Sunday, March 30, 2014

Indiblogger Meet for #JifiIsHere - As Banking Goes Social with Kotak Mahindra's Jifi accounts


The best part of this meet was it was on a lazy Sunday afternoon, at a beautiful location with perfect ambiance to suit the relaxed mood - B-Bar which is well known for its great bar and oriental cuisine itself was a great treat Indiblogger. I am personally a fan of such places and to add to it why not spend a great time exchanging ideas with people who are serious about putting their thous out there "fellow bloggers". It was near to my place and in my most favourite mall "Select City Walk" Saket, the very ambiance of this mall cheers me up. Finding B-Bar wasn't a question as I knew where it was, for first timer's coming from the front entrance it might get tricky. 

The ambiance was set and people had already started swaying with a breezy beer by the time I entered. This was the first time the meet was across three cities, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. Indiblogger I must say is improving on making people meet each other with activities each time, so there were two activities for the purpose this time. In the first one we were told to click a snap with minimum four bloggers whom we hadn't previously met and tweet to them with #Selfie. I wish this game was there in my first meet an year ago, would have met all the people I have met so far in one go then :P. Indi anyways has so many members now that you always meet someone new and this activity triggered that. I met so many people and we are now connected even via whats app now.

I also tried connecting with fellow bloggers in Mumbai and Bengaluru via the computers provided but that didn't workout as the connections went on and off, sadly I couldnt meet bloggers from these cities. Next we had a great dancing/head bang session on "ich will" , where as far as I saw the Mumbai bloggers video, we the Delhi people really rocked. I said so in my introduction too :P. #Delhi rocks afterall, and everyone who saw our spirit that day would agree.  Well after that I got a chance to introduce myself where some cool pictures of mine by Indi team will tell you it was the coolest introduction ( now that is called #Selfie :P)


Moving on to the theme of the session which is "Kotak Mahindra's Jifi accounts" which are social banking accounts. Sadly there was Chetan Bhagat in Mumbai who by the way did a bad job as a brand ambassador not able to answer questions plus he wasn't clear and through in his presentation. Sad we in Delhi didn't get to meet him. However, as part as the Kotak Jifi account clarity was concerned we were better off as we had the person whose brain child it was. He was prompt and thorough and took suggestions well.


Coming to the features of this account includes:

Positives:
1. It is the same as your normal banking account as far as validity of your paperwork, KYC, etc. before opening an account is concerned (very important for bank accounts).

2. Additional features of connecting your facebook and twitter with the account (hence the banking is social). Well not just that the real advantage is you get reward points for referring friends, and more if they actually join. You can en cash these points into movie tickets, shopping via affiliate sites such as flipkart, etc. Cool isnt it?

Also its a great marketting strategy by  Kotak  to let people know about Jifi with zero investment!

3. A zero balance account. A great strategy to target student populations who might have no cash but lot of connections as they are social, and as time passes by they will earn and deposit money, so a cool strategy for targeting a customer base. (this service to my knowledge is available only in ICICI Women accounts and Kotak's attached accounts with a major account).


5.  You can check your balance from twitter which will be sent as a DM. So you don't have to download an app of each of your banks plus even if your phone isn't so high end or with less internal memory for storage like mine, you can access twitter from web and get your balance which comes in handy.

6. Balance above 25,000 INR gets a rate of interest equal to Fix Deposit. No that when you say AHA! One reason I will give it a very serious thought.

Negatives: 
1. You cannot convert your existing account into Jifi. Now, my friend has a Kotak account,  but she cannot convert it into Jifi which she really wants and also who would want to open another one in the same bank? Kotak is loosing Jifi customers this way.

2. No interest on balance below 25,000. Now this may be to encourage more balance, or to balance out the higher rate of interest given on balance above 25,000; it still isn't a wise strategy going by the fact that social media use is majorly amongst youngster's and the target customer base is students who don't earn that much. I hope they give some interest atleast.

3. Only personal account, no corporate account, which they said they will consider.

The best part was apart from points the first person to register into Jifi account won a Flipkart Voucher and so did the person who had maximum points as he had maximum connections. See that's what really means "When Banking Goes Social Connections Pay"

Coming back to the meet we had our fun second activity where they divided us in teams and we had to tweet about our views on social banking with hashtag #JifiIsHere and our team hashtag for example we were team one, named #KPL1. This was also an attempt to connect with fellow bloggers in Mumbai and Bangalore on the same team. I tweeted a lot but sadly nobody responded. Our team also planned a skit combining social banking with Yo Yo Honey Singh and Comedy Night's with Kapil entitled "Yo Yo Jifi", but it was 3:30 by them and needless to mention we were ravenous. As soon as the food call was announced we went to eat but alas the line was long! However, the wait was worth it , loved the food at B-Bar more than that the company. I met the best bloggers, the best of people at lunch that day and for me the meet didn't end then. As we collected our Indi Tshirts and bid goodbye, it was only till we reached home.

That day after shopping at Select City I was so happy with the kind of friends I made, also Social Jifi made me "go social". Upon reaching home, the first thing I did was get connected with the bloggers I had met forever. I created a group of all blogger friends on whatsapp and you wont believe this group never sleeps. Every time I check my phone there are 40+ messages in the group. We have discussed food, fashion, contests, politics, books, interests and everything. We indeed meet on that lazy Sunday as strangers but today we are a family, nobody feels alone and bored now, you truly made is social "Jifi".

Go open an account today and get points for every friend that you refer to. Also don't just use these points for yourself, gift a friend a movie ticket when you get one from these very points. These are the little pleasures of life Jifi can give us. I'll end by saying "With money you may buy happiness but with Jifi points you gift moments". 

This post is written for Indiblogger meet #JifiIsHere held on 23rd March 2014 at B-Bar Select City Walk #JifiIsHere. It is also dedicated to the best people I met that day who will be my friends forever.




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Contest: The Emperor's Riddles by Satyarth Nayak

Hello Book Lovers we bring to you another chance to win free books, this time a book that is fill of riddles, ancient and new The Emperor's Riddles by Satyarth Nayak and not just that the mega prize is a Flipkart Voucher worth 500 INR. 

About the Book: 
More terrifying than the savage murder of historian Ram Mathur on the ghats of Ganga, are the questions that follow. Desperate for answers, Sia turns to esoteric writer and friend Om Patnaik. But what begins as a hunt for the killer, becomes an extraordinary trail of riddles strewn across the country, that must end at the gates of an enigma… In another time and space, rules an Emperor... An Emperor who must ultimately pay homage to the enigma… As Patnaik and Sia race from one riddle to another, towards a royal secret that has remained alive for centuries….will the final truth, save them or destroy them forever? The path beckons. Can you solve The Emperor’s Riddles? About the Author : Satyarth Nayak is an author, script-writer and journalist based in Delhi. In 2011, two of his short stories were selected for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. As a TV journalist, he has worked with premiere news channels like NDTV and CNN-IBN. The Emperor’s Riddles is his first full-length novel.
 
To win All you have to Do is:
1. Share this beautiful coverpage of the book via facebook and twitter and tag your friends.


3. Follow The Author Satyarth Naik on Twitter: @SatyarthNayak 


5. Tweet about the "Riddles" that have Riddled you the most, the best riddle will win the voucher. Multiple entries allowed. Donot Forget to use the hashtag

2 copies of this book + the mega prize of one Flipkart Voucher worth 500 INR up for a grab!!! Go get it. Contests ends on 31st March 2014 at 11:59 PM.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Review of The Sunsilk Real FM Movie

It was a last moment invite by #Indiblogger, just two days before the D-Day. However, the concept of movie for a brand seemed, new and interesting and an invitation to the screening itself was an honor indeed. Also the movie was made by Anurag Basu who has given us movies such as Saaya, Life In a Metro and Barfi. So I decided to not miss this chance. 

It was different then most meets, as I entered there was an entire RJ set where I struck a pose. Also there  was Pepsi, Popcorn, and the place was almost like a cinema hall. 


The Sunsilk Real FM Movie Review:

MTV India and Hindustan Unilever Ltd have under an initiative named MTV Films, which will bring to the audience a mixed bag of six movies based on brand philosophies of different HUL (Hindustan Uni Lever) product brands that will be showcased every month.

Background: The first ever movie. An experiment  brand endorsing a theme it is based on, here "confidence" for Sunsilk and a story to fit it. "Hmm now isn't that a challenge?" I thought as the lights went dark and then the movie began. But then being a scientist what I appreciate the most is novel approaches and experimentation.  Rhea the lead character is a 22 year old girl, who is cool, chills with friends and has family values. Her father is an owner of a Radio station which isn't doing well economically. Suddenly on 14th August his lead RJ gangs up every other member of staff and decides to quit as their request for salary hike isn't addressed. Rhea's father who recently had a bypass couldn't bear the fact that on the most important day 15th August, the independence day, his Radio station won't be operational, he collapses. 


Rhea persuades her boyfriend, an RJ at Real FM to help her but he doesn't. With no option at hand but a firm desire to help her father and his radio station she decides to carry forward with the broadcast herself with her friends. They land up at the studio, thanx to modern day technology, youtube teaches them how to manage the equipment and they begin. Rhea though with a certain slip of tongues and mistakes, she quickly gets a handle on  being an RJ. She is quick to realize that playing the same set of patriotic songs as every channel will, isn't going to get them a good traffic of listeners. The bond of friendship is one of the strongest messages from the movie. So after a little brainstorming they come up with a unique idea, to play the songs of each state, and not downloaded from youtube but having artist's to sing it in the studio.  Now that was something unique, live music always is much fresh and real then a youtube song. A sort of theme of unity in diversity came out.


The noted down the names of all 28 states and tried getting artists one by one. There was a little romance, a love triangle, spice with goons coming to hault the radio station and comedy when they turned into one of the singers for the show. The hall cheered as each state song played, and I the most when "tara vina shyam" from my land Gujarat played. Though the screening wasn't on Independence day we felt united, truly proud of our diversity and its variety. One more element that brought out the message were the live interview done by them on the streets what would they like to change, there was a man from Bihar who simply said "main yahan kaam karne aayan hoon, do paise kamane aaya hoon, kisi se jhagda karne nahi" he said. That left an everlasting impression on my mind.

Anurag Basu has also been clever in leaving the love triangle open ended, keeping the audience wondering. The element of sentiment sparkles strong and various messages have been sent across emphatically in a span of less than 100 minutes which is remarkable.

The Verdict!
Positives: Many components were covered in short span, the feeling of united India, showcasing a common man's emotions emphatically, components of family values, understanding your parents, children, siblings and above all the theme of Sunsilk "believing in one self, being confident and winning the challenge at hand". The movie also all in  also managed a beautifiul song that highlights the spirit of those dreams waiting to be fulfilled. The branding wasn't overdone keeping in right measure, which actually gave originality to it.

Negatives: The male actor who played Rhea's boyfriend seemed juvenile.

Overall: All in all a lot in a little time, delivered very emphatically, making the writer in me awed! A good concept that can be developed to promote a brand much better with an entire movie that has a lasting effect, not the ones that triggers you to change the channel. Rating - 4.5 stars on 5.

Review by RJ Nimi :P



This movie review has been written under the #SunsilkRealFMExperiences exclusive screening organized by Sunsilk in association with IndiBlogger. Looking forward to more of these special screenings of the other five films as well.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It’s no Longer a Dream by Sanjeev Ranjan

Title: It’s no Longer a Dream
Author: Sanjeev Ranjan
Category: Romance Fiction
Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 100
Pages: 191

 Snapshot: “Does love manage to find a way, even when all illusions fade? Where does the journey end?”

Akshat Diwan has everything that the tangible world can offer for dream-like life- luxurious cars, a palatial mansion, extravagant wealth and an heirloom of infinite opulence. All but peace! His parents are forever in a state of prolonged hostility; add to it failing spurious friendships and dwindling love life which metamorphoses him into a soul-less creature. Cursing his misfortune and in an attempt to end his anguish and disparity, Akshat embarks on an unknown journey, seeking nothing but solitude, or perhaps a glimpse of his inner being. It is when he meets a stranger that he realizes his journey is not just a journey, but a roller coaster ride to unravel the harsh realities of life.
It’s no Longer a Dream is all about collecting the shattered pieces of meaning of life, love and relationships and bringing them back to a whole again.

Review: The book ‘It’s no Longer a Dream’ is divided into three parts. The first part introduces the protagonist Akshat Diwan, his sumptuousness along with his loneliness, his girlfriend Naina and a glance at his conundrum past. The second part (my favorite) introduces Randhir who meets Akshat on a train journey. There is a convincing camaraderie drawn by the author between Akshat and Randhir.  The book gets interesting and captivating with the start of Randhir and Radhika’s bright young naive romance soon after an arranged marriage. The author has beautifully etched the incredibly sweet, ticklish, warm and full of life moments where their love story blooms like a rose expanding leaf by leaf. There are few cute and innocent scenes that automatically bring a sweet smile like Radhika dancing in rain, Randhir cooking for her and Naina waking up Akshat. The characters are very well drawn. The metaphors and similes have been fantastically used absorbing the beauty and liveliness literally taking the reader in the scene.

The author has remarkably intertwined the lives of Akshat and Randhir with the flashes of Akshat with his girlfriend Naina. The second half of the book picks up steam and the story suddenly takes a twist with the shudder in Randhir and Radhika’s life. The third part of the book has conveyed the depth of feelings and situations during the climax that left me teary eyed. The journey with Randhir ends up in an emotional, literal and self awakening manner for Akshat dotting a clear closure bringing a meaning to his outlandish life. The title is pretty apt and the cover picture perfect portraying two human faces, two chairs and a Bonfire bringing the protagonist Akshat and Randhir closer to collecting the pieces of their bizarre life.

Positives: It’s a tempestuous, refreshingly poignant and mature enough story conveying a subtle nuance of love, marriage and relationships.

Negatives: To point out specifically, there is one nominal glitch of some printing errors in some pages.

Verdict: I would go with 4 out of 5 stars to- It’s no Longer a Dream placing it in ‘A good and delightful read’ shelf.

About the Author: A non-conformist by nature and an engineer by profession, Sanjeev Ranjan is the bestselling author of In Course of True Love! An ardent lover of western classic and instrumental music, he enjoys reading. He has a keen interest in understanding human behavior and relationships. This is his second novel.

Grab A Copy Here: http://www.flipkart.com/its-no-longer-dream/p/itmdsf4nyrngdrj4?pid=9789382665113&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=Its+no+Longer+a+Dream&ref=d7554496-9783-427e-b3de-79abd8e23d0b

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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Contest Time! "AN INTRODUCTION TO HINDUSTANI CLASSICAL MUSIC: A GUIDEBOOK FOR BEGINNERS by Vijay Prakash Singha" powered by Roli Books


Hello Book Lovers...We are back with a contest for a book like never before!!!

"AN INTRODUCTION TO HINDUSTANI CLASSICAL MUSIC: A GUIDEBOOK FOR BEGINNERS by Vijay Prakash Singha" in association with our sponsors Roli Books. 

While Indian Classical music is one of the assets India is loved , appreciated, cherished and honoured for, as the country has produced inumerable maoestros. The author  has beautifully covered the history of Hindustani Music with additional knowledge of Ragas, Fusion Music, Raga in Hindi films and many more related topics. 

More about The Book:

… a comprehensive and uncomplicated introduction to Hindustani classical music.’ “Shyam Benegal”

‘This guidebook is… written specially for novices, by a listener like themselves, who might be a bit more experienced, but is a listener all the same. I am neither a musician nor a musicologist, but an avid listener who, after many years of listening  has been transformed into a rasik. … A rose is an informed listener. People unfamiliar with Indian classical music are often hesitant to take up listening to it because they feel that either they are too obtuse for such heavy stuff, or that it is too abstruse for them. Still others are wary of being thought dilettantes. I hope to alleviate such unfounded beliefs, and assure readers that Hindustani classical music is well within the reach of anyone who desires to learn to appreciate it, irrespective of their complete lack of any prior knowledge.’

About The Author: Vijay Prakash Singha studied at Mayo College, Ajmer and Rajasthan University, Jaipur before joining the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in 1967. He got infatuated with Hindustani classical music in his teens, and was able to indulge in it throughout his career postings all over India. This guidebook is an effort to share his passion with others. He now lives in Kolkata with his wife and continues to enjoy the best of the new generation of artistes.

3 copies of this awesome book up for a grab, just participate below 


 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Other Side by Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee

Title: The Other Side 
Author:  Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee
Category: Fiction (Horror)
Publisher: Mahaveer Publishers
Date: 2013
Price: Rs. 150
Pages: 264

Snapshot: All the children who have grown up in India, has amongst other things inherited a lot of stories from grandparents and parents. The most bizarre of these and the most loved are of course the horror stories. A few friends gather on a night on one's terrace and what are they interested in telling each other? Ghost stories, yes! indeed that atmosphere is the best setting to feel the thrill and exchange those happenings that one cant explain and has happened to people around us. Isn't it? This book is a tribute to that love we have for our ghost stories. 

Its a collection of 13 short stories with a component of "unusual" meant to scare you.

The Review:  This is the first book in this genre written by an Indian author that I have ever read. My style of judging such books is simple, just read them in the solitude that the night presents and while reading a little sound, even a mosquito or a door opening by wind scares you, the story is then worth it. I did the same with this one.

The stories mostly are on a variety of elements that can scare one as the authors describe right at the beginning, trying to describe "fear". The components of the recipe to scare the readers include the good ghosts, the bad ghosts, psychopaths, spirits and legendary creatures.

The stories I loved the most are Possession,The Muse Comes Calling,  The Long Weekend , That Fateful Night and most of all Unfulfilled Desires. The rest were enjoyable too but somehow it was either close to something I had heard before, since I am so much the person discussing ghost stories with a group of friends at night. However overall the book served its purpose and when I was reading it and now while writing this review even as the wind ruffles a distant paper bag against the table I sit on and I am scared to look, who knows what it may be? You can never be sure, can you?

The Review:
Positives:  Most stories are very different from each other and hence the reader is always looking out for what next. Right from the Prelude the authors have left no stone unturned to inculcate the fear factor. You begin feeling while you read that there may be someone along with you reading this right this moment. The book is well written, crisp and leaves the reader wanting more.

Negatives: The thumb rule whole writing an anthology is that the formula for surprise should repeat itself and if the author uses the same tactics a reader will always identify. Also some stories were similar to what he have heard many a times, though not the same thing but similar versions.

The Verdict: With the book now being available just at INR 98, just begin one weekend challenging yourself with a thrill of horror and you will only want to ask the authors what happens post where the leave us wondering and waiting for the sequel. 3.5 stars on 5.


I thank the author Faraaz Kazi for a review copy.



The Fragile Heart by Ankit Jaiswal

Title: The Fragile Heart
Author: Ankit Jaiswal
Category: Romance Fiction
Publisher: PenPoint Publications
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 215
Pages: 159

Snapshot: Jai, a fun loving guy, puts his heart out in a letter to propose to the love of his life, Geeta, while in high school in Kolkata. But destiny has different plans for him. What he discovers in response is a letter which superficially throws light on her abrupt disappearance. He is shattered; his fragile heart is broken into pieces. But you know life doesn’t stop for anyone and same was the case with Jai. His world takes a quirky turn when Riya, his junior, bumps into his life in college in Bangalore. She tries to fill the void, in which he had served for so long. They overcome their constraints and get in a relationship. Jai gets emotionally employed. But Jai bears the blunt of tough times when he starts to work in Mumbai and rediscovers someone whom he never expected to meet. What will Jai do when he is bound to struggle between his past and present? Read out to find this exceptional and heart touching journey of Jai and how he manages to keep moving after being bombarded with the twist of his life.

The Review: The Fragile Heart is a sweet yet predictable story. This is the author’s first book and a little more sensitivity and depth was appreciated when drawing out characters that held importance in the protagonist’s life. The story moves swiftly but still fails to be a page turner in light of bad editing and bouts of bad grammar. The cute little moments between Jai and Riya bring a smile on reader’s face. Still besotted lover in Jai surfaces time and again, swindling his mind and heart with Geeta’s thoughts. However, the last few pages become melodramatic and partially synthetic with an injection of emotions by the three lead characters Jai, Geeta and Riya. The book presents a reasonable depiction of trust, friendship and love. The author did spell a fine effect describing Jai’s state of heart at crucial junctures through poetry in the story line. The cover picture has bubbles that clearly describe the blur state of the protagonist’s delicate sentimental personality.

Overall:
Positives: It’s a bouquet of emotions filled with love, friendship and trust in a filmy manner.

Negatives: I wish if the author could have been a little more cohesive in terms of writing style and vocabulary. Also, the book has 159 pages and it costs pretty high at Rs.215 in competition of other books in same genre.

The Verdict:  I would go with two out of five stars to The Fragile Heart clipping it as an ordinary book with nothing unique and spectacular. If you are absolutely free and have an appetite to read anything and everything, then pick up this book else it could be a miss.

About the Author: Ankit Jaiswal hails from the city of joy, Kolkata, from where he has done his schooling. He did his graduation from BCREC, Durgapur. He is currently working as a software professional in Bengaluru. He is an engineer by profession and an artist by heart. He is a movie- maniac and actively follows cricket, football and politics. He is passionate about writing and has been writing poetry since his school days. Most of his poetry fall under romantic genre. ‘The Fragile Heart’, the title which also shares its name with series of romantic poems written by him, is his debut work in fiction. Best of his works are available on www.ankit02.blogspot.com . You can also reach out him at ankit.jaiswal02@gmail.com


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.


Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister by Tabrik C.

Title: Prisoner Jailor PrimeMinister
Author:  Tabrik C.
Category: Fiction (Suspense &Thriller)
Publisher: Hachette India
Date: 2013
Price: Rs.350
Pages: 323


Snapshot:  This is the story of a character you will remember forever and pray exists, Siddhartha Tagore, a musician by soul with poilitics in genes and a mind with bipolar disorder. His actions and thoughts for India clear, staright forward and action based as he ascends onto the throne of Priminster of India. But that's not all about him, though he left somewhere the shadows of his past linger, someone calls him even in absence and he gets drawn to his past as the story moves forward. He as a character and his life just has too many surprises to offer which the author Tabrik C, serves one by one for the reader to savour, relish and digest before he comes up with the next one. Get ready to witness what happen to the nation when a Tansen and Mozart combination of a Prime Minister with a Romeo's heart faces a nobel prize winning Economist with an idea to restructure India's constitution once and for all.

The Review: Well honestly I wasn't impressed by the coverpage of the book and neither did the title attract me, however I attended Tabrik sir's talk at the Delhi Literature Festival 2014 and he his thoughts on the current Indian political scenario were deep, analytical and yet explained simply. He was kind to send a copy for review later post our twitter interaction and its great he did as otherwise I surely would have missed an excellent read.

The story begins with Siddhartha Tagore swearing in as the Prime Minister of India. As described in the snapshot he is a great musician, educated at Harvard, however later deciding to follow his beloved fathers footsteps into politics. The idea of such a personality was intriguing and then the author draws us to Ruby his lady love whom he remembers at every instant, every moment big and small. But we are also tole that he is single, despite of being the charismatic personality that he is. However the awesome Siddhartha Tagore docent have all the cakes at one go, the very first day of his tenure a message for a terrorist attack is clearly sent to threaten his hold, also the opposition is strong with a Noble prize winner Rukmani Devi on the fore front, ravaged live that bruised lion who was sure to hunt and the prey escaped at the last moment. She does know how to play her cards well. As we dwell into Siddhartha's past we travel to Harvard, its various choices of courses, its strong hold on politics, its intellectual microcosm and the freedom of its corridors where friendship and even love blooms. The centre of that phase brings out the romeo in him and the purest form of love - Rubaya. A love that is eternal. As Siddhartha Tagore - the prime minister fights the challenges of terrorism, opposition and life threatening attacks on him, his opponents leave no leaf unturned to destroy him. They catch the string of his past which lead us down the road that hides amongst shadows obscuring secrets that can cripple him.

Can he save himself and the nation from all of these? Read and find out.

The Verdict: 
Positive: The most positive aspect of this book is the characters well sketched and beautifully presented. the fact that when Siddharth Tagore thinks of love, loss and music the authors tone turns poetic almost lyrical taking one into the mind of the character. The plot has a lot of ups and downs and surprises that keeps one glued to it all throughout.

I was so much into music while reading this that even now as I write this review an Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma plays Santoor in the background.

Negatives: Some spelling and grammatical errors which donot break the flow. There are certain points in the story which could have been developed and the story could have extended, If the author plans a sequel to address those then it isnt a negative. Otherwise they surely would have been great plots to delve into.

The Verdict:  Certainly a not to miss book. A great story, written beautifully. Tabrik C is an author to look forward to. 4 stars on 5. 


I thank the author and Hachette India for a review copy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Join The Readers Cosmos Team

The Readers Cosmos follows an integrative approach. We would love to have have on our team as and when an opportunity presents. Please fill the form below for the same. For any queries /details/discussions email thereaderscosmos@gmail.com




Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Treasure of Kafur by Aroon Raman

Title: The Treasure of Kafur 
Author:  Aroon Raman
Category: Historical Fiction
Publisher:Pan Macmillan
Date: 2013
Price: Rs.299
Pages: 400

Snapshot: It is a story around the lost treasure of Malik Kafur, which is so abundant that its possessor can strike a war on anyone and sustain it for generations? What if it fell into the tyrant ruler of Khandesh, Asaf Baig, who aims to capture Hindustan, winning it from the most just and loved ruler of the land, Akbar.

The Review: After connecting with Aroon Raman on twitter, I discovered that his next book would be on my favorite times "the Mughal era" and since then I had been waiting for this book (though I haven't read his first book The Shadow Throne).

The story begins with Malik Kafur, burying huge trunks of treasure into the river Khelna in the dark of the night with such a practiced manner that not a sound is made. After the needful being done, all men except Kafur stab each other and kill. The man feels it all went without anyone noticing, yes no man noticed, even the one that performed the act were now dead, but there was someone who saw it, a tortoise on the bank of the river, saw it all, remembered it all, thought he couldnt reason it all.

Present day: Monsoosn hadn't blessed the region of Khadesh since years, as the lands fall barren the ruthless ruler Asaf Baig only increases his taxes over the already poor farmers. One such villager, an old woman full of spirit and wisdom Ambu, tells her grandson her desire that Akbar, the most just king of Hindustan rules them. Ambu is a woman of wonders, she is reputed in the village for her healing powers, has a great sync with nature and can telepathically interact with animals. The same communication powers lie with her grandson Dattatreya (Datta). Manas the grandson of the tortoise who saw it all, confides in Ambu and reveals the story of the treasure. She preserves it and when her sixth sense alerts her of upcoming dangers she lets it out to Datta.

As Akbars plans to take over those lands were always an open secret, Asaf Baig was no normal enemy. He too unites everyone with the smallest reason to hate the Mughals. His plan however bent on just one thing, a huge army to combat the Mughals, and the power to replenish the injured and sustain huge numbers till the war is won. The answer to "how" is the treasure of Kafur. He leaves no stone unturned, employs Taraks - a clan of Sadhus who do black magic, penetrate the mind and kill to please their goddess - Taraka. When he realizes the secret lies with her, Ambu is kidnapped. But she leaves Datta a message to travel to Akbar's territory and inform him of the treasure. Datta then begins his exciting journey with his animal friends, A cow- Aditi, Manas- the tortoise, the ravens - Shukra and Kanka and the colorful, beautiful and intelligent parrot - Sherazad  . However, asaf Baig's best commander Rahamatullah khan chases them. Will Datta make it in time? Even if he does will he be able to convince Akbar and rescue Ambu? How will he fight the dark magic of the Taraks?

To know all this go grab a copy now! You surely will have the best time reading it!

The Verdict: 
Positives:  A great story. Not strictly historical fiction as I found the story missing the strong historical pull back and time travel I experience with writings of the Mughal era especially by Indu Sunderesan, but the book is just not that. Its a lot more, especially the much forgotten harmony and friendship of man with animals, man with his own nature, the abundance of this and a great focus on these characters, to me seemed he best part of the story which therefore creates its own niche. It will be wrong to characterize this book as just "historical fiction" for it has much more to offer.

Negatives: At some later points in the story many more twists could have been added which I am not sure if the author choose not to. Also one particular part which I really waited for was just zoomed, that possibly is the editing to blame.

Overall:  Aroon Raman's language is simple yet enchanting. The story is 3.5 stars on 5.

About the Author
Aroon Raman is an Indian author. He obtained his masters degree from JNU, Delhi and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  Raman has authored books like The Shadow Throne and The Treasure of Kafur.