Friday, 20 October 2017

Our ‘Almost’!



Relationships that don’t reach their destiny teach us so many things -

1. People are not possessions
Loving and then parting, shows us that, however much we care for a person, we can never own them, their thoughts and their decisions.

2. You learn how to let go gracefully
As hard as it may seem at the time, failed relationships teach you that letting go gracefully, and with your dignity intact, is far better than desperately clinging on to a sinking ship. There are certain relationships that are brought to us not as the happily ever after, but to teach you how to honorably let go and grieve the loss of a relationship.  

3. It teaches you that over-analysing a situation achieves nothing

4. It teaches us to never take anything for granted
At times, we take things we have for granted and only their loss makes us realize how important they were as a part of our own existence itself!

5. Sometimes, grieving is life time. Healing is not a linear process
The end of a relationship brings with it a spectrum of feelings where our emotions go from grief to relief, sadness to joy, and anger to excitement. As we travel along those spectrums, we may find that one day we feel like we’re on top of the world, to then feel instantly distressed when we see reminders of a past relationship. In that moment, we feel as if all of the progress we’ve made has gone down the drain Sometimes a person’s loss is forever and it will haunt you always, it is going to be a baggage you would have to carry till grave. Unfortunate, but true.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Book Review : Kalki

Title: Kalki

Subtitle: Avatar of Vishnu

Author: Kevin Missal

Publishers: Kalamos Literary Services LLP

ISBN-13: 9788193503300

Number of Pages: 462

Genre: Fiction, inspired by Mythology



The Plot:
Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an upsurge in unrighteousness, at that time I take birth again – Lord Govind

Born in the quiet village of Shambala, Kalki Hari, son of Vishyunath and Sumati has no idea about his heritage until he is pitted against tragedies and battles.

Whisked into the province of Keekatpur, which is ruled by Lord Kali, Kalki sees the ignominy of death trumping life all around him. He learns that he is born to cleanse the world he lives in, for which he must travel to the North and learn the ways of Lord Vishnu’s avatar; from an immortal who wields an axe.

But trapped in the midst of betrayals, political intrigue and force that seek to decimate him will he be able to follow his destiny before Kalyug begins?

The Author:
Kevin Misal is a 21 year old graduate from St Stephens College. He has previously written 4 books so far, ranging from crime to mythology to horror. 

He wrote his 1st book at the age of 14 (wow!) and it was released by the then Chief Minister of Delhi. His 2nd book was written at the age of 16 and was published by a British-Indie press. 

Missal is also a pioneer in writing the World’s First InstaRead (which he kindly sent to me!) and is a bestseller on Amazon under the ‘Horror’ category. Kevin is also the co-founder and co-owner of Kalamos Literary Services, who publish and promote fledgling writers and help make a mark in the literary industry.

Review:
Before reading the book I was terrified by its size. There are many books that are fat and have tons of pages which can make the reader doze off to sleep, as they pick it to read. But this book is a complete page turner. Each and every page justified its reason of being a part of this book. The storyline is very addictive and keeps you glued. The author has done justice to all the characters and has described each one perfectly.

Fiction inspired by mythology is an interesting genre to read. And when you find out that it has been authored by a 21-year old, you look forward to a fun ride, as it is bound to have a touch of wildness and freshness to it.

Dharmayoddha Kalki is Part 1 of a series of books to follow. It is about the 10th and the final avatar of Vishnu known as Kalki who is said to appear after the current epoch of Kalyug ends and will usher in the next epoch called the Satayug. 

The author, Kevin Missal, has let his imagination run free to fictitious villages and kingdoms, with multiple characters and their colorful worlds. His descriptive writing is so on point, that it shapes the characters and etches out their characteristics for us, making them come alive, just like a movie.

My only little complaint is the indulgent editing. The book could have been made a tighter read with some clever editing.

This book talks about how the son of a normal couple residing in the village of Shambhala who does has no idea of his destiny. The book is divided into two chapters called the Battle of Shambhala and The rise of Kali. The battle of Shambhala part deals with Kalki’s life in Shambhala and the second chapter highlights the wrath of Lord Kali who rules the kingdom of Keekatpur and is known for his atrocities and political influence. 

Kalki realizes that he has to put an end to these atrocities, evilness and cleanse the foul world of the evil forces. He also faces many betrayals in his way and learns to use his powers to help the world become a better place. The story ended on a pessimistic note of suspense which certainly has made me look forward for the upcoming parts.

I particularly loved the character of Kali who has a strong personality and stands out as a very bold heroic character throughout the story.  Kevin has addressed many social stigmas of the society and how they are still an integral part of the modern world in different forms.

I loved this line from the book:  “Strength in a person doesn’t define a hero. But where he uses his strength is what matters the most. A hero isn’t born. He’s made. Through people, through journeys and most of all, through tragedy.”

Verdict:
Kevin Missal is a gifted writer. I am sure he has thoroughly enjoyed conceptualizing this book and has lived the process of writing it. The cover of the book justifies the theme of the book and gives a mythological feel. It was very easy to visualize the events while reading as if they took place before my sight, which means the narration is bang on. The way he has presented the story makes the book an addictive piece of mythological literature. The win of good over evil and how the society functions as a whole are some of the major takeaways from this book. Overall, it was a very commendable, inspirational and blockbuster read. I highly recommend this book to all those who have interest in reading mytho-fantasy thrillers. Nonetheless, I am waiting anxiously for the other parts to be out, one by one! Kudos to Kevin!

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Book Review : Zero Debt

Name of the book: Zero Debt: Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life
Author: Neeraj Deginal
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self Help
No. of Pages:  112 pages



Zero Debt – Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life, is about the author’s ten-year long journey from going neck deep into debt to being absolutely debt-free. In this book you will learn:
1. How the author got into debt (circumstances)
2. How being in debt paralysed cognitive decision making
3. How even simple day to day life became complicated
4. The thought process applied by the author to analyse his situation rationally
5. Systematic steps taken by the author to become and stay debt-free and the dilemmas faced during execution
6. Further actions taken to simplify life and plan for a better life

REVIEW: When I received this book, I thought it must be boring and based on accounts and finances, which honestly I have least interest in! My father handles and advises me on money related matters, with me being clueless! This book exactly highlights how both the schools and families fail to impart any sort of financial education, and how as earning adults we have to pay the price for it. I could so relate to it after a few pages!

This book seeks to inspire the reader to become debt-free, which eventually leads them to total freedom - financial freedom, emotional freedom or freedom from stress. As the author states, this is based on his experiences and the problems he faced. The steps he took may not work for everyone, but he wants to inspire people to rethink their situations.

Zero Debt, Break the debt cycle and reclaim your life is wonderfully useful book by Neeraj Deginal. This is the real life story of a man who was crushed under endless EMIs. It narrates us how he was neck deep in debts and how he came out of it to become cent percent debt free. I am sure most of us, who bought a home to save tax, bought second home as an investment, purchased a car because it was on EMIs and are left with meagre salary after all the deductions, will be able to relate to him.

Neeraj in his book has precisely articulated on the various phases of life in relevance with the financial preparations required, backed up with real-world experiences connecting both parts of life. The book certainly highlights the Dos & Don'ts of the practical life with emphasis on planning for the future and making educated decisions on even small money matters.

The book is extremely well written. The language is simple, yet riveting. The editing is superb. The book is divided into several short chapters which make it super easy to read. The book is interspersed with wonderful quotes.

Another interesting fact about this book is that it is a copyright free book. Though the book is based on the personal experiences of the author, according to him the ideas are not original. The objective of this book is to offer help and hence the readers are free to copy or reprint any content from it. So cool, isn't it?!

His journey through and out of debt using a systematic approach has been inspiring. I have already started working on my personal finances based on Neeraj's insights. It is a great and practical addition to anyone's personal finance library, articulated to convey the real life experiences of a growing professional in the corporate.

It contains invaluable lessons for those who are starting off their career or in the mid life and definitely there are lot of takeaways that would help one incorporate in their life to become debt-free for good.

NEGATIVES : The writing style the author prefers often omits articles such as "the" or "a" or "of," has some odd comma and semicolon placement. It becomes distracting in few places. Some topics are covered in depth more than once.

OVERALL VERDICT: The tips offered are not unique, really. They are common enough to have been tried and tested. So the author is sharing useful information, without being preachy. Truly inspiring and how everything is related (money, health). Must read for some great financial awareness. If are struggling on the financial front, this book could be your ultimate saviour.

Rating : ****/5

Disclaimer: I received a copy of book in return for my honest review.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Blog Tour : Cover Reveal - Kalki

Oh my God, you guys! I am SO excited to post the cover reveal for Kevin Missal's "KALKI" *throws confetti* 

I am so excited for this grand cover reveal of KALKI, and can we just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful cover!

Thank you for stopping by, and thank you, Kevin, for letting me be a part of the cover reveal! 



That's all, folks! I hope you'll loved the cover just as much as I did and I hope you're are just as excited as me to read the book! Happy reading! 

Links :  
Amazon pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2wdkESn

Pustakmandi pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2xmbJBW


Author Interview : Kevin Missal

Hi, guys! I am hosting a blog tour for author Kevin Missal's Kalki.  As part of the tour, I did an interview with Kevin and today's post is completely dedicated to that. I will reveal the book cover in my next post, stay tuned for that. Now without much ado, let's get onto Kevin's interview. 


Amazon pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2wdkESn

Pustakmandi pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2xmbJBW

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: 

Hi Kevin! Welcome to my blog! It’s a pleasure to have you here today and we hope you have a great time answering the questions we have for you. Here we go!

1.              Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? What draws you to this genre?

One of the writers who have taught me (via Youtube) is Brandon Sanderson. He has these writing classes online where I learnt a lot about writing fantasy. The other is George RR Martin whose third person narration inspired me and how he structured each incident so personal to the characters.
          Whenever I think about what draws me to this genre, it’s partially the imagination, the sense of wonder, excitement, the idea of unknown. Fantasy plays around with a lot of genres like adventure, romance, thrill, mystery and I like this amalgamation.

2.             What sort of research did you do to write this book?

          Oh well my research is indirectly happening for four years. I am a History graduate and I learnt a lot about the Vedic Age. It always interested me. Then I began writing this book on Ashwatthama in modern times where Kalki plays a small part as a hero yet to born. The idea of Kalki kept growing in my mind and while I wrote an entire book on Ashwatthama which never ended up releasing, I got a ton of information about Kalki. Then I researched through Kalki Purana, Vishnu Purana, Bhavishya Purana and I learnt a lot.

3.             What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

          The upside is you get to create a whole new world, get excited about events and characters. You are noticed and respected by your peers who think of you as literal. The downside is many people don’t realize young, amateur writers make pennies. Even older writers. Nowadays, publishing is like a business. It’s no more a creative endeavor. You write a book and that’s where your creativity ends. Then starts your management, finances and you are supposed to spend a ton of money to get people to notice you otherwise no one would care about it.

4.             How did you come up with the idea for your book?

          The idea was simple. I had just watched Bahubali and read Game of Thrones. And I was like “What will happen if both of them are mixed?” and voila! Kalki: the Avatar of Vishnu was created.

5.             What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

          I don’t want them to hate the book out of religious reasons. I am a Christian and many Hindus won’t like a Christian boy writing on a Hindu God. Recently, in one of the teasers I published that got rave reviews, one person wrote why I am writing about a god who’s yet to come. I have clearly mentioned in my book that “Kalki: the Avatar of Vishnu” is a tribute to the popular culture like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kalki Purana and taking such good influences from all of them. It’s to make a story that will appeal universally. Many didn’t know about Kalki but because of my book, people are revising their own knowledge. Kalki’s timeline, who’s yet to come is often muddled up. Aryabhatta had said Kaliyug would happen in 3102 BCE and like Aryabhatta there are so many other sources that don’t give you a correct date. For me, Kalki represents the goodness, the richness of religion and how a religious man is pitted against evil who he needs to kill and destroy. It’s classic good versus evil story.

6.             What does your writing space look like? (Show us a photo maybe.)

          You don’t want to see a photo. It’s my room, either in Chennai or in Delhi. It’s damp and dark and dingy.

7.          If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?

          I based the character of “Kalki” on Ranveer Singh and the character of “Kali” on Irrfan Khan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

8.            What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

          Seeing your book appreciated. There’s no greater feeling than this. It just fills your heart when people understand what you wanted to write and how you wrote, the subtle metaphors you added.

9.             What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?

         Many. Rejections were so common in publication; I ended up building my own publishing house called “Kalamos Literary Services”.  It’s what they say. If they reject you, you build yourself and reject them.

10.         How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?

          I would say it has made it easier, feasible. But I never liked it. People do, so that’s fine.

11.          How long does it take you to write a book?

          This one took full month which is like longest for me. Most of the times, I finish it in two or three maximum.

12.         Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

          Kalki Hari is this all powerful boy who is yet to learn a lot of things. He remains in his protective village and he feels he’s bigger than everyone. He is arrogant and brash. He acts first, thinks second. What makes him special is though, that regardless of all these things I mentioned, he’s genuinely a nice person. He cares for his friends. He respects his parents. And he wants nothing but peace in this world.

13.         Tell us about the cover and title?

         The cover is made by Arthat Studio, the creator of “Sita: the Warrior of Mithila” cover. They have just worked their best and produced a stunning piece of art. The title is simple, understandable.

14.         What do you think of “trailers” for books?

        Oh, absolutely necessary. I just had a teaser currently and it is going viral. I am getting a huge response. But it should be live action trailer, with a lot of production budget behind it. Otherwise, animated trailers fall flat.

15.          What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

         I’ll be really practical and I would give an advice that most writers in this country don’t. Many established writers say “oh you should write with your heart, use this technique…” and blah, blah. They are bullshitting you. If you are an aspiring writer, you’ll eventually write well. Everyone does over a period of time. But during that time, start saving up. Build your budget for your book and when you have a lot of money, then publish because if you want to be a bestseller, you need to market it first like a bestseller.

16.         What would you say is the easiest and most difficult aspect of writing?

          You get distracted. You get bored writing the same story every day. It needs a lot of determination to write one book. I have this person in my friend list on Facebook who constantly updates about his latest books. He has written so many and hasn’t finished any which is sad. He’s a talented guy.

17. What books have influenced your life the most?

         I would say the books that actually inspired me were the ones I read when I just began reading. It was “Godfather” by Mario Puzo, “Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr.


         Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Kevin. We appreciate you taking the time out to answer our questions and we wish you lots of happiness and success in life. 

        Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by!