In search of a pollution free home

Naresh wakes at 3 AM in the morning and searches his wardrobe. He doesn't find it and runs towards his laptop bag to search for it. Found it! But…when he held it a moment longerhe felt the emptiness in it. He realized that it got over two days back. He was not weak yet, but the thought that it is empty made his body shiver. He slowly walked back to the bedroom when his wife came out of the bed in search of him. She had seen it before, and she asked him if she should go out to get it.

Naresh shook his head no and quickly took his Scooty out. He woke up the pharmacist running a 24x7 medical shop inside a small hospital.

"Inhaler, please." Naresh requested, as he puffed out his breath heavily.

His hands were shivering and no wonder he behaved like an addict waiting to feel the Asthalin spray into his lungs. He got relieved the moment he puffed it into his mouth. This is a typical scenario with many living in the city. Just like diabetes and BP, wheezing is part of the lifestyle now.

If you don't believe what we are saying here, check out the report -"Air pollution killed 1 in 8 people." A report by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative, 6.7 lakh death in 2017 was due to outdoor particulate matter (PM), and 4.8 lakh was due to household air pollution.

Where have we gone wrong? We look for everything within the city limits. For example, we think that life is beautiful only if we stay near Mount Road, Anna Nagar, Adyar or Tiruvanmaiyur.

The reason being, access to movie theaters, beach, malls, hospitals, schools, and sports facilities. What most of us fail to understand is that we also get an additional baggage called, "Pollution."

Many move to the outskirts of Chennai in search of fresh air for their kids, adults and senior citizens in the family.

As a team, we visited many places in Chennai to measure the pollution level of multiple communities. As we passed through the Old Mahabalipuram Road, we entered the Eden Park. The serene community very close to Siruseri IT park had access to everything one would look for in city life. Without getting into details, we tried to check the pollution level and realized the difference. Not only our device shouted “Healthy”, but our nostrils did too! With easy access to the workplace, malls, hospitals, a school within the community and world-class sports facilities, it was a wonderful experience for our team to walk around the place.

We would like to capture a statement from the report
"In 2017, 77% of the population was exposed to PM2.5 above 40 μg/m3, the recommended limit by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The nation's mean ambient PM2.5 exposure of 90 μg/m3 in 2017 was one of the highest in the world."
Here is the Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) of some of the important places in Chennai:
• Alandur Bus Depot, Chennai: 221 (Unhealthy)
• Sardar Patel Road, Madhya Kailash: 119 (Unhealthy)
• Near Gemini Flyover: 169 (Unhealthy)
• Manali: 298 (Unhealthy)
• Velachery: 146 (Moderate)

Let's now explore another article about the air quality in Chennai. 
The air pollution in Chennai is mainly due to the construction work going on as part of metro work, building construction and flyover work. An alarming amount of Manganese and Lead were found in the air. 10% of the pollution was contributed to vehicles that are buzzing around the city. The other pollutants found in the air were a higher percentage of aluminum, iron, and calcium.

As a responsible citizen, we should support initiatives to reduce pollution in our atmosphere. It wouldn't be long before we reach an alarming level that we all have to carry a mask while walking outside.

This article intends to kindle the thought process in all the readers about the pollution level and at the same time highlight places within Chennai like Eden Park at Siruseri where the pollution level is low primarily due to the number of trees around the region and builders following the safety norms while constructing their buildings.
While it is fun to go outskirts of Chennai or a hill station in search of fresh air, why not live in a place surrounded by fresh air. Come and explore Eden Park at Siruseri, a premium sports Community project by Pragnya.

Book Review: Piku & Viru (A Fan-Actor Drama) by Priyanka Agarwal

Book Title: Piku & Viru (A Fan-Actor Drama) by Priyanka Agarwal
Author: Priyanka Agarwal
Format: Kindle
Total Number of Pages: 420
Language: English
Publisher: Amazon
Publishing Date: 2018

This story runs like a movie for me, probably it has a movie star in it. As the story opens up I got introduced to our lead character name Piyanjali Kumari aka Piku. She is a content writer – mainly write travel stories for a website that deals in travel and lifestyle kind of stuff. I always had the impression that content writers in Mumbai get well paid as compared to other cities. Her story reveals something else. Her boss and a few other members do not sound co-operative to her. May be she is smart, extra talented, or better than them in creativity. In nutshell, it is revealing that her life in office isn’t that good. She thinks of leaving the job but lacks the temerity. On the other hand, she is worried about her age, as she is brooding for marriage with a right partner. Her last ex – Homi – isn’t there for her. They have issues. Also, she isn’t getting any good man on dating apps as well. You can see that she is surrounded with desires and competency and not so good results. The kind of life she portrays is a typical metro city life – in these city people can live without food but not without a partner – they need someone with whom they can share or enjoy or look forward. I understand the kind of city life staged in this novel is something that makes one lonely and reclusive – the intensity is higher if someone is into a creative sort of a job. I mean to say there is a lot of background coverage for the overall story, though much sweeps and anecdotes and history is associated with Piku.

Piku falls in love with Vian Rustom, who is a popular TV actor. If you see TV soaps I hope you can understand how he must have looked – tall, fair, smart and immaculate dressing sense. Isn’t it that nowadays TV stars are more beautiful than the mainstream movie actors? To make the story movable, we have this angelic voice of ‘H’ with Piku. See, the story stretches over 400 pages, till midway you will find the story getting repetitive in its outlook. As the events and thrills and actions all take place around Piku, we often go to her office, her basic tussle while traveling and at home with a younger sister and of course with parents. For me, the story sounds moveable when she finally happens to meet the man of her dreams or say her celebrity crush: Vian. In her strange yet credible fantasy world, she renames Vian as Viru. It’s not Jay and Viru from Sholay. It is Piku and Viru. People in love often name each other reverently, nothing to be felt offended.

It is often said that celebrity people are lonely because they are self-obsessed. May be! And here, in the characterization of Viru I see the veracity of that statement. The author should have explored why TV celebrities are alone and mean and all that. She should have shown some reasons and sweeps and subplots for that. Viru is always busy with shooting – he is starring quite a number of serials.
The moments that they together spent are enthralling, especially the film studios ones. I loved that part, the author intricately put forward as what goes in there – on the sets, in the make-up van, small allocated rooms for actors and actresses, and most importantly about the ambience and the tenacity of people working there.

Talking about second part of the novel, it deals with Piku’s life after the heartbreak. As it’s given in the blurb. Had the story written in third voice narration, it would have leveraged the author to put a lot more about Vian, after all he too is an important and equally lead character in the story. It is a good and lengthy novel that you will begin liking after reaching midway crises. Priyanka’s humours suppressed tone makes it worth reading. In snatches the intensity of the book may push you for melancholy otherwise it is a light read.

Book Review – Gift of Confidence by Rohit Narang

Title - Gift of Confidence
Author - Rohit Narang
Genre - Motivational Fiction
Publisher - Partridge Publishing India

For a student, what’s the biggest fear? The most probable answer is, that be it any kind of student, bright to average to poor, they all fear failing in exams. From a student our society expects a lot, especially our parents always hope that we should always finish the line first. This novel, Gift of Confidence by Rohit Narang is based on a student’s phase where he fails to clear his CA final exams and thereafter what all events unfold that drastically change his life forever. The book is all about that change and discovery!

Like most other relevant novels, this too possesses a question: as how to be confident in life and how to utilize that confidence for achievements? And we get all answers through the explicit characterization of Pancham, the CA final year student. Pancham is on a quest – he needs answers on as how to handle failure, how to brace up for battle that results in win, how to regain everything after a shock of failure, how to advance in life confidently and many other questions related to study and exams and grades.

I finished reading this book in one sitting i.e. 4 hours. The author has written the story in very simple and yet expressible form. I never felt bored because the book is short, point to point, covering everything crisply in well-prosed seven chapters. Though the book is motivational in its stance, however I have mixed feeling as I found it an incredible combination of fear, confidence, faith, and spirituality contrasting each other.

However, for me, spiritual angle stands tall above all the elements, as you can see when Pancham begins visiting the Gurudwara he subtly expects to find solutions to his problems. The kind of faith he and his mother shows in the grace of god is worth attention. The smiling man aka Vandit Ji comes forward to ease Pancham's tension and to some extent helps him in preparation for his exams.
The author has quoted relevant and easy-to-understand examples for building confidence, faith on oneself, faith on abilities, faith on god, etc. As a student we must have come across such examples and teachers who took great efforts to push our malleable minds into constructive avenues. This book has come up at a very right time and going to stay useful for many years at least for the student community, who have tendency to hop from one source to another to overcome the fear of failure in exams.

Without any spoilers, I would also like to say that other than useful points about confidence and faith and exam preparations, there run two concurrent stories – one is of Pancham, and the other of Vandit Ji. You must read the book to get access to their stories. Their struggle and strength of character in the adversity not only encourage you but also delight your heart.

This book is available on Amazon and other leading online stores.

Read it like a BOLT or shall I say at "Lightening Speed"?

Are you a reader?

Do you love reading books?

Have you had the habit of reading  books real fast while you were a kid but witnessed the speed dwindling to record speed as you grew up?

Whatever we have read or learned till date would hardly make a fraction of the resources available out there. We have got Google to refer to our queries but don’t you think that we cannot depend on them all the time – 24/7?

Information is equivalent to GOLD. I am sure you would agree to this for how many times have you let your favourite book go despite of watching them on “Lightening Deal” on Amazon or Flipkart. 

Due to lack of time, you felt that you wouldn’t be able to read it due to your packed schedule or you couldn’t afford to spend 8-10 hours to completely read the book?

You could overcome this. Are you surprised? I was also surprised when I stumbled upon something. This isn’t a MAGIC or some rocket science.

Enough said – there is something called as PhotoReading Workshop being introduced in India for the very first time by the renowned International Coach – Connie Larkin.

Wondering what is in store for you?

By attending this simple yet powerful workshop, you could see yourself transforming yourself to a super being from the otherwise normal one. What if I said that once you master this technique, you would be able to “mentally photograph” pages at 25,000 words a minute. This is something which is possible only when you travel at the speed of light or get sucked into a black hole which facilitates time travel.


Come and attend this first of its kind workshop happening in Mumbai and get to go through the books 10 times faster with better understanding. If you are a #BookReviewer, I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss it for sure since you can review 10 books at a time, in the place of 1.

HURRY UP!!! If you haven't booked your seats already, log on to @BookMyShow https://in.bookmyshow.com/events/photo-reading-workshop/ET00090487 or visit https://connielarkin.com/mumbai/ to register.

Book Review - Wild Things

Title - Wild Things
Author - Leena Saldanha
Genre - Poetry
Publisher - Leadstart Corp
ISBN - 978-93-52010-78-3

This is one of the exemplary collection of poems I have read till date. The book revolves around various aspects including Love, Nature, Hope, Motherhood, Dignity, Childhood, Prayer and many more.

The book has a collection of 86 poems which has been divided into 4 categories namely - Deserts, Forests, Mountains & Ocean. Though I have liked all the poems, I would like to touch upon few which really moved me.

From DESERTS, I liked India's Daughter & Sands of Time where in the former, the author/poet has brought out the stark realities of a girl child in India - where we worship women in the form of Goddess but also see them as a material of lust. The country which has witnessed some gruesome rape incidents like Nirbhaya, has been captured very vividly in the poem which would leave you in tears and also to ponder as to how this could be addressed effectively. The latter is one of the longest poems which is very much self explanatory through its title.

From FORESTS, I liked Cooking Up A Story, Hypocrites and The Drug Addict. The first one talks about a very unusual subject which is a Pickle. Yes. You read it right. While we read the history of various events day in and day out, the poet feels as to why there is no mention about our own Pickles which has been passed on from generation to generation, without a note but is still executed with perfection. Hypocrites has the mention of these lines in the end

"They call me mother and sister and love
While their own eyes strip me bare"

How true were those above lines :-(

This poem is somewhat similar to the one in Deserts - India's Daughter in terms of context and feel, it invokes inside you when you finish reading it.

The Drug Addict is not exactly about the addiction to drug but talks about another addiction which is even more dangerous than that. You must read it to find out as to which addiction the poet has highlighted through her yet another powerful poem.

From MOUNTAINS, I liked Anagrams, Blame Games and Peace. I loved the reference of EARTH as HEART or Vice-Versa in the poem Anagram. The Blame Games would make you think for sure as it is about how we blame others for our own fault or incapability. The reference used in the poem was nothing other than a Treadmill. I am sure, by now, you would have got what the poet intended to convey. Peace has these powerful lines at the end

If you must
If you must pray
Pray a prayer
Of love"

From Oceans, I liked To My Daughter where the poem ends like this

"Make a world, my girl
That no longer needs
Women's Day"

What I liked in general is the way in which these poems have been penned. While some are real short, some are lengthy. The wordings used were so powerful that you would feel like living those characters in real. Each and every poem conveys a story/message that would make you feel that you have read a good collection of poems after a real long time...

The book is available on Amazon

Book Review - Suvarna Mohur

Title - Suvarna Mohur
Author - Arun Ramamurthy
Genre - History
Publisher - NotionPress
ISBN - 978-1-64429-816-9

Through this excellent book "Suvarna Mohur", Author Arun Ramamurthy has beautifully combined history and also the coins associated with it. This book completely focuses on Indian History spanning over a period of almost 2500 years. 

What I liked the most is the size and quality of the book. It is as big as a coin album, made of thick paperback outer cover. All the pages in this book is made of superior quality,glossy finish, colour papers with a "Gold Theme" since "Suvarna" translates to "Gold".

It begins with an introduction followed by the barter system. The book has some unique pictures being used in each chapter which very much complements the subject.

The history of coins begins with Janpadas(600-400 BCE) followed by the Mauryan Empire(400-200 BCE), Yavanas of India(200-100 BCE) and then by the Sangam Era(100 BCE - 100CE)

Each chapter has one major coin associated with the period followed by 6 other coins that were in circulation during that time. These coins carries not only the picture but also other details like size, measurement, weight, metals being used, Obverse and Reverse and the description of the pics being embossed on them along with their importance and relevance.

What I liked the most is the classification of the coins as well which ranges from scarce, rare, very rare, extremely rare and unique.

It doesn't end with this. The period further moves from Sangam Era to Kushan Empire(100-250CE),Gupta Empire(250-450CE), The Hunas(450-600CE),Pallavas and Chalukyas(600 - 750CE), Kannauj Triangle(750-900CE),"Gangaikonda Chola"(900-1050CE),The Rajputs(1050-1200CE),Islamic Era(1200-1300CE),Tughlaq(1300-1400CE),Timur to Vaso(1400-1500CE),The Vijayanagara Empire(1500-1600CE),The Grand Mughals(1600-1700CE),The Marathas(1700-1800CE) and the British India(1800-1950CE).

To sum it up, this book is a treasure trove of information about coins and the history associated with it. If you are a numismatist, you shouldn't miss it for sure or even otherwise. Grab your copy today.

This book is available on Amazon

Book Review - The Ineligible Millionaire

Title - The Ineligible Millionaire
Author - Tarun Varshney
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Invincible Publishers and Marketers
ISBN - 978-93-88333-12-2

This novel has already got some rave reviews from authors like Ranjit Arora, Geetika Saigal and iMagazine called it "Real.Engaging.Heartbreaking". When I finished reading this novel, I couldn't agree for more. The book despite being a non-thriller has kept me hooked till I finished reading all the 263 pages in one go. This is a rarity because only few books has done this prior. This shows how engaging the content is.

To start with, I liked the cover page as it very much corresponds to the story. It shows the image of a man, who has got everything but ends up with nothing. When I mean nothing, it isn't the material thing, I am discussing about. What it is then?

Arjun, the protagonist hails from a middle income family. His dad ran into debts after he encounters an accident. He could not work and hence has to borrow money in huge sums to fund his education. Arjun, despite being a bright student ends up scoring much less in the crucial 10th and 12th Std exams. How did these scores affect his career prospects?

Arjun had few friends who helped him when he was in despair but despite that, he has to face few hiccups in his life. He vowed that he would get his family's finances back on track after some persuasion. Was he not self motivated? Who persuades him?

Arjun falls in love with Shreya during his college days but destiny had a different tale. Though Shreya too liked Arjun, she calls it a day. Why did she do that?

Arjun who started his career as a freelancer ends up securing jobs in companies like Amazon and Microsoft though he was rejected during his campus interview days by Indian MNC's like TCS,Infosys and Wipro. If he could not impress the Indian MNC's. how could he pull the string in impressing World's top notch IT companies? What magic did he have?

Read this novel which is motivating, assuring and above all, gives you a feel good attitude to a greater extent as to how one could motivate himself/herself to achieve greater heights.

This book is available on Amazon

Author Interview - Divya Kumar of "The Shrine Of Death"

1.What motivates you to write?

Love of the story and the characters! That, I’ve realised, is the only thing that makes you want to keep writing, that brings you back to the book again and again, amidst all the periods of self-doubt and low inspiration. That’s what happened for me with ‘The Shrine of Death’ – the story wouldn’t let me go.

2. How did you feel after publishing your book?

For someone like me, who has always loved books and reading, to see my own words within the covers of a novel was an incredible feeling, almost surreal. I remember holding it in my hands for the first time and feeling almost tearful. It was, quite literally, a dream come true.

3. What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

I love reading fiction across all genres -- I enjoy Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Rice as much as I do Georgette Heyer or P. G. Wodehouse. Crime writer Dick Francis is an old favourite of mine – Ilove the way he deftly draws his characters and their emotional lives, as much as the way he sets up his fast-moving plots. I love the dark and brooding atmosphere that Daphne Du Maurier conjures up in her all novels and short stories. I recently re-discovered the thrillers of Ira Levin -- what a fascinating variety of plots he came up with! And I love the gentle humour and kindness in the writing of James Herriot.

4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?

I had actually given it a different name in the beginning – ‘The Empath’. But my editor Himanjali Sankar and others at Bloomsbury India felt that wasn’t the most evocative title, especially since many people may not even know what an empath was (and I could see their point!) So, she asked me for some alternative titles, and ‘The Shrine of Death’ was the most popular of the ones I came up with. As for why it’s called that, it has to do with a special sort of Chola temple called a pallipadaithat is central to the mystery in my book. These are sepulchral shrines built to honour dead kings and queens – i.e. shrines of death! To know more about how the title came to be,you can check out this post in my blog: https://divyakumar.com/2018/04/05/why-the-shrine-of-death/.

5. Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beach side or the hills? 

I wish! Most of my writing for this book was done at home since I began working on it at the time when I gave up my full-time job as a reporter to become a stay-at-home mom. I still do the same… I generally write at my spot on the couch or at my desk, either after everyone is asleep at night, or after everyone has left home in the mornings! But there are also times when I just need to get away from it all to write, and then my go to is usually a coffees hop. Both in Chennai before, and in Dubai now, I have certain favourite cafes where I love to go, order a cappuccino and write.

6. What inspired you to write the books (in general)? Any tales to tell…

I grew up in a home filled with books, and I’ve just loved stories for as long as I can remember.I wrote my first story, about a turtle and fish who were best friends, when I was five years old, and my childhood and teens are littered with ambitious novels I began and abandoned. And that doesn’t count all the stories I’ve made up in my head and never put down on paper! Working as a journalist with The Hindu Metroplus, I covered the book beat, attending book launches and interviewing authors, and that was definitely a source of inspiration as well, meeting all these creative people and hearing their stories. 

7. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?

The process of writing and rewriting, working and reworking, the steps that go into converting that first draft, the idea in your head, into something whole and complete, something cohesive and engaging. I’ve done that for feature articles, of course, but a 95,000-word novel is something else altogether!  

8. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?

I think there’s no better training ground for becoming an author than working as a journalist. Just the act of writing and editing everyday hones your abilities. It teaches you to cope with days when the words just aren’t coming that easily. It teaches you economy with words. It teaches you to be ruthless with your own writing. And exposes you to so many new experiences and interesting people.

9. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers? 

Just keep going! This is neither new nor original advice, but it’s the only thing that works – to keep writing. If you’re feeling blocked or burnt out, take a break, take a breather, but then come back to it. 

10. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Like my main protagonist Prabha, I have a degree in computer science! But unlike her, my shift in careers happened early on – I did a second degree in journalism, and except for a brief stint as a web developer, had moved completely away from coding by my mid-20s.   

11. Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

I’m actually working on a sequel to ‘The Shrine of Death’, and I’m hoping to do a trilogy eventually. You will get to know what happened next with the characters in TSoD, and there are, of course, many strange and disturbing new developments!

12. What other profession excites you the most?

If I wasn’t a writer, I would love to be part of the music industry, as a singer, songwriter or composer!

13. Any special mention about your reader (be it with reviews/feedback or anything else)

The responses from readers are what matter to me the most, hands down. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from someone that they loved a particular aspect of the story or a were drawn to one of the characters; that they enjoyed curling up with the book while sick or during a long flight or layover; that they couldn’t put it down, and had to race to the end! To be able to share this story that was in my head for so long, and to see how people who love to read like myself respond to it… it’s just the best part.

14. Do you write the story at a stretch or you take your time to complete it? If you take a longer time, wouldn’t you be forgetting the story? How do you tackle it?

I tend to write in fits and bursts – I write intensely for stretches, then go through phases when I’m not writing that regularly. But I’m in no danger of forgetting the story! In fact, the periods when I’m not writing is often when I keep mulling certain plot points in my head, and come up with ideas to fix any issues in the story.

15. Traditional or Self-Publishing? Why?

I don’t know if I’m really equipped to comment on that, since I’m just one book old, and haven’t tried self-publishing. I do see the pros and cons of both though, and can understand why authors may choose one or the other. For now, I see myself sticking with traditional publishing, but who knows, maybe it’ll change in the future!  

16. How is the response so far for the book? 

It’s been so encouraging! I’ve gotten good to great reviews from newspapers, bloggers, and readers alike, and I really couldn’t have asked for more as a first-time author.

Book Review - Brahmahatya

Title - Brahmahatya
Author - Rajiv Mittal
Genre - Fiction(Religious & Spiritual)
Publisher - Amazon KDP
ASIN - B074L25N6P

Brahmahatya in Sanskrit translates to "the act of killing a Brahmin. Well, the story is based on this theme. Firstly, I liked the cover as it very much correlates with the novel and after finished reading it, I was not surprised that it made it to the "Finals of 2017 Self Published Books Awards".

Author has touched upon the sensitive issue - Religion and he has drawn references from Bhagawad Gita and few other Hindu spiritual references which has blended with the characters/story in a perfect manner. These references were used in such a way that, you end up learning more than you would have ever thought.

The story revolves around a caring son - Ravi Narasimhan. Though he was working overseas, all the time, his thoughts were tied to his ailing father.He did his level best to keep him happy but when it was about to get him admitted in the hospital, things takes a different turn. He gets to see the real world which is demanding and selfish. In order to keep him in the safe hands, he tries to get him admitted in the elder care home called GMR but his admission gets refused.

Eventually, he had to feel contended in getting him admitted in "Blessings", a not so renowned elder care home where his father passes away. It is then, he decides to impersonate his father.

Why did Ravi decide to impersonate his father?
Did he manage to do it?
Was the mission accomplished in the end?

Read this novel which is no less than a thriller. Though it is a bit slow, the references sourced from the Hindu scripts and the way in which this novel is penned would keep you captivated till the end. 

This book is available on Amazon on both eBook and Paperback format. The book is available on Pothi as well.

Book Review - The Shrine Of Death

Title - The Shrine Of Death
Author - Divya Kumar
Genre - Thriller(Fiction)
Publisher - Bloomsbury
ISBN - 978-93-87457-54-6

Idol theft is a serious offence not only in India but across the globe. This is pretty much rampant in India due to various reasons like lack of documentation corresponding to respective temple/shrine,  no regular audits being carried out(at least in the past decade or so), ignorance among the officials who is suppose to safeguard, greediness etc to name a few. The release of this book couldn't have come at a better time when the State of Tamilnadu is already battling the smuggling of these idols which has seen a fierce battle across various fronts.

These idols which were made of various metals has seen its value grow up by leaps and bounds due to the history associated with it. There was no surprise when couple of bronze idols go missing in the story and Sneha Pillai, who use to be a good friend of the protagonist, Prabha also disappears after making a brief phone call to her.

Initially, Prabha had never thought that there could be a connect between the missing idol and the mysterious disappearance of her friend. A murder happens sooner. One of Prabha's close friend cum room mate - Charu gets attacked by an assailant. It is then, she understands the seriousness of the issue. In the meantime, she starts getting few hints and assists DSP Gerard who was assigned to find the missing idols.

The suspicions falls on few but most primarily on Jai Vadehra who belonged to the affluent Khandelwal family. Though he never showed any signs of greediness, his murkier past was so much against him. There were another characters like Anirudh, Rahul, Rita Banker, Professor Sharada, Subha, Chinna Thambi, Dr Kunoor in this long but interesting novel and each of them had done justice to their roles. As the suspicion gets shifting from one person to another, Prabha too gets attacked.

Why was she attacked?
Who was the real culprit?
What was the motive behind all these which included a murder and couple of murder attempts?

Read the novel to find out more. I must say that this novel is a captivating thriller...

This book is available on Amazon and other leading online/offline stores.

Book Review - Ballad Of A Belle

Title - Ballad Of A Belle
Author - Rahul Tushar
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Adhyyan Books
ISBN - 978-93-87502-03-1

To start with, when I received this book, I was dumbstruck by the design and the outer cover and had an intuition that I am going to have a great time reading the story and I was not wrong. Though this book isn't a thriller or a crime-fiction, Rahul has written it in such a way that you would keep hooked to your seat from the beginning till the end.

The flawless writing coupled with usage of  language would make you wonder whether he has already published few books. Despite the fact that this is his first book(second book - The Sinful Oracle is in the making), I must say that he has struck the chord which would surely connect with the readers.

Usually we do not give much attention to Prelude (I don't though)and if you carried the same mentality by either skipping it or not giving the proper attention which is requires, you may miss out on something major. You can see that you get to read about the glimpses of the end of the story in the very beginning. Having read few hundreds of books, I can say with confidence that this kind of approach has been taken only by very few authors because honestly speaking, it is difficult to start your story from the end.

Aarti who hailed from a Pundit family in Kashmir had a happy life with protective mother, father who worked in the Military and a brother. Needless to say, she is the protagonist of this story where she narrates it from Chapter 1. She was a no-attitude, down to earth girl despite being gifted with natural beauty. However she commits the first mistake in her life by eloping with her lover.ting  When he turned hostile, she starts regretting and get the help from another person who also tried to manipulate her. But then, future had a different plan for her. She had a chance to meet Priya Majoomdar and from there, her life chart starts showing an upward trend.

She goes to Singapore and then to Australia. She meets different kind of people and comes across various life events which would make you feel real sad for her. There is a melancholy in this story and the essence of it was kept intact, until the end. Read this story and you wouldn't agree to disagree. 

The book is available on Amazon 

Author Interview - Chitrangada Mukherjee

Meeting author's and speaking to them would bring out the best from them. I have had the opportunity to meet few of them in person and few over the internet(Mail, WhatsApp etc). Today I had the opportunity to meet Chitrangada Mukherjee who has authored #SecretDiaryOfAnIncurableRomantic ( You could find the review here)

I have tried to reproduce her wordings(as I recorded her answers for my questions).

1. What motivates you to write?
What motivates me to write is that I can't do anything else. The only craft I know is writing and if I don't, I feel like I'm falling into the annals of darkness in my mind.So writing keeps me positive and makes the world a brighter place.

2. How did you feel after publishing your books?
My first book was an eBook which I published on Amazon. After waiting for months, one of the publisher did revert as they liked the manuscript and wanted the marketing plan. I was not aware of any back in 2014. I did not come up with a good enough marketing plan and eventually it got rejected. Then I was approached by another publisher who asked me to wait for few months. It was then, I approached  a friend of mine who helped me to publish my first book(eBook) on Amazon Kindle which was a psychological thriller set in a North Eastern State. The journey was a little difficult but it taught me a lot.My second book which is a humorous tale of a widow in Chennai was accepted by a leading publisher within a month of writing it. Secret Diary was published in October this year and I'm happy and excited with the reviews and feedback.

3. What are some of your favourite novels and authors?
I don't have any favourites. I take inspiration from Agatha Christie, Gillain Flynn, Kamala Das and Otessa Moshfeigh.

4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?
Yes. Interestingly I started with the title first as I was convinced that the protagonist is a die-hard romantic,closet alcoholic and the story stays true to the title, till the very end.

5. Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place like beach or the hill side?
No. I don't go anywhere. I write from my home. I have a specific corner. I lie down on my bed, take my laptop and write, if I feel lazy. If I get an idea all of a sudden, I stand up and write. I mostly write from my bedroom.

6. What inspired you to write the books in general? Any tales to tell?
I want to tell my kind of stories. I believe tales which are inspired from the complexities of life. I do not like the mushy, filmy romance. and my aim is to stay away from writing these stories.I also feel comedy comes from pain and acts as an armour to shield pain. A combination of realistic romance and comedy is what I intend to write. You can call it a romcom, chicklit or contemporary fiction.

7. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?
I suffer from an impostor syndrome and always had doubts as to whether I could write - am I good enough? After writing Secret Diary and after reading the reviews and feedback, I realised I can write. I also realised that I can make people feel different emotions, strongly and I can make them laugh, which is the icing on the cake. 

8. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?
I love this question. I feel that every writer should be asked this question. Every writer has a story to tell. Question is - you have a story but what is new to tell? With book releases happening every now and then, writers need to find a way to connect with the readers.What I did do right is - I did my research. 

9. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers?
You need to know your genre. You need to do the research. It ultimately narrows down to why a reader would consider picking up your book.

10. Something personal about you, people may be surprised to know
I am always hooked to music and you would never find me without my headphone. I may forget my keys and get locked out, But I would never step out without my headphones.

11. Any future books that u would like to discuss now?
I have written about 8-10 manuscripts in the past 1.5 years, which I thrashed. Finally, I have a story that I want to turn into a novel and I'm working on the book, right now.

12. What other profession excites you the most?
Though I would want to write for the rest of my life, if I had a chance, I would like to do stand-up Comedy. 

13. Any special mention about your reader(be it with reviews/feedback or anything else)?
I have a few. A  reviewer who gave me a 5/5 star and mentioned she never wanted the book to end and was sad when it ended. Another one is Sankalpita Singh, one of the top book bloggers who asked me to not stop writing-ever. Video blogger Manpreet loved my book. There are many more girls from Kolkata and one of the girls said she wanted to hug me as she could not stop crying after reading my book. Though I want my readers to laugh, she ended up crying.

14. Do you write the story at a stretch or do you take your time to complete it? If you take a longer time, wouldn't you be forgetting the story? How do you tackle it?
I don't write my story at a stretch. I am a temperamental writer. On a bad day, I do not write but on a good day, I write 3000 - 4000 words. Before writing, I start my day by reading along with a cup of tea. Without reading, I don't write. When I write a story, I live in that world/with the characters so I never forget the story. 

15. Traditional or Self-Publishing? Why?
I had self-published my first book without any investment as it was an eBook. I wouldn't recommend it because when it comes to traditional publishing, you have the backing of a brand which our makes your work credible and helps you to market your book in an effective way.

16. How is the response so far for the book?
This book is a tale of contrasts - New Asian Writing, called it a "hybrid tale as it has happiness and sadness". The book is doing pretty well. The reviews are good. Amazon ranking is good. Right now it looks good as it is just been a month and a half and I feel that you need a year to gauge the success.

P.S. For those who are not aware, you can get the autographed copies of the book from Starmark, Higginbothams, Odyssey stores in Chennai.