Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review - The Old Man and The Nymph



About the Book
Title: The Old Man and the Nymph
Author: Vipin Behari Goyal
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
ISBN: 978-163102608-9
No. of Pages: 192
Price: 140 INR
Genre: Fiction
  
About the Author

Born (1954) and brought up in Ajmer, Rajasthan, Vipin Behari Goyal did his post-graduation in Botany followed by a degree in Law. After completing his education, he worked for a bank and then joined the Rajasthan Government where he presently works as a financial advisor.

His previous work includes a travelogue about Pushkar, Hindi poetry collection and popular English novels "Tall man small shadow" and "Maya in search of Tantric father." Connect with him at www.vipinbeharigoyal.blogspot.com

The Cover Speaks

The cover page of the book depicts an old man lurking on a tree and a naked girl with wings sitting down with mushrooms around. The cover goes with the title of the book but leaves the reader in the curiosity to find out how the book connects a story with the picture depicted at the front.

Synopsis

The book is based on Greek Mythology which describes four types of nymphs. These are the nymphs of water, clouds, plants and underworld. Incarnated as beautiful nubile girls who were full of passions each of them enticed old man to satisfy their sensual desires. They loved to laugh, dance and had fun in breaking the rules of the society of mortals. What happened when the three of them met with Colonel under the same roof ? One of them had escaped from Colonel in her past birth and had gone underworld. What would she do now? A strange story set in Indian context.

Book Review

The book is divided into four parts namely The old man, The nymph, The colonel and The secret of water meadow. These four parts are set to weave a complete story but I think the author was not successful in conveying the real story. Actually the story is based on Indian Philosophy of Samyakh Darshan. Any reader unaware of that will not be able to understand what the author is trying to convey. The story seems scattered in bits and pieces and one will loose interest in the way. Somewhere the story picks up but at the very next page the languid description might ask the reader to put down the book. But the sensuous topic of young beauties enticing the old men might ask the reader to continue with the book. The story seems more of a fiction where a father is wooed by a young girl (relative) and the wife pays no attention, instead finds nothing wrong in it. The daughter aware of the lurking danger beside her steps ahead to indulge in activities and starts finding pleasure in it. If one tries to connect it with the real world, the story stands impotent. But if one tries to get the hidden meaning of the story then the author wins in explaining the Indian philosophy of Prakriti and Purush.

My Rating
 3/5

¡Salud!
JJJ


Monday, March 31, 2014

As Life Has No Undo - Book Review


About the Book
Title: As Life Has No Undo
Author: Abir Mukherjee
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
ISBN: 978-163102263-0
No. of Pages: 301
Price: 160 INR
Genre: Fiction
  
About the Author

Abir Mukherjee is an IT professional, working in an MNC, Tech Lead who loves to sketch and write in spare time, currently residing at US. This is his debut novel. He is a book bug and a movie freak, who also like to watch cricket in spare time.

The Cover Speaks

The book looks like the last page of an engineer's note book, scribbled all over with some hearts with the name of the dream girl, some logic gates from Digital Electronics, some sketches, some faces, some doodles, just making the entire page full of a complete life story.

Synopsis

Campus interviews are around the corner for the final-year students of Burdwan Engineering College. Everyone is busy honing their skills at the last minute except Ankit who wishes to see his parents for the last time.
Ankit, a simple boy and mediocre student from a lower middle class Bengali family has only two aims in his life-to become a computer engineer per his parents wish and to spend his entire life with Shreeja, the lady love of his life. Shreeja is pretty, ambitious and career oriented. What happens when Debdeep walks into their lives?
Does Ankit have more things to lose than he ever imagined? Have you ever loved someone more than yourself? Have you ever felt the need of a undo button in your life?
This may be your story.

Book Review

The story appeared a real story to me. It was as if the author was very honest to his pen and wrote down the tragic tale to console himself and many others like him. Every word came out from his heart and a real story camouflaged in the name of fictional characters.

The story is about the tenth grade student Ankit, who falls for the most arrogant girl at his tutions out of a silly bet with his friend. Eventually he weaves his entire cosmos around her. He even puts his studies at stake just to be with her and opts a local engineering college just to be with her for the next four years. But the girl who was the most innocent to him takes a turn after six years of relationship and his entire life is shattered into pieces. The new best friend comes out as a cheater while the old ones still stick to him and supports him. But what happens when a lovelorn student starts finding pleasure in the puffs of cigarette, how he devastates his career, how his family reacts, how old school friends pull him back, why he finds easy to die than to live, why he turns completely insane, how life moulds him into a tough person and much more.

This is a very familiar story which many of us might have heard or might have gone through. The author was able to maintain the grip in the story though the plot crawled very slowly, sometimes getting elongated unnecessarily but build the scenes well enough. What is important, the author came out successful in proving his point that life is more precious than the ones who just don't give a shit to you. Live for the ones you love and you will love life.

My Rating
 3/5

¡Salud!
JJJ

Ebbs & Flows - Book Review


About the Book
Title: Ebbs & Flows
Author: Amitava Chaudhuri
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
ISBN: 978-163102219-7
No. of Pages: 125
Price: 100 INR
Genre: Short Stories
  
About the Author

Amitava Chaudhuri is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and presently works with the Indian Railways. Writing is his passion, and he has written more than 50 poems. His first novel was published in 2009. Amitava is married to Ranjita, and is the proud parent of Ayan, aged 13, and Ananya, who is 9 years old. Presently, he is posted in the beautiful Railway township of Chittaranjan.

The Cover Speaks

The book wraps some stories inside a cover of Ebbs & Flows of the river water flowing steadily under the hue of sunset.

Synopsis

Imagine, a person you have wronged years ago suddenly returns to haunt your life. Or-you are faced with a situation where fate challenges you to dare follow the lofty things you had so openly preached. Or-a man who shamelessly boasts of his achievements suddenly finds his lie turning into a beautiful reality. Or-you discover a rather sinister side of the person you had secretly worshipped.
These situations can be faced by any of us. Correction-probably by none of us. That is because we are common people, destined to lead an ordinary life. However, no power in the world can stop even the most common of common men from imagining.
The answer to these imaginations is a tide of emotions-some joyful, some slightly depressing. But then, that is life-ebbs and flows of emotion.

Book Review

The book contains several short stories from daily life. Each story is so simple, so realistic, that might have happened to you, teaching a lesson each. It makes the reader ponder for a while and question himself what I might have done if I were him? A nice read, smooth and swift, teaching some lost forgotten lessons which we, the grown-ups, often forget in the fast moving life.

My Rating
 3/5

¡Salud!
JJJ
 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Malaysia Malanga

It was 1 a.m. and after a hectic day at office, I went to sleep. But how can I sleep peacefully before checking the daily updates on my social media profile. I logged in on my phone and looked for any red mark 'notifications'. There were 10 odd updates from friends and some communities but the one which dilated my sleepy eyes was from 'Cyanide and Happiness'. I clicked on it which took me to the page having following comic strip.















I couldn't resist laughing. A day ending at a peaceful note is all what everyone wishes for and if it ends with laughter gags, what more a tired brain needs. I wished I too become Cyanide and command for 'Happiness' wishes. My body demanded rest and I succumbed to its wish. ZZzzzZZZZzzzzzz.

Soon the alarm rang. Yeah!!! it's always 'soon' when alarm buzzes. It was already eight in the clock and I needed to rush to office again. 

"Where is the yellow file, Mummaaaaa??" I cried as I packed up the bag. 
"Which one???? The old torn file???"
"Yesss.. it wasn't old. I got it just a week back from my Boss."
"Ohh!!! I had put it with the old newspapers in the store-room."
"Ahhhhh..." I almost pulled my hair and rushed downstairs.

I ransacked the store-room full of unnecessary unused items. After a thorough sight-search from left to right, I found my file lying in the rightmost nook under an old lamp. I grabbed the lamp to put it aside and pull the file underneath it. But suddenly the room filled up with smoke and before I could clear up my throat to yell for help as I assumed short-circuit has happened, a Genie appeared before me half-hanging in the air. Yes!!! just like Aladdin's first encounter with Genie. I blinked my eyes twice to assure myself. A sweet girl-Genie with her head bowed down said,"My Highness!!!! Where can I toss you high???"

I was astounded to hear her. I stammered,"Aaaare yooou , are you real???"
She laughed and said,"Yes ma'am. I'm as real as you."
"Are you really a Genie who grants three wishes?"
"No Ma'am."
"Then ???."

"I'm Jinnie who grants one major wish along with five sub-wishes."
"Whaaa--aaa--tttttttt? Sub-wish? What is it."
"Ma'am I can grant you one wish and under that wish you can ask me to fulfill five other wishes associated with the one major wish."
"Ohhh!!!! Interesting."
"What can I ask for??"
"I'm a Travel-Jinnie. I can make you visit five places - your sub-wishes,  of one country - your major wish."
"Ahha!!! Yatradoot", I chuckled.

"Hurry up ma'am. My magical power will be relinquished if you don't ask your major wish within next five minutes."
"This early! Hawww. You come with an expiry date of your powers. Strange!!! Ohk, Let me think."
"Hurry up. Offer lasts for ten more seconds."
"Malaysia!", I spurted before the deadline.
"Great!!! A nice place to visit. Now you have thirty more minutes to ask for five sub-wishes."
"You are much like my Boss. Deadlines over deadline."

The Jinnie just shrugged with a smile. 

"Stop smiling. Smiles always kills. Can I google?"
"Yes Ma'am. You can google the doodle of your sub-wishes."

I quickly took out my mobile from the pocket and googled the whole Malaysia. After a careful scrutiny of all the tourist places, I nailed down at five must-see places in Malaysia.

"Okay Jinnie. I have decided my five sub-wishes. Here is the list."

1.Cameron Highlands, Pahang


I need a break from the relentless heat and humidity of my city.I have heard that the cooler temperatures and crisp breezes of Cameron offer an instant energy boost. I want to enjoy cool air, fresh strawberries and fragrant tea in one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations and stay in one of the many old English-styled guest houses such as the Ye Olde Smokehouse. 



2. Perhentian Islands


From past some time I'm craving for some sun-drenched rest and relaxation. The jungle-fringed white sand beaches and crystal waters of the Perhentian Islands are the perfect spot. There are two islands—Kecil, which is smaller and has a more backpacker vibe, and Besar, which offers more choice in terms of accommodation and a better standard. I want to hit the beach with a snorkel or dive trip and wile away a few hours in a hammock as the waves crash on the sand.



3. Kek Lok Si Temple


I will also seek God's blessings in Malaysia. So I wish to visit the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia, Kek Lok Si Temple which stands on top of a hill. I came to know that its temple complex is filled with beautifully-landscaped gardens and sacred temples. A striking seven-tiered pagoda called The Pagoda of 1000 Buddhas – which combines Thai, Chinese and Burmese styles in one structure - houses a stunning collection of Buddha statues made from all sorts of precious materials. Also the statues of The Four Heavenly Kings, guarding the four points of the compass – North, South, West and East – with the statue of The Laughing Buddha in the middle.


4.Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur


I got to know this iconic landmark is a must-visit. I can shop at the Suria KLCC mall or enjoy a day under the sun at the KLCC Park. I wish to cross the skybridge on the 41st and 42nd floors.

5. KL Bird Park


I love colorful birds. So how can I miss visiting "World's Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary". With more than 2,000 birds and 200 species from around the world, the KL Bird Park is a wonderful place to explore and enjoy the bird world as well as beautiful landscape.
"Okay my dear Jinnie. This is all I wish for", I declared.
"Thank-you Ma'am for choosing Malaysia. Truly Asia", the Jinnie winked.
 Lo and Behold, I'm in Malaysia!!!


¡Salud! JJJ
 
I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with BlogAdda.com.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Travel Smart with Skyscanner


Summer vacations are approaching and everyone in the family is day dreaming of visiting their dream city. Where grandparents wish to go spiritual, Mumma-Papa wish to explore the history and we, the youngistaan want to break free, go shopping and immerse in total fun. Browsing through the list of tourist places, we ended up at Bangkok - City of Angels, the place perfect for the entire family serving everyone's taste.




Now, begins the actual task. How to manage the trip within the budget ensuring a fun-packed journey. Google answers this question with the very smart answer Skyscanner. Skyscanner is a one-stop solution for travelers like us who have to plan everything from accommodation to destination, from flight to cabs in your dream city, all at comparative prices. This travel search site provides you with quick analysis over thousands of flights and hotels and presents before you the platter to choose your desired service.






Skyscanner is a very user interactive platform. It smartly filters your requirements and provides you with the cheapest flights and hotel deals. It charges no hidden cost and is absolutely free and easy way to plan your trip.


So, when we have zeroed in on Bangkok with Skyscanner, all we need is to pack a smart travel bag with all the essentials and get excited to visit the places we had been googling all this while.

Smart Travel Bag



1. Optimal clothes and medications
2. Passport, Boarding passes, 
3. Credit card and foreign currency.
4. Charger and other necessary electronics.
5. A nice camera to capture memories.




Bangkok Ride 

Bangkok has upheld the grandeur and glory of its illustrious past while speeding up with the modern time. Be it dazzling temples, spectacular palaces, a world-famous floating market or colourful Chinatown, each of these famous places has an intriguing story to tell. 




1. Wat Arun - Temple of Dawn




The impressive silhouette of Wat Arun’s towering spires is one of the most recognized in Southeast Asia. Constructed during the first half of the 19th century in the ancient Khmer style, the stupa showcasing ornate floral pattern decked out in glazed porcelain is stunning up close. This will dazzle all of us. The shrine by the river side with holy chants in the air will not only mesmerize my grannies but all of us.





2. Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw


No visit to Bangkok would be complete without visiting its dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. Built in 1782 - and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government - the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint. Today, the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. The place my father will love to explore , mother will relish its grandeur and we would love to pose in front of it. 




3. Floating Market



The pioneer of all floating markets, Damnoen Saduak continues to offer an authentic experience despite its increasingly touristy atmosphere. I can't resist myself from imagining dozens of wooden row boats floating by, each laden to the brim with farm-fresh fruits, vegetables or flowers. Food vendors filling their vessels with cauldrons and charcoal grills, ready to whip up a bowl of ‘boat noodle’ or seafood skewers upon my request.

4. Wat Pho



Wat Pho is a lot more than the gigantic reclining Buddha and traditional Thai massage. It harbours a fascinating collection of murals, inscriptions and sculptures that delve into various subjects, from warfare to astronomy to archaeology. The vast temple complex contains a landscaped garden with stone sculptures, stupas adorned with glazed porcelain, a souvenir shop and the College of Traditional Medicine. My entire family will love to be here. Under the shade of Buddha we all will find solace.

5.Chao Phraya River & Waterways



It is one of the most scenic areas, which if I visit, I'm sure to fall in love with the riverside reflecting a constantly changing scene, water-taxis and heavily laden rice barges chugging upstream, set against a backdrop of glittering temples and luxury hotels. I wish to live its charming ambience of stilt houses flanking the complex waterways. 



6. Chatuchak Weekend Market



Chatuchak Weekend Market has reached a landmark status as a must-visit place for tourists. Its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise brings any seasoned shoppers like me to their knees. The market is home to more than 8,000 market stalls. On a typical weekend, more than 200,000 visitors come here to sift through the goods on offer. I'm pretty sure if my family visits here, we will be carrying loads of bag fulls of Bangkok offerings.

7.Jim Thompson’s House



Jim Thompson’s house is an exquisite example of his three decades of dedication to the revival of Thai silk, then a dying art. After he mysteriously disappeared into the jungles of Malaysia, he left a legacy behind, which is reflected through his vast collections of Thai art and antiques now on display at the Jim Thompson’s House and Museum, itself a lovely complex of six Thai-style teakwood houses preserved to their original glory. I'm fond of speculating antique things and I have heard so much about this house that I wish to reach Bangkok in a trice and explore its every corner till my legs succumb.



8. Rama IX Park


After visiting all the major attractions of Bangkok, it would be very difficult for all of us to escape its magnetism. The intense thrall of Bangkok might captivate us forever. Before leaving Bangkok, I would wish to relax in nature's lap and compile all the sight-seeings compact. Rama IX Park is the largest green space in the city. It has an International Garden, where seven countries are horticulturally represented. I would enjoy sitting in the green expanse with my family before heading for India carrying a bag pack of Bangkok memories.





¡Salud!
JJJ
 
This post is written for a contest organised by Skyscanner in association with Indiblogger.

Image Courtesy - Google
Content Source - Bangkok
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