Friday, 22 August 2014

The Devil's Gate


From the book blurb
Sidelined by man, animals turned to demons. 
Plundered by humans of their habitats, animals take a drastic step when they decide to send a team of a cat named as Katy and a dog named as Dug, to an invisible island known, as the Island of 'Five Hundred Graves'. The island becomes visible only for a short time on the night of the full moon. Legend has it that the island is inhabited by the demons. Katy and Dug are supposed to negotiate a deal with the demons, convincing them to allow the animals inhabit the island. Majority of the animal community believe that tinkering with the other world could bring their wrath to the animals. The team is sent to the island nevertheless. But, can a deal with the dead be materialized? Are there really demons on the island? is there any conspiracy involved? Will Katy and Dug be able to negotiate, or will survival remain their only question in the deadly island?


Author
A doctor by profession, Deepak has had the privilege to spend his life in scenic hills of Uttarakhand, the hustle and bustle of Kanpur and the unstoppable vibrancy of Delhi. He is a doctor by profession, and a writer by choice. When he is not working, he chooses to spend his time writing. A passionate human at heart, "The Devil's Gate" is his first book.


Characters
Katy, the cat. She is smart, good-thinker, quick-witted and courageous.
Dug, the dog is talkative, funny and enjoys self-boasting.
Billy, the owl is confused and tries hard to get out of his father’s shadow.
Cheeku, the demon is sweet and helpful.


What I think
To begin with, the cover page is well-illustrated. It wonderfully represents the most important twist in the tale. The title suits the plot. The book blurb gives a brief outline of the story and rightly builds the anticipation. All these three elements has the full capability to attract really young (kids) audience.

The writing style is simple and the narrative is lucid. The author has beautifully woven and presented a different world for us where animals speak. The dialogs are smart and many times evokes laughter. The anticipation of “what next?” is nicely maintained throughout the book. When one mystery is solved another begins. There are several twists and turns which keeps the readers hooked to the book.

The story is well-narrated that it almost becomes picturesque. You are creatively encouraged to see what the protagonists see and feel what they feel!

Dug and Katy are adorable. They kind of reminded me of Tom and Jerry and for whatever reasons. Could be because of the rare cat-dog duo.

There are several thought-provoking lines and the very plot of the book is environmentally relevant. That is to say, there is a moral for the story!

The story ends with a mysterious note. Do I smell a sequel?


But...
The twists and turns starts taking a toll on you and seems to be never-ending; more so towards the end.


Should you read it?
This is a very different genre. And, I am glad that some author has taken an initiative to write a book that can be enjoyed even by children who are just 8-10years old.

Well, this can be very well termed as a “family entertainer”.

Go for it!


Rating
3/5


Thank you
I heartily thank the author for directly contacting me and giving away this book for review. I wish the author all the best for his ventures. Keep writing! J


A quote that stole my heart
Playing with danger is a child’s play. Real game is when the danger starts playing with you.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Eternal Romance


You are my first love…
The first man I craved for…
I was jealousy of Radha
And I loved you so much, O dear Krishna!
I always wished I was at least a Gopi if not Radha
Then went into extended reveries…

I always had your huge poster pasted to the wall.
Later on, I started painting myself.

You motivate me
And I am ready to paint if it is you…

It makes me feel closer to you
As if I am right there with you!

Dear readers,
Here is one of the many paintings of Radha and Krishna!
Radhe Krishna! J

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

100 Followers!!!

Woohoooo…
Celebrations time it is…
Locomente get (finally) 100 followers.

I am flabbergasted!!!!

I heartily thank each and every reader who spend their precious time on my blog…
Make the effort to comment…
And thereby motivate the Locomente…


Thanks a lot!!!!



Monday, 18 August 2014

Rise of the Sun Prince


From the book blurb
Ramayana: The Game of Life (Book 1), one of the world's great literary masterpieces, skillfully retold for modern audiences. Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives? 

Yes, there is a need, yes this is different and yes, it is relevant. This new series of books, each following one khand of the Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought-provoking instruction. In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to life's deepest questions.

The narrative closely follows Valmiki's Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The first of this six-volume series, Rise of the Sun Prince, takes you through the divine story of Lord Rama from His birth up to His marriage. Through these pages are revealed the tales of Dasaratha's leadership, Vishwamitra's quest for power and the intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Ramayana: The Game of Life has all of this and much more - food for contemporary thought drawn from an enduring masterpiece.

Author
Shubhs Vilas is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker. He holds B.E in Electronics and Telecommunications and law specializing in Intellectual Property Law and Patent Law.

He conducts several leadership Seminars. He focuses on relevant and vital themes: ‘Secrets of Lasting Relationships’, ‘Soul Curry to Stop Worry’ and ‘Work–Life Balance’


What I think
To begin with, the cover page is perfect portraying one of the crucial incidents in Book 1 of Valmiki Ramayanam. The title is suitable and compliments the storyline. The book blurb restricts to the contents of the book and also reasons why the book is different.

The narrative is lucid and I see that the author has taken ample efforts to deliver an English translation that doesn’t lose essence of Valmiki Ramayanam. Attention is given to minute details and each character is provided with equal importance.

Ramayanam is one of those stories which can be reread infinite times and in spite of that you end up feeling that you still don’t know it fully. There are several translations and adaptations of Valmiki Ramayanam. But, this book not only translates, it is also maintains a poetic and picturesque treatment throughout.

The author has announced that there shall be six books in this series. I understand why it is six! Because Valmiki Ramayanam is divided into six books!

I am glad that somebody has taken the pain to read through Valmiki Ramayanam and presented a commendable translation. I bet that this book will be a treasure!

Personally, I enjoyed the book. Having spent most of my life listening to Ramayanam, and Bhagavatham, I am aware of the stories. But, the best part is, I never knew the flow and therefore, I could never inter-connect. Reading this book was more like an exercise of revision. Further, it helped me to know more.


But...
The footnotes hinders the easy flow of the books. I wish the author tactfully included it with the storyline rather than complicating with the footnotes.


Should you read it?
Please don’t have a doubt.


Rating
3/5


Thank you
I heartily thank the author for contacting me and giving away the book for review. It is a pride and gleeful moment to any blogger!


Sunday, 17 August 2014

I Chose You

I chose you
And not any other
For what reason?
I still don’t know.
It could be the comfort
Or the sheer love
May be the sense of belongingness
Or mere understanding
May be the stupid matters we share
Or the silence that speaks
I really don’t know.
But, I do know something
I chose you
And not any other
Because I love you
Like I love me
And a little bit beyond!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Krishnan Chalangai

If it is early in the morning…
If you are uncertain about the pattern…
Never ever try Pottu kolam

If you do…
It might look like this!

And for your information, this pattern is called "Krishnan Chalangai" which means Lord Krishna's anklet. Generally, people draw this on Janmaastami - Lord Krishna's birthday!





Friday, 15 August 2014

Jai Hind!

Today we are celebrating 68th Independence Day…

I look around and wonder if we are really independent…

There are murders and rapes…
Theft and corruption…
Fraud and terrorism…
Poverty and hunger…
Child and immoral trafficking…

Yet, we keep going… We continue to live…
We believe that the new government will bring a sea of change…
We hope that at least our grandchildren would study that India is a developed country…
We pray that money laundering is reduced, if not prevented…

And we continue to live…

I dedicate today’s post to the Indian Army who protect us selflessly…
They are our unsung heroes…
And I salute them for their bravery…
Also, their family for their selflessness…

Our country is still independent because of you…


Jai Hind!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Nervous Streak

Needless to say, pottu kolam always makes me nervous.
And here is one of my nervous streaks!

But mind you,
I never give up…

And never shy away from sharing! J




Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Beyond School


From the book blurb
Beyond School centers 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. 


Author
Chitra Anand was born in Mumbai. She is a postgraduate in Physics and holds an Education degree. Beyond School is her first novel inspired by her journey as educator.


Characters
Shail, is confused and uncertain about exams. But, determined to become a great football player.

Urmila and Sushil are the coolest and friendliest parents ever. They are progressive and tried their best to be the best!

Gladys is the most approachable teacher. She is empathetic and hence, children obeys to her.


What I think
To begin with, the cover page is perfect and suits the storyline. It has a set of books symbolizing studies/exams, blackboard and duster implying school/teachers and football emphasizing the protagonist’s (Shail) passion. The title is appropriate as well because it conveys that there is life beyond school and exams… that so much depends on upbringing and that one need not focus only on studies; marks and degrees are no measure to a person’s caliber. Then, the book blurb, gives a background on what can be expected from the book.

The narrative is simple. It shifts between the present, Shail’s life and also the past describing Shail’s parents’ and Gladys’s life. This is a unique treatment which re-emphasizes that child is indeed the father of man.

The characters are well-sketched. Shail’s parents are very progressive. They are understanding and caring. They are friendly and approachable. They reminded me of my own parents. So are Gladys’s and Urmila’s parents. However, Sushil has a tough father. The author has beautifully depicted the importance of parents in a child’s life.

The book also touches important aspects, marks need not reflect anyone’s caliber. Grabbing a good job which offers hefty pay package need not be the determinant for anybody’s success. There are can be other ambitions too like becoming a sports person, writer and so on. However, the fact remains that no child can pursue his passion without parents support.

This book may be about a confused teenager. But, this book is not just a children’s book. This is relevant for people belonging to all age groups.


Should you read it?
Doubtlessly…
It is relevant and turns you nostalgic…
A heartwarming read!


Rating
4/5


Thank you
This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com


Some words that stole my heart
“Always keep another serious business for life sincerely active apart from loving and being loved. It helps you to move on.”

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Helpline

From the book blurb
Rachel works at a suicide helpline, and it is her job to help people move on with their lives and come out of depression. So when she gets a call from Samir, who feels suicide is the only answer to how he feels after facing failure at every step in life. Rachel takes it upon her to teach him that even though there is darkness everywhere, there is still a ray of hope, a small source of light that can shine in anyone's life. However, as Samir begins to question, who is Rachel, and what exactly is the hotline? Samir's own identity is a question in this novel as it addresses not love but the pangs of failed love and coping with them.


Author

Uday Mane is an Indian writer and social media enthusiast. An avid reader, he loves to collect classic books and enjoys tweeting about various aspects of life.


To know more

You can buy here


Characters
Samir, is going through a tough time. He is only twenty years old and when he thinks life is perfect, an unforeseen tragedy hits him. Then, he becomes suicidal.

Riya, is caring, friendly and motherly. She is matured beyond her age.

Neha, the perfect friend. She is understanding and always stands by as a friend.

Rachel, a good listener and advisor.


What I think
To begin with, the cover page conveys it all – Motivations for suicide. The title gives an idea what this story is all about – The Helpline – Lending a helping hand for people who are suicidal. The book blurb is perfect. It is simple and yet sounds mysterious. It creates a hype, blends with the title and cover page.

The narrative is crisp and lucid. There are no unnecessary details. An element of mystery and suspense is managed throughout. While the first few pages makes us ponder into the protagonist’s suicidal tendencies, the rest of the book is an assured page turner.

The books has about 250 pages. A nice way to kill some time on weekends. I completed in two sittings. It is one of those rare books that talks about something beyond love.

The Helpline turns out to be an unforgettable one because it touches points like poverty, importance of education, role of parents in a child’s life, childhood innocence, teenage confusions, pure friendship, taste of first love, physical disabilities and its effect on immediate family and friends, jealousy, societal-familial-peer pressure, terrorism and its impact on general public’s life and so on.

As I always say, I love books that take us through protagonist’s life since childhood. It is the best way to understand them and empathize.

I appreciate the author for offering a brilliant book. This is very different from the general Indian author books. Of course, this is also a love story; but not “just” a love story.

In short, The Helpline is really good.


But...
Sometimes, the shift between immediate past and the childhood days becomes a little confusing.


Should you read it?
This book will tickle your intelligence and teases you brilliantly.
Go for it…
Indulge!


Rating
4.5/5


Thank you
This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

Monday, 11 August 2014

Abandoned Me...!

You shattered my dreams
Cut my heart into pieces
And abandoned me!


PS: Thanks Haiku Horizons for the prompt - Cut

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Rakshbandhan

I
f you are one among those who have read my first blog post (Click Here), or if you are reading this, you would be knowing that I feel sad and bad that I don’t have an elder brother. Yes, I don’t yearn for a sibling or a brother; but for a big brother (anna).

The reality of not having anna will be felt more on a day like today – The Rakshbandhan Day! For those who don’t know, on this day, in India, sisters pray for the well-being of their brother (both young and older) and tie a string called Rakhi. Sadly, I don’t have a brother of my own. I agree that I have two cousins to whom I send rakhi every year; a ritual practiced over a decade now. Yet, I still wish (always will) that I had an older brother.

Whenever I say this, some people say I am just being over-dramatic and over-complaining. Some say that it is better not to have one.

So, here I am giving the reasons behind why I pine for anna!

©       To have somebody at home who is relatively of my age
It would be like having a friend at home! We can chat about almost anything and everything. There will be someone (always) to listen to my rants and cribs. I would never feel alone.

©       To spoil me
You heard me right. He would surprise me with gifts and pamper me with love. I would be cuddled. Oh! I would be his puppy and he my teddy-bear!

©       To roam around
Imagine! Because I am going out with my anna, my parents need not worry about my safety. So, together, we can explore places, watch late night movies and have lots of fun. Share a peg and fag too, you never know!

©       To have a trusted confidante for life
I will always have someone at home with whom I can share all my problems and fears. He would always be there to guide me and rescue me in case of turmoil.

©       To tie rakhi
OK, this is also one of the most important reasons.
Do you know how that Lord Ganesha’s sons Shubh and Labh were sad that their father had a sister to tie rakhi and not them? Seeing their plight, Lord Ganesha created Santhoshi Ma from divine flames and thus, the twins got a sister to tie them rakhi.
As a child, my ammaji used to narrate this story and I always used to hope that my anna would also emerge soon, if not from flames from sky at least. As a little girl, little did I know that it is humanly impossible!

©       To make Karthikai deepam more meaningful (To know more)
Karthikai Vilakku is an occasion where sisters pray for the health and prosperity of their brothers. While Rakhi is followed in North India, this is observed in the South. And, I frown on every Karthikai deepam and never really enjoy it. Come on, I don’t have a brother. Why should I?

©       To have a family for life
Anna would be the only source of “my” family for life. He would be the only person during my old age who could rekindle the child within me.

©       To be the big brother on my wedding
I am a Palakkad Iyer. In our weddings brothers have a significant role to play. But, I don’t have one L

©       To spoil my kids
Yes, that is the role of a mama (uncle). He would spoil my kids. Jokes apart, traditionally, mama’s role is very significant from their birth to marriage.

I can go on forever. To sum up, for any girl, father is the hero. And, brother will be her first friend.

And, while I love my father. I will always miss my brother.

Anna, I wish you were born!

PS: All the girls out there with bog brothers, I envy you!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Alone I Feel...

Alone I feel...

Why silence is echoing around...
Where did your laughter vanish?

Those little eyes were my source of light...
Now I am in dark.

My fingers are missing the silk of your hair...
Now those little joys are not anymore...

A tear escapes my eyes. ..
The very eyes that used to drink your charm!

At last I try to sleep...
To catch you in dreams and hug you tight...
But sleep fails to kiss me...

Where are you?

To cuddle me...
To embrace me…


 Let me feel the heaven in your arms...
Let me drift to sleep in the cradle of your chest...

Where are you?

Starry night is not beautiful anymore...
Missing those twinkling eyes...

Velvety sky is not enticing anymore...
Missing your tickling think hair...

Oh! I wish I could sleep and see you in dreams....

Where are you?


Alone I feel...

Friday, 8 August 2014

Woman is No Candle!

Midst of the advertisements that desperately tries to convince you that the product would make you fairer, lovelier, slimmer, better… Ads that shows dirty toilets, disgusting pests… Supposed-to-be provocative ads where the women slither over men because of some particular brand of deo… Some meaningless ads that guarantee glossy hair, ever-fresh clothes, white tooth, etc. etc…. Some ads just comes as a breath of fresh air and aw us.

Disclaimer: I am not promoting any brand or product

I have always liked the coming-of-the age ads by Diary Milk and Airtel… Very unique ones from Vodafone with those Zoo-Zoos… And a very sweet ones from Bru.  The latest Federal Bank ads as well.

So, here I am presenting one of the ads that awed me in recent times… It is not only promoting the product, but also beautifully conveying something. It touches our hearts and brings a smile.

Airtel’s latest Smartphone ad is in news for all the rights and wrong reasons. (Watch Online)

The very first time when I watched it, I fell in love instantly. It made me smile and think at the same time. I saw a progressive India and change in the mentality of Indian society – Its ok if your wife earns more. The message was loud and clear. It clearly implements the business entity concept as well – Business and business man is different!

I read and heard a lot of criticisms. Some say that in spite of the dominating position of the woman at office, she is expected to cook and wait for her husband at home. Some other also add that at the end of the day, woman is looked at as someone whose purpose of life is to take care of her husband and family.

I say, what’s wrong in it!!! May be she cooked because she came early… Or she wanted to surprise her stressed husband. Maybe she enjoys cooking or the maid was on leave. It could also be a special day in their life… There can be thousands of reasons.

What really matters is that the man is broad-minded enough to marry someone who holds a senior position at office. It requires immense courage. I shudder at the thought of several criticisms he would have faced; both at office and society. People might say that he is spineless and that he is a loser.

Imagine… All through the academic life, girls secure the top ranks. They get job opportunities with similar pay packages. However, owing to social and familial pressures, they are forced to make a choice between career and family until she sacrifices her professional aspirations and try to put a smiling face. At the end of the day, we see more men in senior positions and women are convinced that their duty is to shadow and encourage the men (husbands)!

Now tell me, don’t you think that this ad actually comes out of the normal social frame work. I agree that woman is cooking while the man is only expected to eat. I say, that’s ok yaar. At least, something is changing. Let’s please focus on the positive side! Something is always better than nothing.

One more thing! I read somewhere that the ad also re-emphasizes that men spend more time at office unnecessarily and that they have an in-built tendency to procrastinate. Couldn’t that be because since childhood, men are taught that their responsibility is to work and earn. If he was also trained to participate in the responsibility of running home, he would have felt the need to go back to home on time!

In short, this ad is really thought provoking and relevant to today’s scenario. If you look deep into it, you will realize that there are so many varied subtle socially relevant hints that makes this ad more than an ad. It makes us think and persuades us to think differently; break through the norms and let the woman be another fellow human being and not as a scapegoat.

Woman is no candle who has to burn herself to illuminate!