Friday, 31 July 2015

#BookReview ; Shikhandi & Other Tales They Don't Tell You by Devdutt Pattanaik

Patriarchy establishes men as superior to women.
Feminism views women and men as equal.
Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.

Queerness isn’t only modern, Western or sexual, says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. Take a close look at the vast written and oral traditions in Hinduism, some over two thousand years old, and you will find many overlooked tales, such as those of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife; Mahadeva, who became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child; Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband; Samavan, who became the wife of his male friend; and many more . . .

Playful and touching—and sometimes disturbing—these stories, when compared with their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness.

Ok so this book was on my TBR since ages!! Also I never tried any of the author's works before so was a little excited about it. The first page itself had a quote which made me sure that this book is going to be an informative & enjoyable read.
"Beware of a land where celibate men decide what is good sex"

The book has 2 parts, the first part has 2 chapters 'Appreciating Queerness' & 'The Discovery or Invention of Queerness'. Both of them have detailed well explained & connected references on how queerness has always been an inseparable part of our culture. It shows us how queerness was well included in mythologies all over the world which unfortunately got suppressed in mean time.
The second part consist of 30 stories which potrays queer characters openly & proudly which can observed in Hindu mythology & oral stories from different parts of India. A person who never knew about these stories would be surprised to know about stories like of Chudala or Mandhata & other such characters.

This book makes one feel proud of India's rich heritage & culture which believed in all kinds of equality whether it's sexual or gender based since ages. If read with an open mind this book will enlighten you & will make you believe in equality more & more.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

#MyTake On The Death Of The Most Inspirational Indian Ever

                               Dr A. P. J. ABDUL KALAM

As I entered the premise of MNNIT, Allahabad some years ago to listen Dr Kalam's speech I was feeling blessed to see THE Missile Man in front of my eyes. His speech itself potrayed the kind of human he was, INSPIRING. He just emphasized to DREAM & DREAM BIG as it will force each one of us to achieve them. The positive vibe which he shared with everyone is well known. He always believed in creating a positive environment which will result in noble citizens & hence create a developed country.

Dr Kalam's scientific contributions need no introduction, he is one of the most respected scientist in this era. Pokhran 2 nuclear tests got him into the main stream media & he received more love & respect from the people of India.

When Dr Kalam's name was suggested for President even the opposition party of Parliament agreed to his nomination, that was the popularity he had obtained. Even when he became the President of India he considered himself as a simple citizen of India & lived the simplest life possible..

To absorb the news of the death of such a good person is difficult but we should all remember that he would've never wanted us to stop but move on & move forward.

I can go on & on about how great he is, how he has inspired millions & will continue doing so even if he is not with us anymore. To pay respect to this great man we can pledge to fulfill his dream which was to see India 2020 as a developed nation. We can all read his books if you seek inspiration & learn from this great man.

I am thankful to Penguin India that because of them I own a signed copy of Dr Kalam's last book, Reignited. I am gonna treasure it forever..


Monday, 27 July 2015

#BookReview ; Ordered Cheese Delivered Chalk by Shobhit Agarwal

How does one get into IIT, the Mecca of engineering?

Enroll yourself into the most prominent coaching institute in Kota, Rajasthan; slog for fifteen to sixteen hours a day like a robot; become alien to terms like 'merriment' , 'fun' & 'joy' and have textbooks as your only confidants.

Simple! Right?

Alas! We missed a few factors ranging from love at first sight to depression, from counter-strike to an overtly friendly damsel, from a re-introduced former classmate to teenage love.

Ordered Cheese, Delivered Chalk narrates the tale of a confused and bewildered, sixteen-year-old, Sameer Mittal, who lands in Kota, looking to crack the IIT-JEE, and the transition he makes into a clear-headed, fearless and unperturbed young adult, who couldn't care less about making it to the IIT, or any other prestigious engineering college for that matter.

Starting with the cover it's a bit amateur but since the story is about teenagers so we can all give it a pass. The description in the story is very well potrayed, the life of students in Kota is conveyed very well. You will actually feel the weather they survive, the mess food, the long insufferable classes & so on.
This story revolves around Sameer Mittal, a young lad who is excited as well as afraid that he's gonna live far away from his parents for the first time. The coaching classes gave him quite an idea what kind of hellish schedule he has to follow in the future & he was surviving it infact but then he saw a girl & he felt butterflies for the first time in his stomach & then the story starts to take a different turn. Study+Love+Friendship+Everything else can it result in success is the ultimate answer which gets revealed at the end.
The plot is very well written & is extremely realistic, it also shows that how parents force their children into the so called 'harsh' reality but forget that life is nothing if they can't even live it!  This book can be read by everyone & deserves to be read.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

#BookReview ; Now That You're Rich... Let's Fall In Love by Durjoy Dutta

It's the summer of August, 2009, & the lives of four young, overachieving nerds from India's best colleges are about to change forever when they are recruited by a ruthless investment bank.
Big cars, expensive suits, pretty shoes & luxury cruises- the world awaits their arrival!
It's time to leave their old lives behind- cheating boyfriends, oppressive parents, depressing love lives & back-stabbing friends- and head for a new beginning.
But life is far from perfect, and the promises and the dreams they once saw, now lie shattered.
Now That You're Rich! is a story about ambition, the battle between the small joys in life & money, and, most of all the tenacious ties of friendship.

The story revolves around 4 main characters Abhi, Saurav, Shruti & Garima who become inseparable friends gradually at Silverman Finance which is an investment bank but then things change, their strong friendship were put to a test & it seemed that it's doomed to fail. The story has many parts which includes love, breakups, office politics, etc etc. The book builds the background stories of all the characters very well but unfortunately after sometime the story seems obvious.
In the start there's a 3 page 'advice' that people should first concentrate on how rich the girl/guy is & then fall in love which sounds materialistic but is also rational upto an extent but in the real world it's not possible.
This was my first DD read, while it's too early to make my mind about the author but this one was full of different elements but the main was friendship & love.
In all it's a light one-time read.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

#BookReview ; The India I Dream of... And The Facebook Revolution Begins!! by Vikrant Khanna

How many of us complain about our country and believe nothing will ever change? How many of us crib about the dirt in this country but still litter openly? How many of us abuse our ministers and government but still never vote? Most of us, right? Harsh, Dev and Nikita are three such Indians. Until one fateful day…… What do the three of them do then? Keep quiet and sulk about it for the rest of their life, crib and complain and forget about it like they always do or fight for justice. They do none of the above. Instead they turn to But what are they fighting for? Will we Indians ever care? Can the new age social networking tools really help? Will the country ever change or will the ‘chaltha hai’ attitude prevail ? Come and be part of the change……

The name of this book was the first thing which caught my attention, it seemed catchy to me & then I read the intro which intrigued me even more. The story is about 3 regular Indian friends who are just like the majority of us, irresponsible citizens of our country who don't miss a single opportunity to criticize the same country where they can't even follow simple rules. Unfortunately they go through a very tragic experience, while 2 of them decided to forget everything one of them made his mind to do something which leads to a revolution which focuses on improving Indians. The story & the writing style of the author is simple yet effective & it surely appeals to you read it more & more.

I wish this story would've been true so that even I could join that movement, but then we all can contribute a little to our country by doing some simple duties & bring the change. This book gave me a new window to think about improving India & myself. Thank you Vikrant Khanna!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

#BookReview ; I Forgot To Take My Pill! by Sharyn Hayden

Congratulations, you're up the duff. Now what?!

Sharyn Hayden, the founder of humorous parenting website,, delivers an overdue (oops, we said 'overdue'!) honest account of the road to first-time parenthood.

Don't expect: Butterflies, the wings of angels gently caressing your baby's brow as they sleep, a clean house, anything gooey unless it's stuck to somebody's new jeans.
Do expect: Puke on the floor, tiny kicks to the crotch in the middle of the night, unsolicited advice from random strangers, the need for wine at 8am and lots & lots of laughs.

As I was about to start this book someone from Facebook asked that "why are you reading a book about parenting?" & then even I became skeptical about it but I was proven wrong as I proceeded with each chapter. The author's work is simply refreshing & full of humour.The story mainly is about how she & her boyfriend decided to have a baby, how their relationship is & how it evolved during & after the pregnancy. It also showcases how parents in this case the author changed her lifestyle & managed to do what she loves while taking care of her baby.

The author is an expert in giving hilarious names like she calls her boyfriend 'Ass Monkey' in the book & then she divides people in general into many categories which we can all relate to especially the first time parents, she also stated the dos & don'ts for people visiting the new parents & it's actually downright accurate.

You will surely love the way the author wrote this book in a very realistic way & induced humor in it naturally which will make you chuckle every now & then. Her belief in feminism is also inspiring which elevated her quality of work. One shouldn't miss this one even if you're not planning to have a baby.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

#BookReview ; Mistress of Honour by Bhaavna Arora

A tale about passionate love and finding your soulmate . . . only to realize you will always come a close second
When Potnis, a captain in the Indian Army, meets Pansy during Operation Blue Star, he knows he has found the love of his life. Their passionate romance leads them to the altar and blossoms into a beautiful child, Rihana.
History repeats itself when Advik, a wayward boy from a broken family, catapults into Rihana’s heart as smoothly as he conquers the skies as an Indian Air Force pilot. What follows is a night of unabashed love, transporting the couple to heavenly bliss. Where will their unbridled love lead them? Will Rihana remain a mistress to Advik, for whom the love for his country comes first, or will she be able to make a place in his heart that is second to none? This heartbreaking saga of love, courage and sacrifice will leave you asking for more.

As I started to read the intro of Mistress of Honour I was sure that I had to be ready for an emotional turmoil. The story is beautifully written by Bhaavna Arora Ma'am, the connection she made between the present & past life of the characters is tremendous.This story is about how Indian Army men dedicate themselves to our country & protect us selflessly knowing that it might cost their lives. It also potrays how the family of army men are affected, how the wives of those brave men are truly the 'Mistress of Honour' ,how they struggle to keep their bond intact & the constant threat they live in.
The passionate language used to depict the love of army men for our country is absolutely commendable. The book attaches itself to you so much that all readers will feel each emotion the characters are going through.
I don't want to give out any spoilers hence I will just say one thing, after reading this book your respect for The Indian Army & their families will grow exponentially. Thank you Bhaavna Arora & Penguin India for this gem of a work.

Friday, 17 July 2015

#MyTake on #FTIIMahabharat

As Vincent Van Gogh once said,
“I want to touch people with my art. 
I want them to say 'he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.'”

As all great artists believe that art is something which makes people to think, to believe & sometimes change the society altogether for good. Hence the kind of art one produces or participates in conveys the kind of artist he/she is.

Now as we all know that a new chairman & society members have been appointed by our new government which is their right. Unfortunately the choices I&B Ministry made weren't considered upto the mark for an institute like FTII by it's students & hence they started to protest against these appointments.
The students demands removal of 5 society members along with the director appointed as they lack the required credentials. The list of the 5 society members include Anagha Ghaisas who was facing a case against Nandan Kudhiyadi a FTII alumni & an internationally acclaimed director who is also a 3 time National Award winner for not paying him his fees. What is worse is that after a 5 year long case which Kudhiyadi won Ghaisas still haven't paid him. I quote the court order "During the cross-examination of the defendant, it came in evidence that film production is only her occupation. She had not taken education in film shooting, editing and directing. She does not know the difference between fiction and documentary. Defendant (Ghaisas) does not have technical knowledge regarding film-making,”
So even after the court cleared the air about the credentials of the said person I don't see why she was even chosen for such an eminent post. The next in line is Shailesh Gupta, I really tried to find what kind of work he has done but the ONLY thing which came up was a documentary praising our Honorable PM which is a good thing but that doesn't qualify someone to be a society member. While 2 members Pranjal Saikia and Rahul Solapurkar do have atleast some work to back them *no idea about the quality of work* but I couldn't find a shred of work of  Dr Narendra Pathak, also he has a case against him for beating up FTII students in 2014. And at the last there's GAJENDRA CHAUHAN, frankly I didn't even know he was or what movies he had done except Baghban where he got slapped by Salman Khan. His famed work includes his role as Yudhishthir in B. R. Chopra's Mahabharata & I think it ends at that. According to him his acting career is of 34 years, in which he has worked in 600 tv series & 150 movies. Now, when we see his QUALITY of work we can clearly see that after the role of Yudhishthir he never ever did anything which would make him an artist with a vision or would showcase his artistic credentials. I won't criticize him for doing C-grade movies because sometimes we all have to do things which we may not like in the industry for money. What bugs me even more is his thoughts about quality movies! I quote him what he said on a news debate "Jo movie chal jaye wo hi A-grade movie hai" & when he was asked what a quality movie is he blatantly said 'I won't answer this question'. I don't think THIS is how a chairman of FTII should reply to simple questions. What amazes me is how can a TRUE ARTIST not have self respect!! Leave where you're not respected!! Or else that would make you seem a position hungry person!!
The protest even moved other society members like well-known cinematographer Santosh Sivan, filmmaker Jahnu Barua and actress Pallavi Joshi & they rejected to be a part of such a governing council. While many eminent actors have now come forward to support the students openly I hope the government understands the importance of having a QUALIFIED Chairman & society members.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

#BookReview ; Beyond School by Chitra Anand

Beyond School centres upon the weeks leading up to 17-year-old Shail’s final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure-cooker and the weight of preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in the other direction. Along with Shail’s journey from boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his parents-Urmila and Sushil and his mentor-Gladys, in a story that is honest, funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.

The story revolves around a young football enthusiast who is soon going to appear for his board exams for which his parents are more tensed than he is & hence they become a little strict towards him. But they don't have a clue that their son Shail has decided to sit through this year & appear for boards in the next. So whether he gave his exam or not & then there are many small things which happens to him & will it affect his studies or his dream to become a footballer is the main plot of the story while there's another angle to the story which involves Shail's parents Urmila & Sushil, their past & how & why they came to a different country & then there is Ms Gladys who is not only his teacher but mentor.

To be honest I was a little sceptical about this book before starting but as I read it the plot became stronger. The story of Shail our protagonist is that of most students who aspire to do something different than mainstream jobs. I loved his character!
And all the other characters gelled well with our protagonist. The details are well described & will create a beautiful picturesque of various places.
The only thing which bugged me was the last chapter but in all a good read indeed.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

#BookReview ; Confessions of A Private Tutor by Vikram Mathur

A man starts giving maths tuitions to keep his family afloat. 
But with the students came their mothers. 
Voluptuous. Willing. Moneyed.

The protagonist of this story is a simple boy who wants to earn some money to help his family by teaching school kids after his father suddenly died. It's a simple & nice story about how things take a turn & changes one's life. The protagonist starts sleeping with the mothers of his students & that became the large part of his earnings which he didn't really mind because it was easy. He needs to save some money for his sister's marriage but also take care of the monthly expenses. The story leads to what happens to the sister & the money our protagonist was making.

This story unfortunately doesn't allow you to make a strong connection with it because it lacks bits of information which are small but necessary. In short it's a nice read but can't expect anything exemplary from it.