Awaken the Durga Within by Usha Narayanan

51SY1K3AbvL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I received the book Awaken the Durga Within by Usha Narayanan as a review copy from the author via the publisher and would like to thank them both for the same. This book is a must read, an actual go to book for all women.

The blurb:

Awaken the Durga Within is a handy, easy-to-follow guide to help every woman assert themselves at home and work and reclaim their life. As a woman in a patriarchal country like India, they are often held back by family or society; and even education or employment does little to help improve their status.

Bringing in the lesser-known and exciting stories about goddesses from the Hindu mythology, Awaken the Durga Within puts forward practical solutions that can be implemented immediately, without compromising on values and principles. These stories will help invoke the ‘Shakti’ within every woman so as to transform their minds and transcend their limits. Identify the fears holding you back and discover a pithy, three-step process to help you take control of your life and garner respect. Make choices that are right for you and experience the rewards. Discover the true spirit of feminism wherein women are given the same rights, power, and opportunities as men.

My take:

As women all us have felt oppressed at one time or another, and this is a must read for everyone. This book is an encouraging book which made me realize that to get work done or to make people fall in line, you need not be submissive or aggressive but you need to be assertive.The author has talked about what we women face in our daily life as working women, as home makers, as young girls. She has talked about the three Cs that we should make a part of our lives: Choose, Create and Change. In most of the chapters, she presents a scenario, followed by the three Cs and then a mythological story followed by lessons learned.

The language is simple and easy to follow, and the book needs to be read with an open mind and also at a slow pace for the things to register. Loved every part of the book and enjoyed the mythological stories, I felt I was reading the Amar Chitra Katha stories in a different light.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

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Once Upon an IAS Exam by K. Vijayakarthikeyan

51VeFhkf6oL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOnce Upon an IAS Exam by K. Vijayakarthikeyan is the story of Vishy, an IAS aspirant, and his preparation journey for the exam.

The blurb:

Vishy’s worst nightmare—failing the UPSC’s Civil Services exam—has come true. He is plagued by insecurity, fear and doubts. The mother of all competitive examinations has rejected him and he needs a reason to live. So, what does he do? He tells his best friend Rithika, ‘I love you… Will you marry me?’

In Once Upon an IAS Exam, twenty-five-year-old Vishy tries to overcome the uncertainty and confusion about his future and figure out ways of convincing Rithika to marry him. Things turn even more interesting, funny and emotional as Vishy reattempts to conquer ‘Mount IAS’. As he tries to take his academic and love life towards safety, he seeks refuge in the world of IAS coaching centres.

Set in the bustling Civil Services exam coaching hub of Anna Nagar in Chennai, this book is a hilarious account of the actuality, stress and struggle faced by millions of candidates who prepare year after year for one of India’s toughest exams. Join Vishy as he sets out to prove his mettle to the world—and himself. Will Rithika accept the love of her best friend? Will Vishy overcome his sense of failure? Will there be a happily ever after?

The story:

Vishy, a mechanical engineer, lives with his parents in Chennai. He has one ambition: to become an IAS Officer, and for that he has to clear the Civil Services Exams. And he does not do so in the first attempt. He is upset and tells his best friend, Rithika, that he loves her and wants to marry her. And she tells him that they stay away from each other for a month and decide. And Vishy agrees with her.

He also decided to enroll in a coaching centre for IAS preparation. And he goes in search of one. And he is all the more confused because all of them have a lot to tell about themselves, so Vishy takes the help of his seniors and finalizes one. Here, he meets Ashok and they become friends.

My take:

This book has been written in a simple, easily understandable language and talks about the Civil Services exams from the point of view of a person who has gone through the steps. The characters are well etched and realistic. I wished he had talked more about Babu because I felt his story would have been complete had he met his old roommates.

The author has in a humourous way, satire the rat race that happens in the form of coaching centres that are mushrooming all across the country and making a quick buck at the cost of the honest aspirants. This book talks about the support everyone requires from friends, family and also the patience and presence of mind that is required when preparing and appearing for an exam.

The book has been written in an engaging way that keeps the reader hooked to it. The book has humour, satire as well has relationships.

Loved the book and would recommend it to everyone just for what it teaches.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

I am M-M-Mumbai by Rishi Vohra

51-i9Ijr+jL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received the book I am M-M-Mumbai by Rishi Vohra as a review copy from the author. This is the third book by the author and I am lucky to have read all the three. Based in Mumbai, this book is the story of Rudra Talpade.

The blurb:

An intelligent, good-looking young man, Rudra should have been going places, except wherever he goes, he faces ridicule and humiliation because he stammers. His stammering has only ever brought him the wrong kind of attention and he has never been able to overcome it or move past it. Now at 25, he feels completely stifled and embittered that Mumbai, the city of dreams, has always crushed his own dreams, particularly his long-cherished one of becoming a film actor. Then he meets Richa and love gives him a ray of hope. But heartbreak devastates him and he spins into a downward spiral that eventually pushes him to rock bottom. Now, his only way up is to conquer his fear and insecurity once and for all and to speak.

The story:

Twenty five year old Rudra Talpade lives with his parents in Mumbai and works as an assistant director. Rudra was in class four when he became fully cognizant of his verbal handicap and gradually withdrew into a shell for the fear of being laughed at.  He always wanted to be an actor and even refused going to the US where his sister was doing her MBA and offered him to get on his feet in California. And courtesy his stammering, he makes do as an assistant director, as that was the best he felt he could do to work on a film set. For six years, he worked in different sets with different film makers.

His mother sympathises with him, but his father is always angry with him. The only people other than his family that he can be himself with are his best friend, Ankur and his neighbor, Shibani.

During his work as an assistant director, he makes friends with the leading lady, Richa. And it is during this shooting that he is thrown out of his job and then his home and is on the streets after his money is taken away by people.

So what happens next?

My take:

A beautifully written book about a simple boy in Mumbai, who is a nice person at heart and whose only flaw is his stammering. The characters are realistic and their conversations believable. I loved the relationship that Rudra shares with his friend, Ankur. The descriptions are detailed.

I loved the book and am waiting to read more books from the author.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

The Town That Laughed by Manu Bhattathiri

unnamed (1).jpgI received the book The Town That Laughed by Manu Bhattathiri as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Change is coming to the tranquil town of Karuthupuzha, nestled deep within the lush Kerala countryside. The mighty black river, after which the town is named, is now no more than a trickle. People have begun to listen to weather forecasts on the radio rather than looking out of the window to see if it’s going to rain. The jackfruit tree in the middle of town has suddenly started fruiting. And, most seismic of all, Paachu Yemaan, the Inspector of Police, who has terrorized the town for decades has retired. Desperate to find him something to do, his wife, Sharada, and the good-hearted Barber Sureshan decide that ex-Inspector Paachu’s post retirement project will be the reforming of the town drunk, Joby. What the two good Samaritans haven’t counted on is the chain of extraordinary events that their project is about to set in motion.

The story:

Karuthupuzha, a town in south India, is still somewhere in the seventies/ eighties as no one has a cell phone and people actually talk to each other by either going to their homes or shops.

The book begins with what changes have happened in the town and the most important change is that the only bus to the town has been repainted.  The other change is that the police inspector, Paachu, has retired and thus, there is a different police inspector. This book also has characters like Joby, the town drunk; Sureshan, the barber; Chako, the electrician and Varky, the photographer.

Paachu lives with his wife and his orphaned niece, Priya.

Sureshan cannot see Joby kill himself with alcohol, so he hatches a plan, Joby to take Priya to school and bring her back, he feels it is a win win for everyone, it would keep Joby busy and away from arrack, mainly because Joby is scared of Paachu and it would save Paachu the trips. So very reluctantly Paachu agrees with conditions.

My take:

This book has been written in a lighter vein but then it is serious at times.

Some characters have been developed in detail even with backstories and some are superficial. But that did not discourage me from the book, but I kept reading it. I loved Priya, she was like a breath of fresh air and also Mrs Paachu, Sharada.

The pace is slow and the stories in the book can be read as a standalone as well as in continuation with one another. They are like episodes of different TV series. They are about family relationships, friendships. This book reminded me of Malgudi days.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Aleph Book Company, in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

The Girl Child by De. B. Dubois

20d28-book2bcoverI received the book The Girl Child by De. B. Dubois as a review copy from the author as a part of the blog tour conducted by The Book Club. I would like to thank the author as well as the Book Club for the book. This story is set in Kolkata.

The blurb:

Growing up as a strong-headed single child with a privileged upbringing in Calcutta, Devi has learnt much from her surroundings. Her childhood memories are filled with mixed emotions – especially as she remains angry with her mother and the hypocrisy of women in India.

On an unexpected journey home, she encounters reality – new stories and experiences of strangers, as well as friends. It has been years since she left Calcutta, yet the city’s untold stories haunt her.

This time Devi is back in town to solve issues and above all, through some painful and hard revelations, to make peace with those she can.

My take:

The story has mostly been written from the point of view of Devi, the only daughter of a high ranked police officer, had a childhood which was a bag of mixed characters and experiences. Her grandmother, Nimai, calls her ‘God’s gift’. She is close to her father. The author has talked about what women face through other characters, even her grandmother, mother and friends, Priya and Cherry. Some part of the story is in flashback, and some part is in present.

The language is simple and the scenes have been described in detail and also the description of Kolkata, I could feel I was travelling with her.

The story is an eyeopener and I would recommend this book to everyone.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

Spotlight: The Girl Child by De. B. Dubois

 

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

 

The Girl Child
by
De. B. Dubois
 
 
 
Blurb

Growing up as a strong-headed single child with a privileged upbringing in Calcutta, Devi has learned much from her surroundings. Her childhood memories are filled with mixed emotions – especially as she remains angry with her mother and the hypocrisy of women in India. On an unexpected journey home, she encounters reality – new stories and experiences of strangers, as well as friends. It has been years since she left Calcutta, yet the city’s untold stories haunt her. This time Devi is back in town to solve issues and above all, through some painful and hard revelations, to make peace with those she can.
 
Grab your copy @
 
 
About the author

 

 
De.B. is an ordinary person with her daily struggles of being fun and peppy; as all those heavy readings on sociology, philosophy, history, art and culture have done her sombre. – Not that she is complaining, – however when things do get too hectic, her escape solutions are: long walks through nature trails with her adopted Maltese, a good glass of absinthe from Val-de-Travers, and creating visual arts. Her friends best describe De.B. Dubois as, – ‘the hermit’.
You can stalk her @
 
          
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Ankita Review 10/11/2018
Arti Metroreader Spotlight 10/11/2018
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D. R. Downer Review 10/14/2018
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The Bride’s Mirror by Nazir Ahmad, Translated by G.E.Ward

Brides-mirror-1I received The Bride’s Mirror by Nazir Ahmad, Translated by G.E.Ward as a review copy from the publisher Aleph Book Company and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb: 

The Bride’s Mirror (Mirat ul-‘Arus) was the first bestseller in Urdu. First published in 1869, within twenty years it had gone into several editions and sold over 100,000 copies. An English translation was published in England in 1903 by G. E. Ward, and the book has been almost continuously in print ever since. The novel tells the story of two sisters, Asghari and Akbari, who are married to two brothers in Delhi.

Akbari, the spoilt, mean-tempered and impetuous sister, fritters away all the advantages she is offered and makes a mess of her life. Asghari, who has to contend with all sorts of disappointments and setbacks, prevails in the end and makes a success of everything she turns her hand to.

All through its existence, The Bride’s Mirror had been hailed as one of the most important works of Urdu literature ever published. The portrait it provides of the lives of those who lived in Delhi over a hundred years ago is an indelible one.

The story:

This book is the story of two sisters, Akbari and Asghari, married to two brothers. Both the sisters are opposite to each other. Sister 1, Akbari Khanam is foolish and ill-educated and bad tempered while sister 2, Asghari is very intelligent, sensible and kindly dispositioned girl. The younger one is loved by parents and everyone in their neighbourhood and the elder one was always on bad terms with her younger sister, but the younger one always treated the elder one with respect.

The elder one is married to Mohd Aqil and the younger one is engaged to his younger brother, Mohd Kamil. Seeing the behaviour of the elder daughter-in-law, their mother wants to break the engagement but, Mohd Aqil tells her not to do so.

And then Asghari comes into the household as the new daughter-in-law and we read about her and how she carries herself in the family.

My take:

I liked the story. There was a lot to learn from Asghari. Though the story was slow, I loved the way the book was written. Truly, a classic, the book has an old world charm to it. I liked the language style too. The letter from Asghari’s father is beautiful. But the end, it made me sad.

 DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.