Book Review: Open Eyed Meditations

Book: Open-Eyed Meditations

Author: Shubha Vilas

Genre: Self-Help

Publisher: Finger Print Publication

open-eyed-meditations-blogaddaThe Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, besides being great stories are treasure trove of ancient wisdom. The short stories within these epics can become important life lesson…we just need to look, to understand.

It becomes easier to learn and comprehend this wisdom if someone guides in the right direction.

The book ‘Open Eyed Meditations’ is an attempt to help understand and answer the puzzle of day-to-day life.

I have read the earlier book ‘Ramayana…….’ by Shubha Vilas and though I was not much impressed by it, I still opted to read this new book mostly because I got curious.

And, I find this one better than the previous one. “Open Eyed Meditations” has small nuggets of wisdom derived from the stories of the epics and applied in today’s world.

Take for example the chapter ‘Magic Carpet for Relationships’ where author has given the perfect example of Krishna’s love for Arjun. Krishna addressed Arjun by various names that were his qualities. By appreciating all his qualities Krishna had a lovable bond…a everlasting relationship with Arjun. Shubha Vilas has summed it well “The 5Cs of appreciation are continuous, constant, costructive, contemplative and conscious…it then become contagious and comes back to you”

Another chapter on whether love is defined in kisses and gifts, he gives the examples of deep love of Sita who sacrificed the worldly comforts to go with Rama and of Urmila’s love who sacrificed her right to be with her husband so that he may fulfill his duty. For a loving relationship what is required is an unconditional love and not superficial things like gifts etc.

An example which I found most interesting was in the chapter dealing with the choice of quantity or quality. In today’s social media trending world, I have often wondered about those bloggers who claim to have thousands of followers and at times I have felt helpless when I compared myself to them. The example of Arjun who chose Krishna instead of Yadav army for Mahabharat battle and Duryodhana chose the entire Krishna’s army clearly shows who chose quality and who chose the quantity. The Pandavas were victorious despite having smaller army because they had the quality…the brains and blessings of Krishna.

This example made me realize that number of followers on social media might not always mean that my work is of lesser or better quality! This story and the wisdom associated came to my notice at the time when I was feeling little dejected and it made sense to me….I am less worried now…I guess I knew this truth somewhere at the back of my logical thinking…it just needed to be prodded to come out.

There are 64 such chapters reflecting on life lessons that include little insights on love, relationships, leadership, courage, success, emotions, character and personality development. This book has tried to bring forth ancient wisdom for the modern lives in a very easy and simple way.

It is a good read and reader may get an unbiased third person viewpoint on certain issues that my ring true to them.

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

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Book Review: Finding Juliet

Finding Juliet

Author: Toffee

Publication: Srishti Publishers

Genre: Fiction

finding-julietSo a new book came at my doorstep… Finding Juliet, sent by Writer’s Melon.

 This is a story of a Arjun who seems to get attracted to lot many girls. He gets close and emotionally attached to three girls in succession but eventually loses his ground with each of them.

Dejected, heartbroken and confused he leaves his job and changes cities where his childhood friend Anjali becomes his shoulder to cry on. An office colleague seems to enlighten Arjun of ‘what women want’ and gradually Arjun turns himself into an irresistible flirty hunk.

Eventually, Arjun realizes the futility of one-night-stands and ‘no strings attached’ sexual escapades. It dawns on him that his true love was his ever supporting childhood friend that he had been searching for a long time. All ends well with Arjun finally Finding his Juliet.

When I started reading through, I kind of guessed who the Juliet would be and there was no surprise. The story though well written seems to be a concoction of some of the new age Hindi movies. At one time the main protagonist seems to be floundering with every thing and every girl and then every thing seems to fall in place with him romping around with every female in his vicinity…from young just in college girl to married woman are just blown away by his charm and he lands a lasting gig in the film industry writing lyrics!

Also the author keeps mentioning about the character being an engineer…it looked forced…as if he needs the world to believe of his geeky intellect! His romp  with every girl he meets becomes little boring because every time there is a mention of a new girl…you know what is coming!

Thankfully author decides to wake up and do away with his character’s Casanova lifestyle or else I would have stopped reading more of his amorous activities….too much of something becomes boring isn’t it? Or then may be I am old school.

The story is fast paced and holds attention. In fact if someone wants to make yet another new age movie where everyone is cool about casual sex and there is no guilt baggage…this story fits in.

The story is very today. I may have outgrown such love stories…I now kind of incline towards more mature real meaningful relationship stories but I am sure people would love to read this book and imagine themselves in ‘Arjun’s’ shoes.

Go ahead and read for yourself…

‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

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#BergerXP Indiblogger Meet, Mumbai

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning and un-allied with definite form can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Oscar Wilde

Ever notice how peaceful it seems amidst blooming flowers of myriad colors….how playful it feels snorkeling among the colorful fish in the sea…how royal a colorful peacock dancing with its feathers spread in gay abandon looks….how the flirty colorful butterflies make the heart flutter..?

Imagine if everything instead were dull grey…or only white…or black!!

How would have we distinguished between happiness and sadness….

Colors are known to be the mood up-lifters…that is why nature has a rainbow after the monotonous gloomy grey of rain clouds…. Even our dreams are not in dull Eastman colors but always in technicolor!!

But we live in cities with not necessarily an access to a well laid out private garden to have flowers bloom or butterflies to dance and birds to sing…so what is the next best thing to do?  Of course…fill our spaces and life with colors!

And here is where Berger Paints step in to make our spaces brighter and beautiful with their Express Painting which is faster, cleaner and better!

Meet the Paint

Together with Indiblogger, Berger Paints organised a bloggers’ meet at Vivanta Taj, Mumbai to introduce the pioneering concept of Express Painting and I became an enthusiastic participant of the meet.

Berger paints was founded by Lewis Berger in 1760 with the paint Prussian Blue and the brand arrived in India in 1923 with its headquarters in Kolkata. With its presence internationally, Berger has also been named among 50 unusual billionaires by Forbes.

Armed with the concerns of a common-man who finds the conventional methods of painting his home cumbersome because of time factor, dust and quality of finished product, Berger has introduced automated methods of painting and claims to be faster, cleaner and better.

Berger Paints came up with a tinting process and introduced tints and paints which could be mixed with a base of white and with each other to create a new color shade as per the user’s choice….as simple as a painting on an art paper…paint your imagination!!

All hues and tints

All hues and tints

With a painting project coming up soon at home front, I am quite tempted to use the services of Berger’s trained painters. And why not…. If someone is there to clean up and finish the paint job within few hours all the while taking care that none of my furniture and furnishing is dust laden?

And the tools

While the high-speed sanding machine fixed with a suction motor prevents the dust particles from escaping in the room, the automated paint roller, mixer and airless sprayer finish the painting work almost 40% faster. The best part is that there is no extra cost !

Paint the Meet

Well, it was not all shop talk…we had oodles of fun too!

Once the registrations were done, the bloggers were up for a sumptuous meal and umpteen photographs before the meet session began..some new friendships were forged and some old acquaintances renewed.

To emphasise on how difficult the manual wall sanding process was, each team was asked to sand a board painted white. We were all game and rubbed away with the sand paper.. Only when the last of the teams had created enough dust and the room wore a dusty look, did the Berger’s service head, Mr Chandranath Banerjee pointed out again how efficient Berger’s sanding machine was!

Sanding selfie

Sanding selfie

The tints had been displayed and talked about so once we learnt the lesson of sanding it right, it was time to paint the meet red….umm…the art sheets in colors depicting a theme ‘Mumbai meri Jaan’.

Done with playing with colors

Done with playing with colors

Like small kids all of us were eager to get our hands messy and paint away. Various concepts sprung up in colorful splashes…pinks and blues, yellows and oranges, browns and blacks, greens and whites…lofty thoughts emerged in a bid to outdo each other… As each team came out with its idea, surprise gifts greeted the unsuspecting bloggers…the atmosphere was laden with high-spirited gaiety and no one realized that the meet had sneaked past its schedule.

All is well that ends well….a happy fun meet concluded with all of us leaving a bit wiser as far as home improvement and paint job was concerned. It was a first for me and though I was bit shy and could not make my presence known but I connected and made new great friends!

That was what the meet was about I guess and I look forward to next such event…

The Bloggers Lot

The Bloggers Lot

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Book Review: My Father Is A Hero

Indian Bloggers

Book: My Father Is A Hero

Author: Nishant Kaushik

Publisher: Srishti Publication

Genre: Fiction

my-father-is-a-heroIts been a while since I read and reviewed any book. Then Writer’s Melon sends me this book.

Most times a father is the first superhero of any child…”my Daddy strongest”.  I see it everyday with my daughter who can not imagine her dad not knowing answers to her thousands of questions or getting tired or being lesser than anybody in world.

I still cannot reconcile to the fact that my father has aged and isn’t as strong as he was when I was a kid.

This book by Nishant Kaushik is about Vaibhav Kulkarni and his eleven year old daughter Nisha. Estranged from his wife, Vaibhav, a single father, does everything possible to bring up his daughter with comfort and best of facilities. He however is incapable of standing up to injustice meted out to him in daily routine of his life by office and street bullies. Nisha, Vaibhav’s daughter though a bright and mature-than-her-age girl who just simply adores her father, cannot understand why he doesn’t fight against bullies. She also is plagued by a thought that she was an unwanted child of her mother. Nisha, falls back in school in depression.

Vaibhav takes up a herculean task beyond his means, that of visiting a concert of Rihanna in Australia for his daughter’s sake. On this journey, the father daughter open up about his bowing down to bullies and her fears of being unloved. A physical altercation with a goon in Australia when Vaibhav fights back and his efforts to bring a smile on Nisha’s face finally bear results and Nisha realizes that her father indeed is her hero.

The story does justice to the struggles of a father and his desire to fulfill his child’s dreams. It brings out the special bond that a father and daughter share….of how protective a father can be and how far parents go to meet something for their child’s happiness.

However, I felt that at times the author has forgotten that the child is just an eleven year old or may be I haven’t come across such a mature child.

My daughter of thirteen years is still a child and I like it that way.

In all the story is a good read, a little monotonous but with a happy ending. We all need a hero to look up to and who better than a parent who sacrifices everything for us.

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Book Review: The Calling

Book: The Calling

Author: Priya Kumar

Genre: Inspiration and Personal Growth

Publisher: Books That Inspire

the-callingThis is a very different book, a first of its kind, that I received for review along with a beautiful mug printed with the book cover and a hand written note by the author Priya Kumar.

The book dwells on finding the true purpose of one’s life through a fictional story of Arjun who seems to be mired in various difficult situations in his everyday life. His married life is in shambles and on verge of break-up, his work doesn’t excite or satisfy him….He is thoroughly confused why his life is all topsy-turvy.

With all his turmoil and pent-up frustration, he travels to hills for his official work but meets with an accident. In his stupor post the accident, he feels the presence of an ascetic who gives him profound life lessons.

Arjun in his semi-conscious  state lives his life mending his ways. Healed physically and spiritually, he realizes that the ascetic in his dreamy semi-conscious state was none other than his conscience, his logical self which had been silenced by his own over-ambitious success hungry self.

Priya Kumar, winner of International awards is a motivational speaker who has successfully penned seven other inspirational books, cleverly introduces the truth that all the answers of our life purpose lie within ourselves. It is just the matter of identifying and listening to our inner voice to make life less complicated.

Author has explained beautifully how an individual is responsible for his/her progress.

To sit in your space and your world and do nothing in it is a disgrace to the intelligence that you are bestowed with……. Knowing who you are, being aware of the mess in your life and in wanting to make  change, makes you powerful.”

Your life and your destiny was your creation. If you stay true to who you are and act in that accordance, your life will be prayer answered”

There is a relevant lesson for everyone in this book….each his own. I read this book at a time when certain things seemed to be written for me . Though I was not attracted to the story of Arjun but the underlying messages did affect me and reasoned well with me.

I would suggest an unhurried reading of this story….treat it not like a story of some Arjun or somebody but as a message hidden in words.

But young readers may not yet get attracted to this book. Read for understanding a logic which may be hidden somewhere within you and just needs to be told by someone else.

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Book Review: No Safe Zone

Book: No Safe Zone

Genre: Romance

Author: Adite Banerjie

Publisher: Harper Collins

No safe ZoneAction stories, detective and spy mysteries have always attracted me. A few of them have a hint of subtle love story  too.

Author’s note says, she wanted to experiment with action genre with some romance thrown in.

Having written two books for the brand Mills & Boon (The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal and Trouble Has A New Name), I guessed there would be a lot of romance with some action thrown in!

I read Mills & Boons only in college and that too because of peer pressure really…I was attracted to read books by Robin Cook, Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. Honestly I didn’t like the Mills and Boon one bit.

And I haven’t even bothered to read the Indian editions…so this makes it the first book by the author that I have read.

This is the story of Qiara Rana, who settles in London post a heartbreak. She works for a non-profit organization. With her mentor Samira and the organization coming under investigation for all the wrong reasons, she is determined to clear the name of her mentor and the organization,  from the scandal. She travels to India and finds herself being chased by killers, kidnappers and her past life resurfacing in weirdest ways. The story is also about Kabir, an intelligence officer who is investigating the organization Qiara works for. He too has a painful past with a part of it involving Qiara. The two lovers who had parted many years ago still in some way seek closure. Coming face to face, the  dormant love flares up again.

With human trafficking as the backdrop, the story finds the two lovers fighting their past and the criminals together. The name of organization Qiara worked for is cleared and the lovers reunite.

As expected the story had quite some dose of romance and some action packed stuff. The pace of the story is quite steady and engaging. The criminal masterminds are however lost and have hardly much to give to the plot. The romantic scenes it seems are straight out of Mills and Boon only with Indian names.

I wouldn’t say I loooveed the book but yes I wasn’t bored to read it. If I had to point out thriller stories to someone, I would still go for the Robert Ludlum and the likes but for love stories sprinkled with some action, Adite Banerjie’s book is quite good.

Good to read at least once in romance genre.

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The Sentimental Terrorist

Book: The Sentimental Terrorist

Author: Rajesh Talwar

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Kindle Version

The Sentimental TerroristI have time and again made it obvious that I do not like to read kindle version of books…it somehow never satisfies me to read a digital book as much a paperback does!

Had I known before applying as book reviewer about the book being Kindle version, I probably would have refused. But once selected for review, I did not have a heart to back away even though The Tales Pensieve people gave me an option.

The name of the book is a hint enough and along with the image of a turbaned man overlooking the barren rocky terrain on the cover, the reader can very well understand who the protagonist might be but the term ‘sentimental’ is intriguing.

From what the media flashes on television screens and newspapers, terrorists seem to be a hardened cruel lot. Atrocities of Taliban make the world’s blood boil. So how can a terrorist be sentimental?

A fictional story, it is about a young Afghan, Mohsin, who despite good education and a logical head on his strong shoulders becomes associated with Taliban after giving up a decent job with French agency working for health issues of Afghani women and undergoes extensive training for launching an attack on ‘infidels’ or Americans who have again and again bombed the region many a times killing innocent locals instead of Taliban terrorists. In one such accidental bombing Mohsin’s family is wiped out.

The love of his life, to escape a monster of a step-father marries a European and elopes to France. With his world crumbling all around him, Mohsin has no desire left.

Mohsin’s aversion to activities and thought process of Taliban is quickly replaced by a hatred towards the person responsible for such mindless slaughter of locals indulging in wedding ceremony. His grief and desire for revenge opens gates for Taliban influence on his disturbed emotional state.

While he does extract a revenge but his sentiments prevent him from killing innocent people trapped in crossfire.

The author has managed to give a glimpse of the general state of affairs in the terror ravaged country where the ‘pathan pride’ is dictated by a system of an eye for an eye kind of justice, where preaching of Islam has been twisted, where women are treated as property and punished over a whim of men, where simple pleasures of watching television, listening to music that are often taken for granted by us, are punishable offences by Taliban, where people fight everyday to survive and where witnessing the next sunrise is always debatable.

Author, Rajesh Talwar, through his story has pointed out the fact that though there might be thousands in Afghanistan who would any day want to get rid of Taliban extremists but the presence of western forces has ruined the ethnicity and harmed the locals, which has turned more locals against the western armed forces. The collateral damage, in a bid to contain Taliban, has been unimaginable.

This is a story of finding love amidst destruction, of sacrificed love to escape from Taliban, of fight for survival, of ramifications of misused power and of a place which could have been a beautiful, highly cultural and ethnic province.

As a kid I had read a story of ‘Kabuliwala’ who sold dry fruits. For long time I imagined Afghans as tall Pathans with fair skin and robust health due to all those delicious dry fruits. That the Mughal Empire had its roots in Afghanistan also played a role in my imagination.

But the book paints a grim picture and makes me feel grateful to have been born in a much tolerant and free country.

The story is written well but I would have preferred a longer book with the protagonist’s turmoil of killing innocent people more defined…his conflicting sentiments described in more detail…. his decisions to join Taliban against his better judgement and logical thoughts. I feel the story falls short in bringing out the pain of a young man.

However it is good to be read at least once and keeps the reader engaged till the last page.

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

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