Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review (short): Social Potpourri - An Anthology

This anthology by Social Potpourri is a global blend of a variety of stories, beautiful poems, and breathtaking photographs; all in one place. Moreover, the page quality is very good, just like cherry topping on 'colorful' ice-cream of different flavors. :) Would surely like to contribute towards SP's next anthology.

Buy it here -->  

Nice literary amalgamation, this one.

Overall, 3.5 stars out of 5

 Connect with me here --> VPS 'हितैषी'

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: 'Kaleidoscope' by SpringTide

Title: Kaleidoscope

Author: Various, SpringTide (Editor)

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories)

Publisher: Parlance Publishers

About the collection: 

Kaleidoscope is a collection of 25 award winning short stories, selected out of numerous stories received in the online contest organized by SpringTide. These stories will make you laugh out loud, scare you out of your mind, make you fall in love all over again, redefine relationships, make you rethink about the social conventions and provoke you to think some more. This book is going to keep you engaged as you move on reading from one spellbinding story to another, not wanting to keep the book down. Do not miss this chance to read some of the finest short stories by amazing new writers!

An eclectic collection of twenty five prize winning stories, this anthology owes its origin to an international short story competition organised by Springtide. The various authors featured in this book represent all four corners of India with a couple of NRIs in it as well. Truly, this book can be termed as the voice of Young India.

Idea behind Kaleidoscope:

SpringTide took this initiative to encourage new writers from different parts of the country and to motivate more and more youngsters to read and write. The contest and the book were very well received in different parts of the country. Parlance publishers, who have been known to promote new talent in the literary field, have added yet another feather to their cap by associating with SpringTide for this contest and giving a chance to this amazing concept.

In the words of Pawas Jain, Founder of SpringTide Magazine, "Kaleidoscope is an attempt to recognize the untapped potential in the literary circle of our country and it aims at increasing the youth participation in literary activities"


After a very long time, I read a collection of short-stories. Though I am not a very big devourer of this genre, but I like to read them occasionally iff they are written beautifully, i.e., if they have a 'story' in it to capture my reading interest. My favourite short story writers (english) till now have been Ruskin Bond, Roald Dahl, etc.

The book starts with Vivek Banerjee's The Hunter, Best Writer award winner for this book. The story is good, the flow is perfect. There is a surprise twist in the end but it didn't give me the thrills a suspense story should provide. 3 stars (All ratings are out of 5 stars)

Next come remaining Top 5 stories of the contest.

The House by Deboshree Bhattacharjee is a story of old age delusion, and the build-up to the climax is a bit suspenseful but hazy, with a sad but true ending. 2.5 stars

Next comes Tale of the Knitting Yarn by Nabanita Dhar. The story is simple with very less to offer in terms of newness but the evoking of emotions and word imagery provides a sense of longing and belonging quite good. 2.5 stars

Voice Male by Renuka Vishwanathan provides the context of hopeless love/infatuation in modern times. Nice one but predictable. 2.5 stars

A fresh breeze along the book comes in the terms of The Domino Effect by Deepa Duraisamy. The theme is how a chain of interconnected events started by the unaware protagonist changes the life of those who get involved in it. To weave so many different plots into a single story is not an easy task but the author justifies her work here. 3.25 stars

The Hike to the Temple by Prasanna Rao presents us with a horror story, but comes out with an unjustified character who was supposed to provide scariness to the readers. 2 stars

Vaibhav Mukim's Food is a sci-fi tale with a chilling revelation as it moves forward. But its complex and vague plot (in the initial pages) could have been presented much better. 2.5 stars

Happy Puppet by Bhavya Kaushik is the female protagonist's self-confession story about her never-understood emotions by anyone in her cursed life due to a disease revealed at the end. 3 stars

And here comes my favourite read from this book. The story The White Dress written by Garima Nowal is an interesting one to read. First half is an exact replica of a common girl's mind in today's dangerous times, while the remaining part deals with the development of tender feelings towards generosity shown by a complete stranger, with a classic twist in the last sentence. A beautifully penned story; absolutely loved it. 4 stars 

Rafaa Dalvi's Karma is a Bitch is another surprise entertainer, containing a supernatural flair with a delicate caressing of erotica. 3.5 stars

Redemption by Harihar Adarsh is a fantasy tale of an imaginary prince whom destiny beckons. Does he use his gift or falls in the process to unite the world - is the crux of this story with a mythical arc. Nice attempt. 3 stars

Next, Sarvana Kumar Murugan presents The Last Date. A dark romantic tale it is. 2.75 stars

I Love You Too by teenager Khushi Gupta does not endue anything new. A passable attempt at old age love with a background youth story. 2 stars

Nehali Lalwani bestows us with the book's yet another supernatural horror Alive Inside. Same old (similar coverage numerous times in horror movies like those of RGV) and predictable plot if you read carefully and apply some mind. Not a very great attempt. 2.5 stars

Balaganesh Pitchai gives his Theory of Evolution subsequently. A very interesting science fiction notion here. Interesting throughout with an open-mouth twist towards the end. Liked it. 3.75 stars

Next comes 'I' Operated by Smriti Mahale. This one takes up humorous quotient in its belly (which has come up quite good) and offers a delightful read about a girl's frequent visits to a hospital. A refreshing treat indeed. 4 stars

Parul Tyagi's The Star that Shines on Me... is a tale of a lower class Muslim wife, who deals with the disappearance of her husband and taking on life with her four kids through her fantasy bond with a superstar, to find hope in despair, and comfort in loss (phrase quoted from Amrit Sinha's review for Vault of Books). A different story. 3.25 stars

The boy who sold books by Anurag Bhatt doesn't offer anything new again. We all know the story of a protagonist, out of plight and conscience, trying to educate a working, school non-going but enthusiastic boy of 14; but fate has other (nothing interesting here too) plans. Passable. 2 stars

Thereafter, Rahul Biswas gives Chaos to us. A police story with a clash of responsibility towards their duty. How personal tragedy can alter one's mind towards destruction and chaos - is the crux of the story. Nice but bollywood-style events. Liked the way the story is framed. 3 stars

Here comes the most-awaited part (for me). Sanhita Baruah, whose romantic short story I liked much in Uff Ye Emotions earlier; she tries her hand on supernatural horror here with Secret of the murderous wood, but fails to entice. New packaging of an old folk tale with un-gripping narration disenchanted me from her charm this time. 2.5 stars

Aman Mathur bravely attempts the demonstration of the annihilation attitude of human race through his space fiction First Contact set in futuristic time. Heartfelt and hurtful. 3.75 stars

The Journey of My Life by Shishir Dhingra, after picking up quite good, finally disappoints at the end due to its predictable outcome. Some interesting twist could have been inserted to not make it one more forgettable love story. But it has its moments - how opportunity suddenly knocks your door and before you know, you get attracted to someone; how you take the initiative impetus and nurture this initial feeling into love from both sides - is what is beautifully shown here. 3 stars

Aniruddh Naik's story The Unknown Destination caters to the historical fiction genre. The author is successful in creating the interest in the story through Chandragupta Maurya's secret archives at some secret location with a secret society protecting them, but could have moulded the ending in a better way. Liked it though. He should extend this one into a full-fledged novel as it has the potential similar to Ashwin Sanghi's novels. 3.5 stars for now

Crazy Scarf by Prabhat Singh shows our world from a slightly different perspective. I've read such stories earlier but this one doesn't fail to impress also. Love at first sight with a rarebit approach. 3.25 stars

And the last story is When Love Oozed Out Blood by Ayush Agarwal. Initial buildup sets up the tempo but there isn't much to offer as it progresses. The end story should and could have been chosen more appropriately, I say. 2 stars


I would like to say that only writing a short story does not matter. There should be stuff, somewhat new concept, a content quality to be boasted of, not some already known plots in new, stylized wardrobe in a story. What was more encountered in this book were some average attempts at simply penning down of more or less known/predictable plots. Though there are a few very good tales also, but they are quite lesser in number. Also, the editing needed to be crisper to avoid language fallacies here and there.

That said and done, the positive thing is that the book really covers a diversity of genres taking readers' mind on different emotional rides - some good, some not good, some mixed; unlike some single genre oriented (like Love/Romance only) short story books which come across quite often nowadays. And I hope the next such (diverse) collection by SpringTide and Parlance Publishers would prove to be a better version in its content quality also, alongside the already established variety through this one. All in all, a nice Kaleidoscope of different flavours and colours of life.

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5 

P.S. -- Received a review copy from SpringTide founder Pawas Jain in exchange for an honest review

Connect with me here --> VPS 'हितैषी'

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From My Father

Presenting to you a very different side of the usual Father's Day posts... Read on your own conscience. And do notice the simplest of the colour coding used here.

1. Don't ever be over-disciplined to your children
My family, especially my father, have always put me and my siblings under so much of over-discipline that our personality development was not even 50 out of 100 till we joined college after 10+2. Only after I got to reside in the hostel during my college days, I learned what it is to breathe without elders' permission.

2.  Allow your kids to do mistakes
It was a perfect sin in our family to commit any mistakes. And my father always used to rebuke us on our faults/imperfection in performing any act, especially studies. Regarding academics, even a loss of one mark out of 25 in a unit test would invite his wrath on us.

3. Never put your children under domestic abuse
It had always been perfectly normal in our family for us kids to either get beaten up by slaps-and-sticks or be strongly ridiculed in never-fading taunting words on daily basis. Obviously it results in negative effects on one's psyche, and in some cases like mine, it may grow into Bipolar Disorder unknowingly. A childhood spent under constant fear is the last thing anybody wants.

4. Treat kids equally on par with each other despite their different academics & varied interests
This is one of the very few things my father was positive towards me. Should I smile now atleast?! May be in my childhood, I would have. But the total opposite side of this fact was his under-caring attitude towards my younger sister, just because she was weak in academics. Although there used to be sibling fights between us also and I was jealous of her getting a clear preference over me from our mother always, but her psychological ridiculing due to her low performance in academics never ended... I guess... till... she... decided to..... (well, leave it here only)

5. Vacations are really important
And by vacations I don't mean visiting your relatives during summer/winter holidays. Kids need to see a total different perspective of nature/life. Again it constitutes one of the things we never got entitled to. My dad, during my age from 5 to 21, took us only once OUT to Vaishno Devi darshan. Exploring new places adds a totally different dimension to one's persona, not only studying and playing.

6. Stand on your own legs; do your own work yourself
A plethora of positive things also I can recount. One of his lessons of life to us had been to always perform one's chores by oneself. Every household work we used to contribute more or less always. Sometimes it was irritating and sometimes very much essential. One always need this attribute in his/her personality. Outside home, with age, we were given trivial as well as non-trivial tasks to perform independently, be it fetching water, bank/LIC work, etc. Self-reliance was the lesson for me here.

7. Be Confident. Don't hesitate to ask anybody for directions and guidance
Whether it be a question of asking ways/directions in traffic, or the question of wisdom, my father always advocated 'No hesitancy' principle. He always used to seek blessings of elders and talk respectfully to others, and also made us do so. Thumbs up! Lesson - Seek whatever you feel right.

8. Keep your way of living simple but flexible
Another mixed attribute of my father. He always fed us properly as much as his income allowed. That means being a middle middle-class family, the occasions of outdoor dining, partying with sweets were very rare. I got no pocket-money ever. Not even when he used to agree to send us on one-day school trips. Similarly on our birthdays, as small a cake he used to bring that it sufficed only to have a bite-full for each and everyone present. Means, we got the taste of everything but never stomach-full of what we craved. Nearly never. Simple living is the best but flexibility is required, this is what I practise nowadays.

9. Education and Honesty are the best practices
The fact that I completed my schooling and engineering with distinction and now I am working as a Central Govt. Class I officer... is the absolute proof of his no-nonsensical stress over his kids' education. Following honest practices and upholding one's integrity are the traits I learnt from him which form the basis of my life even now.

10. Understand the value of what you have 
"Always take less food at first. Don't waste even one grain of food and one drop of water." His words whether eating at home or attending some function/party. Obviously, we should understand the value of what we have at our disposal. Others may be deprived of it. So it always best to utilize our resources properly.

My father is not exactly my idol, though he has always provided his solid support whenever I 'needed'. Even though my upbringing under him has been far from friendly but still it was near-perfect in some sense. I can understand the plight of children who grow up fatherless, or without family. That's why, I understand this relation, I do respect and really care for him, so what if I don't love him from the core of my heart! He has been the epitome of my success in life. And I will be there with him for the rest of our lives. He may not be my hero; but I have always been the central part of his life though in his own twisted way. And I being self-sufficient now it's my turn to support him and become his 'old-age stick'. May God bless him! :)

P.S. -- ‘I am writing ‘10 life lessons I learnt from my father’ at'

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gourmet Food Weekend Party for Family

My family, as like everyone else's, has always fed me the best food in daily life... and now it's my turn for once. :)

Ambience: Sweet aroma sticks will be used to scent up the atmosphere. Few lightning lamps for flourescence

Entertainment: Some light Bollywood music... Old is Gold

Location: Rooftop of my house on a cool (not chilly) moonlit night

Gourmet products from Kitchens of India:

Indian Bread: Missi roti, chapaati

Curry items: Paneer Darbari, Dal Bukhara

Taste Enhancers: Mango Jeera Chutney, and Pineapple - Green Pepper Conserve, fried paapad, salad

Dessert: Hazoori Petha Halwa, vanilla ice-cream + gulab jamun

P.S. -- This post is an entry to IndiBlogger contest in association with Kitchens of India.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: 'Nobody Dies a Virgin' by Sanjay Shukla

Title: Nobody Dies a Virgin

Tagline: Life Screws us All

Author: Sanjay Shukla


‘What are you guys going to cherish after five years? The mundane thesis work, or working on an idea that no one has ever succeeded in?’ His utterings sound persuasive, but illogical, the stuff dreams are made of. Tapan and Harsh put their careers on the line. Will his passion make stars out of them or will it take them all down? Or just some of them?

It all starts with Aadi stepping into IIT Cawnpore for his post-graduation. He goes on to master a challenge as old as the age of the human flight. He beats the researchers all across the world. But he is yet not done fighting. Bruised egos, heated discussions and red tape, he needs to fight them all. And then there is the lady in red, a whiff of fresh air.

‘I value my friends more than my dreams and that’s the reason I am ready to trade my biggest achievement of the past two years.’ Would Aadi trade his sweat and blood for his morals? Will world know Aadi as a discoverer or will his story be lost in the ashes of time?

About the Author:

Sanjay hails from Pantnagar, a reputed university town in the state of Uttarakhand. After his post-graduation from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 2007, Sanjay spent four years with General Electric - Aviation. Recently he has joined Aeronautical Development Agency, Ministry of Defense. 

Between the chores of corporate life and his personal commitments, he completed his first novel titled 'Nobody Dies a Virgin'. Apart from writing, the author makes time to pursue his interest in dance, swimming and gliding. Sanjay also pens short poems from time to time. 


Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

ISBN: 9789380349800

Price: Rs.120/- MRP

Launched on: October 2012


The novel follows the story of three friends - Aadi, Harsh, and Tapan, through their post-graduation journey at IIT Cawnpore. Post breaking up with his former gf, Aadi finds a new passion in his Flying Car project. He includes both of his friends in this out-of-the-world dream of his, and also registers the unofficial support of few on-campus professors to get help with the lab facilities for experiments. But he goes wrong in making a mean professor his enemy, who will leave no stone unturned to make them all fail in their efforts. Adding a romantic angle to the story is Sonia, an MBA undergraduate at the same institute.

Will Aadi overcome all his obstacles and succeed in converting his dream project into reality? How far is Dr. Subbarao willing to go to super-feed his self-ego?! Is Aadi ready yet to lose his friends and/or his degree for his dream project?! Read the book to find out more; as it depicts very well how our higher education system (intentionally or unintentionally) suppresses innovative thinking among the students, and lacks the will to provide quality infrastructural support making their dream projects go down the drain in the process.


The language quality is superb, really. The proper yet sarcastic choice of words really makes the reader want to read the sentences again, to enjoy more.

The whole flying car idea is very nice and forms the crux of the novel. The well-structured ups and downs associated with this project is what keeps the story moving forward actually.


Reader's connection with the story gets loosened at various points due to break in flow encountered repeatedly throughout. The random discontinuity between dialogues, situations, and emotions makes one to go superficially about the book.

The main story (except the Flying Car part) lacks depth. One's attachment to the storyline remains shallow throughout. It is just another typical college life narrative with assignments, courses, beer, hostel, with a tinge of romance.

Core technical descriptions seem to have been inserted too much; could have been presented in a simplistic manner.

Overall, a nice one-time read. A good effort from a debut author, though could have been better. Surely to be watched out for his next novel in line.

Recommended for: Technical story readers, Language lovers

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

P.S. -- Received a review copy from the author Sanjay Shukla personally in exchange for an honest review

Connect with me here -- VPS 'हितैषी'

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: MBA is not about Money, Blazer, Arrogance by Krishna Kranthi


Like many, Revant has dreamt of getting that fancy and highly regarded MBA degree. After working hard, finally he gets an admission to one of the top Indian B-schools. His excitement is short lived as the overwhelming pressure and the vague defin­itions of management boggle him down. He gets frustrated with the people around him who see MBA as a purpose of earning higher salary and getting superior designations and indulging in unneeded arrogance. He thinks this is not what he wanted to learn out of his MBA. But then, something changes and Revant experiences the true purpose of pursuing an MBA. An inside story of MBA graduates, the book helps one realize that real purpose of a MBA degree is not confined to money, blazer, arrogance but it is more than that.

About the Author:

Krishna Kranthi is a management professional from Hyderabad. He has pursued his studies from CBIT, worked with lnfosys, Amazon be­fore pursuing his MBA from SPJIMR, Mumbai. In his own words, he describes himself as "Eccentric, Honest, Optimistic and Passionate". This is his first novel. [,]

Genre: Fiction (real-life inspired)

Publisher: Nivasini Publishers

ISBN: 9789350675007

Price: Rs.150/- [A part of your money from this purchase goes to the NGO - Vigyan Ashram in form of educational scholarship to the Students]


The book follows the story of Revant in first person, from the time he is set to join a reputed B-school for his 1-year MBA programme till the end of it. Prior to it, he had worked for some top firms and due to the widespread notion that MBA will provide him with better work portfolio and compensation as a management graduate, he opts for this programme at SPJIMR. But he remains confused regarding the true purpose of his MBA for most of the time, as he discovers his batchmates going crazy about Money, always in Blazers, and becoming
increasingly Arrogant.

Trying to figure the MBA puzzle out, he enlists the help of Prof. Sugandh, who advises him to build up on his Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude (read the book to know how he manages to do all this). In the meantime, he gets to work with NGO Vigyan Ashram as part of his curriculum, where he understands about the concept of Social Entrepreneurship on-hand. Using his acquired K,S,A and his NGO experience, and applying the definition of MBA to it, he  finally understands the true purpose of his MBA (again, read the book to find it out; it's the crux of the story and handled very well).

The book is divided in 12 chapters based on 12 months of Revant's MBA schedule. Most of the story is like a regular campus happenings (like other novels out in the market), just that it's the first time the story is primarily set as a full-mode MBA life (leaving the 2 States out of this context). His learnings at college and abroad (under student exchange program), feelings of love towards a campus girl, familiar family pressures form the most of the content.


The language is simple and very easy to understand, and the use of MBA jargons has been kept very less and to the point, without stretching unnecessarily.

Description of his journey/sight-seeing abroad is lively and exciting to read.

Nice peek into a MBA student's life for the first time

A nice, happy ending; with a message to everybody out there

"I am not the person I wanted to be; maybe I am the person I needed to be."


The language is erroneous at times with spelling and grammatical mistakes occurring too often.

Neither very much exciting, nor inciting much curiosity in the reader's mind (but still a smooth read overall)

Well, to conclude, I would say that it's not really a coming-of-age story, rather it's about discovering yourself and the purpose of one's life in a new light, that of the MBA degree.

My recommendation: A must-have book for the MBA aspirants and to-be-and/or-already MBA graduates. A nice one-time read for the others with a nice message hidden for all.

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

P.S. -- The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A timeless journey... with WeChat... priceless!

Q. - If you could connect with 5 or more people in a WeChat group - who would they be, and why? What would you talk about? The people can be dead, alive or even fictional.



Who: Shri Krishna

Reason: He is the Lord, the architect of Dharma's win over Adharma

Will get updated on: his Gita updesh live at the beginning of the Mahabharata war, using WeChat!


Who: Aryabhatta

Reason: He is the greatest Indian mathematician-astronomer

Will discuss on WeChat: how he came across the idea of place value system and how he discovered zero, and the approximate value of pi


Who: Maharana Pratap

Reason: He is my ancestor, and also one of the most courageous king who will be known for his bravery in the Battle of Haldighati against Akbar's enormous army till the end of time

Will discuss: and learn the tactics of spear-fighting from him; will update the real-time happenings of the Maharana-led win in the Battle thro' WeChat!


Who: Leonardo da Vinci

Reason: He is the best all-rounder talented artist (a polymath) in the history of mankind

Will talk on WeChat: regarding his paintings, especially Mona Lisa; his inspiration behind it... and will talk about his other scientific discoveries which played a very important part in the Renaissance phase.


Who: Swami Vivekananda

Reason: He is the revered young Hindu monk from India

Will get updated on: his historical Chicago speech live, using WeChat


Who: Jhansi ki Rani Lakshmibai

Reason: She was the fearsome warrior queen; the leading figure of Indian Revolution of 1857 for Independence against the British Raj

Will update thro' WeChat: to her in advance about the 'war' intentions of Dalhousie; will ask her permission to spy over his forces' movements, and will provide real-time updates to Rani (thro' WeChat)


Who: Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Reason: He is the creator of epic poem Madhushala, and my idol in the field of writing poetry

Will WeChat about: his inspiration behind writing the poetry threesome of Madhushala, Madhubala, and Madhukalash.; will seek to learn more about writing beautiful hindi poems :)


Who: Jules Verne

Why: He is the father of adventure novels

Will WeChat about: his dreams and vision behind his novels 'Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea' and 'Round the Moon', the very first novels I read which later became my inspiration to write my own adventure saga (an upcoming novel)


Who: Rakesh Sharma

Reason: He became the first Indian to go into space, in 1984

Will talk about: his space trip live, thro' WeChat


Who: Amrita Rao

Reason: The beautiful and innocent-looking Bollywood actress, my heartthrob

Will talk about: her movie Vivah, and will float my marriage proposal to her on WeChat ;)

P.S. -- This post is my entry to the IndiBlogger contest in association with WeChat.

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Cloud Blogathon experience

Loved it there at #CloudBlogathon conducted by IndiBlogger, sponsored by Microsoft Office 365... at The Tower Kitchen, UB City on 2nd June 2013. It was my first IndiBlogger meet and I was, (in)visibly, excited :D

Best thing I liked there was the super-flow of unlimited pint Beer; had a couple of them along with non-veg un'limited' snacks. :P

Made some good friends over the time - one, an avid blogger and an aspiring author; the other one just going to become a published author; among a few others. Hope I'll get some publishing tips from them when my under-process novel is ready for the market ;)

Liked the simple yet powerful persona of the GM of Microsoft India, Mr. Pichai, who himself came to us while we comfortably waited outside the venue before registration and we had our introduction. A man of confidence and knowledge, he is, surely.

Then began the Office 365 interaction. I had only a vague idea about its products before the meet, only that it works on Cloud (Computing). But there I got to learn how smartly it can be useful for a range of purposes; and how MS is contributing on social level in India through its various programs. 

From the talk of Mr. Pichai himself, I wished upon the thought that if only I could have got more of  the industry-institute interaction in my college (NIT Kurukshetra + Microsoft initiative), I would have developed much better understanding of - what do I need from my college life to become more useful/successful as a corporate honcho later. As a result, I would have got so much exposure, as I got in this Office 365 meet, during my college days that my whole perception and aptitude towards Industry would have been more mature and sophisticated. I would have really appreciated this my whole corporate life. :)

Last but not the least, I enjoyed a lot during the fun-quizzes, but couldn't win any prizes, none at all...  :( sad but not at all disappointing. That Sunday became the best start to the month of June for me in Bangalore as it was the first time I got inside and on the top of UB City. Amazing view. And the IndiBlogger t-shirt at the end was a cute surprise, or say, a consolation prize for me for being there ;)

Thank you very much, IndiBlogger and MS Office 365 for conducting such a great, no! grand meet. Hope we get to meet more often! :) :)

Ring The Bell for IndiChange

Well, my idea to Ring The Bell is to treat womenfolk with respect and I would request my readers to follow the same. Because this is the only way we can take the first and foremost step to bring violence against women to a halt.

Let's take an example. Say, a young lady is walking down the street in modern attire. Ok, she is in a short top with open shoulders, and a mini-skirt; or say she is walking alone after dark. But that doesn't give any guy a right to harass her just because he thinks her dress is provocative, or she is inviting you. If a girl is wearing a modern dress, then I agree a guy's eyes will definitely follow her body atleast once; but that's the line, really. Admire the beauty in your mind and move on; keep your distance. 

Just imagine your sister/spouse in such a position, then how bad you'll feel if someone throws tantrums on them. Well, then you'll say, I will never allow my family's ladyfolk to roam around like that outside home. What! You won't allow them to go see a movie on their own!  Aren't they human being that they have to have your permission to step out of the house every time?! I don't think so. I say, one should inform the family members where they are going but that's it, why should a permit be required all the time!

Womenfolk are not our pets. (Even pets get behaved with much more cordially than women in India, and I am ashamed to write this statement but it's a fact of our times). Therefore, I request and ask all my fellow Indians, in conjunction with Ring The Bell movement, not to disrespect women whether inside your family and/or outside your relation.

Thank you very much for reading and following the sincerest advice. I hope this post of mine changes the thinking pattern of men in a positive way. Only then, we can proudly shout - Jai Hind.

P.S. -- This blogpost is written as an entry for the IndiBlogger initiative in association with Bell Bajao

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Moral of The Story is...!

This is a real story that happened to me starting around September 2011. That month first time I noticed a very small bald patch on my beard and pretty much ignored it thinking of it as a minor allergy of some kind. A week or so later, I went for TD (Temporary Duty; official) which was, more or less, a fun learning program. There I noticed a slightly bigger bald patch on my beard this time. Still terming it as a minor infection, I once again ignored the warning signs, totally unaware that it was a growing case of alopecia areata barbae

At the end of one week program, when I came back to my residence in Bangalore, there was not one but two such patches now on my face, one gradually growing bigger every week and another small one, both on my right cheek near chin beard area. I got quite nervous after observing them in detail for long and googled to find it a real disease and diagnosed it with the above-mentioned name. Then very next day, I visited my area's CGHS dispensary, got referred to Skin Specialist at Shivaji Nagar Polyclinic (under CGHS scheme). After observing me, he wrote me 2 kind of medical cream to apply on the affected areas and to take Biotin (Vitamin B) tablets for a few months. Only when I asked him, whether it will heal completely, he added that it will take some time but it's minor in my case and is treatable.

I took his advice on my diet and medicines and started following the procedure he mentioned every day. The patches, by then, have grown so much as could be observed by any onlooker directly looking at my face. Friends also started asking what's happening to my face. But thank God, it didn't spread much after my visits to the doctor. And after a continuous application of those creams on my clean shaven face (which looked quite odd in the daytime due to their oily and shiny properties when applied), my face got back to its normal sheen just like former days.

And I was so so happy and relieved because of two reasons. First, a normal, alopecia-free face again; secondly, having no gf during this period saved me a lot of embarassment/criticism. :P

The moral of the story is --> never ignore the warning signs when it comes to your health as we are nowadays living in a world polluted to its core.

P.S. -- This entry is for an IndiBlogger contest in association with Colgate My Healthy Speak Blog.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Review: Shoes of the Dead by Kota Neelima

First of all, a big thanks to BlogAdda for providing me a wonderful opportunity to review this book.


As the folded cover page proclaims -

Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides. 

Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party - first-time member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary - is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence.

The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner. Passionate and startlingly insightful, Shoes of the Dead is a chilling parable of modern-day India.

A book that will make you stroll through India’s corridors of power and politics with a perfect portrayal of how its consequences creep into the lives of the farmers forcing them to commit suicide. Get ready to read a gripping tale by Kota Neelima.


The protagonist of the story is Gangiri Bhadra, a righteous activist-cum-farmer, who after his elder brother’s suicide decides to wear the Shoes of the Dead to bring justice to others ill-fated in his village and district. Others who play important roles in the novel are Nazar Prabhakar, a journalist who writes under no pressure; Keyur Kashinath, a first time MP son of a respected politician of Democratic Party; Videhi Jaichand, a survey analyst at the Centre for Contempory Societies. Rest pivotal characters include maha-Sarpanch Lambodar, moneylender Durga Das, Collector Gul among others.


The story of the novel takes place part in the village Gopur of distt. Mityala and part in Delhi. The increasing number of farmer suicides in Mityala constituency under MP Keyur Kashinath after the inclusion of Gangiri Bhadra in the district suicide committee (for awarding compensation to the patra declared suicide cases) has become a bone of contention to the maha-Sarpanch Lambodar and his MP Keyur.

Gangiri, who lost his elder brother to debt-distress suicide, was refused compensation it being voted as apatra (ineligible) verdict by the suicide committee, so he decides to take the matter in his own hands to bring justice to the dead by working within the committee and forcing by truth to provide righteous compensation to several widows. But on this path of truth, he manages to make higher powers his enemy for whom more number of farmer suicides means the inefficiency of MP Keyur who has inherited power from his father, and they plan to eliminate him from the committee by any means possible.

The story then evolves into a power struggle indirectly between MP Keyur and farmer Gangiri. The latter is helped by journalist Nazar Prabhakar and Dr. Videhi Jaichand indirectly in his quest for justice and fairness to farmers.

Will Keyur be able to dominate his honest enemies and save his face? Will Gangiri succeed in his mission and what prices will he have to pay on the way?! To observe the fight between power politics and a farmer’s righteous mission, one should read this novel by Kota Neelima who has done a wonderful work here.


Power struggle distributed throughout the book

Values and honour of a farmer and true description of his true pathetic condition in our country

The author justified the theme putting up a nice climax resulting in the unprecedented but perfect ending of the book.


The complexity of the language throughout made it difficult for me to understand any single paragraph in one go. I had to read and re-read literally every second paragraph on an average which distracted the flow of the story. Hence it took me a long time to read (coupled with my illness in between), that’s why this late review.

I couldn’t fathom the need to, first, start a romantic tension between Nazar and Videhi, and secondly, it being left in a cliffhanger with no use/end in the story.

Overall, I would say it's a very nice socio-political 'faction' novel, an engaging read.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 

P.S. -- This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!