Monday, January 1, 2018

A Hundred Little Flames

Set in the picturesque settings of Kerala, this is a very enjoyable book. It is Preeti Shenoy's maiden fiction, and is a perfect balance of her imagination and personal experiences as a child.

The book begins with a sharp twist of events, when the protagonist, Ayan loses his job for no fault of his. He is sent to visit his grandfather who had a fall recently, in a far flung village in Kerala, a village so small that it is not identifiable on Google Maps.

He arrives to his ancestral home where his grandfather Gopal Shanker stays, only to find that there is no internet connectivity even in the idyllic village.

The story progresses as Ayan gradually falls in love with the slow life, making local friends and his interactions with his grandfather. He is kept in dark by his father who stays in Bahrain about his wish to sell off Thekke Madom, their ancestral home- something old Gopal Shanker would never have allowed. Ayan's father, Jairaj tricks his father into a mental asylum to achieve this; but Ayan rises to the occasion and rescues his grandfather with the help of his friends and presence of mind.

This book discusses human relationships in a subtle way but the characterization is very strong. You would almost be able to see the story unfolding in your mind's eyes, it is so well written.

There are very few things that I didn't like, but that can be overlooked.

I will confidently give it 4 stars. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Immortal India: Young Country, Timeless Civilisation

This book is for the ones who have read books by Amish Tripathi before, and for those who haven't yet. If you belong to Category 1, you are bound to have your opinions about his writing style, and his attempt in presenting Hindu mythology in a simple story like narration. You would have many questions too.

This book is a collection of various articles and speeches written by him, interviews, etc which have appeared in various magazines, literary festivals and alike. They have been arranged intelligently to form a flow that keeps the reader glued to the book. 

Over the pages, one is introduced to Amish as a person.. from his days as a banker with a handsome job to his becoming a best selling author. He introduces the reader to the new age India by touching upon the rich cultural past.

There is a lining of positivity in the chapters, where Amish says that the intolerant youth of today is actually India's future, who are willing to question and innovate. The country's culture is an inclusive one, where religion and casteism go hand in hand but unfortunately, have been misinterpreted over time. There is a gentle mention of social issues such as women empowerment, homosexuality, etc.

The book instills hope in the reader, ensuring him that there's hope in the path ahead. Almighty is there amidst us, integrated in our own souls, and the onus is ours to learn from His teachings. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Benfits of Failing Successfully

This is a book which I would rate six stars instead of five, if I can. It is a book that can be enjoyed by everyone, of whatever age. 

The storyline is a narration of the author's life, his failures and how he could use that to his benefit. Dr. Chaturvedi rightly points out that all of us make mistakes and come face to face with failure at various junctures of our lives, and the key is not to get depressed by these non-achievements. Instead, we should accept it and work towards capitalizing on our shortcomings. Failures are indeed the building blocks of success.

Along with a very interactive narration, illustrations by Pranay Arun Kumar enhance the reader's imagination.

Although the author stresses that each one of us is different, and come face to face with very unique challenges, you would be able to identify yourself with the author, and find yourself smiling and nodding as you cruise through the book.

It is a crisp book, which can be finished in two hours, but it leaves an evarlasting impact.

A book recommended for everyone.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Monsoon Musings

This is an anthology of seven short stories, which are narrated in such an engaging style that you wont be able to keep the book down until you have finished them all.

You will come to know briefly about the authoress, Aabha, from the back cover of the book which upholds her multi-faceted personality. No wonder the stories are so well narrated.

While reading the book, I personally felt as if Aabha was telling me some interesting tales from her life, so that I could know her better. Aabha subtly shares her childhood experience in Zambia, her devotion to Lord Shiva and her deep knowledge about various temples. Her deep understanding of human relationships, even between the lady of a house and a maid, makes the stories very enjoyable.

She also brings out the never-say-die spirit of women we can be inspired by: Megha, who gets paralysed due to illness but is still able to have a good life and contribute to society; and Bua, who holds the reins of the family although she is a lonely matriarch, who is a widow and also childless.

The only blemish of this book is that it seems to have missed the last round of proof reading. However, that notwithstanding, you will find that this book is perfect for curling up with in a weekend. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Rich Labourer

Have you ever wondered how to approach a problem? This book suggests a 3 step method to you, and when you come to think of it, you may agree that most of us adopt similar strategies in our daily lives, albeit unconsciously. 

The storyline revolves around the 3P method: Probe, Ponder and Prove. Does that sounds like a MBA book? Well, this book is actually written by two architecture graduates turned MBAs, Parthajeet and Sibani Sarma. Reflections of both professions can be found in the narration. Also, the authors are sensitive to the factors that affect our lives on a day to day basis.

When addressing any problem, in the Probe stage, one is encouraged to understand the problem in hand and the needs of the end user. The data collected needs to be analysed in the next stage (Ponder) and the results to be incorporated in the final solution. This is the Prove stage, where the results are demonstrated, sometimes on a pilot basis or in full swing.

Because it is set in the current context of demonetization and issues of modern life, everyone would be able to identify with the book. What I loved about the book is how it drives across its point in the form of a tale. And it gives a ray of hope subtly that if we take decisions that suits our needs, our lives would also be better. Sometimes it may mean getting out of our comfort zones and taking the leap of faith, but if we know what we are doing and why, things may work out in our favour.

I personally thought the end of the book was too fast forwarded, as if one had rationed the number of pages that could go in the book.

That not withstanding, you would definitely like the book.

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Father is a Hero

For a little girl, her father is her first hero, whatever his shortcomings may be. 

This book is a story of how Vaibhav, a young father, becomes a hero in the eyes of his eleven year old daughter, Nisha. Things seem to going on smoothly with Nisha doing well in her studies, and also getting groomed to become a professional singer one day. Her role model is Rihanna, the pop star.

Suddenly, their low-on-luxuries life changes drastically. Nisha seems to have transformed into a completely different person, behaving inexplicably - skipping classes, doing miserably in studies, missing music lessons, entering into fights with her friends, and more.  

A ray of hope is seen when Vaibhav comes to know about an upcoming concert of Rihanna in Sydney. With his limited means, a trip to Australia seems impossible, but he chooses to go for it, for his daughter.

However, they miss the concert as Vaibhav had misread the timings on the tickets.

What will they do now? Will Nisha get to meet her role model? Will she return back to normal? Will Vaibhav be able to rise to the occasion? Read this book to find out answers to these questions, and many more.

I found this book to be written in simple English that portrays the relationship of father and daughter, and varying emotions very well. I will give it 3 stars out of 5, but will recommend for a light, enjoyable read.  

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cabbing all the Way

If you have had the experience of commmuting to and from office in a cab shared by colleagues, or are currently doing so, you would be able to identify with the book right away. Don't worry if you have not had this "exposure" - it is a book that can be enjoyed, nevertheless.

The story revolves around few colleagues who have to travel a fair amount of distance to reach office, using various modes such as overcrowded public transport, autorickshaws, pooling on two wheelers, etc. Needless to say, the idea of a cab is welcomed by everyone as it seems to take care of the common challenge. However, things are easier said than done. 

After the initial hiccups, issues such as people not reaching their pickup points on time, girls requesting for doorstep pickups and drop offs, especially if it is raining, start cropping up.

Jatin Kuberkar, in his simple narration style, portrays each situation with care and brings out the straits in each character. From colleagues, they become friends who provide tips to each other in critical moments, and also develop special bonds.

Nothing remains the same, but coping with change is also important. The book ends with a positive note.

I would give this book 3 stars out of 5.