Sunday, 26 March 2017

Book Review - My Father Is A Hero

Author - Nishant Kaushik
Publisher - Srishti
Genre - Fiction
Pages - 199
Price - Rs. 195

First Impressions

True to its title, the book's cover welcomes readers with a humble picture of a father taking her daughter to school. Just like our fathers try to bear all our burdens on themselves, the father on the cover too, is seen carrying his daughter's school bag. Our parents are the guiding lights in our life, who hold our hands and show us the path...just like the father on the cover.

Since for me, my father is indeed my hero, I knew the book would be an emotionally enriching experience.

My View
Ask any girl about her picture of an ideal man, and she would often end up describing her father. It has often been observed that women often draw parallels between their fathers and partners, looking for positive qualities they have grown up witnessing. If there is one man who influences a girl the most in her life, he is her father. The sacrifices, the care, nurturing, guidance all make fathers role models for their daughters. After all, haven't we all heard phrases like "My Daddy strongest"; "My Daddy is the best"?

My Father Is A Hero is a touching story of Vaibhav and his daughter Nisha and the bond they share. Circumstances force Vaibhav into being a single parent. But the love for his daughter overpowers every other aspect of his life. For Vaibhav, fatherhood is not just a responsibility, it is his badge of honour; a role that empowers him to face any obstacle in life. Like all parents, Vaibhav too puts his daughter's happiness before his own. While we often witness kids being ignored by overambitious parents, here is a sacrificing father, who doesn't think twice before risking his professional growth for his daughter's career.

As one progresses through the story, one is touched by the simplicity and sacrificing nature of Vaibhav. A man of simple means, he foregoes his comforts and desires to ensure his daughter has a comfortable life and a bright future. With his own dreams long buried in the past, Vaibhav now has only one aim in his life - to make his daughter a successful singer. His obsession for fulfilling his daughter's makes him go to extremes

While destiny has been cruel to Vaibhav in terms of his profession and marriage, his daughter Nisha is the saving grace in his life. As they say in Hindi, "Doobte ko tinke ka sahara". A bright kid, Nisha too never ceases to acknowledge her father's sacrifices and tries to do everything to make him proud. Vaibhav fills her life with so much love that Nisha never feels her mother's absence.

It is not a story one reads to know the end, but a beautiful tribute to all the fathers who live for their children. While we all read various stories of sacrificing mothers, this is a unique story of a father who goes beyond than being a parent to being his child's role model. Being very close to my father, the book made me very emotional since for me too, My Father Is My Hero!

  • Simple yet impactful narration
  • The story strikes the right emotional cord without going overboard
I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Monday, 13 March 2017


If there is one childhood memory each one of us have in common, it is stories. Yes, no matter where we come from, all of us have fond memories of story time. I still recall the many wonderful bedtime stories my sister used to tell me every night and how I would be lost in each story. While those days, fairies, kings and queens dominated the stories, the scenario is very different now a days. With each child having access to technology pretty early in life, getting a new yet interesting story each day is a challenge for the parents. Still, story telling is one skill parenting teaches you, whether you like it or not. Thankfully, internet and picture books have come to the rescue of parents like me.

Few days ago, I was approached to participate in the #ColgateMagicalStories contest. 

Since my son is in the stage where new characters, pictures and colours interest him a lot, I decided to weave him a small Sci-fi story which also gave a message. 

So, presenting the story of Alpha and Beta which my son enjoyed a lot...

Not only were Alpha and Beta intelligent, they were also known for their presence of mind, which made them popular for the toughest of assignments. Their father, Gamma too had been a successful astronaught, who had been a part of the Mars mission, the mission to discover more about the Red Planet.

This time, Alpha and Beta were out to know more about a certain Comet, which was detected by scientists of the Hubble space station. Uncertain about how to change the course of the comet, the senior astronaughts decided to send Alpha and Beta to find out a possible solution to change the direction of the Comet.

Cheered by their colleagues, friends and well wishers, Alpha and Beta set out on the mission. 

They hadn't yet completed their study, when one fine day, Beta sighted a UFO (Unidentified Fyong Object) passing by their spaceship. As soon as the UFO came near their ship, Beta began to receive SOS signals on his Radio. "There seems to be some trouble out there." Beta remarked. However, Alpha was suspicious. "What if they are some bad aliens trying to harm our planet?" Alpha warned. However, by that time, Beta had already left the space station towards the UFO. 

When Beta reached the UFO, he was surprised to see an alien. The alien introduced himself as Pluto, an astronaught from Mars who had set out on a mission however, had been attacked by a strange bacteria. The bacteria had made way into his dental system by making cavities and the teeth and gums were beginning to damage.  

Beta asked Pluto not to worry as he would soon give him a solution to his problem. He went to his space ship and returned with a pack of Colgate from his kit. "What is this?"asked Pluto. "This is Colgate...the answer to all your dental problems. At our planet, we swear by Colgate for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Just use it twice a day, once you wake up and again before bedtime and I promise you will even forget who that bacteria ever was!

Pluto seemed relieved now. "But what brings you here?" he asked Beta. "Me and my sister Alpha are on this mission to find a way to change course of a Comet that is approaching our planet. Our research is on, but we are yet to find a solution." Pluto smiled, "I think I can help you there my friend.   This is a special Hydrogen gun that will impact the Comet with such force that it will change its direction." Pluto handed over the gun to Beta. 

Alpha and Beta were now hopeful of finding a solution to their problem. As instructed by Pluto, when the Comet came in the right Orbit, Alpha fired the Hydrogen gun at the Comet. As if struck by a lightening, the Comet halted for a minute and changed the course. The Comet was now heading towards Mercury, a planet that was closest to the Sun and where no traces of life had bee discovered.

Alpha and Beta were given a grand welcome by their colleagues at Earth. A new example of friendship had been set between Earth and Mars and Beta was already ready to plan his next trip to Mars, but not without several packs of Colgate for is dear friend Pluto.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Book Review - Lanka's Princess

Author - Kavita Kane
Publisher - Rupa
Genre - Fiction
Pages - 296
Price - Rs. 295

First Impressions
Ugly, evil face, with eyes that reflect the devil - that was the impression of Surpanakha I expected to see on the cover. However, the dusky beauty displaying innocence in her eyes made her seem anyone but Surpanakha. Perhaps her long, devilish nails were the only sign of her identity. My focus quickly shifted to the burning golden city of Lanka in the backdrop. Clearly, the book had a vey strong story to tell and I just couldn't contain my curiosity!

My View
Ramayana is one epic we have all grown up on. While the story reinforced in our minds revolves around the Ayodhya princes, their wives, the war and of course, the mighty Ravan, we fail to notice one character without whom perhaps the story would have been different. That character is Surpanakha, Ravan's sister and the root cause behind the war between Ram and Ravan.

The very mention of Surpanakha reminds us of the asura lady who, attracted by Ram and Laxman proposed them marriage. However, upon facing rejection when she attempted to attack Sita, Laxman cut her nose and ears with his sword. An injured Surpanakha rushed to her brother and not only did she complain to him about the two brothers, but also manipulated the incident to describe how the two brothers disrespected Ravan's status and how beautiful Sita was. Agitated, the short tempered Ravan decided to teach the trio a lesson, and the rest we know is history.

While we all conveniently shift focus to the others characters hereon, we never bother about who Surpanakha was and why did she instigate her own brother when she very well knew the outcome won't be a pleasant one.

Well, it is here that the book attempts to answer many questions about Surpanakha. It is a very different version of Ramayana than the ones we all know, one from the eyes of Surpanakha, who always got overshadowed by her powerful brothers, particularly Ravan.

The story has a wonderful prologue wherein one is surprised to know that Surpanakha was reborn as Kubja and Lord Krishna himself lands up at her door to release her of her suffering. The story then rushes into flashback unraveling aspects of Surpanakha's life that we never cared about before.

The story underscores the fact that an evil mind is not born. Sometimes, circumstances cruelly bring the worst out of a person. Sadly, Surpanakha was such a victim of neglect and deceit. Born to Rishi Vishrava and Kaikesi as Meenakshi, Surpanakha was just like any ordinary girl with dreams, hopes, desires and affection. However, the goodness inside her falls prey to neglect by her own family. Overshadowed by Ravan, she struggles for her parents' attention, but gets nothing but rejection. Her feelings are trampled by her mother's ambitions. The only people who she finds solace in are her maternal grandparents however, unfortunately they end up misguiding her more than doing good.

She finally finds the love she had been looking for in the Kalkeya prince Vidyuvijaya. Just when life seems perfect, tragedy strikes her. Enraged by the death of her husband and son, Surpanakha decides to take revenge for her loss from her very own brother Ravan and eventually becomes responsible for his doom. 

At times, one feels sympathetic for her pain as she suffers for no fault of hers; while at times, one hates her for her wickedness and wonders how can someone be so blinded and manipulative to meet one's selfish interests. Throughout the story, one gets to see various shades of Surpanakha's personality - compassionate, rebellious, revengeful, dejected, guilty and forgiving. I feel the book is a lesson to all parents that neglect and undue criticism can turn even the best of child to the worst person.

Overall, a well researched and beautifully penned book which you just can't miss!

  • Well researched book
  • Mythology is not an easy genre, considering one has to consider the religious sentiments of masses and there is no scope to play around with the facts. However, the author does full justice to the story and proves that mythology is indeed her forte. Impressed by her attention to details and sensitivity in narration, I am enticed to read her other books. 
  • Powerful narration. In no time, one starts imagining herself in the era of Pushpak Vimans and rishis.
The book is available at Flipkart and Amazon.

received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

HR Diaries - Harminder Singh

ऐच् आर डायरीज़ 

लेखक - हरमिंदर सिंह
पब्लिशर - ओपन क्रेयॉन्स
पृष्ठ - १८१

प्रथम प्रभाव -
"कुछ नौजवान जिन्होनें नयी दुनिया में कदम रखा, उलझ गए दौड़ भाग के पाटों में. ज़िन्दगी की पेचीदगियों को उन्होनें अपनी तरह से हल करने की कोशिश की. अनेक रोचक मोड़ आते गए. वे हँसे, रोये,घबराये, लेकिन रुके  नहीं। आखिर में उन्होनें पाया की नौकरी करना कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं. उनकी ज़िन्दगी का एक हिस्सा उनसे हर बार सवाल करता है की यह दौड़ यूँ ही क्यों चल रही है?  हमें क्यों लगता है की हम एक जगह बंधे हुए हैं? क्या यह हमारी नियति है?"

सूट बूट में ऑफिस एग्जीक्यूटिव को पुस्तक के कवर पे देख समझ आ रहा था की कहानी कारपोरेट जग  से प्रभावित है. किन्तु  मेरी  उत्सुकता तब बढ़ गयी जब कवर पे पढ़ा "मानव संसाधन विभाग की अनकही।" चाहे आपने किसी भी विभाग में काम किया हो, परंतु मानव संसाधन विभाग से कोई अछूता नहीं रहा. अनुभव कभी मीठे कभी कड़वे अवश्य रहते हैं, किन्तु इस विभाग  के अंदर का सच जानने को कोई भी व्यक्ति उत्सुक होगा।

मेरी नज़र से 
कहानी की शुरुआत में ही ये अनुभूति हो जाती है की ये हम में से किसी की भी कथा हो सकती है. आफिस का वह पहला दिन, वो झिझक, वो उत्सुकता - ये ऐसे अनुभव होते हैं जो आजीवन आपकी स्मृतियों में अपनी छाप बनाये रखते हैं. कुछ ऐसा ही अनुभव रहता है कथानक का, जिन्होंने अपने अनुभव इस कहानी के  माध्यम से व्यक्त किये हैं.

कहानी के शुरुआत का भाग और रोचक हो सकता था. जहां कथानक के पहले दिन का अनुभव कुछ फीका सा रहता है, वहीँ पाठक भी कहानी के साथ चलने का प्रयास करता है. उम्मीदों की गठरी बांधे जब कथानक अपने दफ्तर में दाखिल होता है, तो वहां का परिवेश उसे किसी अनजान शहर में होने की अनुभूति दिलाता है. कहानी की धीमी गति की तरह ही कस्थानक का उबाऊ कार्यक्तिक जीवसं भी गति पकड़ता है. जो चेहरे उसे अनजान और खडूस से प्रतीत होते थे, धीरे धीरे उन्ही के बीच उसका दिन कैसे बीत जाता है, उसे पता नहीं चलता. नौकरी करना बच्चों का कआ खेल नहीं, और कथानक बार बार ये सन्देश पाठकों तक पहुंचाता है.

मानव संसाधन विभाग मेंकथानक का अनुभव किसी आम कर्मचारी की भांति ही रहता है. जहाँ एक तरफ उन्हें विजय और तारा जैसे सच्चे मित्र मिलते हैं, वहीँ विभाग में कई रोचक, कई टेढ़े पात्र भी टकराते हैं. खडूस बॉस, चाटुकार कर्मचारी, और कुछ ऐसे लोग जो ऑफिस के गरम माहौल को अपनी हंसी मज़ाक से हल्का फुल्का रखते हैं.  कहानी में रोज़ मर्रा का कार्यकारी जीवन झलकता है. रोज़ के हलके फुल्के किस्से, चाय पे  चर्चा,मित्रों के साथ घूमना,चुगलियां,ठहाके और मौज मस्ती पाठक की रूचि बढ़ाते हैं. यदि आप कार्यारित हैं, तो आप अपने कार्यकारिक जीवन की झलकियां कहानी में देख पाएंगे. ऑफिस के वो छोटे छोटे किस्से, पिकनिक, गहमा गहमी, डेड्लाइंस  - लेखक ने मनो अपने सारे कार्यकारिक अनुभव पुस्तक में उड़ेल दिए हों.

जैसे जैसे कहानी गति पकड़ती है, पाठक एक रोचक लेखन शैली देखना चाहते हैं. किन्तु ऐसा लगता है की लेखक ने अपने चर्चित ब्लॉग वृद्धग्राम की तरह ही लेखन शैली संजीदा और धीमी रखी है.

कहानी में जहाँ हंसी के पल हैं, वहीँ रुला देने वाले भाग भी हैं. अपने साथ कार्यारित कर्मचारियों से हमारा एक पारिवारिक नाता सा बांध जाता है. सब सुख और दुःख फिर साझे प्रतीत होते हैं. तारा की बीमारी और देहांत कथा के कुछ ऐसे ही भाग हैं. अंत  बेहद भावुक है. कथानक के समक्ष कई सवाल हैं जो पाठक के मन में भी  घर बना लेते हैं. नौकरी  का असली उद्देश्य क्या है? कार्यकारी जीवन में संतोष किसे कहते हैं? ये ऐसे सवाल हैं जो कथानक के ही नहीं, अपितु हर पाठक के मनन में आएंगे.

परंतु एक सवाल मेरे मन में प्रायः उथल पुथल मचा  रहा था. ये कहानी मानव संसाधन की अनदेखी  कहाँ से प्रतीत होती है? ये तो एक तरह से कथानक के कार्यकारी अनुभवों की एक दैन्द्विनी सी जान पड़ती है. शायद इसलिए शुरू के कुछ पृष्ठ पाठक का ध्यान बाँधने को जूझते हैं.

यदि आप मानव संसाधन का जीवन जानने के उत्सुक हैं तो शायद निराश हाथ लगे. किन्तु यदि आप इसे एक साधारण कॉर्पोरेट जीवन के अनुभवों से भरी एक कथा के  रूप में पढ़ेंगे तो पुस्तक का मज़ा ले पाएंगे.

ये समीक्षा ब्लोगअड्डा के लिए है.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Book Review - Colorful Notions - The Roadtrippers 1.0

Author - Mohit Goyal
Publisher - Srishti Publishers
Genre - Fiction
Pages - 194
Price - Rs. 175

First Impressions

Three travellers and an SUV in a desert make for an apt cover, given that the book is about road trips. I was skeptical if this was a road trip guide, when the blurb on the back saved me. When the story is about three crazy youngsters giving up their high paying job and comfortable personal life to drive ten thousand kilometres across India, just for fun, you just can't miss this story.

My View
Being a travel enthusiast, I was super excited when this book came for review. After all, those who have been on road trips know there is nothing more rejuvenating than discovering new places and taking the road less travelled. I have often been on unplanned road trips and believe me, the kind of kick it gives is phenomenal! 

Perhaps a similar thought came in the minds of Ab, Sasha and Unnati when they decided to fulfil their long cherished dream of setting out on a road trip. And this was not to be a simple Delhi-Jaipur road trip. This was about travelling across 25 destinations across the length and breadth of the country; a whopping 10,650 kilometres, 75 days and a road tripping experience that could be made into a movie! Now that is ambitious, I say.

As they travel across destinations like Corbett, Haridwar, Ladakh, Bhangarh Fort, Goa, Sundarbans and many more, they realise the journey was to be more than just a road trip. Gradually the trip transforms into a journey of self discovery, of facing the inner demons and of fighting the fears that were holding them from following their heart. The journey also gave them some important lessons about relationships, but most importantly it gives them a fresh perspective on life. It is the journey that matters more than the destination and their experience in a way reinforces this saying. The baggages of the past are gradually done away with, for present is all that matters.

What fun would be a trip when all goes as planned. So the book is full of comedy of errors. Somewhere along the way, the reader too becomes a traveller, for the characters and events are so well portrayed that one gets glued to the story. 

Whether you are looking for a travelogue or a light read, I recommend this book as a one time leisure read. A lot different than the travel books on bookshelves yet each one of us would be able to identify some or the other aspect with our life. A book that teaches one to live in their present and throw emotional baggage behind. 


  • Refreshing change from the usual travel books I have read. The story has a certain fun element to it which binds the reader to the story. You don't realise when you feel like a part of this crazy gang.
  • I loved the way the journey gives an entirely different perspective to the characters’ lives. Yes, road trips often take one on the path to self discovery.
  • The narration is simple yet engaging.


  • The travel enthusiast in me was left looking for more insights on the destinations. I was curious if the author has indeed traveled to these destinations.

This review is for Writersmelon

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Book Review - A Thousand Memories

Author - Vibha Vyas
Publisher - Amaranthus Books
Genre - Fiction
Price - Rs. 200

First Impressions

A mug of steaming coffee and a book in hand makes for a perfect winter day. The cover instantly gives the feel of that perfect winter day. Often, such quiet times spent with self rings in nostalgia and we end up reflecting on the times gone by. I decided to treat myself to a hot cuppa and explore what the book had to offer.

My View
True to the cover, the book indeed is all about memories and nostalgia. It is the story, rather memoir of Richa. Often, we sit back and reflect on the good and bad times gone by, analysing what we did and what could have been done. More often than not, the refection is about the relationships in our lives. 

A Thousand Memories is one such memoir where Richa looks back at the men in her life. She recollects how with each relationship, her heart graduates to understand the meaning of true love, before finding the right man. Perhaps "Diary" would be a better description, for reading the book one gets a feeling as if reading Richa's diary. 

Like any girl of her age, for Richa too her first experience in love is of a one sided crush on Roy. Although the madness inside her goes beyond a simple crush, it also gives her some very important lessons in life. If you've ever had a crush, reading this segment will indeed make you smile with nostalgia.

Before Richa's wounds are healed, The Mr. Perfect Rajiv enters her life. A life with Rajiv sounds like a dream come true, however the past haunts Richa enough to shadow her present. 

Richa eventually does find true love, but not without her share of struggles with her inner self and painful moments. 

Grab this book for an honest narration, sans any frills or drama. For most readers, this diary will surely ring in some their own memories. 

  • Unique narrative
  • Simplicity 
  • No unwanted gloss to add tadka to the book. The emotions and events are presented unedited.
  • Beautiful anecdotes to suit the situation.
  • Not all fiction lover will find this book his/her cup of tea.
  • True to being a diary, the story runs flat and straight, sans any drama and struggles to hold interest of the reader.

This review is for Amaranthus Books. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Book Review - Secretly Yours

Author - Vikrant Khanna
Publisher - Penguin
Genre - Fiction
Price - Rs. 175

First Impressions

Having read Vikrant's last book Love Last Forever, I picked up this book expecting a romantic story. However, the lady looking in the mirror hinted at something mysterious. Since I avoid reading the back cover blurb, the mere mention of "What if you could read the mind of the person you love?" got me enthusiastic and curious. 

After all, who wouldn't want to read the mind of his/her love ;) Of course, little did I know it's much complicated than it appears. 

My View
Sometimes, it takes one event to rephrase the story of our life. For Sahil, it was the death of his mother at the time of the birth and subsequently, his father's suicide. Though technically, he was not to be blamed for their deaths, yet the people around him ensured he carried the burden of guilt throughout his life. His grandmother left no occasion to rub in the guilt. The helplessness, agony, irritation and sadness transformed Sahil into a rebel. He found solace in music, writing and often vented out his anger in the form of self inflicted injuries. 

Little did Sahil know that another turning point awaited his boring life. Love blesses his life in the form of young and beautiful Tanya. Smitten by her beauty and personality, Sahil soon opens up his life to her over coffee dates and Tanya becomes his friend, philosopher and guide. However, the series of events that followed next shouted at something beyond the pretty face. The gruesome murders in Simla by serial killer,  the tension in the air, the arrival of Tanya's mysterious friends began to concern Sahil. Like a knot, the more he tried to solve the mystery, the more complex it seemed. The more he tried to find about the sad bone in Tanya's life, the more she seemed to slip out of his reach. Still, he couldn't deny the fact that Tanya brought balance and positivity to his life. She was the "know it all" types who would often counsel Sahil about having a positive outlook towards life. 

Indeed Sahil was destiny's chosen child. As if the stress wasn't enough to handle, the accident further shattered his life. But life, like a true roller coaster ride throws a surprise. When Sahil rises from coma, he discovered he could now read people's minds! And the reader in me marvelled at the liberty fiction writers take! 

Seems Vikrant wanted to throw some more surprises at the readers. So, in come the revenants or "people back from the dead" and the story takes its flight of supernatural! while many readers lost interest at this point, I actually got hooked on to the story. Vikrant impresses us by steering away from the cliched romantic stories and instead experiments with thrill, crime and supernatural. 

What really kept me hooked on at this point was the seamless shifting of gears to supernatural. Whether Sahil and Anya's love finally saw a happy ending, or whether the cycle of murders finally ceased is for the readers to read and find. But, the story here makes one ponder about karma and the true purpose of life. The same Sahil, who took his life as a punishment, learnt to count his blessings and cherish the beauty of life and relationships. The book also gives a very strong message against suicide. 

When I finished reading the last page, I really loved the fact that the book ends up going beyond just a story. It gives a positive message about looking at the glass half full, and not cribbing about the empty half.

Thumbs Up

Crisp narration, sans drags or redundant characters
What matters is not the years in life, but the perspective towards life and the book beautifully conveys this message. It makes one think about Karma and the purpose of our life.
Amazing combination of romance, emotions, drama, supernatural, thrill and crime in one story.
And now, my favourite lines from the book -

"Love isn't a decision, love isn't even a choice and love certainly can't be based on conditions. It's a breathing, living being that seeps into our lives, spreads and gradually takes full control of it. It brings immense joy and sorrow in equal measure, but once infected by it, we can never be the same again."

"Apologies have an expiry date. If you wait long they lose their magic."

About the author
Vikrant Khanna is a captain in the merchant navy. He is the bestselling author of When Life Tricked Me and Love Lasts Forever. Apart from writing, he is fond of composing songs and playing the guitar. He lives in New Delhi.

I received a copy of the book from the author for an honest review.