The Activist and the Capitalist by Vibha Batra

unnamedI received Vibha Batra’s The Activist and the Capitalist from the author herself as a review copy. It is the story of Anusha and Jai set in Chennai.

The story:

Jai Khanna, 28, one of the youngest entrepreneurs, became the CEO of VPK group after his grandfather retired. King’s Cross is his first project as CEO and he is passionate about it.

Anusha Iyer, 24, works for the Chennai Chapter of ITACC (Indian Trust for Art and Culture Conservation), an NGO. She joined the NCO after college and has continued to stay in Chennai after her parents moved to Coimbatore following her father’s retirement. Heritage conservation is her passion and so is baking and reading. She puts up a cupcake stall at her old college’s food fair every fortnight.

The story:

Anusha and Jai meet at a beach wedding. They go their separate ways and she continues to be in his mind. Six months later, Jai’s company buys Rasa Vihar, an ancestral property and they plan to build apartments for the rich. Anusha’s NGO is all out saving the heritage of the city and they meet again. This time they are at loggerheads.

He is drawn to her and tries to make amends, and they become friends and then her past and Rasa Vihar come in between them.

My take:

The story has been written in a steady flow and the speed does not slacken throughout the book. The language is simple and the characters are realistic. I loved it when he calls her Miss Firebrand Activist and she calls him Mr Hotshot Capitalist, this made the banter between them very real.

Book Source: Author

Publisher: Indireads

Cover Reveal: The Activist and the Capitalist by Vibha Batra


Book Blurb

“I’m not drunk – just a litt-le high.”

On a magical moonlit night, Jai and Anusha meet and fall in love. When they meet again however, they discover that Jai is the crass capitalist developing Rasa Vihar, the heritage building that Anusha and her NGO are fighting to protect. Inevitably they clash, with neither willing to concede to the other. The problem is that although publicly they are enemies, in private, they are wildly attracted to each other. – but when secrets and betrayals enter the equation – things really begin to get out of control.

Will the Activist and the Capitalist ever be able to find common ground?


The chaos within by Ashima Chalia

Chaos Within_29Jan15The chaos within by Ashima Chalia is one of the books I received as a review copy from Rupa Publications. I would like to thank Richa for the same. It is the story of five college friends who meet at their college reunion and how it changes their lives.

The Blurb:

Designer clothes, swanky cars, unlimited one-night stands, successful careers, loving families and cute children—the Fiasco Five, once the most popular group of friends in St Magnum College, have got what they desired in life. Or so it seems.

An invite to the long-awaited college reunion brings back old memories and a golden opportunity to relive the life that the Fiasco Five once enjoyed. Little do they know that once they reach their alma mater, not only will their past catch them off guard but their lives will no longer be the same. As the friends stare down the barrel of the gun—quite literally—the critical question remains: Is it too late?

The Chaos Within dwells on the most cherished college memories of five best friends and an incident at the college reunion that changes their lives. It is a roller-coaster ride of fun, laughter, hatred and courage that bears testament to the most enduring relationship of all—friendship!

The story:

The book starts with a prologue: Mr Banerjee, the head of administration at Magnum College and incharge of almost everything, is asked by the ‘new age’ vice chancellor to make the upcoming reunion, an activity he has been involved in for sixteen years, a little different. And as he sits down to have a look at the batch in question, he sees that it is the Batch of 2003- the Fiasco Five Batch. Five friends, Krish, Samrat, Kabir, Mahi and Kamakshii are known as the Fiasco Five. They bonded during the ragging session in first year.

Krish, a spoilt rich brat who has had no responsibilities other than his family business which belongs to him after his father’s death, is still the same. Akshi calls him Pretty Boy.

Samrat Dholakia, Dholki, from not so well off family, is now a successful entrepreneur.

Kabir, a rich guy, the only one among the classmates to get a five figure pocket money, is a successful lawyer. Mahi’s best friend, he was also in love with her.

Mahi, the typical girl and everybody in the hostel ran their wardrobe, from the tip to toe to even ear rings, by her, is now married and rich. The only girl whom she could not influence was Kamakshi. She shared an easy camaraderie with Krish who treats her like the sister he never had.

Kamakshii, or Akshii, the tomboy, would rather sweat it out in the playground that be the dainty dainty. She is the glue that has held the group together all those years and knew exactly what they wanted or even needed to hear and how to motivate them, aggravate them and also to pacify them. Akshii and Mahi are not only best friends but long lost sisters.

Ten years later, they meet. Also at the reunion is another friend of theirs with whom they have lost touch in the ten years. And thensomething happens and they get talking  and skeletons come tumbling out of the closet.

My take:

A short and sweet book, only 142 pages long, can be finished in two sittings.  The characters are realistic, people we all tend to meet in life. The language is simple and story is fast paced moving from the present to ten years ago fully in reference with the present context. The book has been written in third person. I loved Mr Banerjee’s Bengali accent. There is romance, drama and suspense.

Book Source: Publisher

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Dream with your eyes open by Ronniew Screwvala

dream-with-your-eyes-open-400x400-imae5fvgzc2a5ydmI was listening to Ronnie Screwvala talk about his debut book, Dream With Your Eyes Open, on the radio and was very impressed and wanted to read it. And when I hear the name Ronnie Screwvala, what comes to my mind is the TV screen with black and white UTV written in capitals and its three coloured line being dragged by three fingers.

As luck would have it, I received a mail from Rupa Publications asking me whether I wanted to review the book, and I agreed. I would like to thank Richa Pathania of Rupa Publications for sending me the book.

In the introduction, he mentions that this book is for everyone: for someone who has ever had an impactful, disruptive product or business idea, been curious about owning your own business, or have already taken the first steps on his entrepreneurial journey; for someone who has been running his own company for the last seven-odd years, and scale, brand and value-creation are some of the crossroads for him; for someone who thinks that his parents or family would freak out if he dared to suggest ditching his professional job to pursue his dreams of owning his own business. He also mentions that this book is also for an experienced professional ready to take the plunge into starting his own business or committed to growing into an effective leader in the company he works for.

The book:

Ronnie Screwvala starts the book by mentioning that he is sharing his career arc in headline form and also that the stories have not been presented in a chronological order. The stories mentioned as illustrations of his entrepreneurial journey are very interesting.

He starts the book with his low middle class childhood when he used to stay with is joint family in a three room apartment in Mumbai and how he along with other children would host programmes for the people in the complex and even sell them tickets which they would buy because their children were participating. He mentions that his first earning at ten years of age started it all. He also mentions how he sold tickets for seats on his balcony to people who wanted to see the filmstars at movie premieres at Novelty Cinema which was next to their apartment complex. And then how he organized a rock concert at eighteen with his friends and went bankrupt. He also talks about the risks taken, his setbacks and failures.

I was impressed at the young boy who ventures into the business world, with two toothbrush machines waiting to be picked up from London, with no company of his own asking for orders from toothbrush companies ready to outsource orders. He also mentions that he never felt shy to ask questions along the way and was prepared for all kinds of answers that he got, learning in the process. He describes his journey from toothbrushes to owning a pro-kabaddi team and the failures that went along with it. He talks about his belief in Plan A and not Plan B and his mantra of Focus, Choices and Empathy.

The last line of the books sums it all, “Just dream your own dream- and when you do it, dream with your eyes open”.

My take:

The book has been written in a story form making it easy to visualize the scenes. Each chapter ends with bullet points summarizing it. What I loved about the book was the questions and answers at the end as an annexure.

A must read for everyone whether you want to be an entrepreneur or not.

Book Source: Rupa Publications

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Cover Reveal: Love Again by Shrruti Patole Clarence & Sumeetha Manikandan

Cover Reveal

Love Again 


Shrruti Patole Clarence & Sumeetha Manikandan

A Double Header Novel


Love, Again is a double header novel published by Half Baked Beans andFablery with two novellas – A Tulip in the Desert by Shrruti Patole Clarence and These Lines of Mehendi by Sumeetha Manikandan.


A historian in making, Charmaine has settled down in Amsterdam after her father migrated from India when she was very young. Life was picturesque until the final year of Graduation when she elected to specialize in Egyptology. Thereafter from the time she read the book about Cleopatra, revelation after revelation turns her world into a tornado!

Raj, another aspiring Historian, walks into her college and her life like a whirlwind. A simpleton from Delhi, Raj too finds mysteries unfolding before him from the time he enters the college library right through to their educational tour to Egypt.A series of events throws them together at every step of their college life despite Charmaine wanting to maintain a distance from ‘this’ natural charmer.

A twist of fate puts Raj and Charmaine in the most unthinkable situation that finally links back to their ‘revelations’. Raj must face a choice again…A choice of history over his love… or does he have the mettle to change history and create his own?


Beautiful and efficient Lalitha loved to deck up brides for their wedding, though her own marriage was in shambles. When her estranged husband suddenly commits suicide she realizes that things wouldn’t be the same again…

Shrikanth thought that he was a confirmed bachelor but when his mother refused to get herself treated for cancer unless he got married, he had to get a bride in a hurry.She needed a husband in name, to save her career while he needed to marry to please his mother. Will they find love second time around? Will they lower their shields and succumb to a mutual passion?


The Authors

Shrruti Patole Clarence

Shrruti has been a voracious reader since early years and took to composing poems when she was very young. She has worked as an Aviation Manager for over ten years with various airlines, she has been on a sabbatical for her two son’s aged six and one year respectively. She enjoys this welcome break from career, to be able to pursue her passion, writing!

She has to her credit six short stories featuring in different Anthologies; a Hindi poem featuring in Tumbhi’s contest Ehsaas judged by the famous screenwriter Javed Siddiqui.Shrruti is a warm and friendly person who loves music and watching sports when she is not writing.

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Sumeetha Manikandan
Sumeetha Manikandan is a freelance writer and an author who loves to write and base her plots on the tambrahm community of Mylapore, Chennai. She is the author of ‘The Perfect Groom’ that has been a best selling ebook on the top 50 charts of Amazon India ever since its publication in 2013.
An avid reader, she loves to read across different genres – romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, mystery, fantasy etc. A history buff to the core, she is currently translating Ponniyin Selvan – the evergreen tamil classic epic history by Kalki Krishnamurthy into English.
Married to film maker K.S. Manikandan, Sumeetha lives in Chennai, along with her six year old daughter.
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Metro Diaries by Namrata

efb80-indexMetro Diaries by Namrata is a book of twenty short romantic stories that I received as a review copy from Bookr3vi3ws. Thank you Debdatta for the book. What I love to do with short stories is to read them one at a time, savour them and then write an individual review. That makes the exercise easy and all the stories get their due. I thought I would do the same with this book too but the daily humdrum did not allow me to do it. So here I am writing a line or two about the stories I liked and what I liked in them. Here goes….

  1. Once in a lifetime:This is the story of Nitya, an editorial assistant in a leading publishing house, who falls in love with Ansh, who works in the marketing department. Deeply in love with her, he manages to break the walls she has erected around herself. This is my favourite story.
  2. Then, Now and Forever: In this story a grandmother opens her grandson’s eyes by telling him her own love story and the letter which kept her going.
  3. Love thy dreams: is the story of a boy, Abhi who comes back home to talk to his parents about the girl who has been with him through thick and thin since schooldays.
  4. A promise of a lifetime: This is the story of Ranjit and Tamanna, who meet each other after four years at a common friend’s wedding and post-wedding, he proposes to her.
  5. A thing called love:This the story of Chaitanya who is so ambitious in life that he does not even realize that someone loves him and is always there for him.
  6. The Sole Soul mate:Saahil, 28, does not believe in love, has a string of break-ups behind him and after each one of then, he confides in Nishaani, his bestest friend, his neighbor, who is the only person he knows who believes in love. Until he asks her one day, after yet another break-up, to tell him about soul mates, and he wants to meet his.
  7. The Yellowed Diary:This is the story of a girl who has loved and lost and makes entries in her diary. Three years after her break-up, she takes out her diary to read the entries only to wrap it up and put it back again.
  8. You, me and love:A story of a couple who seems to be on their honeymoon is actually celebrating their fifth anniversary.
  9. Unlocked:This story is about Salil who realizes that he wants Maya to be a part of his life when she is leaving him.
  10. Memories:A story which made me cry.
  11. A message of love:A story in which the realization dawns while reading a letter.
  12. Her:A story where the hero starts missing the heroine as soon as she leaves home.
  13. Love Revisited:A beautiful story of a girl whose parents treat her like a princess, and after she is married, she becomes a victim at her husband’s hands. And then her best friend stands with her through thick and thin.
  14. Last Letter:This story is about Sarayudevi whose husband goes to war and the only contact between them is through letters till one day they stop coming and she waits for him to come back.
  15. You & I:A story depicting the relationship between Zahir Khan and Radhika.

My take:

Each story is about love, some have a happy ending and for some the ending is not so happy. But all of them are nice. There is a page with poetry before the start of each story. There is a lot of poetry in the story as well as quotes. The storyline of each story is different from the other.

 Book Source: BookR3vi3ws

Crossed and Knotted: India’s first composite novel

51dRDlYIFpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I received India’s first composite novel, Crossed & Knotted edited by Sutapa Basu. The book has been written by fourteen authors, yes you read it right, fourteen authors, in close collaboration with each other. They are Sutapa Basu, Ayan PalSanchita Sen DasArvind PasseyMithun MukherjeeAvanti Sopory, Bhaswar MukherjeeDeepti MenonAmrit Sinha, Monika NairAmar Lakshya PawarBhuvaneshwari Shankar and Arpita Banerjee. When asked by the Book Club whether I wanted to review the book, I replied in affirmative because I was very curious to know what a composite novel would be like.

The definition of a composite novel states “The composite novel is a literary work composed of shorter texts that— though individually complete and autonomous—are interrelated in a coherent whole according to one or more organizing principles.”

From the blurb:

The chapters, each a story in itself, are knotted with one another through characters, events, settings and emotions. The result is a read that criss-crosses through a multitude of emotions bringing out deep rooted human desires. They narrate tales of love and betrayal, suspense and mystery, courage and dilemma, along with hope and resilience. Read it for a taste so tantalizing, that your mind will surely be craving for more!

The book:

The book starts with the story of Sudip Roy, a young boy who comes to Delhi to study and ends up staying in Delhi and getting married, waiting outside the ICU of a hospital where his wife was brought in an unconscious state. She passes away leaving him with his daughter, Shivi, and his parents. The second story starts when Shivi is studying in a college in Delhi. She loves to read diaries and one such diary is the diary of Joseph Varughese. This story has another character introduced, the character of Siya, Shivi’s best friend. The third story connects Siya and Joseph Varughese and introduces us to Varu, an Indian boy who comes in search of Iliana but dies in a plane crash. The fourth story is of Iliana and Varu and Varu’s book, The diary of Joseph Varugese.  The next story is about Iliana meeting Catherine in Kerala. Then the book moves to newer characters like Rukhsana whom Catherine meets in Afghanistan, Poorni, Pankaj, Binoy, Meena and Pragya. And then the story comes back to Sudip.

I shall not write more and spoil the suspense of the book.

My take:

I first read the book as a novel and found it to be complete in itself. Then I randomly read one short story and realized that it is a standalone. All credit goes to the writers who made such a work possible. Each story has a different central character and is different as an individual story but when put together they all gel well together just like rice and pulses and Khichdi. All the possible themes have been incorporated in the book like love, betrayal, courage, suspense and friendship. The sequence of the stories help maintains the flow of the book.

Overall, a beautifully written book, one that stays with the reader for a long time.

Highly recommended.

Book Source: The Book Club Group

Publisher: Readomaia

Interview with Vani: Author of The Recession Groom

11130161_861370673923046_2604415643263821511_nVani was born in Garian, Libya, in a traditional Hindu Punjabi family. Her parents prized good education above all else and while she was still small, they decided to move base to Chandigarh, India. As a child, she loved reading, but writing stories of her own never occurred to her, much like everything else. Becoming a doctor wasn’t an option, for the very sight of blood made her retch and Mathematics and Excel sheets bored her, leaving Humanities as a last resort. She could easily compete for the civil services, her parents reasoned, although, sitting for an exam with a million potential candidates vying for one job didn’t make much sense to her. Fortunately, life took a better turn and it was a Master’s degree in Economics alongside a programme in Mass Communications that set her foundation for a career in business journalism. Luckily, she got to work in some of the best organizations in India, like ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The Financial Express’. In 2004, she was hit with the desire to write a novel. However, a few drafts and several ideas later, she gave it all up to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. Of course, she dreamt about MNC firms coveting her, the Deloittes and the McKinseys of the world chasing her with multiple job offers, the likes of Accenture begging her to work for them. The reality was quite different. The completion of her course coincided with the start of global recession and her dreams could never be realized. Her situation, nevertheless, prompted her to write her first novel. So, it was all okay in the end.

Thanks Vani for agreeing for this interview.

It’s my pleasure!

From a business journalist to a fiction writer, could you please tell the readers more about yourself?

Journalism nurtured my creativity. It was exciting to meet new people, absorb their ideas, conceptualise and write stories. However, I did not want to limit myself to writing just business articles and started work on a chick lit novel, only to abandon it a little later. It was while working in London that I got back to writing again, this time to pen my first fiction novel, ‘The Recession Groom’.

How did you think of writing a book? Who/ What inspired you?

I left the comfort of a full time job in India to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University in London. The year was 2008 and coincided with the start of global recession. I witnessed mass redundancies, bankruptcies, foreclosures in the western world and often thought how it’d affect the life of an average middle class Indian and his chances of happiness. That’s what prompted me to write my novel. The story tracks the journey of a young Indian IT professional across the period of global credit crisis and his adventures to find his ‘perfect partner’.

What were the challenges faced while writing the book?

I was working full time when I started writing my book. Initially, everything was a challenge, from writing a few pages every day to completing the final draft. The next stage was to look for a publisher, which was equally daunting. However, nothing comes close to marketing and promoting the book. Guess what, you just don’t need to be a good writer but a good marketer as well.

I know it is difficult for an author to choose between her books, but which is closest to your heart?

Thank you for such a lovely question. I have written a sequel, but still find myself attached to my first book, ‘The Recession Groom’.

 How do you find time to write blogs for The Huffington Post?

I started writing for The Huffington Post in December 2014. My blog is called: ‘My Writing Journey: 101 Lessons I Learnt From My Mistakes’. I wanted to reach out to other writers like me and share my stories with them, help them in any way possible. Some mistakes I have shared with my readers are: Don’t write the way you speak, Verbosity doesn’t make you a good writer, Never underestimate an idea. (Source: I was never an avid blogger, to be honest, but the response I received from readers on platforms like Goodreads and The Huffington Post helped fuel my passion.

 When you pick up books to read, what is your favourite genre? Who is your favourite author?

I love good fiction and read across genres. If I’m not reading, I’m writing. My friends and I believe in having long reading lists. I love so many authors, it is difficult to name a few. Jane Austen, J R R Tolkien, John Green, Ray Bradbury, George R R Martin, Stephen King, John Grisham, J K Rowling, Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghi, Amitav Ghosh. Alice Walker is also a favourite and I simply love her book, ‘The Colour Purple’.

 Which book are you currently reading?

Mightier than Sword by Jeffrey Archer.

What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?

I am working on a sequel to my first book (can’t reveal the name) and there is a third one that wraps up the series.

 Any word of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Be honest. Write every day. Write first, revise later. Discipline helps, patience helps much more.

 Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with your readers.

Social Media links of for people to find/follow/like:

Name of the book: The Recession Groomthe-recession-groom-400x400-imaefqdaze6rthfq

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing

Twitter handle: @Vani_Author


Facebook page Vani:

Facebook page The Recession Groom:

Goodreads author page:

Get this novel today:

Available at Crossword, Landmark, Oxford Bookstore

Amazon Kindle: