Category Archives: Just about it

Some thing on mind

Baaz by Anuja Chauhan – book review

baaz-original-imaes6byr9xhndau

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9789352644124, 9352644123
  • Edition: NA, 2017
  • Pages: 432

This is the second work that I am reviewing for this author and she doesn’t fail to impress. I think now she’s got that style of that Haryanvi, Punjaban or whatever you may want to define the language part and its pretty interesting when she puts them in simple and sometimes rustic way of dialect delivery and it actually adds spice to the story telling.

So here we have a story of the Air Force officer Ishaan Faujdaar aka Shanu and the opening in itself is pretty revealing of what you can expect in terms of adventure and I think there are instances that are very close to what the author has seen and it shows in the narrative peppered with real life takes.

It also is a kind of historical in the sense that the story has the war as a background and how the air force pilots played a huge role in making it happen. It is also a kind of life and times of an Air Force Officer. We get to see a glimpse of those days especially the way those days of war with Pakistan. It would be worth remembering that Air Force was an integral part in securing the win.

The protagonist in the novel and the lead characters are strung together with their work life ideations and the female characters with their assertive traits are Anuja Chauhans style of presenting the best in the plot.

And do you remember the Liril ad – the first one under the waterfall, you get to know how it was shot.

It also is worthwhile to remember this comes at a time of political up-manship in terms of nationalism and warmongering if I may put it that way. You can read it at a go and there are places you would feel its a bit lengthy but keeps the pace fast overall.

One more addition to her work, Anuja Chauhan characteristically makes it another work look so easy for her. Pick it up if you like romances especially the fauji ones and ofcourse some with advertising background.

Get to read why its also called or titled BAAZ!

This is a part of Flipkart sponsored Book Reviews. Thanks to Flipkart for the review copy.

To pick the book on Flipkart go here

Senthilkumar

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

  • Language: English / Translated
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House India
  • Genre: Biographies & Autobiographies
  • ISBN: 9780670088744, 0670088749
  • Edition: 1, 2016
  • Pages: 336

I know Taslima Nasreen from what I have read in the newspapers and especially the incident at Hyderabad where she was attacked and had to be rescued. And ofcourse from the twitter world where she keeps talking as an independent voice unfettered by trolls whichever religion they may belong to.

I now know the reason why she is fiercely independent or rather she has her reasons and she perhaps lives to exemplify those statements that she makes unlike the so called liberals who she has called out in this book who take refuge of the situations and then give enough excuses on why they cant take a stand or show having a spine.

Reading the preface in the book gives us enough of how this book has come to life. It perhaps is the way with all her other books too. Thanks to the translator, I am sure this must have been a challenge in a way as much for the author.

The title should have been hard one for Taslima since you cant be in exile in your country and worse in the place that you wanted to be back ‘home’ and how that can be shattered by politics and fundamentalism.

The book spares no one in this narration of events that lead to her exile and how she was lost in time if I can put it that way. If there is a place called nowhere probably thats where the people wanted her to go.

I am for the first time taking a political stand on a book and a review probably I am at odds with what the left liberals have done to the fabric of the country and no one needs to read anything else than this book to show their hypocrisy. A stark reality of how even the media is hand in glove with liberals when they cant take criticism or feel like offended is glaringly revealed with the way they held themselves outsing Taslima from Calcutta the now Kolkatta.

Fundamentalism doesnt have a religion its got only a reason to be what it is.

The book is got different styles and it takes time to get into the groove, simply because the events described there are so much of disturbance and those we didn’t know first hand. Some places the narrative changes to poetry and then to instances given as it is in a dialogue format a part of diary which the author had.

I would recommend this book for its retelling of our times from a perspective of a free woman and will help understand the psyche of the world when it comes to fighting truth and the uglyness it creates in the society on its own.

My admiration for translated version have gone up considerably after reading this book and kudos to the translator for having done a fabulous job here.

Buy your copy here : Flipkart

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program and thanks Flipkart for the copy.

One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat #bookreview

One Indian Girl

You got to give it to Chetan, for once there is a semblance of the characters and not much melodrama which we found in his earlier works or atleast thats what I thought so. To be fair I have read all his works even the non fiction he wrote. His work as a screenplay writer is very much in display as much as he has worked on the characters.

The story is that of Radhika who is working in a financial MNC and is rising up the ladder and ofcourse in those times of her life going from the Indianess to being the global woman that she becomes, this is a story which is narrated in the first person.

I loved the character and its doesnt seem like Radhika is a girl in the way she approaches life and also makes it liek she is living her life on her own terms. I am sure there are many Radhikas in here and probably you do know some.

The story is a well knit one, you dont have to keep tab. It opens in Goa and ends in Goa in a matter of some 48 hours and the past sprikled in measures and doesnt take much time to finish it. I finished it in one go over six hours. You don’t have to probably think about what is ahead sometimes its so predictable.

One thing which is presented well is the feminist approach and the author takes a middle path when the character in Brijesh who is supposed to marry Radhika says its more good to be human first.

I think the author has taken pains to define the feminist in the protagonist which I think was unnecessary. So too are the explicit scenes of love making which ideally could have been avoided. It looked like it has been planted.

On the other side I also wonder how a male feels when he is ditched, thats for another day.

But like I said this is a nice presentation and going by Chetan’s way of teaching English in his conversational style this is a nice book to read.

A fast paced love story gone wrong in the corporate corridors and a great deal on woman’s perspective of how she thinks and feels. I would give it a 3.5 stars on 5.

The characterisation of all the players in this book are worthwhile and you can easily relate to some characters you have come across.

Senthilkumar

Friendships are for life… Yaroon Ki Baraat!

Three idiots

Three Idiots :P L to R: GopaKumar, Me & Karthikeyan

It’s been long years of friendship, say we have known each other for over 30 years and except for a brief period in between we have always been in touch. When we look back, it has not been the one of the best goody type besties we are known for, but what we know of each other is the fact that we respect each other for what each one is, as an individual, probably that makes this relationship more special.

We talk about the people in our lives and also about those who missed out on that. Quite often we share the same empathy when it comes to people and their issues and how we can help.

We were a generation which sang this song Mustafa Mustafa…

We have been through tough times, some real tough times literally in terms of personal (esp mine) and professional life. And through that we could take in what is the best and come out trumps and even today those are the moments that we relish simply because we didn’t have control over what was happening but yes we stood our ground to do what we intended and only what we love to do.

An ideal situation which presented before us to say: times do change. A tea stall / bakery that we used to frequent and a part time office place in our not so good days is now replaced by a big apartment, a telling fact that times do change and we should not lose hope. Being together in testing times perhaps is the most important thing for us. Probably that event taught us that change is the only constant.

The careers changed for better and now we are entrepreneurs (so I think) and professionals in a way. The practical aspect of running a business and the way how it affects your looking at life is also another lesson we both learnt in different spheres and contexts.

I know friendship across ages has defined only one thing for sure- being trustworthy and reliable and more so to be frank if you ask me. Those traits make or break a relationship. Standing by you is a phrase you will understand when the worst happens and there are people standing beside you inspite of all things broken around you.

kuselanThis would have been a slice of life for every one in the world. There is a beautiful and a successful movie in Malayalam titled – Kadhaparayumbol starring veteran actor Mamooty and the most versatile Srinivasan in lead roles. Perhaps the untold story there is that Mamooty donning a super star role as Ashokan has his friend in his memories ever so long. That he decides to bare his past to the audience is the climax that makes people teary eyed making it must watch movie. So moved was the Superstar Rajnikanth that he wanted it remade in Tamil which unfortunately bombed at the box office.

It might not be that the friendship is a toast or talk of the town but the richness lies in it being simple or in its simplicity sometimes. And that you can be taken for granted inspite of years that go by even without being in contact.

Wedding...L to R: Me, Gopa & Suresh

Now I am waiting to watch the stories of friendship that made the silver screens much larger than life and people longed to see the duos winning every time in reel and in real. ZEE TV’s Yaaron Ki Baraat looks promising to give us some real stories probably we have never heard before on friendship. The Show will celebrate friendship through a test and fun way and I can easily imagine how its gonna be on screen. Quite possible for the fact that we have taken friendship for granted.

PS: The two pictures at the dining hall are years apart but the common factor to it is having the lunch after the show is over. :)

Best Sports biopic in Bollywood

I know this week saw MS Dhoni the Untold story release. It might be nice to sit and watch the movie with Sushant Singh donning the lead role and doing the batting with a flourish like only MS Dhoni can do.

Travel back some days if you remember the flying Sikh, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and the way Farhan Akthar transformed himself to get to the speed Milkha Singh did. It’s not that easy as donning a regular role for any other kind of movie. These characters are about grit and determination and getting to the role in the finesse that can be seen physically tough and emote the way as a sports man would be a great stuff.

The likes of Mary Kom and Milka Singh is a great inspiration for biopics, and this trend should continue so that many generation to come can have a look at how these greats contributed to the sports.

Also some bio pics like Azhar could have been handled better in my view. The Dhoni becoming a raging success is an attribute to the man himself.

But what of those sweat and training of the likes of Priyanka who did the Mary Kom part or Sushant Singh Rajput who did Dhoni or Farhan Akthar who did Bhaag Milka Bhaag.

It needs the same strength and tensile ability to bring life to those characters which would be lifeless without the intensity that comes to ghe fore in a real sport. That perhaps is the challenge that these actors come upto. Farhan Akthar’s role as Milka Singh will remain one of the best performances in his career as an ode to the man who missed the medal.

Coming back to Sushant Singh here, he really would have loved being a cricketer after the movie it can easily be judged not  as to how he has evolved as an actor but as a cricketer. I would bet if he can be bought over in a an IPL he would be an easy target from some of the best teams.

Imagine getting into Captain cools shoes, you will know what I am talking about. Probably getting to terms in executing a helicopter shot would perhaps been one of the biggest challenge that’s so Dhonisque.

The success of biopics is the ability to get the audience inspired and it need not be all the time at the movie but even if there is a 1% inspiration that counts because we don’t know how it will playout in an individuals life.

As regards the physical regimen it makes it all the more alluring and that’s one component that’s a lifetime for a sportsman but a year or so for the actor. Here read this story of Sushant Singh and  have a look at this video!

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg – a Book review

Book Review The Tantric Curse Anupama Garg

The Indian spiritual tradition is always a mystery and that is kept so because people have heard of them only by hear say and never ever tried to find the real body of knowledge.

Quite often it gets twisted simply because the people who want to know it don’t have the patience or would not like to go through the rigour of knowledge seeking.

In this book the author who is a spiritual seeker herself makes a nice attempt to impart those basic understanding of spiritual and the tantric sciences with this novel.

The characters of Krishnam, Rhea make the story and the life and times of Rhea is central to the narration that we have here. The author takes extra care in getting us understand the real meaning of some of the things that are just not true and gives an insight into the lives of sadhaks, gurus and tantra tradition.

The portrayal of Rhea as a common girl and then later getting transformed is one that will leave you  thinking. It’s a rare attempt and a brave one, simply because the author has shown the female as the lead in the story and that helps remove much of the stigma that comes attached to say a Shakthi Dham or a religious place.

The descriptions and definitions at the right places gives us an insight into the real spiritual pursuits rather than those which are highlighted in the normal world and media gets it.

A nice read and a fast paced one could have been a little crisper at places but makes you turn the pages as you go.

Pick this book to know about the real vidya of tantra and how it is practiced and you could remove a lot of misconceptions about the religious and spiritual aspect of tantra.

On a sidenote I really liked the cover page and its got so many things covered.

Buy this book here at Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/tantric-curse-english/p/itmecb8fnhc49myu?pid=9788129137524

Amazon link here: http://www.amazon.in/Tantric-Curse-Anupama-Garg/dp/8129137526

Silent Valley – the reservoir of everything pristine…

This has been on the list and not that am a heavy traveller but I take the road leading to Silent valley whenever I am driving through the Palakkad Mannarghat Road. That has made me look through where I want to go.

This coupled with tales from friends have always had me in charm especially the way, the place is still intact or so they claim and I just want to witness the serenity and the overflowing green wetness they describe in just walking through the forest or getting your toes wet with small rivers across the valley.

Imagine this picture and I am sure you can imagine what I was trying to convey..

FOREST_BY_NIHAL_JABIN

Pic Courtesy By NIHAL JABINOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31595034

This is a no-mans’ land literally making it one of the most green spaces in the country with little to zero human imprint. The flora and fauna of the place are rich and some of them are in the list of endangered species.

It is one of the best case studies of human intervention and human might to conserve the forest and will remain so for times to come.

I would like to trek those accessible areas and places where we can just be the self. I am sure this place has the affinity to make you change the perception of life. Being in the midst of nature in a way that you cannot imagine.

It would be a great trip in the lap of nature and immerse yourself with the surroundings. I think this would be the real nirvana for a traveller who can see himself in the nature around him.

Imagining, I can actually feel the warmth flowing out of the wetness of the water and the music flowing through the rustle of the wind and brushing of the clothing against those green shrubs and twining climbers on the trees.

So its like I should get on this before I make the next trip on the Palakkad road which will not just be seeing the Silent Valley on the direction board but all the way ending up there in the lap of mother nature.

Ofcourse you need to check when you could visit and the ecosystem there is fragile as a glass you hold on a tight rope walk. But kudos to the project and people behind making this a one of a kind.

As a mythology fan this place has a Mahabharatha connect too. Well its the place where Panchali or Draupadi as we know her was in exile in the last year of their exile.

I am hoping to see the Macaque an endangered species, some antelope / deers and more of fauna and flora only at the Silent valley.

Pic Courtesy: http://www.nikhilchandra.in

I am sure this will happen sometime soon.

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

Senthilkumar

Can there be India’s most loved CEO ????

indiasmostlovedceoThe word CEO evokes a myriad of emotions for me, and there is pretty good reasons for the same. And when there’s a contest for IndiasmostlovedCEO, it makes for some real action both online and offline, to get the drift continue reading.

CEO make or break things for an organisation, he is more than a leader, manager and sometimes a friend rolled into one. I know you must have felt that right. And personally there are many people who have had a role in making me understand who is a CEO and what is he made of? There were some who taught me, some who directed me and some compassionate ones, you get a mix of all. There are impacts and there are just small overtures in dealing with people.

But then we need to ask can we ever have a contest, and if there is one how do we decide who’s the most loved one at that!

Who could be the most loved CEO ever? Everyone has different answers and can those thoughts meet and could we have someone rock the place as the #IndiasMostLovedCEO. This brings to mind lot of names, suggestion in particular like that of NR Narayanamurthy or APJ Abdul Kalam.

I have had a CEO who blazed a racing track, no guesses though. There are times when you can talk to him and get an answer for some question you thought don’t have answers! It’s like he has answers for everything!

So would your CEO qualify for the best or the most loved one? Would you be nominating the person who made a difference in your life and how exactly are they going to be ranked or chosen. This is for real and I just can’t wait to see that unravel as we go in the days to come…

Sometime I do feel if there could be most loved CEO. That’s an irony if he is able to keep folks happy and the board members happy, but could that be possible, may be yes or no.

As we debate this, lets check this out and see for yourself how CEOs have shaped careers, personal lives and destiny of a lot of people. Go straight here http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/ Check out and join in the race, nominate your CEO, and chances are you will be walking away with goodies and more importantly you would be noticed by your most loved CEO.

Senthilkumar

Really makes sense #LaundryGoesOddEven

At home you would be surprised to know Dad is in-charge of the washing machine.

Mom had developed a bit of arthritis and that meant less water work to be on the safer side and that made Dad step in. And the BPL semi automatic washing machine was the place. The drier had stopped working but it meant little for the kind of clothes that we had. Essentially it was the washing that was important and the Ariels of the world had made way into our life. That green coloured package yes if you can imagine.

Some three years earlier, we added a new washing machine  from Samsung stable and it was fully automatic and fuzzy control the tech term came with it.

So the work would be to put this on, and then the whole process is completed and just need to put them on the clothesline. Ideally Dad’s work remained the same.

The BPL still is a horse that keeps going, used for normal clothes and beds and blankets etal, the second washing is done on hand and this is once in a while when Dad takes over here again.

My tryst with washing started when I started staying alone in Delhi in 2010 and it continued when back home, Mom and Dad went to see our sister at US. Its continuing odd and even if i can say that and take care that do it once a week and help out with the clothes.

IMG_20160521_081626

I would even suggest that it need not be #LaundryGoesOddEven it could be that we could take over the whole thing. I can tell you from my experience that its a kind of nirvana to finish the whole chore and satisfying because you have done your work in a way. If it means that it can help your other half it is definitely a big plus.

So it can be odd even division of work but whenever possible even it out for your better half!

So when I watched this ad, I think the times are changing with more nucleus family in the cities this is the way to go and the kids will learnt that it takes two to tango well even to do laundry!

And when I got a chance to do this  #LaundryGoesOddEven challenge it was absolutely happy moment to share and gave my mom her full deserved rest.

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda and thanks P&G for the pack of Ariel Matic!

Senthilkumar

On Wordsworth’s ‘To The Cuckoo’

Dideric-Cuckoo-0010

That’s his name Wordsworth;
Each line of his – gold in worth.
Every reader will rejoice,
At this simple natural choice!

It is his greatness of course;
To make a poetic source,
Of a cuckoo – a common bird,
In its sublimes I have ever heard.

His profound love for nature;
The poetic definition of its stature,
All mixed perfectly in a blend,
To celebrate it would never end.

To me it opened the door,
To a new world a floor,
That a cuckoo – the spring singer,
Can be a subject to linger.

For me seeing the nature so keen,
To laud the creator to be seen,
Those lines of his proved that
A poem can be written on a black cat.

Yet to see, what other cant;
And  try if you want.
That’s the secret of the great poet
William Wordsworth!

Senthilkumar

(Circa – 1995 post reading the poem To the Cuckoo )