Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Review: Graffiti by Joanie Pareria

Book Title: Graffiti 
Author: Joanie Pariera
Publishing House: Author House
Available format(s): ebook 
Genre: Fiction, Comedy, Drama



I picked up Graffiti through Book Review program on Writersmelon.com. Graffiti showcases a medley of human emotions, from bereavement to elation. It is a fine depiction of the central characters, which are Rene, Vipin, Pournami, Upi (Upasna), Mark and Agni. Narrated in first person, the story takes place simultaneously across Denver, Bangalore and Mumbai. 

Off late I've been reading a lot of ebooks on my kindle app, particularly for the convenience it offers over a paperback. So, I had instantly applied for this one thinking the same. However, I couldn't finish this book at one go, and it did take me longer than usual to read it entirely. But having said that, it mustn't daunt a reader to pick this one up.

Joanie takes the story of each character and describes it well. In my opinion, the initial pace of the book is slow but it does keep a read engaged to a certain extent. However, certain place the story seem to dawdle a bit. She has depicted the pain and the emotions of losing a loved one - one's spouse - somewhat realistically. Most of the chapters are peppered with some playful banter and awkward hilarity that is charming. 

The author has aptly tag-lined Graffiti to be a sensual, tragic, sexomedy; which readily I agree. All in all a good, emotional read.

About the Author:

Joanie Pariera (Pen Name), has apparently been thinking about writing fiction since the time she learned to say the word ‘pencil’. It came to be, that that was the first word her parents taught her to say. According to them, she then made up her own word for it just to see them squirm. 

She likes to think she is a master of many things, including making up words. To start with she has two master’s degrees. She cooks, keeps house, codes and programs, and until recently used to write specifications for Information Systems for a living. Having travelled extensively, she has self-assimilated the cultural nuances of various unsuspecting anthropological groups and stealthily continues to put down her impressions in her writing. 



Book Review: Skyfire by Aroon Raman

Book Title: Skyfire
Author: Aroon Raman
Publishing House: Pan Macmillan India
Available format(s): ebook and paperback
Genre: Fiction; Thriller
Pages: 256




Blurb: 
May 2012. India is hit by a series of freak weather disturbances and startling epidemics that threaten to bring the country to its knees. At the same time, children are disappearing from the slums in the capital and nobody seems to care. Stumbling upon these strange and seemingly unrelated incidents, journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence operative Syed Ali Hassan start upon a trail that leads them into the drawing rooms of Delhi's glittering high society before reaching a terrifying climax in Bhutan, where they come face-to-face with a force of unspeakable power and evil.


My Review:

One word: Unputdownable. I am so glad to have picked this book up. Though the initial pace of the book is slow, it catches up as the author describes the fine details of each of the freak weather disturbances and unusual natural occurances. The character sketches of the main protagonists, the trio of Chandrashekhar, Meenakshi Pirzada and Syed Ali Hassan have also been defined very well, each of them have a key role in the plot. 

Overall, a pacy and a racy read, not a single dull moment! Now I'm compelled to read the first two of his books as well.




This is review is a part of the Flipkart book review program; I've recieved the book in exchange of an honest, unbiased review. I thank Flipkart for shortlisting me for to review this book.

Monday, October 17, 2016

How to raise kids in a digital era


The rise of social media and the access to it has baffled many generations. Although it is deemed a good thing to have technology play a key role in connecting people, there's also a flip side to it.

Here to explain how kids can get affected by excessive and unrestricted use of social media is Arti Tuteja, a certified hypnotherapist. In a guest post on my blog, Arti explains how parents can take some steps to prevent the ill-effects of social media.



How to raise kids in a digital era

Social media and growing segments of technology are literally unstoppable. Even the tech giants are not keeping any stone unturned to do their best in the field - we mean Facebook, Google, and Twitter. However, raising a generation or our own children can get tricky in such times.
Noticeably, technology has overtaken a significant part of parents and children’s lives. Parents are equally involved with the social media trend as the kids are, leaving very less time to enjoy together. The old generation grew playing with toys or cartoon characters; whereas the current generation is growing up with latest gadgets.

Excessive use of social media can also affect children’s. According to a study, 15% of teens say they were the target of online cruelty. 55% of teens have given out personal information to someone they don‘t know, including photos and physical descriptions. The outcome of such action is not only dangerous but can also fill them with anxiety and fear.

However, there's always a specific role to be played which can bring the change when followed. As parents, we need to understand this basic and significant point, "children follow examples, not advice." Remember, if your kid has been taught only in school, your kid is illiterate. 
As a hypnotherapist, I have attended many kids facing hard times alone, because of unavailability of their parents. Or when they are unable to open up with their parents, which is very important for their development.

So here, I am sharing some tips which you can follow to raise your kid, without losing the balance between technology and true essence of childhood in this digital era. 

1. Prioritize digital time and real communication:
We need to prioritize the web and digital time off, it's very necessary for both parents and children. Agreed, our children's can attain a lot of knowledge or we can learn new things to stay in flow with the trend, however, "real communication is important for every relationship".  Create a social media wall. Always try to make time for your child, where you can share genuine time and develop the basic guidelines of a human being.
On the flip side, you also need to create a distance from social media. As mentioned, your child will follow your example.

2. Deal calmly with your child:
Let's face the fact. Even after trying our best to keep our child guarded against unsolicited information about sexuality, pornography etc., it will reach them at some point of time. Irrespective of age or gender, try to deal with them calmly. Help them to learn the right side of the coin - sexuality or pornography. If they can learn the right information from you, why would they go to anybody else?

3. Saving children from information overload
The internet is a place where you can question anything, and you will receive an answer. Courtesy goes to the search engines. But there’s much information which is not required for a 9-year-old kid. That's where you play the tough role; you have to teach them how to choose what is important, authentic and required. For e.g., when we go to shopping with kids, they want everything they find attractive. But considering their needs we don't buy all of them. Similarly, teach them what they need, not what they want.

4. Give them personal attention:
Juggled up between our professional and personal life, a lot of times we end up paying very less attention to our kids. But learn this, no matter what, kids will always enjoy the personal attention of parents as compared to playing with gadgets.

5. Teach them the importance of physical health and postures:
Emphasize the importance of physical health and posture, to your kids. Posture ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting a good night's sleep and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.


Also, kids involved in physical activities have a better chance of avoiding problems related to obesity. Children that are active physically are more likely to make wise dietary and health choices in adult life.

About the author:
Arti Tuteja is a world renowned hypnotherapist and NLP (Nuero 'linguistic' Programming) and EFT Coach in The Change Associates in Dubai, where she deals with client’s concerns or inner conflicts ranging from anxiety, panic attack, bingeing, thumb sucking, fears, self-confidence, study improvement, smoking, weight management just to name a few.

She can be reached at www.artituteja.com


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Review: Stories of Work, Life and the Balance in Between by Tomson Robert


Book Title: Stories of Work, Life and the Balance in Between
Author: Tomson Robert
Publishing House: The Write Place
Available format(s): ebook and paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction


Blurb:

Are you stuck in a job you don’t love? Are you made to do flunky work in office? Do you struggle to balance work and life? Do you want to quit your job and start a business of your own? Do you wonder about the meaning of love and life? If these questions apply to you, then this book is for you. This book is a collection of 10 contemporary short stories based on the corporate world and life in general. Although these stories are a work of fiction, they capture real life situations and dilemmas that I have seen and faced. Each story is aimed to leave the reader with a message. I believe these can help you answer the above questions. If not, I have tried my best to keep the stories as humorous and entertaining as possible.

My Review:

Yet again, I thank the good folks at writersmelon.com for sending me this ebook for review. This book entails the author, Tomson Robert's fictional accounts of his corporate life and his personal life. Through 10 contemporary short and crisp stories, the situations one usually faces in work life are highlighted through various perspectives - the boss, the employee, etc. I found it entertaining and a quick read to be completed in a single sitting (1 hour max) as it is about 70 pages long. My favourite story from the lot is 'How You Became A Horrible Boss'. All the stories are generously sprinkled with humour and make it a light read.


About the author: 
Management Consultant by day and amateur author by night. Husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable baby girl and raised (along with a smart younger brother) by loving parents in God’s Own Country (a.k.a Kerala, India). Currently living in Dubai and working for a consulting firm.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review - Corpokshetra by Deepak Kaul



Book Title: Corpokshetra - Mahabharata in the MBA Yug
Author: Deepak Kaul
Publishing House: Westland Ltd. & Bloody Good Book
Available formats: ebook & Paperback 

Corpokshetra ebook book
The amusing book cover. Image source: amazon.in


Blurb:

The Pandavas have returned home after 13 years of exile. And they are demanding their stake in Hastinapur Inc. But the Kauravas, led by the haughty Duryodhana, aren’t ready to give them a penny. The battle lines are drawn, only this war is in the present-day Kurukshetra - the corporate boardroom.
As the Kauravas and the Pandavas don their sharpest suits, Krishna - the wily Consultant - strategies for peace. This is a humorous, modern take on the Mahabharata (with due apologies to Rishi Ved Vyas). An epic story retold for the MBA generation.



Thanks to Writersmelon.com, I recently got my hands on Corpokshetra by Deepak Kaul. This book is a modern corporate twist to the tale of epic proportions - The Mahabharata. As rightly described, it is retelling of the Mahabharata for the MBA generation.

It is the story of all the beloved and celebrated characters, but in a corporate boardroom. Where Lord Krishna is running a successful international CSR consultancy. Kansa is the CEO of Mathura Corp and Lord Indra is the chairman of Govardhan limited. When Kauravas are back from their exile they demand a stake in Hastinapur Inc. Instead of the battlefield, here the battle is in the boardroom with wit and politics as the weapons.

Unlike in every corporate, the top bosses call the shots when the going goes tough. With all characters in place, the story starts a board meeting. (Guess what they also hangout at Starbucks!)
A well described story, Corpokshetra incorporates and merges all the corporate elements effortlessly. 

For a reader like me who always gets confused between characters of the original tale and has lesser knowledge of the nitty gritties, found this book a recap of the original tale, but with a twist of course. Interspersed with wit and humour, it makes for a quick and easy read.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: The Devil's Prayer by Luke Gracias


eBook: The Devil's Prayer
Author: Luke Gracias
Pages: 294
Genre: Thriller
Price: Rs. 189.58 (Amazon.in Kindle Edition)
Publisher: Australian eBook Publisher (18 February 2016)



The Devil's Prayer ebook
The Devil's Prayer by Luke Gracias

Blurb: 

A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago. 
In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul. 


As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors. 
And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it. 
Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction? 

My Review:

Needless to say the name of the book itself is intriguing. With a stellar start of a nun allegedly committing suicide, this book becomes unputdownable and captivating from the word go. The book is cleverly divided into four parts with each part seamlessly connecting the next. 

One can read the first three parts in quick succession; I found it difficult to tear away from the book (sacrificed some sleep in the process). The fourth section deals with a lot of research and details pertaining to religious history where the author has done a lot of his homework well and with supporting proof. It is here that I lost some interest, a tad too much history had me waiting for the cliffhanger. Eventually, I did finish reading it and boy, it has me waiting for the second part.(I really hope he writes it.)

I totally recommend this book to lovers of supernatural fiction. All I can say is, Mr Luke Gracias is certainly a Dan Brown in the making. Goosebumps guaranteed!



Disclaimer: I've received this ebook from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Are your ready-to-go in a Datsun redi-GO?

I’ve owned a two-wheeler (scooter) for long now. Though I use it less often than before, a two-wheeler has limitations over a four-wheeler. Limitations include: seating only two passengers, inconvenience riding in the monsoons, luggage space constraints, to name a few. One of the main reasons why my loved ones constantly caution me when I ride a bike is for the safety.

A two-wheeler may not provide the safety to the driver from a head-on collision or an accident. Not to sound pessimistic here, but having lived in a metropolis where for road rage incidents and road accidents are on the rise, women are recommended to purchase a hatchback meant for the city to drive safe. 

The other reason is for traffic. It cannot be stressed enough how the levels of traffic in a locale of a city plays a crucial role in the decision making process of taking the car for a spin or not.

And whilst contemplating the many options available in four-wheelers, particularly cars, I chanced upon this brand new car that symbolises Fun. Freedom. Confidence. The ultimate Urban Cross - Datsun redi-GO - the capability of a crossover with the convenience of a hatchback.
Datsun India has launched India’s first-ever urban cross car to cater to the current generation who are ‘always on the go’. Using the best of Japanese technology, Datsun has designed redi-GO car with a host of features; three of the following appeal to me the most to take this car for a spin:

1. Best-in-class Ground Clearance:
A much needed feature when you’re wading driving through water-logged streets full of puddles the size of Moon carters. With 185 mm ground clearance, smoothly sail over the craters like a moon rover.

2. Small Turning Radius:
If I have not stressed on the craziness of Mumbai’s traffic, let me highlight it more. There is barely any space for manoeuvring a car in neck-deep traffic. Moreover, this feature will be gold for parking in a tight spot. Datsun redi-GO promises to make a full turn-around with just a 4.7-metre turning radius.

3. Superior Air-Conditioning:
This may be seen as a trivial point to many, but with humidity levels that touch close to 90%, Mumbai certainly becomes hot during the peak summer months – April and May. Datsun redi-GO has air-conditioning that is optimized for the Indian weather conditions – which can be totally unpredictable.

Testing The Datsun redi-GO

The ultimate test of the Datsun redi-GO would undoubtedly be at the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. And that too in the upcoming monsoon season. Any Mumbaikar driving a car in Mumbai would know how traffic-clogged streets can become in the monsoon. I wish to test driving this car out in Andheri suburbs of Mumbai with a sole intention to check whether it is ideal for traffic city drive. I want to know whether a novice driver like me can safely reach home after being met with puddles, cacophony of the traffic-clogged streets with no or little room for manoeuvring.  

For a city-slicker like me, if the Datsun redi-Go promises to get me out of the peak rush hour traffic with smooth manoeuvring abilities; get me in and out of a tight parking spot and help me be safe and secure at all times, it will certainly help me beat the urban driving blues.


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