Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Book Review #71: Colourful Notions - The Roadtrippers 1.0

Book: Colorful Notions - The Roadtrippers 1.0

Author: Mohit Goyal

Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors

Price: Rs. 175

BLURB:- “Would you give up your high-paying job and comfortable personal life to drive ten thousand kilometres across India? Just for fun! Three twenty-something's dare to do just that! While the two boys take turns to drive, the girl gives voice-over as they record their entire journey on a handy cam. Ab, Sasha and Unnati are ordinary youngsters, rendered special by the feat they accomplish. As they recount their adventures, I crave to live their journey. They look at each other with a glint in their eyes, as if refurbishing those memories while narrating their spooky time at Bhangarh Fort, strange escapades at Wagah Border and Sundarbans, car breakdowns, wild animals, near-death experiences and highway robbers! It's nothing less than crazy. I doubted if I'd ever have the gumption to create such experiences. So I did the next best thing - I penned a book about them and their road trip. Colorful Notions is a journey of three young hearts on the Indian terrain and into the inner recesses of their souls, giving a new perspective to relationships, love and life.”

The cover absolutely seems to make complete sense in accordance with the title and retains the flavor of it. The long roadway and the car with three roadtrippers - so attractive for all the travel enthusiasts out there.

The story revolves around three friends—Abhay (Ab), Sashank (Sasha) and Unnati (Unns). They decide to take a soul-searching road trip covering the entire India. The plot sounds almost like Zindagi Milegi Na Doobara, right? The book met my expectations of going on an amazing journey across the length and breadth of India from the comfort of my own couch!

The journey puts their physical as well as emotional states of mind to test. While Abhay is trying to deal with a troubled past and his relationship with his parents which is strained, Sasha who is his bestie offers to accompany him on the trip. In a way, he is also trying to escape an over-protective family. Both of them then, convince Sasha’s girlfriend, who is a clueless assistant RJ to join in.

The trio plan to cover the entire India in just 75 days; starting from Corbett Park and ending in Delhi. The itinerary is well planned. The author has done immense research before penning down the book. They cover places like Goa, Haridwar, Leh, Amritsar, Alwar, Jaipur, Udaipur, Bhuj, Mysore, Kanyakumari, Hyderabad, Puri, Kolkata, Gaya, Varanasi, Agra, Kumbh Mela, Kargil, Golden Temple, Wagah, Bhangarh Fort, Thar Desert, Rann of Kutch, Ellora, Mysore Palace, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, etc. It is a fun-filled emotional roller coaster as they try to spot tigers at the Corbett National park, take a dip in the Ganges at Haridwar, battle altitude sickness at Ladakh /Leh, cause a security threat at the Wagah border, chase and be chased by ghosts at Bhangarh fort at Alwar, get caught in the marshlands and quick-sands at Runn of Kutch and finally encounter a man-eater at the Sunderbans while setting foot on Bangladeshi borders and even obtain enlightenment at Gaya! If this is not enough, you will get to read about the culinary delight that is India, as your senses take in the description of delicacies like the momos at Ladakh, Hyderbadi biryanis, Lucknowi Kebabs, Punjabi chicken, Goan seafood, Udupi cuisine and of course Idli, sambar and chutney and other rice delicacies from Tamil Nadu too! Almost all travel requirements like finances, stay & rest, fun, route map etc have been taken care of.

The language is highly simple and easy to comprehend. I found the details of the places quite engaging, which definitely makes it a delight for all travellers with the vivid picturesque narration.

How they execute the entire trip, how the feelings of friendship and love are challenged in the course of 75 days, will the trip help them lighten the emotional baggage that they are trying to escape from, how does the trip change their lives are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in Colourful Notions: The Roadtrippers 1.0.

The author writes effortlessly. It is difficult to believe that he is a first time author. The book manages to impart some simple lessons while not being preachy. Some of the chapters will have you thinking about the life we live, our expectations from it and our perspectives on happiness. This book seems like the answer to a lot of questions youngsters these days are plagued with. We all want to escape from our routine and follow our calling. Sometimes it also happens that just want to escape and in that process find our calling. This book is about such escapism. 

The author has also given a lot of attention to the characterization. The characters of Ab, Sasha and Unnati are well demarcated and evolved throughout the journey. They became more mature by the end of the journey. 

The story has it all. Friendship, love, jealousy, food, fun, adventure, horror and comedy, thus making this a packed entertainer with first hand lessons of what life is all about. There is not a single dull moment in the book and you will surely read up to the end page of the book.

The poor editing of the book is a huge dampener especially when you reading something which is pacy and thrilling.

This 200-page book is a must read books for all those who are looking for a fresh and light read during their journeys, and are bored of simple romance tales. It is for the adventurer in you and more essentially the dreamer in you.

Ratings: 4/5

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Book Review #70 : Tale 0’12


Book Overview~

Every life event is a story. In fact, every moment of our life is part of a story being happened. We always ignore those because we think stories have no connection to real life happenings. But when we read stories or fictions suddenly we connect ourselves to the storyline or some of the characters emotionally or otherwise. That’s why stories always fascinate us, entertain us & give us some lessons of life.

‘Tale O’ 12 is a collection of twelve stories/experiences inspired from real life events written in a fictional narrative. One would definitely connect to the characters of the stories in some manner or other because all the stories have something that’s related to everyone’s life.

Tale 0’12 by Biranchi N Acharya is the first book from “Bloggers To Authors” program at BlogAdda.

Short stories are always a gem to read and require less concentration, they do leave a lasting impression on the reader's mind. When I read the blurb, I was excited to read the stories which were inspired from real life since they are more dramatic, realistic and adventurous.

The Cover Page~

The cover page very clearly gives the message that the book has twelve stories. It has clocks in concentric circles.


Spelling mistakes – I can recall two instances of a misspelled word (“clean ‘saved’ face”) in two different stories. As a reader, it is very annoying when one is immersed in a story – but you have to ‘sudden break’ because you spot an error! This book is edited well, but proofreading is where it failed. There are errors throughout the book, which could have been avoided.


Language – The simplicity of words makes it easy for the reader to connect with the stories.

Ordinary realistic stories with lessons- All the twelve stories narrated by the author Biranchi N Acharya are very ordinary and relatable, and send out strong lessons.

The readers looking for some inspiration on various insightful topics like politics, religion, society etc. would definitely like this book. The author’s knowledge on these topics and how he explains them in simple words is superb. The author despite narrating his own perspective and inferences, leaves the reader to think about the experience and form their own opinions, learn their own lessons.

Real life events have inspired these twelve stories, making them relatable to all readers. We can definitely see ourselves in some of these characters, and we would have definitely gone through a few of these experiences in our lives as well. Tale O’12 is a relatable book that way.

One important thing that every story includes in its narration is the fact that, though the author is an experienced and well-read person, he never stops learning and the thirst for knowledge is kept alive by him. This is something that all of us should strive for.

The twelve stories from Tale O’12 range from around 10 to 40 pages each. Each story is a delightful read. A good collection of short stories, worth a read!

Rating - 3.5/5

P.S: This review is a part of the biggest "Book Review Program" "Indian Bloggers". Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Book Review #69 : Deep Singh Blue

Book: Deep Singh Blue;
Author: Ranbir Singh Sidhu;
Publisher: HarperCollins;
Pages: 243;
Price: Rs.499

Often wise and sad beyond his years, teen narrator Deep Singh in his book, "Deep Singh Blue", primarily tells two overlapping stories: one of romantic love and the other of his troubled immigrant family.

Deep falls in love with an older, married woman, who is abused, unhinged, and often mean. Meanwhile, his older brother Jag descends into a seeming psychosis, finding secret meanings in magazine clippings and finally falling into total silence. Deep’s parents, however, refuse to acknowledge his brother’s illness, and are instead determined to find a suitable Sikh bride for him. This harrowing book has the trappings of a coming-of-age novel, but Deep has no comfortable place at which to arrive. 

Admiration. That is the word that spontaneously came to me after I finished reading this book. It is a book about a migrant, but it does not invoke nostalgia about the home country. The protagonist, who is born and brought up outside India, knows the country and the Sikh culture only through video cassettes and through the stories told to him by his parents. He does not find himself in those stories. His only pursuit is of what lies ahead and his path is mixed up.

Through the first half of the book, the reader follows the book’s protagonist, Deep Singh, through his confusions. The protagonist is lonely, immensely lonely, but the novel is not about loneliness or about an emotional or cultural pain. Instead, Deep Singh Blue explores the deep angst of being and a human’s relationship with the world.

The author establishes that the protagonist is interested in books, reading, knowledge. The protagonist is in severely unjust situations – in his family relations, in his mother’s blind defiance of his elder brother’s mental health, in his father’s boorish behaviour, in his uncle’s interference in the family and in his relationship with Lily – whom he covets, but who in turn manipulates him. 

The protagonist meets the world as an open soul without the encumbrance of religious or cultural baggage. In the process, he shows how early migrant families – who are on the verge of poverty – coped with finding themselves in this new land that is touted as one of opportunity and equality. 

I have always wondered what kind of life a child will have in a dysfunctional family. I got more than a glimpse of life of a child especially a troubled teenager.

There are flaws in all the characters in the book. This is what makes the book a real page turner. The book is an intense, emotional roller coaster ride. It is a must read book by all parents with teenagers. How to raise children with discipline may not be found in this book but it warns you about the signs why the children behave in a certain way.

Negatives ~
The book moves at a snail pace and from the initial chapter, as I was able to get a clue of what Ican expect from the novel. It is still not very clear why Deep Singh’s parents love their first son so blindly than their second son. But the good thing is - we learn what the power of favouritism can do to change the behavior of children.

My Verdict ~
I recommend this book to all parents out there. Buy this book and see if you understand your children well or not. In this book, you will learn communication and understanding is the best way to raise a good kid.

Rating: 4/5

P.S: I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Book Review #68 : How to Choose a Lawyer — and Win Your Case

Pages: 152
Price: Rs. 295
Format: Paperback
ISBN13/10: 9788170949374 / 8170949378
Publishing Year: 2015 

If you wish to win a legal case, engaging the right lawyer and handling him well is the key. This book explains in an easy-to-understand style how to choose the right lawyer and how to improve the odds of winning your case:
  • When to file a case . . . and when not to do so
  • What does winning a case really mean
  • When not filing a case can be 'winning' a case
  • When compromising with the other side is a win-win case
  • How you can help your lawyer win your case
  • What to look for in a lawyer — and how to find one
  • How best to utilize your lawyer's skills — and how much to pay him
  • What you can expect from your lawyer — and what you shouldn't
  • Professional rules of conduct every lawyer is bound to adhere to
  • A lawyer's duties to his clients
  • How to avoid unscrupulous lawyers.
This book is simple to understand, with examples of some high-profile contemporary cases, this book will be a big help for anyone caught up in litigation. I loved the jacket of the book, so apt and bright.

Choices are made in a second, but the consequences last for ages. It could be the choice we make with respect to a career, buying a certain piece of property, choosing a retirement destination or even making that all important choice of a life partner.

Early on in this book Mr Talwar warns anyone contemplating litigation to think over the issue carefully.  Negotiation might be a far better option, saving time, money and much heartburn. As someone who has studied the subject at Harvard, (while also practising law and working for the United Nations) Talwar understands this very well. Even filing a simple application under the Right to Information Act might yield faster and better results and the author gives several real life examples in which this has happened. If you rush to court to sue your opponent instead of thinking over the matter calmly, you might easily fall into the clutches of an unscrupulous lawyer who is only out to fleece you and milk you dry.

The book is divided into two segments. The issue of choosing the right lawyer for your case is dealt with in the first part and how to ‘win’ your case in the second part. Expectedly, the second part makes for fascinating reading. Everyone wants to know how following a certain legal strategy can result in victory or defeat. Talwar also makes it clear that choosing the right lawyer is only part of the story behind winning your case –although it is an important part of the story. Everyone needs to take responsibility. The book gives many real life examples from the author’s own life, where following a certain legal strategy made all the difference. There are several references to the strategies of other lawyers too, including in several high profile cases in the past year or so. Read the book to find out about those, and about how best to protect your interest.
This book will help save individuals and companies millions of rupees.

This book is definitely worth the money, as it teaches a layman how the legal system works. I loved reading it, as it was enlightening. Recommended for law students as well as to anyone to wants to learn about the legal system in India.

Rating: 4.5/5

P.S:  I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Dear Zindagi,

You promised me a lot. But what you have given me has surpassed all that you ever promised. I knew that both beauty and ugliness would come my way, for nothing comes unalloyed. You have encompassed both good and bad. When I look back and also regard the present, I realize that the richness of living is in bringing all these experiences together and weaving a beautiful tapestry of them. 

Sometimes, life - you - get so busy and monotonous that we get fed up and negative about everything. At times, I didn't know who to go and talk to, because I didn't want to look too helpless. But that is the time when you started teaching me lessons. And no book taught me those things, certain instances happened that dawned upon as self-realization.

When I try to achieve my goals in haste, you slow me down. You teach me patience and the value of waiting for what is worthwhile. You teach me that - like the river that gets around so many bends and boulders, you also will make me flow over and around obstacles and difficulties. 

You often squeeze me like a lemon and so, stress, pain and defeat become part of my experiences. You make demands on me. I am made to take on responsibility, to care for others and to give something back to you. However, when the demands became excessive you have shown me that sometimes I have to be squeezed to give out my best. You have also given me the chance and opportunity to recover when the feeling of being squeezed of all energy threatens to take over. 

Looking back, I find that you have enriched me with a gamut of experiences. You've let me experience the fact that being tested does not mean one has to seek escape from you. When we say 'yes' to life, we are really saying 'yes' also to surprises, setbacks and personal tragedies, and not only happy times. 

We humans are hypocrites. When we get what we prayed for all the way, we are still never satisfied. We fuss about just anything and everything. Small or big. We crib daily. I crib daily. Water shortage issue? Train problem? Heavy rains? Not satisfied with the job at hand? Slow internet? Everything. But you taught me, "See opportunity in every difficulty. Trust your abilities, never give up and share fat thank you's with everyone around! "

In the course of time, so many things have happened, but not every happening was significant. I have now learned to skip and not mull over or get bogged down by happenings that could have been accidental, coincidental or negative, and therefore they do not say much to me anymore. 

Dear Zindagi, you are a twin sister of time. In learning to make the best use of time and putting our talents to best use in activities that are essentially time-bound, we are really living life to the full. 

The Holy Grail of the lessons you taught me-

a) "What is meant for me will come to me. No conspiracy can take it away."
b) As long as we don't forgive people who have hurt us, they occupy a rent-less space in our mind. So forgive and forget! 
c) Self pride is a necessity and always carry a magic lotion of 'optimism' wherever you go.
d) Sometimes the best revenge is to smile, move on and do nothing! 
e) Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. You can't please everyone. You are not even born to do that.
f) You should not rush something you want to last forever.
g) At one point, you will either have the thing you want or reasons why you don’t.
h) There will be haters. There will be doubters. There will be non-believers, and then there will be you – proving them wrong.
i) Be careful who you make memories with. Those things can last a lifetime.
j) There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who would not jump puddles for you. Have your own back.
k) Not always money will make you happy. Do what makes you happy from within.
l) There is no good in investing in cold people and dead relationships, ever.
m) You can't control situations and moreover you can't control the people involved. Learn your lessons in time. There is a silver lining to every grey cloud!
n) Your pain is changing you, make sure it changes you for your good.
o) Don't worry about your heart. It isn't so delicate. It has the stamina to last for a lifetime. No bone there to break, securely wrapped in a set of ribs, your heart is built to take a punch and still be strong enough!

I have learnt my lessons and the need to put up a good fight and keep the faith. I will celebrate you, and not waste any opportunity you put my way. When I whisper a prayer, I say, "THANK YOU, LIFE, FOR THE GIFT OF SELF TO ME!" 

Life, you are worth fighting for! YOU are the best healer. Thank you for these precious lessons. No one has yet uncovered the mystery of life, and perhaps no one will, but we know you are a beautifully intriguing mystery. World is a prism of desires, unquenchable thirst and unsatisfying hunger. But, you are like a mirror- reflecting back, my actions. Thank you for teaching me to be happy, simple, original and unique in my own way.

Love From The One You Heal Daily,

P.S: "I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda".