Friday, 20 October 2017

Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev

Details of the Book

No. of Pages   : 248 pages
ISBN               : 9386228386 (ISBN13: 9789386228383)
Language        : English

From the book blurb
From selling chawanprash on a bicycle and teaching yoga to small groups of people in the late 1990s, today Baba Ramdev is a media mogul who can shake governments. He sits at the top of a multi-billion-dollar consumer goods empire that sells everything from swadeshi jeans to ghee and has taken the yoga revolution down to small-town India. This is his story.

Priyanka Pathak-Narain is a journalist who covered religion and business for the newspaper Mint for several years.

What I think
Indians are crazy about cricket, movies, politics and godmen. When a godman like Baba Ramdev chooses media and politics to convey his ideologies, people could only be convinced and influenced easily. And this mindset of people explains the rise of someone like Baba Ramdev. He is doubtlessly shrewd and has specific goals. He understands people’s sentiments and knows how to rightly influence. He is in fact a phenomenon who took yoga to the living room of commoners and made them believe that it is doable. He is a magician who made people believe that healthy living is not as complex as it is projected; neither is it an expensive affair. His exercises are often simple and easy to practice, often targeting housewives and older generation. And well, he rose to further stardom when he joined hands with Anna Hazare. The saffron cloth, yoga tips and some political stunt for a cause that was more emotional than anything for Indians made him famous. It also resulted in better turnover to his business. Today, he is a business tycoon. But who is Baba Ramdev? How did he become what he is today? These are some of the inevitable questions in our head. Priyanka Pathak-Narain’s Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev may have not have answers to these questions, but it surely takes us through Baba Ramdev’s life through the eyes of those who have known him over years.

Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev is more like a summary of investigation journalism report than biography. It makes us aware of his empire and introduces us to those who belong to his shielded inner circle. His early years are vague and so are the descriptions of his present lifestyle. This only adds more mystery to his enigmatic personality. However, it succeeds in establishing that Baba Ramdev is a leader and visionary. More than a godman, he has the characteristics of a tycoon – shrewd and diplomatic. Priyanka Pathak-Narain has ensured that the book is a compulsive page-turner and keeps us hooked to the details although the incidents narrated are vague and inconclusive. Of course, she wins because she has presented the facts as facts and has not taken any sides.

In short, this book would have been another account of Baba Ramdev’s life if the injunction order was not passed against the sale of the book. In no time, it seemed like a forbidden fruit which we wanted to taste. And what a taste the book had! Bitter and sour most of the times. There are so many shocking revelations (I don’t want to be a spoil sport!) which will surely make us feel uneasy. In a way, it further assures that politics could be dirty and business is nothing but a game of politics!

Go for it! It will give some perspectives – A MUST READ J


PS: As you would know, it is not sold in anywhere. But we can always find our sources. Thankfully I got this book from a friend who had purchased it before the injunction order was passed! Lucky me, I guess. And thank you my friend for letting me borrow it J

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Bottle Painting (Dreams come true!)

Today is Diwali – the festival of lights!
I hope we would be celebrating it noise-free and in an environmentally friendly manner. 
I am!

And I don’t think there would be better day than today to share my bottle painting.
This was my dream and like most dreams, this also came true J

Happy Diwali!!!! J

Monday, 16 October 2017

This one for you!

Raman was an employee in a small shop that handles old newspapers, magazines, books, plastics and glasses. His daily job was to categorically segregate the bundles of wastes, pack it and transport it to a dealer in city nearby. He lived in a very small town where everyone knew each other by name and farming was the major source of livelihood. Raman’s employer was also the landlord and he worked there part time. In his free time, he would go through the old magazines, books and newspapers. Most of the times, buildings and landscapes used to awe him. Sometimes, he would cut a picture and take it back home to his 6 years old son, Gokul. Gokul would look at the picture too and sketch it in his notebook.

“Appa, this one is for you”, he would say and gift it to his father. Raman would swell with pride looking at the perfect sketch made by his son.

Years pass by. Raman’s biggest treasure is the pencil sketches of his son, safely secured in an old iron trunk. Gokul secures a distinction in his tenth standard and gets a scholarship to study Science in a renowned Government school in the city nearby. He becomes hero among his classmates due to ability to draw beautifully. He gets valuable gifts for helping them in updating their practical books. One day, he gets a pack of watercolors. Gokul tries to color his sketch, but fails. He feels bad. But, with the help of some friends who let him explore internet, Gokul learns how to play with colors. Soon, his friends start gifting him paints and canvas in return to drawing pictures in their practical books.

One day, his teacher stumbles upon one of his painting books and gets awestruck by its sheer brilliance shining with perfection. As she turned the pages she saw the serenity of Taj Mahal, colorful lanes of Venice, bustling roads of London with the Big Ben in the background, the majestic Tanjavur Brihadeeswhwarar Temple and many more. There were vivid landscapes too which were nothing less than a photograph. And the mighty looking Indian Gods and Goddesses. She calls Gokul and asks where he learnt them. He says he learnt it from his father. An astounded teacher meets the father. Soon she understands that he had only shared the photographs to his son. But, the son recreated them with pencils and colors. She realizes that the father taught his son to dream, beyond the limitations of the border and economic constraints. She organizes an exhibition in the school and invites media attention. His paintings and fame go viral due to the social media. People across the world start appreciating his painting. He starts making a lot of money. He feels at the top of the world because his passion was bringing fortune to him.

“Appa, this one is for you”, he walks to his father with an envelope in his hand. His father opens it and doesn’t really understand what it is. He looks perplexed and confused at the same time because he had thought it would be another painting which he could cherish in his old iron trunk. Gokul smiles and says, “appa this the flight tickets to the world tour. We are going to see all those places whose pictures you have been bringing to me”. Raman’s eyes well up. He hugs the boy and thanks the almighty as his eyes wander across the home until it rests on the photograph of his wife.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Mugulu Nage

Golden Star Ganesh
Apoorva Arora, Nikitha Narayan, Ashika Ranganath, Amulya
Yogaraj Bhat
V Harikrishna
S. S. Films, Golden Movies, Yogaraj Cinemas
Release Date
September 01, 2017
2 hours and 37 minutes

My Thoughts
Pulkesh (Ganesh) is a happy-go-lucky man who is intelligent and sweet natured. But, he is born with a problem (according to parents) and which is considered to be not a problem at all by the doctor (Ananth Nag). Pulkesh doesn’t cry; he can’t cry. Mugulu Nage is about can anything make Pulkesh cry! If yes, what could that be? Well, it is no spoiler alert that the only thing that could make Pulkesh cry is a heartbreak! So, his heart is broken more than once and the reasons are familial or personal.

When director Yogaraj and actor Ganesh come together, they bring a breath of fresh air with them which would brush us with happy-smiley feeling. Mugulu Nage is burdened with these expectations from the audience and struggles to deliver the promises made through past ventures. There is feel-goodness, both comical and emotional moments as well as stunningly shot songs. Well, the songs are not that great. The characters are well essayed that everyone from his college professor to the driver leaves their mark. Ganesh as Pulkesh is effortless and has tried his best to bring conviction to his character. But, the screenplay is often less convincing and out of place. As a result, they seem to be more forceful than natural. Of course, the movie is 157 minutes long. This only makes the movie sloppier and never ending. Editor sir, we missed you!

There are four ladies in the film - Apoorva Arora as Chaaru, Nikitha Narayan as Siri, Ashika Ranganath as Vaishali and Amulya in guest appearance. And there is something very similar in the characterization of these women – they all know what they want in life. They are bold and don’t shy away from voicing out their opinions. At the same time they portray different shades of love. Chaaru is charming and starry eyed; so mesmerized in the magic of first love that makes her see world under the light of togetherness. Siri is independent and places herself before anyone. And, Vaishali is so selfless that she derives happiness through the smiles of others.

In short, the movie is a delight to watch – thanks to the cinematographer. Go for it to feel the lightheartedness that would make you feel good. Having said that, with a running time of 157 minutes, the movie could seem to be never ending!  


Friday, 6 October 2017

Dancing to the Melody of Life

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
― Osho

Sunday, 24 September 2017


I feel incomplete without you…
Because you can sing
And make my heart dance!!

Monday, 18 September 2017

What happens to me?

Oh dear! Please tell me what happens to me?
When you look at me with those eyes conveying sweet notes of love…
When your smile spreads warmth across my soul, tickling a childlike grin across my face…
When you rest on my lap with closed eyes; your chest heaving rhythmically over my arms…

Oh dear! Please tell me what happens to me?
When you take me by surprise by lifting me up in the air…
When you hug me from behind and nuzzle on my ears…
When you look around mischievously before sending a flying kiss…

And dear, I often wonder…
Why are you so special and so loving?
Why are you so thoughtful and caring?
Why are you so unique?

I also wonder…
If I deserve your affection…
If I am worthy of your time…
If I am hurting you by my words or silence…

Well, silence around me is the only answer for all my questions;
Echoing the peaceful bliss I feel being near you…
Reminding the nonchalant camaraderie we share…
And of course, the insanity that binds us together…

Monday, 4 September 2017

Happy Onam - 2017

Onam means flowers and feast…
It means togetherness also…

This morning when I was making the pookalam (flower carpet), I had a thought…
I was mixing so many different varieties and colors of flowers to make a pattern which would fill my heart with childlike delight… Isn’t this blaring difference yet the lovely way in which they blend as one entity the underlying charm of pookalam? Isn’t the geographical, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity topped with sense of humanity that transforms this earth into paradise? S,o why don’t we join our hands to celebrate humanity which includes compassion to all the living beings and the universe over anything? And of course, preserve nature and thereby, handover a better place to our successors?
Food for thought?

Happy Onam to all of you J

Friday, 1 September 2017

Love Forever!

My love for this guy never ceases…

It just grows… Soaking my soul with blissfulness!

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Choice!

Somewhere in the middle of a journey
Which takes a lifetime to reach the final destination
You asked me to choose between you and me.
I looked back and saw several miles we had walked together.
There was love and laughter.
Some tears and pain too.
There were also some moments which made me smile.
Then I looked ahead…
The roads were longer and broader.
The sky was clear and the trees were greener.
There were pretty flowers too, their tiny petals blossoming with hope.
The newfound clarity made me smile too.
And therefore I made a choice…
I chose me instead of you.
Because you and your memories are there within me.
But, there is also a journey which needs to be continued…
Each step I take is towards uncertainty; yet towards destiny.
And we are similar, aren’t we?
You chose to be with yourself and so did I.
Nobody knows what life holds for us.
But I know it will be a pleasant surprise!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Happy Ganesha Chathurthi - 2017

Whenever I paint this elephant God, I feel at peace…
What makes you feel at peace?
Reading? Writing? Dancing? Meeting people? Painting? Drawing? Travelling? Sleeping?
Oops! Did I miss something?


Happy Ganesha Chathurthi to all my dear readers! J

Saturday, 19 August 2017


Details of the Book
No. of Pages   : 432 pages
ISBN               : 9352644123 (ISBN13: 9789352644124)
Language        : English

From the book blurb
Why do they call you Baaz?
It means falcon, he replies solemnly. Or bird of prey. Because I swoop down on the enemy planes just like a Baaz would.
Then he grins. The grey eyes sparkle.
It s also short for bastard.

1971. The USSR-backed India-Mukti Bahini alliance is on the brink of war against the America-aided Pakistani forces. As the Cold War threatens to turn red hot, handsome, laughing Ishaan Faujdaar, a farm boy from Chakkahera, Haryana, is elated to be in the IAF, flying the Gnat, a tiny fighter plane nicknamed Sabre Slayer for the devastation it has wrecked in the ranks of Pakistan s F-86 Sabre Squadrons.

Flanked by his buddies Raks, a MiG-21 Fighter, Maddy, a transport pilot who flies a Caribou, and fellow Gnatties Jana, Gana and Mana, Shaanu has nothing on his mind but glory and adventure until he encounters Tehmina Dadyseth, famed bathing beauty and sister of a dead fauji, who makes him question the very concept of nationalism and whose eyes fill with disillusioned scorn whenever people wax eloquent about patriotism and war...

Pulsating with love, laughter and courage, Baaz is Anuja Chauhan's tribute to our men in uniform.

Anuja Chauhan went to school in Meerut, Delhi and Australia. She has worked in advertising for over fourteen years and has created many popular ad campaigns, including 'Nothing Official About it', 'Yeh Dil Maange More' and 'Oye Bubbly' for brand Pepsi. She worked in the advertising agency, JWT India, for over 17 years, eventually becoming vice-president and executive creative director, before resigning in 2010 to pursue a full-time literary career.

She has written 4 novels, The Zoya Factor (2008), Battle For Bittora (2010), Those Pricey Thakur Girls (2013) and The House That BJ Built (2015).

What I think
First of all, the title is intriguing. It is sure to arouse the reader’s curiosity. Secondly, the book cover has this young IAF officer wearing cute uniform and aviator glasses against the backdrop of aircrafts. It gives away the plot of the books and rightly sets the floor!

Baaz is about Ishaan Faujdaar aka Baaz as he is fondly referred to by his course mates and batch mates of 1968. He is a flying officer who doesn’t know what fear means. As a character and protagonist we get to know him when he is as less as ten years old. Instantly, we fall in love. There is something very sweet and endearing about him. His thoughts are often progressive which we rarely get to see eve in the minds of today’s youth. And that’s it, he strikes a chord with the readers. Tehmina Dadyseth aka Tinka as a pacifist who believes that there is nothing good or fair war is a rebel and highly opinionated. Her straightforwardness and boldness will surely leave you awestruck. Raka’s shyness and Maddy’s quirkiness… fellow Gnatties Jana, Gana and Mana… ever enthusiastic, daring and challenging Mr. Carvalho… sassy and suave Kung Fei… Chimman’s selfishness, Sneha’s naivety, caring Juhi among many others are equally interesting and relatable.

As you could see, the book is loaded with interesting characters and all the credit goes to the author for painstakingly establishing them. Although the book is pretty heavy sided with as much as 430 pages, it is a delight to turn pages and go through the lives and minds of these characters. More so for being historically more or less accurate.

Also, the author has subtly hinted many relevant topics like women’s education/empowerment, dowry system, patriarchy, effect of war and other political stances on common man psychological influence of war on soldiers as well as their family, and so on. Baaz surely soars high on sky with these aspects!

How can I not talk about the sparkling chemistry between Baaz and Tinka? It is so pure and refreshing. Together they make us believe in the magic of love; their differences drawing them closer to each other and making them just two sides of the same coin.  

In short, don’t miss this one!
If you do, you will never get to know the grey eyed boy from a village in Haryana who likes the dhook-dhook-dhooking of heart... Whose smile and charm will also make our heart do dhook-dhook-dhooking.

As the book claims, this indeed is a perfect tribute to the Fauji. This will surely make you sit back and think, change your perspectives and urge you to do some research on what happened back in 1971.

So what are you waiting for?
Time to fall in love with Baaz… Ishaan… And Anuja Chauhan, of course! Because when she writes, we read word by word and flip page after page!

4.75/5 (Well, I want to give a 5 on 5. But reducing the 0.25 for making readers sob uncontrollably. How could you, author? So mean!!!)

PS: Anuja Chauhan, keep writing! J You are awesome!!!!

PPS: In page no. 200, I am sure dear author/editor, you meant Tinka and not Tinak!!! It’s a small typo, but still – you know!

PPPS: Thanks to my cousin who introduced me to Anuja Chauhan several years before. Incidentally, I started reading Indian author books after reading Zoya Factor and Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone of course J J

Monday, 14 August 2017

Things to do when Bored!

Being bored is nothing new to me. My family says that as a child the only thing I used to constantly say is : "I am bored". Well, I can't blame anyone for that but me. I think I am a very restless person. I hate to stay idle. I have to be constantly engaged with one thing or the other. Well, most of us are like that. 

But boredom goes to another level altogether when you are sick and on a sick leave for 10 days.

Disclaimer: Don't worry. I was down with viral fever and am almost alright now. So all is well guys :)

So, as I was saying, in the last 10 days of unwellness the graph of boredom has been showing an increasing trend. The peak of it reached 10 minutes before when I googled - "things to do when bored". To my astonishment and dismay, out of the 96 things they have suggested, unknowingly I have done around 50!!! Others I have not done mostly because if valid reasons like I don't have a pet, I am tired so can't clean, do yoga, etc.

For all of you wondering what I did, here goes the list:

  1. Sleep. Take rest. Revive your spirits and rejuvenate your soul.
  2. Delete all the unwanted pictures from the phone backup. 
  3. Watch movies.
  4. Learn something new - I learnt graffiti, one dimensional drawing and basic caricature techniques.
  5. Doodled until it bored me.
  6. Listened to songs both new ones and the evergreen favorites.
  7. Watched TV like crazy.
  8. Read books - one book in one sitting (not bad, isn't it?)
  9. Spoke to friends on phone and whatsapp.
  10. Wrote some poems and micro-fictions for my blog.
  11. Downloaded some games apps (I hate playing games on mobile) and even played.
  12. Went through old pictures and relivdd those times.
  13. Did some quick facials.
  14. Updated my daily journal.
  15. Read a lot of random articles.

These are just a compilation of many things I could do with the fever and related tiredness. In these 10 days what I have understood is that being physically tired is still alright. With right medication and rest, everything would resume back to normalcy. But, being mentally bored is the worst punishment. The mental wellness being directly related to physical strength, take care of yourself. More so when the viruses are around; mosquitoes are flying around. 

I repeat, take care :)

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Rhythm of Life!

“Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Vikram Vedha

R Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi
Shraddha Srinath, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar
P S Vinod
Sam C S
Richard Kevin
Y NOT Studios
Release Date
July 21, 2017
2 Hours & 27 Minutes

My Thoughts
The third film of the director duo Pushkar-Gayathri is loosely inspired by the Vikramathithan-Vethalam as hinted by the movie title - Vikram Vedha. Here, gangster Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi) always tells a story and ends it with a question to the encounter specialist Vikram (R Madhavan). Of course, needless to say, Vikram is in constant search to arrest Vedha and with gripping tales often evoking questions of what is good and bad, Vedha escapes from Vikram.

What makes Vikram Vedha engaging is the brilliant screenplay which is so inter-woven that it questions audiences’ intelligence. The director duo have ensured that no stones are unturned in their narration; there is a right balance of suspense, mystery, romance, sentiments and of course relationships. The dialogs are comical at times and thought-provoking at times. The relationship between Vikram and his lawyer wife Priya (Shraddha Srinath) is interestingly shown. In a way, that small track has realistically portrayed the modern husband-wife relationship in which both are independent people with strong opinions. So is the depiction of Varalaxmi’s character and her choices – it is progressive and refreshing. Cinematographer’s palette has blacks, whites and shades of grey which sums up the tone of subject addressed in the movie - no one is good or bad. Everything is driven by circumstances and depends on which side you stay. Sam’s background score elevates heroism projected onscreen. Yanji is such a breath of fresh air that it strikes a chord with the audience. Tasakku Tasakku is that typical kuthu song which will run in your head continuously. Editor Richard Kevin has done a commendable job in collating all the action sequences in a gripping manner. However, the movie could have been shorter by 15 minutes at least.

The backbone of Vikram Vedha is not only because it is a clear winner in most of the technical aspects, but also because of great performances. R Madhavan as no-nonsense encounter specialist Vikram is brilliant. Having said that the show stealer however is Vijay Sethupathi who awes us as Vedha. Of course, he gets more screen space and his character has more shades than that of Vikram. Having said that, Vijay Sethupathi’s ease with comedy, emotions or action makes Vedha such a lovable character although we know that he is a bad! Also have to mention that Shraddha and Varalaxmi have convincingly portrayed their roles, although their screen presence is limited. Prem as Vikram’s friend-colleague and also Kathir as Vedha’s brother have done a decent work.

Overall, Vikram Vedha is a delight to watch. It could have been a routine cop-gangster/good-bad movie. But, it is not. And that’s why the movie shines!!! Don’t miss it!!!


Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Details of the Book

No. of Pages   : 272 pages
ISBN               : 1101874082 (ISBN13: 9781101874080)
Language        : English

From the book blurb
The book Adultery portrays the story of an independent woman Linda, in her 30s, who has an almost perfect life; a content and stable marriage, a caring husband, sweet little kids and a rewarding journalism career. Through the regular everyday life, she starts to question the dullness and boredom of her passing days. She tends to be dissatisfied with her life, until she meets her high-school boyfriend, Jacob, who is a successful politician now.

With him, she revives the zeal and craze that were previously missing in her life. They get involved into an affair which she knows can lead her to difficult circumstance, yet, she finds the affair to be really exciting. With this transformation, she is standing at a life-altering turn of her life.

The book was originally written in Portuguese, Coelho’s native language. The English edition was published in August 2014.

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes among others, have sold 150 million copies worldwide.

What I think
What is a perfect life? Caring spouse, loving children, challenging career and enough money to meet not only the basic necessities but also to indulge in some occasional luxury? Well, isn’t perfect life a very subjective term, considering the fact that grass is always greener on the other side? Well, don’t single men and women crave for a partner and committed people desire space? In a way, that’s the beauty of life and the root cause for most of the problems in life. Often, these problems may not even be real, but a mere byproduct of overthinking and needless to say, loneliness, After all, the worst form of loneliness is to be surrounded by people, yet feel like an isolated island with no one to talk to!  Paulo Coelho’s Adultery deals with this very aspect of life. It dissects monotonous life into simple and smaller figments and explains how it can affect a person’s life.

As the book blurb rightly describes, Linda is a married woman with two kids. Her kids loves her. Her husband adores her. She enjoys cooking and taking care of the family. She likes her job. In short, for any onlooker her life is perfect – both personally and professionally. However, she feels void from within. She feels stressed and frustrated and craves for some adventure and fun; similar to the days when she was young and single. She tries recreating the lost spark and forces her to understand that the husband is none other than the person she had once loved so dearly. But she miserably fails at it until she meets her childhood sweetheart under professional set-up; and a clandestine affair follows. Although she is aware of the fact that such adultery could ruin not only her life but also the lives of her children and husband, she finds it difficult to resist. The rest of the book is about Linda’s journey of self-discovery in which she understands the basics of life.

As usual, Paulo Coelho’s words swims through our mind, reaches to our heart and touches our soul. The words flow with rehearsed ease and it is surely an assured page-turner. Most of the sentences convey truth and provokes thoughts. Linda becomes relatable. However, her husband emerges as the hero; not only a perfect gentleman but also a sweetheart!

Well, Adultery deals with a very sensitive topic which is often viewed as a taboo. But the author has handled it so aesthetically that it hints the reason for the same:

“What kills a relationship between two people is precisely the lack of challenge, the feeling that nothing is new anymore. We need to continue to be a surprise for each other.”

The above quote perfectly summarizes the feelings of Linda and several married people and also couples in long term relationships. As the years pass, people start taking each other for granted and fail to make small efforts to surprise one another. They tend to assume that it is not quite necessary to reiterate love for the better half. Adultery emphasizes that the heart has to stay young; no matter how old you are. It says that it is alright to share sweet nothings just like a teenager experiencing first love!

On the flip side, the book explores adultery only in the form of physical intimacy; it would have been remarkable if emotional adultery was also included.

In short, Adultery is the answer for many who try to understand what is wrong in their life or in their relationship!

Go for it!!!


Some words that stole my heart
©       Beware when making a woman cry. God is counting her tears.
©       We are the ones who create the messes in our heads. It does not come from outside.
©       YOU don’t choose your life; it chooses you. There’s no point asking why life has reserved certain joys or griefs, you just accept them and carry on.
©       When we release our dark side, it will completely overshadow the best in us.
©       Buddhists say that a fixed smile, however false, lights up the soul.
And many more…