Book Review: The Girl Who Loved A Pirate

Book: The Girl Who Loved A Pirate

Author: Kulpreet Yadav

Genre: Fiction/Crime

Publication: Rumor Books India

An author signed book is a prized possession for book lovers. And when ‘The Girl Who Loved A Pirate’ arrived at my door step, I was happy to receive yet another book with a note from author.

I haven’t read the earlier book in this series which I am guessing introduced the reader with ‘Andy Karan’ the spy.

This story is about a ruthless pirate wanted by the Malaysian government. Andy Karan, an undercover spy has dual job as a journalist trying to unearth drug don in Goa and a secret mission for the Indian government with the help of the pirate.

In a series of events that take the reader from Goa and the rave parties to the high seas where drama unfolds as pirates and Filipino crime hardened sailors take on each other. The leader of pirates battles with an urge to go against the government mission for safety of his lady love. The Indian coast guards and Navy along with Andy Karan come into play for the sake of mission. All in all there is a lot of action going on from the word go of the story. The subtle love story of pirate leader ‘Ba-qat’ and Andy Karan’s escapades with drug lords of Goa run parallel in the story.

The story however begins with Kurukshetra and Karan in his dying moments. I was expecting a ‘Karan-esque’ end to the story, Mahabharata style. Or that the pirate and spy stumble upon a dark secret of being brothers….a la Karan Arjun style. But as there was nothing of that sort, I was confused as to why the prologue  was the way it was.

Also I felt that since the story was named ‘The Girl Who Loved A Pirate’, there was very less mention of ‘Dao-Ming’ the pirate’s lover. She is in background with Andy Karan’s drug investigations and pirate’s action taking the center stage. I would have liked to see the girl in more prominent role may be as a spy herself who falls for a pirate and that would have justified the title of the book too. May be like the lead character ‘Lisbeth Salander’ of Millennium series by Stieg Larsson like ‘The girl who played with fire’ and the first one ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’.

The book is a nice read with author’s knowledge about ships and seas shining through. The story also keeps the reader engaged and guessing throughout with fast action thriller. I would like to read more from the author…

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A Little Bit Of Love….

“MAHER” in Marathi language, means ‘mother’s home’…a place where a child finds safe haven, love and joy. Blessed I am to have had a home where I received all the unconditional love of the world, pampering, education and freedom. But this world is a cruel place and there are many who have been abandoned, abused and left to fend for themselves.

And it is for such destitute women and children that Sister Lucy opened her heart through an NGO ‘Maher’ in 1997. This NGO, registered with United Nations, tries to help children and women to learn life skills and stand on their feet.

In day to day life, we are often busy fighting our own wars to regularly give time to lesser fortunate people of the society. But a little love, even sometimes brings immense joy, not only to people who are thirsty for a little compassion but also to us if we care enough. Recently, a celebration of Mother’s Day at ‘Maher Ashram’, Wadgaonsheri, Pune, did just that for my teenage daughter and me.

After taking a few wrong turns, I did land at the right place and was greeted by Rakhi from World Of Moms. She (and her team) had asked me to join her in spreading a little happiness in lives of kids at ‘Maher’ through coloring and other fun activities. Palmers, a US skin care company, was the associate partner for the celebration. Little did I know that two hours will fly away soon and it would be an effort to pull away from such adorable, wide-eyed and eager to learn kids.

Yes, they were eager little kids…and no sooner we announced that they could choose between playing with clay-doh or indulge in some drawing and coloring than they clamored for the Camlin Modeling Clay packets! Armed with a clay packet myself, I sat crafting shapes after ages…I had last handled clay when my own daughter was a toddler. This time even she sat down amidst kids feeling all important and grown up at 14 years of age.

Kids engrossed with Camlin Play-doh

Creativity was overflowing and out came blue elephants, purple brinjals, green caterpillars and yellow snails followed by butterflies, cars and robots. Imagination took wings taking the kids to a wonderland with multicolored objects taking shape in their tiny hands. Someone wanted to make train and other wanted us to help with a ball of dough while some were just too shy to put a name to balls of clay that they managed to create…

Clay creations

Enthusiasm soon spilled over on drawing sheets. With Camlin art kits that included safe to use non-toxic oil pastels, color pencils, paint brushes and poster colors the room seemed to suddenly fill up with young Picassos and MF Hussains all ready to outdo each other! Cartoon characters began coming alive on sheets; ‘Chota Bheem’, ‘Chutki’ and ‘Raju’ stared at us from the drawing books; a rainbow of colors emanated from the little excited hearts spreading laughter, satisfaction and sense of achievement on their faces.

Little Picassos at work…

While I did manage to entertain and teach kids some clay craft, it was my daughter who became their go-to-person in the drawing activity. She helped the kids draw and paint, and time just flew…

Kids are the most truthful beings. A few hours with them left a deep impact on me. I am so glad World Of Moms asked me to join them in their Mother’s Day celebrations this year and some of us mommies got the chance to spread love. My thanks to Palmers too, for helping make this event possible.

The best and most unexpected reaction, however, was from my daughter. She exclaimed,“This was the best summer vacation activity that I did, Mumma!” Not only was I elated at her reaction but also felt proud of the compassionate streak she displayed. Being a kid herself, she connected well with the kids at Maher. And it was her reaction that perhaps taught me my biggest lesson.

The adult world’s boundaries of religion, caste and status do not stop kids from having fun. The uninhibited simplicity, uncomplicated trust and carefree attitude of children is what the world needs today.

Let’s all become kids again and make this world a better place!

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Book Review: Winning Like Virat; Think And Succeed Like Kohli

Book: Winning Like Virat; Think & Succeed Like Kohli

Author: Abhirup Bhattacharya

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Rupa Publication

I am the odd one out in a nation crazy about cricket…Well, I know the great names of cricketers; national and international, few terms related to the sport and a general idea of how the game is played… Last match that I sat and watched being aired might be the one when Sachin Tendulkar was gifted a car!!

I know…I know…you might wonder then how I am reviewing a book based on a cricketer’s life story… In fact I thought so too and was about to turn down the offer to review this book.

But I like to know that India won a certain match or Indian players beat the hell out of other teams or Indians have become a team to reckon…I love the feeling of hearing about Indian achievements be it in sports, cultural or historical and even films. So here I am reading a book based on Virat Kohli…another dependable player and the current captain of Indian Cricket Team.

The book however is not about the sport or cricketing skills of Virat Kohli. The book by Abhiroop Bhattacharya looks at the sportsman’s attitude, morals and ethics in day-to-day life, on the field and in the confines of the dressing room.

Taking Virat Kohli’s interaction with his coach, friends and mentors, his loyalty and steadfastness, his ability to observe, absorb and revamp himself into a better sportsman, his leadership qualities as examples, the author has pointed out facets of this player that can be emulated by rest of us to become better and succeed in life.

Virat’s commitment and desire to excel is something which has been lauded by the cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar himself. The book has  more words of praise by most of the legends of cricketing world for Virat’s maturity, man-management skills, hard work, ability to handle pressure and his confidence in taking up a challenge.

The book has brought to light, the fact, that success comes to those who strive to achieve it and luck alone doesn’t play a part.

A nice read, the book provokes the reader to think about changing for better and making a success out of their lives with little ‘learning tips’ throughout the book. Well written the book is worth a read.

Read for your own sake. May be you will come a little closer to understanding this dynamic sportsman and take a leaf out of his success story.

Also on: 

Goodreads, Amazon

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Book Review: Unns, The Captivation

Book: Unns

Author: Sapan Saxena

Genre: Fiction

Publication: Inspire India Publishers

I was already neck-deep in doing book reviews when “Unns” landed at my door step.

As I read through first few pages I had my doubts. The story begins with two teenage school kids realizing the first attraction and tickles of young adolescent love.

I went along to read the story thinking it yet another love story that I had to read just because I promised for reviewing it.

Atharva Rathod and Meher Qasim, the two teenagers promise each other allegiance and love forever. The kids find excuses to prolong their school hours for exchanging sweet nothings. As the school life approaches the end, Meher Qasim ends the fledgling of a relationship that could have been. Heartbroken, Atharva Rathod is stuck in his first love while Meher Qasim moves on.

The story then jumps a few years and it is then that it takes on a different flavor all together.

Atharva Rathod works with intelligence services and is involved in some secret mission. His heart still preserves his tender first love for Meher Qasim who unawares of his love is living her life somewhere in Germany. On one of his missions, Atharva Rathod travels to Germany. A chance meeting with Meher Qasim rekindles his hopes and love for Meher. With immense faith in his love, he opens up to Meher once again only to realize soon that he has been a fool in expecting anything. Circumstances lead to a jeopardized mission and imprisonment subsequently.

Destiny brings Meher and Atharva face to face again many years later after he is relieved from prison. Despite a bitter past, Atharva yet again is willing to give Meher a chance.

The story is full of twists and keeps the reader guessing. It is engaging definitely and at a certain point I wanted to shake Atharva and tell him not to trust or waste his time on a heartless ruthless woman. However another twist brings a change in heart of Meher.

The story describes the seven stages of love Hub or attraction; Unns or infatuation; Ishq or love; Aqeedat or reverence; Ibadat or worship; Junoon or obsession and Maut or when love is ready to embrace death for the lover. While Atharva seems to have reached all the stages of love, Meher holds back always. However as she realizes the unconditional love of Atharva, she too achieves the last stage of love in a selfless act and absolves herself of all sins.

Secret missions and romance go hand in hand in the plot of the novel and blend well. After the first few pages, the story suddenly changes the tone and wants you to turn page after page. Written in a very simple language, it reads well.

I liked the story much to my surprise. Read it and enjoy this tale of love and secrets. It definitely is worth a read.

Also on:

Goodreads, Amazon

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Book Review: The Detox Diet

A diet book? This seems different though.

With food therapy it targets the root causes for ailments which seem chronic.Read a detailed review at Women’s Web.

The Detox Diet By Shonali Sabherwal Gives The Reader Many Simple Hacks to A Healthier Lifestyle


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All Women Bike Rally: Reiterating The Women Power

Women have come a long way from being confined to four walls of home. There is no denying to the fact that women are as great achievers as any man…sometimes even better. We have women doing all kinds of jobs which earlier were considered a male bastion and so we have astronauts, pilots, doctors, professors, scuba divers, spies, military personnel and taxi drivers too. A few days ago I read about a Pakistani truck driver who happens to be the first woman of her country and an old woman at that.

Men have tried limiting women in stereotypical roles; they have tried to set rules of dos and don’ts; they have raged, ranted  and labeled women to scare and dominate but women are tougher than that…we soar new heights every day…we scale new horizons every minute…we achieve greater heights every second.

In keeping up the undying spirit of women, Times of India organised All Women Bike Rally on 5th March across 21 cities of the country. Now in its fourth year this event has bagged a mention in Limca Book of Records with the number of women, participating in this unique rally, increasing every year.

Breaking the shackles of naysayers, women of all age groups participated in this fun rally with full vigour. Some rode Harley Davidson and Royal Enfield bikes and many rode on their non-gear bikes and scooters.

I joined in too on my scooty and was amazed to see the sea of women who had turned up for the event.

Ready for a fun ride

I was participating for first time and had no idea how enthusiastic women were in making a statement. Women were dressed in all kinds of attires….the sari didn’t stop them and neither did the traditional ‘nauwari’ or the nine yards of typical Maharashtrian Sari. The younger ones wore western attires and some stuck to salwar kameez.

Decked up in traditional ‘mangalsutras‘, ‘nath‘ and armful of bangles, some even had typical Mahrashtrian head scarf, the ‘pheta‘ adorning their heads.

Nine Yards of sari and pheta for a bike ride

They came in pairs and they came in groups, some advocated social messages of saving girl child and some declared that women were no less…

Biking Divas

Girl power

Age did not deter women to participate either. I was particularly blown over by a granny Asha Patankar of 73 years old who had her daughter-in-law for company on another bike. Not only were they defying the clichéd MIL-DIL equation with their camaraderie but also their enthusiasm was infectious.

MIL-DIL biking duo

The rally was flagged off by the DCP of Traffic Police, another woman of grit. We rode for an hour with bikers shouting on top of their voice ‘Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji‘. Traffic police managed to provide an uninterrupted passage for all the bikers throughout the 18kilometers of road.

Rally Route

The event ended on a high note with participants getting prizes for their attire, bike decor and historical character representations. And then there was song and dance too….

I would have preferred if women were encouraged to wear helmets instead of only decking themselves up….after all safety should be paramount concern along with empowerment of women. A rule-abiding woman can bring about change better than a woman who falls victim to unsafe driving!

All in all the event was a fun-filled morning…an attempt to reiterate woman power…that women will never back away now…We have fire in the belly and wind under our wings…

A very happy International Women’s Day to my fellow wives, moms, sisters, daughters and grandmas.

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Book Review: Think With Me

Book: Think With Me

Author: Subrata Roy Sahara

Publisher: Rupa Publication

think-with-meI have taken my own sweet time in reading this book just because I somehow did not believe in it.

It is a common habit of people in our society to find faults in everything from condition of roads, education system, population, governance and even how sports are played on field.

Every one is a know all and a preacher. Most of us have many solutions to all the problems that exist in our country  but when it comes to following rules, even the simplest rule of wearing a helmet and sticking to the lane while driving are ignored. If after that we are stuck in a traffic jam or somebody dies we blame it on ill-governance by city authorities, on police department for being lax and so on and so forth….Point is nobody stands up to say it was wrong to not follow rules!

I feel this book is of same temperament. This 100 pages book is divided into five sections of Electoral System and Leadership, Population, Education System, Media and Religion. Each segment is further dealt with in detail but the author goes on to tell what all is wrong with various systems. He has mentioned throughout the book ” I can personally guide the method”. The author comments ‘sick mentality’ of poor people because they bear more children with the aim of earning more. He goes on to say this and that should be done for population control.

I  agree that the problems that he has discussed are real and need a revolution. However I have a limited scope of improving the system and I do that by following rules, by being tolerant and friendly with people of other faiths, by teaching my child that the country should come first…I am vary of preachers though.

I would love to know the contribution that the author has made beyond his organization for each of the system that he has found fault in.

The title of the book is very apt…’Think with me’…yes we need to think and act as per our ability but fault-finding and hollow discussions will have no result. Each one of the educated lot needs to take responsibility and follow rules….Look within I would say instead of blaming the system. Rules already exist…why do they need to be more stringent? Why can we not begin with following existing rules in social and business spheres?

The book is an okay read.

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