Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Rich Labourer


Have you ever wondered how to approach a problem? This book suggests a 3 step method to you, and when you come to think of it, you may agree that most of us adopt similar strategies in our daily lives, albeit unconsciously. 

The storyline revolves around the 3P method: Probe, Ponder and Prove. Does that sounds like a MBA book? Well, this book is actually written by two architecture graduates turned MBAs, Parthajeet and Sibani Sarma. Reflections of both professions can be found in the narration. Also, the authors are sensitive to the factors that affect our lives on a day to day basis.

When addressing any problem, in the Probe stage, one is encouraged to understand the problem in hand and the needs of the end user. The data collected needs to be analysed in the next stage (Ponder) and the results to be incorporated in the final solution. This is the Prove stage, where the results are demonstrated, sometimes on a pilot basis or in full swing.

Because it is set in the current context of demonetization and issues of modern life, everyone would be able to identify with the book. What I loved about the book is how it drives across its point in the form of a tale. And it gives a ray of hope subtly that if we take decisions that suits our needs, our lives would also be better. Sometimes it may mean getting out of our comfort zones and taking the leap of faith, but if we know what we are doing and why, things may work out in our favour.

I personally thought the end of the book was too fast forwarded, as if one had rationed the number of pages that could go in the book.

That not withstanding, you would definitely like the book.

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Father is a Hero

For a little girl, her father is her first hero, whatever his shortcomings may be. 

This book is a story of how Vaibhav, a young father, becomes a hero in the eyes of his eleven year old daughter, Nisha. Things seem to going on smoothly with Nisha doing well in her studies, and also getting groomed to become a professional singer one day. Her role model is Rihanna, the pop star.

Suddenly, their low-on-luxuries life changes drastically. Nisha seems to have transformed into a completely different person, behaving inexplicably - skipping classes, doing miserably in studies, missing music lessons, entering into fights with her friends, and more.  

A ray of hope is seen when Vaibhav comes to know about an upcoming concert of Rihanna in Sydney. With his limited means, a trip to Australia seems impossible, but he chooses to go for it, for his daughter.

However, they miss the concert as Vaibhav had misread the timings on the tickets.

What will they do now? Will Nisha get to meet her role model? Will she return back to normal? Will Vaibhav be able to rise to the occasion? Read this book to find out answers to these questions, and many more.

I found this book to be written in simple English that portrays the relationship of father and daughter, and varying emotions very well. I will give it 3 stars out of 5, but will recommend for a light, enjoyable read.  

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cabbing all the Way

If you have had the experience of commmuting to and from office in a cab shared by colleagues, or are currently doing so, you would be able to identify with the book right away. Don't worry if you have not had this "exposure" - it is a book that can be enjoyed, nevertheless.

The story revolves around few colleagues who have to travel a fair amount of distance to reach office, using various modes such as overcrowded public transport, autorickshaws, pooling on two wheelers, etc. Needless to say, the idea of a cab is welcomed by everyone as it seems to take care of the common challenge. However, things are easier said than done. 

After the initial hiccups, issues such as people not reaching their pickup points on time, girls requesting for doorstep pickups and drop offs, especially if it is raining, start cropping up.

Jatin Kuberkar, in his simple narration style, portrays each situation with care and brings out the straits in each character. From colleagues, they become friends who provide tips to each other in critical moments, and also develop special bonds.

Nothing remains the same, but coping with change is also important. The book ends with a positive note.

I would give this book 3 stars out of 5.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

03:02 by Mainak Dhar


Have you ever given it a thought that how much we are dependent on electricity and technology? And ever considered a life without any of it?


On a fateful night, the world we are so comfortable in just came to a standstill at 03:02 AM. No power, no gadgets, no cars. Aaditya, the protagonist, along with many others, initially thinks it is a power cut of a larger scale and things would get back to normal soon. However, the reality sinks in soon. 

Aaditya rises to the occasion to help people think with a cool mind, and is joined by Kundu who helps to organize teams of people to different tasks, Nitish who rewires the generators to restore limited power supply, Mahadev who gets a few autos running in the same way, etc. Slowly as the gravity of the situation sinks in, neighbouring societies join together to face a common crisis. 

As the story unfolds, what seemed to be power failure transforms into a nuclear attack. Unfortunately no help from the government can reach... so civilians consisting of bankers, teachers, businessmen, students and domestic helps, and such common people join to form an army that has to face dangerous terrorists.

What I liked about the book is that unlike our expectations, things are not restored to normal. Yet, people find ways to keep going. 

03:02 is a gripping tale where people are inspired to find the light within themselves when there is darkness all around.



   

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Calling: Unleash Your True Self

Personally I hate books in the Self Help genre. The truth is that I am afraid of them, for they hold a mirror in front of you – a mirror that tells you many unkind truths.

Well, The Calling is not like that. You embark on a journey with Arjun, the protagonist, right from the beginning. Although your attitude might be "This is not my story, but Arjun's", you will find yourself identifying with the over stressed professional that Arjun is, torn between work and family. Maybe our own work life balance is not in a situation as bad as his, but if we do nothing about it, the difference would gradually disappear.

Arjun has a near fatal accident, and is miraculously brought back to life by a sadhu. On his insistence, Arjun embarks on a journey to Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib ji, a holy shrine set amidst the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh. Just like we have to sort our problems ourselves, Arjun finds himself alone at the start of his journey, as his best friend and travel companion, Jay was needed elsewhere.

Instead, he finds company in Chandu, his transporter, who is just 18 years old. Arjun is overwhelmed by the beauty around him, which he had ignored till then, only to witness events he did not understand. When asked, Chandu cheekily says, “It takes long, sahib”.

The best part of the book is when a second sadhu gives Arjun three tests… situations we are faced with in our own lives, that are deeper than they appear and it is how we respond that defines how our lives would ultimately be. Also, towards the end, Arjun realizes he was reaping effects of the seeds of misery he had sown himself. You would find yourself nodding as you realize that the protagonist is an extension of yourself, and his journey is actually leading you to that unkind mirror, where you can take a stronger look at your own actions.

It is a must read for all.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Agniputr - When Agni First Spoke

The story introduces a team of scientists who are engaged in research of paranormal activities. All is well till one young researcher disappears while investigating the sinister beliefs of a far flung village in Andhra Pradesh.

Shiela, boss of the missing scientist, Major Kant and two young researchers set out to find out the truth. The owner of the property that houses the secret to the mystery that looms over the little village is the charismatic Raghuram Surya, who is also a shrewd lawyer. What follows is a roller coaster ride full of fear, religious hocus pocus, political fights, hunger for power and more. Our scientific minds will refuse to accept paranormal stuff, but the writing style is so good that you would remain glued to the book, eagerly awaiting for a scientific explanation.

For example, when the explanation to discovery of parts of a motorcycle used by the scientist turns out to be a failed mission of dismantling the bike by local lads meaning to sell the parts off, our minds readily accept it.

The aftereffect of completing the book leaves you wondering at your own self. The demon is within ourselves, and there are people like tantriks who make a living out of our fears. 


The author very subtly encourages us to face any challenge that we are faced with, even if we are intimidated by it. We should trust the Almighty to be with us at all times, and believe that things would be sorted out at the end. We may lose something, but what God leaves us with is also priceless.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Flip

Let me set the mood for the book, before I tell you what I thought about it. Julie and Brad Evans are a couple who buys and sells properties in order to earn some money for a better future. The author uses the term "flip" in this sense: flipping of houses. Life for them continues to be mundane until they buy an ancient mansion, Bedlam House. What will they find in there?

The author puts forward an idea - although a house may have been vacated, the energy of the previous owners stay imprinted in the building; and the artifacts remain silent witnesses to many events.

As it happens, Bedlam House was not empty- there were spirits of Tessa Hemmings and Gerald Kanning who had not left the premises even though they had died quite a while ago. Playful and teasing by nature, Tessa not only enjoys teasing Gerald who had always been in awe of her, but also scaring human beings off the property. She takes fancy to Brad, and needless to say, hates his wife Julie. She tries to harm Julie while she was alone in their home, but the tables are turned when Brad and Julie decide to shift to Bedlam House as they have nowhere else to go to.

When I read the blurb, I was sceptical about the book for I am not very fond of paranormal settings. However, this book is quite enjoyable. The relationships between Brad and Julie, their friends and associates Sal and Willy, Tessa and Gerald have been portrayed beautifully. The confusion felt by each character as they individually feel that something is not so normal in there is vivid. 

Read the book to discover the secrets of Bedlam House and how "The Flip" turned out for Brad and Julie!
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