Saturday, 14 April 2018

Book Review : Then The Door Bell Rang


Book Title: Then The Door Bell Rang
Author: Capri Jalota
Number of pages : 395
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Private Limited
ISBN-10: 9352019504
ISBN-13: 978-9352019502

The book consists of 395 pages which is quite a good number to intimidate someone. But the start had the magic, the author Capri Jalota has made sure the first 100 pages to be so captivating that the reader is anxious to read the rest.

A book, simply based on one’s life itself is something that the reader can treat themselves with as a break from thrillers, romance and everything else.

The intriguing plot with twists and turns at unexpected time helps the readers to hook up with the book till the end. The first person narration helps us to go with the flow of the book. The characters are sketched well. The usage of simple words and lucid language helps to maintain coherence throughout the book.

The title of the book 'Then the door bell rang' is a little long, but indicates the reader that the story could be a mystery. The book cover could have been better and relatable to the plot. 

The book revolves around the story of the protagonist Jane who was deprived of love and care from her early days. Though her parents cared for her, they failed to show it to their daughter which brought out serious depression in the lil girl. And later when destiny separates her from her loved one, she was left with no hope to live.

What works for TTDBR is the way the author brings in new characters, keeping the flow of the book alive. From the deceased Uday, Jane’s husband, whose personal diary brings with it, a fair share of worms and heart aches, to his doting parents and her relationship with them which only grows after Uday’s death, to the surprising paramour Rahul, who is but a fleeting presence, a phantom whom Jane chases for the first half of the week to other characters, nurses, best friends, a supportive boss, strangers who become more than family and so on.

And yet what prevails is a sense of death throughout. It almost seems that death itself is the protagonist who is taking the plot forward. Mortality pervades through the novel, as each death takes the protagonist further in her search (for answers, truth, life?) across borders.

Time travel with the protagonist from the beginning till the end is a mixture of emotions, relationships and feelings. Though the content mostly deals with human emotions, the presentation was good with suspense as a main ingredient.

This book is a very good example of fiction where the author has weaved the story of a lady and different phases of her life which she has gone through. Story line is full of ups and down which keeps you excited and concerned till the end. Few scenes are created very dramatic. You flow with the book and started sharing joy and sorrow with the characters, which is the actual beauty of the book.

What I liked in the book:
1. The writing style is very lucid and uncomplicated.
2. Loved the way Uday proposes to Jane, the poetry was very good,
3. There were many beautiful lines and quotes in the narrative. There were some really good quotes that I would keep re reading.

What I didn’t like:
I feel that the story could have been tighter and crisp, needs to be more stringent editing. Too much description and many events that did not help in the progress of the story very much. I couldn’t understand why one chapter was Jane’s diary entry when the whole story was told in Jane’s POV in first person.

Overall Verdict - This book is about love, loss, pain, fears, remorse, and friendship. The book begins with Jane standing in her balcony, contemplating her life. I loved reading Jane’s journey full of more downs than ups. It is filled with so many unfortunate incidents that is too much to bear for any individual. My heart went out for her each time. I would recommend this book to those who would like to read realistic life stories filled with highs and lows.

Rating : 4/5

Friday, 6 April 2018

Things About Life!



These are the things I observed about life in past few months -

  • 1. Keep working on yourself. Rewards will come with time. Patience is the key.
  • 2. Keep your priorities straight. Don't work 9–5 for a company and sleep after getting    back home. Instead work diligently towards your calling.
  • 3. Your inner voice somehow knows what is good for you. Trust that voice.
  • 4. Life is not fair. I understand you all know this. But, don't expect it to be fair anytime. It will deceive you the moment you trust it.
  • 5. Have faith. Despite all the odds, have faith.
  • 6. First help yourself. It's not bad to think about yourself. Help others, but first help yourself.
  • 7. Procrastination won't get you too far. We all have a habit of dallying subconsciously. This won't get you anywhere. Buckle up.
  • 8. Failures will come. Despite all the hard work, you can still fail. In such a case, don't get disheartened. Rather, start again. It's arduous, but you are more audacious.
  • 9. People will leave. The one whom you confide in today, can leave in unexpected ways tomorrow. Don't beg anyone to stay.
  • 10. People will try to bring you down. Build a wall around yourself and be secluded so that no external voice shakes your inner faith.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Deep Questions To Ask A Man To Build An Emotional Intimacy




The idea was that the questions should invoke shared vulnerability and this really helps to foster emotional closeness and connection between two people even when they didn't really know each other.

Hopefully, these questions will help to deepen the emotional bond between you and your man no matter where you’re at in your love life - whether you are single, dating, or in a long-standing relationship. It apparently has worked among strangers, it should work between you and your guy, provided that he is emotionally available and willing to deepen that intimate bond with you.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ...
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Happiness : An Inside Job :)



Everything is always changing.
"There is a cause-and-effect lawfulness that governs all unfolding experience.
"What I do matters, but I am not in charge. Suffering results from struggling with what is beyond my control. [pp. 27-28]” 
Sylvia Boorstein

Happiness comes from within. It took me too long to understand this. 26 years, probably. As I write this post, I want you to know -

Our ego wounded self is often very attached to a “project,” such as:
Once I have a partner, (or a different partner) then I will be happy.
Once I have enough money, then I will be happy.
Once I have the house (or car, or motorcycle, etc.), then I will be happy.
Once I have a baby, then I will be happy.
Once I lose weight, then I will be happy.
Once I have the right job, then I will be happy.
Once I move out of this city, then I will be happy.

As long as you believe that your happiness is connected to something external, you will not be happy now. And there will always be something else — a different partner, more money, a different place to live or a different job — that will keep you from being happy now.

“Having control over getting what I believe will make me happy is what’s important. I refuse to be happy until I have what I want!” Such a myth!

It is very common these days, a lot of people in their search for happiness, search for it not within themselves but in other people and in material things. Many of them, including me, because we have been conditioned to believe so.

If you are searching for it, remember, it means you lack it. You will never get happiness if you don’t know what it is to be happy within yourself. Our emotions are a result of our thoughts. It all starts from our thoughts which create our emotions.

Our thoughts are a consequence of our reactions to various events that can happen in our life. It’s how we react to the problems, that create our state of mind, therefore we need to have a good attitude in life, in fact, Happiness is also an attitude of mind. Program yourself to be happy. Always. 

We also need to discover the things that make us unhappy and seek to avoid those.

You need to realize that Happiness coming from material things is just illusory, temporary, is not really happiness but just pleasure. If we chase happiness in material things, our pursuit for happiness will never end. Chasing happiness only leads to pain and suffering. 

You already have everything that you need in order to be happy and live an extraordinary life. It resides within you.

An ah-ha moment for me was learning about what really creates happiness; you can change your thought pattern about the situation or circumstance. Happiness is an inside job that requires work to be done in other words you has to work on changing your outlook on things.

1. Gratitude - It is one of the most important rituals that I practice in my daily life. I believe that it is through the process of gratitude that we experience the purest form of joy. In doing so, we are able to cultivate a mindset that focuses on the positive.

2. Self-love - It is the key to happiness. The best way to honour yourself is by listening to what it needs. This is where the power of a morning ritual comes into play.  It is one of the secrets to success of some of the happiest people in the world.

3. Mornings - Research shows that your mood in the morning affects your emotional state for the rest of the day. What makes you happy first thing in the morning? Commit to doing it because you deserve the love that you so freely give to others.

As long as you believe that your happiness comes from outside you, happiness will likely elude you. Every moment that you look to people, things, events and outcomes to make you happy is a moment of life lost. Every moment spent trying to control someone or something in the hopes of getting what you believe will make you happy is a moment of happiness and joy lost.

Happiness is not something that happens to you. It is something you choose or don’t choose each and every moment. Today, choose to be aware of what you are attaching your happiness to, and consciously limit the thoughts about what you believe you need externally to be happy. 

There’s a difference between transitory happiness and genuine happiness. As relative as it may sound, as I see Life more and more, deeper, the less I believe Happiness has anything to do with external factors.

I have seen the happiest beggars and the most unhappy millionaires. I have seen grateful women who could never become mothers, and others ungrateful after even being blessed with their heirs. I have seen Love under moonlit skies and I have also seen no love under a palace. 

The transitory nature of this type of happiness – only leads us to crave more and more.  This put us into an endless cycle of seeking the next object or experience that will bring gratification.  

Being content doesn’t mean you can’t have goals...yes they are necessary and need to be achieved, but happiness lies in where you are right now, being the person you are right now, and being perfectly happy in it.

When you stop the mental commentary and you simply remain in the present, all of your suffering from the mental stories that you create are gone. Suffering is an inside job, and so is happiness. There is always something beautiful to witness. You can be locked in prison in solitary confinement, yet you can find beauty in the silver of sunshine that enters your cell. A dying person’s heartbeat can be a soothing sound in the final moments of his or her life.

MORAL : Build happiness inside of you, and the world will automatically be a happier place.

You can also go ahead and watch few of the videos I posted on "Happiness" on my YouTube channel :)



Saturday, 24 February 2018

Book Review : Fate's Design

Book Name - Fate's Design
Author - Subhashish Dey
Publisher - Good Times Book Pvt Ltd



Subhashish Dey’s debut novel makes for an intriguing read as a hired killer develops a conscience leading to a strange string of events.

What does a professional kidnapper do when he suddenly develops a conscience? Anastasaii, a hired thug from Russia is sent to kidnap the daughter of a rich man for ransom. However, guilt plagues his conscience as he knows the predicament of kidnapping a two-year-old could never be good. What follows is a series of events across continents and years that lead to a rather surprising conclusion.

What is interesting to note, is that the young 14 year old author, spares no stones in giving equal attention to all the characters of the novel. Be it Anastasaii, the young girl Natalia, Mrs Sapsky, his mum; Felix, Andrei or Irina, everyone is given their equal space in taking the novel forward.

Flitting from one character to another and one tale to the next, Subhashish makes wonderful use of time in his novel, as seemingly unrelated incidents slowly create a motif towards the conclusion.

The language is simple and poetic, a far cry from a lot of what passes off as literature these days. Narration is perfect and mature. The author’s age is perfectly reflected in the way he handles a seemingly happy ending for a family separated by one act of conscience.

A thoroughly interesting read, Fate’s Design, plays out as a struggle to live, survive and not merely exist. The synchronization can be understood at certain places where the geographical demonstrations pertaining to that location is described effectively.

We could give a benefit of doubt for the age of the author but some of the dialogues in between forces me overlook the fact that a kid wrote the book. Nevertheless the effort that is invested in the book could not be overlooked. A strong message about relations is the highlight of the book.

VERDICT-  A case study on suspense! A perfect collection of adventures! Amazingly well written novel from a 14 year old first timer. And its a book that will take you to a completely thrilling journey about fate in your fantasy with suspense in every page you flip. It sparkles with subtle and wry humour, vivid characterizations, poignant observations and breezy sentences.

Sharp insights into the human psyche and crisp writing are the hallmarks of this book. Striking phrases like "It was easier this time. Second times are always easier" shall linger on and haunt the reader long after one puts the book down.

Written at an age when most teenagers find their boats floundering in the sea of words, Subhashish had not only managed to keep a grip on the plot, taking the reader along the journey of his well drawn out characters, he had also shown a rare maturity in his choice of words. Also not to forget his understanding of music and his love for the art. I wish Subhashish Dey a bright career in writing! All the very best!

RATING -4.5/5


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Book Review : Love Trumps All!




ABOUT THE BOOK

"Love Trumps All!’ is a work of fiction that takes the reader, along with its protagonists, on a journey that waves of Indian immigrants have made to the US and back, and many American businessmen have made to India in search of cheap labor since the Y2K phenomenon. It is an illuminating interwoven story of five unlikely friends in a global setting across Silicon Valley, Manhattan, Mumbai, Pune, Khamgaon (representative of small-town India full of youth with stars-and-stripes in their eyes!), Hyderabad and Nepal, as they explore their liberal progressive identities in a world powered by immigration and divided by nationality, religion, and politics. 

A story that spans the Y2K opportunities of 1990s to the current backdrop of US 2016 presidential election. With rising nationalism and protectionism, uncertainties and anxieties that immigrants to the US face, the story takes on a particularly poignant hue. Universally recognizable dilemmas of patriotism vs global citizen-hood, traditionalism vs modernity, alienation vs fitting-in make this story one that will be read with equal interest and identification by readers in the US as well as in India. Life-changing events alter the perspectives of the Indian as well as American characters in the book, as their search for identity and the expansion of their horizons takes them half way around the world and back, in search of their true selves. 

Anant Joshi, a dreamer who chases the American dream during Y2K rush and leapfrogs from a small Indian town to set up one of the hottest and innovative Silicon Valley ventures. 

Chris O’Brian, an energetic and creative high-tech sales leader from New York who is driven by his passion for life, creativity and making it big. 

Sameera Qureshi, a young gynecologist from Hyderabad attending her medical residency in California and trying to find love and her true human identity. 

Amy Cohen, a lively, articulate, compassionate pediatrician who is ready to ride on larger than life waves. 

Madhura Sharma, journalist and social worker driven by her nationalistic ideals and drive to help others.

What happens when their paths intersect and blend?”

REVIEW 

This novel traces the life of a few friends-growing up, friendship, romance, tragedies, and so on. The book also has solid doses of the philosophical viewpoints, as they grapple with religion, opportunism, loss, honesty, parent-child conflict, love for the motherland and the lure of Amrika, american politics, etc.

“Love Trumps All” is a book which shows the real struggles of moving to a different environment and adapting to it. People born in one country, travelling to other for work and then facing the dilemma of where to settle is a very common thing these days. The topic is relevant for every non resident Indian.

It offers the journey of each character in their respective point of views, set non-chronologically and the author has portrayed each one of their views in beautiful words. The bond of friendship between the protagonists is very heartwarming and it shows that with the love and support from friends and family, no hardship of life is difficult to conquer.

Beautifully integrated backstories (some tragic) of these 5 characters that bring forth the cultural and emotional aspects of relationships. Every reader can relate to at least one character in the book. Experiences of small town India and US were eye opening. It is a romantic novel at heart with many other facets - relationships with parents, friends, teachers, career aspects, cultural differences, finally proving that people everywhere are basically the same - country, religion, caste etc are just the ways we qualify them.

'Love Trumps All' is a wonderful read with witty life experiences and lessons you will forever cherish in your heart. Each character is distinct. The author has done a splendid job of initiating each of these story lines, embellishing them with interesting real life situations and then taking them to a logical conclusion.

This book summarizes the various aspects of life from dreams to passion, Ind-USA-Ind, Business trips to start-ups, individual values to families bonding, US elections to philanthropic, etc.

VERDICT - A highly recommended book for everyone interested in knowing not only about life in India and USA but also about human psyche, diverse religious beliefs.

The title "Love Trumps All" sums up the storyline perfectly! Excellent job Sudarshan - could not believe this was your 1st book. Please keep writing! 

RATING -5/5

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Book Review : Transit Lounge

Book Review : Transit Lounge 

Title: Transit Lounge

Author: Sunil Mishra

Publisher: Leadstart Publishers

ISBN-13: 9789352017157

Number of Pages: 212


BLURB: “Transit Lounge” is a contemporary book consisting of short incidents, observations and reflections while travelling to 30 countries across six different continents during the last 15 years.

The book is a personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argentina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka,Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy,Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Georgia,Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand. 

It was interesting to observe all these different cultures and people from an Indian perspective. The book is a compilation of small incidents and events during such travels; it includes losing an air ticket, dealing with difficult custom officials or getting mugged in a prime location in a foreign country.”

Book Cover: The book has a minimalistic yet attractive cover. It has a world map in a very sober color and that gives the reader a nice feeling.

REVIEW: Transit Lounge is a travel memoir by Sunil Mishra that describes his visit to thirty countries across six continents. 

Transit lounge by Sunil Mishra is a book of candid experiences worth the read, based on the early times when the author had started travelling for work, the book takes us on a tour that any other modern day book probably won’t. 

You can make a mental comparison of the current amenities and of the times that were. The book is written in a good spirit, making the pleasant feeling of the journeys contagious for the reader.

The book comprises of 8 chapters and each chapter is divided to a set of countries that the author has travelled. The book is also a perfect travelogue of the author and this can be used as a reference to know about the various places, customs followed in each country, the habitat, the weather conditions, the travel process with a live demonstration feeling.

Have you ever traveled to different countries by just reading a book? I am lucky enough that I got the opportunity to read a book that gave me an overview/ world tour of different continents and countries. It takes each and every reader "literally to a world tour through its words". The author has impeccably narrated every minute detail of a journey to a new place right from choosing the place of travel till a person reaches his destination. 

The author raises some very relevant points when it comes to social, economic and political conditions of the countries he focuses on. Most of the countries have been analysed from the perspective of how it maybe like to travel through the country or live there as an expat. I liked how description to every country was short, crisp and to-the-point. All the points mentioned were much relevant, sometimes funny, and answered a lot of queries regarding various countries in my mind. The comparative analysis of every country to India is what I felt was the USP of this travelogue.

If you're an Indian and you're wondering what other countries are like, you'll definitely love the answers you find in this one. Go ahead and pick it up if you're interested in a travel memoir. But do keep in mind that even there are some pictures in the book, they're black and white. So, they may not be as fun to look at as the reading the book actually was.

NEGATIVES: The book is written in a very simple and illustrative way. The writing is a little led down for me. The sentence formation could have been a tad little better, the editors should have given this piece a little more time and care. The book though very well written is ridden with mistakes. These typographical errors play a spoil sport. So incident becomes inddent, civic becomes dvic, class becomes dass and the crest jewel – click becomes dick. I wish the book was well edited and these mistakes were avoided.

VERDICT: They say that travel broadens the mind and this book is a perfect example of how travel can influence a person, can make him realize how similar human beings are across the world in spite of each country and people having their own special characteristics. I am very impressed by Mishra’s detailing skill and his way of observation, whether it's food, clothes, music, source of entertainment or travelling.

BUY OR NOT TO BUY: If you are a travel enthusiast or someone with wanderlust buried under the dust of daily chores, this is the book for you. Pick it up!

RATING: 4.5/5 (-0.5 for typographical errors)