Friday, 23 March 2018

One Minute Super Dad - Book Review

Many books have been written on parenting for young mothers, but when it comes to young dads the book shelves are almost empty. One Minute Super Dad Dr.Prashant Jinal fills this void. Being a young father in today's modern age I can certainly say that parenting is no longer a woman's job. One Minute Super Dad will definitely serve as a guide, as a manual for inexperienced fathers.

The book opens with alarming statistics showing how young children are affected with spectrum of mental health disorders. By citing it the author underlines that today's father have a challenging role to play.

Today's fathers are no longer the dictators that they used to be a generation back. Yet it is equally true that there exists a communication gap between the father and children. The book equips you with a variety of open ended questions whereby this communication gap could be bridged. It also shares a number of techniques, both heard and unheard which would help in better bonding. The author uses a language which is both simple yet riveting. He quotes various research findings and it is indeed the author's success that you don't yawn while reading them. This book addresses a welcome change in the parenting responsibilities on the Indian scene. Hence it should be lapped up. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Save Water Save Life

We take many things in life for granted. One such thing is water. Most of us are blissfully unaware of the fact that like most of the resources the quantity of water on this earth is limited. 'Paisa paani ki tarah bahaya' is a phrase which denotes that money was spent like water. Thus money a valuable asset is spent like water, which in our country is of no value. But gone are the days and many parts of the country including the posh colonies are facing water scarcity. When it comes to environment Reduce, Reuse and recycle is the key. Fortunately like most things in life small steps can go a long way in saving the precious resource called water.

In our culture, water was always served in a lota covered with a small glass called bhanda. The person would pour as much water as he wanted in the small glass and drink it. This practice ensured that there was no water wastage. We should go back to the roots and start following this practice.

Rain water harvesting should be made mandatory. Though many municipal bodies have made it mandatory, unfortunately it still remains on paper. We are a country which receives ample rainfall. However majority of the rain water goes into the drain and sea, making it unsuable. With rain water harvesting we could create a water bank which would be of use in times of crisis.

Awareness through media will go a long way in saving water. A large section of our society is illiterate and semi-literate. Even the educated classes do not respect water. It should be impressed through the media that water is a limited resource, if we don't save it today, our posterity may die with parched throats. Ganga Arti is held at many places. This can be used as a platform to canvas about saving water. The same can be done at Ganpati and Durga puja pandals. 
 Don't leave the tap open. Closing the taps when not in use is very important. Many of us just let the tap open while we are attending to some other chores. Many municipal taps gush out thousands of cubic metres of water only because no one bothers to close them. All the dripping faucets should be repaired promptly, both at homes and public places. 
 Keeping the existing water resources clean. We need preserve something that is scarce. We should keep the existing water resources which includes lakes, rivers and wells clean. We should avoid throwing garbage into them. We should respect them and care them live our children. 
Many tanks over flow. Installing auto stoppage valves will save a lot of water from literally going down the drain. Reusing of waste water for cleaning and gardening is another way to conserve water. RO water filters discharge lot of waste water. New technology should be devised to prevent this wastage. Don't use showers and flushes. Use a bucket. By doing so you will use limited amount of water. Respect water. Don't use bottled water for bottled water industry reduces the water table, turns lands barren.

There are many ways which we can undertake to save water. Like I have signed this petition. You can sign it too and take your baby step towards water conservation. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Stepping Stones - Book Review

Stepping Stones Taking Towards the Goal is a very special book. It is written by a young girl of fourteen years age. This young girl wrote to many famous personalities and asked them for guidance. She culled out important lessons from these letters and wrote a book which would inspire young readers and help them in goal setting and achieving success in their lives.

The book is surprisingly well written. The author has shown tremendous dedication and devotion in her noble objective of guiding the young generation. She has persevered towards her goals and I am sure she will be successful in fulfilling her dreams.

The correspondence which she entered with galaxy of stalwarts forms a part of the book. It is sheer delight reading them. While some of the replies which she received are curt and formal, many luminaries have squeezed their time to write special letters to this young girl. I really liked the letters written by Anu Aga, D K Shrivastava, Ravi Wankhede, Abhay Bang and T N Ashok.

I look forward to read more books from the author. With such clarity and focus that too at such a young age she is bound to go places.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

 What I liked about Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is that irrespective of what sells in the market, it dares to tale an earthy story from the heart of the mountains. Destiny brings Nanda, an engineer, Kusru a man on his mission and Rekha a doctor together. All of them  have skeletons from their past. A new hydro-electric project has commenced in the hills. Everything from ecology to human thinking is affected by it. The novel touches lives of the poor and effects of terrorism. There are sacrifices behind every project, poor farmers are ousted from their ancestral fields, uprooted they are strewn across strange landscapes with wand of notes in their hands. The novel weaves all threads of a project adroitly.

This novel definitely offers something new. The writing is clean. Though the novel drags at a few places, it is worth giving a try.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Fear is the key - book review

Fear is the Key by Juggi Bhasin is story of a girl who has just disappeared. Nothing is known about her. Simon disappeared from a party where everyone from her office, including her boss cum boy friend Rahul was present. Rahul is shattered by her sudden disappearance. Neither the police is able to find any lead. That is when Rahul takes the investigation in his hands. There are three suspects. A pizza delivery boy, a swimming instructor and a driver. They all have seen Simon’s inviting bronze complexion and were drawn towards her. Some for lust and some for the money that voyeurism offered. The story unravels and we come across a gory, scary end.

I liked the book for its narration. It creates characters that are true to life yet intriguing. There is something which each of them in holding back. There are ulterior motives and hidden agendas. The office space is nicely described in the book. The same stands true with Rahul investigations. The Haryani cop Kripal appears to have fallen from the bollywood movies and landed up right into the novel. He hardly has any investigation to do. Rahul and Suhel’s past continues to haunt them. Suhel arranges a psychiatrist for Rahul. She too soon disappears – as if the earth had gulped her down.

The book cast a spell on me and I simply couldn’t put it down. Though I didn’t like the climax, it doesn’t mean that Fear is the Key is a bad book. If you love thrillers, you shouldn’t miss this.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Where there's a Will - Book Review

Where there's a Will marks the fantastic debut of Piorre Hart. Mr. Pratap Sharma, a billionaire business is found dead. He has left behind a will with his attorney, with strict instructions to open it only in the presence of all family members. The will is in the form of couplets which make no sense. Pranita Roy is a novice in the detective agency. This is the story of how she discerns the hidden meaning in the will.

There are no flaws in the book. The author maintains a superb pace in her writing and hooks up the reader from the first page. Though this is her debut novel, she knows very well how much to reveal and how much to withhold. The language is error free and the editing is superb. She succeeds in weaving all the suspects in front of your eyes. She makes the plot murkier by drawing Pranita towards Rohit, Pratap's son. Pranita's family is a huge put off in this story. I felt like turning the pages during her insipid conversations with her sister. The couplets remind you of Da Vinci Code, but fortunately all the similarities die there.

As I said earlier this in undoubtedly one of the most impressive debut I have ever come across. I look forward to read more from the same author. This book is highly recommended. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

St. Botanica's Hair Repair and Anti Dandruff Shampoo

St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo comes in an attractive bottle. It is enriched with vitamins B3 and B5, almond oil, soy protein, moroccan argan oil, organic extra virgin coconut oil, lavender oil and tea tree oil. It is free from harmful chemicals. It contains no paraben, no sulphates and mineral oil.

Unlike the other shampoos, St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo left my hair moisturized. It has been my experience that whenever I shampoo my hair, the shampoos leaves my hair dry. But not with this shampoo. This was the most pleasant thing about it. Yes the white colour and lack of fragrance of the shampoo did disappoint me. But if this is because of the lack of harmful chemicals, I am ready to embrace St. Botanica’s Hair Repair and Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This shampoo is worth giving a try. 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Brahmahatya - Book Review

Rajiv Mittal’s Brahmahatya is a daringly original novel. It opens brilliantly. There is an old widower, whose only son is abroad. The old man meets with an accident and is rendered immobile. There is an elderly woman, devoid of any emotions. She provides (both unofficial and unprofessional) health care services. Dejected as his father is unable to secure admission into the plush Govindarajan Memorial Residency, Ravi is forced to admit his father in the rickety Blessings. The old man dies and then a saga of revenge unfolds.

I really liked the premise of the novel. It keeps you hooked, at least initially. The writer succeeds in creating believable, real life characters and setting. But then starts the confusion. Initially I thought that there was spelling mistake when the author was referring Ravi as Naru Sir. I felt that the impersonation should have been more swift and clear. The novel drags after a fantastic start. The reference to mythology and scriptures though works at some places, appears disjointed with the narrative at more places than one. Bhavna’s sexual fetishes were unnecessary. Dr. Chari, though eccentric, doesn’t come across as a villain who deserves to be murdered.

Yet the writing is clean. The language is lucid. With a little tight editing Brahmahatya would have been a terrific read. Yet for the enchanting dark world that it sucks you into, Brahmahatya deserves to be read.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Big Switch - Book Review


The Big Switch by John Thomas is the story of Keith. Keith is a software engineer who has a nasty boss Mathur. Both promotion and the expected pay rise elude Keith for a very long time. Work is becoming monotonous and Keith is losing the love for his job. His personal life is on the rocks too. He has broken up with his girlfriend. Then one day a chance encounter with Ramesh changes everything for Keith. This life coach rekindles Keith’s passion for life. How? To know this you will have to read the The Big Switch by John Thomas.

The Big Switch pays a tribute to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, but smartly deviates from being its carbon copy. The writing is clean and the editing is good. The author uses simple language to narrate the tale. While reading the book, you keep on wondering if this is the personal tale of the writer. This is because there is a budding writer in the story and his first book is autobiographical.

I didn’t really enjoy the football part in the story. I have never played the game, so I was unable to understand most of the stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing part though. I feel the romantic angle involving Kyra could have been avoided. The book appears to be a realistic. Any working class youth can identify with the protagonist. Yet towards the end the book takes a melodramatic turn, which is difficult to digest. The grey colour of the font in the kindle edition makes the reading difficult. I wish it was standard black.

I liked the following lines from the book. ‘Everyone starts small. Be positive.’ ‘The destination is just an illusion. It is the journey that matters. Think about all the stuff that you have learned. Think about all the new people that you have met. I am pretty sure it wouldn’t have been possible if you didn’t follow your heart.’ ‘I understand that nothing seems to be falling in place for you. But you shouldn’t be scared. These setbacks are inevitable. The path to one’s dream is loaded with setbacks. These tough times, shouldn’t worry you.’

The Big Switch is a simple, motivational tale. That is the reason why it is highly recommended.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Transit Lounge - Book Review

I love travel writing. It gives the immense pleasure of visiting the most wonderful places in the world. No wonders an arm chair traveller like me lapped up the book Transit Lounge. It documents the travel experiences of the author across thirty countries. This book is his personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argenina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belguim, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand.

The write ups are small. Neither too long to bore you, nor too short to leave you high and dry. The book is full of nuggets of the authors experiences. The author tells us how in Ghana the funeral is actually a sendoff ceremony rather than a mark of sorrow and grief. The writer is quiet in awe about motor cycle taxis in Africa. He seems to be unaware that in the tiny state of Goa these motor cycle taxis are a ubiquitous affair. Speaking of the middle east countries he says that Most of the times we do not realize that the world knows these countries from the lens of the western media which is not very kind to them. He says the family bondage in the small towns in US is as good as in any middle class family in India. London tubes he says need substantive investment to be called anywhere modern. London is a city of walkers, it has a widespread city transport too which helps people move around easily. His experience of checking into an unmanned Western Europe hotel is both harrowing and intriguing.

The author tells us how the imported goods, that were most sought after a few days ago, have lost their sheen. Denmark he says is the most prosperous nations in the northern Europe, where some people commute every day to work by flight. European cities are very tourist friendly he says. The common saying in Singapore he says is -irrespective of the economic status, everyone has a house, mostly built by government.

He bursts the bubble of prosperity by keeping the immigrant’s life stark naked in front our lives.

The book though very well written is ridden with mistakes. These typographical errors play a spoil sport. So incident becomes inddent, civic becomes dvic, class becomes dass and the crest jewel – click becomes dick. I wish the book was well edited and these mistakes were avoided. Yet I loved the book. It didn’t disappoint me.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Carthick's Unfairy Tales - Book Review

As a child I loved fairy tales. As I became an adult I started thinking over those tales. The flaws were apparent. The good people were always fair and beautiful, while the evil ought to be dark and ugly. The sole aim of the heroine's life was to win the heart of the prince. The tales were fatalist and some where even downright sadistic. Do we wish to tell such tales to our children? Certainly not.

Against this backdrop Carthick's Unfairy Tales comes as a bright change. This collection is a retelling of seven tales. To be honest out of the seven I had heard only three that of Cinderella, Pipe Piper and the frog prince. So the rest of the stories were brand new for me.

I really liked the way the author has shaped up the Frog Prince's story. He gives the Princess a spine. She comes across as a strong woman who can make intelligent choices and whose aim is certainly not marrying a man only because he is a prince (read rich and powerful in the modern connotation). I am sure I will be more than happy to tell such a tale to my toddler. Undoubtedly this is the best story in the collection.

These stories are told in unique voices. While the rat's narrative works well in the Cinderella's story, some voices appear inorganic, like a patch work just to sound something different. Also the Pipe Piper's story offers nothing new. Its just the same old story. With Cindrella and the Frog Prince the author had raise expectations. I wish there was a novelty in other stories as well.

What I liked about the book is that the writing is clean, the editing is superb. The author succeeds in maintaining a pace. The stories are of appropriate length. They are neither too short nor too long to lose attention span of the reader.

Carthick's Unfairy Tales is a unique book and you should not miss it.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Some Stories

I am glad that I came across her writings. 
M S Manaswi enchants you with her tales.

Hundred Flames of Injustice

 “Mama, Sarang got a second serving of the ice-cream and when I and Rashmi went to ask for it, we were told that the ice-cream is over. This is unfair.” Hearing this from my mouth, my aunt cuddled me and said, “Don't worry my child I will get you some more ice-cream when I go to the market in the evening.” I was just five year old then and the flame of justice had kindled in me.

Mama, aunt Ruhi sends Sarang to an English medium school because he is a boy and she sends Rashmi to a Marathi medium school because she is a girl. This is wrong.” No moment had I uttered these lines as a fifth grade student, my aunt thundered. “You shouldn't poke your nose when adults are speaking.”
But what is wrong with what I am saying.” I asked. At this moment my mother pulled me a little aside and asked me to keep quiet.

My aunt then turned her words towards my docile mother. “It is all because of you that he was become so arrogant. Look at the way he is speaking. See our children, they never back answer the adults. You have given him too much of liberties and spoilt him.” My words had hit my aunt at the place where it hurt the most.

I never understood what was wrong with what I said. But slowly people had started branding me as an arrogant, argumentative boy who back answered adults.

That day when the teacher had distributed assessed answer sheets of science, I noticed that me as well as my friend had written exactly the same answer for a particular question. But while the teacher had assigned me only four out of five, my friend had scored five on five. I took both the answer sheets to the teacher and brought it to her notice, very humbly, very politely. Still that enraged the teacher, and my reputation of being arrogant and argumentative travelled beyond my family up to my school.

I could never tolerate injustice. My blood would boil and I would raise my voice against it. I was right, but my age wasn't. “When elders commit mistake, we don't call it mistake.” My mother had told me once. But I simply could not understand the logic behind it. “Isn't law the same for everyone? How can the same act not be a mistake merely because the person doing it is an adult.” My mother had no answers to my logic.

My life was turning miserable. On one hand I couldn't handle injustice and on another when I protested against it, I was called arrogant.

Then one day I got a loving teacher as my class teacher. Her name was Mrs. Apte. She loved me like her own son. Rather she loved all children like her own. She understood my predicament. One day she told me. “Logic and reasoning are not everybody's cup of tea. You are blessed with it. Put it to better use. I am sure you will be a firebrand lawyer one day.” Until then I wanted to be a doctor. But those words of Mrs. Apte ignited another flame in me. I had never thought that these qualities in me which were branded as bad by others were in fact skills.

I took up law and my life changed 360 degrees. I was appreciated for my keen acumen. My argumentative nature was now termed as my good reasoning skills. I topped the examinations and won all the debate and moot court competitions. My name started appearing in the newspapers. Now all those detractors, including my relatives and school teachers started appreciating me for my skills. #AhundredLittleFlames made me into the person who stands for justice and equality.