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

Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister - Book Review


                                                

About the Book
Title: Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister
Author: Tabrik C
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-93-5009-670-3
No. of Pages: 319
Price: 350 INR
Genre: Fiction
  
About the Author

Tabrik C is a political enthusiast, perfumer and internet entrepreneur. He has a post-graduate degree in History from St. Stephen’s College Delhi, where he was the president of the student’s union. His special interest lies in observing, analyzing, predicting and debating the rise and fall of political personalities and their influence on the destiny of nations and individuals.

The Cover Speaks

The front cover shows a man in dark walking alone on the street, with the silhouette of trees enshrouding the sun. The caption says, "You can't outrun fate...". The back cover carries the Rashtrapati Bhawan with Sepia effect adding a dusky tinge.

Synopsis

India has a new Prime Minister but is Siddhartha Tagore the product of his genius or of his dangerous mind? 

India is on edge, as a subversive internal revolt against the Constitution and the threat of Jehadi terror of an unthinkable level, are looming on the horizon.

 Ringing Shivas damaru in and out of Parliament, a sudden turn of karma catapults outsider Siddhartha Tagore – a conflicted genius, music maestro and prodigal son, with forceful views on China and Pakistan into national prominence as the head of the Opposition Alliance and finally as the newly elected Prime Minister of a disturbed nation.

But buried secrets are being resurrected and threaten to expose the past. Twisted within the double helix of menacing politics and hidden lust, Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister is a scorching account of Siddhartha Tagores fascinating journey from Harvard to 7 Race Course Road.

Book Review

The story revolves around the protagonist Siddhartha Tagore, present Prime Minister who struggles with his position. As you will read the story, you will understand the actual meaning of the title of the book, why Prisoner, why Jailor?

I will refrain from disclosing the plot of the story. Since the author has impeccably scripted this thriller setting a new milestone in this genre, breaking the contemporary most-reads bounds, I will urge the readers to check out themselves what new Tabrik has written for them. He imprisons you in his pages so calmly that you get lost in his twists and turns. The story vacillates between past and present, between politics and love, between characters and the suspense. I thank Tabrik for bypassing the stories-in-vogue and coming up with a fresh plunge dabbling the readers in thrill.

In a Nutshell

This book with its thriller twists makes you turn the pages one after the another. It is not just a political thriller but a tale of love and lust which will bind you till the end. It will refresh you for sure.

My Rating
 4/5

¡Salud!

JJJ

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Supertraits of Superstars - Book Review




About the Book
Title: Supertraits of Superstars
Author: Priyanka Sinha Jha
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN: 978-81-291-2978-9
No. of Pages: 186
Price: 195 INR
Genre: Non-Fiction/Self-help
  
About the Author

Priyanka Sinha Jha is a journalist who, in her eighteen-year-long career, has written on celebrities, films, lifestyle, business and more. She has been a correspondent for publications as varied as Citadel, The Asian Age and Intelligent Investor. At the age of twenty-six, she became the editor of Society, India's first celebrity magazine, followed by a stint as editor of HT Style and HT Saturday. Currently, she is the editor of Screen, India's foremost film and entertainment weekly. She has also contributed to Outlook, The Week and Tehelka, and has a regular column in The Indian Express: Play.

Between analysing celebrities and earning her daily bread, she likes to travel to unknown destinations, watch films and argue endlessly on egalitarian issues with friends and family.
The Cover Speaks

The carries a big shining star imbibing the names of some recognized Bollywood stars. It says , Success Secrets of Bollywood's Brightest.

"Supertraits of Superstars could be a guidebook to a lot of youngsters out there who want to reach out for the stars and touch the sky." - John Abraham.

Synopsis

Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan, Karan Johar. These celebrities are adored and looked up to by millions who aspire to emulate their success stories. But what is it that separates them,  and other Bollywood stars, from the rest? Which is that one defining trait that makes them stand out, and how can you benefit from knowing it?

Authoress looks at eleven luminaries from Bollywood, and the attribute that is perhaps most responsible for their success. She details their stories, their struggles, their efforts to overcome setbacks, and what it is about them that made them not just reach the top of their game, but stay there. Be it Amitabh Bachchan's discipline, Amir Khan's perfectionist nature, Salman Khan's generosity, John Abraham's enterprise or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's grace - each star has one unique quality that others can imbibe to reach greater heights in their own lives. With pithy observations and inspirational conversations, this book will show you how to live life star-size.

Book Review

The book covers eleven Bollywood stars each with their one specific supertrait. Authoress has written each chapter in such a way that the reader is hooked to it to know more about his favorite star. Every chapter starts with a caricature of that Bollywood star and a quote. It's a unique style which interests the reader. The book starts with the star of the millenium Amitabh Bachchan who is known for his discipline. Jha has written about those stars who are the heartthrob of people of every age group, which makes the book another reason to be picked up. Next comes Shah Rukh Khan holding the flag of Passion. The interesting fact is it covers the three Khan's of Bollywood. The book ends with Salman Khan known for his Generosity. 

Bollywood stars are as common as we are but what makes them stand out from the rest and shine bright? This most sought-after question has been answered in this book. Many of us look at them to draw inspiration from who fell many-a-times but always emerged as the winner. This is one-of-its-kind book which many must be looking for to get motivated from their own idols. It's a calm boosting read.

In a Nutshell

This book makes you peep into the lives of your favorite Bollywood stars and learn a few traits of them which has enabled them to shine bright throughout their career.

My Rating
 3/5

¡Salud!
JJJ
 

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.
Silly smiles Take you Miles.