Colgate Magical Stories - as told by my niece

When I got the New Colgate Packs which had the Space theme, I knew for sure that it would invoke interest on my little niece - Varshaa D who is in her 4th Class.  As soon as she saw the packs, she started cutting down the pictures making it a perfect set - as mentioned in the pack.

Since I got 3 packs in total, she got ready and started telling her version of stories almost instantly.

Story #1

Rakesh and Sunitha were twins who always excelled in their studies and sports. They were appreciated by their teachers for their enthusiasm and interest in various fields but they always got fascinated by space and the galaxy most of which is unexplored.

One evening, it was raining heavily and they slept early. All of a sudden both of them saw themselves floating in the space with a peculiar dress which they later realised it as a space suite. They were overwhelmed as they got to see Comets, Saturn, Mars and few other planets in close quarters. Suddenly they woke up realising it was just a dream. Though they were saddened that it was not a reality, they vowed to make their "Dream Come True".

Story #2

Rakesh and Sunitha studied real hard. They chose Science as their main course and joined one of the premier institutes where they ended up completing their Bachelors and Masters degree in Rocket and Space Science.

Having achieved half of what they had aspired for, they immediately got placed in ISRO. By then ISRO had already set up few World Records by launching few hundreds of satellites in one go and they also had developed cryogenic engines which now had the capacity of transporting back humans from the space but were just lagging behind the technology of finding the possibilities of launching the rocket/satellite from the planets where they were stationed.

Rakesh and Sunitha spent all their time in trying to invent this technique and finally they managed to succeed as well. The Prime Minister of India was elated to hear about this milestone invention and invited the twins to his official residence. He saw them sporting a sad look on their face and came to know that they were not allowed to board the rocket as they were meant to be in the Research Station(Base) to assist others but their dream was to go to these planets themselves. He immediately ordered the higher officials in ISRO to allow the genius twins to board the rockets. Rakesh and Sunitha were speechless.

Story #3

The D-Day came and both Rakesh and Sunitha were set on their mission of their lifetime. They landed in Mars after exploring Moon. Rakesh went ahead and placed the flag on the planet to establish he was the first human to reach there and suddenly he was horrified. There was an alien at a distance and it was glaring at Rakesh. He was not sure as to what he needed to do as he was without any arms. Just then a shout came from behind. It was Sunitha who had a tranquilliser on her hands. She immediately shot the alien. Even before the creature could recognise what was happening, it was attacked and fell on the ground.

Rakesh and Sunitha hurried back to their pod and left the planet. Only when they came out of the dangerous planet, they realised that they did not click a pic or rather a selfie with the alien. They however gave a message to themselves and to all others later, when they arrived back to Earth "Safety First"

I hope you all have liked the story which my little niece Varshaa has managed to conceive and said it with great enthusiasm. Hit a Like or Comment, if you want to hear more such stories in the future.

I am blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

The Mind Game

Title - The Mind Game
Author - Devika Das
Genre - Self Help
Publisher - Pepper Script
ISBN - 978-93-84411-37-4

This book is unique in its own way. It comprises of 6 Sections with few chapters in each section. It talks about our day to day in great detail and how one can effectively come over their shortcomings making this life a beautiful one.

Section A - talks about mastering your emotions and as we all know it is this emotion which plays a vital role in shaping or destroying our career. Unlike others, this book not only asks you to control it but in the first place feel it. It also talks in detail about facing and protecting your emotions. You can also get to know about mastering your emotional intelligence.

Section B - talks about leading a simple life but with high thinking. This is quintessential for one's success. In this modernised world, we hardly spend time for our family and friends. This book discusses about this crucial aspect as well which is the need of the hour.

Section C - talks about analysing people. We end up with wrong friends most of the time which in turn makes us fail miserably in our ventures. This section speaks about making the first impression, effective questioning, non verbal communication and methods and techniques of analysing people.

Section D - What are the secrets of True Happiness? If you want to know about this, you need to read this section without skipping it. Why would you skip it anyway when you have the book in your hand :-)

Section E - Do you know how to manage your anger creatively? Have you ever heard about creative anger management before? Read this to know about this interesting aspect.

Section F - Have you eve wished to have a successful career? I know this is a silly question since we all desire for it. This chapter is exclusively for all who wants to make their career successful.

The book stands out from other due to the presence of Section D,E and F. Having said that, Section A,B & C are equally good as well though they might have been discussed in other books but nor for sure the last three sections which makes this book a treasure to cherish.

The book is available on Amazon.

Love Has Its Various Ways

Title - Love Has Its Various Ways
Author - Divya Kapoor
Genre - Self Help
Publisher - Balboa Press, a division of Hay House
ISBN - 978-1-5043-6017-3

This isn't another Self-Help book which you would have assumed or read but the one that helps you realise your inner self.  The book does not offer you any saintly discourse as it was authored by a person who leads a normal life. There is no hard and fast rules mentioned in the book but of course there is a workbook in the end which would help you realise your dreams by invoking your inner potential that would act as a driving force, if followed diligently.

After reading the book, I felt light on my mind. I would say this is the success of the book because it does not preach you rocket science but makes you understand the nuances of life in a simplified way which made me wonder as to how a normal person can author such a book.

I too assumed that this book may be something related to romance after seeing the title but I must say I was deceived. Yes. It talks about the Universal Phenomenon in a subtle way - LOVE. This forms the basis of almost everything which is quintessential in determining your life path and the success associated with it.

I would be giving some excerpts from the book and would leave the rest to the readers because only if you read and feel it, you would be in a better position to implement it.

What I liked the most about the book were the usage of short stories and sayings from influential persons in an effective and appropriate way. 

Chapter 1 - GOD - This chapter talks about a powerful subject called LOVE which is none other than GOD and if you are a fan of Kamal Hassan, you would have watched his movie "Anbe Sivam" where he talks about the same.

Chapter 2 - Letting Go - Life is not about happening but reflecting. Remember, if you are alive, you have a purpose.

Chapter 3 - Miracles Happens - Just because you do not see or witness, it does not mean miracles aren't there. They do happen only to those who believe. The magnitude differs from person to person.

Chapter 4 - Oneness - Live the life to the fullest. We do have just one life and we may not be certainly sure about our next birth. When you allow the negative emotions to leave your body, you feel real light.

Chapter 5 - Whining - Phenomenon of Giving & Receiving. This is advocated by Top 2 richest people in the world - Bill Gates and Warren Buffet through their "Giving Pledge" foundation which has also seen the support from the likes of Azim Premji from India. Do not invest all your energy in one negative aspect as you invariably help in magnifying it.

Chapter 6 - Importance of being awake - If you are getting up in the middle of the night, do not fell bad about it. It is this time which will make you come out with some extra ordinary thoughts and I can cite my very own example of having penned down close to 100 poems between 2001-04 when I was working in the night shift. Unfortunately it was grabbed by one of my manager who never had the courtesy to return it till date. Those were my best creations till date....

Chapter 7 - Forgive to enlarge future - Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them much. How true is the statement. If you have exercised this in your real life, you would certainly agree to the above mentioned claim.

Chapter 8 - The winner takes risks - We have seen this in many cases with the recent example being Mr Donald Trump who had won the US President Elections.  The quote "When you do what you fear the most, you can do anything" is a perfect testimony to many success stories.

Chapter 9 - Missing on focus - In life, we win some and learn some. We never lose but rather we learn what not to do.

Chapter 10 - Focus on what you want - Follow the 4 steps mentioned in this chapter for effective results.

Chapter 11 - Don't chase anything or anyone - I liked this quote " If one dream dies, dream another dream". How true is that. By stopping to dream, we are not achieving anything rather we would lose the spark to achieve something.

There are more in this book. I would say this is a treasure trove. Embrace it with an open mind and I am sure there is nothing which could stop you from becoming the person you wanted to be...

The book is available on Amazon.

Good Times Bad Times

Title - Good Times Bad Times
Author - Chetan Dalvi
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Half Baked Beans
ISBN - 9789384315528

A beautiful fiction story which has an universal concept that is applicable to people from all walks of life and religion.

I loved the way author has taken the story and ended it with an unexpected twist.

Jonathan was living a contended life in Mumbai when all of a sudden his father passes away leaving him with just one message - "Inform my death to Simran".

Jonathan had no clue as to who this person was. He decides to find out about Simran and sets on a journey to Goa. He meets lot of interesting characters on his so called life called journey. 

Did he manage to find who this person Simran was?

The book might sound philosophical but trust me, it is certainly worth the read and the way the characters unbound makes it a compelling read.

Do not wait any further. Buy the book from Amazon now.

Monthly Meet - Lions Club of Chennai Centennial Heroes

The monthly meet of our club - Lions Club of Chennai Centennial Heroes took place on 11th Feb,2017 at Lion Jayaraman sir's office cum residence in Shanthi Colony, Anna Nagar - Chennai.

Since President Ln Baskar was away in the USA, the meeting was presided by Secretary Ln Dr T Sekar and Treasurer Ln Thiagarajan.

The meeting lasted for 30 minutes.

Points that were discussed in the meeting were:

1) To pay the International Dues before the due date.

2) In order to execute point No.1, steps should be taken to collect subscription and dues from few members who either has to pay the full amount or half the amount as the case may be.

3) To address the issue of having added the spouse of the members under "Full Membership" category which was duly followed up by Ln Jayaraman sir on Monday - 13th Feb 2017 and got the information from Ln B N Venkat from the Central Office that the issue has already been taken up by the President with the International and rather than waiting for them to reply, pay the dues immediately and later avail them as Credit. Once this issue is resolved, we are expectving to get a considerable amount as Credit. 

4) If there is an excess, those who have paid for Charter Presentation Night would be refunded.

5) Zone Social was discussed. Ln Dr Sekar has informed that we would pool in Rs.3,000 for the Social from those who are attending the event and has also mentioned that the venue has been shifted to a place in OMR.

Invites to attend the meeting were sent to all the members either through phone call / SMS/ WhatsApp Message and apart from the Secretary and the Treasurer, others who attended the meeting were Ln Jayaraman, Ln Vijayalakshmi, Ln Ashokan, Ln Senthil Raj Babu and Ln Sarath Babu.

The Tree With a Thousand Apples

Title - The Tree With a Thousand Apples
Author - Sanchit Gupta
Cover Design - Misha Oberoi
Publisher - Niyogi Books
ISBN - 978-93-85285-51-6

A brilliant story created from true events. The story essentially revolves around three friends Bilal, Safeena and Deewan.

I was feeling that the book was not interesting at least in the very first chapter but trust me after completing that and once I started reading from chapter 2, I could not stop it till the end as it unfolded the life and miseries of Kashmir Muslims. Just because they were born there and as a Muslim, the endless tortures they had to go through has been very beautifully captured in this book and it in fact reveals the reality which is otherwise not shown or being made public either in the media or otherwise.

Deewan, a Kashmiri Pundit has to flee the place after one fateful night where his neighbouring Muslim family which gave them refuge gets killed. Only few survives the massacre and in the mean while Deewan's family get to hear that their elder son Ravi getting killed in a terrorist attack.

Just before the incident, Ravi has introduced Deewan to his boss Major Chaudhary who he held in high esteem. 

During one the interrogation, Bilal and Safeena goes missing. As they say, events makes a man bad or good and not his birth, Bilal turns out to become a terrorist but he has to pay heavy price for it. Why did he become one and what did he achieve in the end is a different story altogether.

The story effectively captures the love and affection of Bilal and his sacrifices. The meeting of Safeena by Deewan who was long gone and later to turn up as a renowned Poet and Journalist was an unexpected one. Where did he meet and who was responsible for her fate is another story.

Did Safeena gets rescued from the place where she was held captive?
If yes, who helped her to escape?
Were there any more sacrifices?
Did the three friends unite in the end?

Find out by buying the book.

The story has lots of twists and turns which makes it a compelling read. This could probably be made into a bollywood movie as the movie plot would perfectly fit for it.

The book is available on Amazon and all leading book stores.

Love, Loss and What We Ate : A Memoir - Book Launch and Review

When I saw the contest on the Social Medial Channels of Taj Coromandel regarding the book reading event of famed model and author Padma Lakshmi, I jumped into it immediately and participated on all the channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There were only 2 simple questions. I answered both of them and was waiting for the results.

I was about to enter a movie hall when I got the call from Novena from Taj Communications team informing that I am one of the winners. My joy knew no bound.

I was waiting for the big day. The day came. It was February 14,2017. I was there by 5:30 PM and had an opportunity to meet up with US Embassy staff - Mr Biju (who I had met exactly 6 years ago in another event) who recognised me and spoke to me for good few minutes. In the mean time, I had an opportunity to meet Dr Subodh who is a psychologist and when we were conversing, Mr. Matthew another US Embassy Staff came and joined our conversation which lasted for good 20 minutes. 

After the welcome drink, the event commenced in The Ball Room of Taj Coromandel, Chennai.

As you could see from the above pic, The Ball Room was filled up with guests which had Who's Who from Chennai including Mr.N Ram from The Hindu,Legendary actor Nasser, Percussionist Anil Srinivasan, Singer Devan, Actor Swarnamalya among others.

After the welcome speech from the Acting Consul General of US Embassy,Chennai and Novena from Taj Communications team, the book reading program had begun.

Mr Mukund Padmanabhan from The Hindu - BusinessLine agazine had the conversation with the author. The book reading lasted for close to 25 minutes in total. Below are some of the excerpts from the book reading session. I have made it as short video clips for you to view it as and when you wanted it, with ease.

After the book reading session, it was time for autographs and posing with the author.

The event got concluded at 8PM. 

My heartfelt thanks to Taj Coromandel,Chennai for giving me the experience of a lifetime. 

Book Review

Title - Love, Loss and What We Ate : A Memoir
Author - Padma Lakshmi
Design - Suet Yee Chong
Genre - Memoir
Publisher - Harper Collins Publishers India
ISBN - 978-0-06-220261-1

Is this a cook book? Is this a Memoir? I would say it is the combination of both. Author did say during the book session that this isn't her complete memoir since she has got more to come in her life, in the future. Please note that neither the author nor I promote or support Smoking or Drinking Liquor.

When you see a real successful person, you might think they were living the life king size. While it is true to some extent, we may not know the struggles they had actually gone through to reach that point. This book is a classic example of how Padma Lakshmi who was born in a middle calss family reached her pinnacle.

The book is divided into 17 chapters. I may or may not talk about all of them and even if I did, it will just be the gist and not an exhaustive one.

Chapter 1 - This begins with her introduction to famed author Salman Rushdie( coincidentally, I also have Mr Rushdie's autographed Midnight Children) and her first cook book winning the Versailles World Cookbook Fair Award for Best First Book.

Chapter 2 - Publishing her first cook book and how-to show. Domenica In - which was her first live show in Italy. Sharpe's Challenge - a mini series in British Television.

It was during this time when she was featured in the cover pic of News Week and when she had revealed this to Mr.Salman, she got a negative response. 

The chapter also talked about health issues faced by her which proved beyond the doubt that when it comes to issues like these, even celebrity women are not spared by men who wanted to stamp their authority which is not an encouraging one or a good sign.

Padma Lakshmi suffered from Endometriosis which is one of the 3 major causes for infertility in Women and 10% of Women population across the World suffers from this. It was Dr.Seckin who diagnosed it firstly for her.

Padma Lakshmi started hosting Top Chef, released her Second Cook Book and also addressed in UNIFEM and was about to start the Third Season of Top Chef. The fights between her and Mr.Salman during their anniversaries proves beyond the point that even celebrities are humans and do get angry and fight over issues.

Chapter 3 - Talks about her birth in India and life associated with it. The first recipe was mentioned here.

Chapter 4 - Life as a kid and how she played in the mud road with bare foot. She used to be get dressed up like a boy which reminded my own life where it was exactly the opposite. I was the only boy child for more than a decade and all my girl cousins use to dress me up like a girl and enjoy seeing it.

You could also find the mention of Godrej, Sambhar, Thayyir Sadham(curd rice), Yoghurt making process and Pickles. I liked this line in particular "You weren't allowed to cook until you mastered the basics of preparing the vegetables and dry roasting and grinding the spices".

Chapter 5 - How the author use to have "Cranberry Drano" in the set to cleanse her digestive system. Padma Lakshmi now talks about her schooling in the USA. She had moved to Arcadia in California and was bullied by kids in the school for being tall and tanned. She felt foreign.

Chapter 6 - She talks about her life in Spain and how she got confused with Prada instead of Prado initially. She was selected as a Fitting Model who are more or less a living Mannequin for Elle,Spain.

The incident which made her get the scar on her right arm was also given in detail. It is when she was in Italy, she had met her first boy friend Daniele who made her understand the difference between the coat and a jacket.

Some of the important characters who played vital role in Padma Lakshmi's life includes but not limited to Peter, Trudy, Joseffe, Nina Blanchard, Liugi and Antonio Gozzola.

Chapter 7 - Life in Milan, Paris. Watching movies the whole Sunday with Daniele. It was during this time Mr. Newton wanted to work with her on Private Commission. She has also learnt how to walk from legendary modelling agent Piero Piazzi.

Chapter 8 to 17 - Though I can give all in more detail, I do not want to be a spoiler for this amazing book.  How she meets Teddy Frostmann who was the founder of IMG and her link up with Adam Dell and how she mothered Krishna Thea who later on became Krishna Thea Lakshmi and finally Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell and the loss of Teddy and the launch of her Padma Collection, quitting Smoking and Drinking, Anna Prasanam to Krishna Thea and eating her own Placenta were given in detail making this book a one of its kind which would not only serve as an inspiration for many struggling models but also as a book which supports womanhood in general which includes many roles - Daughter, Mother, Sister, Student, Girl Friend, Wife, Model, Author among many other roles she dons in her life.

The book is available on Amazon and in all leading book stores.

The Twirled November

Title - The Twirled November
Author - Krishna K Verma
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Inked Company Publishing
ISBN - 9788193240564

A nice story with good narration. Though it is a routine story, the way, it was narrated by the author was real good. Krish, the Protagonist falls in love with Avantika aka Avani.Avani reciprocates it.  He also meets up another girl while travelling else where in a bus and names her 2G(Giggle Girl). 

Even the parents of Krish and Avani had no qualms in agreeing to the proposal. Just then when everything was seeming to go right, the 2G appears and she was none other than Avani's cousin Kanak. Krish's mind gets distracted. Harry and Smriti tried their best to help Krish come out of infatuation. Did Krish realise his mistake? Did they both - Krish and Avantika unite together in the end is the story.

My honest review is though I liked the story, I was totally disappointed with editorial work. There were lot of errors be it with regards to sentence, words or grammar which is the complete spoiler of otherwise a good story. I wish the next edition takes care of all these errors which can ensure the success of this book and future releases by the author. My rating on sties were the mere implication of this major disaster and not for the story.

The book is available on Amazon.

The 365 Days

Title - The 365 Days
Author - Nikhil Ramteke
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - WriteIndia
ISBN - 978-81-9322988-4-8

A book that is so well written which brings out the woes of workers in the Gulf. It will make you cry for sure for the fact, the book is just the mirror of woes being faced by the workers.

The experience of boarding the flight for the first time by the Protagonist Shiju Kutty was brilliantly explained. The path of abandoning greenery and reaching sand filled deserts  is an aching phenomenon. The way of pronouncing in typical malayali style - "Gelf", "Kaapi". The comparison of Sheikh and Mahatma Gandhi was just awesome.

The description of Vizhinjam Village where "everyone knows everyone" shows how closely the families are knit. The description of the houses in Kerala would make any reader understand the typical style of Kerala. Arayan, Valakkaran, Mukkuvan, Marakkan & Dheevara classification was a new fact to me. The life of a fishermen has been captured really well in this book.

Departing family to a foreign land was touching. The event is well explained with events coupled with emotions. The pathetic condition of dwelling in the workplace and the confusion and dialects were well explained. Unhygienic condition in the workplace will make you shed tears for sure.

What I liked the most is the drawing of the author which shows his talent. The pathetic bathrooms and the cook place were a real shocker but since this is what is the reality, we can only sympathise on these workers. Cheating with promised pay has also been covered which is widely prevalent in the present scenario. 

"Everyday New Struggle" - the words are so powerful that would make anyone become bold. Working in temperature of more than 50 degrees, the workers plight in extreme weather is something which surely needs attention. Adding Alum in boiling water making cheap rice look white is a real shocker.  Apart from Shiju, other main characters included Saiful Bengali, Tavamani.

The workers were forced to consume pills to remove tiny pebbles from the urinary tract and to fight cholesterol makes workers prone to impotency. The celebrations of Ramzan was a good one as it is one that brought respite to workers with regards to reduction in work time to some time which otherwise is nothing less than 14 hours a day. 

Rewinding memories, homo sexual acts and trouble followed because of this and false case being farmed upon the protagonist and finally the deportation makes the story a compelling read. The very mention of the fact that the plot was inspired by the author's experience in the U.A.E makes any one with a heart to feel " Is humanitarian dead?"

The book is available on Amazon.

Super Women

Title - Super Women
Author - Prachi Garg
Cover Design - Abhishek Nagar
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Srishti Publishers & Distributors
ISBN - 978-93-82665-63-2

What is common between some of the well known brands like MyDala, Zivame, Style Fiesta, Your D.O.S.T etc? All these brands are founded by Women. Do you know how these brands came into existence?

Super Women is one book which precisely brings to you the events that has inspired not one but 20 of the brands being founded by women. Author has illustrated it so nicely that you will not feel bored reading it. The difficulties faced by these highly successful women and how they overcame it would serve as an inspiration for budding women entrepreneurs.

Some of the events mentioned in the book were touching. Few of them did this despite being a mother and had family and kids to take care of which is inspiring. A god attempt by the author to bring out the names which were always in the background and I feel it is the need of the hour.

The book is written in simple English yet the message is clear - Women Power

The book is available on Amazon.

Anywhere But Home

Title - Anywhere But Home (Adventures in Endurance)
Author - Anu Vaidyanathan
Genre - Sport Memoire
Publisher - Harper Sport
Cover Photograph - Anu Vaidyanathan & Rick Kent
Cover Design - HarperCollins Publishers India
ISBN - 978-93-5177-524-9

An Extraordinary Memoir which I have read in the recent days. When I say this, I am 100% sure that anyone who reads this book would agree with me without a second thought. It is my privilege to review this amazing book and I am grateful to have received the autographed book from the author herself.

Before starting my review, I must openly confess that I have not heard about the author and I would say it wouldn't come as a surprise being in India where we give more importance and priority to Cricket over others. Off late, thanks to some stellar performance from other performers that sports like Tennis, Badminton, Kabbadi and Chess(these two have always been neglected despite producing World Champions for some time now) have been catching up interest among the youngsters.

Having said that, I must also say that I am proud to be followed by Ironman of India - Milind Soman who also happens to be a good friend of my sister like friend as she is associate with him for Pinkathon.

For those who do not know who the author of this amazing book "Anywhere But Home" is Anu Vaidyanathan who despite being a Doctorate(she has completed it in record time(Department and University) of just 26 months from UC Canterbury in Electrical Engineering)has not used it on the title which shows the modest character of the author. I do not want to go deep into this to avoid conflicts. She is the founder of PatNMarks, an intellectual property consulting firm. Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian Woman to complete the Ultraman Canada:a punishing 10km swim, 2 20-km bike ride and an 84.4km run and she was placed Sixth, which is mind blowing.

Having run few half marathons and 10 km run both in Bangalore and Chennai, I know how tiring and challenging it is to compete in Triathlon let alone complete it. Now let us see the review:

Anu(I would use this name to avoid mentioning her full name which is bit lengthy) did enrol it initially for a PhD and had to discontinue it due to various circumstances which is not limited to Pay Issues despite more qualification and more hours of work put compared to her male peers. The circumstances in which the decision to compete in Ironman was extraordinary.

Being a woman, she has always been looked as a mere machine - to get married or to get treated less in this male dominate world. She has described the life incidents beautifully which comprised places like Bengaluru and Chennai. The mention of Kanteerva Stadium, Ulsoor had made me go back to my Bengaluru Days as I was staying there for my work from 2004-2011. The mention of R.V.College of Engineering made me get goosebumps since my better half worked there for an year after my marriage before shifting back to Chennai altogether. Her wit has been evident in many places and in one of the events she was outnumbered by her own mother since Anu could secure only the 7th place whereas her Mom secured 1st in her category. Her mom being the second Woman Patent Agent in India is needs to be mentioned here.

The mix up of Golconda for Gongura is a funny one. I can understand these mix-ups happen when you have trouble with other language. Anu was treated not so good in America initially. She got her first proposal when she was 21 and not even ready to think about relationships. 

It was also sad to read how some of the great ambitions has to be built on unfortunate events like uttering a lie to a bike guide that she had a boy friend which was not the case by then. 

Anu has travelled across Countries and Continents. In 2007, she took part in 2nd Ironman contest in Brazil. Her persistence and perseverance to compete was getting up as early as 3:30AM. Her decision to move to New Zealand has opened up new avenues. Firstly she could not only enrol herself for PhD but could realise her dreams few months later. 

Finding scholarship was really a tough one for this not so encouraged sport in India and most of the time, Anu has ended up spending her own money. Her encounter with Magpie in New Zealand was real interesting. Just like the author, even I have come across the magpie incident for the first time. Her hard work did make her to qualify for 70.3 World Championship, Florida but she had to let that opportunity skip.

The experience in various places with regards to physical landscape, weather conditions were explained in minute detail making me live there myself which is the best part of the book. I also did not knew till date that Ultraman needs a mandatory crew member for every athlete.

I felt really satisfied of having read this book which I would say will be a motivating factor for many aspiring athletes, the field in which we are far behind when compared to other nations in the World. It would be very apt to say that Anu Vaidyanathan has Championed the Ultraman and I am sure this book will lead the way to many youngsters who would take her as an inspiration and prove their mettle in the coming days.

The book is available in Amazon.

Yama's Lieutenant

Title - Yama's Lieutenant
Author - Anuja Chandramouli
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Random House India
ISBN - 978-81-8400-739-8

A brilliant story which makes you to read from the beginning till the end with no break. Author has made it sound like real through her language and the characters had lived through the story.

Agni is the protagonist. He loses his 6 year old twin sister Varuna. There was an event in Maduram City and Kiran Raj - Deputy Commisioner takes charge. At the same time Araksha causes a major fire accident in a school accident but surprisingly no kids sustain any burn injuries.

Agni summons Chandrama and Suryama. In the meanwhile Varu dies in an accident. Agni meets up with a Goddess who gives him an impregnable task of taking Naganara, the necromancer who practices occult arts. He summons Himsa from the twisted spirits - Niryana Pushkara.

Agni now meets Taravarsha who along with Dharami has been saving him from many attempts on his life. There are other characters who played a major role in the story which included Yama, Sanjana, Chaya.

The Narakamayas - totally 7 of them gets summoned by Naganara from the confines of Varudha. Taravarsha asks Agni to hurry as she is worried about Naganara finding Kritya. Who is she?

Sivagami Math comes into picture where it houses only the Kanyas. Gurvi Samporrna names a girl child as Minothi. Gurvi dies soon after. She however gave an enchanting pendant to Minothi. What is the speciality of it?

There are many such interesting twists and turns in this tale. I am sure once you start reading it, you will find it hard to break in between. You will also be real surprised when you come to know as to who the real culprit in the end. I had a great time reading this lengthy novel and I would recommend it for those who love fantasy/fiction.

The book is available on Amazon

Nita Ambani launches Zuni Chopras book at Crossword Bookstores

Crossword Bookstores had some special guests in attendance on 8th February.

Zuni Chopra, daughter of noted film critic Anupama Chopra and filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, launched her Debut Novel 
 The House That Spoke
 today. The book was released by Mrs Nita M. Ambani at Crossword, Kemps Corner.  In conversation with Zuni Chopra was the very young and talented Zaira Wasim who played the role of young Geeta Phogat in the recently released movie Dangal.

Also present was author Amish Tripathi.

 The House that Spoke
, published by Penguin Random House, India,  is a kaleidoscopic tale that reimagines Kashmir with the colors of magic .

 It is an intriguing mix of the fantastic and the real set in Kashmir. Zuni has dedicated this book to Kashmir, and has done so by sharing her Kashmir adventure in the form of a fantasy novel. A fan of Lewis Caroll, Zuni is among the writers who believe in sharing their imaginative fantasy world through words of wisdom.

In her delightful introduction to the book, Zuni reiterates that her story had originally been set in London because the house that inspired the story was in London. However, she decided to give her narration more innate dimension and purpose. So, she moved the novel’s setting to Kashmir instead, a place where her father grew up and she has been visiting since childhood.

The author explained that through the novel, she wants to show the readers that Kashmir is more than just the turmoil and there is more magic to it.

Speaking on the occasion 
 Mrs Nita M.Ambani shared, " This evening fills me with nostalgia that brings the memories of Zuni 's childhood. I still remember the shy ten year old Zuni unveiling her first book - The Land of Dreams.  Zuni is 
 a true wordsmith who has won hearts of many people by her innate ability to express her imagination through words.

Actor  Zaira Wasim added , "Zuni you are a true inspiration and a true talent that needs complete admiration".

Welcoming the guests to Crossword Bookstores, were CEO Kinjal Shah and his team.

About Author

Zuni is a fifteen-year-old author and has published two books of poetry. She is the daughter of noted film critic Anupama Chopra and filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra. She comes from a true-blue literary lineage- the acclaimed writer Vikram Chandra is her maternal uncle. Zuni delved into the world of writing at the age of 10 and has carved a niche for herself just like parents.


About Crossword Bookstore

Crossword aims to be a point of cultural and social interaction where authors and poets hold court, where children are regaled, where people gravitate to be informed, to be entertained, even enlightened. The name embodies the vision of Crossword as a place and space for people who seek information, knowledge or just the pleasure of reading. Crossword stocks the widest range of books and non-books merchandise. Crossword, with 94 stores (50 0wn stores and 44 Franchised stores) across.
 About Penguin Random House India

Penguin Random House India is the subcontinent’s largest English language trade publisher. The company publishes over 250 new titles every year and has an active backlist of 3000 titles. With a strong fiction and nonfiction list, we publish across every segment including biography, travel, business, politics, history, religion and philosophy, lifestyle, cookery, health and fitness, sports and leisure, visual books and children’s books. The children’s titles are published under the Puffin and Ladybird imprints. We also co-publish Disney India’s iconic Mickey and Friends characters and five classic characters – Aladdin, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Dumbo and the cast of The Jungle Book - under the Puffin imprint in India.

2 Peg Ke Baad

Title - 2 Peg Ke Baad
Author - Nikita Lalwani
Cover Design - Sourav Das
Genre - Fiction
Publishers - Srishti Publishers & Distributors
ISBN - 978-93-82665-65-6

This is a collection of 14 short stories. I must say each and every story is unique in its one aspect. Author has meticulously penned down beautiful stories without moving away from the main aspect - PEGS. You read it right. Neither I or the Author support the alcohol consumption but this so called alcohol plays a major role in all these 14 different stories.

While I liked the description of "Sweet yet the most meaningless kiss" from the first story - "A walk with the call girl", I liked the portrayal of he character Ananya as to how she missed being in the wrong job and ends up her life making herself as the painting in "My Last Painting"

To Give, To Love and To Live is the theme for "What happens in Banaras, stays for a lifetime" which would give an altogether different perception of life. Parth Patel and Bandita Arora in "How we got married" is about a runaway bridegroom for a difference which made it an interesting read.

"Apology! Sex Pays" was a story to ponder as the protagonist ends up with a shemale in Thailand. "Papier Blanc" is a real touching story of Kiara and her failed love which moved me deeply.

"When all that mattered was a gun" is a different concept yet again. "Drive-in-sanity" is a story which talks about how the protagonist thought everything had happened in real but found all of them being an illusion as she was under the influence of alcohol.

"Kicking the Butt" is an excellent story which talks about the most prevailing social issue in the economy which takes a sideline as no one dares to talk about it - Child Abuse and "Rosita in the bar" reminded me of the dog which came to the same spot expecting her deceased owner for close to a decade expecting to see the person in real.

"It's not a love story" brings a different dimension of how protagonist becomes friend with a constable which eventually leads to something good in the end and "Epilogue" is something I liked it too.

"Euphobia" is a funny horror story I liked the most and last but not the least "Car No.88" which is the only non-fiction story among the lot as this story was inspired from a true event/incident.

On a whole, these stories were a perfect read on any given day and I liked every one of them for the variance that was showed and the message that the author conveyed.

The book is available on Amazon.

The Alphabet Killer

Title - The Alphabet Killer
Author - Prachi Sharma
Genre - Fiction
Publication - Half Baked Beans
ISBN - 978-93-84315-535

The Alphabet Killer is a very good attempt by the author. The story is a crime thriller. I was on to the book with great expectation and the book had lived up to it. I must say honestly that I was expecting some turn around in the end when the suspense was revealed because if you pay proper attention to the story, you might end up getting the answer well before the story got concluded.

Mia Santos, the protagonist heads The Feminist. She had a break up with her boy friend who owned the company. One fine day, Mia gets a threatening call asking her to confess about her past. When she turns deaf ear, she starts losing her colleagues one by one by way of brutal murders.

Mia seeks the help of her friend Jolene who knew about her past and in the meanwhile Damien De Silva, CID Senior Inspector comes into the picture to investigate the case. At one point, some vital clues were found.

Did it lead to the capture of the murderer? If yes, who was the murderer and what was so secret about Mia's past? Read the book to find out more.

The book is available on Amazon.