Once Upon an IAS Exam – by Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan, a book review

Once upon an IAS exam, by Dr. K Vijayakarthikeyan

There are two disclaimers here. The author is Commissioner,  Coimbatore Corporation, and is a well known motivational speaker. I wanted to review this personally as I thought this will be a different one coming from the author / speaker I know and have had the opportunity to listen to.

The story is a very simple one of a IAS aspirant and the way to his success amidst the whole drama of his personal life, the change of syllabi and how he handles them with elan. Vishy is he aspirant and he doesnt make his cut the first time, and then what does he do? Simple propose to his girlfriend for marriage… It might look very cinematic but Vishy is a different character who makes the cut understanding the

The narration gets top marks because this could have been a 400 page story. But the author nails it in such a straight forward narration and gets us closer to the characters with ease. The usual tribulations of boy in love and the parental pressure apart, the positives makes this story a very easy read.

The anecdotes on Dhoni perhaps is the best in terms of trying to bring home the point of equanimity. That picture that has Dhoni not being on high even after winning the World cup is a big motivation for everyone to take life as it comes.

The other side of the story is the idea of time management especially during the exams is worth emulating. The Never Never Give up idea is very well presented here and this applies to any of the situation that we are in not necessarily in the context of preparing for the civil services exams.

The love story part is very cinematic in a way, but thats ok given the way the story moves and yes you could expect people in Delhi too without any hint of whats in store.

I loved the characterization of Vishy’s father and mother, and the way Vishy responds to the medical emergency two times when he has to take the exam the next day morning. I think there is a message for the parent folks out there on how to respond or rather react to the kids exam results or how to take decision for the career.

I am sure Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan has more up his sleeves and wish him all the very best for his future works. Looking forward to having his next work at the earliest.

So here you go click on the links to pick up your copy Amazon | Flipkart

Senthilkumar

The Tree Bears Witness: A Birbal Mystery book by Sharath Komarraju – a book review

tree bears witness

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Westland (17 November 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9386850443
  • ISBN-13: 978-9386850447
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm

This is a wonderful thriller with the background of the Akbar and his famous and favourite courtier Mahesh Das popularly known as Birbal. There is a murder in the Palace and the murdered is one of the guest from Rajputs called Sujjamal.

Akbar has this responsibility given to none other than his trusted courtier Birbal. The best part is the victim is the brother of one of the new Rajput bride Hina Kunwari and she has just come into the palace.

Now the thing is if this murder is not cracked that might have a lot of repercussions for the Emperor to high stakes political issues with the Rajputs and other leaders in the region. And also time is of the essence and the Emperor cannot wait for the crime to be wrapped in suspense on who did it and as such gives Birbal two days to get the murderer.

The story is well narrated with instances that has the readers hooked to the last page. Ofcourse the fact that there was no witness and how there was no witness are all well taken up by Birbal as he builds up his case in the short time that he has at his disposal.

The time he spends with the guards at the place who are a part of the suspect list and the stories that he hears from the older man gives him a bit of hint in making the tree a witness.

The story is how Birbal gets to crack the case with all the suspects involved and help Akbar regain his respect with the new bride makes for an interesting Sherlock story. For once the tree becomes a witness and helps solve a murder mystery.

Well narrated and fast paced the story is planted in a nice setting on the Akbar era and it makes for an easy understanding of the characters.

Worth a read if you are into mystery novels. Pick your book here.. Amazon | Flipkart

The Peshwa – War of the deceivers by Ram Sivasankaran – a book review

    Ram Sivasankaran’s The Peshwa – war of deceivers
    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: Westland
    • ISBN: 9789387578654, 9387578658
    • Edition: 2018
    • Pages: 496

    A terrific tale of war strategy that was a hall mark of the Marathas during their period and the story is a classic thriller which ever way you look at it. A page turner with a historical approach makes it easy to be with all the characters. The author Siva Sankaran has done a wonderful research on this subject to churn out this book.

    Intrigue and backstabbing and the ruthlessness of the warfare tactics and the infiltration among the sides make it very fragile. The pace at which the story goes is pretty fast and makes it a compelling read. Everything is fair in love and war was the phrase but you get to see it in real in this book. The details of gruesome warfare tactics, the manipulation at every turn and the twists and turns make this an unputdownable book.

    Just as you keep wondering what is the Peshwa Baji Rao Bhat thinking or if he is being outsmarted, you are led to a black hole in the real sense. The author has a knack of pointing your thoughts in a different direction and leading you through the maze.

    The intricate detailing of the mercenaries and their ways of destruction and also the way the Scorpions deal deathly blow to the Marathas are worth the research and the author has taken pains to take s through the age and also make us revel in the time frame that he narrates the story.

    The story is also very personal in a way the relationship between the characters are concerned. There is this father’s love, a daughters love, and on the other side we have doting lovers in Peshwa and his wife.

    I think the build up and the suspense has been absolutely taken care by the author and he leaves no stones turned to keep us riveted to the story through out. The narration of going back and forth also has been very well handled. The author packs a full fledged historical thriller into a book of almost 500 pages and sure has the sign of being made into a movie.

    Pick up this book and you will enjoy a bit of war time history, some real history, and if you love twists and plots…

    Pick your copies here : Amazon | Flipkart

    I am M-M-Mumbai by Rishi Vohra – a book review

    I am M-M-Mumbai by Rishi Vohra

    Paperback: 192 pages
    Publisher: Vishwakarma Publications; 1 edition (2018)
    Language:
    English
    ISBN-10: 9386455706
    ISBN-13: 978-9386455703 

    I am M-M-Mumbai is a breezy read and has a very simple to talk tone that makes its a single sitting read. Stammering and you know you might think about another hero in Bollywood. Coming together of things make it for the hero in this scheme of things.

    The stammering of the hero is all that he needs to overcome and this could be well anything in our life to overcome. A motivational positive story of an upcoming actor is well presented in a straight forward manner. May be the background of the author has some element of coincidences being revealed to the readers. The many facets of Mumbai come to the fore during the story telling.

    Sometimes its a bit predictive, but the characters hold on to their own right from the protagonist to the circle of characters around him. One thing I liked about this is the story could well be a negative of what all happens in the Bollywood but then this is a whiff of fresh air in terms of the people presented here.

    Some of the incidents are quite relatable and that we can easily identify with. I liked the way the story moved on and the characters in a very positive way, given that you can write so much of negative things around Bollywood.

    The author does a great service to the goodness of human being,  taking it for granted and every time there could have been a disaster, he get a seamless character to help the protagonist and also use a handicap to make it better for Rudra.

    The marriage of the childhood sweethearts in the story, is a bit bollywoodesque if you ask me, but then given the authors proximity to bollywood it’s was quite expected.

    I would recommend you to pick it up for some whiff of fresh air and a dose of positive vibes in your life and you will think that the world is after all not as bad as portrayed.

    Like I said earlier the book finishes up so fast may be because some places are predictable. But then that’s ok with some social messaging.

    So go here to pick up your copy Amazon | Flipkart

    Thanks to the author for sending a copy to review and hope he has many more stories to tell. (This is the first time I am reading his work.)

    Senthilkumar Rajappan


    ‘The Wise Man Said’ by Priya Kumar – a book review

     

     

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    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: Books That Inspire
    • Genre: Religion & Spirituality
    • ISBN: 9788193391204, 8193391209
    • Edition: 1, 2017

    So its again a wonderful opportunity to review after having read the book ‘The Wise Man Said’ by Priya Kumar.

    This is a stellar work in terms of getting so many nuggets of wisdom from far and wide with the character of the Wise  Man through his diary. I am sure you would not dare to take this trip unless we have the time as our investment to go the distance and learn things and sometimes unlearn it the hard way.

    The chance meeting with the wise man probably was destined to be since we get to know a lot of stories from all around the world in its unique flavour. Every story / travel of the Wise man is a testament to how we take life and how we react to it in situations that present before us.

    I am sure we would not have known about some habits from far and wide unless the wise man decided to trek them and give us the wisdom in a power packed paper back.

    That the man decided to tell us some unconventional stories is something we need to cherish with this book. The sense of gratitude or a sense of deja vu is evident when he sees some personal achievement which are bound by ethical behaviour even when they are in high seas.

    That spirituality is a part of our living is evident irrespective of it being given in non religious way across the world and ofcourse that is a proof that world is a better place than we imagine.

    P.S: I have to admit I wasn’t able to finish this review long back. But the best part is I am able to recall those mystery stories and also how impactful they are.

    P.P.S: Also keep track of the author on her social media handles and Youtube channels.

    P.P.P.S: In case you want to pick up a copy.. at Flipkart / Amazon 

    Vishnu by Subhadra Sen Gupta – a book review

    9788129147370-700x700

    • Language: English
    • Binding: Hardcover
    • Publisher: RUPA
    • Genre: Fiction
    • ISBN: 9788129147370, 8129147378
    • Edition: 1, 2017
    • Pages: 48

    So this is the second book in the series after Ganesh which has already been reviewed earlier.

    Now I can foresee many more stories being told to kids this way and they don’t disappoint, and imagine the story telling with telling illustrations for kids and the setting is going to get better and enjoyable.

    So here the author presents three different stories we normally identify with Vishnu the protector of the trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

    In this land of India if you want to achieve seriously powerful weapons and sometimes even immortality there is an way to go about it and quite often the asuras or the opponents of devas as we know them, do it with finesse that they will end up with some of the best wishes granted to them.

    So in the first story titled How to fool an Asura is that of Bhasmasura as his name suggest the asura with ashes, invoked Shiva and got his prayers answered and in that he wanted anyone he touches  with his hand to become ashes.

    This as usual was a problem for the Devas led by Indra and they take refuge of Vishnu to somehow defeat Bhasmasura.

    Vishnu takes the form of Mohini a beautiful girl and get to teach Bhasmasura and he being very happy about it continues to dance following the steps of Mohini,  till he puts his hand on his head without realising that he would burn to ashes.

    The second story Sea of Milk  is that of churning the milk ocean and how Vishnu became the turtle and held the mountain for them to continue churning the milky ocean. He takes the form of again a beautiful maiden to get the advantage to the Gods.

    The third story of Vamana is also a great one with the King Mahabali who is also an asura who gets to rule the world with his powers. But then it has to be stopped or else there might be a problem for the devas. When asked for three foot steps of land from Maha Bali, Vishnu covers the earth and sky with two steps and Bali offers his head for the third step.

    So we have some nice stories that will enliven the kids during sleep time or when they are seeking fun.

    The author has taken liberty to interpret things for kids and in a way it seems it suits the adult audience too. As for me, the kid at home seems to like it with the interesting illustrations and pictures that they identify with.

    Tapas Guha has done a commendable job with his illustrations and the cover looks very nice.

    Click on these links to pick the copy from Amazon / Flipkart.

    Senthilkumar

    You Can Achieve More by Shiv Khera – a book review

    • Paperback: 296 pages
    • Publisher: Bloomsbury India (18 April 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 938634906X
    • ISBN-13: 978-9386349064
    • Package Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm

    I signed up for this for the simple reason that its SHIV KHERA.

    One of the most impacted stories that is also a part of this book is about being woken up by the mother every day morning. In a situation of handling money and a bit of unethical variety the accountant asks his mom what he should do. When he explains the things, she says that she doesn’t understand what he says but says one thing  “I don’t understand anything you say, but I want my son to be awake when I enter the room”

    I was not disappointed with the book, has a lot of things on the ethics and moral side of it which are given a go by in todays corporate world.

    The book is a very lucid in the sense making the subject easy. Not many jargons. Author given his extensive training experience quotes from his seminars and makes us relate to the messages he has, in his inimitable style.

    To be honest his approach on the ethical and moral issues deserves praise simply because he has taken it to the logical end in terms of the context and more so he believes real issues are taken up.

    The base premise is of living by design and not by default. I think we get into the default mode the moment we get into a comfort zone. Perhaps that is why we need to remind ourselves that its not the real potential that we are really better and more capable that what we think.

    There are books and there will be books, this is one of the simpler ones and easy to digest if you ask me. The design of the book and the layout with easy to read format and quotes in special boxes makes it reader friendly and also make it easy to take notes.

    The author does say that you can take your time reading this book, I think its like you can come to this book anytime later and that serves you well simply because it is a kind of reference material that we can look up to.

    The best part is the exercises behind each of the topics and I think that works very well like – the things to do and action plan after every chapter is read.

    This book is a clarion call by the author to live life by design and not default. You could always keep it simple and real and this book has the ability to make people look within and find their potential and achieve more than they think they can.

    The book will be a great help for those who doubt themselves and for those who think greatness is thrust upon a few.

    A person with a positive attitude cannot be stopped and a person with a negative
    attitude cannot be helped.

    Thanks Flipkart for the copy. This review is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book Review Program.

    Senthilkumar

    The Big Switch – Its Never Too Late by John Thomas a book review

    the big switch

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 2196.0 KB
    • Print Length: 239 pages
    • Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0776ZJGNR
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled

    About the book

    What does a 24-year-old man want in life?
    Love?
    A decent job?
    Keith has both. He is a software engineer at a reputable company and has a girlfriend whom he loves a lot.
    Yet, there is something missing in his life. He is not even close to being happy.
    Only after losing his girlfriend, he realizes what the reason for his unhappiness is.
    He realizes that he is caught up in the wrong career.
    With time running out, he knows that he must switch to a new career — one that makes him happy.
    But, is 24 too late to do that? Is he making a mistake?
    Find out as Keith follows his heart in pursuit of an impossible-looking dream.

    My review:

    There are motivational books now and here is one attempt with a nice reading novel in the plot. So at first glance there is a novel and there is a motivational part. What you get in Big Switch is primarily a slice of life events which will help the readers see through the circumstances and motivate them as the character goes through different sets of emotional ups and downs.

    Lets be clear that life is not that fair as much as we would love to be, and author with his character Keith has rekindled hope for us a lot in the sense that we can see parallels of what Keith undergoes in his career and personal life. Sometimes the narrative I felt could have been better, he could have avoided the gossip chatter that comes once in a while.

    The characterisation is good and the language is simple and sometimes the author has taken liberty in making it conversational most of the times. I loved the sports part of it since that’s a very low priority in our lives especially once you are out of school.

    A good motivational book but I think it was a bit long for a motivational book having read small books of the same genre.

    But for a debut author this is a great one and look forward to more titles and little crispier version of the same. On the other side I would have loved a hard copy of the same, it would have made the reading faster especially with motivational books like these.

    One can identify with the characters at different points and the industry here is a giveaway and the project managers are all the same may be. It takes an individual to really work on his side and then take things up to make it happen with others.

    A good book and a nice read. I took three sessions to finish this, but this can be done in one session at a stretch.

    This review is a part of the biggest Book Review  Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! You can download a copy of this book on Amazon  kindle here.

    Senthilkumar

    Murder in Paharganj by Kulpreet Yadav – a book review

    Murder in Paharganj

    Paperback: 278 pages
    Publisher: Bloomsbury India; First edition (10 October 2017)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 9386826615
    ISBN-13: 978-9386826619

    First things first, this is the first time I am reading Kulpreet Yadav and happy that we have a series with someone called Vicks Menon, it definitely is a nice idea to get a Journalist don a detective’s hat.

    The story opens with a murder in a hotel in Paharganj, of a foreign lady, and the hotel staff invariably a friend of Vicks Menon informs him before he actually calls the police and that’s where it all starts.

    The man in the story Vicks is a journalist albeit this time he is jobless and wants to show his boss that he has made a mistake and that’s one reason why he decides to take this on his own instead being a help to the police. Also in the story is his live in partner and lover combined  Tonya who is a psychiatrist and helps the police unravel motives for crimes.

    The story travels across half the continent atleast from Israel to Iran to Afghanistan to India to Bangkok. Though most of the happenings is at Paharganj and Udaipur for a bit, its shadow casts across the other places mentioned earlier.

    There is also the farther daughter story which comes to light with an introduction of an Israeli spy in Ariel.

    The contours of the killer who is Jalauddin in real and with a name of Jamie and how he is an agent for Iran is well crafted but the scenes that unfold are quite cinematic in the way it takes shape towards the end.

    The unravelling of the plot could have been more intense. The trace that the police are after looks pretty amateurish. It could have been much more scientific and today there are enough things in digital that is happening. I would expect much more from a spy thriller.

    Easy and a fast paced read but could have been more gripping, because it was left to someone to finish of the killer, somehow doesn’t seem true to the plot. I think the character of the psychiatrist should have been chiselled in a way that could have a bearing on the case.

    There are too many characters to contend with and we have to sympathise with them too. And their roles get limited when the author tries to give each a bit of the focus on them. A good read overall.

    This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book review. Thanks FLipkart for the copy and you may pick up yours here!

    Senthilkumar

    Celebrating the Super Connected City #celebratingsuper

    entreprenuership

    The spirit of entrepreneurship runs through every chaiwala, every kulche wala bhaiyya not to forget the golgappa wala bhaiyya. These are times when entrepreneurs are changing the landscape of the economy in more ways than one. The best part is that it is encompassing every sphere of life right from childhood to youth to the rest.

    And it’s no surprise that Delhi or the NCR region is home to some of the best of the entrepreneurship fairy tales that we see today. What we see is what we seed. Quite often the strength of the network is what is the strength of the individual, that perhaps defines the spirit of New Delhi as it spawns new set of techies and expands frontiers of success stories across a variety of disciplines from food to classifieds to real tech to AR to VR.

    With a heavy push on Digital India the roads are now more than crowded with many a startup competing to be there, to be heard and to win. The journey is a tough one because the ideas are easy but the execution is difficult and at times like these we have some real super help from the like of Vodafone.

    hero2

    You heard it right the #CelebratingSuper Vodafone actually helps the startups with initial packs that can go upto over 2 lac rupees that a huge huge amount of money if you ask me. This is not new, and some of the most celebrated successful startups like Zomato and Oyo rooms have tasted this before.

    The entrepreneurs know how each of these measures will help them overcome initial difficulties and gain momentum especially in the first few days of starting up. You will be ridiculed because we still don’t know how it is going to be and people can easily say things when it doesn’t happen.

    But its the story of persistence, like once I read about the founders of LinkedIn wherein they said our over night success had to wait over 14 years when Microsoft took over LinkedIn.

    So this attitude of persistence is a strength of the entrepreneurs we see today. There is so much of similarities when we think of these things with respect to the City of New Delhi. The city has a never say die attitude and is giving itself a shot in the arm whenever a crises hits and that when you see the resilience at display.

    The Vodafone network  has these quality that you can easily relate with in terms of what it is supposed to deliver. To make it interesting the city today boasts of 120 hotspots across Delhi & NCR such as DLF Mall of India, Fortis Hospital, Delhi Haat, Khan Market, Airport, etc

    And when you thought the air is unbreathable Vodafone decided to create the first Air-Purifying bus shelter in the city so that people could breathe non-polluted air while waiting for a bus. Innovating to get the best for the people of Delhi.

    It is in such small details that God aka Network resides today. So Vodafone apart from making us talk is making it easy for us to breathe and more over look to making it cleaner. That’s the secret to making Vodafone the choice of 1.2 crore customers in Delhi and NCR and Vodafone receives 1 customer appreciation every 30 seconds.

    Times are a changing so too is the Network!