Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Book Review: The Ineffable Blu by Anjaly Sangeeth

Title: The Ineffable Blu
Author: Anjaly Sangeeth
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: Rs. 200 (paperback)
Pages: 202

Meera is a young girl with her heart full of dreams. But, there is something from the past that continues to haunt her. Why is she so afraid of fire? Who is the man who calls her “Blu”? And, who is Shiva, whom she is magnetically attracted to? This is a story revealed in layers.

Detailed Review:
The Ineffable Blu by Anjaly Sangeeth is a love story that talks about love transcending realms. Revealed in layers, the story, which reads like a regular young-love tale of heartache and love in the first half, suddenly turns to something different in the latter part, making the reader pleasantly surprised. 

Meera is a regular young girl with all the hopes and ambitions that an educated girl from a middle-class Indian family may have. The other important characters in the book are her best friend Sandhya, her pal Aji, various family members and of course, Shiva. She is attracted to Shiva in an inexplicable way. Why does she feel so much for him even though she does not know him? What is this bond that ties them together?

While reading the novel first one thinks that it is a love triangle with Meera at the centre of it. However, it is later that an unknown supernatural element creeps in and completely turns the plot around. What I enjoyed about the story and the plot is this turnaround element which makes the reader want to know what happens at the end and creates a kind of suspense.

Meera has a knack for being a damsel in distress! There are occasions aplenty when she gets rescued by her knight-in-shining armour….and this adds a slightly cliched element to an otherwise great drama.

There is some humour in the language, reflecting an understanding of the setting she has based the story on. For example, Meera talks about the kind of family she comes from, she says:

 “Or should one say a common abnormal family where parents fight for the same problems disguised in many other forms. But you can’t blame them because they are from a coinage where marriages were between two families rather than the couples. So, compatibility among the families was the cream of the crop even if the bride and groom hated each other.” Indeed, this reflects common mores of the society she is talking about.

There are many twists and turns in the book and the reader is kept on tenterhooks as far as the romance is concerned. Would Meera get together with the love of her life? Or does fate have something else in store? There is a certain dreamy and mystical element as well that creeps into the story. Overall, an interesting storyline, though I do feel that crisper editing would have brought out the language in a better manner.

RC Rating: 3/5

Reviewed by: Dhanishta Shah. 
Dhanishta is a Mumbai-based freelance writer. In her work over the past ten years, she has explored and devoured a range of genres such as education, architecture, lifestyle, fashion, art, literature, people-profiling, parenting, health, travel, specialist areas such as watches, trade publications and so on.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review: Work Workers Workplaces by Parthajeet Sarma

Title: Work Workers Workplaces
Author: Parthajeet Sharma
Category: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Becomeshakespeare.com
Price: 149 INR (INR 104 Kindle)
Pages: 108
Reading time: 2 hours

Snapshot:  With changing times, innovation and creative thinking being at the core of enterprises, it is time to foster a culture in organizations which promote the above. This book discusses with examples how by design thinking approach and some cost-effective thinking organizations have and can further evolve to foster the above and enhance productivity. In short a workspace design 101 for companies.

Detailed Review: There are some books which hook the reader right from their acknowledgement section, this book has one of the funniest ones I ever read and recommend you to not miss it.

Coming to the details. We live an ever changing world. I remember a time we had black and white television and now we all have laptops and stream movies online. The last three decades have seen technological revolution like never before, more so the last decade where we now carry everything we need to work, on our mobile phone.

This revolution and the fast moving digital innovation has not just changed our personal but our professional lives as well. The world is now run by innovators and creative people. Corporate is trying to evolve into a place that fosters better thinking and better experience for an employee, more than just a fat pay check at the end of every month.

This is the evolution the writer talks about in this book. He begins to describe how beautifully designed places foster innovation and where doing it, but not doing it right, can go terribly wrong. He begins with the history of replacing the assembly line, to cubicles to open co-working spaces, each with their advantage and dis-advantages. He describes case studies wherein changes in the workplace or approach to problem solving has led to better solution and emphasizes the need for better designed workplaces for optimum productivity.

This is the era where people go a step greater and leave stable jobs to work remotely, digitally and travel at the same time, explore new places and keep their creativity alive, also remaining free from stress induced diseases. With increasing stress and work pressure at workplace it is more critical now more than ever to work in a place where your creativity, productivity and most importantly health is intact.

Researchers have indeed found that the workplaces resembling a natural habitat, with plants, etc. are better than the ones without it. Soon it will be impossible to retain talent and therefore innovate and grow without such nurturing workplaces.  This book makes the reader aware, citing examples how design thinking is inevitable for businesses, now more than ever. There should be a second part to this book which describes detailed case studies of organizations who have put it into practice with statistics across nations, for organizations looking at the matter and wanting to apply these principles more critically.

The book spoke to me personally as I love doing the reading and blogging part of my job in cafes. I hunt for ones with different ambiance to cheer up my mood after a stress free work week. Its like my mini break, reading, coffee and good ambiance. I read this book in a Starbucks at the Delhi airport and I am writing the review while in another coffee shop, there cannot be an evidence of wanting a good ambiance, better than this one.

RC Rating: 5/5. The first book in its niche, it is a not to miss read for business owners or people wanting to become one. Highly recommended. 

Grab a copy here: https://www.amazon.in/Work-Workers-Workplaces-starting-innovation-ebook/dp/B07DV713YM

About the Author: Parthajeet Sarma is a Chevening scholar (Oxford University), author, award-winning innovator and entrepreneur. He leads a team that helps organizations boost employee productivity. Set up in 2003 by Parthajeet, iDream has metamorphosed to be a boutique strategic management consultancy, handholding change management in corporate organizations, by following a unique method of using ‘space’ as the starting point of innovation. His third book ‘The radically changing nature of Work, Workers & Workplaces’ is now available globally. His first book ‘Smart Phones, Dumb People?’ is a light commentary on the behavioral changes in humans due to technology. His second book, ‘The Rich Labourer’, espouses a ‘design led’ problem solving technique, applicable in one’s personal and professional lives.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Title: Snippers Eye

Author: Mainak Dhar

Category:Fiction (Thriller)
Publisher: TARA Press
Price: INR 299
Pages: 183

Thrillers are one of the most common genres there are; this makes the creation of a riveting and unique plot exceptionally hard to achieve. You may find many spin-offs, or many stories that are along a similar theme; but it is hard to actually find a plot that is unique, which is why one tends to hold a special place for those books that have a unique flair, style – but more so for a book that has a unique story theme, very different from the beaten themes we are used to. This is where the current book under review – Snipers’ Eye – scores very high marks. A unique storyline indeed, making for a fun read.


This is the story of a former Para-Commando, and a man with a past who has made his life and career in the corporate world. Few people – including his lover, are aware of his secret ace commando days, or that he is a man of pure action. He is witness to a sniper shooting in a mall – and by force of habit, goes after the shooter and the shooters’ team in order to save innocents, killing one. This does two things – first, he and his hidden story come to light.
And two, and far more importantly, it brings him centerstage in this whole sordid affair – which is, incidentally, not ending anytime soon, and certainly not with only one killing. This audacious killing is but the first in a series of daring daylight sniper killings of retired former top law-keepers and armed forces officers, setting the stage for a confrontation. The former commando is drawn into the case, first by the police who seek his help, and then by other unknowns… which leads one to wonder, why is a mere coincidental presence of an ex-Army Officer causing so much distress to the other side?

You normally go into a new author with a slight trepidation, unsure of what you may get. My approach was also quite similar – I need not have worried. It was a treat to read this excellent thriller, riveting from the first page, quite literally, as the plot explodes into action from the start. You are pulled into the unique concept, and then you are kept in the story by its sheer pace. The story and the plot is a rapid, fast-paced, action filled book right from the start.

There are issues; no one is perfect. The plot slightly wavers, the tightness slightly, ever so slightly, waver and weakens in the middle portion; but picks up pretty soon, ensuring that you want for little or nothing.  That small aspect apart, there is no weak point that I could spot. The fast-paced nature of the story means that even the smallest slackening of pace becomes rapidly noticeable. Does this impact the overall effect, the enjoyment? To some extent – yes.

This is an action oriented book – and relatively fast paced at that. It is not meant to be an involved thriller at all. This leaves little scope of character development; and neither is this missed. That is to say, this is adequate given the confines of the plot and the overall story. The language is simple, straight and easy – this is a big plus. Also, the biggest plus – no vulgarity or rough words for the most part that I can recall, which is a big, big plus.
In conclusion, this is an excellent, fast paced thriller – filled with action, twists and plot turns that keep you glued to the book for the most part, and enthralled plus engaged in the book. This is not a book that involves you into the characters and the plot; it isnt intense in any way. This is just a straightforward action story. That is the basic aspect – and keeps to this theme with remarkable clarity of focus – leaving you impressed with a good book as you turn the last page.

This is perfect for a fast journey read, can be concluded in that time! In fact, properly touched up – this can make for a fantastic action movie script; it has all the right ingredients… simplicity, clarity, outright action, fast paced, not too intense etc. The scenes move fast, and the story flows effortlessly. What more could you want in an action movie?

Rating: 4/5