Pupil’s President Dr. Kalam

Image Courtesy: Bee Books

Image Courtesy: Bee Books

There are people who always seem like distant stars, too big and far to touch and feel. But then you get star-crossed once in a while, right? And the monstrosity of that event dawns upon you much later. I have always known Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as our president and a great scientist. He’s been as far from my life as anyone could be; the way we read about presidents in our lives.

Cut to 2005, exactly ten years ago. I was in the last semester of my Master’s degree. There’s been a buzz before the Durga Puja holidays that the president Dr Kalam would be visiting the Calcutta University main campus for a lecture and tête-à-tête with selected students from all the departments and campuses. I don’t know how but I had been selected by the professors for this event, and I was shell-shocked to know that I had to attend it. Shocked, and not pleasantly surprised, because I was (and still am) a very shy person. I couldn’t imagine myself in the huge auditorium with a big audience and the president himself!

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Book Review : Milan

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Blurb View:

From the author of The Accidental Wife, Simi K. Rao!
When a daughter turns marriageable age, what should a responsible father do?

Easy–wed her to the most suitable boy who comes knocking on their door.

Jai Bharadwaj, Mili’s father and owner of The Serenity Tea Estate in the idyllic Nilgiris would’ve probably liked to do the same, but being who he was, he had to ask her first.

But what would Mili say?

Review:

Indian weddings are like chocolate, you can’t get enough of them. But then, they need to be sold in really good wrappers for you to even consider them. Milan being ‘A Wedding Story’, had expectations raised to give us a good peek at a grand Indian wedding. The author is already writing a series on Arranged Marriage and this novella is probably an offspring of the same.

Firstly, the cover is gorgeous. It kind of glowed on my reading device and looked dazzling, much like an Indian wedding. The book started with a lot of promise giving the readers a glimpse of beautiful Connoor and into Mili’s life. Mili is an aspiring musician who wants to make something big out of her life. Just then, comes a marriage proposal from someone she considered a dork in school. He’s Ahaan and her parents as well the entire town is enthralled by him.

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Words of Wisdom #SachchiAdvice

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

The maladies of youth include aversion to advice. It applies to almost all of us, more of it in our early adult years when peer influence is greater than golden words from elders. I was resistant to advice too, I used to sit with a flat face and blank eyes before relatives and acquaintances who would lecture me on various stuff, some of them even unimaginable. Things were better with my parents though. Still, at times, during a long dark phase in academics, advice was something I’d be intolerable to.

When I was in the last year of my Master’s degree, there was a lot going on – classes, lectures, projects, thesis, experiments, exams and confusion. Few of our professors wanted us to go abroad for further academics and motivated us with their advice. A few others wanted us to pursue doctorate under them, to work in their lab and be guided by them. My classmates were divided into three groups, the first two wanted academics in and out of the country and the third group opted to search for Government and Private sector jobs.

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Hunt for Comedy!

Image Courtesy: Live in Style dot com

Image Courtesy: Live in Style dot com

You must have already watched the AIB videos on Youtube. A huge chunk of the young Indian population thrives on stand-up comedy videos these days. These short and crisp videos provide a breather into our hectic and stressed out hours at work. From politics, sports, music, Bollywood to Indian weddings, Diwali and other festivals – these comedians have explored almost every topic that’s relevant in our lives. Shot methodically with witty and mostly sarcastic dialogues, the videos would never appear amateurish or boring.

I’m a big fan of AIB, Vir Das, Kanan Gill and keep watching their videos in a loop at times! Each of them has a unique style of presentation and their own ways to capture the audience. Stand-up comedy began in the 18th century in United Kingdom and 19th century in United States. India however was oblivious to this form of comedy in its televised media. If you somehow recall Johnny Lever performing in the show called Hope’86, that was the first stand-up comedy act in public. It has gradually evolved into comic videos ruling the Youtube in the past few years.

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Book Review : The Guardians of the Halahala

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Image Courtesy: Goodreads

Image Courtesy: Goodreads

The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

Review: 

Confessions first: I don’t like fantasy, hence I don’t read fantasy. Not really ashamed, but I haven’t even read Harry Potter, though I liked the movies and would read the series (soon). Mythology fares a notch better, as I haven’t read much there, just a stray okayish novels by Indian writers. Now when these two genres are blended and mythology is not drab or boring – comes The Vikramaditya Trilogy.

The first chunk of memory that Vikramaditya evokes is that of the television series ‘Vikram aur Betaal.’ Though sloppily made, it was our first exposure to this mytho-historical king in childhood. Decades later, Vikramaditya comes back in written, with a lot of resolve, spunk and war. The book begins promisingly with Vikramaditya happily ruling Avanti and a small ripple is created by a pack of Huna soldiers who seem to be on the verge of return. The readers are gradually acquainted with the king and his kins, his navaratna or nine councillors, the queens and their apathy towards each other.

For the uninitiated, Halahala is the poison that was churned from the oceans, expecting Amrit instead. It was deemed to be so potent that it could destroy the three universes and who better than the destroyer himself to consume the poison and save everyone. Continue reading

Book Review : Operation Jai Mata Di

jai mata di

Image Courtesy: Amazon

Blurb View: 

In a daring midnight operation by armed men, over 10,000 pilgrims are taken hostage en route to the holy shrine of Vaishno Devi, a popular Himalayan religious-tourist destination in the troubled state of Jammu & Kashmir in Northern India. The hostage-takers threaten to shoot pilgrims every day, unless the incumbent Government accedes to their demands. With the Hindu festival of Diwali just around the corner and elections less than six months away, the Government at the center is under immense pressure to act. What will the Government do? The army? The intelligence agencies? The common man? No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Who are these men? Is there a larger plot? Faced with such unprecedented events, will the country descend into unimaginable anarchy or will it rise above the issues of collective apathy and greed that have plagued it since Independence?

Review: 

There are issues plaguing our country that we read about in the newspapers everyday. Few of them make our blood boil, others create disgust and delirium inside our psyche. We keep wishing they’d come to an end somehow, but they don’t. We keep searching for ways to end corruption, but it doesn’t. Then Pratik Shah comes up with this book showing his own way. It might not be social, legal or foolproof, but it works in the book.

In the contoured terrains of the beautiful and pious land of Vaishno Devi temples, things get dismal. You’d spot Vijay, Prakash, Raghuvir and others with fake identity and intense plots. The strategies and intentions are gradually revealed in each chapter. There is much technology involved, some of it is pretty complex for laymen like us. Though Pratik tries to explain them in detail, few parts still escape us.

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