23 January, 2015

Kurukshetra by Krishna Udayasankar - [Book Review]

Book details:
Title - The Aryavartha Chronicles book 3 - Kurukshetra
Author - Krishna Udayasankar
Genre - fiction, mythology
No. Of pages - 436
Publishers - Hachette India
Source: A free review copy from blogadda book review program

My first thoughts: I love reading mythology. I already knew every small story of the epic Mahabharatha. Heard those from my father in childhood. So, iam not reading this book to know story. Kurukshetra war is the result of many politics, it is very interesting to know how people from same lineage fought for power, how alliances formed, what strategies are used, how betrayals happened and at last, how dharma won.

Author's first note clearly says he is not retelling the epic but telling the story imagining every character as human with emotions. I liked this perspective. When we consider Sri krishna as God and read the story we believe everything he has done is right and good for the society. But, if we imagine him as a human being, we understand the reasoning behind each decision he took and his emotions. So, this epic can be read in a complete different perspective.

I felt, font size is very small and hard on eyes. Even for an avid reader like me completing 436 page book with this font is intimidating. :-)

Even though each character's name is explained just before the starting of the story, it was really confusing for me to follow for sometime. I got comfortable after reading a few pages. Matching the names that we now and the name they gave in the book is slightly time taking. I am reading part 3 book of chronicle directly without reading earlier parts, so it was difficult for me to understand terminology like 'Firewrights'. 

Plot: This starts from Krishna (Govinda Shauri, as mentioned in book) going to Kaurava court as mediator to negotiate on necessity of war. Since war became imminent, it becomes interesting how Kaurava and pandavas form alliances with other kings and make strategies for the war.

What I liked?
The episode of Shikandi, his feelings of hatred on his own father, his revenge to Bhishma explained well. I don't know much about Uttara, Abhimanyu's wife until I read this book. She is shown as independent woman who thinks she is equally good as her husband. The final fight between Bhim and Suyodhana also explained well.

I liked the book because it is not a retelling of the epic and it is interesting to imagine all Mahabharata characters as mortals. Author's knowledge, research and her interpretation should be appreciated for sure. 

What I didn't like?
Font size is a put down. Names of characters are slightly confusing. I felt, it would have been easy if I read earlier parts of this chronicle, before reading this one. I didn't feel it very easy to understand. 

One more thing, book might be boring for a few, as main focus is on war and planning for it. So, description of war, weapons, strategies, revenge and violence might not be a good time pass read. Pick the book only if you want to know more about Kurukshetra imagining every character as mortal. 

My overall rating: 3/5

Until next time,

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

22 January, 2015

Teaching good manners to kids

Teaching good manners to kids is not an easy task. We have to show them examples and make them understand - what is right and what is wrong. As we all know, we cannot be right always it's a bit difficult right? Sometimes, we can be right, but majority might follow the wrong path. Then, comes the dilemma for the kid, which one to follow. 

India has many paradoxes. We make it a point to clean our homes for every festival but, don't care on spreading litter outside our houses. We teach our kids not to spread litter but we ourselves throw things on the road from car. 

There are many historic places in Hyderabad which are stained with pan marks. Throwing litter and spitting everywhere has become common. Actually, if we see, problem is not with the government or policies, but, with the people and society. If we care for our country, our environment, we don't spread litter and teach the same to kids by example. right?

My 3 year old and me are coming up in lift in our apartments and he asked me about the red design on lift walls.
What can I say? It's a design made by someone spitting pan on the wall :-o
I told the same and told it's not good to spit on the wall. But, if he sees many people spitting in public, how does he get my words into his brain? By the way, it's very common in Hyderabad to spit on roads.

Whenever I pick my kid from his school back to home, I ask him to go for loo and start :-). 
You guessed it right :-), I don't want him to pee on road on the way.
One day, he didn't go for loo before starting and he pestered me to stop the car in the middle. When I told him ok, he got down and said 'gandhaa' (dirty in hindi) and told he wont pee on the roadside. Thank God! Whatever may be the reason, Iam happy that he decided not to pee on the road :-)

My kid loves travelling by train. We usually pack our dinner for evening and night travels. Whenever  there is some garbage left after our dinner, I tell him to throw in the dust bin provided in the train and not outside. But, Is it always possible? Most of the trains have dust bins in AC coaches, Iam not very sure of non-AC coaches.


Now, our PM has come up with a campaign on Swacha Bharath and he included celebrities too. Inclusion of celebrities should surely improve the impact. Let's see. Let's change for good. Let us hope that our next generation doesn't feel bad while teaching good manners. 

This post is inspired by this video from http://greatindian.timesofindia.com/... 
The Great Indian Litterbug in a humorous way :)

Until next time,

21 January, 2015

When she smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarty - [Book Review]

Hello everyone! My first book review of the year 2015 :) This is a teenage love story in the backdrop of beautiful Shivalik hills of Shimla.

Book Details:
Title - When she smiled
Author - Ritoban Chakrabarthy
Genre - Teenage love, fiction
No. of pages - 212
Source - A free special review copy from author

 Plot (Spoiler alert!): 
This is the story of a 15year old boy Mrityunjoy - his school days, his first love, love failure and how he has come out of the heartbreak etc., Not a very long story with twists and turns. Mrityunjoy joins back his old school DAV after leaving Sainik school due to injuries and wanted to start a fresh year by meeting his old friends. He meets a beautiful girl in his class whose name is Akanksha and completely bitten by her gorgeous looks on first sight itself. He continues friendship and meets her in Physics tuition class. They become close very soon, start sharing their family details and have fun time walking down to home from their tution. Everyone in the class envy Mrityunjoy for winning her love but their love breaks due to some small misunderstandings. When Akanksha starts friendship with Neeraj and enjoys his company in dance classes, Mrityunjoy cannot accept the situation and still hopes to be with her. Atlast, how he comes out of depression and takes a decision to leave his first love and moves to some other town concentrating on his career forms the climax. 

What I liked?
I have been to Shimla in childhood and knew Ritz , mall road , kalika temple and scenic beauty of that place. It's refreshing to feel the scenic beauty and first snow in Shimla from the book, it's written very well. Flow of the story is good, though sometimes it's a bit slow. Characterization is good. Especially, Mrityunjoy's parents - how they fight for silly reasons, how they don't appreciate each other's talents and how Mrityunjoy's father doesn't show any emotions and prefers only education and doesn't allows kids to participate in annual events. They are all realistic for that generation. I feel, this generation parents are not like this. 

First love, first feelings, Mrityunjoy's excitement to talk to Akanksha, his prepaeration for the walks from dressing style to talking manners - everything is very good to read and it might remind you your teenage days. 

What I didn't like?
Basically, this novel is not a strong story based but an emotional one. There are no twists and turns in the story. I didn't like the reasoning behind their breakup and explanation that Akansha gave in the climax. I felt, their relationship or friendship is not that weak to fail for some rumours and silly misunderstandings. There are one or two grammar mistakes, editing might have been better. Being a woman, I couldn't actually understand the heart break men go through from love failure that is explained in this book :) 


1. Liked this line from the book:
"Time heals all wounds. The scars remain but you can always live with them."

2. It reminded me the softy cone ice cream in Ritz road.. I love it sooo much :-)

3. Loved those rhyming poems Mrityunjoy writes.

4. Good for a time pass read during travels, not recommended for readers who love thrill and stories with twists and turns.

My rating; 3/5

Until next time,

16 January, 2015

Use Your AND - No compromise :-)

We all know, women are playing many roles - cooking, taking care of kids, working in office/ running business these days. It's fortunate that society is also changing accordingly to support working women. Men of these days are helping their spouses in household chores, discussing expenditures and budget with them and contributing in taking care of kids, which is a welcome change. Family members - both parents and in laws are stepping forward to help them to take care of their kids and encouraging them. Without this support and change in society's ideology, we cannot see more successful women high in corporate ladders. Still, we also know that this kind of fortunate women are very less. I strongly believe, even though married women have a strong ambition and right skills, they cannot always succeed without family's support. Here is a story of Asha and her journey from 'OR' to 'AND'.

Asha is very bright kid from childhood, topped always in class. She always wished to become a pilot. Her parents encouraged her even though relatives dismissed her ambitions saying it's very difficult to find a right guy in arranged marriage market if Asha chooses that job. After her graduation, she studied hard, cracked the AFCAT(Air force common admission test). She got selected in women special entry scheme and very happy. 

She got married to her colleague in IAF, everything is well until she delivered a baby boy. After her maternity leave, she is in a confused state, whether to appoint a care taker for her kid and continue her job OR to resign. Her parents and in laws came forward to help her in taking care of the kid for sometime. She could continue her career with the help of supporting husband and family.  She chose her career but that doesn't mean she ignored her kid. She spent more time with kid at home in her day offs. 

As per a research that i read on Internet, working women get attached to kids more emotionally than a stay at home mom. I am not sure if it is true. But, this might be because of the guilt that many working women have to leave their kid and go to office. They want to spend each and every minute in the evenings after returning home to compensate on what they miss for whole day.

We need to take critical decisions sometimes - this OR that. That decision might change our life forever. It's not always impossible to take care of family AND also follow your heart.  What do you say?

Until next time,

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“. Written for the following theme:
 Journey from ‘OR’ to ‘AND’
A story of how a woman took charge of life and made a choice, not a compromise. She followed her heart.


12 January, 2015

Mansi AND her story

Mansi is born in a middle class family. Mansi's father ensured that she completed her academics in best schools and colleges. She also proved her mettle by topping in academics every year and making her father proud.

She is jack of all trades. A true enthusiast  of every art. She learnt dance from childhood, learnt singing, enjoyed paintings, participated in skits for youth festivals in college. She wants to try everything new and is not afraid of failure. She is very optimistic in life and learns from mistakes. She loves travelling and travelled to a lot of places alone and also enjoyed planning tours with family. 

For Mansi, life is meant to be enjoyed. After her marriage, being a wife, working woman and mother she never left her hobbies. She is crazy about travelling and reading books. So, she also started maintaining a blog to share her travelogues and give opinion on the books that she read. People would envy her asking how she could manage time for her hobbies like singing, dancing; painting and reading. But her reply is always same -

Life is meant to be enjoyed.
We can add more ANDs to our life with supporting family and our own enthusiasm.
Life is short and there many things yet to be explored.
There is no limit for creativity in this world.

So, that's the story of Mansi. She can't be restricted by one label. She added many ANDs to her life and she loves wearing all those different hats :) A jack of all trades and master of none! I hope you would have come across many such women in your lives. Please do share in comments  :-)

PS: By the way, this story is not completely fiction. I would be boasting myself if i say, Mansi very much resonates with my interests :)

Until next time,

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.
Written for the initiative by Gillette Venus for the theme #Things that define me.
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