Author Interview - Manisha Israni of Up Side Down Fitness

1.What has motivated you to write? 
I love writing. Been writing for 20 years now, more in the form scripts for commercials and infomercials. I am a director by profession, and since our company Telebrands is mainly affiliated with fitness products, my area of expertise has become fitness over the years. This knowledge catalyzed with a fleeting desire to remain fit led me down the path of becoming a fitness enthusiast. And no I don’t have spare time in my hand so I have to manage my fitness desires in left over time intervals. Over the years I have seen people making this excuse “time hi nahi milta”. People assume that having a fit body requires a lot of time and effort, which in my opinion is not true, so I though I must pin down the secret of my fitness which is simple and easy. Doable steps towards a healthy and fulfilling life.   

2. How did you feel after publishing your first book?
Honestly, nothing different. I feel I have a lot more to write, so ya, it feels like something I need to do on a consistent basis.

3. What are some of your favourite novels and authors?
I got into reading and consecutively into writing because of Shobha de. My first book I ever read was “speed post”. I yet love that book because of its simplicity and honesty. My other favourite authors are Khaled Hosseini, John Grisham, Paulo Coelho to name a few.
4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?
Yup, the reason is that it is just the opposite of what you know about fitness, a rather inverse approach, therefore the title of the book is “Up Side Down” Fitness.  To be honest, I have read quite a few fitness books, consulted some accomplished dietitians and worked out with the best in the industry, but I was quick to give up on them. Somehow the whole process of remaining fit and slim required too much time and effort. It was as though that the -- purpose of life was fitness rather than fitness being a means towards a purposeful life. I am sure you must have faced similar situations wherein you have been struggling with various approaches to reach a certain level of fitness, but somehow not “cracked the code” 

It is about time to take a pause and rethink fitness! We need a more doable and efficient approach towards fitness. A one that is smart and unique, will fit in our busy schedules, will involve less effort and yet give us the desired results. You need an up-side down approach!

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

6. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?
I have learnt that there is nothing more I love, than writing. 

8. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers? 
Write about what you love, writing is an expression of creativity, your best only comes out when you are writing about what you love and not what others want to read. Be true to yourself and the reader. You may not realise this but your honesty comes across in every word that you write. Also keep your language and words simple. Not every one is Shakespeare!

9. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
That I have been in Mumbai for 20 years and I still am not able to drive, I know how to drive but with so many vehicles around me, I am petrified to get behind the steering wheel, it can make me cry J, oh and I still don’t like the rains, I prefer the sun J

10. Any future books that you would like to discuss now?
Been thinking of writing about raising my 3 boys. I am surrounded by boys, 3 son’s, 1 husband, 1 father-in-law, 1 grand father, 2 male domestic helpers, and an all male college environment. There have been days when I gone without having spoken a single other female. So I would to document this rather hilarious journey of my life as “raising boys and a hell house”

11. What other profession excites you the most?
Editing and Direction, precisely in that order. 

12. How is the response so far for the book? 
So far so good. I have a very positive feedback from who ever has read the book. Crossword is marketing & distributing the book, they are the best, so keeping my fingers crossed. 

You can follow the author who is very active on her Instagram page by clicking here

Book Review – 23:59:59 by Sadashiv Pradhan

Book Title: 23:59:59
Author: Sadashiv Pradhan
Format: Paperback and Kindle
Total Number of Pages: 240
Language: English
Publisher: Blue Rose Publishers
Publishing Date: 2018

Sometimes you liked a book so much that you don’t know how to review it. Yes, exactly same happened with me after completing reading this book by a fist-time author. Yeah…you heard right! After reading this B-school based novel I was stupefied for some time. To be honest, I never thought that it is going to be such an intense and tightly packed novel.

I have seen in my review career that either the first-time author impresses you to the core or they give you nightmare. Nothing to worry, as this book – 23:59:59 by Sadashiv Pradhan is worth read and time and money. Probably, as a first-time author he had put in a lot of efforts to make it a best-seller. I hope it becomes – as it deserves to be.

What’s the story is all about? The main theme of the book is to struggle or survive in a good B-school. Imagine you studied hard, went for coaching classes, sat for entrance exams like MAT, SNAP, CAT, etc. Ok, you got admission in one of the top 10 or 20 MBA colleges of India. Is that all? Is your life’s misery and struggle for luxury over? So, do you think that in an MBA college, you will study like an obedient school kid, get good grades, and go out for the best of best job in the world? Dude, wait a minute…there is a thing called competition. The MBA College where you landed is not a school…it is a place where super genius like you are available in hundreds. Can you beat them all and be on top of all? No, you cannot beat them by just your talent and caliber. You need to be shrewd, diplomat, and super merciless kind of a kid. Yes, that place is something where you stopped basking in the glory of old days and begin a new struggle because there everyone needs best placement. So, the question is how will you get the best of best placement – I am sure there are hacks and tricks you can discover once you are in there. This book has a lot of tricks and hacks to tell you. Well, you need to grab this book for that. On the top of everything, you should know that why have you enrolled for MBA – it is not local fun coaching class where you can have a lot of fun and leave in the evening. After going there, don’t seek answers as why you are doing this course. You should have clarity in mind well before the time.

Are the characters worth? Yes they are competent and highly unreliable. I must bring them forward. In total, in the book, there are four main characters – Jay, Abhimanyu, Ishaan, and Shalini. They come from diverse background and become friends and form one group which is called as 23:59:59 – because in their B-school every assignment has to be submitted with before X:59:59. So, I hope you got the point as why the title of the book is little clumsily but still relevant and innovative.

Though the author has tried to put Jay in limelight in the form of main character, but I feel they all grab the same highlight and act towards the overall theme of the book. It is a delightful experience to see as how these guys fight and survive in the B-school. The author has put in a lot of efforts in telling as why placement matters most to MBA guys. Is everyone running for the placement – I think yes. In the campus, there are elections, committees, placement cells and all that matters in an MBA college. Overall, I found the book spicy and well-placed with the settings along with a good pace. I hope after crossing a few chapters you will find it a riveting read and surely try to recommend to other readers or students who are lusting after MBA degree.

Final message is that one should not pursue any degree just for the sake of it or to mint money, at times passion is also important. Passion gives pain initially but it is worth in the end when you bask in the glory of achievements.

Book Review - Upside Down Fitness

Title - Upside Down Fitness
Author - Manisha Israni
Genre - Wellness
Publisher - The Write Place
ISBN - 978-9-38728-257-5

Are you a fitness freak?
Are you a wellness buff?
Are you the one who would love to workout?
If you fall under any one of the above category or does not fall under any of them, this book is for you.

I have read books on wellness but got bogged down by boredom on various occasion. When I had this book in my hands, I knew for sure that I am going to enjoy reading each and every page of this book and my intuition was proved correct.

This book is a combination of Food+Exercise+Yoga. Yes. You read it right. The book focuses on all the aspects by touching base on all tho give three major aspects since, in real life, we tend to give importance to any one or at the max, both.

The introduction itself gave a perfect opening which evoked interest on this book instantly. Author talks about getting our routine changed since we all need a fresh perspective, a one that is enjoyable,doable and manageable in our over-committed busy lifestyle(I have reproduced these lines as it is from the book). The book is divided into 10 parts and each one gave a different dimension to the respective headers/title.

What did I like the most?

This book would never make you feel bored.
You would end up reading the book in one-shot.
Clear mention about the products/methods without taking us on a round about.
Easy procedures which could be followed/implemented.
Practical examples/methods which could be practised/followed.

The book talks about Being Realistic and about SMART REWARDS which I liked the most. I was also surprised to find the mention of various diets with an explanation in detail along with their disadvantages. Then comes the mention about Balanced Meal which is the need of the hour. The Pyramid of this Balanced Meal would give you a fair idea as to what you should have and when.

Smart Food Choices have been dealt in detail in this book. The Seven Chakras Chart, Digital Detox, Laugh, Things you could do and most importantly, the "So What?" factors would give you a different way of approaching the life. 

Smart Supplements and Smart Meals will be an instant hit among the foodies. Author has given Smart Breakfast/Tiffin/Dinner Recipes for Non-Vegetarian, Vegetarian & Vegans are well researched and given in a easy to understand way via tabular columns.

The book also has a Smart Workout Plan, 10 Week Meal Plan coupled with Smart Fitness Advice from Professionals around the World which would make us get a peek through on how these professionals maintains their body so fit which make others envious.

Last but not the least, the book has Beginners Yoga Guide which has the mention of various Yoga Asanas which has been depicted with pictorial representation carrying the pics of none other than the author herself.

I would recommend this book for all who would wish to live a long and healthy life. Who doesn't want to have one?

My Rating for this book would be 5/5

This book is available on both eBook and Paperback formats on Amazon

Book Review - The Stalker

Title - The Stalker
Author - Sandeep Sharma
Genre - Thriller(Fiction)
Publisher - R9Books & Anybook
ISBN - 978-938790621

Sandeep Sharma is back again with another thriller. What I liked is the way he takes the story which gives you an hint in the beginning and when you thought you hit upon the clue, you would end up seeing the twist in the tale.

His writing style is simple which makes even a person who is not so good in the language can understand the story well/easy. This story revolves around Randhir Kamat and his girl friend Rupali when the latter starts getting death threats from Deepali. Please note that you need to follow these two names carefully as you may end up getting confused with both the names - Deepali and Rupali.

While the initial investigations proves that Deepali was behind the death threats, things takes a different turn when Rupali starts getting threats again - despite of Deepali being warned.

Who was behind these threats?
What was the motive?
How does it get revealed?

Read this novel to find out more.

My Rating for this novel would be 3.5/5

Th\is book is available on Amazon

The Care of Mother in the form of Wipes from Mother Sparsh

Mother Sparsh has been the trusted name among the Mother's for some time now. They have always delivered the safe and quality product which has helped the newly born to stay fresh, soft and supple as their wipes have been used very effectively to cleanse their body till date.Keeping the baby clean is a Himalayan task. Gone are the days of using clothes since they may not be good enough to address the baby's sensitive skin thereby resulting in rashes.

A baby needs utmost care. They tend to get untidy without their knowledge. While we can avoid it most of the time, it becomes imperative to cleanse it as soon as we see some spillovers. Even if the baby remains tidy all through the day, it is better to cleanse them once in a while as we cannot bath them every now and then. This is where, Mother Sparsh Water Wipes comes into picture.

On my previous blog posts, you have seen as to how much care has been taken in manufacturing these wipes and the major content of it - which is nothing but Water. I had also performed the candle test and proved that this product does not have a polyester content in it. After seeing it, many of my friends had personally contacted me to let me know that they started using it and found it real effective since they did not face any issues on their baby's skin any further.

Mother Sparsh water wipes are safe and is made of superior medical grade cloth. These water based wipes are unscented and is perfect for hand and mouth cleaning.

The 99% water based wipes by Mother Sparsh now comes with Moisture Lock Lid which means, the moisture on the wipes are kept intact. Hence, even when you use the last wipe, you can be rest assured of the moisture content on it without having to worry about using the dry wipes on the baby.

These wipes are made of high grade material and they are unscented which means, your baby won't have to smell any unwarranted perfume which he/she may or may not like it. It is time to say "No" to towel since we usually wash it with detergents which may not suit well for the baby's sensitive skin. It is time to embrace water based wipes which are 3 times thicker than ordinary wipes is always friendly to the skin, even if it is sensitive. Needless to say, a baby's skin is the most sensitive skin and needs utmost care.


Now that you have heard about this new variant, what stops you from going ahead? Go and grab you pack now and see your baby smile infectiously without having to contract one :-)

As a Mother, it is also the imperative duty for those who use the wipes to ensure its disposal after use. Mother Sparsh Water Wipes are made of biodegradable material which ensures that the product can be safely disposed after its use without effecting the environment.
The wipes are dermatologically tested and is also examined for rashes and infection. When you use this to clean your baby’s hands, you are ensuring about removing the dirt on their hands without having them exposed to chemicals.

Mother Sparsh is the name. Keep using it and feel the real difference. When you have the best product out there, you need not have to think twice. The product is priced at Rs.299 for a pack of 72 wipes and Rs.499 for a combo of 2 packsand is available on Amazon, Flipkart and Firstcry.

Book Review - The History Wars

Title - The History Wars
Author - Stuart Blackburn
Genre - Thriller/Fiction
Publisher - Brown Dog Books
ISBN - 978-1-78545-385-4

A thriller which is coupled with sudden turn in the events which would keep you captivated till the end. The fact that the story is written by a person who is not of Indian origin deserves a special applause. It is a well researched subject which brings out the stark reality in front of us. I wasn't surprised about the fact that going in search of truth which involves some deep research involving various scenarios would lead to a real threat to life.

I usually do a dissection of the story and various characters on my review but here I wouldn't be doing it as I may end up revealing more than necessary. The story revolves majorly around two characters Ravi, a journalist from Delhi and Peggy, an American researcher.

While Ravi ends up investigating the complicate case of demolition of a mosque, he comes into contact with Peggy who finds a mysterious "Rosetta Stone" gets to know about the crucial information which came with it. 

What information was hidden?
How was it deciphered?
How did it go on to endanger the lives of Ravi, Peggy and others?
What role did Mrs K, Mrs Hart, Khan, Sharma, Alan, Professor Hill, Sylvia,Jim and Alice play?

Read this novel which has been written with intricate details making use of all the characters in an effect in an effective way coupled with some unexpected events. Though the novel is little lengthy, I felt that this was very much required without which a proper justification to the story wouldn't have been done by the author.

This book is available on Amazon in both eBook and Paperback version.

Book Review - Distress to De-Stress

Title - Distress to De-Stress
Author - Vikas Kakwani
Genre - Self Help / Personality Development
Publisher - NotionPress
ISBN - 978-1684665259

Are you in stress?
Do you think, you are one among the select unfortunate to be facing stress at work or in the family?
Are you looking for some intervention to help you overcome your stress?
Are you seeking a way to come out of your stress?
Most importantly, do you need help or seek an advice to help overcome your present situation?

If your answer is YES to any one of the above, this book is the answer to that.

There are lot of self help and personality development books available out there but I can certainly vouch that this book stands apart. Vikas has used the examples from day to day life to put forth his observations/points. You may wonder as to what this book has to offer which other books hadn't but when you finish reading this book, you can feel yourself being light and has also found "The Light at the end of the tunnel".

The book is divided into two parts. 

1. Reasons for Distress
2. Ways to De-Stress

I liked the pictorial representation of how a combination of various small acts would trigger the distress to its peak(Page No.75). The difference between Needs-Wants-Desires has been clearly outlined and how each stage(from 2nd level) is responsible for causing distress. From the desire of owning a house which gets fulfilled by taking up a mortgage and end up paying them for a longer term to personal relation ship problems has been very well explained in this book which could give you a hint as to where you were failing. Despite having one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, India still ranks in the bottom end when it comes to Happiness Index which shows that married people are not always happy.

I learnt about Kanban through this book. We all know about the Padman Arunachalam Muruganandham but how many of us know about Afroz Shah? Do you know about 1-2-Ka-4 Meetings?

Read this book to find the answer for all and share it with your friends/relatives too.

Last but not the least,try taking up the test online at www.distress2destress.com to find out where you stand.

This book is available on Amazon on both Paperback and eBook formats.

Why Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava is not just a movie for Jr. NTR fans

What comes to your mind when you think of a hyper mass movie that is full of super massy scenes? I don’t need to make a wild guess to know it is ‘Tollywood’, but the first thing that hit my mind was N. T. Rama Rao Jr. Our very own young tiger is known for his action flicks around the world, especially among the Telugu audience. Despite being a regional star, Jr. NTR is very popular among the North Indians too for his larger than life movies.

But all this changed when Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava hit the theatres. The movie not only managed to pull in some great reviews from the movie critics but also left the Telugu audience slack-jawed. Sitting on the edge of the seat as the movie was nearing the end, I knew one thing for sure that this movie will do wonders not only among the Jr. NTR fans but also general audience.

So, I’m going to give a couple of reasons as to what separates Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava from other Jr. NTR movies.

  1. The Storyline - Before I get started with what makes it different, let me first give you a little gander into Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava. Veera Raghava Reddy runs away after his father is murdered to stop the factionalism that has been prevailing for 30 years in his village. The central conflict of the movie itself is very different from any other movie that Jr. NTR has been a part of and the fans couldn’t be any happier. Here, the protagonist, Raghava (Jr. NTR) wants to stop the factionalism prevalent in his region without shedding any blood which kind of contradicts the popular factionism movie narrative in Telugu.
  2. The aftermath of factionalism - While a lot of Telugu movies have already covered factionalism, they failed to show one thing that became one of the selling factors of Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava and that is the ‘aftermath of factionalism’. With many deaths being attributed to factionalism in his region, the protagonist Raghava is compelled to think about the consequences of factionism through the course of the movie.
  3. The dialogues: There is a reason why Times Of India called it an emotional drama disguised as a commercial movie, and that is because of the writer, Trivikram Srinivas.  Rightly referred to as‘Guruji’ by fans, his philosophical perspective is evident in the thought-provoking dialogues of Aravinda Sametha too. In the process, Trivikram has set a new benchmark for the future action flicks to come in Telugu.
  4. Pooja Hegde as Aravinda: Of all the characters that played a huge role in the movie, it was Aravinda played by Pooja Hegde that stole the show. While many complain about actresses being mere props to sell more tickets, Trivikram makes Pooja’s character Aravinda the voice of reason in Raghava’s life. By presenting such a powerful role, Pooja and Trivikram are sure to inspire female portrayals in future Telugu movies.

These pointers are like the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cinematic experience that Aravinda Sametha provides. So, if you are looking to watch a Telugu movie with some food for thought, I would definitely recommend you to check out Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava on ZEE5.

Book Review - Kill Code

Title - Kill Code
Author - Clive Fleury
Genre - Science Fiction(Dystopian)
Publisher - TCK Publishing

When I was reading this novel, I could sense a slight resemblance of few Hollywood movies (which I do not want to name)  with this story line. However, I can very well say that this novel offered a complete different approach in the end. Initially, I thought that I could tell you the story in just two lines but the sudden turn in the events during the midway of the story made it a unique one.

The story is set in the future. The story revolves around Hogan Duran, Ruby Mason, Jake Teerman, Max, Beecham, Jerry Anderson, Gen Stoker, Sandman(I guess I covered almost all the characters here). During this time, only the rich could afford good food and other facilities. There was this faction called Krails who had been a constant threat to the law and order of the region. However, their threats were nullified by NSC(National Security Council).

Hogan, who has served in the army earlier and also as a cop had to resign from his job but that did not deter his ambition to apply for a job in NSC. He along with other candidates like Ruby and Jake had to go through various vigorous tests for the selection.

Who among these had made it to the list?
What was their profile?
What did NSC do, in general or otherwise?
Where did they get their funding from?
Who were these so called Krails and why were they on loggerheads with NSC?

Read this novel which promises you of unexpected twists in the tale coupled with rage,anger,treachery,conspiracy which has been blended on a right proportion coupled with science fiction element added to it. This makes this novel, a compelling read.

This book is available on Amazon on both eBook and Paperback formats