Monday, 31 December 2018

Book Review #114 : the sun and her flowers


The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur, is perfect for anyone who has recently broken up with someone who did not nurture your soul sufficiently to sprout. For all shattered spirits in search of a safe haven, this poetic collection is nectar to busy little injured bees. In a garden where precious buds are in dire need of water, The Sun and Her Flowers reflects souls who rise above the barriers that hinder their growth. It is a passage between decay, awakening, and healing. Rupi Kaur’s most recent anthology is “the recipe of life.”

Rupi Kaur vividly plays with paradoxical symbols. The book cover contained sunflowers, typically resembling joy and vitality, and its content depicts themes of woe and melancholy. It symbolises the process of regaining light after prolonged, somber nights of despair. Even vibrant and cheerful beings, like sunflowers, can wilt and suffer with scarce nurturing.

The Sun and Her Flowers encompasses an enticing table of contents, akin to a flower cycle: wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. Each category portrays poems with illustrations done by Kaur herself, relevant to their respective themes.

One of the many reasons to love this book  is its capacity to truly mend and heal broken hearts stuck in despair and darkness. This anthology provides light at the end of the readers’ tunnels, and give hope to souls who consider themselves unfortunate.

If you read her first book (Milk and Honey), it's still in Rupi's signature style, but she manages to cover similar topics from a different standpoint. It kind of feels as though her books are maturing with her, as this one handles the issues from Milk and Honey in a more mature, learned tone.

Even if some of the poems in the sun and her flowers seem like recycled oldies-but-goodies, there's no denying that Kaur is brilliant. She's not afraid to speak her mind and talk about taboo subjects, such as female infanticide, immigration, rape, abuse, mental illness and sexual empowerment. Her poems contain difficult subject matter and can be hard to read, but they all hold a unique power that can and will speak to many people around the world. This leaves readers feeling as though Kaur has gone deep into the depths of their personal lives and put all the heart-wrenching feelings they once felt down on paper.

Reading The Sun and Her Flowers will honestly change your life and your relationships with yourself and others. I am truly looking forward to reading her future publications. Definitely recommend that ALL young women read this, if for no other reason than to see that we are all sharing very similar struggles in love and life in general.

Ratings : 5/5 

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Top 15, 2018 Life Lessons



Top 15, 2018 Life Lessons: 🌻

Since 2018 is coming to a close, I thought I would reflect on some of the lessons I learned this year. What a year! Today, I’d like to recap and share my biggest life lessons of 2018. It’s been the best year so far but that doesn’t mean everything was going my way. Read to know more... :)

1. Fall madly in love with yourself. "I am enough". 
2. Have unwavering faith; things will fall into place.
3. Never take life for granted.
4. Be more observing.
5. It’s okay to dream big.
6. Only when you move away from your comfort zone and cocooned life, you discover other facets to yourself.
7. Listen to the little encouraging inner voice more than the self doubt demon who plagues you. 
8. Don’t be scared if you fall off the wagon.
9. Dignity lies in getting a sense of the ending and letting go what’s not meant for you, gracefully.
10. Not everything you see on social media is real or goals.
11. Worry about your craft. Not the algorithm.
12. Genuine love is a privilege. Do whatever it takes to nourish it, so it lasts forever. 
13. Enjoy and be in love with the “process” of something not just the end result. Be in love with the fight too, not just the victory. Be obsessed with improvement.
14. Our proudest achievements come in the face of the greatest adversity.
15. Thoughts become things.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Book Review #113 : Patna Blues


Book :- Patna Blues

Author :- Abdullah Khan

Publisher :- Juggernaut

First thing first. I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Mr. Abdullah Khan for entrusting me with the review for his debut book ‘Patna Blues’.

"Patna Blues" revolves around three main characters; Arif, a Muslim boy from the lower-middle-class family who dreams of becoming an official of the IAS and changing the fortune of his family. Zakir, Arif's younger brother and an aspiring actor who eventually becomes a victim of the fascist side of India. The love of his life, Sumitra, a mature married Hindu woman. Arif and Sumitra, two amateur poets, share their love and passion for Urdu poetry. Urdu Shayaris are the fragrance of this story which will certainly make you fall in love with them.

The book is hard cover and the cover looks very good with a picture of a young boy who plants a lots of questions and curiosity in the reader's mind.

The book illuminates the post-Babri life of Indian Muslims too. The way the author has explained the life of a Muslim boy or a Muslim family in the Hindu majority India is the highlight of the book.

The book is a heart-wrenching tale from dream to destiny with a gripping storyline and admirable characters. It explores the various taboos existing in our society and highlights the hostility towards Muslims. The characters are relatable inspired from those who we have met at some point in our lives. My most loved character is that of Arif, a boy who despite of several hurdles doesn’t lose hope. His relationship with his family and friends is warm and pleasant.

The book is a gripping read which doesn’t allow you to take a break from it. At one point, it seems that Arif is a reflection of the author himself. The distinct portrayal of emotions make this novel an interesting yet realistic read.

Patna Blues does full justice to its title. As we accompany Arif Khan, the protagonist, along his life’s path, mostly strewn with speed breakers, pothole’s and occasionally down gravel filled paths as he trips and falls, again and again, we can’t help but root for him to do better: to pass the all important IAS exam this time, somehow be with the woman of his dreams, help his Abba with the financial burden that wears his lower middle class police officer father down, find his beloved younger brother Zakir who the police have picked up one dark night and then have denied picking up.

There are a lot of scenes and incidents that take place and are left unexplained as to why it happened or what exactly happened. I humbly demand him a sequel. The author writes lucid language that is relatable and understandable. The narration is a combination of crispiness, ornamentation and a bit of a drag at places.

I recommend this book to one and all. Especially to those who wants to try out new storylines, that are different from the unusual boy-meet-girl tale. It is a heartrending tale that would eventually pull the reader to the very depth of the narration. The ending is touching, a feast to the readers’ soul and perhaps the best part of the book.

Rating - 4.5/5

Friday, 26 October 2018

Book Review #112 : God of The Sullied



"God of the Sullied" is one of the most intriguing works of fiction that I have come across recently. It will take you down a rollercoaster ride as the pages reveal the mystery enhanced by Gaurav Sharma's engaging writing style. There are a lot of plots and twists along with fantastic characters in this book. 

The storyline is gripping. This book gives you a taste of Hindu medieval timeline. An un-put-down-able fiction, "God of the Sullied" is a pacy read for all mythology buffs!

"God of the sullied" is the first book in which Eklavya is the protagonist. Eklavya was the boy who severed his right hand thumb and gave it to Dronacharya as his Gurudakshina. Apart from this, we hardly know anything about him. In this book, author Gaurav Sharma has re-imagined and executed everything. Reimagining and writing about a mythological character is not an easy work. But the ease with which the author has reimagined everything is laudable.

Use of easy and lucid language makes it enjoyable to read. The narration is also good. Editing of the book is tight and absolutely perfect. This book has made my mind visualize every description made by the author. The book is well researched & takes you to the heights of excitement.

VERDICT : This book is truly a captivating novel with each page and character building up interest in the book. Will surely recommend!

TIP: Preferably try finishing the book in one go.

Keep writing, Gaurav Sharma. Kudos to you. Looking forward to reading you more.

Rating - 4.5/5 

Disclaimer: I received the book from the author asking me to review this book. I read the blurb, which seemed intriguing, and I accepted his offer, in exchange of an honest review.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Book Review #111 : Dystopia

Title: Dystopia
Author: Manoj V Jain
Publisher: The Write Place
Genre: Fiction 
Pages: 146



Manoj V Jain’s Dystopia is the story of five school friends who reconnect after decades and attempt to resolve why a dear friend killed herself at eighteen. 

The book is set in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai and is centred on a single night at one of the friends’ house. Regular flashbacks take you to different points in time giving the narrative some perspective.

Jain has divided the story into two parts- Shambala, the idealistic and dreamy world of adolescence and Dystopia, the dark and angst ridden reality. As with any murder plot, the end is a shocker and takes you by surprise. The reason for Anandita’s death is the final piece of the puzzle, but yet the story somehow feels unsatisfying. 

Dystopia is nothing but a reflection of what we as adults might have gone through as kids, how our life shapes depending upon how over protective our parents were or careless with our up bringing; how we behaved with others as we grew up and vice versa. 

Most of us are the results of our childhood. Dystopia is a good read for those grappling with childhood pains, growing up, teenage angst, role identities and parenting but one should be careful that the book does not end up being a trigger to past problems.

The writing is good but fails to interest because of the incessant transition from reality to flashback. A topic gets initiated and even before its culmination, it is monotonously interrupted by the spirit of dystopia. The scenes hence become over-stretched and uninteresting.

‘Dystopia ’once again brings to the fore Author Manoj V Jain’s skill at making a mundane topic truly interesting and engaging. I admire how skilfully the author has his reader engaged in the topic.

If you are a parent, this might turn on an internal debate with your subconscious mind for the good or the bad but beware, that the message this novella wants to spread, must be taken seriously. ‘Dystopia’ is an eye-opener. Thought provoking, and one that can leave adults especially those that force their will on their children, feeling guilty, ‘Dystopia’ reveals the damage over protectiveness can have on the young mind. This in turn translates into the child becoming an introvert or hesitating from revealing secrets that are meant only for parents’ ears. 

VERDICT: The book one of the best on parenting, is a must read for all parents especially those with young kids.

Rating -4/5

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Book Review #110 : Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways To A Lasting Relationship



I have gone through Shubha’s Ramayana series books as well. And all books are amazing with great life lessons. In this book, the author concludes the life lessons amazingly and as readers, we are glued till the end!

There are 6 stories from the shastras namely ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, ‘The Golden Letter’, ‘A Silent Voice’, ‘The Other Before Oneself’, ‘The Woman Who Chose’ and ‘A Condition About Conditions’, but Shubha has presented them in a very practical and simple way. I was completely surprised by the depth of love, in all the stories.

Forgiveness is key is the main theme of ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ which narrates the story of Nala and Damayanti. Tolerate first and forgive next is the first key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Rukmini expresses her love to Krishna in ‘The Golden Letter’ as she explores that expressing love is crucial in a relationship. Appreciative expressions of love are the second key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Trust is foundation of all relationships. In ‘A Silent Voice’, Shakuntala first starts learning to trust herself, her inner voice and then later on trusting Dushyanta, her lover and husband. Trust in others begins by trusting oneself first, inner voice second and life itself, third. Trust is the important key to make a relationship strong.

In ‘The Other Before Oneself’, the author narrates the love story of Udayana and Vasavadatta as well as Lohajanga and Rupinika who build their relationships based on quality time spent in each other’s company. Spending quality and quantity time is the fourth key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Savitri’s determination to stay with Satyavan is retold in the story ‘The Woman Who Chose’. The determination to stay together actually increases the overall levels of happiness and contentment in a human being. Savitri was resolute not to let go of the relationship even in the face of death itself.

As the name suggests ‘A Condition About Conditions’ is about the conditions that have positive or negative impact on the relationships. A positive condition is the last half-key to make a relationship last for a lifetime. The stories of Shantanu’s relationship with Ganga and Satyavati and Pururava’s love for Urvashi talk about how negative conditions complicate relationships from the beginning and strangulate them in the end. Whereas Draupadi’s marriage with the five Pandavas lasted a lifetime.

Life lessons of love, anger, lust, intelligence, etc all emotions are taken through and is quite implementable in day to day life. This is a genuine book with genuine content. 

Each quote and lesson given in the book touches the heart, with narration that keeps you hooked. These are my favourite quotes from the book-

"The commitment to be grateful in a relationship is the commitment that keeps a relationship”

“When you look down upon someone, they appear ugly. When you look up at someone, they appear beautiful. But when you look straight at someone, they appear the way they are.”

“Filthy roads are better than filthy minds; at least their filth is visible.”

"Small drops of water when collected fill up a water tank. Similarly, when efforts are made to fulfil small desires, it fills up the love tank"

"Just as the smile of the crescent moon against the backdrop of utter darkness is most beautiful, the smile on the face of a person who is surrounded by unlimited troubles is most attractive.”

I've received much deeper and broader understanding on the way how relationships should be dealt with. Here in this book, it's not just about two people in love per se, but how we can improve every relation in general.

Theory with practical lessons plus implementation of things and guidance by author himself. It is a guide to having fulfilling relationships and transforming the way we look at them, that will be useful for generations to come.  

Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways to A Lasting Relationship is a treasure trove of scriptural wisdom for the modern age. I appreciate the efforts taken by the author in studying, writing and presenting the book in such a beautiful way! For all those who wish to improve their relationship with their partner it is must read book! :) Highly recommended.

Rating - 5/5

Author : Shubha Vilas is a TEDx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. He has delivered more than 4000 lectures on application of scriptural wisdom in day-to-day life. Curious to know more about him, then visit his website – www.shubhavilas.com.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Loving The Right Person




Love is a big thing.  It is equal parts exciting, rewarding, and scary. But, anyone who’s experienced it knows it’s the best feeling ever.

Loving the right person can bring about so many changes in you and your life.
1. THEY’RE THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY
No matter how good or bad the day is going, that someone has a way of making it better. There’s something quite magical about our loved one in that their mere presence makes us feel more at peace.  
2. You heal
When you're loved the way you want to be loved, all your baggage starts to make sense and that's when you start letting go of everything negative you've been holding on to. That's because when you find the right person, you'll be accepted in your truest sense, gaining back that confidence you lost somewhere along the way.

3. YOU WILL LOVE YOURSELF A LOT MORE THAN YOU DID

Stronger relationship teaches us the value of self worth. That's because the person you're with will make you realise how important you are as an individual, not just to them, but as a whole. You will feel valued and free. The love will feel like it lifts you up, helping you to experience more out of life.

4. THEIR PAIN IS YOURS
That’s right: the whole thing about owning your pain goes out the window the moment you fall in love. We can’t honestly hold onto something if someone else refuses to let go. Love and pain are inseparable. And it’s the most beautiful (albeit, heart-wrenching) type of pain, too.
5. YOU’RE PROTECTIVE
We innately protect the people we care for. You feel safe with them, too.
6. YOU THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE/ LONG TERM GOALS
A lot of consideration is given to the days ahead. Maybe it’s having a lovely home, starting a family, or bettering yourself when the time comes to settle down.
7. YOU WANT TO BE A BETTER PERSON
This is the life-changing power of love.
8. YOU’RE BEST FRIENDS
When you’re in love with the right person, it feels a lot like returning to the simpler days of life. You might be dealing with the pressures of work, school, and conflicting responsibilities. But you genuinely enjoy each other’s company, you tell each other everything, and you have the unshakable knowledge that if something goes wrong for one of you, the two of you will face it together. You’re at each other’s side through laughter and tears, and you take comfort from each other. You’re not afraid to be silly, and you’re not afraid to be weak. You like each other’s quirks, and there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for each other.
People fall in love for all sorts of reasons. Deep levels of trust take time to develop, but with the right person it all finds a perfect balance.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Book Review #109 : Invisible Ties

Author: Nadya A.R.
Title: Invisible Ties
Year of publication: 2017
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Number of pages: 265



This is a story of a girl finding herself, accepting herself and loving herself. This is a story of self-love and self-respect. 

Nadya A.R.’s Invisible Ties traces the journey of Noor Kamal as she goes from being a meek, overprotected girl growing up in Pakistan to becoming a self-realised woman, married and on equal terms with her husband in Singapore.

Nadya A.R. certainly deserves credit for the research and details presented in the novel. At first, Invisible Ties comes across as a fairly ordinary story but that’s only until the plot takes off. Or maybe the story is ordinary but has been told in such a manner that it makes for an extraordinary read.

The book is about Noor and her journey across multiple cultures. Ordinary situations sometimes transform seemingly average people into unlikely heroes and it is only in taking control of our lives that we discover ourselves.

Invisible Ties is a story about love, loss, relationships that evolve and bonds that are tested. The interplay of emotions and relationships is something that stands out in this book. The characters emotions are explored in detail, their trials and tribulations and compromises make for a fascinating read. Perhaps, its good that this story has been kept ordinary and hasn’t resorted to unnecessary grandeur. The simplicity is what makes it unique. The different stages of Noor's life have been beautifully encapsulated.

From the first couple of chapters, I was left confused. Many things were happening, and I couldn’t decode them. It was all going over my head. However, once the story moved to the past that was set in Pakistan, things settled a bit, and I could make sense of what was happening. I think the part set in Pakistan is the strongest part of the story.

Some of the stuff is repetitive but if you can overlook it, it makes for an overall good read. The author has good command over language and holds the plot fairly well.

VERDICT : Overall, ‘Invisible Ties’ is a brilliant story that offers genuine moments of heartache and throws light on the harsh realities of life. It projects various themes and leaves the last page for the readers to contemplate.

Rating - 4.5/5 

P.S: I received a mail from a company named ‘Keemiya Creatives’, asking me to review this book. I read the blurb, which seemed intriguing, and I accepted their offer, in exchange of an honest review.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Book Review #108 : Heart Quake




Author: Ishita Deshmukh

Publisher: Lifi Publications

Ishita penned this novel in her school days when she was asked to write with ‘love’ and ‘calamity’ as themes. With just a few months past the Bhuj earthquake, she chose her work to revolve around it.

Heart Quake revolves around the emotional crisis undergone by two lovers at the time of the Bhuj earthquake that shook Gujarat in 2001, which is a theme that is rarely taken up.

The book is an emotional journey for readers and the strong characters pull through the emotional ebb and flow perfectly. The female protagonist, Sonal, is a strong modern day woman. Tejas, a fatalist who is languid by nature, falls for his former lover, Sonal. The story traces their quest to find true love amidst crisis. They are the victims of the Bhuj earthquake and their defenselessness leads them to find a companion for life.

The story traces their love story, which had begun earlier. Plus, there is also Dilip’s factor, who is Sonal’s to-be fiancé. Dilip who was her friend for all these years, when Tejas was not to be seen, was looking forward to being Sonal’s husband. And there are other bad causes at work, henchmen in terrible times too. The wrong agents at work are trying to make money from the entire situation.

The best part of this book are the characters. I would definitely say that it is a character-driven plot because they have been portrayed with such finesse and the author has managed to put all the nitty-gritty details. The book is definitely emotional. The supporting characters have also been portrayed well. Each character plays a vital role in shaping the story. Removal of one, will make the story look incomplete. The best people of this lot include Sonal’s mother, Chitra who calmly guides her daughter, into the next phase of her life. As does Dilip, who stays in love with Sonal through the whole story.

In the city of Bhuj, after the entire shock, amidst all the chaos and dread, there was also an overflow of emotions in the book - love, friendship, and a whole bunch of confusion, hope in the time of disaster, which is a ray of sunshine.

This is one of the books which leaves an impact on you with simple yet elegant way of explaining emotions that aren't easily understood by many. I would recommend this book to those who would like to read realistic life stories filled with highs and lows.

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

Rating: 4/5

Monday, 13 August 2018

Book Review #107 : 'He's Just Not That Into You'






Authors: Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
ISBN: 978-0-689-87474-1

There are 16 chapters. Each of these chapters contains a brief description of the problem from Greg; two or three advice column-style questions from women, which Greg answers; a paragraph or two under the heading "It's so simple," which reinforces the chapter title; "Here's Why This One Is Hard," wherein Liz empathizes with reluctant readers and whines about how difficult her romantic life is; "This is What It Should Look Like," which discuss an ideal situation; and "Greg, I Get It," credited to a woman who finds the advice liberating.

Three items end each chapter: "If You Don't Believe Greg," which always has '20 out of 20' or '100% of polled men' giving advice that stands by the chapter's rule; a redundant "What You Should Have Learned in This Chapter" summary; and a trivial but occasionally giggle-worthy "Workbook" section.

You've probably told yourself all of this stuff before, but seeing it in writing really brings it home. I feel like this book has changed my entire perspective on dating.

If he is really that into you, you will know. There will be no doubting or questioning. This book just reaffirmed my inner voice that was telling me this kind of stuff but I always brushed aside in hopeless romantic style. But not anymore! This might be an uncomfortable book for both men and women to listen to, since it has high expectations of relationships. It has a light touch and is often funny. While the book often seems to have a very idealized view of romantic love and the perfectibility of relationships, relying on an old fashioned view of the differences between the sexes, it also fits in with one of the simplest and most obvious planks of feminism, that women should be treated with respect and kindness. We well know that it is often the people we get closest to that we hurt the most.


He's Just Not That Into You is certainly not an academic treatise, so readers should take the advice at the level at which it is offered. The idea of the book is to get women to improve their relationships, not make final pronouncements about the nature of men and women.

Move over diamonds, Greg Behrendt is a girl's new best friend. This book is hilarious and its humor will turn off any yearning for the man you thought was "into you" but not heard from in a while. (The book also gives women permission--and courage--to dump a man without feeling guilty.) The sad truth took a while to sink in that if a man really wants a particular woman, he'll move mountains to be with her.

It is not a bad message and maybe it is needed because as the authors say, there are too many women who put up with bad behavior from men. Women do need to believe that they deserve respectful behavior and should not fall for the many lies they are told. Indeed, women should not be so ready to lie to themselves about their relationships in the belief that they can't do any better. They need to respect themselves enough to insist on being loved well, because if they don't, then men won't respect them either. It is pretty crude psychology, but it makes sense.

He's Just Not That Into You will make its readers consider what their minimum requirements should be in the attitudes of a partner, and how much they should forgive the faults and mistakes of their lovers. So, surprisingly, it is a book that takes a strong moral stance. It is probably not a stance that its readers should adopt completely, but it is at least one worth keeping in mind. I sat with a highlighter pen to mark the important one-liners - the gems! ;)

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Dating & Relationship Insights From Mom!



It’s a delicate subject, but in my times of conflict, I have always turned to my mom for a second opinion as to whether I am is correct in my assumptions about a relationship or not. Without taking my side, she has always called spade a spade. Top 5 valuable lessons that I learned from her :

1. Respect him/her. Offer it while expecting it in return. Good relationships are forged more on how a couple handles the bad times than the good ones. Fight fair. Don’t get into name-calling, or fits of rage.

2. Never change for someone until you no longer recognize yourself. Falling deeply, madly in love should not get you “lost”. Change aspects of yourself only because YOU recognize where your flaws exist and YOU want to become a better person.

3. “Don’t marry for money. You’ll have nothing when it’s gone.” Prioritize love. The biggest lesson I learned from her is to prioritize love. Real love. To trust my heart and not force something to work just because it's a good story or he's 'perfect on paper.’

4. Never Settle. Since forever, my mom has taught me to never settle, to keep my standards as high as I want them, and that it's better to be alone than wishing you were alone!

5. Find the one who ‘supports’ you. 'Having it all' is impossible (or very, very difficult) without support. She attributes her success, work-life balance and happiness in large part to the fact that my dad has been an incredibly awesome, involved, and equal partner.

So, there you have it: Whether it's the little things or the big picture about life and love, a mother knows best.