Tuesday, October 18, 2016

03:02 by Mainak Dhar

Have you ever given it a thought that how much we are dependent on electricity and technology? And ever considered a life without any of it?

On a fateful night, the world we are so comfortable in just came to a standstill at 03:02 AM. No power, no gadgets, no cars. Aaditya, the protagonist, along with many others, initially thinks it is a power cut of a larger scale and things would get back to normal soon. However, the reality sinks in soon. 

Aaditya rises to the occasion to help people think with a cool mind, and is joined by Kundu who helps to organize teams of people to different tasks, Nitish who rewires the generators to restore limited power supply, Mahadev who gets a few autos running in the same way, etc. Slowly as the gravity of the situation sinks in, neighbouring societies join together to face a common crisis. 

As the story unfolds, what seemed to be power failure transforms into a nuclear attack. Unfortunately no help from the government can reach... so civilians consisting of bankers, teachers, businessmen, students and domestic helps, and such common people join to form an army that has to face dangerous terrorists.

What I liked about the book is that unlike our expectations, things are not restored to normal. Yet, people find ways to keep going. 

03:02 is a gripping tale where people are inspired to find the light within themselves when there is darkness all around.


Monday, October 3, 2016

The Calling: Unleash Your True Self

Personally I hate books in the Self Help genre. The truth is that I am afraid of them, for they hold a mirror in front of you – a mirror that tells you many unkind truths.

Well, The Calling is not like that. You embark on a journey with Arjun, the protagonist, right from the beginning. Although your attitude might be "This is not my story, but Arjun's", you will find yourself identifying with the over stressed professional that Arjun is, torn between work and family. Maybe our own work life balance is not in a situation as bad as his, but if we do nothing about it, the difference would gradually disappear.

Arjun has a near fatal accident, and is miraculously brought back to life by a sadhu. On his insistence, Arjun embarks on a journey to Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib ji, a holy shrine set amidst the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh. Just like we have to sort our problems ourselves, Arjun finds himself alone at the start of his journey, as his best friend and travel companion, Jay was needed elsewhere.

Instead, he finds company in Chandu, his transporter, who is just 18 years old. Arjun is overwhelmed by the beauty around him, which he had ignored till then, only to witness events he did not understand. When asked, Chandu cheekily says, “It takes long, sahib”.

The best part of the book is when a second sadhu gives Arjun three tests… situations we are faced with in our own lives, that are deeper than they appear and it is how we respond that defines how our lives would ultimately be. Also, towards the end, Arjun realizes he was reaping effects of the seeds of misery he had sown himself. You would find yourself nodding as you realize that the protagonist is an extension of yourself, and his journey is actually leading you to that unkind mirror, where you can take a stronger look at your own actions.

It is a must read for all.