Friday, December 6, 2013

Live Coverage: Penguin Annual Lecture By Amitabh Bachchan On 29th Nov 2013

I cannot compare my post with this one that has been written so well with audio and video coverage. :)

It was a privilege to attend an event with Amitabh Bachchan as a part of the event. Amazing were the moments when I got an invite from Penguin group to attend Annual Lecture event for which the lecture was to be delivered by none other than the great Amitabh Bachchan. It was organized at Thyagraj Stadium. The event had to start at 8 pm, and was scheduled finish was 9.30 pm.

Entries were to be closed at 7.30 pm and it was a fight to reach at the venue, driving there for the first time and not knowing the exact location. As usual, few guys responded by giving wrong direction when asked them for it, probably they felt proud in telling any direction even if they didn't know the exact location. Anyhow reached at the location in time after facing all kind of wrong direction, heavy traffic and parking issues. Finally was inside to witness a great personality and to drink his words in real, for the first time, and that too, along with my family.

His words are magical. He himself is a calm ocean with huge amount of intellectual gems in himself. I am sure when he started speaking, each of his word was absorbed by each of the audience in the hall. His flawless, clear and weighty lecture was about himself, his films, his father, his father's work, his family, his father's work and his social goals. He emphasized on girl child education and freedom towards choosing her career/ future.

It was amazing to witness Amitabh Bachchan, his lecture, and his discussion hosted by another great journalist Rajdeep Sardesai - Editor-in-chief of IBN18 Network.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: Chained - Can You Escape Fate: Mehek Bassi

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

Book Review: Chained - Can You Escape Fate: Mehek Bassi

Chained Can You Escape Fate? is a composite of two extremities of human - life and death - life comes in the form of love, where we find 3 love stories in this debut entry by Mehek Bassi. Death comes in the form of 4 murders. The story is about Shiya and Arjun, and Shiya's family members. Shiya belongs to a rich family with her father being a successful and always busy businessman. Her mother is equally busy in her parties and social meetings.

Shiya desires to become an establishes singer when she begins her college life but finds herself very lonely in her family. She gets attracted to Arjun and starts loving him. The book has a lot of questions arising from time to time as you go through it and gradually there would be astonishing answers to those questions.

Overall an interesting read.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Prelude: Ajaya: Anand Neelakantan: Releasing Dec 1, 2013

Ajaya: Epic of Kaurava Clan – Book 1 – Roll of Dice is the recent completed fiction by Anand Neelakantan. It is based on the most popular Indian Mythological Epic Mahabharata. It is scheduled to be released on December 1, 2013. A year before Anand had come out with his debut magical fiction based on another most popular Indian mythological epic Ramayana. The basic factor that differentiates both these books from a lot of other work already published on both these Indian Mythological epics – Mahabharata and Ramayana is that Anand has done a lot of reaserch on both the subjects before writing his work.

Another big differerence that both these books carry from other work done on Ramayana and Mahabharata is that Anand (probably it is happenign for the first time) has dared to take the main villain or anti-hero who got defeated from the two respective heroes. Ravana in Ramanyana was killed by Rama at the end of 10 days war between the armies of the two – the king of Lanka and the king of Ayodhaya. So in his first book titled as Asura – Tale of theVanquished – the Story of Ravana and his People by Anand Neelakantan has taken Ravana as a lead and for the first time, Ramayana, has been retold in context of Ravana, as per Ravana’s perspective.

The same has happened in the second book Ajaya: Epic of Kaurava Clan – Book 1 – Roll of Dice by Anand. Duryodhana, the most cruel, wicked and eldest of Kauravas has been taken in the lead and the retelleing of Mahabharata has happened in this book as per his perspective. It is going to be as engrossing and interesting read as Anand’s first book.
Anand Neelakantan’s First Book celebrating
its first Anniversary

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: Tall Man Small Shadow: A Game of Coincidences

Tall Man Small Shadow written by Vipin Behari Goyal is a debut novel from the writer but not his first published work. Prior to this he has two good books to his credit. He has written a useful travel handbook on "TirthRaj Pushkar" which is about a holy place in Ajmer district in Rajasthan, India. After that Vipin wrote a poetry book in Hindi Tej Dhoop Ka Safar. And now his third work is a love story woven in a very different style in fiction genre. Vipin has also an award winning short film Mines are Mineto his credits.

The cover of Tall Man Small Shadow is quite neat and matches well with the theme of story. A tall male straight standing shadow in black with a small shadow of a female standing with a style. Best part of this  book is multi-narrative style. Each character narrates his/ her own experience as the story goes along. The main characters of this story are Aalya and Salil who are young living in neighborhood. Aalya is the only daughter of Anupam and Sulekha. Aalya is doing her research under her guide Seema. Salil lives alone in the same vicinity where Aalya lives with her parents. Characterization is quite strongly done by Vipin.

Salil in his college days fell in love with Nasrin who was the most beautiful girl in the college. Salil is quite serious, introvert and studious kind of guy. This love, being inter caste is not well taken by Nasrin's parents and she is forced to marry with her cousin by her parents. This gives a jolt of his life to Salil who goes into deep depression and tries to attempt suicide by taking overdose of sleeping pills. But he survives due to timely medical attention. Though he could not comes back to normal even after his survival, but his life goes on as he joins a job after that.

Aalya's mother Sulekha is quite active on social networks and uses internet to connect to people of her choice to drive the story of Tall Man Small Shadow. Sulekha's husband Anupam is having a good hold in society, bearing a good amount of influence of top brass of the city. Seema's husband Paul is a well known figure in the world of Arts being a Drama writer and director. Paul and Seema, though are married for long, are childless and have some differences between them, and appear a good couple to external world around them. Aalya gets attracted to Salil and they get married with the blessings of both their parent's consent and blessings.

The story has a number of twists that keep interest alive throughout. Eventually story has two strong factors that keep it alive right since beginning till end. First is the narrative style of writing by Vipin where each character has his own chance to narrate story in its own voice. Second is the number of twists woven in the story that keeps it alive and interesting throughout.

Regarding 'characterization' of the characters of this story, there was no need to show some characters, and that too the main ones, as shabby by highlighting their dark side. 'Character' of a character of a story or a novel  totally depends on the writer of that story as he is the sole creator of them. In my opinion there was no need to show Seema and Aalya as lesbians and even at some moment of time in the story, Aalya's mother, Sulekha, vetting for it. The story would have gone well in the same manner, even without this part. At some moment of time reader might get hurt by the 'looseness' of Salil (when he has sex with Nasreen after she getting married to someone else), Aalya falling pray to Seema's pull due to being lesbian, Seema herself being so successful in her carrier and being lesbian etc.

Overall Tall Man Small Shadow is an interesting read. The last twist in the story is a Pandora box for the readers of this book.  

Book Review: The Guardian Angels: A Must Read Love Story That Goes Beyond Love

Rohit Gore is a brilliant writer with lots of clarity in his mind the way he takes care of all aspects of writing - story, conceptualization, characterization, streaming, and so on. The Guardian Angels is the fourth book written by Rohit Gore. His earlier books have been well acclaimed with each book adding more fanfare and readers to the extent of the manifold. His third book Circle of Three was a kind of blockbuster. All his books have been well acclaimed by critics and reviewers. Rohit seems to be an intense thinker and quick conceptualization capabilities but when he pens down his thoughts, it flows flawlessly. His writing style is seductive that engrosses reader to its core and keeps carrying along with the story by holding his hand and gripping his mind.

It will not be possible to translate the satisfaction and good feelings that you get while and after reading this book, but if you like philosophical, fiction and love story books, this is for you. You get a calm and soothing touch while reading The Guardian Angels. The story starts in July 1993 when Adi, the lead male character 
was just 12 and was being beaten to the extent of worse by a gang of three buffoons of his school with no crime from his side. The first encounter of Adi and the lead female character Radha, who is also 12 and has joined Adi's school recently, happens during this encounter when Adi is being thrashed up badly and Radha saves her from those buffoons. And there starts a deep, angelic relationship between Adi and Radha. The story of The Guardian Angels, that starts when Adi and Radha are 12, goes till when they reach their early thirties (July 1993 - July 2012).

There are so many ups and downs in the story of The Guardian Angels in the life of Adi and Radha. But every time when either of them gets into trouble, another one comes as a savior. There is a deep, never dying bonding that occurs between Adi and Radha though both of them belonged to two different planets in all aspects except one - their faith, trust, love, and care for each other. In this intense story, you get so engrossed that while reading, you feel the pain behind the smile of Adi, you get hurt when Radha gets hurt, you laugh when they both laugh, you become tense when either of them becomes tense, you will hit by severe circumstances when it happens to either of them. So don't bother if you find yourself smiling at times, or get the corners of your eyes wet; while reading this book.

The Guardian Angels by Rohit Gore carries a touch of the writing style of Maxim Gorky and philosophical writing style of Ayn Rand.

Book Review: Shades of Shadows: Shades of White, Red and Grey in Life

Shades of Shadow by Pushpam Singh is a uniquely different concept of presenting romance. This is a fiction/ romance genre book written in a philosophical manner. As per author there is a shadow embodied to each soul, and in turn, each of this shadow connected to an individual soul has a shade of its own. Every shade, in turn, is having its own unique spirit. Focus in this book is on individual entity, uniqueness accompanying an individual and thus growing into a unique spirit in turn.

Kausar is the place where life began on earth where nature is playing in different forms in full blow. With changing colors of nature and it's becoming more lively, a sweet encounter happens between Kavi and Kavya, uncovering the seed of love between the two. Shades of Shadow by Pushpam Singh is a story of love, hope, and passion arising out of dull and sad moments of life thereby giving it a new transformed shape. The story takes you on a poetic journey of love between Kavi and Kavya.

The cover is simple but symbolic and significantly thematic matching with the description of Kausar, a place where love inculcates between Kavi and Kavya when nature is at its bloom. There have been different colors presented related to life in this book. Credit goes to Pushpam Singh for using both prose and poetry and thus making this love story presented in a unique manner. White, Red, and Grey colors are used as different parts of this book, presenting the beginning of love, peak of love and separation respectively. And finally, you will find the color of red back after many twists and turns in the story of Kavi and Kavya.

Pushpam Singh is an engineer by profession but is 100% poet by heart. You can read different moods of poems in Shades of Shadow when you walk through different streams of life. Overall it might not be everyone's cup of tea due to some very basic factors. First, the writing style though is quite unique but is not very appealing to the heart of the reader. It appears more like a sophisticated, beautiful showpiece. Second, it is a love story, that too a mild kind, in a very hypothetical and imaginary scenario. Overall I would give it 3 out of 5.

Book Review: Reading a Writers Mind By Linda Acaster: A Must Read For Any Genre Serious Writer

Reading a Writer's Mind: Exploring Short Fiction - First Thought to Finished Story by Linda Acaster is a must read for any genre of any level of writer. For any level of the writer because even if you as a writer have attained a 'near to perfection' state, this book will still give you a new thrust in your writing. This book takes care guiding a budding or rookie writer to a matured writer right from the inception of idea towards building a story in a structured manner.

Reading a Writer's Mind by Linda Acaster is not a theoretical guide that will bore you while reading. It is a uniquely written practical guide that will keep you engaged throughout, chapter after chapter. The book helps you right through conceptualization to story building to excellent writing that enables you to create a binding between you as a writer and your readers. This book has a dedicated chapter for each of the genre - Mainstream, Horror, Fiction, Romance, Drama, Crime, Fantasy, and Historical. The author Linda Acaster is herself is an established writer of more than 70 short stories and five successful novels. In a way, Linda has covered almost all genres in her stories and novels.

In this book, an aspiring writer will learn different technicalities required for writing and influencing readers. Learning about how a story is to be built from a character, how to use tone as a tool for description, how to build interrogative ideas so as to engage readers and so on. Linda's stories have been used as examples in the chapters of this fantastic book. Reading a Writer's Mind by Linda Acaster is definitely going to be helpful for aspiring and budding writers, and will be useful for expert writers to sharpen their weapons. Linda has been a successful Tutor, Trainer and Reader in this field with top institutions.

Book Review: Never Mind Yaar by K Mathur: 3 Friends, Poor-Rich Love, Communal Issues And Mumbai

Years back we had management training with a theme – how does it matter. Never Mind Yaar by K.Mathur is almost on the same lines in this debut attempt in fiction genre. Mathur has taken four youth in a college environment to project her plot. Lead characters in Never Mind Yaar are Binaifer Desai, Louella D’Costa, and Shalini Dayal. All are the new entrants to first year in Mumbai’s prestigious and one of the oldest college - Gyan Shakti College. Binnaifer and Louella get surprised and happy to see each other in the college on its opening day, as both had done their studies in the same school. Both of them had a small interaction with one of the most beautiful entrant in the same class – Shalini. The fourth main character in Never Mind Yaar is Bhagu – a student activist who falls in for Shalini having love at first sight.

The story of Never Mind Yaar is about Mumbai having a big heart to absorb different cultures within its heart with same love and warmth. Shalini belongs to a Hindu family, Louella is from a Christian family and Binnaifer belongs to a Parsi family. Having so many cultures in Mumbai is a drawback too, as it becomes culture and religion sensitive thereby giving space to conservatives and modern both together. As far as good part is concerned, reader gets an insight of various cultures (Hindu, Parsis and Christians in this case). This 214 pages novel is about the friendship of three girls and love in between Shalini and Bhagu. Bhagu is a student activist who is very clear in his mind about the current situation of the country and how youth can play a positive role in handling this situation and holding them becoming worse.

If you are able to cross the initial hurdle of 40-50 pages which are very slow and less constructive, you will start liking the story as it gradually moves on further. Bhagu falling in love with Shalini who belongs to an economically high stature family, faces a real life hurdle with a constraint of Shalini’s family not accepting this relationship. Shalini’s grandmother Mem is a good entry in the story. The later part of  Never Mind Yaar becomes more interesting and you would like to check the end of this story. Author has tried to touch economical differences and political & communal scenario that has large impact on personal life of each individual of out country.

There are many shortfalls in this book. As far as cover ofNever Mind Yaar is concerned, it is very basic, simple and comical – overall not too impressive and eye catching.  Another drawback of this book is the too small font size that is painful to eyes and becomes a major factor to mar interest of the reader. Third drawback is the style of writing of K. Mathur. It is not at all connecting to its readers and gives an impression that it is a text book. The content looks to elaborative and extrapolated that it clearly seems the constraint writer had in mind to overcome the minimum words limit to complete a novel. That makes it a very slow read and probably becomes a burden for reader to carry on with boring parts of the story. 

Book Review: High Expectations Are The Key To Everything: Be Self Motivated

High Expectations Are The Key To Everything by Michael Bergdahl is a fantastic self booster and motivational guide. Michael worked at Walmart Headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, as Director of “People” and was reporting directly to the Founder of Walmart, Sam Walton. Sam Walton has been a big inspiration in Michael’s life and has influenced him in many ways. Michael is known to possess an authority over the best practices of Walmart and Sam Walton. Currently Michael is a Professional International Speaker and has visited to many countries across the globe. He is engaged with many big global corporate. Michael says for writing High Expectations Are The Key To Everything, his main source of ideas, insights and inspiration has been Sheryl Bergdahl, his wife.

As per Michael it is nobody else that stops us to set higher standards and achieve higher in life, but ourselves. Challenges are there in everybody’s life. Some build courage to cross all hurdles and achieve success whereas others get discouraged by the obstacles in their life and get drifted away from success even if both start with same resources and get same opportunities. There are total 6 keys to success described in this book by Michael by setting higher expectations from yourself to get all round success. You need to set your vision and purpose with a commitment to yourself to move to your goals with passion.

Next key is – you can control your own destiny and achieve success in life but with some gem like mantras – having focused and disciplined approach towards your goals, hard rock determination, and you will have to sacrifice something in your life to achieve something much bigger; with an ability to adopt change with the changing environment.

Overall this is a must read for anyone aspiring for following a tougher path to achieve big results in life.