Friday, 24 October 2014

Aiswarya Kolam


This is a very auspicious kolam
Generally, this is drawn in the place of worships than in the courtyard.
It is always said that we should not step on kolam.
But, if we step onto it accidentally, we are often pardoned.
However, such accidental stepping is also not appreciated if it is this particular kolam.
This is called AISWARYA KOLAM.

It is believed that this kolam brings wealth and prosperity.

As a practive, it is drawn on Fridays – The day devoted to Goddess Maha Lakshmi J

Thursday, 23 October 2014

God Is A Gamer

From the book blurb
Imagine a scenario where you cross this powerful virtual currency with a Gamer, Banker, Politician and a Terrorist. The result is GOD IS A GAMER – the world’s first Bitcoin Thriller.

A thriller which moves from Washington’s Congress to Delhi’s finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the corporate boardrooms of Mumbai. A thriller set in a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

God is a Gamer is author’s personal favourite. A lot of effort has gone into researching the minor details to make sure that you enjoy every page of this thriller. As they say, a good thriller is one where the page turns by itself. Hope the pages of God is a Gamer turn by themselves and the book stays in your hand imploring you to finish it before you put it down.


Author
Ravi Subramanian is India’s numero uno thriller writer, having written six bestselling books. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), he is currently head of a leading financial institution. A career banker and financial services professional, Ravi has worked with various multinational banks (Citibank, ANZ Grindlays Bank and HSBC) for over eighteen years. As a result of his extensive background in foreign banks, writing about banking comes quite naturally to Ravi. Each one of his books thus far have been set in the backdrop of a foreign bank.

To read the reviews on his earlier book:
·         Bankster
·         Bankerupt


What I think
As we all know, God is a Gamer is the first book that revolves around virtual currency – bitcoins. The golden coin engraving the O in “God” emphasizes this further. The book blurb introduces us to the story, awakens our interest and ushers us into the world of love, lust, politics, betrayal and power.

The book is neatly divided into several tiny chapters. The first few pages, randomly introduces several characters and when we close the book, we would realize that they were all nicely entwined to one another.

The author is famous for his banking thrillers. But, this one is not a similar one. The concentration is more on virtual world and currencies. The narrative is lucid and flows with the determination of not boring us. There are several characters and all of them are well-developed.

The author has used several real life instances and also used many real names. The way he has injected fiction into reality is commendable. As I always say, I respect authors who take that extra effort to do extensive research and present an authentic fiction.


But...
There are too many characters and so many sub-stories are established. This could make the reader impatient and urge him to skip a few pages or do a high level reading.


Should you read it?
Give it a shot if you enjoy thrillers…
Or if you love to see how fictions and reality is nicely mixed and transformed into a believable one!



Rating
3/5


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

PS: Author sighed copies are always a pricey possession. Yay!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

When I went Crazy!


Kolam can drive me mad.
I enjoy the exercise of deciding the basic pattern…
And the process of developing into a unique one…

This particular kolam turned out to be bigger than planned…
But, no regrets…
Just too proud of it!!!


Happy Diwali folks.
Try not to burst crackers. They scare the animals and pollute the environment.
But, do eat lots of sweets and wear new clothes.

In short, have a responsible and safe Diwali!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mad Money Journey


From the book blurb
A  Financial Adventure.

Mehrabs latest book is a sweeping tale of mystery and adventure, with deep revelations on the nature of man and money.

Tired of his energy-and money-draining middle-class life, Dr. John Pinto decides to end it all by walking into oncoming traffic. But Life has other plans from him! Through a quirky twist of fate, John finds himself saved and launched into a financial pilgrimage across the world. Through a whirligig of exotic, shocking and sometimes dangerous encounters, he learns what it means to be financially independent.

The school of Life introduces him to people who have learned the 10 commandments of financial freedom the hard way. From Afghani terrorists to Kenyan marathon runners, from Bangkok prostitutes to Chinese mystics and many more. Each soul on this incredible journey holds a key insight into the relationship between man and money. To achieve true freedom, he will have to face it all-a turbulent odyssey of hair-raising adventure, unexpected teachers, monetary rewards and an overarching mission.

A dazzling novel, written with wit, compassion, intelligence and deep humanity, travel with John Pinto to unearth the secrets of a rich life.


Author
Mehrab Irani is General Manager, Investments, at Tata Investment Corporation, Mumbai. He has diverse experience in both equity and fixed income markets, including research, dealing and portfolio management. Mehrab is fired by an almost missionary zeal for spreading financial knowledge among investors. His ability to connect abstract concepts to real life situations using his powerful imagination and plethora of skills reverberates through all his work. He is a prolific writer for newspapers, websites and his blog - www.intelligentmoney.blogspot.com. He is also to be seen on CNBC, ET Now, NDTV Profit and Bloomerg.


Characters
Dr. John Pinto
An accomplished doctor. But a failure in money management.

Vijay
A school drop-out. But, a successful business man who knows to multiply his money.

What I think
The cover page is very simple. It pictorially represents the countries that John visits. The book is elaborate and describes what can be expected from the book. The title is perfect.

The narrative is an easy flow. Several financial and investment jargons are used. But, they are also explained through examples. Therefore, they become interesting and sinks within.

The book teaches you the importance of savings, budgeting and almost everything related to money. What I appreciate is that it is taught through stories, fable-like. This makes the reading an interesting one.

Further, the author has taken the pain to also explain the country-specific cuisines and other specialties. At the end of it, we would feel like we were a part of John’s travel. Who doesn’t like couch travel?

In short, a well-researched and well-narrated book.
Further, it’s a tiny book and doesn’t bore you.


But...
Although the letters at the end of each chapter summarizes the lessons learnt, it also becomes redundant. In fact, those one to two page long summary is so elaborate that it tempts you to skip the chapters and read only that. Such a treatment further makes you wonder if you are reading a non-fiction. This could be avoided.


Should you read it?
This book makes you a couch traveler.
At the same time, it enlightens you financially.
A different one!


Rating
3/5


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


PS: Needless to say, author signed copy is a delight. And, I am smiling ear to ear J

Monday, 20 October 2014

Tension Released

I was very scared
Yet shyly said, “I love you”
Ah! Feeling relieved.

He held my hands; and
Tenderly said, “Love you too”
Adrenaline rushed.

PS: Thanks to Haiku Horizons for the prompt – ReleaseJ


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Understand...

I wish that you understood me
That you never changed;
That we never grew up…

I wish that you were the same
That little teddy-bearish joy;
That sweet-shy lovely monster

I wish that times never changed
That it never snatched you from me;
That this cruel joke was never played

I wish that you understood me
That you stand by me;
That you love me

I wish that you never leave me
That you remain my sweet little love;

That darling of my heart!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Faults In Our Stars

From the book blurb
The Fault In Our Stars is inspired by the author’s experiences while working with children suffering from life threatening diseases in a hospital. It is a witty, thrilling and heartbreaking story of a sixteen year old girl, Hazel, who is a cancer patient, and is forced by her parents to attend the Cancer Kid Support Group. Through her friend Isaac, she encounters Augustus Waters, an amputee and ex-basketball player. After the support group ends, Augustus suggests that they watch a movie at his house. There, they talk a lot and he gets to know of her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction.

After reading it, he too gets as obsessed with it as Hazel is. They begin to spend a lot of time together and soon fall in love. Augustus decides to use his wish from ‘The Genies’, a fictionalized version of the Make a Wish Foundation, to fly Hazel and himself to Amsterdam to meet the author of the book, Peter van Houten. What happens next is a funny yet touching tale of two young lovers, fighting a life threatening disease against all odds. It promises to touch the heart of the readers and show them the true meaning of being alive and in love.

The Fault In Our Stars was a number one bestseller as per The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It has been translated into numerous languages such as German, French, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese. A film based on the book is slated for release in 2014 by Fox 2000, a division of 20th Century Fox. It is going to be directed by Josh Boone and will star Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.


Author
John Green is an American author and educator.
A few other books authored by him are Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and Looking For Alaska.

Green was born on August 24, 1977, in Indianapolis. He spent his growing years in Orlando, Florida, and completed his schooling from Indian Springs School, after which he graduated with a double major in English and Religious Studies from Kenyon College in 2000. He and his brother host VidCon, a yearly conference dedicated to the online video community. In addition, they also founded the Project for Awesome, a project aimed at creating videos that promote charities or non-profit organizations. Green also hosts a video blog, VlogBrothers. He currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife and children.


Characters
Hazel Grace, likes watching reality shows and prefers to stay at home. She is a bookworm.
Augustus Waters, likes playing video games and loves to socialize. He longs to leave a mark in this world.


What I think
To begin with, the vibrant cover page will attract anyone. It is really cute with nothing but the title. The title, on the other hand, gives away the plot – Misfortune! It clearly states that no matter how we receive life or how we choose to live, there is little that we can do to change the stars aka destiny. The book blurb elaborates on why the title is what it is and leads the reader to read the story!

The narrative is very lucid with some interesting dialogs, both smart and philosophical. There are several lines that remain in our hearts. The premise is sweetly developed and so is the budding love between Hazel and Augustus.

What I really loved about this book is the positivity. The book might be about a deadly disease like cancer. Each page might take you closer to the death of protagonist with whom you have fallen in love. Yet, their acceptance of the fact and the surrender to the destiny makes us rethink. It makes us realize that life is indeed too short for everything – EVERYTHING! The book also puts the cancer inflicted patients as warriors who battles with themselves. It requires a higher level of courage – to fight with oneself.

In short, this book is about living and making as many good memories as possible. It is also about accepting your stars regardless of whether it is faulted or praised!


Should you read it?
Indulge yourself in the world of Hazel and Augustus.
They will help you improve and helps you see the world differently.


Rating
3.5/5


Some words that stole my heart
©       “My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” 
©       “It seemed like forever ago, like we've had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 
©       “What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” 
©       “The marks humans leave are too often scars.” 
©       “You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.” 
©       “You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”
©       “You say you're not special because the world doesn't know about you, but that's an insult to me. I know about you.” 
©       “Nostalgia is a side effect of dying”



Friday, 17 October 2014

There She Goes...


There she goes…
Leaving behind her friends and family…
And the routine life that she is used to…
She goes to a new house unflinchingly…
She blends with their family…
And she makes a family of her own…
She becomes the pillar of support…
And endures the pain and insults.
She smiles and spreads warmth.
Then she becomes mother…
The visible God!

And here she goes…
To build a nest of her own…

Carrying many dreams along with tears….!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Love Lasts Forever


From the book blurb
Ronit was eighteen years old when he found himself falling head over heels in love with Aisha. He met her on his graduation day, after completing his studies which could eventually get him work in the Navy. Ronit is convinced beyond doubt that Aisha is his soul mate and that their love would last for eternity and a day. They get married after seven years but only after a week, Ronit realizes it might have been a mistake to have tied the knot. His Captain’s poignant love story might just change his perceptions on love and life but it is at that cusp that their ship gets hijacked by the notorious pirates of Somalia. What happens next? Will Ronit’s marriage end or does it get better because of all the events that happen which will change his life?


Author
Vikrant Khanna grew up in Delhi. He studied at the Tagore International School. He has also penned the bestselling book The India I Dream of… and the Facebook Revolution Begins!! And When Life Tricked Me… And Love Kicked Me. He joined the Merchant Navy as a deck officer and later became a Chief Officer. Vikrant eventually completed his masters to become a Captain. He is also a keen guitarist who composes his own songs and is adept at cooking.


To Know More, click the below links


Characters
©       Ronit
Tall, smart and in love. He also has male ego and becomes confused when he easily gets what he wants.
©       Aisha
Sweet and cute. She tries to rework and relive those old days.
©       Shekhar
Caring and loving who goes out of way to give what his lover wants.
©       Shikha
Exemplifies what selfless love means.


What I think
The cover page is vibrant and looks like a candy. The wedding bands give hints about the story line.  The book blurb is clear and to the point. It neatly summarizes the story for us. The title is a cliché, but the tagline attracts our attention.

The book is nicely divided into three parts and the story flows with ease. It is a first person narrative; sometimes from Ronit’s view and other times from Shekhar’s. The book, being nicely arranged into chapters and appropriate headings, such shift doesn’t confuse us.

I liked the plot because it talks more about life after marriage. The sweetness of love and the bitterness that follows marriage is nicely weaved.

The love and marriage story of Shekhar and Ronit is startlingly similar yet so different. The need to keep love intact even after marriage is emphasized. It asks us not to take our love for granted and understand that the wife makes a lot of sacrifices and all she expects is husband’s love and support in return.

It also talks about life of sailors. It describes the horror of how badly captives are treated by pirates. The helplessness and dismay is nicely conveyed.


But...
The sentence formations are so immature and there were several grammatical mistakes. A serious proof-reading and better editing would have saved this book.


Should you read it?
It conveys a sweet message.
A must read for married and unmarried. Also, for all those who fear marriage could ruin love and for those married people who see love taking a backseat.

With as less as 250 pages, you can complete the book in 1-2 sittings.
A breezy read!


Rating
2.5/5


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

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

JFK Assassination

A Back Mark in History...


Last month when I was in US of A, we drove to Dallas.
And stopped at the spot where the 35th President of the US of A – John F Kennedy (JFK) - was assassinated in 1963.
It is a good 50 years before – That’s almost half a century now!
The years that had passed has not reduced the mystery around it though.

It was shocking to realize that a President was shot in public, in spite of tight security.
And, it is heart-wrenching to know that nobody could find who the murderer was.
(You can read more about it here).

Some of his quotes are given below:

©  “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” 
© “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”
© “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
©   “Mankind must put an end to war - or war will put an end to mankind.”
©    “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”

The Cross mark on the road refers to the spot where JFK was assassinated.



Excerpt from the speech that was never delivered



A tit-bit for you


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Dear John

From the book blurb
An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life–until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else.

“Dear John,” the letter read…and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.


Author
Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 89 million copies in print worldwide, in over 50 languages, including over 50 million copies in the United States alone, and his popularity continues to soar.

His books carries romantic flair and deeply touches his reader’s heart.

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 by Warner Books. He followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999) and so many such other books.


Characters
John is the protagonist in the story. He is a rebel and comes across as someone who longs for some expressed emotions and love from his dad. Later, his break-up with Lucy makes him think and ponder into himself which makes him enlist in the army. Eventually, he meets Savannah and his life changes forever. John is impulsive, emotional and rational. His transformation from a rebel to a responsible man us remarkable.

Savannah is happy-go-lucky girl. She fears God and believes in charity. Like any other girl, she is also insecure and apprehensive about her future which forces her to take some decisions that changes many people’s life!

John’s dad is someone who suffers with autism. Yet he gives adequate care to his son and makes sure that he is happy. He loves his hobby of coin collection and cherishes the same with pride. He is a man of routine and someone who can never get angry.

Tim is a gem of a person. He is selfless and caring. He speaks from his heart and stays in our heart.


What I think
I am in love with the book and its flow. Melancholy always steals my heart. And this one is just too perfect. The dilemma of Savannah, the choices that John make, and the situations that plays as villain, everything…. Everything is awesome which gradually leads the story to the amazing end - An end which carries a positive note.

The pain of loneliness… The difficult in sustaining a long distance relationship… The longing and the pain… all of these seem to be real and relatable. The books speaks in simple language and straight away touches our hearts.

The editing is crisp and narrative is fast. There is nothing that can digress from the plot and the ending cannot be better!

As always, Nicholas Sparks managed to create the spark!


But...
I really think that the book is perfect. Although I wish that more details were given about the budding relationship between John and his dad. Sparks’s books normally carries lots of profound thought. In comparison to his earlier books that I have read, this had less. But I guess that we can still live with it!


Should you read it?
It’s a tiny book.

If you like romance and melancholy… If you have a few hours to kill!


Rating
3.5/5


Some words that stole my heart
©       “Love meant that you care for another person’s happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be.”

©       “Though I knew she loved and cared for me, I suddenly understood that even love and caring weren’t always enough. They were the concrete bricks of our relationship, but unstable without the mortar of time spent together, time without the threat of imminent separation hanging over us.”

©       “But I also learned that it’s possible to go on, no matter how impossible it seems, and that in time, the grief . . . lessens. It may not ever go away completely, but after a while it’s not overwhelming.”

©       “Our relationship, I felt with a heaviness in my chest, was beginning to feel like the spinning movement of a child’s top. When we were together, we had the power to keep it spinning, and the result was beauty and magic and an almost childlike sense of wonder; when we separated, the spinning began inevitably to slow. We became wobbly and unstable, and I knew I had to find a way to keep us from toppling over.”