Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Journey Home


From the book blurb
WITHIN THIS extraordinary memoir, Radhanath Swami weaves a colorful tapestry of adventure, mysticism and love. Readers follow the former Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide. The Journey Home is an intimate account of the steps to self-awareness and also a penetrating glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions and the challenges that all souls must face on the road to inner harmony and a union with the Divine.

Through near-death encounters, apprenticeships with advanced yogis, and years of travel along the pilgrims path, Radhanath Swami eventually reaches the inner sanctum of Indias mystic culture and finds the love he has been seeking. It is a tale told with rare candor, immersing the reader in a journey that is at once engaging, humorous and heartwarming.


Author
Radhanath Swami was born in Chicago in 1950. In his teens he set out to wander the world on a spiritual quest where he eventually discovered the yoga path of devotion. He presently travels in Asia, Europe, and America teaching devotional wisdom, but can often be found with his community in Mumbai.

People who know Radhanath Swami speak of his dedication to bringing others closer to God. Almost in the same breath they speak of his lightness, simplicity, and sense of humor. Visitors and friends are inspired by his unassuming nature and natural unwillingness to take credit for the works he inspires developing communities, massive food distribution to indigent children, missionary hospitals, eco-friendly farms, schools, ashrams, and emergency relief programs. He seems to see life as a continuous blessing of Gods grace, one admirer said, and yet he never loses his humanness. His accessibility leaves people feeling that with a little sincere effort, they too will find the path to inner peace and God realization.


Characters
The book, being an autobiography, is all about how an American named Richard comes to India… takes the spiritual path and becomes Radhanath Swami. This book is his journey and his quest for spiritual enlightenment.


What I think
The cover page is very simple. It has silhouette of temples and a lonely man. It is serene and gives a gist of what is in store in the book. The book blurb equally gives away the plot. The font is really good; it doesn’t make us strain our eyes at all. The book is divided into four parts and the chapter titles are poignant and interesting.

Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of non-fictions and worst when it comes to autobiographies. So, I was not very excited to read.

But, the book amazed me. Something pulled me into it. It let me get drowned into it and allowed me to swim through the author’s journey. I read the book for long stretches taking few breaks. The words of author, his situations and his experiences awed me.

The simple narrative and vivid experiences never bores. Each page has something new in store. There are wise words and several enlightened characters.

One of the characters who stole my heart is Ghanashyam. He is a devotee of Sri Radha – A selfless servant of God who sees fellow human as God’s friend. He dedicates his life in serving God and God’s friends.

Further, I liked author’s description of Afganisthan – A place which has suffered a lot and often ignited memories of plight and terrorism. But, the author has described how nice the people are. The author tells us how content they are in spite of poverty and also about their desire to share!

In short, some books transforms you. It urges you to become a better person. The Journey Home is one such books!


But...
Towards the end, he narrative starts to lose its charm. It tends to be redundant. I wish that it was edited more crisply because this could be because the book has about 350 pages!



Should you read it?
Go for it!
This book transforms you.


Rating
4.5/5


Thank you
I heartily thank ThinkWhyNot for giving away this book review.



Monday, 21 July 2014

Life's Purpose

Content in your love
As it makes me what I am;
Shows my life's purpose


PS: Thanks to Haiku Horizons for the prompt – Content J


Sunday, 20 July 2014

If only you were here...

It was cloudy though the sky still had the traces of orange sun. It seemed like a split air conditioner was fit into Mother Nature. It was unduly cold.

She stood there waiting for that blob to drop from heavens. She heard a slight thunder which almost came as a whisper. The clouds are secretly embracing each other. May be that’s whys such a subtle thunder, she thought. He fingers distractedly started playing with her long tresses.

She was still waiting to witness that kiss between the sky and land when she gradually drifted into a reverie.

If only you were here, she thought. She drew her hands closer to her with the hope of dwindling the cold. She wished that he was near her, holding her and talking to her. She always considered solitude as a gift; a bliss. She has never complained of being alone. Her mind would always entertain her with some crazy thought. Else the fictional characters in a movie or book would hold her hands for some time.

But that evening seemed unusual. If only you were here, she sighed. Her long curly tresses swayed as if shying away from the gentle caresses of the icy breeze. Her eyes refused to blink and her heart started racing. If only you were here, she heard her inner-self plead.

He was her love, her life. He came and friendship bloomed. They talked and love sparkled. They fell in love and life turned into a sweet magic.

Her heart pleaded her to take the smart phone and swipe to call him. But her brain alerted that he would be in office. Yes! It was a weekday and she had taken an off owing to her fever.

His thoughts dominated her. The urge to at least hear him multiplied. Even the velvety sky failed to charm her anymore.

She heard the phone ringing inside. She disinterestedly walked towards it for she knew it would not be him. Should be from office, she thought while unhurriedly walking towards it.

Then a smile creaked in her face. It was him!

A glister propped into her two weary eyes.

“Oh! Guess what! I was just thinking... If only you were here... and look who is calling!” she confessed.

He asked, “Is this the first time?”

She knew it was not. It happened all the time. Whenever she has had a strong urge to talk to him or be with him, he had startled her by calling or messaging her right away!

“Temme, had medicines?” he asked with concern.
Oh yes sire! It’s just that...” she said in a tired voice
“What happened?” he asked. His voice unable to conceal the panic.
“Hmmm... It’s just that... I love you and miss you tons” she said playfully yet truly.
“You are a crazy woman. Drama Queen. You scared me. Have some work. Call you soon” he said
Her energy level seemed to have pumped up to an unknown level when she said, “Love you”
She knew he smiled while he said, “You too”

Whenever he was in office or if others were around, he would say only “you too” and not “love you too”

With his myriad memories and a heap of joy, she walked back to the balcony and continued to enjoy the reverie!


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Panchatantra


About the Book
This masterpiece of Indian Literature contains the most widely known stories in the world. In fact, it is universally acknowledged as the best collection of stories known to civilized man. It is presented in an artistic form of wise and witty stories that has never failed to bring delight to millions of people.


Author
Arthur William Ryder was a professor of Sanskrit at the University of California, Berkeley. He translated a number of Sanskrit works into English, including the Panchatantra and the Bhagavad Gita. He was a member of the American Oriental Society and the American Philological Association. In the words of G. R. Noyes:

Taken as a whole, Ryder's work as a translator is probably the finest ever accomplished by an American. It is also probably the finest body of translation from the Sanskrit ever accomplished by one man, if translation be regarded as a branch of literary art, not merely as a faithful rendering of the meaning of the original text.

What I think
I would like to begin my thoughts with a disclaimer. I am a die-hard fan of Panchatanta and I have grown up reading these stories. These stories are a part of my childhood and who doesn’t like to revisit them?!

First things first. The cover-page is simple and very Indian. The book blurb gives a background of Panchatantra.

Panchatantra means five books in Sanskrit and needless to say, this book is divided into five sections. For those who don’t know about Panchatantra, it is a collection of short stories written by Vishnu Sharma in Sanskrit. It conveys the important lessons on righteous life. This is not conveyed through preaching. But, through the small stories. Most of the characters are animals and birds. Each story has a moral which is relevant to mankind.

The beauty of this book is that it will never lose its charm. This is still relevant and will be so forever!

The author has wonderfully translated the stories. The poems in the middle of stories are very beautiful; often rhyming.


But...
The book is more like a work of literature. More so because this is a translation and not retelling. So many a times, the narrative becomes too tedious and boring. The poems in between, in spite of the beautiful language, becomes an overdose.


Should you read it?
Doubtlessly.
Because:
i.                    A book that would be a pride to any book-lover’s collection…
ii.                  And a story that can be retold and never loses its charm!


Rating
2.5/5


Thank you
I heartily thank Jaico Puiblishing House for giving away the book for review

Friday, 18 July 2014

Locomente - Marry Like a Crazy

“Uf! Rabir, I am telling you, this is the best ever idea… In the middle of sea, in a nice ship…” I tried to convince Ranbir Kapoor for the hundredth time.

“Arey, tu sach mein Locomente nikhla. Why don’t you understand that people will think that he is trying to be cool as Siddharth Malya”, said a frustrated Rishi Kapoor. Neetu Singh sighed. It was loud enough for me to hear.

“How about in aircraft?” I struggled to keep the enthusiasm in my voice.

“Whats wrong with you? Don’t you see that the Malaysian aircraft was just blown?” said a fierce looking Neetu.

OKAY. When did I say we are going to fly in Malaysian Airways. Come on, these cinema people can be so dramatic at times. MANY A TIMES.

Wedding Planning has been my dream since Band Baaja Bharath days. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, it is a Bollywood movie which gave a-you-can-hate-me-but-can’t-ignore-me Ranveer Singh. The hero and the heroine (Anushka Sharma) do wedding planning and become Crorepatis. I dreamt about  undertaking wedding planning because I didn’t know when Kaun Banega Crorepati would start again. I didn’t have time. And, imagine, getting ready for weddings – Anarkalis, Gagras, saris – OH-YEM-GEEE!!! - Also matching accessories and nice hairdos… which girl doesn’t want that.

Everyone, from family to friends to random strangers, believed that Wedding Planning as a profession is a crazy idea and only a person with crazy mind can think of such a career they said. And those repeated comments made me coin the name for my Sole Proprietorship:

LOCOMENTE, THE WEDDING PLANNER
MARRY LIKE A CRAZY!!!!

Holding a certificate on Marketing from IIM-A, I knew how to advertise and sell. In a couple of years, I started getting big clients.

With the help of Baggout, I bought the best looking attires and tried to look at my striking best. Killer smiles were given when camera winked. And, soon I became a known face in Page3.

Tada! I planned the wedding for one of the seven sisters of Ranbir’s girlfriend (soon-to-be-wife). She fell in love with my work and promised that I would be called to plan her wedding.

I had almost forgotten the promise until one fine morning, I received a call from her announcing her wedding date and also asking me to promise that I shall keep the news a secret.

And all thanks to her. I am in this ridiculous situation now. I wanted to cry and run. But, this was my career and I can’t ruin it.

“How about a GO-Green wedding?” I asked and winked.

Suddenly I saw keen interest in their eyes.

“What’s that?” cried Ranbir’s girlfriend (soon-to-be-wife).

“In the middle of trees… with water bodies… twinkling stars… With the wild… In one of the most exotic places…” they looked confused. I paused and continued Lets make an open-air palace in an island surrounded by trees!

“You know, this marriage would also convey a message – Global warming because of the Go-Green concept. It will elevate the stars’ status. This will also bring the couple to the limelight for the right reasons” I concluded

“Perfect! If he is Being Human, I am Going Green” Ranbir said. Everyone nodded in agreement.

“But, how will you decorate the place? Accessorize the dancers who will dance for our movie songs? Wedding planning is not only about concepts” said Neetu.

I officially HATE her.

“Please don’t worry. Locomente will ensure that you marry like a crazy” I smiled reassuringly.

In the back of my mind, I told myself, “where there is Baggout, there is a way out!”


The Orange Hangover


From the book blurb
The Orange Hangover, a work of fiction by Rahul Saini, features the story of a young architect who has been lucky enough to have led the coolest of lifestyles, with the best of friends for company, a lucrative job in his pocket, and a girlfriend in his arms.

Unfortunately for him, his cool lifestyle is now a thing of the past, as an unforeseen circumstance bundles him off to his small hometown, where good restaurants and cool parties seem to be nowhere in sight. His move also ensures that his friends are a long way off from home and to top it all off, his relationship with his girlfriend is on shaky ground. As if things aren’t bad enough, he manages to embroil himself in a terrible crime. While the whole town thinks of him as nothing but a basket case, there is one girl who seems to understand him. Now, if only she weren’t so tongue-tied.

Being the protagonist, he is expected to follow his heart, win the heart of his dream girl, and be absolved of all crime, which is definitely a tall order for anyone. As for the outcome, only time will tell if he manages to bring his life under control. The book offers a funny take on life, touching on various topics such as learning from one’s experience, standing up for personal values, and helping others in times of need.

The Orange Hangover was published in 2012. It has received mainly positive reviews.


Author
Rahul Saini is an Indian architect-turned-author.

As of July 2012, he has written three books—The Orange Hangover, Just Like In The Movies, and Those Small Lil’ Things.

His writing, classified under the contemporary fiction genre, focuses on the vibrant, fun-loving nature of young Indians in the 21st century. It is funny and fast-paced, and clearly aims to resonate with the youth. His books include quite a few references to various television shows and movies.

Saini was born on May 8, 1983, in Jalandhar in Punjab, India. In 2006, he graduated as an architect. In addition to being qualified in architecture, he also has sound knowledge of Fine Arts and Design. Saini is involved in various aspects of film-making and photography too.


Characters
Rishab Suri, a young architect… likes to think out-of-the-box… hates his profession… struggles to figure out what gives happiness… a child at heart… movie buff… funny!

Natasha, knows what she wants. She is confident and understanding.

Mansi, is silent and an introvert.


What I think
The title is really catchy the meaning of which is nicely explained in the book itself. I am not going to give spoiler! The cover-page is orangey and nicely depicted. It is a sure eye-catcher. The book blurb is not very interesting. It is too vague. But, the checklists conveys the most and grabs attention.

The entire book is from the protagonist’s angle; about his life and thoughts. The narrative is lucid and funny. The chapter heads are catchy and relevant. I also liked the little cartoons here and there. They are cute!


The entire book is the hues and cries of a 25 years old man who is not ready to grow up and is unsure about what he wants in his life. It has about 230 pages. The first 100 pages are an assured page-turner. It is witty and there are several laugh-aloud moments.

There are two aspects that I loved the most in the book. One is the relationship between Rishab and his mother. It is well-depicted and their bonding is well-established. But, I am wondering why so little is mentioned about his father. Secondly, I liked the relationship between Rishab and Natasha. Their friendship is the most platonic one and she really lives to the saying, “A friend in need is friend in indeed”. I wish that Rishab was a listener too and that he bothered to get to know her.


But...
When you are halfway through the book, the redundancy would bore you. And, the climax would make you wonder what the purpose of the book is. Neither there is a premise nor there any interesting incidents.

The protagonist thinks a lot, exaggerates even more and over-explains. 


Should you read it?
If you have nothing else to do…
And for the sake of first half!


Rating
2.5/5


Thank you

Thanks to Jaico Publishing House for giving away this book for review.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4e/Humpty_Sharma_Ki_Dulhania_Poster.jpg
Cast
:
Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan
Sahil Vaid, Deepika Amin, Ashutosh Rana
Director
:
Shashank Khaitan
Music
:
Sachin-Jigar, Toshi Sabri
Producer
:
Dharma Productions
Release Date
:
11 July 2014
Length
:
2 hours & 12 minutes

Some movies entertains you so much that you don’t really care about the logic or mind the clichés. The smart dialogs, appreciable performance by both the lead as well as supporting cast and, rightly placed songs. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is one such movies. It never bores you, except for some time in the second half. And hey! Who doesn’t mind a couple of speed breakers if the road is really good and offers a good ride?

The strength of the movie is the lead pair themselves, Varun (as Humpty) and Alia (as Kavya Pratap Singh). They look lovely and their chemistry is irresistible. They are at ease and sizzle onscreen.

I should also specifically mention Sahil Vaid who comes across as Varun’s friend Poplu. He is at his comical best and looks really sweet.

The movie becomes too relatable owing to the Bollywood references they make. This also makes the movie seem more real. Come on, let’s face it? Aren’t we a generation who have grown up watching Shahrukh Khan? Weren’t we amused by the unsaid love depicted in DDLJ?

Alia’s costumes are so wearable and very vibrant. She looks a lot like Kareena Kapoor. I am sorry. I really felt so!

The songs are average. They fail to linger around with us except one – Samjhawan. It is melodious and soothing. The lyrics touches your heart and refuse to leave!

In short, the movie would not bore you. Instead it will entertain you and the 124 minutes spent in the theatre would be a fun-filled time.

Beware: It also drenches you in unbound Bollywood kind of love. J


Rating
3.5/5

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Nightmare

https://rochellewisofffields.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/copyright-adam-ickes.jpg
Aarushi checked the time. It was eleven at night and she still had so many entries to pass in the SAP.

“I hate my job”, she mumbled. But, there was nobody around.

She booked for a cab and continued to work until the driver called her informing his arrival.

Aarushi hopped into the cab. Her eyes pleaded for sleep.

She opened her eyes and realized that she was being taken along deserted and unfamiliar roads. She didn’t know when she dozed.

“Hey! I think you are going through wrong road”, she said.

He didn’t respond. He only stopped the car and gave a tight slap.


And, the nightmare began…

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Awards Time!


There is no greater joy than the joy of receiving awards. It is like a pat on the back… Like that surprise gift you get from loved ones….

And this award came as a sweet surprise!
I heartily thank Soumya for nominating me.

Here are the rules of receiving the Award
1. Display the logo in a post.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back.
3. Use the alphabets to describe yourself in a word or a phrase.
4. Nominate at least a few bloggers.

I Am…
A.auditor
B. Book worm
C.  Confident
D. Drama Queen
E. Emotional
F.  Friendly
G. Grounded
H. Humble
I.    Interesting
J.  Jovial
K. Kind hearted
L.  Likes to travel
M. Music/movie lover
N. Nationalistic
O. Optimistic
P.  Poised
Q. Quick witted
R. Romantic
S.  Scrabble-lover
T.  thinker
U. Unique
V. Vibrant colors’ is a weak point
W.                Writer
X. extravagant
Y. Young at heart
Z. Zealous



I NOMINATE THE FOLLOWING:
1.       Magical Mystical Teacher
2.     Brian Miller
3.     Sumana Roy
4.     Kalpana Solsi
5.     Rudrapragya 


Monday, 14 July 2014

Drive

Drive safe, she pleaded
You didn't. Wore no helmet.
Head smashed. Very Grave
***
You drive me crazy
With your unbound love and care
Wow! I feel blessed

PS: Thanks Haiku Horizons for this wonderful prompt - Drive

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Male Dominated...

It was an uncomfortable train journey. I got Side Middle seat and I wondered what it is until I saw it. Claustrophobic! I felt as if too many people are jammed into the constraints of a compartment.

Babies were crying... Mommies of young children were screaming... Friends were chatting... Co-travelers were chit-chatting with each other about the weather... the work... and yes! How claustrophobic they felt.

And there I was with my laptop on my lap’s top.... watching a brilliant Parineethi Chopra and handsome Arjun Kapoor in Ishaqzaade. It is 1.5years since its release and I was blessed to watch it only then.

Parineethi reminded me of Rani Mukherje and Vidya Balan... Her ease and girl-next-door looks coupled with an unconventional plot with a clichéd ending though helped me kill the time.

But, the keen observer in me did made me notice the people around me...

A strange combination of bunch of five women and a guy... they seemed to be colleagues to me... The loudness of the women made the man blush at times. Yes! He was literally blushing. What else can he offer when the women battalion discussed about wedding gowns and honeymoon in Maldives. What can he say when one of the women, whom I understood from their conversations is engaged, is worried about travelling to USA because she is unsure about getting a job there. She expressed her fear of leaving her country and people and going to a new place with a man whom she knew only for a few months.

Her mobile rings and she excuses herself... there was a childlike happiness and as I guessed the call was from her fiancé....

The women chattered easily... They ate lays and chocolates... Drank coke and coffee... I came to know that they were travelling to attend their colleague’s wedding.

Seeing their loudness I missed a company for myself... I wished there was someone real beside me and not a mere Parineethi Chopra and Arjun Kapoor.

Then I befriended a lady who was travelling to be with her daughter and son-in-law. She sounded excited and proud at the same time. Her English was impeccable. A bold and independent woman, I concluded.

Finally, I had my dinner and wrapped myself with blankets...

I was not feeling sleepy at all...

So I lay there planning my long weekend... Wondering how women make the choice of leaving everything behind and follow a strange man, husband... Because they are trained to do so, an inner-voice said. But I couldn’t buy that idea... It is the heights of male domination... A tradition that was followed since times unknown and even today! It was disgusting...

These days both men and women study... have almost similar qualifications... they draw almost same salary... they both work in the same way... they both have their own family, dreams and careers... Yet the woman is made to leave everything behind...

I didn’t have any concluding thought for it... Neither did I get any solution... I just felt disgusting... Why people can’t change, I asked myself... Isn’t a woman a human too, I negotiated... I fumed from within... Until I drifted off to sleep...