Wednesday 31 August 2016

Book Review - The Heart Listens to No One

Author – Purba Chakraborty
Pages – 64
Price - Rs. 68 (Kindle edition)

First Impressions
At first, when I looked at the cover, I got a feeling of something mysterious or supernatural. At least the dark hue of blue and the forest signalled so. But very soon, the bird, violin and the title hinted the otherwise. As they say, one can never judge a book by its cover!

My View
Poetry has the ability to uplift our mood and transport our heart to faraway places. It was on a boring, rainy afternoon that I picked up Purba's book. Listening to the sound of raindrops dancing on my window, in no time I found myself lost in the world of love, longing, pain and memories.

"The Heart Listens to No One" is a collection of 35 poems about love. Purba rightly mentions that the heart listens to no one, for it is governed by love. Each poem is like a spice in a spice box, adding its distinct flavour to the dish of love. So, while reading "The Soul Tale", one is reminded of that first magical meeting that transforms the lives of two individuals. "Painting" depicts how love paints the canvas of heart with colours of commitment, care and passion. "kaleidoscope" tells of that moment in love when eyes do the talking and words lose relevance. Reading "Musical Silence", I could imagine myself sitting next to lovers on a starry night, witnessing the music of silence, when feelings are miles ahead of expressions. "A long winter night is all about preserving memories of precious moments. Having retained many sarees worn by my mom, I know how old clothes and characteristic fragrances ring in nostalgia. Being sincere in a relationship also amounts to watering the memories, so they become immortal. For each union, there is also a separation. Time flows like a river, transporting the once inseparable lovers to different shores of life. Often, the separation isn't pleasant (Well, when has separation been good, anyway?). Sometimes, the very same gifts that remind us of the good moments are like thorns pricking us every now and then by their presence. The traces of the burnt days then, have to be wiped out (Traces and fragments).

Since Purba has been wise enough to divided the book into themes (Love, longing, Romance, fond reminisces and separation), one doesn't feel as if reading a book. Lost in the world of love, I felt as if I was a spectator in a theatre, witnessing a romantic play! The beautiful words magically weaved the imageries, like the scenes of a play. 

If you enjoy reading romance, the section "romance" will find a place in your heart; when a mere gaze makes up for love letters and moments spent apart. It is amazing how one can experience the joy of a lifetime in those few moments spent with her beloved. But then, such is the magic of true love!

If you have ever been in love, the book will take you to the magical world, where soul is the boss and love, the only logic. If you are yet to be lucky with love, the poems like raindrops will sprinkle the divinity of love!

Thumbs Up

  • This is Purba's first work that I have read and I am impressed by her ability to express the most intense emotions so effortlessly. 
  • Real beauty lies in less and simple and going by the simple language and short poem format, she has used the simplicity well to her advantage.
  • The poems strike an instant chord with the readers. Some tickle joy when they rekindle memories, while some strike the blow of refreshing unpleasant memories. 
But then, umm...

  • I would have really loved if the cover spoke about love as much as the poems did.

My Rating 

About the author
Purba Chakraborty is the author of two novels “Walking in the streets of love and destiny” (2012) and “The Hidden Letters” (2014). “The Heart Listens to No One” is her first poetry book. She has also contributed her poems and short stories in several anthologies such as “Rhymes and Rhythm”, “Minds @ Work 4”, “Kaafiyana”, “Mélange~ a potpourri of thoughts”, “Fusion~ a mingled flavor mocktail”, “Stories for your Valentine” etc. You can visit her blog to read more of her writings.  

I received a copy of the book from the author for an honest review.

Saturday 20 August 2016

When daughters make us proud

There was something different about today evening. Unlike most Friday evenings when people are busy partying, surprisingly everyone was in a hurry to reach home. The otherwise office cafeteria buzzing with activity during evening snacks saw many no shows as all were trying to wind up early for the day. The reason was NOT a India-Pak ODI match, but a 21 year old playing to win Gold medal for India.

After all, it isn't a usual affair to witness an Indian player qualifying for the Badminton Singles grand finale in "The Olympics!" 

The wait for next pickup in our Uber Pool cab became unbearable for none of us wanted to be late for the historic match. Finally, when the gentleman arrived after a good 6 minute wait, we were ready with our stinking looks. However, as soon as he entered the cab he said, "Bhaiyya, please try to drive fast, for today is a historic day for us...India might win its first Badminton Gold in Olympics!" While the driver gave a helpless smile, our anger vanished, realising the gentleman too was a part of the match frenzy. The otherwise frustrating ride through Mumbai traffic seemed to appear short and interesting as we kept discussing the sport throughout.

What made me happier was the fact that this was one rare occasion when the whole country was biting their nails for a sport other than cricket! Usually our cricketers take away all the limelight, leaving other sportspersons to make their name count by clinching medals. The fact that my favourite sport Badminton was the hot topic of discussion today had me smiling ear to ear. The Euphoria took me back in time when every evening and every holiday meant a longish date with the Badminton racket and Shuttle cock. My bestie and I indulged ourselves to the game for hours, hitting smashes and trying to freeze the game. Angered by their calls being ignored, our moms would drag us home to have meal or finish homework. 

The passion sadly, had a short life. As I entered the crucial 10th standard, all extra curricular activities were sacrificed in the race to qualify for competitive exams, for having a good career meant becoming a doctor or engineer. Not that there weren't sportspersons making the country proud back then. But the occasions were rare. Lack of opportunities, facilities and exposure prevented sports being seen a stable career option back then.

Today when I see the daughters of our country bringing laurels in the field of sports, my happiness seems no bounds. Finally, Indian parents are waking up to recognise sports at par with other career options. The proud families of Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu are a testimony to this fact. Beti bachao and beti padhao are no longer just slogans found in speeches and there are parents who in fact are saying, "beti khilao, medal jitao!" 

Of course, the burden of expectations and stress still shows on these young faces. In today's finale, while Spain's Carolina Marin looked relaxed and all set for the fight, the continuous tensed expressions on the face of PV Sindhu didn't go unnoticed by the commentators. Choosing sports as a full time career option still puts double the pressure to excel vis a vis conventional career options. But then, pioneers are those who take the path less beaten and leave their trail behind!

Congrats Sakshi & PV Sindhu! You haven't just won Olympic medals. You have created history, for a daughter has done what no son has ever done! 

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Book Review - Corpokshetra - Mahabharata in the MBA Yug

Author – Deepak Kaul
Publisher – Westland, BGB
Pages – 124
Price -  Rs. 200

First Impressions

The minute I picked up the book, my eyes were glued to the charming and smiling face of Lord Krishna on the cover. Here's our lord in the modern times, looking dapper in corporate attire! Few things of course changed with the times - the Sudarshan chakra seemed to be replaced with car keys! Soon, my attention went to the familiar figures of Pandavas and Kauravas all set to break each other's heads with cricket bats. Poor Bhishm pitamah too stares helplessly, as Lord Krishna gives a typical "Sab Maya hai' smile! Wow, couldn't wait to get started with this book!

My View
Having read many versions of the Mahabharata, this I must say has by far been the most unique experience. Since childhood, Mahabharata to me meant the epic TV series, grand courtrooms, royal costumes, headgears, horses, chariots, and of course, liberal use of shudh hindi.

I was somewhat in a state of amusement and shock while reading the first few pages. What if I were to tell you that Hastinapur was in fact Hastinapur enterprises, a business conglomerate; Duryodhan was the CEO who was against the Pandavas claiming their equity stakes  in the company; during the 13 year Vanya vaas, the Pandavas were to run a NGO; and Krishna actually owned a consulting firm? Before, you jump on and think I have lost it completely, let me tell you this is the set up of the modern Mahabharata as told in the book. 

For the generation that was born much after the TV serial Mahabharata became popular, Mahabharata is just an epic. To modernise the whole concept by drawing parallels with the corporate world is then a very unique attempt by the author. 

Like a blockbuster movie, the first half impresses us with the Corporate jargons. In fact, I was mostly in splits, appreciating the author's out of the box thinking! 

Picture this -

Krishna dancing on the head of Kaliya Nag, the MD of Yamuna Corp, to relent and set up a co-operative to be run by cowherds
Krishna raising mountains to get Indra, the chairman of Govardhan Ltd., to stop scorching fertile land to set up a cosmetics factory
Duryodhana and Karna discussing the state of affairs over a cup of Starbucks coffee
The battle of Kurukshetra is actually an attempt by Pandavas to reclaim their lost equity stake from the Kauravas through a hostile takeover
Kurukshetra, where the Mahabharata took place was in the fact the largest conference room in the offices of Hastinapur enterprise
Kauravas inviting Pandavas for the historical Poker game over Watsapp!

While I would refrain from revealing more about the book, the above hints are enough to invoke your interest in this interesting book. Throughout the first half I was in awe of the creativity, holding my stomach and laughing throughout the story of Mahabharata in the MBA yug. 

However, it was the battle of Mahabharata that finally woke me up from my comfort for I was beginning to get somewhat confused. We all know the battle of Kurukshetra was the deciding factor, however, whether the fate of Hastinapur Inc was to be decided by boardroom battle, golf match, or cricket was something I was thoroughly confused about. One moment saw Arjun throwing things in the boardroom to avenge the wrongdoings against Abhimanyu, while the other saw Pandavas and Kauravas using sports to decide who shall control Hastinapur Inc. 

Finally, I did what the reader of fiction should do, stopped drawing parallels with the story I knew and enjoyed the story with the fresh mind. By the time I flipped the last page, my heart was shouting "this is entertainment, entertainment, entertainment!" Lol!

I recommend this book for its sheer uniqueness. The apt use of corporate lingo will leave you in splits. 

The book is unique for another reason. Did you know this is a crowd curated book? Bloody Good Book is a unique eBook publishing venture, wherein the aspiring authors are invited to submit their manuscript at The first 3 chapters of their manuscript will be made available to readers, who will read and review them. The top rated and most popular books are reviewed by BGB (eBooks) and Westland (print) editors and considered for publication.

Thumbs Up
Very unique concept
Apt use of corporate jargons
Seasoned with the right amount of humour
I particularly enjoyed reading the afterword for its sheet honesty and recommended readings by the author.

But then, umm...
The Kurukshetra war could have been more realistic than a combination of verbal spats, physical fights, cricket and golf match deciding the fate of a business conglomerate.

My Rating 

This review is for Writers Melon and Westland.

Monday 15 August 2016

Book Review - Panorama - A collection of short stories

Author – Shilpi Chaklanobis
Publisher – Notion Press
Pages – 134
Price -  Rs. 150

First Impressions

I am a big fan of short stories, so the plain cover that revealed nothing about the book could hold my attention for few seconds only. Like a child, I was eager to dive into the world of stories, when these words on the back cover caught my attention...

"Often laced with an element of introspection, the stories are sure to change the way you see the world around you..."

My View
There is something magical about short stories collection that entice the reader in me. Whether I am in a mood to read or not, a short story collection is something that is bound to lift my spirits on a dull day. It was on such a dull, rainy day that Panorama arrived to uplift my mood. 

The stories even though poles apart are weaved with a common thread of emotions. Touching different aspects and emotions of life, each story strikes a chord with the reader's heart. Wok  is a story that speaks of innocence, sacrifice and love. The powerful story of a single mother, her challenges, sacrifices and love for her little one got my eyes moist. If you ever had a pet and you loved "Marley & Me", the story "Peanut" is for you. The devotion towards his master is more important for a pet than his own life, and  this tragic story proves this. "The Thirst" tells the story of a daughter whose thirst for her mother's love blinds her of her own interests. Whether she finally gets the love she's been looking is for you to find out. Sometimes, all it takes is an incident to change our perspective and wash away the mind blocks society has built up and "Selective Secularism" narrates one such incident. "Bribe" introduces  us to the mental tug of war between a father and a husband. The father wants to be his daughter's favourite. But, does the demanding husband understand the silent sacrifices made by his wife? "Forever" is the story of ambitions, love, compromises and revelations. Life doesn't always give us a second chance, especially when it comes to relationships. "The Wait" shakes us with its powerful narrative; a dutiful wife's endless search and hope for the deceitful husband who abandoned her. Her innocence charms and her dutiful nature surprises the readers. A story of devotion, diligence and deceit that shakes our conscience. When a natural calamity strikes, all we do is extend our sympathies and perhaps some donations. However, little do we know the harsh reality of children who have been orphaned in such calamities. "The second Tsunami" is such a heart warming tale of tragedy, hunger, love and survival. Does hunger come above a sister's love for her brother? "The Example" forces us to reconsider the definition of success and achievements. Is real success all about accolades or about making a difference in someone's life? "The Meeting" is a wonderful story that explains the changing dynamics of friendship when money crawls in between. On the land of Sudama and Krishna, will Payal get the same love and recognition from her rich friend Ria as she used to when they both shared the middle class status? Children often fail to notice the sacrifices of their mother, especially when she is a working mother. "Mirage" tells about such a relationship between a mother and daughter. Selfish, busy and a bad wife is all that Khushi thinks of her mother, a single parent, until one day an old cupboard reveals a shocking secret. "Destiny" is a chilling story of beliefs, destiny and the unexplained powers of the universe. Fortune tellers can tell our future but can we change our destiny if we know the impending risk in advance? "The Untimely Death" is a story set in the unforgettable year "1984" when Indira Gandhi's assassination changed the lives of many families overnight. Unaware of the political dynamics that govern the fate of cities, an innocent school girl discovers the world around her totally changed in the wake of 1984 riots. Often, we sacrifice our personal space to feed our ambitions.  In the story, "Before It's Too Late" Arnab discovers the importance of family time after reaching the pinnacle of his career. However, to his surprise, the same family who earlier craved for his presence had conveniently filled the void with materialistic comforts and friends. While money can buy almost everything, can it buy back the precious moments that could have been spent with family? The last story "The Sealed Wish" is a story of love, tragedy and coincidences that challenge a mother who has lost her husband and daughter. 

Powerful and thought provoking, these are the stories of people around us, of their hopes, feelings and circumstances. Each story is refreshingly different from the other, and hints at important lessons life teaches us. 

A brilliant work from a debut author! A perfect book to give you company on a rainy afternoon with a hot cup of chai. 

Hope to see the book made into a motion picture someday....

Thumbs Up

Powerful narrative. Each story strikes an instant connection with the reader.
Versatility of stories.
Writing style that lives up to the standards of a perfect short story.

My Rating - 

About The Author
Shilpi Chaklanobis hails from the beautiful city of Kanpur and has spent the majority of her adult life in Delhi. She currently heads  the Digital Marketing division at an MNC. The amalgamation of her years spent amongst the quiet, calm streets of a small city and the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan like Delhi has lent her a unique perspective towards life. She aims to translate her experience and understanding of human relationships into stories that not only move people but also resonate with them. She believes that the beauty of a story lies within its ability to be interpreted by the reader in the way they desire as is evident from her writing. Apart from writing, she spends her time time devouring books by the dozen. This is her first endeavour as a writer and her writing not only shows promise, but also has a sense of sensitivity that compels you to think about the lives you touch every day.

I received the book from the author for an honest review. You can buy "Panorama" from Flipkart and Amazon

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Introducing li'l one to friends from the sea

Motherhood in itself is a magical experience! To see a little life develop step by step in front of your eyes is a beautiful experience words can't explain. Having recently turned one, my little bundle of joy is now officially a toddler and is all gradually observing the beautiful world around him. Experts say that a child’s brain develops the most in the first five years of his life. As parents, this is the best time to introduce new words into his vocabulary and make him familiar with the surroundings.

Since children have a short attention time span, the best way to teach them something new is by using pictures, stories and songs. They might forget what you try to teach them, but they will forever remember the stories and rhymes. 

So, when I received the #colgatemagicalstories packs, I was more than elated, for these days my little one loves to observe animals and their sounds. While other kids are scared by the shrill barks of the neighbourhood German Shephard, my son jumps and shouts with excitement, as if encouraging his canine buddy. Since I had not yet tried to relate pictures with stories, I was all excited for the experiment!

Soon, I received the 4 special Colgate packs, each with a separate set of magical sea world creatures inside. Since my little one is too small for art and craft, I took the lead with the cut out. I was impressed with the focus on “learn and fun” in the packs. For starters, the packs had instructions simple enough for the kids to follow. The packs even suggested the kids to take the help of elders, to avoid any mishap.

What impressed me even more was the little information about each creature that truly lived up to the “learn and fun” spirit.

Did you know these amazing facts about life under the sea?

  • Octopus has three hearts and can change its colour quickly
  • Puffer fish defends itself by filling its stomach with water
  • Killer whale is the largest member of the dolphin family
  • Sea turtles can grow upto 300kg in weight

Well, I for sure didn't know all this.

As soon as I opened the packs, I was I went back to my childhood, remembering my favourite cartoon The Little Mermaid!  Waiting to befriend my little one in the pack was the Dolphin, Parrot, Sting Ray, Whale, Pirate, sea turtle, sea horse, lion fish, barracuda, sharks, crabs, mermaid, star fish and Octopus! Quickly, I prepared the cut outs using the simple to manage cardboard stands provided in the pack itself, and we were all set for the #colgatemagicalstories.

My little one is too young to understand stories, but loves music and rhymes. So, I prepared a small jingle to introduce each character from the story.

Here’s a li’l jingle I sang to him - 

Welcome my friends from the sea,
Thanks for coming to meet me,

Shark, whale, dolphin, star fish
All the fishes make a wish

Blackbeard’s treasure is tough to find
But Sadie will be helpful and kind

Parrot’s talks gives company
Crab dances very funny

Looking at Octopus shark and whale
The pirate feared and turned pale

But then came the pretty mermaid
To the lost pirate’s aid

Together the treasure they found
And then headed to the happy sound

In castle their friends laughed and played
In the magical world, they happily stayed

This is a sponsored post. Discover the magical world of sea with the special #colgatemagicalstories packs.