Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MatrikaS Creative Women's Journal Review


           

     

      Before we humans became addicted and dependent on technology and digitalization, various forms of paper and ink were the only source of penning our thoughts or maintaining records.

Now-a-days kids learn to operate smartphones and computers even before they learn to say Ma and Pa.

          People born before 90’s know how one feels when you pick up some old diary of ours and reminisce those past days. But for me even though I love to read on kindle and type away reviews and blogs on my laptop but I still prefer the old way and I love my paperback books and scribbling on my writing pad because there is a saying “Old is Gold”.

          We women are always multitasking and have lots of things on our mind; be it a housewife or an entrepreneur or a working woman, we do have a habit of noting down things so as we can be reminded of events or memories. Be it someone’s birthday or anniversary or children’s school fees or maid’s pay or some traditional or new recipe or be it some client’s order or some important meeting or event we do make it a point to note down in our diary or journal.

          MatrikaS has always made products which has a personal feel. This year too, their Women’s Journal is one well thought product of theirs.







          Most of us have the habit of doodling absent mindedly when we catch hold of a pen unless we are writing an exam or filling up some form. Remember the last few pages of our school/college notebooks used to be full of such things. Be it a tic-tac game played during a boring lecture or some (senseless) match making calculations or some mehndi/dress design, our last pages used to be full of those scribbling.   





          MatrikaS women’s journal has thought of all of above. It has plain pages to scribble, ruled pages to pen/note down, some coloring sheets to let the artist inside you an outlet and some cute little stickers, which can be used while making your to-do list or just to depict your moods.



          This journal is really a well thought product for every woman’s personal use and also an ideal gift for the woman you love/care/admire.



          Out of the four types, I received the ‘To Fly-Dragonfly’ journal. Its soft silky brown cover with golden dragonfly embossed on it, is such a pretty piece of art. There is an envelope attached at the back cover from inside, just in case you have to keep something important to prevent losing it or some cash for emergency or some important note or letter.






          And lastly the elastic band to hold the journal from opening and spilling the contents are some of the positive features of the journal which I liked.


          So if you want to buy for yourself or gift it to someone as this is surely for keeps and to check out other products click on http://www.matrikas.co.in

   One can check out their Video on the Creative Women's Journal here https://youtu.be/5Skb9wGW5hE


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Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Review-Anand Suspi's Half Pants Full Pants




HALF PANTS, FULL PANTS
REAL LIFE TALES FROM SHIMOGA
by
Anand Suspi



Blurb

Half Pants Full Pants is a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. All the characters in the book are real and most of them are still in Shimoga, of course now in their mid-40s. Quite a few are from prominent families and are now active and important members of Shimoga. The book vividly captures the real childhood adventures of this generation of people in Shimoga. It’s a glorious reminiscence as well as a tribute to this wonderful town.

R. Balki says

“After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that someone could create a childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!”

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My Honest Review:


          When was the last time, after reading a story/book did you put the book down and went into flashback into your childhood, trying to remember or connect the story you have just read with an incident or memory of your childhood?

            Half Pants Full Pants takes you back to your childhood, makes you remember the pranks you pulled in school, on your unsuspecting cousins and friends or on your sibling.

            Hats off to the author Anand Suspi in helping the readers reminisce our childhood. Till now we had limited literature like R K Narayan’s Malgudi Days, which showcased villages in rural Karnataka, bringing out the simplicity and innocence of people and their day-to-day instances in 70’s and 80’s.

            But that now we have Half Pants Full Pants, which is definitely an interesting and addictive read. If you know Kannada language, then it's a plus point as you can instantly connect with the Kannada lingo used in the book.

            In 70’s and 80’s and even in 90’s when technology was not advanced and there were no smartphones, cable and other facilities, and where evenings were spent with neighboring kids and ladies sharing recipes or household tips, where children did have a childhood full of outdoor games and pranks, this book is flashback of life which only people born before the advent of advanced technology can connect to.

            Personally I enjoyed half pants tales more than full pants ones.

            Even the cover page brings back memories as in those days 5 and 10 paisa meant a great deal and we used to collect them in our small piggy banks (though in those days it was known as “Hundi”).


            Full points to the author for his writing style, simplicity in language, for front cover and thanks for reviving our inner child and childhood. 


About the author


An advertising writer for over 20 years, he started with Mudra, Mumbai in 1995 and subsequently spent a large part of his career in Lowe Lintas working under Balki. He was the Creative Head of Lowe Delhi between 2007 and 2010. Currently, he lives in Gurgaon and is the co-founder of an ad agency called AndAnd Brand Partners.

Half Pants Full Pants is his first book, a sort of childhood autobiography set in Shimoga of the 70s and 80s. Given the era and milieu that he grew up in, it carries a flavor similar to that of Malgudi Days. The notable difference would be that every story is real and the characters are all in their mid-40s now, often reminiscing about the gloriousness of their growing up years.

Featured in New Indian Express


The Hindu


Times of India


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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book Review-Sumeetha Manikandan's Ponni's Beloved



The Schedule of the Tour can be seen here 

Ponni's Beloved 
Volume 1. New Floods 
by 
Sumeetha Manikandan






Blurb

Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan is a masterpiece that has enthralled generations of Tamil readers. Many authors have written phenomenal books in Tamil literature after Kalki Krishnamurthy, but Ponniyin Selvan remains the most popular, widely-read novel. It has just the right mixture of all things that makes an epic – political intrigue, conspiracy, betrayal, huge dollops of romance, infidelity, seduction, passion, alluring women, unrequited love, sacrifice and pure love.

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Excerpt


“I have brought important information for all of you. That’s why I asked the noble Sambuverayar to invite us all here. Maharaja Sundara Chola’s health has been steadily deteriorating. I secretly asked our royal physician, and he says that there is absolutely no chance of his health improving. His days are numbered. And it is up to us, to think about the future of the royal throne.”

“What do the astrologers say?” asked one of the noble men.

“Why ask the astrologers? Haven’t you seen the comet that has been appearing in the sky, for the past few weeks? They say whenever a comet appears, there will be death in the royal family,” said another.

“I have asked the astrologers as well, and they say that the king might live for some more time. Anyway, we will have to decide who should ascend the throne next,” said Pazhuvetarayar.

“What is the use of discussing that now? Aditya Karikalan was made the Crown Prince two years ago,” said one of the noblemen.

“True. But before he took that decision, did Sundara Chola consult any of us? We all have stood by the Chola Kingdom with loyalty and have sacrificed our sons and grandsons in the battlefield. Even now warriors from each of our clans have gone to Elangai to fight for the Chola Kingdom. Don’t you think we deserve the right to be consulted about who should be the next heir to the throne? Even King Dasaratha asked his council of ministers, before deciding to crown Rama. But our Sundara Chola didn’t think it necessary to consult anyone…”



My Honest Review:

          Pooni’s Beloved is an English translation of well-known Tamil author Kalki R Krishnanmurthy’s Pooniyin Selvan. The English translation is done by Sumeetha Manikandan.

            Though I haven’t read the original work or any of Sumeetha’s previous works, still I must say this is the best translated work I have ever read. Even if it's in English, it has still retained the Tamil essence in it. Appropriate translation and significance of a festival or place or a person; is an added advantage for people who are not well versed with Tamil language.

            Usually when a regional classic is translated, sometimes the originality or the essence of that literature somewhat gets lost in translation, but not in this case.

            Fast paced, full of suspense and treachery, with historical background makes Pooni’s Beloved an interesting read. This book is first part of the series.

            My only grudge is the abrupt end which leaves the reader high and dry.


            Having read and enjoyed book one can’t wait to read the next books of the series to see what happens to our brave warrior Vandiya Devan. 


About the author


"Sumeetha Manikandan is a top bestselling romance author whose novellas ‘Perfect Groom’ and ‘These Lines of Mehendi’ (which was published as a paperback novel called ‘Love Again’) have been on the top of Amazon India charts ever since its publication. A bookaholic, thinker, feminist and a daydreamer, she reads across genres and is a crazy fan of history, romance and science fiction novels.

An avid reader of historical novels, she has been translating Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan for the past ten years and hopes to translate more of his novels to English.

Sumeetha is married to filmmaker K.S. Manikandan and lives with her nine-year-old daughter in Chennai."

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Book Review-R Durgadoss's The Indus Challenge


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THE INDUS CHALLENGE
by
R. Durgadoss




Blurb

Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.

A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.



Read an excerpt of The Indus Challenge here:

Prologue
330 bc
The Macedonians and Greeks came with Alexander the Great to the Hindu Kush range. They were mesmerized by the land of the gods, snow-covered, forested mountains higher than Olympus. The sun rising and setting among the glistening peaks painted a breathtaking picture. They were entranced by the stories of the magical kingdoms of the air; of the heavens; of Vishnu and Shiva; of cities in the sky inhabited by sky demons. They were fascinated by the story of Surya, the sun god, who galloped across the sky each day in his golden chariot, pulled by the five horses, while down below in the dark bowels of the earth were giant serpents, red-eyed, flesh-eating demons and other creatures of the underworld.
It was at this time that the people of Bharat were looking inwards, while the Macedonians aggressively explored outwards and wanted to conquer the world. The kingdoms of Bharat were threatened by the aggressive Macedonians. No king or kingdom was free from the aggressor’s attack. Fragmented kingdoms, disunity and distrust among the rulers made these kingdoms an easy target for the Macedonians.
During this period, several events are shrouded in mystery—what brought Alexander to India? How did he die at such a young age? What were the origins of Chandragupta Maurya? How did a young lad of humble origins take on a mighty king? How did a poor Brahmin pundit help a poor young man rise to power from nowhere? What extraordinary powers did Chandragupta possess that made him so successful? Who were his key generals? Who won wars for him? The questions are endless.
There are several seemingly unconnected dots, as the history of this time is shrouded in deep mystery. Rudra effortlessly unlocks the ancient secrets and aligns the unconnected dots. Mystery unravelled; secrets decoded…
In the second avatar (Janam Two) as Rudra during the tumultuous times of Alexander and Chanakya, he offers stunning clues and revelations. His decrypting skills leave a trail that answers several mysteries in our rich history.
At last, Rudra, heading the Nine Unknown Men Army (NUM), has arrived to decode the secrets to save humanity from cataclysm and extinction.
1
Parthiva year, 306 bc, Kartika (November) month, Friday evening.
The Massaga fort in the Hindu Kush had surrendered to Rudra, the commander-in-chief of the Mauryan army. He was taking stock of the situation. At this hour, a cry hit his ears. ‘Meri raksha karo! (Please save me from the barbarians!’) A woman’s shrieking voice reverberated against the mountains.
‘Why does this lady cry so?’ asked Rudra, looking curiously at his companion. He turned in the direction from where the voice was coming. To his surprise, he saw two cages in which two persons stood, chained. There was a young woman around twenty-two years old, and in the other cage was a bright young lad.
Rudra looked at the cage closely. The woman was gorgeous, seductive, shapely. Her hair was kohl-black, and cascaded over her shoulders. She had thin eyebrows, velvety eyelashes, sea-nymph ears, a sharp nose, shiny white teeth, almond-shaped eyes and glossy skin.
She was wasp-waisted, and her pouting, luscious lips conveyed her displeasure. Her hips and bust were almost of equal size. Her perfect shape reminded him of many icons of beauty he had seen. Her fleshy rounded back attracted his attention.
Rudra realized that he was going overboard ogling at the young women. But in spite of her beautiful features, she seemed to be a fading flower, possibly due to her weakness and exhaustion.
He turned his head towards the surrendered commander of the opposing army, Dharma Sena.
‘Dharma Sena, who are these caged persons?’ asked Rudra.
‘Forget these idiots, Commander. Let me take you round the fort.’ Dharma Sena said, ‘This is Massaga, the great fort city of the Asvakas, the tribe of horsemen. To the south and west are gigantic rocks which defy climbing. To the east is the swift-flowing mountain torrent, the Masakavati river. This famous fort is situated on a hill 6,000 feet high and has a circumference of twelve miles. At the top of the fort, there is arable land requiring a thousand men to cultivate it. This land is capable of feeding more than 30,000 men indefinitely. There are also perennial springs and reservoirs. Every hill here is a natural fort, Commander. Every man here is a horse soldier, Commander. A mighty rampart of stone, brick and timber surrounds the fort, which also has a moat on three sides and the river on the fourth.
‘Commander, “Masika” means “serpent’s hole”, a name indicating the supposed impregnability of the fort and the valour of its defender.’
‘I realize how impregnable your fort is, Dharma Sena. I had to use my best skills to tame you and your fort. By the way, I am impressed by the seven gates leading to the citadel. Can you give me an overview of your fort, Dharma Sena?’
‘You have sharp eyes, Commander. You noticed our seven gates? I am impressed. Let me show you around.’



My Honest Review:


          In school we have learnt about the great king Chandragupta Maurya and also of King Alexander’s invasion to India. But what attracted him to India? Why did he invade India?

          The Indus Challenge answers all the above questions. Though this is second book of the series (first one I haven’t read though), it mainly explains the role of Rudra who is Sagar from Mahabharata reborn due to a curse. How does Rudra help Chandragupta Maurya and the great Brahmin Chanakya in making of Akand Bharat?

          The Indus Challenge is a treat for people who love fiction and mythology. It is a mixture of history, romance, treachery, courage and bravery.

          The author has taken care of each and every minute detail to make it look more realistic rather than just a fictional one.

           The story is medium paced, use of appropriate images and illustrations make the read worthy and easy to understand. The first half of the book is bit slow paced and I did have difficulty in holding my attention but second part catches pace as the story slowly unfolds itself.


          Though the plot is interesting, I feel the narration could have been better. In all a good book and interesting storyline, must read if you like reading mythological fiction and love history. 


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About the author


A consistent Top Rank holder and a Gold Medallist throughout his academics, Mr. Durgadoss has had a career spanning 30 years comprising of depth from industry and width from management consultancy as highlights. He has held various senior management positions in top notch companies. Having travelled extensively on consulting assignments, he has interacted with prominent International Bodies like the UNIDO, Investment Bankers and companies held by Professors of Harvard Business School. He has a rare exposure to multiple cultures namely, MNCs, Home grown large groups, family concerns and public sector undertakings during his career. He is blessed with 360 degree analytical skills, which in turn emanates from his all round experience as a Functional head, General manager, Entrepreneur and a Board director. He is an advisor on the board of Directors of several companies benefiting the organizations with his remarkable cross functional skills and his up to date knowledge. Currently he is the Group Director – Finance and Strategy, House of S.T.Bhatia, United Arab Emirates (UAE). In addition he is the chief mentor, coach and Co – Promoter of Icon Management Services (IMS), UAE. Unceasing ‘Value Addition’ and not just ‘Validation’ is the mantra of success for IMS, a multi – disciplinary management consultancy organisation. He has multi-sectoral / cultural/ territorial/ functional exposure with proven track record of success. He is a PhD on Corporate Governance which involves CSR dimensions. He has delivered several lectures in various forums on Character, Competence and Consciousness (3Cs) towards the society and also has several articles to his credit.

Track travelled...

Raising the altitude from a functional entrant to a functional champion, extending his width as a management consultant of a Big 4 firm, he took up the profit centre head position, with a challenging revival assignment in the mid nineties.

Then he moved up to the entrepreneurial mode by taking up the role of a Managing Director of a new venture. Due to several macro economic factors, the venture went into deep trouble. He faced the worst disaster of his life on this venture, losing money, peace and friends, who invested along with him. From the brink of bankruptcy, he fought back to reach the basin of wisdom & wealth in the current assignment as the Director of a large group based in Dubai. The turbulence he went through during this phase tested his character & confidence. Now, along with Dr. Yerram Raju, his co-author, he has penned down this book on Character driven Competence, which elucidates practical ways of ‘Winning without Sinning’. He always says ‘Momentum leaders don’t wait for the waves; instead they build their waves and ride on them’.

After having fought the greatest wars in the deep chambers of his soul, he came triumphant, obtained his PHD in Corporate Governance and now presents the book with the worldly wisdom, gained by him during his career. 

‘Experience is the greatest from of Education’ says Dr. Durgadoss.


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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Book Blitz-Sunita Saldhana's Who Shall I Be Today


Blurb

Who Shall I Be Today?

A woman can never be “just” a woman. She is a million people in one person. 

“Who shall I be today?” is a collection of poems that delves into what makes up a woman. It talks of a mother’s love and fears; a woman’s search for herself; the yearnings of the heart for that someone special. It tells of the hurt and pain that love brings, and the courage to pick up the pieces and start over again.

You will find tears and smiles, pain and pride. You will find fear and courage, nostalgia and anticipation. You will find woman in all her avatars.

“Who shall I be today” by Sunita Saldhana is something written from the heart. It is a celebration of womanhood. It is guaranteed to touch the soul of every woman who reads it.



Grab your copy @


About the author


"I am a writer and a trainer. I have been writing for more than 35 years now. Besides writing for my own blog, sunitasaldhana.com, and thequillofthephoenix.wordpress.com.  

At "The Know & Grow Learning Centre", I conduct creative writing workshops and courses as well as work with kids and adults on their life skills.

I enjoy working with special kids and empowering them with skills to overcome their hurdles and to reach their full potential.

Right now I am a retired mom, with both my kids flown from the nest and I am working on publishing a book of my poems."

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Review-Sharmishtha Shenoy's A Season for Dying



          A young housewife is killed brutally and the grotesque pictures and the date of next murder are mailed to the editor of The Telangana Times. Initially he thinks it's an April fool prank but when the news of the murder is confirmed he forwards the mail to the Police Commissioner for detailed investigation.

          What follows later is the investigation, enquiry etc. But is it a serial killer or a psychopath or is someone making it look like one?

          Inspector Gopi Reddy and Vikram Rana get involved in this investigation and the manner in which they solve the case is commendable; or rather say the manner in which the author has written the case conclusion is commendable.

          I had read Vikram Rana Investigates first book of the series last year, when I had received it for reviewing through TheBook Club

        
Plus points: well etched plot, filled with suspense, fast paced and addictive story which makes the book un-put-down-able. Characters from previous series like Veena, Kamala, Murali, and Radha makes the reader connect (if you have read the first book). Even if you haven’t proper and short description doesn’t make you left out. Both main characters love for food and to excel in their field and also their comradeship is worth a mention.  

Usually i am able to guess the culprit but this time I was unable to predict till I read the end. (My hubby has nicknamed me CID). 

Negative points: Well, a couple of editing errors which can be ignored considering the brilliant storyline.

          In other words, Sharmishta Shenoy’s A Season For Dying is worth a read, if you love to read detective novels and even otherwise.

One can contact the author or know more about her and her books at www.sharmishthashenoy.com or email at enquiries@sharmishthashenoy.com .


One can also buy her books from Amazon.in