Monday, 28 December 2015

Star Wars Baby Shower

When HP announced that they are coming up with  the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook I couldn't wait to lay my hands upon it. Till then I decided to use my imagination and decide how the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook could bring out my fun side. To begin with the HP Star WarsTM Special Edition Notebook is preloaded with  wallpapers, screen savers and original trilogy storyboards from the Star Wars archives. Now that is a real treasure, isn't it.  Over 1100 images depicting 40 years of History of Star Wars! I hope I am not dreaming. Wait the fun doesn't end here. The first ever Marvel comics on Star wars, e-book excerpts and movie trailers that all come with this notebook


The features of this notebook are indeed noteworthy. the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook contains 6th Gen Core i5-6200U processor. It means the notebook stands true to its name Star Wars. Its speed is no less than that of a rocket or a space ship. This notebook has a star memory. Thanks to its 8 GB RAM and 1 TB Hard Disc Drive. So there will be no dearth of space in this star wars edition. If you are a gaming enthusiast, then you will fall head over heels in love with the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook  It has 2GB Nividia 940M Graphics Card. Now who's going to come to play with me. 

So I am going to bring out my fun side by arranging Star Wars themed baby shower using the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook. 


Baby shower is always special and having a Star Wars themed baby shower is indeed out of the world. But executing it is made easy by the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook.  With its great speed, memory, terrific display and skin all soaked with the Star Wars DNA arranging Star Wars baby shower is both interesting and easy. No baby shower can be complete without music and dance. Your music selection will be made very easy by amazing audio by B&O play. The touch pad too is very much in theme with its X-Wings targeting the computer's view of Death Star Stretch. The back-lit  keyboard is also something new and different. As stated earlier the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook has exclusive Star Wars content preloaded. It will make our Star Wars themed baby shower a great success. 

To begin with my HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook will help me make invitations for this unique Star Wars themed baby shower. 


Now that our card is ready, let us use our creativity and make a cake with Star Wars theme. Our HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook will give us ample inspiration to bake a cake to welcome the new one. 


To keep in sync with our Star Wars them  I will use the light sabers instead of the old fashioned bouquet.  The HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook will help me to find out the places or the websites where I can buy them.



I will design the costume of the would be mother by drawing inspiration from that of Princess Leia's.  My HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook will be of great help in designing the gown and getting it custom made. 


My HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook will also guide me for must haves for a Star Wars themed baby shower

I am sure this unique Star Wars baby shower arranged using HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook will be memorable not only for the would be mother but also the guests and most importantly even for the Jedi in the womb. Thanks HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook for making this event special. So what are you waiting for? #AwakenYourForce by using the HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook


Friday, 25 December 2015

Love on 3 wheels - book review

Love on 3 wheels had a promising premise. Sargam a young girl works with a private firm in Delhi. Her parents want her to get married at the earliest. They have chosen one Dr. Abhigyan Kukreti, a divorced doctor who is doing well for himself for her. Sharib is an auto-rickshaw driver from a village in Azamgarh. He ferries Sargam from her house to her office and drives her back to home. He is in knee deep love with Sargam. He hails from a small village, where his neighbour is Ameena. His parents want him to get married to her. Even she loves Sharib. Sharib refuses to marry her for he is blinded by love for Sargam.

Ameena migrates to Delhi to win his heart. She gets a job at Dr. Abhigyan’s clinic. Junaid is a swindler who desperately wants money for his mother’s operation. One day Sargam’s boss gives her an envelope to be given to one of their clients. The envelope contains one lakh rupees. Junaid steals it. Sharib, who drove Sargam to the hotel where she met the client, is accused of stealing it. He lands up behind the bars. Abhiygyan tries to rape Ameena. He is arrested too. Junaid has deposited the money with Abhigyan for his mother’s operation. Now that he is behind the bars, his mother is left to die in front of his clinic. Sargam is happy that she will not have to marry Abhigyan.

This story should have made an excellent novel. But unfortunately it doesn’t. Anurag uses a unique format for this novel. Each chapter tells a story devoted to one of the characters. The stories though inter-related do not gel with each other and remain separate entities. The characters are insipid and banal. Except for Junaid’s character all other characters are flat. I am a great fan of Anurag’s writing. I had liked his previous book “Birth of the Bastard Prince” a lot. But Love on 3 wheels simply doesn’t work.

There are couple of mistakes in the book too. On page 116, Junaid suddenly becomes Jamal. On page 90 Sethji asking Sharib “About?” without recollecting their earlier conversation is confusing. The writer hasn’t distinguished the present conversation between them from that which they had in the past. On page 11 he is mis-spelt as His and his as her in the following line. “His sounded as though Sargam had just informed him that his wife had eloped with her driver.

I had lot of expectations from Love on 3 wheels. But it disappointed me.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

When the Heavens Smiled

When the Heavens Smiled, by Ritesh Arora is story of Sarthak and Sarangi. Sarthak hails from Delhi. He gets a job in a software company at Kolkota through campus placement. His two friends Raja and Ankur have failed to get a job through campus interviews. But both of them live in Kolkota. So the three of them party hard at Sarthak's expense. Once they visit a luxury hotel by name the Grand Vilas. There Sarthak meets Sarangi. She works in the said hotel. She lives in Raja's colony. Sarthak and Sarangi fall in love. Even her parents are fine with it.

Everything seems hunky-dory when Sarangi is diagnosed with leukemia. She is in advanced stage of the malignant disease and even doctors abroad say that she has only three months to stay. That's when Sarthak's grandfather tells him to visit his guru at Rishikesh. The guru assures that if he helps someone in similar situation he will come to help him. Also Sarthak's father suggest him a doctor, an ayurvedic practitioner from Haridwar. Will the guru and doctor heal Sarangi? For that you will have to read When the Heavens Smiled.

What I liked about the book is its simplicity. It is a simple tale told very simply. The writer doesn't spend much time in developing the love track between Sarthak and Sarangi. They simply fall in love. The friends, the landlord are all easy to relate characters. KC jeweller and Sarthak's boss Rajan are cliched characters. But they work in this story which no where claims to be path breaking.

What has drifted Sarthak away from his father is no where explained. Sarthak's grandfather appears all of a sudden in the story. Sarangi who is in a vegetative state, suddenly springs up from the bed and makes breakfast for Sarthak. This development in the story is hard to digest. Who healed her the guru or the doctor is no where answered. Even the question - whether Guru and the doctor is one and the same person, is left open. Forwarded jokes, stories and motivational quotes are cleverly implanted in the dialogues between the characters. Sarthak drops messages in search of Amit. Sarangi's illness is no where mentioned in these messages, which simply say that he wants to urgently talk to the right Amit. Then too he receives reply from one of the Amits saying that he sympathizes with Sarthak's friend's case. Now is this Amit clarivoyant or he is the guru? This mistake in editing comes as an unintended twist in the story which like other twists is no where clearly answered.

Then too I liked When the Heavens Smiled. This no-brainer is certainly entertaining in some of its parts.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Speak up


It is indeed unfortunate that most of the cases of sexual violence go unreported in India. There are many reasons for the same. But today I am going to enumerate three reasons for which the victims of sexual violence must come forward and report their cases.

1. You have done no wrong.
The victims must understand that they have done no wrong. Most of the times the victims feels that they are the reason for what happened to them. They feel that had they not stepped out that day, had they been wearing some other dress, had they been more docile, the evil act could have been avoided. They feel terribly guilty. They feel they have been defiled. Actually it is the other way round. It is the perpetrator of the crime who is the wrong doer and not the victim. Not only is the perpetrator a wrong doer but also a pervert and a criminal in the eyes of law. So it is the duty of every citizen to book a criminal. So the victims must shed away their inhibitions, understand that if they do not report the case, the evildoer will never be exposed. You are survivors my dears and not wrongdoers. Every survivor must live with pride so that others who are suffering will get an encouragement to live.

2. He has done it to you, he may do it to someone else
You have gone through it. You know the pain of being sexually assaulted. You know how the not only the body but also self-esteem is crushed by the evil act. Now if you do not repor the case, what will happen? The culprit will go and find another vulnerable person and assault him/her to satisfy his lust. Merely because you are not reporting your case, the beast is free out there. Not only is he free but he preying to hunt another victim. By your non-reporting you are indirectly encouraging him to assault another person. You having yourself been a victim, the last thing you want is someone else suffer such a ghastly act. You have to protect the potential victims. That is the reason I feel you should report the cases of sexual violence.

3. Police can’t do anything unless you come forward.
The acts of sexual violence are such that usually they do not take place in public places. So others will not know that a crime has been committed against you, until you step forward and complain about the same. Others includes police as well. The courts, the police cannot do anything unless and until someone comes with a formal complaint. You want the criminal to be punished. So you must come forward and formally report about the crime. It is a very simple thing. You can even write a letter or e-mail to the police narrating your plight, if you aren’t comfortable to say it with your mouth.

So please ensure that all forms of sexual violence gets reported. Save yourself from any future attacks and even the humanity at large. 

“I’m writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s #KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.” 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The bestseller she wrote

Ravi Subramanian’s new book the bestseller she wrote is about a bestselling writer Aditya. He is in his forties and works in a bank. He has a beautiful wife Maya and a son. One day on one of his lectures he meets Shreya. She is a young, beautiful management student. The initial tiff between the two transforms into a mutual attraction. Aditya inducts Shreya into his bank through campus interview.

Shreya wants to be a writer. Not just a writer, but a bestselling writer like Aditya. Aditya agrees to help her with her book. Shreya asks him to give the first draft of his next novel to her to read, before anyone else reads it. She gives her feedback saying that sex in his novel is insipid. She offers Aditya practical lessons to make the sex in the book more interesting. One thing leads to the other and they are attracted to each other. Sanjay, Aditya’s best friend works in the same bank with him. He warns him about his growing proximities with Shreya. But Aditya is blindfolded by lust. Maya discovers her husband’s extramarital relationship and throws him out of her house. Shreya is too happy to know that. She feels now that Maya has thrown Aditya out of her house, she can marry him. She feels that she will make a better wife than Maya as both she and Aditya love writing. Shreya wants Aditya. But she equally wants her novel to be published as well.

Ravi Subramanian’s the bestseller she wrote, is commercial novel at its best. Aditya’s character is largely based on Chetan Bhagat. Ravi leaves no chance of pulling Chetan’s leg. But the irony is that he ends up borrowing Chetan’s writing style, particularly in those scenes where Aditya admires Shreya’s beauty and they get cozy. The novel is a page turner. It hooks you. You are too eager to know what happens next.

Shreya wants Aditya. But she wants her book too. She can go to any extent to ensure that her book will get published. The same stands true when it comes to Aditya. She doesn’t want to lose him at any cost. When Aditya tells her that he doesn’t want to leave Maya, she simply says that she never asked him to leave her. She just wants to continue their illicit relationship. Shreya comes across as a complex character who is both using and loving Aditya. I personally felt that the Naxalite angle given to Shreya’s life was left raw.

The end also was unrealistic. It is hard to believe that Shreya leaves Aditya only because she doesn’t want to create a scene before her book release. Aditya’s apology during the live screening and in the hospital is too filmy. Yet I enjoyed the bestseller she wrote for its novel concept, its digs at Chetan Bhagat, Shreya’s complex character and her obsession for getting published. The book also depicts the workings of the publication industry. It underlines the worst part about books these days. They are required to be marketed and authors and publishers, just like film stars can go to any extent to sell their books. 

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Drive Design Connect My Mumbai excels in all

Mumbai meri jaan is the best city in the world to reside. Why? It is so vibrant. It is so energetic. Its liveliness is palpable. Whenever I go out of Mumbai and return again, I feel like returning on the lap on my mother. Mumbai makes me very comfortable. Amongst the crowds, I get a space of my own.

Mumbai may has its own traffic jams. But they seldom last for more than a few minutes. That makes driving in Mumbai a pleasure. Just imagine you driving with your beloved alongside on the queens necklace. How romantic. Mumbai is the place which has all that you can wish for. There are coasts, there are hillocks, there are gardens and driving along the coast or through the roads cut through hillocks and abutting the Kamala Nehru park is indeed is a great pleasure. So when it comes to driving, I give Mumbai full marks. The flyovers save the time and give the thrill of driving too. Once you come down the Mahim flyover it offers you the other side of Mumbai too. There are slums where the eunuchs reside. That is what I love about Mumbai. It is a great leveler. It teaches you that both the worlds coexist.

Design
Mumbai has its own set of Victorian buildings. With these tall lanes telling the tales of yesterday’s glorious past the design of Mumbai is quite admiring. The designers included many right from the old kings who carved Eliphanta and Kanheri, to the Portuguese and the British who ruled this island city. The first train ran here. With changing times the design of the city changed too. Now we have Monorails and Metro trains in Mumbai. Mumbai continues to expand, sometimes even in an haphazard manner. But that doesn’t take its charm away. It is the place which has a unique internal design which fuels the dreams of many. Its design has an internal magnet which pulls all the dreamers. Its sap gives them the energy to work hard. They make it big, for it is design of Mumbai to not only think it big but also make it big. 
 
Connect
Mumbai is well connected internally with its roads, flyovers. Local trains are rightly called the lifeline of Mumbai. Now metros and monorail are added attractions. Plus there are ferries in the arabian sea too. Mumbai offers you many who think like you you to connect. It is easy to find a friend with similar interests in Mumbai than any other place. Mumbai is the only place in India where you can connect without intruding on each other’s privacy. You can connect with people while you are travelling, while you are exercising or even when you are walking during the rush hours in Mumbai’s fort area. People will greet you with smiles. That is what spirit of Mumbai.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Pradyumna - Book Review

Usha Narayan's new novel Pradyumna is about the son of Lord Krishna. Praduymna and Samba are the two sons of Krishna born from different mothers. The novel begins with the prophecy that one of them will lead to the destruction of their entire clan. Tracks of Kama, Vama and Kartaviryajuna run parallel with Pradyumna. The author keeps you glued to your seats as she narrates these tales. At one point she tells us that Vama, Kartaviryajuna and Pradyumna are all reincarnations of the God of love Kama. Therefrom the story runs into the sole track of Pradyumna.

Pradyumna has many demons to slay - Kaalsura, Nikumbha, Banasura and Vajranabha. Thus there is lot of action in the book. The way the author describes these battles is simply brilliant. She articulates the various weapons, war fields, men and animals present there so well that she succeeds in creating literary special effects before our eyes.

Plus Pradyumna has three wives. So there is lot of scope for romance as well. Afterall he is Kama reincarnated. It is nice to see Lord Krishna in the role of father and grandfather. This facet of his personality has never come up in the popular literature. So it makes the novel fresh. The track of Pradyumna's son's romance with Usha somehow doesn't gel with the entire story.

Writing a novel with such a wide canvas was indeed a Herculean task. The author must be congratulated for succeeding in writing such a complex novel with multiple characters. Though after a certain point, the slaying of demons and romances become repetitive. The novel does not clearly spell out as to who amongst the two sons of the Krishna is going to destroy his own race, thereby paving way for sequel of the novel. Though we know that it is not Pradyumna for sure as he is the hero and Samba is portrayed as the wicked brother.

I really liked the way the author has weaved the stories of Pradyumna, Kama, Vama and Kartaviryajuna and ultimately linked them together. . I also liked Gandhari's outburst on knowing that all her sons have been killed, which comes at the end of the novel. But I wonder why was Gandhari given so much of importance in a novel dedicated to Praduymna.

I feel the following line on page 108 incorrect. “It was Pradyumna, the fair son of the Dark One, come to lead his men into the battle of dharma.” I feel the words who had should have preceded the word come. 

Having said that let me tell you that if you are lover of the mythological genre this book is going to be a literary treat for you. This is the book you simply cannot miss.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Tantric Curse - Book Review


The tantric curse by Anupama Garg is a love story set in a tantric ashram. Rhea is an orphaned girl. She has lost both her parents in a car accident. She lands up at the Shaktidham Ashram, which is a tantric ashram and is dreaded by common citizens. Satya, the tantric at the ashram treats her like his own daughter. He has a biological son Krish, who is few years older than Rhea. Rhea grows up with Krish. Both of them are in deep love. This is the story how Rhea marries Krish in spite of all odds.

What I liked about the book is it using tantra as a backdrop for a love story, without stepping into the Dan Brown territory. I really liked the following lines from the book. “Weak are the people who remain silent when it is time to speak and speak when it is time to be silent.” “You could spend a lifetime with people and still be total strangers. Rhea had grown up with strangers, thinking them to be friends.”

Rhea is able to see the future events in her dreams. But Satya tell us her that they are just probabilities which can be changed through right thinking. The first half of the novel is revetting. It certainly offers something different. But with the introduction of Vishnukant it becomes preachy. The descriptions of the workshop which Vishnukant attends are insipid. Also Rhea moving in with Vishnukant is hard to comprehend. Why does Krish leave the Ashram is a question which is left unanswered. The author should have described it in detail. The curse unfolds only in the last ten pages of the novel.

Big publication houses and mistakes have become common sight these days. The following line on page 155 is incorrect. “Her eyelids half shut as he moved inside he.” I believe the last he should have been her. Yet the tantric curse gives you the pleasure of reading something fresh. That is a suffice reason to buy the book, isn’t it?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sugar free Sprouted Raagi Laddus


Ingredients : Raagi 4 cups, two ripe bananas, ghee two spoons, one spoon Sugar Free Natura
Recipe
1. Soak the raagi for 24 hours. Then sprout it.
2. Dry the sprouted raagi in sunlight. Once completely dry grind it. Sift the raagi floor.
3. Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the floor and saute it until it smells pleasant. Let the mixture cool
4. Once cool add a few drops of Sugar Free Natura and smashed bananas. Mix it well.
5. Roll laddus. Let it set in the refrigerator for some time.
Your Sugar free Sprouted Raagi Laddus are ready. These Laddus are highly nutritious. They taste like chocolate and are loved by the young and  old alike.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

First love matters so does the second - book review


Vishal Sah, the author of First love matters so does the second, is described as hugely inspired by the work of Durjoy Dutta and Chetan Bhagat. This description gives you an idea as to what to expect (and what not to expect) in the novel First love matters so does the second.

This is story of Vishal, his first love Vedika and second love Shreya. His cousin Ananya and his best friend Shaurya are his classmates in his school. So is Myra, who is Shaurya’s love interest. Vishal’s love for Vedika is unreciprocated because she is seeing Arnav. When in junior college, he meets Shreya. Both of them fall in love with each other. Vishal graduates from high school to junior college and then degree college. There he meets Vedika again. His proximity with Vedika creates a rift with Shreya and finally Shreya breaks up with him. Vishal falls terribly ill. He has cancer. He dies, leaving behind a book containing the story of his life which is published by Shaurya.

The characterization, the writing style is hugely inspired from Chetan Bhagat. Yet, surprisingly, except for the mistakes in the second half, the novel has come up very well. It certainly entertains.

The second half is marred with many mistakes. Shaurya appears three times for NDA-SSB within a span of few days. NDA doesn’t conduct exams that frequently. How could Vishal’s classmates take up the medical entrance a year before and become his seniors at medical college? It is not the case that Vishal takes a year off to prepare for the entrance. The following line on page 77 is grammatically incorrect “ I had been about to consult a doctor, but then had gotten so busy in the paperwork for my admission in college that I had forgotten all about it.”

Dr Mehra asking so many questions relating to medical science for the first year students that too in his second lecture and Vishal’s first lecture (He had skipped first lecture) is not believable. When Vishal is in his twelfth class, Shreya is in her tenth standard. Then how does she pass twelfth class, when Vishal is still in first year of medicine? On page number 87, 110 and many other places whether is misspelt as weather.

The novel though written in first person towards the end unintentionally and mistakenly alternates between first person and third person. That creates confusion. Read the following lines. “It felt so impossible to express what it felt I when you knew you are about to die and you couldn’t do anything about it” Page 95. “This time I too couldn’t control his emotions and cried.” Page 110. He held Shreya’s hand for some more time and then asked Shaurya and Myra to come near. The word refuge is wrongly written as refuse in the following line on page 105 “Shaurya, on the other side, sought refuse in anger.”

The second half is borrowed from Five point someone, but is not developed, wrapped up in the last few pages. This left over of Chetan’s Five Point someone required good editing. It is ironical that the author thanks his editor Shriya Garg for her editing job.

If this novel was devoid of the mistakes mentioned above, it would have definitely made a good read.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My Gita - Book Review


Devdutt Pattanaik’s My Gita is indeed a different take on the Bhagwat Gita. It underlines the changes that Hinduism underwent when it progressed from the Vedic times to the Puranic times. It also tells us the influence which Buddhism and Jainism had on Hindu religion. There was no idol worship during the Vedic times. It emerged only during the Puranic times. Hinduism was essentially a religion of householders. Hindus laughed at Jain and Buddhists ascetics who renounced the world. But with growing influence of the latter two religions Hinduism too started its own school of renunciation called Sanyasa.

According to the author the Gita is the book of householders. It is not about denouncing the world. It is about facing the everyday struggle which living involves. According him the very act of farming involves violence. There cannot be any life without violence. Only the non-living are non-violent for they are not hungry. The living eat and eating involves violence. The difference lies in our state of mind. In the animal world when a predator hunts its prey, there are no any feelings involved. The former is looking for food, the latter tries to save his life. But there is animosity towards each other. The predator is not a villain and the prey is not a victim. But we humans are different. We feel. The essence of the Gita is to perform your duties as offerings to the God.

The author very successfully distinguishes the judgment from darshan by saying in judgment, the world is divided: good and bad, innocent and guilty, polluted and pure, oppressor and oppressed, privileged and the unprivileged, powerful and the powerless. In darshan, one sees a fluid world of cause and consequence, where there are no divisions, boundaries, hierarchies and rules.

The author reveals many interesting meanings behind the Hindu customs. According to him fire offers liberation and water entrapment. Hence the corpse is first burned and then the ashes and bones are cast in the river.

The book very aptly distinguishes between Moksha and Dharma. Mokhsa is abandoning the relationships. Dharma binds people to society. Today Moksha is looked at as a goal of life. But according to the author in rebirth cultures there are no expiry dates, hence no goals, only pursuits that can make our endless life meaningful – purusha-artha.

The book offers interesting insights on the Gita. The book is full of illustrations and diagrams, which I feel are nothing but repetitions of the text, hence uninteresting. The book will open many hidden treasures for you. It will be of help if you have been reading about Indian philosophy or else you may even find the book to be heavy and dry. But that doesn’t undermine the value of the book.