August 26, 2017

Book Review: Chronux by Sagar Kamath

Author: Sagar Kamath
Publisher: Become Shakespeare
Rating: 3/5

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
~Marcus Aurelius

The quest to obtain power and become immortal has been a part of many mythological and fictional stories. Without such a theme, the stories would fail to match the standards. ‘Chronux’ is based on a similar concept where the hunger for power rules the major part of the story.

The story traces the journey of ‘Time’, a concept or reality, we don’t know.  All that we know is that it is not only powerful but also unconquerable. When the small village of Aruhu, situated in the valley of Himalayas, witnesses the great transformation owing to the teaching and preaching of a stranger with a gem/ Chronux, it basks in the glory of happiness. It is only when the stranger disappears suddenly, leaving behind the ‘Chronux’, they smell something fishy. The episodes change and the Nazi’s attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is what catches our eye. The author doesn’t fail to remind us what is constant all throughout, is time. It has been there all the ‘time’.

Through the pages of the book, the secrets are revealed and the long-lost knowledge redolent of history is refreshed.

With a dark, gloomy but powerful cover, this book presents intense imagery and thought-provoking title. The blurb is puzzling as the plotline is quite different from what the blurb makes the readers expect. The title of the book is perfect- suiting the theme in all respect.

The organization is fine but somehow the inclusion of various timelines failed to leave a lasting impact on me. The ancillary details about a particular scene/ place and a character acted as a turn-off. The author could have played intelligently with the minds of the readers by cutting down the descriptives and instead including the dialogues, but that is amiss. What greets one’s eye is extended monologue and a series of exclamations! The inter-connection between most timelines is missing and the reader might be left wondering.

The font of the text doesn’t match with the standard ‘Book Antiqua’. The blurb has a grammatical glitch. There is no doubt in the fact that extensive research has been done by the author and kudos to his experience that he could blend all the information so well. But I felt that the redundancy of the content could have been cut down and the thickness of the book could have been worked upon.

The major drawback is editing. Most of the paragraphs (I really mean it) end with an exclamation mark even though there is nothing to express in the last line.

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August 25, 2017

Book Review: Urban Ayurveda by Tanya Malhotra

Urban Ayurveda

Author: Tanya Malhotra
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

“Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger.”
~ Mehmet Oz

‘Urban Ayurveda’ can be used to batten down the hatches, for it makes you aware of the science of Ayurveda. This is a self-help book that aims at making the readers aware of their bodies and applying Ayurveda to cure the ailments. But wait, it is not the medicines we are talking about here! It is the age-old traditions that will be revised through the book. It not only teaches us to change, rather modify, our lifestyle but also introduces us to several practices that can help us live healthy and hearty.

Read more at IWW.

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Book Courtesy: Rupa Publishers

Book Review: VISHNU by Subhadra Sen Gupta

Author: Subhadra Sen Gupta
Genre: Children’s book
Publishers: Rupa Publishers

When we were kids, our parents and grandparents narrated several stories of strength, wit and values. One of the most prominent character during that time was Vishnu. Yes, Lord Vishnu was, and still is, believed to be the wittiest, bravest and the most generous of all Gods. This book is a compilation of three of the most famous stories: how Lord Vishnu fought the asura Bhasmasura, how he prevented the Amrit from falling into the hands of the asuras and how he took three giant steps to help the Devas fight King Bali (asura).

Area A: Text
The text has been organized in simple sentences. Not only can the children understand the language but also enjoy the pictorial representation of the scenes. Each story is related to the other and hence, it will probe their curious mind to read carefully. The only flaw in the book is editing. Time and again grammatical errors can be spotted. Since this is a children’s book, careful editing is a mandate.

Area B: Illustrations
The cover of the book neatly presents the main agenda of the plot. A warm and pleasant picture of Lord Vishnu and the somber colours greet the eye with utmost pleasure. Kudos to Tapas Guha for making the book very interactive through the pictures.

Area C: Characterization
The main character of the story is Lord Vishnu and the most dominant trait that can be identified is his wit and generosity. The author of the book has brought in the positivity of the character, which will, in turn, help in shaping up the minds of the young readers.

Overall, an interesting book for the children!

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Book Courtesy: Rupa Publishers

August 24, 2017

Indiblogger Bangalore meet 2017: Curtain raiser- Valley of Words

“Life is all about having a good time.”
― Miley Cyrus

The BNLF fever is at its peak and the Indiblogger community is going bonkers over the biggest blogger’s meet, which is scheduled for November. Last Sunday (20.08.2017), Bangalore bloggers got a chance to experience and be a part of the interactive session organized by Indi Blogger at Hilton Bangalore Embassy Golflinks. The event/ meet was organized in collaboration with StoryMirror and Valley of Words.

Our host for the evening was Mr. Anoop, who knew it pretty well how to grab the attention of the audience. The program began with a quick round of Musical chairs (well, not exactly), followed by 60 seconds of fame. Many bloggers and published authors introduced themselves. It was an enriching session; it was, indeed, a good chance to get to know people.

The second session was taken over by Mr. Bibhu, founder of StoryMirror, who shared with us the inception of the concept of StoryMirror. He even discussed his book ‘Wheels of Wish’. This was followed by book launch by the published authors of StoryMirror- Ms. Ganga Bharani, Mr. Sulaiman, and Ms. Kavipriya.

The third session was a talk-session by the authors who shared their experience working with StoryMirror. Indiblogger was generous enough to call upon all the published Indi bloggers on stage and acknowledge them. Immediately after this, we were asked to break for high Tea.
The second session of the workshop included book launch of Hindi translation of ‘Songs of the Mist by Shashi’ and the curtain raiser for ‘Valley of Words’. Mr. Shashi discussed the plot, the time and the little tricks that he employed to write the amazing story.

Next agenda for the day was to reveal the concept of ‘Valley of Words’. Mr. Sanjeev Chopra was the speaker for the day. He revealed the schedule and the guests for Valley of Words. This was followed by an interactive session with Mr. Pankaj Dubey, who has authored ‘What a loser!’ and ‘Ishqyapa’.

Overall, this meet was an enriching experience for all of us. Not only did we get a chance to meet new people but also got the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our blog. The meet concluded with a Mexican song and an amazing group photograph.

Eagerly waiting for the next meet in Bangalore, I sign off.

August 16, 2017


Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK is a slap in the face of Bollywood’s na├»ve film-making. There is no doubt that practically everyone looks forward to Nolan movies as they evoke intense emotions and beat one’s brains out. You cannot classify these movies as Chinese Arithmetic because they have a logic behind the sequence of events. His movies are mostly about time- how time works in dreams, in space, and in memories. And yet again Christopher Nolan strikes the right chord by presenting Dunkirk as a race against time.

Read complete article in Woman's Era (September II issue, 2017).

August 08, 2017

Book Review: Behold, I Shine by Freny Manecksha

Behold, I Shine
Author: Freny Manecksha
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 4/5

Appearances are mostly deceptive and Kashmir is not an exception. The Green Valley of dreams, that was once as peaceful as sleep, is now a hub of violence and deaths. Amidst political altercations and physical rampage, the lives of the Kashmiri women have been affected badly. There are so many cases of violence, sexual harassment, and rapes against the daughters of Eve. The number of half-widows has risen in recent times. Amidst all this, the forgotten struggles of these women never come into the light.  

Read more here

August 05, 2017

Book Review: From Ruskin Bond's Treasure Trove...

The Wise Parrot & The Elephant and the Cassowary
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Rupa Publishers

Writing is all about imagination and not merely about words. How beautifully one crafts the characters in a story and how intelligently the characters are assigned roles, determines the level of impact the story will leave on the readers. ‘Ruskin Bond’ is a famous name; the children love his stories. In fact adults too, like reading what he writes, for they can always find a chance to learn something new.

‘The Wise Parrot’ and ‘The Elephant and the Cassowary’ are the new releases by Rupa that retell the folklore in an attempt to recreate the magic. Who doesn’t love the tales from the past? And thus, the books don’t fail to leave an indelible impact on the readers.

The Wise Parrot: This book is a collection of 20 short stories that all of us would have heard at bedtime from our parents or grandparents. The most famous of them all is ‘The Wise Parrot’ in which a parrot brings the gift of immortality to the king but suffers at his hands. Some of the other famous stories include The Crane and the Crab, Sindbad the Sailor, Blue Beard, The Clicking Toad and Seven Brides for Seven Princes.

All the stories have the same characters and the plotline. Ruskin Bond’s narratives make them more appealing and it will give immense pleasure to the readers to read from the treasure trove and relive their childhood.

The Elephant and the Cassowary: This story book explores all about the animals in the wild as well as at home. It offers an amalgamation of ideas and the result is an interesting plot. The main story revolves around two animals that are mismatched and their journey of getting the better of one another. Some of the other stories include: The Pale One, Hunting with a Camera, The Eye of the Eagle and Toomai of the Elephants.

The book has been compiled and edited by Ruskin Bond is a good read. The language is simple to understand and the narration does not become monotonous at any point in time. The books are worth your time if getting lost in the world of animals and taking out time from your busy schedule to relive the childhood is your cup of tea.

Buy these books from:
Amazon (The Wise Parrot)
Amazon (The Elephant and the Cassowary)

August 04, 2017

In Conversation with Kaushal Suvarna...

With the success of his second poetry collection, Kaushal has set a benchmark for all the budding poets. 'Siamese Compassion' strikes the right chord in the right place through the spunky and sharp-tongued verses. Kaushal not only contrasts both sides of the coin but also expresses his emotions through simple yet profound words. His ideas and strong opinions can be easily understood and the satire in the free verses act as a cherry on the cake.

Here is a sneak-peak of the conversation I had with him…

Tell us a little about yourself, perhaps something not many people know.
Well, I'm quite introverted, so most people know hardly anything at all about me. But here's a little secret, I'm quite stoic in my demeanor, so most people assume I'm really calm or a jerk, but of course life's more complicated than that.

I don't really subscribe to a personality; it's like what J Krishnamurti said: "We are fragmented human beings".
Or perhaps I'm just a budding schizophrenic!

Music or silence: what do you prefer and why?
I like music, but don't have to listen to it every breathing moment, as it is with some. I'll take silence most days, as it is there's quite less of it.

But there's silence internally as well, which most people seek, and one can achieve despite the daily clamor. I think silence, like music, like any other thing, is a tool and don't really hanker after either or anything else, for that matter.

Have you written any other book (s) that have not been published?
Siamese Compassion is my second book of poems, after A Trans-Arabian Handshake.

There's another book of poems I plan next year, it's halfway there, n mostly will be called Crowd-funded Poetry. It will see me return to two of my old favorites, love and lyric poetry - Siamese Compassion, though very close to me, is mostly free verse which I don't enjoy as much.

Then there's a novel/episodic short story book I really want to write, tentatively named Survival Strategies, and its first act is done.
But I will only publish it when I feel I have a sizeable audience that's ready to listen to it. Earlier books are just primers leading up to this.

What do you think about eBook revolution?
It's a good idea that needs to catch up more. It's very difficult for some readers to get over the feeling of having a "real book" in their hand. Then there's the pros n cons of environmental issues and the investment in an e-reader that people need to be convinced about.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I really haven't written those kinds of stories to comment, but drawing an analogy with poems, yes more often than not you don't know what you are going to write about.

Even when you start out with a basic idea of what a particular poem or book needs to be about, as e.g. with Siamese Compassion I knew what message I had to send out, but each individual poem, as a character by itself, and even within the poem each idea and image seems to have a life of its own and can lead you, writer, as well as reader, to places you never imagined or dared to go.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
As I mostly keep to myself I don't generally get pulled into pranks, but there are some really funny incidents I was witness to; here's one.

I was practicing with my college Chess team when an ex-student, who was then number one in the Bombay Chess circuit, dropped by and started playing with our 2nd Board. In the presence of greatness, I was trying not to gush and, in between stealing glances of his game, to concentrate on my own match.

And then this bloke offers a piece sacrifice to my teammate and goes "le lo bhai chivdaa le lo" in a typical Gujju tone.
LOL, I've never heard that song since or before; I laughed till my belly hurt.

What is your favourite part of the book?
Some people will like the second section, The Pledge because it's very raw and I've "said it as we see it". Some will like The Turn because it really makes you introspect. My deepest ruminations can be found in the aptly named last section, The Prestige.

But the book is one whole and should be understood as such; so, my favourite part was to arrange the book in these sections, with the cheekily named prologue, The Playbill, serving as a portent of things to come :)

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do?
I've been working in IT for over a decade. Prior to that, I worked as a Maths Course Designer for a major MBA coaching institute. And prior to that, I'd been teaching Maths and English to school, and later college, students, believe it or not, since I was in 8th grade, which is also when I started poetry.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
People often criticize my writing for being too intellectual or having difficult words, but I think that's more self-criticism than on me, isn't it?

But the one good, and at that time tough for me to understand, a piece of advice I got was to choose from according to content. I often wrote in the abcb rhyme and only then began to explore other rhyme, stanza, and rhythm patterns.

Which Publisher would you recommend to the new authors?
Honestly not an expert here as I'm still trying to find one myself.

But for starters, of course, CreateSpace/Amazon will not just get you out there but also globally. Of course, you will still need to do all the hard work of promoting yourself and the paperback prices are on the higher side, but you can rest easy that your friends will find your book, wherever they be on the world map.

Book Review: Fragrance of Rose by Chitrajit Paul

The Fragrance of Rose
Author: Chitrajit Paul
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Rating: 3/5

“Some people aren’t loyal to you…they are loyal to their need of you. Once their needs change, so does their loyalty.”

Love is a mysterious emotion as it is ever evolving. But lust is transient. The thin line that distinguishes love from lust is indiscernible. ‘The Fragrance of Rose’ is about the turbulence faced by the protagonist in deciding between love, lust, and career. The plot of the story begins with the yearning to do better in life and later transforms into a war to salvage dignity.

Read more here

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