Saturday, 26 July 2014

Book Review #9 : Beyond School

Beyond School centres upon the weeks leading up to 17-year-old Shail’s final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure-cooker and the weight of preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in the other direction. Along with Shail’s journey from boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his parents - Urmila and Sushil and his mentor - Gladys, in a story that is honest, funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.

Title : Beyond School
Author : Chitra Anand
Publisher : Leadstart Corp
ISBN : 978-93-83562-40-4

The novel is humble and vividly recounts characters familiar to any cosy Indian expat community, with its own struggles. Apt title!

Most importantly, the author is refreshingly frank in the face of idiotic norms imposed by frightened and ignorant puritans. She is blunt about the irresponsibility of pubescent self-absorption, but attempts to empathize instead of judging.

An eye opener book - that is simple yet fabulously entertaining; a story in which every teenager and parent can see their own reflection in one of the many interestingly woven characters.

Chitra has undoubtedly done a lot of research on the mind set of today's adolescents. The narration and dialogues are very interesting.

The story revolves around a grade twelve student Shail at an Indian School in Muscat. As countdown has begun for his board examinations, his parents Sushil and Urmila are at their wits ends. They cannot find any way to convince their son to study for the board exams while Shail leisurely goes about doing his other activities, having no scope to accommodate study time! However, what Sushil and Urmila are unaware of is Shail's decision to not appear for the exams at all this year.

Glady, the mentor in the school is approached for Shail's situation. She has a way of showing the students the side of the picture that they seem to be unaware of. She is a great counsellor without being preachy. She gives a new dimension to Shail's thinking so that he does not stay stuck with 'What is wrong if I don’t write the exams this year?'

A few more sub-stories are intertwined along with Shail's narrative, including that of - Glady's uncomfortable past, Sushil and Urmila's struggle to get united and Roha as another student requiring Glady's counselling.

Chitra Anand highlights many areas that have gained immense significance in the lives of individuals who are at the cusp of adulthood. This gives an honest reflection of the society in which today's youth is functioning.
Must read for parents and teenagers!

Beyond School by Chitra Anand was sent to me by Nimi Vashi as a part of the Readers Cosmos Review Programme. Thank You, Nimi, for the Book.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Five Sentence Fiction: You're My Snowstorm!

I don't even know when you became so important to me - it was like watching a snowstorm!

You see the flakes falling, but you don't realize how they are adding up!

Then suddenly your entire lawn is covered.

Many little things have added up!

You're not my rain, you're my snow storm!

P.S: This week’s Five Sentence Fiction is based on Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word: Rain.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Instant Burst of Freshness

Baba Elaichi- Excellent mouth freshener for the freshness of breath. It is made of Elaichi seeds. Those who has not tried should try it at least once.

BABA Elaichi is one of the most popular products of BABA - great quality and taste!

The product seems to be a bit premium but its quality speaks for itself. It is 100% natural mouth freshener which assures long lasting refreshment and fresh breath. It has a unique taste, these seeds are blended with exclusive flavours, spices and saffron before being coated with pure silver. It also cures indigestion.

When the packet arrived, the aroma spread in my room even before I opened the seal. The way of opening was clearly mentioned on the package. So I had put my thumb in the centre to open it! It was mesmerising! It savoured my senses!

You can always pull out this magic box from your pocket like a boss and keep the others around you craving! This product is a luxury! It is exotic.

Packaging- Round magic box! The concept of packaging is wonderful because when it came to closing this box, one had to press it on the side and the box gets automatically closed and press it in centre, it opens! Something novel!

Product- These Silver coated Elaichi were a delight to put in the mouth. Instant refreshment, lingering taste, rich aroma.

Family Reviews- This product is immensely loved by me, my parents and my brother. After meals, they often search for the little red box!

Taste– The first contact with your taste buds is priceless. The small beads of Elaichi have their own sugary coating which first melts away and forms a perfect medley with the silvery touch. Moreover, unlike other mouth fresheners, the best part of Baba Elaichi is - the beads don't stick in between the teeth.

Mouth Freshening Capacity- Finally an Indian traditional digestive and mouth freshener. Refreshing taste and outstanding fragrance. Its mouth freshening capacity is great and  taste lasts for long span of time.

A wonderful product which is high on quality, great on price and offers several health benefits!

I hope this little magic box doesn't ever get over and continues to refresh me always!

P.S: This post is for Baba Elaichi. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Quintet of Radiance Award :)

I logged on to my Facebook account yesterday to find a message from Stephen. ( He has nominated me for the Quintet of Radiance Award. Thank you Ste! It is highly appreciated. How thoughtful of you!  If you haven’t read his blog yet, do! They’re full of energy and it’s like you’re listening to a friend speak.

Blogging has always been a nice experience for me. To share what you ponder, raise your concern over what bothers you and get appreciation in return.  I feel happy, honored & privileged to have been nominated. I am highly delighted to accept it.

I also take this opportunity to thank my readers for their support! I am grateful to my friends and fellow bloggers for your visits, kind comments. I feel super encouraged. It is always so nice to receive positive feedback from readers.

When I first began this blog last June and started sharing my poetry, stories and views, insecurity weighed heavily on my mind.  I was thrilled to have had even one reader, one like and one comment.  Then, over time, things grew…

I hope you can “feel” my sincerity when I “say” I’m very, very thankful.  And just to clarify, it’s not the recognition, but the opportunity to “touch” others, “move” others, emotionally and make others “feel” when they read ~  Thank you so much for “listening.”

Quintet of Radiance award is an award given to recognize good blogs and their fabulous bloggers. Quintet of Radiance Award are really 5 awards rolled in one: The Awesome Blog Content Award, Most Influential Blogger Award, Sunshine Award, Inner Peace Award, and The Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you very much Stephen!

The Rules for the Quintet of Radiance Award:
1. Display the badge in a post.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back.
3. Using the alphabets, describe yourself in a word.
4. Nominate few bloggers.

My description using alphabets A-Z ~ 
Avid reader
Cheerful (most of the time)
Intelligent (except some ‘Blonde Moments' :P )
Just ME
Mondays I hate! :X
Silly (sometimes)
Vivid imagination
Weird (A bit)

Nomination time ~
Bhavya Kaushik-

To the people I have nominated:

The reason behind me nominating you is, I enjoy reading your blog and you deserve a lot more subscribers. Keep writing.

Thanks again to everyone who thinks my blog has something to offer. It means the world to me. I love to write, but sometimes I wonder if I’m actually going anywhere with this, so having this award as an affirmation really does help me get through self-doubts. :)
While you pass this award, pass on a smile to someone who needs it too.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Five Sentence Fiction - Pages

She wished, he came across this piece of paper - today, tomorrow or maybe someday.

"How I wish you could see the potential, the potential of you and me - it's like a book elegantly bound, but in a language that you just can't read yet.

Every letter that I type - to spell your name again and again - is all I ever want to write.

Remember our life together - You kissed me a paragraph, I replied you with pages?
You laid me over your lap, read me like a book, turned my pages.

Please don't finish me up, pick me up and leaf through my pages, just like the old days!"

P.S: This post is for
This post is for IndiSpire Edition 55 #UnsentLetter

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Book Review #8 : 21 Things About Romance

“For more than a decade, we’ve had exposure to love stories in the form of novels, movies and more. We have fallen in and out of love, and we have been riddled with questions about the origins of love, our emerging sexuality, authenticity of people that we love, and so on. Our parents & society don’t always sync with our ideas of being romantically involved with people of our choices. Indian culture discriminates without discrimination, which in itself a very sad predicament for the new, evolving generation. Plus, there hasn’t been a single platform where all our troubles have been heard and voiced out at the same time. Not until 21 Things About Romance came into existence. This book, written by acclaimed young author Shomprakash Sinha Roy, clubs the viewpoint of an entire generation with his own ideas about romance in the twenty first century, through poignant essays, conversations and articles about love as we know it today. Be part of the romantic revolution with this radical book which is set to answer all your questions about love & change the way you look at romance, forever!”

Author: Shomprakash Sinha Roy
Grapevine Publications

Intricately crafted. This is a special book! Yes, it is! This book is a spell of magic! Catchy and vibrant cover, brilliant language, detailed romantic problem analysis and their simple solutions. A complete guide to love. It makes you understand love and romance better! 

It talks about every aspect of romance the way it exists in today's scenario. Chapter after chapter this book speaks from what a guy notices in a girl, how it progresses to crush, love, romance and eventually long term relationship.

Shomprakash Sinha Roy has kept it simple so that the readers are glued to the book. At many places you will realize most of the incidences have taken place somewhere or the other in your life. What I liked about the book, is it speaks like a neutral voice, not being gender biased.

This book brings a new light to romance - a complete package! Indeed, a self - help book written for everyone out there who was, is or will fall in love.

It is an interactive book that will help you in the course of your past, present and future relationships. A set of facts that the author shares with the readers through his experience and interactions with the winners of the Lovesteps Contest organized by Grapevine which will help you to tread on a path of self-discovery.

These 21 chapters on romance will change you as a person. They keep you connected. It will make you realize where your relationship is going and how you can improve it. And that’s not all, it also helps you to unveil your own short comings, and alters your perspective of judging the person on any basis! It is the best guide to a healthy relationship.

Shom has described every emotion we go through in a relationship very beautifully.  Some of the things are very meaningful and make you want to share this book immediately with your loved ones. Go ahead and pick this one. Highly recommended!

My Rating :  4.5 / 5

Buy this book here:

Friday, 4 July 2014

Book Review #7 : Anti-Social Network

Author : Piyush Jha
Publisher : Rupa Publications India

Author Piyush Jha in his latest thriller "Anti-Social Network" has embarked on a mission to uncover the gruelling face of social networking. The advent of social networking has become a part and parcel of our daily lives. For some it's entertainment but for some it's serious business. For some it has been a boon but for some it has brought pain and agony. It has also become a source of notorious activities.

This latest crime thriller has been set in the streets of Mumbai and how social networking leads it's way and destroys lives of many and how a technologically challenged man wages war against this new age crime. The crime in this book is quite hi-tech and in tune with the times we live in. Although it deals with a series of murders, the motive behind them is quite different and that sets this book apart from other books in this genre.

Absorbing plot. Powerful narration. A fast paced thriller with the right amount of twists and turns, layered with suspense. Topped with all the ingredients to be made into a motion picture.

Looking at the cover page itself, a reader can guess that it is a crime thriller and gives a hint that something shady and mysterious is a part of this book. It is attractive enough to catch a reader’s attention. Title of the book is undoubtedly good and makes an instant connection with the readers.

Keeps you hooked on to the seat. A reader assumes something else till the time they reach second last chapter. But the last chapter brings the actual mastermind into limelight and that really left me surprised and shocked. A reader's interest multiples as the story develops. None of the part is exaggerated or lengthened. Boredom never generates while reading this book. There is quite a bit of action happening simultaneously all through the book.

The length and breadth of Mumbai is covered with ease.  I liked the way the mystery and plot took us through so many locales in Mumbai- the busy Bora bazaars, dark bylanes, nightclubs, the Marine drive, cafes and restaurants, dingy apartments under constructions, ghost towns, Jain temples -almost every unknown nook and corner of Mumbai. But some of the plotlines, and character details gave the feeling ‘read that somewhere’ and ‘seen that somewhere’. The chapters are short.

The book paces beautifully and along the way leaves a lot for the readers to decipher. The theme of the story as social networking weaves out its charm and commands the appropriate attention from thriller fanatics. The story has been spiced up at the right places and promises a completely new experience.

All in all, a nice quick read for all you lovers of the crime fiction genre. The book is one of the best crime thrillers, I have read so-far. You would just feel like, you have come out watching a crime thriller film after reading the book.

Rating: 5/5.

This book has been reviewed as part of The Tales Pensieve Book Review program.