Thursday, August 28, 2014

On Women: Selected Writings by Khushwant Singh

Title:  On Women: Selected Writings
Author:  Khushwant Singh
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Date:  2014
Price: Rs.195
Pages: 144

Snapshot:  This is a collection of stories about women written by Khsuhwant Singh. These are popular characters from his books or real life people like Indira Gandhi, Phoolan Devi, Begum Para that he has written about.

The Review: This is a collection of stories to portray the "Women" within the pages of fiction as well as on the screen of Khushwant Singhs life.  Right from his personal journey to the very spot where Phoolan Devi shot thirty Thakur's , to being the first journalist covering internationally "Mother Teressa" and a short glimpse of his beloved characters like Nooran from Train to Pakistan come to life in this book.

The editing has been so perfectly done that you never felt the fiction characters cut out from a bigger picture. The stories individually are complete in themselves. On the other hand his personal encounters with Shraddha Mata, the tantric who was alleged to carry Pt. Nehru's illegitimate child, to his on the face difference of opinion with Indira Gandhi were more appealing to me.

The book also had two chapters on women of his family, his grandmother and his love affair to current life with his wife. All in all this 144 pages are like a booster shot to knowing the author we have cherished since always, Khushwant Singh. Recommended for people who have read his works and those who wish to begin, as his writing is something that can make the most normal story a tale to tell.



About the Author

Born in Punjabs Hadali village (Now in Pakistan) in 1915, Khushwant singh is one of Indias best known and most widely read authors and columnists. He was founder-editor of Yojana and editor of the illustrated weekly of India, national herald and the Hindustan times. His first book, the mark of Vishnu and other stories, was published in 1950 and he has published several acclaimed and best-selling books of fiction and non-fiction in the six decades since. Among these are the novels train to Pakistan, I shall not hear the nightingale, Delhi and the company of women, his autobiography, truth, love and a little malice, the two-volume a history of the Sikhs, a collection of prayers and precepts, the free thinkers prayer book and the forthcoming consolations and lamentations. He has also translated the work of major Punjabi and Urdu poets and writers, as well as the Japji and the Rehras - the morning and evening prayers of the Sikhs.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Make Your Home With makemyhome.com

Our country India has been a land of stories. We grew up with stories about animals, gods, goddesses, etc. from our grandmothers. We had to be told about the fictional character "Gabbar" to make us fall asleep. So as we grew up we searched for the same and thankfully there were comic books and cartoon shows to cater one new story each day. The best part is these stories have stayed with us through the test of times. Even today Panchatantra remains my favourite as it involved nature and inspired me to be good. 

However the best event in my life was my baby brother after 8 years of a lonely childhood. He not only filled my world with is sweet cries and innocent demands but the best part is because of him the child in me is alive. He has been my sole and constant companion to fight for the remote when my parents wanted to watch the boring Kseries and we even today watch only cartoon or fiction on tv. Mom hates having us at home free. He introduced me to all the super hero's, Harry Potter and we also continued watching the oldest and the best Tom and Jerry. Today all my geekiness is because of him.

Well I am sure all of us reading the post, young or old has a child within them who loves cartoons and wants to be a Super Hero. In India we I have still found it difficult to get themed home decor. Not anymore. With this new portal called MakeMyHome.com, which is surprisingly different and has variety of options, even rare beautiful theme based decor that one had always wanted for their homes. This is the advantage of niche portals and this one seems to be the best one with the advantage of shopping online, all that you wanted, sorted for you to select.

                                 Decorate your home with a click of a mouse with MakeMyHome.com

      

         It has been my dream to decorate my brothers room into a little comic book - cartoon fantasy world.
Spiderman..Spiderman Does whatever a spider can....may little bro's awesome bedroom


And on the wall we will have another of his favourite characters- A Chota Bheem Wall Clock- grabbing it from this link  http://www.makemyhome.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/Z/E/ZEE295.jpg
And to add to the perfect room would be everyones and his too all my favourite Tom and Jerry Curtains which I grabbed from here: http://www.makemyhome.com/kids/furnishings/portico-tom-jerry-door-curtain-9740231.html


And that shall be my gift to my lovely little brother. I to would love to hangout more in his room then :P and he wouldn't mind. 

In those times when the world is cruel,
when it demands certain wickedness,
I shall preserve my innocence,
as I can be a child again;
all I need is the company of not the worldly wise,
but those characters that make everyone smile.

                 Kids section at MakeMyHome.com

I choose all of the above from the well sorted Kids section. As you can see the site is organized so has to help you go right to the section you wish and choose without being lost and trying to find each thing seperately.

This post is a part of http://www.makemyhome.com" target="_blank">Makemyhome
activity at http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">BlogAdda.com</a&gt

The Helpline by Uday Mane

Title: The Helpline                     
Author: Uday Mane
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing (Frog Books)
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 145
Pages: 250

Snapshot:  This is a fiction story of a 21 year old Samir who is depressed with his life because of a tragedy he cannot get over and has suicidal tendencies. It revolves around the state of mind of such an individual, his change of personality, the role of people and hobbies in helping them and one's journey into living it, -fighting it.

The Review:  Nobody wants to die, and suicide is never a first shot attempt. One never commits it the moment one thinks about it. I know this from personal experience. However, I don't deny that there can be a phase in ones life where the situation gets so much out of control that one believes that life isn't worth living. Suicidal tendency therefore isn't a crime and in my opinion nor is taking ones life, one has all the right to stop breathing and existing when one wants.

What mostly stops one could be three things and mostly is a little of all of this, as is with Samir. The fact that you might not die but be save d and in a much worse physical state, like paralysed. Or the state of loved ones, people who truly cared for you once you died, after you are gone, these thoughts do keep one alive. The last one being, a faint hope that you will overcome this situation, the will to fight that last one battle, for our species is designed to survive.

The beauty lies in the author's writing and planning more than the story. The way he describes Samir's state of mind truly makes one feel his pain, the unravelling of his story slowly and keeping the reader guessing and turning pages to reach its core, a little spice of short stories to develop Samir characters as a writer, the purity of emotions are the pillar the book stands on.

On the other hand the plot does become a little loose at one point, and one tends to loose the grip of the characters. There are also parts where the editing could have been tighter. Towards the end the writing looses its initial charm.

As a story it has many messages, it portrays the importance of friendship, relationships and life in the context of these. The message that there is someone looking out for you strikes the chord with the reader.

Overall
Positives:  A normal story made impact with a beautiful writing style, one which a seasoned reader would appreciate over a good story. The story emphatically brings our each relationship and the message it aims to deliver.

Negatives: Spelling errors, poor editing at some places and the story could have been an excellent one with a little improvement. 

The Verdict:  The debut author Uday Mane deserves a read for choosing to write on an unconventional topic and doing complete justice to the subject matter. His story telling style would only improve as he grows, he is one author to watch out for.

About Uday Mane
Uday Mane is an Indian writer and social media enthusiast. An avid reader, he loves to collect classic books and enjoys tweeting about various aspects of life.


"Proceedings of Rs. 5 per book will be used for child welfare through The Rotary Foundation"




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Deliberate Sinner by Bhaavna Arora

Title: The Deliberate Sinner                          
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 120
Pages: 148


Snapshot: Is there an acid test to gauge the success of a relationship?

Is it right to carry on in an unhealthy relationship with no conjugal bliss, or look for an alternate path?

Rihana is an adventurous and free-spirited girl, until she marries Veer, an eligible bachelor who comes from a wealthy family. While they appear 'happily married', their strong personalities are at odds. Veer, for the most part, is insensitive to Rihanna's physical and emotional needs, straining the relationship and leaving her feeling incomplete.

Caught between the devil and the deep sea, Rihana has to now decide whether to walk out of her marriage and be a victim of society's ridicule, or compromise on her physical needs, which for her are the foundation for a healthy marital bond.
Can they work out their differences? Will Veer give her what she desires, or push her to do something desperate and scandalous?


Review: The cover picture and title of the book- ‘The Deliberate Sinner’ is fascinating enough to turn your head and lure your attention to pick it up. And if you do, then the blurb will definitely cloud your mind with thoughts and questions mentioned in there like “Is there an acid test to gauge the success of a relationship?”
Rihana, the protagonist is a beautiful, vivacious and pampered daughter of a rich businessman. She lives life on her own terms and visits Thailand on a leisure trip where she meets Veer, who happens to be a friend of her good friend Raj. Once back, Veer tries to flatter and woo Rihana with a marriage proposal and she says a ‘yes.’ In jiffy and fanfare, both the families meet, agree and delightfully roll out the engagement party. Rihana could not get quality time to know more about Veer but abides by everyone’s wishes accepting it to be hers. In due time, she finds Veer’s attitude, behaviour and habits pretty strange and this sprouts a difference in their relationship leaving her to sulk. It was then, Raj comes comforting Rihana and in the spurt of a weak moment, she ends up sleeping with him. Confused and undecided about Veer, she decides to run away with Raj. Sadly, Raj turns down her idea.

Finally, Rihana and Veer marry. Soon, the couple face marital discord creating endless troubles and discomfort of physical and emotional needs. However, Rihana’s mother and aunt and also her only friend Shipra constantly help her to get over the hurdles. Some days of peace and bliss do stand in their relationship but then Veer’s infidelity crops up and Rihana decides to make this as the last straw of their so-called marriage that has shadows of Veer’s alcoholism, bad habits and domestic violence. Nonetheless, Rihana could not get any relief and time and again was forced by her mother, ailing father-in-law and Veer himself for another chance. For the freedom she wanted so peacefully, ultimately made her to enact a deliberate sin declaring her a sinner.
 Needless to say, we live in a male dominated society where there is a certain kind of veil or a strangling for a female when it comes to talking about happiness, be it physical or emotional from a marriage or a relationship.
The author Bhaavna Arora has crafted a smart story line highlighting pivotal issues in a very subtle yet apparent way. However, I hold some unsettled qualms. I support Rihana’s decision to walk out of the marriage and not give Raj another chance but I fail to understand the need to introduce Avinash into her act and become a deliberate sinner. I believe the character of Rihana was pretty intelligent and headstrong to simply walk out of her marriage or just bring about her passionate one night stand with Raj in picture. Wasn't that enough to highlight what she wanted to tell Veer- the infidelity, the feeling of betrayal? Secondly, when everybody seems to hold a hot spot for Rihana, why was Veer so ignorant and indifferent towards her?

The writing is simple sprinkled with wry of humor. The book is fast paced and the author has etched the intimate scenes aptly. Nevertheless, I appreciate the author for writing a book that specifically distend the topic about feminine needs and the hardships faced in a marriage versus the societal views and indecent norms.

Positives: The book audaciously underlines issues like infidelity, marital rape and an unhealthy marriage with no conjugal bliss.

Negatives: The author has drawn her protagonist Rihana as an attractive, bright and independent girl. However, during the course of my read, I felt the same woman going extremely weak, hasty and disappointing.

Verdict:  Dilemmas and desires is what seemed to be the plot of ‘The Deliberate Sinner. I will go with 2.75/5 for the book.

About the Authors: Dr. Bhaavna Arora is a new-generation writer who is an avid learner from life. She is a young enthusiast who has two MBA degrees and a Doctorate from Pittsford University in Leadership to her credit.


A philanthropist at heart, she has been sponsoring an underprivileged boy's education. She also works closely with an institute for special children.

Write to her at writer@bhaavna.com


Grab a copy of the book: http://www.flipkart.com/deliberate-sinner-english/p/itmdwuhbygpnug9x?pid=9789382665205&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=the+deliberate+sinner&ref=0e13775a-a049-41a6-92ae-f9c4b5377d80

This book has been reviewed by Shaily Bhargava who is an avid reader, freelance writer, amateur photographer and a trait curious soul addicted to tea and coffee. Some of her short stories are published in online literary magazines of repute.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book Launch: Sitas Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu

It was an evening like many, a humid Delhi climate with everyone just waiting for the rains, when it did, metaphorically as we witnessed womanhood come alive on 24th July 2014 with the launch of Sita's Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, Published by Hachette India.

                                           Shiro- the perfect place for celebrating Meerahood

The Venue was Shiro, Samrat Hotel, New delhi. There couldn't have been a better one for it truly matched the colour of the book, the inviting combination of black and red, with its decor aesthetically matching the books soul. It was a challenge to give this book a place it belonged, a place where Meera's story would be unravelled, a place where womanhood would be discussed in depth without hindrance and the organizers Leher Sethi and Ratan Kaul gave it the best one. As the crowd started, meeting, greeting and enjoying the smooth, subtle Sula Wines, the atmosphere grew charged. 

           Starting from left Mabanoo Mody Kotwal, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu and Apsara Reddy

The stage was set ablaze by the women who are exemplary, bold and beautiful with Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, the author, the creator of Meera. Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, a theatre actress and owner of a production company called Poor Box Productions. She has produced/directed/acted in Shirley Valentine, Art, Once I Was Young...Now I'm Wonderful!, (W)hole in the Head, Two Hot to Handle, The Vagina Monologues, amongst others. She brought to India in 2003, The Vagina Monologues  written by Eve Ansler which helped to raise lakhs of rupees for two shelters for battered and abused women situated in the slums of Mumbai. The Other guest was Apsara Reddy, India's first trans-gender woman to head a leading media daily.  Last but not the least the critically acclaimed actor Adil Hussain also adorned the stage.





                                  Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal reads from Sita's Curse.

After reading a few excerpts from the book, womanhood was discussed by the celebrities on the dais and we had some interesting Q &A's from the audience. Though my question wasn't answered to my satisfaction however may be it was a difficult one to explain, or the one which has no answers but a bitter truth which we do not wish to accept. The question was "Can we ever talk, portray a realistic story of a woman's desire without the curse? Can that be a reality?". I welcome the readers comments and elaborate discussions on this, just one thing give it a deep thought before your write.
                         Adil Hussain and Sreemoyee Piu Kundu Read from Sita's Curse 

The book signing then followed and thus Meera entered the hearts of Delhi-ites catering to the fantasies of men and women alike.  Want to know what the book is about, read a detailed review here:  http://www.thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/2014/07/sitas-curse-by-sreemoyee-piu-kundu.html.

















Saturday, July 26, 2014

Planning A Travel Now Is Faster Cheaper and Easier With Sky Scanner

I am sure all of you have encountered one problem while planning an air travel, the moment you look for multiple options or you google the destination many times, the price rises. Its most irritating when that happens just when you finalise your travel, are about to make a payment and whoosh on your screen you have a message reading all those hours spent thinking and comparing prices to get the best deal were nothing but a wait, you just got robbed. Well now you just won't have to face it again as SkyScanner is here. True to its name it gives you the best options for travel. Best deals across multiple e-commerce portals, across airlines. Check it out here: http://www.skyscanner.co.in/

                                               The Sky Scanner main page....all you need is here!
As you can see the home page, you can book flights, hotels, buses and cars all in one place that is SkyScanner. Also right below the booking options you can see they have solutions from multiple e-commerce sites like MakeMyTrip, Yatra.com etc. On the left hand side you see the current offers running on the portal.

My destination is the beautiful an exotic country of Kangaroo...Australia. As you can see in the image above all I did was enter my travel destinations and the departure date, the search engine returned with hundreds of available options listed from lowest price onwards. It also showed me the costs of a non stop flight for comparison.


now I decided to go to perth first and meet my grandmom who lives there, so I chose Thai Airways, the most economical option with one stop worth INR 28,388.

Automatically I was conveniently directed to the next page where the flights were sorted according to the departure airport from India.

      Do you see the problem too? The only flight from delhi to perth is malaysia Airlines and I am scared.

so I have decided to go via Bengaluru instead, now once I choose that option then you see the read fun of SkyScanner:

Now as you can see highlighted in red are the options you get along with the cheapest pricing that comes out in green boldly. You can choose to go safe via an e-commerce portal of your choice or if you are a student like me choose the cheapest and best option. So no multiple window opening and searching per site the air fares and manually comparing it, SkyScanner does that for you. I am really having a sigh of relief , finally! somebody thought of this.

On the left you have pricing and airline options, its great to travel by the airlines you trust. So in essence you don't have to search for anything more, all that you need is well sorted right before your eyes which sames time and money both.

If at any point you wish to go to the site you have been using you scroll down this page and go to the direct links:

This being my first trip to australia, I shall rather go for a pre- booked cab. No i donot have to log on any where else, its all here, take a look:

After meeting Grandma and staying with her for a week, I plan to travel Australia. I can do all my bookings right here ia their cab service. As you can see you can also choose Return car at a different location option below your destination so I can easily do all my travel bookings right here, Isn't that cool and convenient?

Also for Sydney and Melbourne which is on my travel list I can find the hotels, right a click on the neighbouring button, isnt that called the Jet age travel?



As you can see here, the hotels are classified in multiple ways by price or distance from centre etc. You have reviews of about 100 people minimum for each option and the price you see on screen isn't much for an average hotel. since we still have 70, 000 INR more to spend will budget it between good hotels and best modes of travels. That's my trip planned and booked for destination Australia.

I am thankful to BlogAdda to introduce me to SkyScanner, Air travel bookings will no longer be a headache. I can plan my international trips right from here hassle free and once I am there I can relish the time enjoying the company of my Grandmother and the beautiful Australia rather than breaking my head over next days bookings.

This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com

Black Is Beautiful.....more so in India

Black is beautiful, because its black that makes us appreciate the white. Black is one dark colour that makes a perfect background for brighter things, like the night sky against which the stars twinkle. Black is the colour that absorbs all light, a symbolic of absorbing all evil. Black is used to absorb all unwanted radiation (well the scientist in me is of course not going to miss that). we all originated from an African woman, therefore black symbolizes our very origin.


        Top on my Wishlist (sadly only a wish): The Black Taj: what would have been the most beautiful sight, the greatest wonder of the world. (this picture is an artists imagination of the same).

Black is the favourite colour of all girls as black dress makes us look slim, a thin line of "black kajal" will make your eyes shine, a pair of black shoes that is our saviour as it matches every dress, that black safety pin which holds my hair and goes with everything I wear.

Disclaimer!!! Here are the top 5 of all black things I love (though these are things and had they allowed us to include men...it will always be "An Indian Man"- Tall, Dark and that is what we call handsome ;). Well to that point Barack Obama, one of the people I inspire from and one of the most powerful men in the world is also black.

1. Black Macbook Air:
When I start thinking about what are the five black things that I like the most it strikes me is the black Macbook air, nothing looks as beautiful as that gadget. The day I saw it in the hands of my thesis advisor I have fallen in love with it and just look at it, whenever it passes by me, much like Shahrukh Khan does when he drools over Rani Mukherjee (aka Tina) in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai...

The first thing I shall buy when I become a scientist shall be this!

                                           I am drooling again.....

2. Night:
 I am not Bat Woman  but I am certainly a creature of the night. perhaps a human race that loves the night. I love working in the nights as my creative juices flow then the best, I love the silence, the darkness and no disturbance with my laptop being the only source of light around. More fun is when you get to watch scary movies, it gives the thrill. Undoubtedly the most creative people be it writers , musicians, poets and scientists (a little of all which I am) love to work at night. And my watch says 12:54 AM right now, what does that tell you?


I always wish it is night.....
                                The nights that keep me company and bring out the best in me. 

3. Black High Heel Shoes:
    Being a woman life always has too much multi tasking, more so off when you have jumped into the well called "PhD". Mostly we do not know where we are, so when invited to a party or a blogging event, we just rush and reach mostly late. With hardly there being a time when one can shop for matching shoes with every dress, we buy one pair of black shoes (hush that's a secret I just told you). These lovely darlings from Forever 21 which perfectly stand for grace and confidence on my list.

                                 My saviour shoes....

4. Black Tea: 
Black Tea, the purest form, without additives give you a strong kick, good enough to keep you awake in the most boring lectures or in those examination days when if you fall asleep, you are doomed, atleast i was. I owe all my entrances till PhD being cleared to this one cup of black tea that the tea-holic in me had each night and then read until dawn, scaring my parents with a thought that I studied a lot :P. Always on my wishlist.

                            My best friend

The last and the depest desire is to see a black Taj Mahal...

5. Black Tajmahal: 
 Though this hasn't been built, when I saw a documentary which showed the concept and plans of Shah Jahan to built a black Taj Mahal, i was mesmerized, not only by the idea of the contrast the black and the white would provide , but the beauty of the monument that I couldn't let go off unless I was thrown out (literally) as it was closing time. The tomb symbolic of love, standing for eternal beauty is one of the most beautiful creation by a man, known to the human race. Imagine the same in black, let me help you, just watch this video below to understand the concept and the visualization:

Wouldnt this be the most spectacular sight you ever saw? Well BBC does say it would have been the greatest wonder of the world!!!



This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

This post is a part of #what The Black Contest hosted by BlogAdda.