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My Book Shelf

Readers's books

A Love Life so Painful
Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai
Those enchanted four and half years
One and a Half Wife
The Bankster
Love You Forever : Only In That Way
Nine Lives
The Mistress of Spices
The Fortune Hunters
I Too Had A Love Story..
Ladies Coupé
The Krishna Key
Mumbaistan: 3 Explosive Crime Thrillers
Of Tattoos and Taboos!
Left from Dhakeshwari
I loved a Street woman
Chanakya's Chant
Dreams in Prussian Blue

Readers Cosmos's favorite books »

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In Love With Melbourne +Contest

"Melbourne" the term means an urban agglomeration area stands true to its name in being regarded as the worlds most liveable city since 2011. This stands true despite of it being the worlds fourth most expensive city to live in. Quality never comes cheap after all. If you wish to visit the city you can plan it and know all about it by logging on to:

Here are the things I love about Melbourne.

The Breath Taking View Of The City: Its clean, its modern, its just breath taking. Let the pictures speak.

                             Melbourne City Through The Lenses from Eureka Tower

Time Travel with Museums and Galleries: 
National Gallery Of Victoria- The oldest public art museum in Australia built in 1861. Its international collection includes works by legendary artists like Bernini, Picasso,etc.

                                         National Gallery Of Victoria from the sky

Melbourne Cricket Ground: The ground where you can most frequently spot worlds best Cricket teams.

                                                                       MCG Stadium

Watch how Indians Watch Dhoni at MCG:

Fall In Love With Nature and Observe Some New Species: Royal Botanical Gardens

                                              Royal Botanical Gardens-Melbourne

Take a Plunge Into Natures Bounty: Yarra River Valley
 When tired with the city life and a constant hustle, noise and need solitude one can easily visit this place for one's inner peace.

                                Yarra River Valley Region- Glimpse during Autumn

Street Art: Melbourne is called the cultural capital of Australia for its stylish and arty. Not only is it a home to some of the poshest art museums but it also nurtures street artists. This amalgamation of beauty across classes and unison of art makes Melbourne different than other cities. 

                                                            Melbourne Street Art

Wan't to Gamble:  The city provides you with fun options whichever way you want to. It hosts some of the best casino's in its Crown Casino Entertainment Complex.

                                            Crown Casino Entertainment Complex
Love to Shop? A Sure Place For You: Queen Victoria Market:
 One of the largest open air markets in the southern hemisphere this is undoubtedly a major landmark of Melbourne city. For more checkout this video:

Savour Old Victorian Wines:  When tired if travelling the city has the best options to spoil you.  Savour the best Victorian Wines at Jimmy Watson's.

                                                                    Jimmy Watson's

Make sure you make the best of your time in Australia: Log on to:

This post has been written for "

What's your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most livable city in the world?" activity by Indiblogger in association with

Contest Time!!!
Loved reading this post? Tell us which place would you love to visit in Melbourne out of these and why? The best entry will win a gift voucher.

Contest ends on 4th Jan 2015.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Interview with Gaurav Sharma:Author of Rapescars....They Never Heal

Rape - A cancer that has ruined lives and continues to penetrate and plague our society. Unfortunately if you open any newspaper today you will see one report of rape case. It requires our immediate attention and collective efforts of the pen, the law and most importantly the society to create a system that amputates the infected and help the victims heal those Rapescars. Contributing towards this cause with pen is Gaurav Sharma, who is a young Delhi based Mathematician cum writer. He tells the story of a young girl who suffers the ordeal and fights it in her way. 

We wanted to understand what, why and how behind this story and so we decided to sneak into Gaurav's thought process behind this unusual revenge story and here it is for our readers:

1. Tell us the story of how a mathematics teacher turned into a fiction writer?
A-  I started writing when I was eight. So I was a writer before I developed interest in math. I have passion for both mathematics and writing. Mathematics fills my stomach, writing satiates my soul. Struggles didn’t allow me to pursue writing as a career but mathematics helped me to earn my bread and butter.
2.  What does writing mean to you?
A-  Writing is a stress buster. It is the subtlest way to pacify the storm inside you. It might be the joy or tormenting something. Pen has the power to express everything, precisely and liberally. I am a very restless and intolerable kind of person. My friends find my views strange. Writing is a mode to find people who may agree with what I think.

3.  After your first book “Love at Air Force” which spoke of true, unrequited love your second book is on a completely different topic of “Rape”, why such a transition?
A-                 “LOVE AT AIR FORCE” too addresses a serious question. People in armed forces have related to it. It was like seeking blessing of my father before entering into the literary world.
After “LOVE @ AIR FORCE” I had started writing a satire on our education system but the alarming rate at which the rapes are taking place scared me. “RAPESCARS” is about my thoughts on rapes. It is what troubles me as a father, as a brother, as a husband and as a part of the society. As a writer, I aspire to create a stir so I chose this subject.

4. Why does rape happen in our society?
A-  Rapes happen in every society. It is a disease of sick mind-set. In our society particularly, we understand the gender relation largely as sexual relation between man and woman. In bisexual relationships, we give so much importance to sex that it becomes an obsession. In India, marriage itself is a licence to have free sex. Women in our country are paying the price of asking for the change. For ages, Indian society repudiated to acknowledge women as another pillar, denied her to study, to make career and to choose her companion for life. It is accustomed to treat women as an object. Rapists are not sex-starved men. They have a serious mental disorder which makes them think that to have sex with a woman is their right, consensually or forcefully.

5.  What do you think can be done to prevent such incidences?
A-   Strong moral education with lessons on etiquettes in bisexual relationships must be a part of school curriculum from the very beginning, making it more intense with every class.
Law needs to be more stringent on rapists. A compulsory death penalty will surely help. Hearing of rape cases should be on daily bases and there should be no provision of appealing in higher courts against the judgment of lower court. The rapists and terrorists must be forbidden to render a mercy plea to the apex court and to the President.

And above all we should teach our sons not to rape instead of teaching our daughters how to prevent rape.
6.    How does your book “Rapescars….They Never Heal” address this issue?
A-  “RAPESCARS” is a rape survivor’s perspective. Follow a reported case of rape closely. You will learn that in our country getting rape is a lesser ordeal than fighting for the justice. It is difficult to get conviction unless the victim engages a seasoned lawyer as the prosecutor. In about one-fourth of the reported cases, victims give up because of the snail-paced process, haranguing by the defence lawyers and social stigmas and humiliation. Akriti Dayal, the protagonist of “RAPESCARS” endures all this and when the conviction comes, she feels that it is too less in comparison to what she has suffered. What she does after, is a slap on the face of Law. It is an irony that a victim has to fight for justice and the offender gets every opportunity to escape from punishment.

7.  Is the story inspired by real life or is purely fictional?
A- It is amalgam of some real life stories and is partly fictional.

8.  A lot has been said by politicians about women working in the modern world and wearing revealing clothes leading to rapes, what is your outlook on the same?
A- All I have to say is that a gentleman will not rape a woman even if he sees her naked. Revealing and skimpy clothes can attract you; they can’t reduce you to a beast. If one doesn’t get tempted to snatch somebody’s food, money and other precious belongings…should he lose control of himself on having a glimpse of a woman’s assets?

9.  How can we as a society help women who have been a target of a man’s brutality?
A- Social boycott of rapists and men who torture women is the best punishment in my opinion. If one half of the society feels vulnerable, we can’t call it a society. Neither we have evolved as human beings nor will we prosper as a nation. This country is under-utilising its human resource because men of this country don’t allow women to live without the threat of violation, assault and exploitation. It’s best to cut off the diseased part and prevent it from spreading.

10.  What is the message you wish to spread through your book?
A-    “RAPESCARS” is a mirror which reflects on how our system tortures a rape victim. It involves the Police, the Law, the media and the society. It reiterates that imprisonment is no punishment for a rapist. On the contrary, imprisonment helps the first-time rapist to overcome the guilt and transforms him into a hard core criminal. Rapists should get a death sentence or they should be made to earn their livelihood living in a hostile society. In 75% of cases, rapists are repeat offenders so it is imperative to reform a rapist along with punishing him. “RAPESCARS” is an attempt to bring forth a rape victim’s point of view.

11.  Your book has also been discussed by NGO’s and platforms dealing with these issues, can you please mention some.
A-  Yes the book is a part of ‘Change India Initiative’ and is being discussed by many organisations which are working for this cause. Credit goes to my publisher Mr Harpreet Makkar and the entire team of Petals Publishers and Distributors for this. I am grateful to them for their sincere and devoted efforts in publishing this book.

12.  Can writing help us solve such social problems? How?
A-   Yes writing can help in solving social issues. Many authors have written motivational books. They do help us. I had read ‘Magic of Thinking Big’ a few years back and it did have a very positive influence on me. We can motivate through stories also. I think writers need to be responsible because unlike movies, books don’t have a censor certificate.

13.  A message to your readers.
A-    Dear Readers…it is not Gaurav Sharma but Akriti Dayal who is confiding in you through “RAPESCARS”. As a writer, I have tried my best to bring out the anguish of a rape victim however; I accept that nobody else can understand the pain of a sexually assaulted girl.

You may not approve of the way she seeks vengeance but you will surely appreciate that she raises her voice and vows to continuing her fight against the violation of her persona. I hope you will empathize with her. I hope she inspires many. I hope you will extend your love and support…she really needs it.

Also, I am not trying to preach and teach through this book. I don’t intend to suggest that a rape victim should take revenge on her culprits the Akriti way. It is just an effort to tell everybody how peremptorily we all need to ask for a change in the laws.

Readers Cosmos: We wish you and your book a lot of success and hope that many more writers address such crucial problems of the society in their works.

Gaurav Sharma: Thank you so much for the wishes. I take this opportunity to congratulate The Readers Cosmos for the wonderful work they are doing. I wish more success for you and your team.

The book is now up for pre-order, you can book your copy here now!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rise Above Fear with Mountain Dew: Darr Ke Aage Hi Jeet Hai!

It was winter, this very time in December 2010, four years ago. I had just been in Delhi for a few months now and was happy to live and breathe in the capital city we so lovingly called "Dilwalon Ki Dilli". Delhi truly has all the colors one can fill their life with and it was the first time that I a PhD student had a freedom to step out and explore the nights. Night when the earth descends to darkness and humanity wraps itself and the cities with dazzling lights. The chill breeze in winters, or a hot summer gust of air both seem cool against the pitch black sky. However all my poetic thoughts had yet to find their canvas for a few months ago I really had to fight with my parents and peers to accept a PhD position even though it was with the most prestigious United Nations Organization for the city was Delhi- The Rape Capital.
One chilly night we decided one night to go and have Paratha with my friends at Moolchand, Delhi's famous Paratha place. It is located near metro station, its an open stall, nothing fancy. We were 3 girls and just one guy. After we filled ourselves to satiety with the delicious parathas, standing true to their reputation and were heading home. It was around 12 am in the night. A few metres away from the crowd enjoying Parathas a girl was walking alone, ahead of our car and was followed by guys in a car. They were asking her "chalti kya'” and we saw this slowed down right behind. I was really scared deep within. All that we saw on television was here happening in front of my eyes. Then I started panicking as they started misbehaving with her and hooting. She started shouting and expected the guys to run away, but one of them came out and held her hand and started pulling her into the car. My heart skipped a beat but then what the hell, she would become another story we read in the newspaper? No certainly not as long as I was there. They were about 4-5 men and we were just one guy and three women. We just thought “What the hell! This is just not going to happen before our eyes”.  I got out of the car and started making a noise. I shouted to another to call the police. My friends immediately came out too and the guys started arguing with my friend. I screamed on the phone after two of us dialed 100 “Hello Police…there is a rape about to happen and I started giving the number of the car”. At this moment the guys panicked, got scared and ran away. We then comforted her and after she thought she could trust her, packed her a set of paratha's as she hadn't had her dinner and dropped her at her PG apartment a few steps ahead, where she was initially walking to. She was a classical dancer in training and the next day they she had a performance, she lost track of time while practicing she said with tearful eyes. We just wished her good luck for in our hearts we know ambitious women have no place in the world full of men like the ones that attacked her.

In reality women are not safe anywhere in the country today. We walk of the house with a caution. We roam only in the daylight. In the night even if a moment after dark we are out whatever may then happen is considered our fault. We are told we eat chowmein and lose honor and we are told the use of mobile phones spoil us. The corporate culture or the perfect fit smart jeans attracted a man and so it was natural they force themselves on women. We are basically just given a notion of freedom for there really is none. 

Our parents spend their every penny in educating us, compromising their needs without discriminating between us and our brothers so that one day we can stand tall, but are wings are clipped off. We are made to realize we are women afterall. The word "Rape" unspoken yet slapped with in many ways like "Don't go out anything may happen to you", "Men are animals after all", "The times are not good" etc.  Every time I go out even today my parents have a high BP till I am back and I know somewhere they are not wrong,, the world indeed is bad and unfortunately I have seen it very closely now. 

A woman is not safe but with a little courage you can certainly save one. As the spirit of Dew says “Darr Ke Aage Hi Jeet Hai”

To get regular updates about how you can conquer your fear and achieve it all, log on to:

This post is apart of " Rise Above Fear contest via Indiblogger in association with Mountain Dew.

Image and Video Courtesy: Mountain Dew India

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When On The Road You Are Not Alone

Each day as you travel either on your own vehicle or by a public transport, there always is a brawl around a minor overtake to a major accident suggesting a lot needs to be done to avoid the same. In 2010 India topped the world in another unfortunate statistic after population, yes death by road accidents when the scale reached 13 lakh deaths per year. Every year since then How can we is the question. In my opinion the following steps should be taken to prevent road accidents, after all as a great man once said prevention is better than cure. 

1. Feel Responsible:
When you are driving the most important thing to remember is to be responsible as you are not alone. If you don't drive carefully you might end up paying for it not just with your body or life but also somebody else's. So can happen with you if someone driving around isn't careful therefore one is collectively responsible when on the road. The consideration is not limited to just other humans or vehicles but also animals. Many a times people just run over an injured dog or a cat but they are life forms too and deserve equal respect.

2. Do Not Drink And Drive:
If you are going to a party and would be drinking there do not drive back yourself. Either take a lift from someone in your group who doesn't drink or use a cab service. There have been many accidents just because of this.

3.Maintain Distance:
In the US when one gives a license test the most crucial pointers taught are distance between two moving vehicles. In an over populated nation like ours there is no such rule which is not surprising. However even if you are driving carefully but the person ahead of you applies a sudden break for any reason you are the one who will feel the full impact of this and will invariably collide with him injuring both you and him.

4. Wear A Seat Belt:
Speaking about collision the first thing that the mind conjures is an image of how that seat belt you hate tying can help you. Do not ignore even if you are bored. Tie your seat belt for sure. 

5. Control Your Speed: 
Do not exceed speed limits greater than what you should when on the road, speed is the cause of majority of accidents. Start from home a little early so that you reach on time rather tha never reach.

6. Wear A Helmet: 
Though this rule is made compulsory by the government for bikers, whether you are driving or not; many think they are more intelligent or its just sheer boredom. Life however doesn't have a second chance like you do when you race in video games. So handle your head with care.

7. Keep Your Phone Away: 
The most common problem is people need to multi-task even while driving, so they talk on the phone. We do understand that time is precious but your time on earth becomes limited if you get hit. So if you have to call or receive an important call, park on one side of the road and do it. People should also understand that the other person is driving. Also keep your internet off and stop using it be it facebook or twitter, before it costs your precious self.

This post is a part of Nissan Safety Driving Forum Campaign in association with Indiblogger. For details check:

Since its inception in 2012, The Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India is conducted by The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., as part of its annual safety driving promotion activities.  Under its Blue Citizenship CSR umbrella, NSDF by Nissan works to build awareness of safe driving in India. NSDF encourages drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts, and participants learn through interactive activities the importance of wearing seatbelts.  They started with New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai initially and this year they would target even the tier-2 cities like Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi.

Nissan believes that when on the road everyyone's safety is every driver's responsibility. They therefore conduct live simulations of safety features during a car crash, giving one the live experience that would make any individual never forget the safety instructions and his responsibility on the road. The result has been a brilliant 126% increase in the practice of wearing seat belts translating into saving many lives.  

As Gulza sahab has said:

Mehangi hai ye zindagi
Koi chhota sauda nahi
Oonchi khajuri hai ye
Gamle ka paudha nahi...

So when on the road think "Safety Begins With Me".

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Last Minute Shave

This era is the era where men like to have lot of facial hair, courtesy style icons like Ranveer Singh I suppose. If you check the generation of our parents they preferred a clean shave, so did their Icons like Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. Its difficult to understand the fashion freaks today and the facial hair is often a cause of the tussle between my dad and my brother, needles to mention who is on what side. No matter what the occasion this generation fails to understand the importance of a clean look and mostly have to learn it the hard way.

It was my brothers convocation. He was about to get his first degree of "Bachelors in Engineering". My parents were excited. Indian parents always feel its more of their accomplishment and it is if you see the way each middle class family like ours this and plan to give their children the best of everything. At each point for some need of ours they have sacrificed a wish of theirs for one of ours. Its their day. My parents were excited from day one, a month ago when the dates were fixed. I shared their enthusiasm for my baby brother was really growing up and had solely on his merits got a great score at AIEEE and now was passing out as an Electronics engineer from one of the best institutions in India, NIT. We also decided on the gift options to buy for him etc. On the other hand my brother took it as just another day and continued working on his robotic systems in his lab. My mother started making all the food he loves that we could carry for him like chevdo, chakli, laddoos, theplas etc. this is a common symptom for the gujju's, the love comes out in the form of food. 

We packed, boarded a train and reached Nagpur a day before. It was a pleasant change for me, a relatively less busy city then Delhi. For my parents the surroundings didn't matter what mattered was their son. So they directly reached the hostel despite my numerous attempts to drive them to the hotel first, but they just won’t wait. And then the obvious happened. Their initial joy over powered by the impact of my brothers look. Long hair, un-shaved for ages, etc. My dad just started lecturing him and he ignored. A lecture never helps a young mind. I on the other hand took his side explaining he would be fine by tomorrow; it was just over working on his robotics project. They convinced themselves for their own sake than his. 

I decided to stay on campus that night for a mission was to be accomplished. We got his hair cut but he was just so adamant on his cool look that he kept this stubble. My dad was so not going to like it for just a few hair remaining. I felt the mission was still unaccomplished. So I went to the on campus store and got a Gillette shaving razor and got it gift wrapped. Before we parted that night after all the food and dance as the entire campus celebrated their achievement into finally conquering the degree, I gave him that gift.

His version of the story is he went to the room and was excited. He opened the gift thinking it might be an iPhone which he so much wanted but was disappointed to see only a razor. Disappointed he slept. Next day was an early morning show and so he got up at the first stroke of sunlight and his eyes fell on the same razor that made him sad last night, the emotion crept over him once again.

He began thinking why would his sister who always gave him what he cherished most give him this. Well the thinking did lead into action for when we saw him after ages my father’s dream of a son was walking towards us. He was neat, clean shaved and well dressed. The sister in me feels he looked the smartest engineer that day. When he got his degree my parents literally stood up and couldn’t wait to hug him. We planned a city tour with other families of his close friends that day, had lavish lunch and dinner and after a long time everyone including my dad was praising him. We left early for my parents had to rest well for we were to leave the next day. As a parting gift I gave him another packet to which he reacted as “You already gave me the best gift yesterday.” 

He reached his room and opened it, It was an iPhone 5s, the latest one then. He was so excited and started jumping in his room while calling me. Every year since then whenever he is home, he is clean shaved. Thanks to Gillette for the golden memories.

If you have a little brother and similar problems (I am sure you do) then try gifting them a Gillette, the shaving experience and the final look can get them addicted. It worked for me!

'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'.

Either The Hair or The Position: The Selection Bias

I am sure everyone knows that good looks don't just impress the others but give you a cool look too. Now the hair that comes in between is mostly a woman's problem. However there is nothing more attractive and tidy than a clean shaved man. And this is the impression my boss has. He has absolutely no hair, not even on the head (so you can understand the competition , the insecurity he feels when people with long hair on the head or otherwise walk in).

It was the interview  season last week in my lab and as the senior most student I was supposed to screen out the best students and send it to my boss. The project students whom we hire only for an year are anyways difficult to get as the duration is too less in research to achieve a substantial goal. The students you get are the ones planning to go abroad, trying to get a good GRE score etc. and this is their waste period pass time. The other category of students are those who failed to get an admission into a PhD via the three sets on entrance tests and two rounds of interview that we have to go through on an average. Its tough and India has a huge population. These unfortunate ones that come for a position, are sometimes really good students may be a little slow but hard working and you don't want to break someones heart. The worst part of working under someone is you get to be the bearer of the bad news and never the good one, which is of course reserved for them! 

So I started screening the first profiles. Some of them had pasted a passport size pictures of their CV thankfully for me to zoom and look for the slightest hint of stubble. Poor ones who failed at this stage. So I chose the girls (even here I looked for the unwanted hair, trust me!) and thanks to the zoom feature that comes with Adobe Acrobat Reader, I could actually zoom into the fine features of the individuals , trying to spot a spec of hair that could have me blasted instead of them.

The next step a week later was personal interview and the 10 shortlisted candidates arrived from across the country. I reached two hours before the official time at 8:00AM and started fidgeting at the entrance to catch hold and inspect any candidate with un-necessary hair. Since there were 4 guys and 6 girls in the final lists I bought 4 razors with me from the Gillette Store on Flipkart, in case someone needs the job really a lot I could help them (see I am a good person).

The guys came in and alas! three of them had either a stubble or a faint mustache. These had shaved in their passport size pictures taken long ago when their sense of fashion had probably not developed. But who can explain that to my boss. It would be my fault it they entered like this and more than that just be sent home without any questions being asked. They were already tensed to face an interview and I was thinking of a way to bring it up. So I decided to take a small interview and two out of these three boys really knew their basics well, so I told them the truth that its either the hair or the position and they were truly intelligent to grab those Gillete razors from me and get going.

In the end as expected it is one of these guys who got selected and my boss was happy for I did a thorough job, though he would never know how thorough I really was that day. As the day ended he treated me to unlimited tea and I gave him the rest of Gillette razors remaining with me that he will need for his tenure here. That was the most practical gift ever and to this day he uses them, he also did work well in the lab and my boss is currently satisfied with him. All thanks to Gillette.

'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

A Gesture I am touched by - Response To My Open Letter From Penguin Random House India

On 10th November, for the first time in India, one of the most loved authors of our times Dan Brown spoke in an open lecture in Delhi. The credit for this goes to Penguin Random House India which has time and again got to us, some of the most iconic people in the world today. The frenzy for Dan Brown was a magnitude higher for he is a writer who provided not just stories but stories with elements. symbolism, science and logic. He is somebody who has motivated me to read more than anyone else and my first story (unpublished) had the strongest character inspired by him. So when he was to deliver a talk we counted days, hours and minutes to reach that moment. 

However, despite of regular announcements that day during the talk that he would sign the copies later, having book counters outside the lecture hall, Dan didn't sign copies. Apart from the one liner that he cannot do so (without any reason from him or the publisher) he left. It was really disheartening for a lot of readers and I chose to voice it. After my tweets weren't responded to I went ahead and wrote this post:

I wasn't honestly expecting a response as my tweets were unanswered. Surprisingly they did. I got a packet yesterday from them with a signed copy of Inferno, the latest book by Dan Brown with an apology note from Caroline Newbury- VP Marketing and Publicity at Random House India. The note says they didn't have the signing as it would have been difficult to manage and they didn't promise the books to be signed. Well, they did say book signing at the end when everyone asked multiple times during the program. So that part isn't accepted. However, I accept their earlier point of not being able to manage a crowd. Though signing one copy per person would have been just fine. 

I thank them for responding to my earlier blog post and the copy. One tweet in response to mine from your side or an apology at the event would have worked as well. As a person who has lost a lot just for expressing an honest opinion, this gesture of yours has helped in establishing the fact that its not a crime to speak ones mind and there are people in the world who will appreciate and respond to the same. This little step from you has done a great deal in restoring my faith in humanity.

I hope we have better interactions with great authors you publish. Also I wish your team more energy and hope we have more talks, book signings and everything that connects a reader to his favorite author. We at The Readers Cosmos stand for the same and would love to help you the best we can. 

This copy will be a cherished possession for two reasons now, Dan Brown and you. Thank you.

Handsome Is ...If Handsome Shaves: The Scientific Groom Selection

The wedding season is on in India now, and four years ago around this time we were on groom hunting mission for my cousin sister. Most of the guys whose bio-data we liked were selected on three standard Indian parameters looks, education and family background. I always believed that most people found their love in life themselves and got married, and handsome guys either are committed, a myth or gay. However, to my surprise there were many eligible bachelors applying. Since my cousin was a PhD in Civil Engineering and w throughout gold medalist (and most people in my family are like that) the bar was set very high. Since ages this had been the case.

Our foiba (bua) as we Gujjus love to call our paternal aunt was insistent on looks. She said you never know what the person is like in an arranged marriage and a few meets cannot tell you that so bet on looks. A man who looks good and shaves clean has a clean heart and that is the one to go for, this was her sermon from her wizened mind, experienced with aging. The preaching was substantiated by the fact that her grey hair and 100% success at match fixing in marriages. Nobody would ever dare contradict her and my PhD sister would of course relied on this highly reproducible, consistent success of my aunts experiments. However amusing her logic might be that a man who shaves clean has a clean heart, it had a scientific underlying principle which was "Body hair are remnants of evolution, animalistic features that we haven't got rid of despite of thousands of year since humans differentiated from monkeys. Therefore a man who doesn't shave has animalistic instincts within him." Well of course this would scare anyone. Being raised in a family of scholars my cousins choice was a well groomed, soft spoken thorough gentleman and now thanks to my aunt a well shaved guy too.

I wouldn't say it was an easy process to select for her solely because of her qualification, which most guys failed to match. Now rarely we would find one that would be the right one for her. Once we met a guy who looked compatible and so we decided to meet their family on Diwali day. This dude had done his MBA from Germany and foreigners score an an Ace with Gujjus immediately. We all looked forward to the match. As I was around, my cousin who was very shy asked me to stick around her. The guy was alright but alas! he hadn't shaved. Foiba gave him looks that would instantly incinerate him. She told me quietly "What kind of guy doesn't shave? and that too on an auspicious Diwali Day".  He seemed fine and the talk began. They were given their time to discuss while the parents discussed more important practical details of the settlement if they marry. Well If you are wondering how was my aunt quiet? She was signaled to be since her obsession of the clean shave had rejected good proposal with the lightest stubble. Well you cant blame her but she had been warned as my cousin was turning 29 and my otherwise orthodox uncle trying to evolve into a modern father had reached his limits of tolerance and patience. 

After she spoke to him, she said all was well. However the guy intended to marry as soon as possible. While my cousin had 6 months to an year to go before she submitted her thesis and got a degree (it is not easy and very uncertain a process). All was well and the parents were okay with her continuing with her studies in the hostel and the dude going back to his work place in Germany. The guy wanted a wife fast and in my opinion an year isn't too long as long as the match is fixed or you marry if you are so insecure. We left it up to them. Well if you think Foiba was supportive, no she acted Sherlock trying to find a minimal flaw in the unshaven guy to just blow it off. Well she didn't have to, once people started convincing him as the parents approved the match he just spoke "Well what is a PhD anyways? What do you think are you going to get out of it? Just leave it and join me after marriage in Germany." I was very much there and how could he just say that? Anyways, I responded fast for our community of PhD students in a simple line "If its that easy why don't you have one?" Long story short my the match was cancelled with foiba's sermon "I told you so, the animalistic instinct was there in him? Which gentleman will be unsupportive if he claims to have a qualified wife? He was just a despo wanting everything fast."

Well if you are wondering my cousin sister got married with her handsome and foiba's clean shaved prince, well yes she did. Six months post this incident they met at a relatives wedding, my bua herself fixed it. He waited till she finished her doctorate, which by the way got delayed as her guide passed away and now they live happily in Mumbai. He is a true gentleman a thoroughly supportive person that every modern woman with a career can dream of. Scientific logic never fails! If you are looking for a groom do think about it.

So if you are somebody who wishes to impress me than please grab a Gillette, shave that hair and then make your move. For now along with Sundar, Sushil and Susankari, we accept Gillette shaved groom application only.

'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Open Letter: Penguin Random House India Regarding Its Annual Lecture

Every year since the last nine years Penguin India hosts an annual lecture which is delivered by some of the most eminent people of our times such as HH Dalai Lama, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Amitabh Bachchan and this year Dan Brown. I have been attending them since last year when I got to know about them. The talks are undoubtedly awe inspiring and mind blowing. Last year it was Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who spoke about his father, read a few of his poetry's and brought the audience to tears when he spoke about equality for women with the statistics of injustice like rape, foeticide, dowry , etc related issues happening in the nation. Everyone in the audience was spellbound. People got back home, posted videos, pictures and wrote blogs about it. It was an event to remember for a lifetime.

This year I got sleepless nights since the moment they announced that it would be none other than the man who got me interested in reading Dan Brown. He writes fiction concerning religion, symbols and science and his talk was therefore talking on the same topic. Being someone doing science and deeply interested in History, I hope you understand that his books give me and my kind of people a high. I would log on everyday onto Penguin's Facebook Page, Twitter etc. to see if the registrations were open and the day it was amazing to read a confirmation email for the same. I started thinking about the talk and would bring it up in every conversation I had with friends. Finally the day arrived and I was as happy as someone who discovered life on Mars. It was great to listen to hear the man live and I also got a chance to ask him a questions. Truly lucky there. 

However why I write to you today is for one thing that you hugely disappointed us for that day, getting our books signed. There were book counters outside the auditorium at Siri Fort. People bought them hoping to get it signed. The audience asked for it again and again and you said that shall happen in the end, but you just took him away. I would like to ask "Why give false hope?" "If he wasn't signing them why did you say he would do so?" 

While we understand there were a lot of people and in that case you could have limited it to one copy per person (Like Harper Collins did when Jeffrey Archer was here) but just taking an author away without a reason or an apology is really not what a publishing house of your stature is expected to do. As publishers you meet authors on a daily basis and I am not sure if you are crazy about anyone of your authors, but we as readers love books and people who write them. While we are really thankful that because of you we heard him live for the first time in this nation but you also have to understand that authors are not bollywood actors. People don't love them because they look good, the connect is intellectual. Readers like them for their thought and its presentation, their philosophies, etc. So unless the author himself is not uncomfortable in a crowd the least he should do is stay there for little longer and sign copies at the least. If not please do not give false hopes in future. Its okay to do that for bollywod actors not for a writer and we expect you as a publisher to understand it.  Though I have conveyed this to you earlier on twitter and you have chosen to neglect it (though you retweeted my other tweets with pictures and quotes from the lecture), I hope there will be a response this time. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Beyond School by Chitra Anand

Title:  Beyond School
Author: Chitra Anand
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing  
Date: 2014
Price: Rs 124
Pages: 201
ISBN -10: 9383562404
ISBN-13: 978-9383562404

About The Book:
Beyond School centres upon the weeks leading up to 17-year-old Shail s final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure-cooker and the weight of preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in the other direction. Along with Shail s journey from boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his parents-Urmila and Sushil and his mentor-Gladys, in a story that is honest, funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.
About the Author:
Chitra Anand was born in Mumbai. She is a postgraduate in Physics and holds an Education degree. Beyond School is her first novel inspired by her journey as an educator.

Copies Available at all online stores:

Know More Inside Stories, Connect with The Author:
Twitter: @chtranand

Read the book? Write a review on Goodreads:

Fraudster by R. V.Raman

Title:  Fraudster
Author: R V Raman
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Hachette
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 250
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9350098008

Fraudster : The Story of Corporate India’s Black Sheep:
Fraudster is a suspense thriller from R. V. Raman set in the world of corporate finance.

Summary of the Book
Some people will do anything to silence anyone they think are obstacles. They won’t stop at anything, not even murder. In this thrilling novel, a young banker deposes before a commission investigating large-scale financial fraud. She is found dead the very next day. Meanwhile, a leader of corporate India falls to his death from his South Bombay flat. In a multinational accounting firm, the high-security server room is hacked. The hackers want more than just company secrets. Illegal finance, high-profile crimes and brutal manipulation combine in this tale of greed, treachery and corruption amidst corporate India’s worst members.

About R. V. Raman
R. V. Raman is an Indian writer and the former head of KPMG's Consulting Practice and the co-head of their Risk Advisory Services. He was also partnered with A.T. Kearney and Arthur Andersen, and boasts an experience of over three decades and covering four continents. Currently a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management, Trichy, he teaches Business Strategy. He is based in Chennai and this is his first book.

Copies Available at all online stores:

Know More Inside Stories, Connect with The Author:
Twitter: @RVRaman_

Read the book? Write a review on Goodreads:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How To Build A Fictional World?

As writers most of us love being more in our own worlds rather than the reality. So do many of the readers when they actually try opening a locked door with "Wingardium Leviosa". But what exactly in the stories is the element that makes the world believable? We can relate to that world which is not ours as well as we relate to ours. We even learn those languages, spells and name people we dislike as Lord Voldemort. What makes some stories like Harry Potter, The Lord Of the Rings or The Matrix so profound that they though talk about a very different world are immortal through generations?

In this talk Kate Messner who writes fictional for children beautifully describes the process  of writing fiction, the points to think about etc. the video as is with all Ted Ed Talks is beautifully aided with graphics to explain you the process that will stay in your memory for long. Start playing....