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.

मानव संसाधन विभाग में उनका 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. 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.

कहानी में जहाँ हंसी के पल हैं, वहीँ रुला देने वाले भाग भी 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. 


Hits


  • 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.

Misses


  • 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. 

Hits
  • 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.
Misses
  • 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.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Saree Story - Black beauty

Saree - A printed silk from Kolkata. Decided to pair with a white blouse.

Occasion - Office/party. The best part about printed silks is that one can play around with makeup and accessories and wear the same saree for different occasions. So, if u have to attend a party post work, printed silk is a good choice.

Accessories - Tribal silver necklace

Makeup - Since this was for office, I kept the look minimal to the basic black eyeliner (Lakme Absolut, Wine Lip colour and a black bindi). However, eye makeup and blush would enhance the look for party.

#Sareestory
While we often hear stories of stuff bought from Mehnat ki Kamai, let me share the story of this saree, which I call my "Jhagde ki Kamai;)
This black beauty printed silk was gifted by mom to my elder sister some 15-16 years ago. The moment I saw this saree I knew she had to be mine. But, I was still in school then, and didi was already married and working. So mom didn't even consider me in the race... 
:(
However, I didn't give up. Whenever I used to visit didi, I would pester her to hand it over to me. It almost became a joke for everyone in the family. Didi too didn't budge. Each time I asked for this saree, she would say, "U can even take my wedding saree...but this black beauty is mine!"

I conveniently forgot about this discussion once I was married and mom ensured my wardrobe overflowed with Sarees.

Recently when I visited Delhi, I was casually browsing through didi's saree collection, when this black beauty caught my attention. Nostalgia took over and we recollected the tug of war! With age comes wisdom, and didi affectionately said, "I have worn it enough....now it's ur time to wear beautiful sarees!" While for a moment, I couldn't believe my ears, I decided to cash on the opportunity before didi's mind changed...
;)
So finally, after 15 long years, this black beauty is mine!

Pairing with a beautiful tribal necklace, curated by my one and only sweetheart sister! Wish everyone get a sister as generous as her 




Sunday, 23 October 2016

I Am Just A mom, Not God

(This was published in Parentous)

When a woman becomes a mother, all she wants is to be the best mother and enjoy the phase of motherhood. To ensure everything goes fine, she gets into action much before the delivery. She spends hours researching on the internet, immerses herself in parenting books, attends hours of prenatal sessions and becomes a total sponge each time someone drops advice based on their experience.

Finally comes the phase she had been waiting for nine months – to hold her little one in her arms and bask in the joy of motherhood. But, with the bliss come many surprises that the new mommy couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams. To begin with, the sheer number of guests paying family sized visits to the hospital, despite knowing how susceptible a newborn is to infections carried by visitors.

While all that a mom wants is a bouquet of good moments and cooperation from people around, she is often left to deal with eyes scrutinizing her abilities from all directions – beginning from....Continue reading


Friday, 7 October 2016

Sometimes, it takes Blue to beat away the blues...

Sometimes, it takes Blue to beat away the blues!
Well, that's exactly how I like to describe today's Saree story...

All set to flaunt this Blue silk to work, as I left home,
The water filled pits outside my society gave me a welcome

They were in a mood for a splash
But I didn't want my plans to crash

Managing the bags, umbrella, pallu and holding the pleats a little above the land,
OMG! I felt like Goddess Durga, albeit with two hands!

I feared the Saree would crush
But the love for my saree asked me to hush

By the time I reached office, the rains decided to take a break
I had made it. Positivity and belief is all it takes

Basking in the downpour of compliments, I was elated to see many more in blue,
The blue did beat away the Blues, yes it's true!