Saturday, December 30, 2023

Book Review: The Secret Songster

Title: The Secret Songster

Author: Shyama Panikkar

Publisher: Self-Published

Type: Children's Fiction

Price: INR 399

When was the last time you read a book on birds?
Or a story about birds?

So, here's a wonderful book that I picked up for my little one lately.

The book is a short story about three birds, Sona the Shama, Chiru the Crow and Babli the Bulbul living in Bird Valley. 
These three birds are good friends with differing personalities, just like how children are. One is shy and introverted who dislikes attention, another is an extrovert and confident to tell the world and the other who needs that little extra nudge.

One day, the annual Bird Valley fair was declared, and a singing competition was going to be held. While Babli is super excited to perform, Chiru and Sona are not too confident about it.

This story is about believing in oneself and giving yourself a chance to shine. It also talks about what it means to support friends even when competing with each other. 

My favourite quote from the book:
"Sometimes, what other people say about us, starts defining us, and we forget who we really are, and what we are capable of."

The illustrations in this book are bright and colourful, making it difficult to put down once picked up. Perfect for gifting for Christmas, Birthday or simply for the love of books to early readers, ages 5-8.

Needless to say, my little one enjoyed this quick read. This easy-to-read simple story is bound to delight all age groups. The author, Shyama Panikkar, has also written two more books prior to this, all revolving around music. 

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Book Review - Forms of Hindu Deities

I recently got my hands on a colourfully illustrated book for children called Forms of Hindu Deities by Amita, the author of ‘Know India Series Books for Children’. This book is not just any Indian mythology book. It presents an objective view on our Indian mythologies and the stories around Hindu deities.

This illustrated book focuses on ten revered Indian Gods and Goddesses, namely Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Ganapati, Dattatreya and Indra.

The content in Forms of Hindu Deities differs a bit from what we, as millennials, heard and grew up to. We have listened to our grandparents and parents talk about characters from epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The stories that we learn did focus on good versus evil, bravery, sacrifice, but at the same time it also revolved around violence, revenge, deceit, hatred, vengeance, and war. Our generation may not have questioned over the intent of the characters’ actions, but the newer generation begs to differ.

This book changes the narrative in a refreshing way. Along with vividly bright images, the realistic attuned explanations that meet the intellectual needs of today’s generations, concise one to two sentence descriptions in simple and lucid language are indeed a welcome change. It does not focus on hatred, war, violence, deception, or any such hidden agenda.

I would recommend this book for young kids, between ages of 2 to 6, who want to be introduced to the wonderful world of Indian mythology.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Book Review - Irrationally Passionate: My Turnaround from Rebel to Entrepreneur by Jason Kothari

Title: Irrationally Passionate: My Turnaround from Rebel to Entrepreneur

Author: Jason Kothari 

Publisher: HarperBusiness

Type: eBook (Kindle edition)

Price: INR 101 

Pic source:

While a college student at Wharton, Jason Kothari scraped together money from family and friends to save his childhood favourite comic book company, Valiant Entertainment, from bankruptcy and bring it back to life. A few years later, he transformed Valiant into the third-largest superhero entertainment company in the world after Marvel and DC Comics and sold it for $100 million. Jason then became a professional turnaround leader and went on to transform distressed Indian Internet icons, FreeCharge and Snapdeal, helping save billions of dollars in value, and advise giants like technology investor Softbank and real estate developer Emaar, who have invested billions of dollars in India.
Irrationally Passionate reveals the inside story of how a rebel, train-wreck kid transformed himself into a successful young entrepreneur and business leader who became one of the top ten paid executives in India while only in his 30s. From getting his first job as an assistant to Jackie Chan in Hong Kong, to learning strategy from champion Muay Thai fighters in Thailand, to tackling huge personal setbacks, to becoming a CEO in 60 seconds, among many other stories - Jason's inspiring journey across countries, industries and companies has something for everyone, right from students to entrepreneurs to corporate CEOs to even parents of students and entrepreneurs. Irrationally Passionate is a highly personal, authentic, open, and complete account of a young entrepreneur's life. Brimming with practical advice and philosophical insights, it will force readers to reflect on how they perceive life, work, family, and spirituality by giving them a fresh perspective.

My Review:
When the good folks at chose me to read and review this book, I assumed I was in for a boring second-person account of an entrepreneur's journey. Boy was I wrong. This book is his own account of how he shaped his rebellious self into an entrepreneur, moreover, a credible name as a turnaround king and a sought after entity in the business world.

His first-person account starts on how he recognized and developed his business acumen from a very young age. The account of how he haggled a chess set for himself as a souvenir during a family trip displayed his likeness towards business. Jason kept moving from one city to another on account of his father’s job. During this time, he explains also faced racism and bullying in the many places he stayed during his childhood. 
His love for comic books is evident which nurtured into a passion and determination for saving and building Valiant Comics to becoming the third-largest superhero franchise after heavyweights Marvel and DC.
Jason's passion for comics also helped him learn the ropes of business in his teenage days. His favourite Valiant comics comic book characters taught him certain life lessons: “One of my most sacred beliefs is that thoughts become things, the latent becomes manifest. Would-be entrepreneurs shouldn’t just guard their words, but their minds as well. The subconscious is extremely powerful. What you put in, you get out.” 
One of the most difficult hurdles for anyone doing business is how they face problems. Either you deal with them or run away from them. Jason learned early on to face problems head-on than to run away from them - a wise lesson for all, not just budding entrepreneurs. 

Like many success stories, his too had some setbacks. Jason got into bad habits and bad company but gradually realized and learnt from the mistake. This too he took it into his stride with the lesson: A failure or setback is not the end of everything. 
A resounding concern from his mother nagged him and a sound piece of advice from his sister-in-law helped him bounce back to his goal - ‘Jason, you just need to ask yourself: where are you now, what do you want to do, and how are you going to get there from today.’ 
He also channeled his energies in becoming more fit through martial arts like Muay Thai which also taught Jason a lot of lessons that he took to the boardroom. 
“Pain was a non-factor; train your brain to say, ‘Something hurts? So what? Continue. Keep going,”” was an enriching outcome of his experience with the Martial arts masters.

The book entails more such experiences of his career and how he launched himself from business school to becoming the CEOs of Snapdeal, and and an established turnaround expert.

What I Liked:
The inspiring journey faced with ups and downs. 
Especially the nuggets of wisdom, such as: -  “....running towards, not away, from personal weaknesses—became a habit I cultivated and later pushed to extremes in life and business”.

A major highlight is that how Jason repeatedly says how entrepreneurship need not be inherited or ingrained. It is a combination of passion, determination and focus.

The writing and narration is lucid and the book is easy to read.

What I didn't like:
Nothing much to not like, however I felt that some chapters were a little too long that drawled at but and kept the reader off focus. 

A good read for those who crave for a dose of inspiration for building their own entrepreneurial success story.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Review: Eleventh Hour by S. Hussain Zaidi

Title: Eleventh Hour

Author: S. Hussain Zaidi

Publisher: Harper Collins

Type: Paperback

Price: INR 299
Eleventh Hour Book Cover - Source:

New Delhi, 2017. It is nine years since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai and the wounds have still not healed. Especially not for Superintendent of Police Vikrant Singh, who ends up landing a slap on the High Commissioner of Pakistan's face when he meets him at an event. Meanwhile, in Bhopal, five members of the Indian Mujahideen, arrested by Vikrant, break out of the Central Jail. Vikrant, suspended for the diplomatic disaster, is unofficially asked to assist the team in tracking the escaped terrorists. In another part of the country, a retired tycoon, a heartbroken ex-soldier and a young woman dealing with demons of her own embark on a journey of self-discovery aboard a cruise liner from Mumbai to Lakshadweep. Fate, however, has other plans, and the cruise liner is hijacked. Racy and riveting, this is Hussain Zaidi at his best.

My review:
I’m a sucker for crime thrillers and if it has to do with investigators and detectives then I’m all game. Coincidentally, I’m typing this at the eleventh hour as I’m a little behind schedule in posting the review, but I’m glad I picked this book up for review. 

Eleventh Hour by S. Hussain Zaidi has all the makings of a high-octane, fast-paced thriller that talks about the cat-and- mouse chase of the country's Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the terrorist group. It starts with a reference point of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai that transpired in the year 2008 and what is going to transpire nine years later in 2017. 

The story begins with a bang, quite literally when an irate SP Vikrant Singh punches a Pakistani diplomat for not delivering justice to the victims of the 2008 terror attack. It revolves around the efforts of this passionate and patriotic officer and his senior Mirza - the mentor-protege duo - and how go about catching the culprits and bringing them to book whilst preventing a major bloodbath. The beauty of it all is that it all boils down to the eleventh hour.
The author does a great job in storytelling and it is easy to paint the scenes in your head while reading. Also gives us a glimpse of how the minds of the IB and police work in the country. The camaraderie between Mirza and Vikrant is well-written. One aspect can also work well for an anti-smoking campaign (ha ha!). Besides the fact that it has an engrossing  storyline, it also has all the makings of a thrilling Bollywood script. 

What I liked:
Gripped me from the very first page. It’s a rare trait for books now-a-days.
Secondly, the surprise element right at the end of the climax caught me by surprise.
Thirdly, a Mumbaikar can easily relate to the locations mentioned in the book.

What I disliked:
I found it easy to identify one of the culprits. 

What I feel:
A must-read for thriller buffs like me. Cannot put it down.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: Job Be Damned - Rishi Piparaiya

Book Review: Job Be Damned

Job Be Damned book cover
The Book

Title: Job Be Damned
Author: Rishi Piparaiya
Publisher: Harper Collins
Type: Paperback
MRP: INR 299


Work Less. Career Success.

Do you think you’re a hardworking professional who has a lot to offer? Are your ideas brighter than everyone else’s in your team? Did you deserve a standing ovation after your last performance appraisal? Even if the answer to these questions is a resounding yes, do you still find yourself trailing behind corporate losers – the devil boss who takes all the credit; the slimy politician who stole your promotion; the sweet-talking weasel whom everyone seems to love? Job Be Damned is the kick in the backside that you so desperately need. This book recognizes that you are an average employee and ensures that, by the time you’re done reading it, you’ll be the best average employee there can be. You will gain a unique perspective to help navigate every tricky workplace situation-and unmatched bullshit-doling and handling capabilities to wing it through your spectacularly unexciting job. After all, isn’t that what corporate success is all about?

My review:

What attracted me towards this self-help book, you ask. The DAMN interesting blurb, of course! 

Right from the word go, the author has you hooked. His uncanny way of describing the inner workings of any company - be it a start-up or an MNC - is simply hilarious to the tee. He describes, sarcastically of course, the ‘better’ way of doing things - does not matter if you are a fresher or a part of middle-management. Rishi does justice in the description of the work atmosphere in various types of organisations, even Public Sector Units. In a rib-tickling manner, he highlights the inner workings and well-known but taken-for-granted details in the job way of life.

Designed as a self-help book of sorts, he suggest you ‘stop wasting time’ and try and follow the ‘principles’ he suggests. They are bound to fit perfectly well with any and every type of Indian job scenario. Rishi cites ‘anecdotes’ or real-life examples as proof of the ‘principles’ he asks you to imbibe and follow in order to ‘Work Less. (And achieve) Career Success.’ Needless to say, these anecdotes are guaranteed to leave you in splits!

When reading this book, you cannot help but sit back and reflect on how you must have acted in those typical situation in any job.

What I liked:

No matter which junction of your career you are in, you can relate to most things written in this book.

What I didn’t like:

The fact that I can’t read this when I’m in office. My boss won’t look too pleased if I keep sniggering like maniac!

What I feel:

If you are a fresher or a highly experienced professional, do give this book a read. Fans of Dilbert’s comic strip are going to love this for sure. You might just learn a thing or two or can just simply reflect back on those DAMNED days! If this is a series, I'm looking forward for the next one!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Why air purifiers are the need of the hour

The deteriorating air quality in our country is there for all to see. Dealing with impure air is a battle that each one of us goes through day in and day out. Various cities including the national capital are suffering from the after-effects of increased air pollution and subsequent diseases of the lungs, nose, skin, etc. Breathing in contaminated air can make us more prone to various acute and chronic respiratory illnesses like bronchitis, asthma and various allergies. Air purifier as a concept may have been a novelty few years back, but in today’s times it has become an absolute necessity.


The deteriorating air quality is leaving us breathless, however, the quality of air indoors is no different. Many schools were recently closed down in the capital due to the alarming air quality. Such steps become the need of the hour, because kids are most vulnerable to air pollution.They spend a lot of time indoors playing or studying. The air outside combines with the indoor air, hence making it difficult for kids and elderly people to breathe clean air. This makes a case for investing in a roomair purifierWhen an appliance like an air purifier is installed in a room, it removes contaminants from the air, making it cleaner. 

Prior to purchasing one for your home, consider the room size, the type of filter in the device, the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), and the air changes per hour. Air purifiers can be categorized on the basis of their coverage area. Some can cover an area of 450 sq. ft. while some can cover a 300 sq. ft. room. Depending on this factor, the air purifier price differs. 

Also, you can determine the different price brackets basis the CADR. Livpure is one such brand having a wide product range. You can browse through and make the right choice as per your needs and budget. You can buy one for your home and another for your car as well! 
Check out to get more information. 

Livpure Air Purifier

Livpure Car Air Purifier

Friday, January 5, 2018

How to keep kids safe from mosquitoes

Picture this:
Under the open sky, your kids are playing in the park with wild abandon, while you open the picnic basket with packed goodies for you and your family. As the sun sets, there's a smile on your face as you sit on the grass sipping juice and watching your children be happy.

Frankly, a mother like me would actually 'freak out' at the prospect of letting kids go free and wild in the open air surroundings. The probability of getting bit by mosquitoes is too high and is not one that is cherished. Not just kids, adults too are prone to mosquito bites that can increase the chances of diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya. And if you would have thought that wearing full-sleeved tops and bottoms is fine to avoid getting bitten, guess again! Not just in playgrounds and gardens, we need to protect ourselves and our family in indoor places too.

As parents, most of our focus lies around our kids, with them being the centre of our universe. However, they cannot be figuratively tied to a leash, kept indoors all day and be disallowed from exploring their surroundings. In fact, the more the kids explore and figure out things by themselves, the faster they learn.

So how do we solve this conundrum?

As it is rightfully said, prevention is better than cure. It is perhaps best to prevent mosquitoes from biting you and your kids. There are some ways and means to protect yourself and your kids from mosquito bites:

Clear out stagnant water
Stagnant water is said to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. These insects are known to lay their eggs in the water which breed rampantly and infest your home. You out to check the flower pots, the roofs, the verandah and your bathroom for sitting water that may act as breeding pools. This must be done time and again, especially in the rainy season.

Placing herbal plants
It is believed that plants and trees like Tulsi (holy basil), Neem and Lavender are helpful in killing mosquito larvae. Once the larvae are under control, it can help in curbing and controlling the population of mosquitoes.

Using repellents
One of the ways is using a safe mosquito repellent. The idea of a repellent is to repel the mosquitoes by preventing them from landing or coming close. Although there are multiple brands in the market, the renowned brand, Good knight has designed repellents in the form of non-sticky gels, patches and fabric roll-ons that are 100% natural and provide up to 8 hours of protection from mosquitoes.

Good knight Cool Gel

Good knight Patches

You can easily stick the patches onto your child's clothes or apply the aloe gel when they are playing on the playground. The mosquito repellent's aloe gel is a natural element that is not only cooling but also works like a charm. You can safely use this mosquito repellent for infants by sticking the patches on cribs.

By using the ways that are in the best interest of you as well as your family, say goodbye to your fears of getting bitten!

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