Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review - Corpokshetra by Deepak Kaul

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.


Monday, May 2, 2016

What's in your cup?

Of all the innovative ways of marketing content, there are some that stay in one's memory longer.

To cite an example, I still remember how innovatively a hand sanitizer company advertised their message by tying up with bhel puri wallahs. They served their message in the paper used by bhel puri wallahs which drove home the point of the importance of keeping ones hand clean after eating food.

Such and more innovative means not only effectively drives the message to the end users but also is recalled effectively in the long run. Just like I did :)
Thus it is imperative to break the clutter in marketing your products or services and stand out from the crowd.

Precisely what gingercup.com does!
Through innovative paper cup advertising and flyer advertising they make sure your brand stands out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review: The Honest Season


Book Title: The Honest Season
Author: Kota Neelima
Pages: 376
Genre: Political Fiction
Price: Rs. 206 (Amazon.in)
Publisher: Random House India





Blurb: 

Sikander Bansi, an unlikely political heir in Delhi, secretly records politicians in Parliament as they haggle to become cabinet ministers, bag defense contracts, dodge criminal charges and collect corporate largesse. Among them is a rising leader of the People’s Party, Nalan Malik, whose success has come through unscrupulous means. When Sikander suddenly disappears, Mira Mouli, a newspaper journalist with an unusual gift of knowing people’s thoughts, receives the controversial Parliament tapes along with clues to find him. She is attracted to Sikander’s principles and is wary of Nalan’s deceit. But her powers of knowing tell her a different story, one that she can unravel only at the cost of her life. From the bestselling author of Shoes of the Dead, this is disturbing political fiction that reveals why Parliament functions behind gates closed to the public.

About the Author:

Kota Neelima has been a journalist for over twenty years, covering politics in New Delhi, India. She is Senior Research Fellow, South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced international Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. Her recent academic research in India on perception seeks to develop a structure based on rural and urban voter choices .Her previous books include the bestselling Shoes of the Dead and Death of a Moneylender, among others. Also a well-known painter, Neelima’s works are a part of several collections in India and abroad, including the Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium.


My Review:

It would be an extremely rare case that I would pick up a book on politics. But the word fiction added to it certainly drew some intrigue. And boy, I'm glad I picked it up. Right from page one, the author does not let you put this book down. She has orchestrated the plot so beautifully, I thoroughly enjoyed all the twists and turns. Kota Neelima has a impeccable hold of the language and the subject matter that she is an expert in. Each page shows the amount of research that has gone into writing the book, and not leaving any loose strings. I would readily recommend this book to those who are uninterested in Politics as I am, because this is nothing short of a best-seller!

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

Thursday, April 14, 2016

5 key things to know about IndiPR.com


Influencer marketing is the latest buzzword riding the wave of content marketing. With brands now targeting influencers in the relevant product and service categories to create engagement that will eventually lead to sales, this trend seems here to stay.

Keeping this in mind, the pioneers of an systemic Indian Blogging Network have recently launched a system to automatically cherry pick the relevant influencers for a brand's campaign. This system is called IndiPR.com and is the brainchild of Indiblogger. Simply put, IndiPR acts as a content marketing platform for a brand's press releases.




Promising? Some reading and analysis of IndiPR's website and press release has made me highlight the salient features of this content marketing platform.


All it takes is one press release.

Since a press release is a bonafide public document stating clearly giving out all the information about the product or service, business or campaign to one and all, so one really cannot go wrong with it. It is a There are no 'relevant campaign information will be shared with shortlisted influencers' sort of declaration. It is all plain and simple and out there in the open. So bloggers will get to view and know what the campaign is all about and then apply for it if it is relevant to them.


Start with a free trial

At first you need not pay. You can use a one-time free trial to test the waters. A free trial allows you to get up to 5 blogposts. All you need to do is upload your press release after registering with IndiPR. And then after 72 hours, volia! Post 72 hours, relevant publishers/bloggers have utilized information from the press release, websites and other sources to create an article/ blogpost about the campaign. IndiPR estimates a 75% publishing rate on an average. Which means out of 10 at least 7 to 10 publishers/bloggers will publish the article on their blogs.

ETA: 72 hours 

All the magic happens in just 72 hours. The 72 hour clock starts ticking the moment the press release is out in the public. A steam-lined process flow makes it simple for anyone to understand. Within 12 hours of the press release being published, it is open to all to apply for the project. In the next 12 hours, the AITE automatically shortlists bloggers/publishers according to certain parameters like the relevance of the project to the publisher's blog theme and more. The blogger is notified as soon as possible, and can choose to accept or reject the project. If accepted, the remaining time can be utilized by the blogger to compose and publish the article on their blog and submit the blog link.
There are 5 stages to a blogger's application -( source: https://www.indiblogger.in/indione-faqs.php)
  • 1: Applied – In this stage, a request for publishing of a press release will be sent out as an email. You can apply to only one campaign at a time. So choose the one that best suits the content of your blog. The application process will be open for 12 hours from the time the project is posted on IndiPR.com.
  • 2: Shortlisted - AITE will automatically shortlist the best candidates for the project and if selected, you will receive an email with the subject line “Shortlisted - ”.
  • 3: Accept/Decline – In this stage, you have to accept or decline this project within 24 hours from the time the project is posted on IndiPR.com. If you reject this project, it will be passed on to the next publisher in the queue. Although a project could be passed on down the queue, the timelines will not change as the project has to be completed with 72 hours from the time the project is posted on IndiPR.com.
  • 4: Completed – Once you have ‘Accepted the project’, it cannot be declined. You will have to submit the article within a total of 72 hours from the time the project is posted on IndiPR.com. Once your status shows “Completed”, you will be able to apply for other projects. Please note that Businesses will rate your IndiPR articles on a scale of 1 – 5 and that these ratings will be by AITE.
  • 5: Paid – Payment will be made within 14 business days of the project being posted on IndiPR.com.



Fairness and Transparency

One thing that affiliate marketing and influencer marketing platforms lack is the transparency in the process of shortlisting. When there is manual shortlisting process involved, there are bound to be certain biases or certain errors in judgement. But with AITE in place one can be rest assured that an automated software make no judgement biases, no matter how many cookies you offer him.
And understanding the history of IndiBlogger, they have always maintain a fair stance and have more often than not been transparent about their processes. It is my belief, that they will continue to do so with IndiPR as well.
Brands can also rate a Blogger anonymously, using the following parameters (picked from: https://www.indipr.com/faqs)

  • 1 Star – Never Again - You will never see this publisher ever again
  • 2 Star – Acceptable - This publisher will be given a very low priority for future campaigns created from your account and feedback will be sent to the publisher.
  • 3 Star – Nice - This Publisher will be considered as an average individual and will only be given priority if the slots for your project haven’t been fulfilled.
  • 4 Star – Highly Usable - This Publisher will be considered above average and will be given a higher probability of being accepted when you come up with a similar project.
  • 5 Star – VIP - This publisher will be given top priority for your future campaigns with similar projects.

Win-win situation 

The real potential of a serious blogger is now slowly being realized as brands tie up with them for paid assignments. However, there are many bloggers who also want to take up paid projects at their leisure and whim. This platform can cater to all since all projects are time intensive. If its a paid project, the blogger would be remunerated withing 14 working days from the publishing date of the press release. And of course, the brand gets their article published on the desired number of blogs, thereby attaining their content marketing goal.

Post the launch, Renie Ravin, the Founder and CEO of IndiBlogger, said, “We believe that this system will help Influencers with fresh and new content on their site every day. In a way, you could be writing about the next Google without even realising its immense potential.” 

So what do you think of this brand new content marketing platform: Promising?
Yay or Nay?







Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: Ramayana The Game of Life - Stolen Hope


Book Title: Ramayana The Game of Life - Stolen Hope
Author: Shubha Vilas
Pages: 312
Genre: Mythology 
Price: (Paperback): INR 299
Publisher: Jaico Publishing

I was elated when I was directly contacted by the author Shubha Vilas to read and review 'Ramayana - The Game of Life - Stolen Hope' early in January this year after reading and reviewing the previous book in the 'The Game of Life' series. Pleased that this book landed in my lap just as soon as I took up the #HTBrunchBookChallenge 2016 for the first time ever. And it helps the criterion of the Brunch Book Challenge of having to read at least 3 books surrounding Indian context.

But perhaps the main reason for me to read the books - even though it is definitely not my favourite genre of reading - is that I haven't been lucky enough to know the entire story of Ramayana from my grandparents or parents. That somehow motivated me to read this book.




A beautiful note from the Author Shubha Vilas


About the Author: 

Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with a specialization in patent law. 

He has just launched his first book, Ramayana - The Game of Life Book 1 which is a modern rendition of the Ramayana with practical life lessons. 

His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He addresses their crucial needs through thought- provoking seminars on themes such as ‘Secrets of Lasting Relationships’, ‘Soul Curry to Stop Worry’ and ‘Work–Life Balance’ to name a few.

He believes that a good teacher, no matter how knowledgeable, always sees the process of learning and teaching simultaneously as an inherent aspect of personal and spiritual growth.

Shubha Vilas periodically interacts with the youth in premier institutes across the country, inspiring them to live a life based on deeper human values. Close to his heart is his role as a guide and teacher to school children, teaching foundation values through masterful storytelling.

He also helps individuals apply the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana and other dharmic traditions in dealing with modern- day life situations.

Source: LinkedIn.com


What I liked about this book:

You need not have to read the previous books to understand the overall story of Ramayana. 

This book helps you reflect on the teachings of Ramayana and apply it to your day to day life. This book not only narrates the story of Ramayana, but is packed with the interpretation of wisdom from the popular epic.


What I did not like about this book:

This book comes across as a mythological book, but is actually is a pleasing read. A lot to takeaway. I felt the length of this book is a mighty constraint for hardcore fiction readers like me who want their readings to be that hooks them, understandably this genre is not one.



Why you should read this book:


There are literally many nuggets of wisdom packed into this book. It took me a lot of time to read and review this book as mythology is really not my cup of tea, my I'm glad that I determinedly finished reading it.


Disclosure: I have received the author signed copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

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