuation errors and the wrong formation of sentences- time and again. There is frequent use of Hindi words rather Hindi dialogues, which might act as a turn off for the ones who prefer reading rich literature.

There is a difference between how commas and periods are used (inside or outside quotation marks). In American English, they are generally used inside the quotation marks while in British English, they are generally used outside the quotation marks. This aspect has been completely ignored in this book. I hope it gets rectified in the second print of the book.

Best wishes!

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February 03, 2017

In Conversation With Harish Penumarthi

So yet again I am back with another interview. This is in commemoration of 54000 views of Lavender Orchids. Cheers! Keep supporting and keep viewing my page.

Hi Harish,
I just finished reading your book and here I am asking you the most common question:

1.   Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in Chhattisgarh and brought up in Jamshedpur. I stayed there for quite some time. I’ve spent most of my school life there, after which I moved to Visakhapatnam. I completed my schooling from the same place and then completed my higher studies there. My Father works in Jamshedpur and my mother is a housewife. I was not someone easy to deal with as a child and my parents had a tough time raising me up.

 2.   What were you like at school?
I was one of the back benchers. I hated studying and loved playing. I was an expert at lying and used to fool my teachers quite often regarding my incomplete homework. I was mostly the first pick for a teacher to ask a question and was often punished for not giving the relevant answer. I was too shy as a kid and had very few friends. This continued for a long time.

3.   What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to write stories that have an impact on the reader’s mind. It can be in any way. Like for instance, my debut book is about school life. Those were unarguably the best days of our lives. But life has become too busy to reminisce those days. I want to make sure that the readers recollect or relate to some situations from those good old days. I don’t know if I have been able to do that or not, but I will make sure that whatever I write in future gives the readers something to relate to from their personal lives.

4.   Which writers inspire you?
My favourite is Durjoy Datta. I like the way he narrates and most of his stories feel realistic to me.

5.   Give us an insight into your main character (referring to ‘Raghav of Blemishing the Odds’). What does he do that is so special?
Raghav is a mess. He does all that he shouldn’t be doing as an ideal child. He forays into wrongdoings. That is what I believe humans do. They do not give it a second thought and indulge in things which allure them, no matter how wrong they are. For someone like Raghav, who is losing the sense of right direction, to realize it and mend things in a proper way (at that tender age) is something that eventually matters.

6.   What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on the next manuscript.

7.   What’s it about? (*if relevant)
It is going to be a sequel to the first book.

8.   What genre are your books?
My first book is a Romance-Drama.

9.   What draws you to this genre?
There is something about this genre that mesmerizes me. I believe that a romance drama can be relatable for anyone who reads it. It may not have a striking resemblance to every reader’s life but it does draw a parallel at one point.

10. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Wow, I never went that far. I think Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. They are my favourite.

11.  How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I still have a very long way to go. Reading other books only broadens the horizons for me. I read a book and just can’t help appreciating the author for their work. Everyone around us is quintessential in his/her own way. Seeing them, I always feel that I need to work harder.

12.  What is the hardest thing about writing?
I find it very difficult to choose an apt title for my stories. I generally come up with foolish names.

13. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Initially, I do it to the best of my ability. Someone else does it for me later.

14. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can visit my page on Facebook by clicking on the link - Facebook

They can also buy the book by clicking on the following link -  Amazon

It was indeed a pleasure knowing you, Harish. I am sure you will achieve all your dreams. Keep working hard and keep writing. Best wishes!

**For getting interviewed, please drop an email at ejblog12@gmail.com for more details.