Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thoughtfully Written Poems - Wake Up Oh! Indian Wake Up Please - Book Review

When I first checked the cover of "Wake Up Oh! Indian Wake Up Please" I thought the book would be based on the political situation in India. But the blurb of the book made it clear, from the blurb I got to know that the book is dedicated to the ground issues that India faces India. It took me not more than 3 days to finish this book. 


Book Blurb
A collection of easy to read understand, book of inspirational poetry on India that you can enjoy, mull over, reflecting the everyday reality and solutions. Not long ago, it took blood, sweat, tears & countless sacrifices to achieve freedom enabling us to manage our own affairs. But, haphazard planning, gross mismanagement, lack of genuine accountability, corruption, cronyism, nepotism, lack of a uniform education system, bending rules, and the bribing, have become a part of our everyday reality. This is endured silently by the faceless millions and are slowly & steadily becoming the accepted norm. Introspection without justifications and the ability to swallow one’s pride and pretensions can help one comprehend our reality of today, and also realize that it is possible to cure our present state of affairs. Here is a sample of book of inspirational poetry Garbage bins are not maintained With litter, scattered all around Civic sense we seem to have lost Because most, to it, are blind. We must re-educate our people The only way to achieve our goal We must do it ourselves Our efforts are required, not dole. Will we remain as one? To rebuild and fix our land And maintain what we rebuild To be proud of where we stand.
"Wake Up Oh! Indian Wake Up Please" is a collection of poems that inspire, involve the reader with it's use of simple words elegantly written. Each dedicated to a major issue affecting India. Covered issues: poverty, education, sanitation, communal violence, poverty, corruption, politics, transportation, infrastructure, employment, etc. Forty poems, each start with a depiction of the current condition of the said topic, followed by an appeal by the author to the general public to become aware of the situation. The poems aim to raise awareness and patriotism from children to adults.

Frankly speaking, we all are aware of these situations, but we are so used to them that we take it as just part of our life. We understand the gravity of the situation when it happens with us like in case of corruption, violence, etc. Sometimes we see the stark contrast between our culture and other countries' when we visit them, in terms of infrastructure, sanitation, cleanliness, etc. It is not that we don't have a system for it, but stakeholders are not active. Even we don't consider ourselves as active participants. We always think such things won't matter, and that's what the author has pointed out. Readout poems yourself to get the feel.

Coming to the working style, it is plain and to the point. Language usage is simple. The author has concentrated on message delivery than impressing readers by flaunting words.

I would give 4.25 out of 5 for this wonderful work.

Book links - Amazon & Goodreads

Friday, November 8, 2019

Healthy Dog, Happy You: Secrets to a Thriving Life with Your Best Companion by Dr Juliet Decaestecker

Neither my family nor I have ever taken any pet under shelter and we do not believe in adopting and caging one. But that doesn’t mean I cannot read a book on how to raise a healthy pet if my kid decides to take one in the future. When Dr. Juliet Decaesteckere to two reasons, attractive cover and proper blurb of the book.


Book Blurb
India, a land of over 1.3 billion people is also home to many dogs and pet parents. After three years of being in India and having travelled all over the world, Dr. Juliet Decaestecker believes that creating awareness is key to prevent disease. India can be an ideal place to raise dogs, if you apply Dr. Juliet’s 5 secrets, as the country has a rich history, culture, food and medicine. With her expertise in both Traditional medicines and allopathy, this integrative veterinarian discusses good practices that will help you raise healthy and happy dogs
As Dr. Juliet has worked as a Vet for more than 15 years with multiple specialties she has seen the dog’s world with a completely new perspective. You might have come across people who treat various ailments without medicines but by changing daily diet or lifestyle. Dr. Juliet is the same kind of practitioner who believes in Naturopathy & lifestyle habits than medicine. Each chapter or topic she has covered in the book will be a real eye-opener for owners. Let me give you an example, I have heard that if you are pure vegetarian and want to feed your pets only veg food don’t adopt one. The author has mentioned the same with proper reasoning. On top of it, she has also shared that the way we avoid our kids to have excessive packaged foods, we should follow it for dogs. The chapter that touched me is about street dogs, since our childhood, we have been taught to stay away from street dogs to avoid bites. The author has explained possible scientific reasons for both sided behavior. (As I had been bitten by a dog in past, the explanation seems logical to me). The book not just discussed dietary & lifestyle habits, it has also discussed the way pets can be beneficial to their owners, by making bond on physical, mental & psychological level.

The book shows the author’s authority or knowledge of the subject. Her experience as a vet & a dog owner is really visible when she has discussed various topics with proper real-life examples & scientific background. Pictures that she has shared from her life (related to dogs) make reading lively. Her writing style is simple & straight. Though the book falls under self-help, you won't feel bored while reading it. If I being non-pet lover can read the book with great interest then I believe pet lover/parents may find it helpful.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Overall - 3.75/5
Book can be found at Amazon - Paperback  & Kindle
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Book Review - First Installment of The Aryavarta Chronicles - Govinda by Krishna Udayasankar

I think I have shared earlier in the review of Beast by Krishna Udayasankar, but let me share it again. I have bought Govinda by Krishna along with Auth of Vayuputra when Vayuputra was released. But I read Govinda much later (in 2015). And by the time I decided to buy the next two parts of the series they were out of the shelf. So I didn't get a chance to read the 2nd & 3rd part. Recently I saw a post by Krishna that the Govinda series along with Immortal are adopted by Penguin India and they are re-published. And as a Diwali gift, we were provided copies of the first part of Govinda & Immortal in exchange for an honest review. As Govinda is the same as the previous copy I bought, I went through the book to revise important points that can be covered in the review.


Before I go to plot discussion, let me give you a brief comparison of two editions.
  • Cover - Though both editions are paperbacks, the first edition cover was more elegant than the latest one. :)
  • Page - I think yellowish pages with a golden look of the title was giving regal look to the first edition. The latest edition is having proper paperbacks look.
  • Font settings - Here the latest edition has won the race, where the first edition has smaller fonts this edition has adequate sized fonts for the better reading experience.
Well, the first edition is no longer available, so you don't have a choice to select an edition of your likings. But I have both editions, so I gave details as per my experience.

Book Blurb
Aryavarta – the ancient realm of the noble.
For generations, the Firstborn dynasty of scholar-sages, descendants of Vasishta Varuni and protectors of the Divine Order on earth, has dominated here. For just as long, the Angirasa family of Firewrights, weapon-makers to the kings and master inventors, has defied them. In the aftermath of the centuries-long conflict between the two orders, the once-united empire of Aryavarta lies splintered, a shadow of its former glorious self.
Now, the last Secret Keeper of the Firewrights is dead, killed by a violent hand, and the battle for supreme power in the empire is about to begin.
As mighty powers hurtle towards a bloody conflict, Govinda Shauri, cowherd-turned-prince and now Commander of the armies of Dwaraka, must use all his cunning to counter deception and treachery if he is to protect his people and those whom he loves.
But who holds the key to the fantastic and startling knowledge of the Firewrights, which in the wrong hands will bring doom upon the empire? And does Govinda have it in him to confront the dark secrets of his past and discover the true meaning of being Arya, of being noble?
As name suggests the main character of our story is Govinda Saury, a cowherd who became general of Dwarka's military. The next main character is Panchali, princess of Panchala. And as it is the story of Mahabharata all major characters of actual Mahabharata play a major/minor role in this book as well. To bring a unique angle to the story, the author has shown the world with mere mortal without any divine powers. Aryavarta, as we know today, was led by firstborns sages & his followers through kings & lords. But way before that time, another entity had given a tough time to firstborns and they were known as Firewrights, a clan/group of people who work on machines, weaponry & alchemy. But they were almost wiped off by firstborns & kings. The book starts with the death of Ghora Angisara, the last known Firewrites of Mahabharata time. With his death, a bigger plan of powerful people brought into a crumble. On another side, a cowherd Gopala took it on himself to bring Pandava to the front runners of Aryavarta. Pandava, five brothers, who themselves were not sure of their heritage due to mystery behind their birth, were supported by Govinda achieved many unreachable targets which they may not be able to if Govinda was not present with them. They got a marriage alliance with Panchala, Dwarika; they decimated the Khandavprasth forest with its secrets to start a new kingdom, they killed and subdued the mighty Jarasandha & his kingdom Magadha; and finally able to hold Rajsuya Yagya. Panchali witnessed all means Govinda took to achieve this, for which her husband & his brothers didn't protest even once.

As the already mentioned concept is unique and so was the delivery of the content. Unlike Amish Tripath or Anand Neelkanthan, Krishna's writing style is more lavish. You will get a good amount of description to enhance your experience. It is up to you to decide whether you are okay with lengthy narrations or not. Coming to the content part, I have just read part one, but Mahabharata is vast and writing story till Rajsuya in just first part in around 400 pages, which I found a little bit fast. She might have taken it slowly. Having said that, there are places where the pace of the story was medium, and there are places where the pace was fast enough to keep turning pages. I found a few factual things misplaced, apart from that a nice read.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5 (for latest one)
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Content - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, October 25, 2019

Retelling of Mahabharata - Heroes of Wars - Men from the Future by Virat Vilas Pawar - A Book Review

I have read many versions of Mahabharata. But Sci-fi was the first of its kind for me. Well, I have read a version where gods were shown as an advanced/technological race but Pandavas from the future, that was a completely new concept for me. So whatever blurb conveyed I was impressed, and I did not let the opportunity go. Here I am to give you a review of "Heroes of War" by Virat Pawar.


Book Blurb
Inspired by the greatest epic the world has ever known comes the dystopian sci-fi thriller "Heroes of War".
Where a God from the past travels to the future, to ask for a favor from its own final incarnation.
Summoning 5 Super Warriors from the future, to win a war that could forever change the course of history.
A War against 100 Princes; Inspired by the greatest epic the world has ever known comes the dystopian sci-fi thriller "Heroes of War".
Where a God from the past travels to the future, to ask for a favor from its own final incarnation.
Summoning 5 Super Warriors from the future, to win a war that could forever change the course of history.
A War against 100 Princes;
A War against Adharma.
It is the beginning of a war; anachronistic-technology against the primitive.
Primitive beings who know more than fighting with just weapons
Before I discuss the plot, let me tell you the author has taken the liberty of his imaginations. He has used the background of Mahabharata but at the same time, he has combined his creativity to bring this saga. To make sure people's feelings don't get hurt, the author has not used the exact lineage concept or even names. He has renamed characters & places, they are close enough to relate though.

So let me tell you how different things are, the story started when Kison (from Dwapara Yuga from Prithvi) observed the disastrous end of the great war. He went to the future and asked the help of Kalki to give her the best five men to his aid. Five best warriors of F.A.T.E. were selected for this mission. These warriors were: Yudhraj, Bheem, Arjun, Deva, Nakul. Each having their unique traits & history. They were under impression that mission would be a small & short one as it belonged to the bronze age era. When they reached their destination (after distance & time travel) they were welcomed by a bluish skinned Kison. They were under impression that they were invincible. But their assumption was proved wrong when Kison checked their capability. With their full strength when they attacked Kison together, they were beater like Kison was playing with dolls. Later on, Kison explained to them their mission, not in detail but just outlined or I would say only partial one. They were to defeat adversaries of that time Diyohana & his 99 brothers, who were born by evil methods. Kison made Yudhraj & his team challenge Diyohan just before Diyohan's ascendance to the throne. It was during these challenges that the traits of each member of Yudhraj's team were shown. When Diyohan & his counsel thought they cannot defeat challengers in a fair fight they took help of Chausar (Dice Game). With their sinister plan of mind game would they be able to counter future warriors. Also, these future warriors found their trainers Bhishmaji & Dronaji in a completely different situation, what were they doing in his pre-historic era? To know more I recommend you grab your copy.

Well, while reading the book the title was in my mind, and there was no indication of whether this is the first installment or single book, so I was confused about how Virat will give justice to the epic Mahabharata in just 250 pages. I was relieved to see "To Be Continued" at the end. And the author has ended a series on a high tone. Coming to personal observations about the book
  1. The proper thought process has been given. I didn't find any glitches in the plot.
  2. I know we have read /watched Mahabharata, so we usually feel that we know what is going to happen next. And for the author, it is challenging to write something on the same plot and still deliver unexpected twists & turns throughout the book. Virat has done a commendable job.
  3. Nice knitting of characters & plots of future & Mahabharata era.
  4. Character building - Many authors focus on the plot so much that their main character plays the only role as per plot. But you need to give extra space to the character to build their say in your story. Especially each member of Yudhraj's team was shown with proper background and traits. Again a nice job.
  5. Reading experience - You need a fast pace, easy to cope with language & to the point story for a concept like this. If you divert from this you may miss the bus. I feel Virat has done a good job but building excitement at full pace.
  6. Wonderful artwork - You may visualize each major-minor character by the description given by the author. Or you can simply check them in drawing given throughout the book. I liked them.
  7. Cover of the book - I know I have just praised artwork, but the cover needs more than just character. I feel it could have been better.
Overall a nice read for YA, millennials, Mythology and/or Scifi lovers.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Character - 4/5
  4. Content - 4/5
  5. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, October 17, 2019

HDFC Bank 2.0 by Tamal Bandyopadhyay

During one of my electives (corporate strategy) in NITIE Mumbai, we were taught by visiting faculty how technology usage (mind its usage, not availability) had changed two banking entities in the private sector. Faculty told us that government banks had computers way before ICICI & HDFC banks had. But they used IT only for record-keeping. The utilization of computers in Indian banking was done by these two giants which had brought government banks in the current state from their earlier "Jamai babu" attitude. I was fascinated by that fact. And ever since I wanted to read a proper case or book on such transition. And this book gave me that opportunity. So here I am discussing the book on the success story of HDFC 2.0.


I thought the book/story narration might have started from the age-old method driven banks. But it started with Aditya Puri's visit to silicon valley and what he had gauged from the visit. From there book switches between different timelines of bank covering how in the last 25 years Aditya & his team have leveraged technology & innovation to achieve new heights of success. In the Indian market, where people don't trust private banks, it was an extraordinary journey for the bank to give tough competition to public sector banks. If you have an educational & business mind, you will find many important lessons to implement them for your business.

Now coming to the writing style of the book
  • Language is easy
  • Flow is haphazard. A proper flow could have made the book more interesting
  • Every case is supported with proper reasoning & practical implementation by Puri & team
  • As the book is nonfiction you will find a certain percentage of writing covering people who helped Aditya achieve the dream bank
  • Covers not just IT implementations but marketing, finance, human resource, etc.
The book has an attractive cover & prompt title. If you are a management guy and/or savvy, you should read it.

Ratings

  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3/5
  3. Overall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review - Venus with a P*nis - A Tale of Love, Sacrifice and Betrayal

I don't need a reason to explain why I selected this book. It's the catchy name and attractive cover page was more than enough to add "Venus with a P*nis - A Tale of Love, Sacrifice and Betrayal" by Almas Hussain in my collection. And I am happy that I selected the book. 


Book Blurb
Meet Rajan, the irresponsible younger son in a family of doctors. He’s reckless. He’s rebellious. And he’s dressing up like a woman these days.

No. He’s not a cross-dresser. Nor is he transgender. He thinks he’s a murderer. It all begins with a mother-to-be dying on the young gynaecologist’s watch. And to atone for her death, he banishes himself to the boondocks.
He arrives at the remote village of Kaatgram, where pregnant women have been dying left, right and centre. But the Kaatgrami men are not about to send their women to a male gynaecologist. So Rajan does the next best thing—he disguises himself as a lady doctor.
Rajan feels it is okay to deceive the people about his gender, so long as he gets to save their lives. Damini, the local MLA’s daughter, supports him in his dream of setting up a maternity clinic in their village. Rajan falls for her. But she doesn’t even know he’s a man.
Will Rajan manage to woo his sweetheart and marry her? Or will the villagers tear him to pieces when they find out that their lady doctor is actually a man?
As suggested in the blurb, the story covers problems existing in rural India, where primary medical help is not available. Due to a lack of medical facilities 1 out of 10 pregnancy fails with the death of either mother or child. The protagonist of our story is Rajan, a gynecologist who hailed from a well-known gynecologist family. His careless & womanizer traits had kept him away from his family managed the clinic. An accident or carelessness from the Rajan side resulted in the death of a mother & her child. That lady's two girls were abandoned by her family. Guilty stricken Rajan had taken it seriously and taken two girls under his parenthood. That was just the tip of the iceberg, that incident had changed everything. Rajan has started taking things seriously. He came to know the situation of women in Rural India, how lack of female gynecologists endangering the lives of women. He thought about the solution, and when he cannot find the solution outside, he thought of doing something out of the box. He decided to crossdress and pretend as a woman for a greater cause. But what will happen when this pretending woman met another woman in the village and end up having feelings for her. Read this super funny story to know more.

I have read many comedy styles but this has touched my heart. With social message & comedy sequences, this book has delivered stories that of Ayushman Khurana's movies. Good points about the book
  • Full to funny
  • Entertaining social story
  • Easy language usage
  • Straight narration style
  • Characters with reasoning
  • Cover & title
  • New concept
Ratings
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Book Review - Nobody’s Child by Kanchana Banerjee

I am a Twitter follower of Kanchana Banerjee for the last 2 years. I liked her bookish status and updates. Ever since she has published a scary cover photo of "Nobody’s Child", it has left an imprint on my bookish mind. I would like to thank Writersmelon for giving me a chance to drench my curiosity. 


Book blurb
I’m Asavri Bhattacharya. I won the Indian Koel 3 years ago.’
A young woman, dazed, covered in wounds, mind addled by drugs tells a TV journalist on the streets of Mumbai. Soon she breaks into a song, leaving everyone mesmerized by her melodious voice.
How can she be Asavri? Asavri died in a car accident 3 years ago, soon after her win. Her body was cremated; her death mourned by the whole nation. Is the woman an imposter or is she telling the truth?
News spreads like wildfire, the press and public begin clamouring for answers. If this is indeed the real Asavri, then who was cremated three years ago? And who is responsible for these macabre circumstances? Is it Tanya, the first runner-up who wore the victor’s crown after Asavri was declared dead, or Rudra – Asavri’s ex-husband? Or is it Kamini Devi – the glamorous MP with a sinister plan? Or Avniel – the film journalist – who shot to fame by writing Asavri’s biography soon after her death?
The main characters of our story are
Asavri Bhattacharya - Winner of Indian Koel reality show.
  • Avniel - A flop journalist who got into writing and became a bestselling author overnight. 
  • Kamini Pratap Singh - A business tycoon turned politician who's daughter was second in Indian Koel and crowned first after Asavri was declared dead.
The story started when Asavri who was declared dead 2 years back suddenly came on the news. The malnourished and abused lady that police and news channel found was in critical condition. But shocking part was her physical and mental condition which made Avinel find out culprit who did this to Asavri and punish them. The person who was most benefited due to Asavri's death was Kamini and her daughter. So are they involved in the case? Check out the book to know more.

Good points
  • A unique narration style
  • Thriller and suspense are nail-biting.
  • A new concept to read
  • The amalgamation of multiple facets of human nature
  • The complex and dark character of Kamini
Could be better - Lengthy description. Well, the description is needed but certain sections, especially those where interest quotient was building up and description brought it down.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Characters - 4/5
  3. Concept - 4.5/5
  4. Content - 3.5/5
  5. Overall - 3.75/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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