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Blog Description:

Book review and poetry blog. A blog that provides genuine reviews on books, reflects human emotions in it's poems.
Blog Tags: book - reviews - poetry
Blog Added: February 15, 2018 12:54:02 PM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: India   India
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Blog Rating: 3.00
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Book Review: Three Thousand Stitches by Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, a columnist for English and Kannada dailies, and a prolific Indian author of many non-fiction novels. She is also known for her philanthropic work towards the development of the lives of the underprivileged and the downtrodden. Sudha Murty’s Three Thousand Stitches, revolves around a couple...

Three Thousand Stitches by Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, a columnist for English and Kannada dailies, and a prolific Indian author of many non-fiction novels. She is also known for her philanthropic work towards the development of the lives of the underprivileged and the downtrodden. Sudha Murty’s Three Thousand Stitches, revolves around a couple of events and anecdotes from her life. It’s an anthology of eleven inspiring stories, beautifully picked from her life and the journey traversed. The inexpressible limits lie on the other side of the incidents, as if the underside of a mirror, the reflector of these incidents, depicting courage and strength of the author. The stories teach us about myriad of human relations and the emotions that are bound to them. It also teaches us about the deep commitments to achieve her goals and prove her mettle at various stages of her life as a young girl, as a college student, and as a chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.

As usual Sudha Murty’s stories have a hint of prevailing issues in our society. In ‘Three Thousand Stitches, she embarks on her mission with a strong conviction to make a difference in the lives of Devadasis in Northern belt of Karnataka. As a novice, young Sudha Murty was spurned and humiliated multiple times on her first subject of work. Undeterred and determined Sudha learns her lessons of perseverance and changes her approach. Eventually she earns the trust of Devadasis.
No Place like Home‘, is a heart-wrenching story where she recognizes the problems faced by young girls and middle-aged Indian women who are lured with the prospect of earning money, tricked, trafficked to other countries and cheated into slavery. There they are often forced to marry, abused and raped. Their passports are confiscated so that they don’t escape. Sometimes they are given false beliefs that their services yield good monetary returns for their families back home.
Cattle Class‘ is another story, where Sudha Murty is amused and appalled to learn that a person’s attire is a reminder of the stereotype that is still rampant today. She is anointed to a ‘cattle class’ by a fellow traveler at Heathrow Airport.
How to Beat the Boys’ is a trip down the memory lane, where she was the only female student in her engineering college. The story will inspire every girl that nothing is impossible for them.
Rasleela and the Swimming Pool‘ was fun to read where author’s grand-kids modify Mahabharata according to their contemporary lifestyles. It is one of the funniest improvisations of the Indian epic I have ever read.
In one of the stories she also explains about the Indian vegetables and their roots of origin. She joyfully shares how the foreign vegetables like tomato and chilly came to be widely accepted in our platter.
A Life Unwritten‘ is my favorite story. It is truly a riveting story of her brave father as a young doctor and his one good deed of duty that altered the lives on that one night. The story tells us that with every struggle in life, there also comes an opportunity to serve and earn good returns later. A perfect example to understand the law of cause and effect, the law of karma, i.e. what goes around comes around. Whenever we do good things for people without expecting anything in return, they find a way to come back in a bigger or better way.

Three Thousand Stitches is an awe-inspiring impulsive read. Each and every story is like a chapter full of profound messages, experiences and lessons from her life. One is likely to learn something new along with some humor to ease the tension. She nonchalantly shares her outlook towards life in a very simple and honest way. Her impressive straight-from-the-heart storytelling style, keeps the story to the point. A good read, with plenty to chew on. Must read her other books too!



Book Review: Letters to My Ex by Nikita Singh

Love as we all know, is a very powerful emotion that sometimes can be disconcerting, distracting and bewildering. It can easily outweigh our rational thinking and create a labyrinth of illusions. It can become a momentary lapse of daunting descension into hell, an aberration. But it can also make any day an unforgettable moment...

Letters to My Ex by Nikita Singh

Love as we all know, is a very powerful emotion that sometimes can be disconcerting, distracting and bewildering. It can easily outweigh our rational thinking and create a labyrinth of illusions. It can become a momentary lapse of daunting descension into hell, an aberration. But it can also make any day an unforgettable moment and any place a wonderful dreamland. This book delves deep into the darkest shades of emotions like anxiety, rage and hatred when experiencing excruciating emotional pain of dejection and treason.

Letters to My Ex is a story of two people, Nidhi and Abhay, madly in love with each other. Due to varied reasons Nidhi chooses to walk away from her lover on her engagement day. Subsequently, they hurt each other and garner courage to move on from their heartbreaks. But sooner they find it hard to accept their separation, despite working hard towards starting new relationships to fill up the voids. It is an exceptional book about two people exchanging letters, trying to mend their broken hearts. They bleed their hearts out with their emotions and the unspoken words in their letters. The book is about the protagonist’s intense journey through the life’s most unexpected ways, understanding love, loss and perfidious relations. It is Nidhi’s quest for the reason that forced her to choose a catastrophic decision for herself. Aberrantly, she pens down her mixed feelings in her letters with no intention to post them. And eventually she finds solace in her “writing therapy”, it becomes a persistent source self-discovery and self-healing. She analyses, fathoms and transpires the unsolved riddles and the unending questions about love and separation in their relationship.

Nidhi, the protagonist is a confused and a pessimistic character that suffers silently through her own dilemma. She acts gibberish which is sometimes irritating. She is very hyperbolic, overemphasising and over-analysing things. It is hard for a guy to read through the elaborated details and subtle changes going on in Nidhi’s mind.

Abhay, on the other hand is a smart and mature character. Abhay’s perspective is well laid by the author. He is very understanding and handles the situations smoothly. A perfectly sorted out demeanour, to surely fall in love for.

I have been perusing a lot of genres lately except romance. I felt very excited to read this book because it has been quite some time since I have devoured any romantic novel and I was definitely going to read this one. I spotted this book on Twitter and was immediately drawn by it’s catchy title. And yes, this is my first book of Nikita Singh. It is a short and sweet story carved out of feelings that every couple experiences during their breakup phases. As promised by the title of the book, the whole content is not in the form of letters, you will also find small talks and conversations in between. It has the same old clichéd climax, so it is strictly advised to keep your expectation levels in check. That would surely help you get over any disappointment that this book brings.

Overall, it was an interesting and good read. The narration and language are also simple. The story floats smoothly throughout the book. The story is not just about an idyllic love, but also about the aftermath of unrequited love. Nikita Singh must be applauded for trying out a new format of writing. Letters to My Ex is worth reading once.



Book Review: Keepers of the Kalachakra by Ashwin Sanghi

Ashwin Sanghi’s most anticipated book, Keepers of the Kalachakra, is a mythological fiction and thriller. The book reveals a treasure trove of information that weaves together history, mythology, philosophy, religion and science. “Do you know the difference between mythology and history?’ asked Brahmananda. The lady expressed herself in a shrug. ‘Mythology is a set...

Keepers of the Kalachakra by Ashwin Sanghi

Ashwin Sanghi’s most anticipated book, Keepers of the Kalachakra, is a mythological fiction and thriller. The book reveals a treasure trove of information that weaves together history, mythology, philosophy, religion and science.

“Do you know the difference between mythology and history?’ asked Brahmananda. The lady expressed herself in a shrug. ‘Mythology is a set of lies that people rarely believe,’ Brahmananda said and paused. ‘And history?’ ‘A set of lies that people have agreed to believe.”

The book gives us entry into a fascinating world of mythology, infused with science. Author has shed light on some of the most intriguing concepts of physics, mathematics, biology, ontology, computer science, symbology and astrology. The author has made use of mystical concepts, conspiracy theories, historical events and scientific researches like double split experiment, quantum entanglement, theory of relativity, string theory, akashic theory, theory of everything, tor, zrtp, golden ratio, and many more. All of them strung tactically in a single string to form a remarkable storyline. Though the book claims to be a work of fiction, but the narration will make you feel like reading accounts of real incidents. For someone who is not science student or if physics is not your cup of tea, it might be a bit of struggle to understand this book in toto. Albeit the simple language of this book makes it a fast read.

The very first Kalachakra initiation was given some 2,594 years ago in Dharanikota (near modern Amravathi, Andhra Pradesh) by Shakyamuni Buddha, who attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. One of the students was King Suchandara who had also come to learn something very special from the Buddha. It was called Kalachakra Multantra. Later Kalachakra teachings were summarized into simplified texts called Sri Kalachakra. Kalachakra system explains that there were three levels of teachings that the Buddha imparted to King Suchandara – outer teachings, inner teachings and intuitive teachings.

Outer teachings dealt with the physical world. These included the calculations used for the Kalachakra calendar, the start and end of universe, and the planetary system. Inner teachings dealt with the human body and mind. Intuitive teachings constituted the path to enlightenment that could be achieved by balancing the outer with the inner. The Buddhist wheel of time, the Kalachakra system believes in the correlation between body, mind, consciousness and the universe. As it is outside, so it is within the body. The theory was to study the mimicry between the behaviour patterns of subatomic particles and the behaviour patterns of planets.

Kalachakra was a technique by which non-celibates could become bodhisattvas. One could attain nirvana and experience the pure exalted realm of Shangri-La or, as the Buddhists called it, Shambhala.

Albert Einstein is one of history’s greatest minds that mankind has ever produced. His most recognised contribution to science was his Theory of Relativity. Einstein had no doubts that the mind is a product of the brain, his revolutionary discovery taught us that time and space are related to the observer. He formulated an equation that encompassed the relationship between matter, energy and the speed of light. It revealed that energy and matter are the products of the same substance and can be interchanged from one form to the other. The equation says that energy and matter are the two sides of same coin.

The world of quantum physics is mind-boggling and equally impossible to imagine. It gives us the notion of uncertainty principle, wave-particle duality, quantum superpositions, quantum entanglement, and many other theories that have been baffling the scientists for decades. One such quintessential aspect of quantum physics that riled Albert Einstein was the quantum entanglement theory. He described it as “spooky action at a distance”. According to the theory, in an entangled system, two particles remain connected so that the actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances and continue to share a common quantum mechanical state.

Much of what we today claim as “science” is the silent and munificent contribution of our ancestors. Western world still wonder – why would anyone imagine that enlightenment involves sitting under a tree, meditating? Two thousand years ago, Buddha taught us the techniques to explore the untapped potentials of our minds. He used his own powers of observation and reasoning, to guide him to his enlightenment. Scientists are now trying to study, comprehend and prove the theories that Indian sages had already postulated thousands years ago. According to Hinduism and Buddhism, everything in nature undergoes the vicious and beginning-less cycle of birth and death, or the cycle of Samsara. Every living organism takes birth, exists, and eventually dies. The truth of impermanence is that – everything that arises, ceases eventually.

Pratītyasamutpāda, or interdependent co-origination was one of the crucial aspect to what Buddha was awakened to. It states that all phenomena rise together in an interdependent web of cause and effect. All phenomena are empty of self-causation and the result of everything else. According to Buddhist philosophy, the two primordial qualities of space-time are information and connection or wisdom and compassion, which is nothing but the primordial force, the Buddha-nature. The conventionally accepted fundamental forces of nature that form the basis of all known interactions in nature are gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces. On the other hand, the primordial force is intelligent enough to communicate through all connections just like the quantum theory of entanglement. This entanglement is the glue that holds the nature, it is self-aware and aware of everything, and it is this buddha-nature that binds the universe together. It makes the vast and expanding universe a complex interrelated network in which universe itself and all creatures are acting in interdependence of their mutual interactions, where observer has a definite effect on the observed. There are various terms for this noumena – Dharmakāya, Brahman, Atman, Tao, the Great Spirit, the Void and the Christ. This energy of love and creation binds us together as a whole.

Indian sages believed in selflessness and we are all subconsciously connected by the fabric of love. They were far away from any advanced scientific laboratories and equipments, nor they had any access to supercomputers, but they possessed perspicacity of coherent conception of ideas that we lack today. It took them over ten billion dollars, over fifty years and thousands of scientists to discern the nature of Higgs Boson or it’s antecedent, the Buddha-nature.

“If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. – Albert Einstein”

Keepers of the Kalachakra is yet another magnum opus by Ashwin Sanghi, an amazing story that pans out across the globe – India, Russia, Syria, Turkey, China, Tibet, Australia, America and many more. The stupendous plot provides an amazing insight into the ancient traditions of Hinduism, Vajrayana Buddhism and the Kalachakra, which slowly delves into the apprehension of peeved issues of radicalisation and polarisation of religion and it’s consequences. The boisterous conversations about science and religion are truly entertaining and enlightening. It’s one of the best painstakingly researched novel with a good number of diagrams and Buddhist iconography which makes this novel a compelling read. From consciousness to Blavatsky’s akashic records and from correlation between milky way to the golden ratio and Roop Kund lake, the book boasts about the profound knowledge and mysteries in India. The author shares this huge kaleidoscopic and mind-expanding knowledge backed by tonnes of research from a reference list of 58 books, which is a commendable feat indeed! The book is actually a subterfuge, a fiction thriller surreptitiously leaking a treasure trove of information.

Keepers of the Kalachakra is an undoubtedly must read for all fiction lovers. The content is proficiently stitched together to form a perfect story and a brilliant closing climax. The narrative and the style of writing can be compared to Dan Brown. I would therefore strongly recommend this book to everyone who loves fiction, science and mythology.



Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond wrote his first novel, The Room on the Roof, when he was 17, and won John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial prize in 1957. He has been enthralling the readers for 62 long years. He has written several essays, novels, poems, short stories and children’s books. He is also the winner of the prestigious...

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond wrote his first novel, The Room on the Roof, when he was 17, and won John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial prize in 1957. He has been enthralling the readers for 62 long years. He has written several essays, novels, poems, short stories and children’s books. He is also the winner of the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award which is the second-highest literary honour in India.

I too have been a die hard fan of Ruskin Bond since long. I can still recall a story, A face in the Dark, that was a part of our class 6 English syllabus. That was the first time, I was vis-a-vis with the Bond’s literature. The first time we read it, it’s thrilling climax made shivers run down our spines. I was so mesmerised that, when I upgraded myself to higher classes, I clipped the story from my textbook and preserved it for the rest of my life. I grew up reading his stories in the school textbooks and gradually he became one of my favourite authors.

There are classics written by great authors, but sometimes there are books written by story-tellers that are unputdownable, that can make you forget your work, no matter how big or small it might be. The words charm you and you fall into a hypnotic trance. When any author compels his readers to hover in the delicious overlap of reality and illusion, he has your full attention. Every second the story lures the reader into the book. Only then, the author knows that he has deftly carved out a masterpiece.

But what makes The Blue Umbrella book so distinct? The book portrays the distinctive flavour of India, a sense unmistakable realism and the diminutive details, characterising Bond’s work. The Blue Umbrella is one of Ruskin Bond’s marvellous creations. It is a perfectly handy children’s book.

The plot is set in the foothills of Himachal, in the beautiful lush green hills and valleys. The lackadaisical life in this small sequestered hamlet is seldom peppered with tourists. As is evident from the title of the book, it is the story of a precocious girl, Binya and her blue umbrella. She barters her leopard claw amulet for a blue umbrella with a tourist. She takes the umbrella along with her everywhere she goes. She fights men and nature to keep it safe. She even refuses to close it even while at home. The rain and sun eventually fade away the colour of the umbrella, but couldn’t tarnish her love for the umbrella. Soon the umbrella becomes the focal point of her life, and she becomes the cynosure of all eyes. Everyone’s thing of covet, the blue umbrella becomes the talk of the town for the unpretentious villagers.

Ram Bharosa, the shopkeeper is no different from the other villagers. He too is enamoured of the blue umbrella and secretly yearns to own it. Ram Bharosa tries hard to possess his craving wish but all his efforts go in vain. He feels vexed and dejected by his futile endeavours to own the umbrella. Seeing him desolated, his apprentice offers to steal it for him. Eventually, the boy gets caught while stealing and inculpates Ram Bharosa. Ram Bharosa’s unethical way to possess Binya’s umbrella, slanders his image and demolishes his repute. The villagers abstain from going to his shop, this further causes loss in his business.

Binya felt guilty for inculcating jealousy and covetousness inside the villagers and hence, she decides to share it with everyone. Unable to stand his suffering of loss, the instilled compassion of Binya gives away her umbrella. Overwhelmed by her kindness, Ram Bharosa comprehends his mistake, and gifts her a pendant with a bear claw amulet.

It is a simple, heart-lifting, children’s story with a resonating message of sharing the fragrance of caring by doling out the things that we love the most. A marvellous read for adults as well as a recommended gift for children. The simplified and elegant english with excellent storytelling and vivid descriptions makes it a delightful read for kids. Ruskin Bond does an immaculate job by revealing the various dimensions of human emotion and eventually touching the core meaning of humanity – kindness.



Book Review: The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger

“The Catcher in the Rye” is a tragic story of a 17-year old adolescent,Holden Caufield, a strange and rebellious protagonist. The story is a long flashback of his three day period that starts at Pencey Prep, a prestigious boarding school from where he has just been expelled. He spends his time wandering in New York...

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

“The Catcher in the Rye” is a tragic story of a 17-year old adolescent,Holden Caufield, a strange and rebellious protagonist. The story is a long flashback of his three day period that starts at Pencey Prep, a prestigious boarding school from where he has just been expelled. He spends his time wandering in New York city. Almost everybody around him disappoints him. He thinks everybody is unrealistic and calls them phonies. Though Holden is not a cruel person, but still he does not believe in compassion and humanity. His rebel attitude drags him into constant fights.

As opposed to his nihilistic approach towards his life, Holden finds solace in the innocence of his beloved sister, Phoebe. Phoebe’s presence accentuates an interesting perspective into his character. I love the interaction between them. He secretly sneaks into her room, and tells her that he would love to be a catcher in the rye, a person who saves little children from falling off a cliff in the rye field. She is the only person in the book whom he dearly loves and cares because she is still an innocent child. He does not want her to get corrupted by the dishonest world of adulthood.

“The Catcher in the Rye” is well-written book with an extensive use of colloquialism. It seems like an impatient attempt of cynical teenager trying to understand the world around him and somehow fit into it. The book describes that moment when you hate everybody and everything is worthless. The author sounds real, his astute observations makes the reader sympathetic towards Holden, despite the choices that he makes. He does not make a deliberate attempt to recognise people but he effortlessly makes wry observations that are very superficial. He does not arrive to any conjectures with his significant perspicacious remarks. The book precariously exposes the emotionally difficult and hypocritical nature of Holden that makes him fall apart from the world that he lives in.

Even though Holden loathes almost everybody, but still he is filled with longing for all those who share his memories. He wants to save all children from falling off the cliff and thus saving them from the miserable adulthood, disdaining themselves from humanity, faith and hope, or may be from becoming another Holden Caufield.

If you are reading this book for the first time, you will wait for something spectacular to happen, but unfortunately it never does. It is one of the most critiqued and most frequently banned books of 20th century. It is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. Honestly, I did not find it exciting enough to be a compelling read. But every book has a message to deliver, “The Catcher in the Rye” sends a message to be true to ourselves and remain hopeful.



Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Origin is the fifth Dan Brown classic featuring Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology and religious iconology. All of us who are fascinated and enthralled by Dan Brown’s works, already know that all of Robert Langdon series are paradoxically associated with the interplay between science and religion. Honestly, I have always been interested in...

Origin by Dan Brown

Origin is the fifth Dan Brown classic featuring Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology and religious iconology. All of us who are fascinated and enthralled by Dan Brown’s works, already know that all of Robert Langdon series are paradoxically associated with the interplay between science and religion. Honestly, I have always been interested in the paradigms where science and religion intersect focussing on creation, human origin and divine action. The themes have been the raison d’être he has been one of my favourite authors. And since the launch of Origin, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this new Robert Landon adventure.

As usual, the story comprises of a series of captivating events that take place in Spain where Edmond Kirsch (an Elon Musk-ish tech genius), an inventor, futurist, a renowned global figure and also one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard is about to reveal the answers to the two most fundamental questions about human existence that every individual, irrespective of his/her timeline of existence on this planet might have thought of.

Where do we come from?
Where are we going?

While exploring for the answers, the maverick scientist and researcher, Edmond Kirsch uncovers a hidden discovery that would shatter the faith of people across the globe. He meets three different religious leaders – Roman Catholic Bishop, Jewish Rabbi and Islamic Imam and informs them about his discovery that he was going to make public. At Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, his revelation unfortunately faces unexpected set of events and the discovery lies uncovered.

Robert Langdon has no choice but to escape with Ambra, museum’s director and the future queen of Spain. They try to solve the dilemma revolving around a murder mystery while running for their lives. Both set out on a perilous quest to locate secret password to replay the recording of Kirsch’s precious discovery that lies teetering on the brink of being lost forever. The story gets murkier when the Royal family of Spain which is influenced by Catholic Church is also involved in the conspiracy. The story is beautifully woven by conspiracy, murder, love, betrayal and a world-changing secret.

I personally like every Dan Brown book, they all leave you thinking out of the box with a unique sense of suspense and intrigue. Unlike his previous books in Langdon series which unravel the ancient hidden secrets in the dark corridors of renaissance architectures, masterpieces and enigmatic symbols, Origin takes us into a new direction, focusing on modern technology, science and art. Dan Brown succeeds in masking the truth till the very end where the reader is utterly flabbergasted. The book can compel you to question your faith and at some point, anyone who is deeply religious shall rethink about God’s existence. This time the author has attacked everyone who believes in divine power. This book is a page-turner, thought provoking read that will sometime make you ponder whether science can replace religion. It also delves into some interesting discussions on scientific topics like entropy and Miller-Urey experiments. It’s a genre fiction at it’s best.

Origin is all about changing your views, to evolve, adapt and learn about various angles of truth explaining life’s origin and destiny. This book doesn’t shatter the beliefs but helps us to understand the world we live in. It portrays the world where we will share our private spaces with the ever increasing adoption of new technology in our lives and continue to coexist with artificially intelligent machines. The author deserves credit for scientific merit and extensive research done behind developing these theories. Lastly, even though Origin is much better than Inferno, but still it does not match up to the nail biting suspense in Angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code. Origin proposes to use proportionate reasoning equipped with moral imagination as an epistemological tool to address ethical ambiguity of both science and religion. For Dan Brown and Langdon fans it is definitely a must read.

“Science and religion are not competitors, they’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There’s room in this world for both.”



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