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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

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Book Review: Treasure Trove of Zodiacs by Tanuj Lalchandani

Title:  Treasure Trove of Zodiacs
Author: Tanuj Lalchandani
Category: Astrology (Picture Book)
Publisher: Tanuj Lalchandani; 1 edition (2017)
Price: 595 INR
Pages: 156 

Snapshot:  This is a beautiful picture book about the basics of Zodiac signs.  

Detailed Review: In this day and age that we live in two aspects hold central stage: one is knowing thyself and the other networking with people around you. Since both involve a deep knowledge of "person", astrology can come in handy. Whether you are a deep believer in it or someone who might just flip through the newspaper for a casual look at your "daily horoscope", you have come across times in your life when the basic zodiac signs have mostly been true for most people you know. This book aims to help you establish that base of understanding yourself and people around you better, and aesthetically so.

When I saw the cover of this book and its description, I thought it was just another book on zodiac signs, perhaps more descriptive may be. However I just had to wait for the next second to open it and find the beauty within. This book's aesthetics speak for themselves.  

Since I am a Taurean, I will be featuring the section on Taurus majorly. Every chapter on a zodiac sign begins with an aesthetic cover page such as this one...

This is followed by a general chapter on the sign which consist of key traits and behaviours of the sun sign that can help you identify a person, just by looking at the traits and sometimes if you find not so desirable qualities in them, blame it on the stars.

                                  The chapter begins ....

                                        key features...

The book then is divided into two sections one on a Taurean man and other on a Taurean woman...

               The aesthetics of " Taurean woman" chapter...

                                         And it continues....

To be fair to is the chapter on a Taurean man...

                                    The aesthetics...

Here is a photowalk into my favourite content in the book...

Coming back to the content of the book. The writer simply presents the key traits of the zodiac sign. He covers all the sections of the personality traits, beginning with physical appearance, to likes and dislikes, thought processes and the not so bright side of the sign. 

I found that 90 percent of what was written about my sign was true in my case. This book therefore is particularly helpful to business people and otherwise to identify traits and patterns in the person you are dealing with personally and professionally. When there is an aesthetic way of knowing so, why not? 

RC Rating: 5/5. Have never seen a more beautifully done book. It makes the otherwise mundane subject of astrology come alive.

About the author: Tanuj Lalchandani is an astrologer, palmist, spiritual healer and author. He blends modern day techniques, supports his statements with logic and guides you about love, career, vaastu tips, and more. His upcoming book, "Spiritual Karma" would be out soon. ‘Spiritual Karma’ is an attempt to understand the various Indian Gods and Goddesses and how to worship them. The book combines spirituality and astrology. With this book, Tanuj attempts to present simple remedies which are either to be performed daily or just once a year. These simple remedial measures can help a person in leading a more peaceful and fulfilling life. Such remedies help in strengthening our karma and getting rid of karmic debts and sins.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Book Review: Ira Ki Kahaniyan by Pranav

Title:  Ira Ki Kahaniyaan
Author: Pranav
Category: Children's poetry (Hindi).
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: 150 INR
Pages: 58

Snapshot: This book is about important life concepts for children, presented in a simple poetic manner which makes it fun to learn. A book to bond with your child while you teach them values of life.

Detailed Review:  The author Pranav in the prologue mentions how he upon being a father discovered how beautiful, simple and interesting childhood is. The essence of this simplicity is lost in adulthood and he created this book while re-living his childhood with his daughter, to share with her the values, lessons and essence of life he wants to share with his daughter.

India is a land of tales. My favourite one has been The Panchatantra Fables, as they via the lives of people and animals taught critical lessons, in the most emphatic manner. Some of these lessons when they appear to be true in my adulthood now, I am simply delighted to reconnect it with the tales of my blissful days.

On similar lines via a poetic approach, with the central characters being Ira - a little girl, a bear, Chimpu - the mouse, Gillu- the squirrel, etc. Pranav, creates vivid tales. Each of these poems has a beautiful lesson, one aimed to create a value in the fertile mind of the child. Be it learning from elders, working hard to earn your bread, living in harmony with each other to national pride.

The one which touched me the most, a lesson we forget as adults "Har Din Khaas Hai/ Each Day Is Special". The first four lines itself will have that impact on your mind...

These four lines made me think, aren't these lines we as adults should also live by? This book for me stopped becoming a children's book at this point and I believe there are simple concepts this book brings to limelight which we, the adults, should also learn to live by.

Protecting planet earth is going to be the greatest challenge the coming generations will face and therefore I was extremely pleased to have a poetry on saving forests entitled as "Jungle Hai Jeevan/ Forests Are Life" ...

These poems written in a simple manner in Hindi (with some English words which are a part of the language an average Indian household communicates in)  are an excellent read for your bonding time with your child. Even if you don't have a child, I would suggest even you pick it up for it will have those simple lessons of life you forgot in the rat race.

If you have a child in your family, this is your book for him/her. There is a bonus colouring book at the end, with interesting sequences from stories within, such as these...

RC Rating: 4.5/5. A simple and beautiful book from Pranav, hoping for more. 

This is a book for every child.

About the author: Pranav completed a Masters in Sociology followed by which he went on to do an MBA. For the last fourteen years he has been working in the development sector, trying to find answers and solutions to social problems. Ira ki Kahaniyan is his first book.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Such Is Her Life by Reecha Agarwal Goyal

Title:  Such Is Her Life
AuthorReecha Agarwal Goyal
Category: Poetry
Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing (1 April 2018)
Price: 99 rupees
Pages: 184

This is a book of musings, concerned very specifically with being a woman in today’s world. The book contains very short but hard-hitting and impactful lines. Many of the obvious and not-so-obvious atrocities that are committed on women, especially in India, find their way through anger and vivacious words. However not all is dark and many hopeful lines show a hopeful brightness ahead as well, celebrating women’s courage, power and resilience. It is a book that will set you thinking.

Detailed Review:
What does it mean to be HER in today’s world? What does it mean to be a woman today? Reecha Agarwal Goyal, in her debut book, takes an honest and hard look at the experience of womanhood. She does this through a collection of musings- short but impactful lines that use the least amount of words to convey some hard hitting realities.

The prologue sets the tone for what’s to come:
She couldn't stop biting her nails in nervousness. What if they are unhappy on seeing me, thought the female foetus who was about to be delivered.

The following lines illustrate gender discrimination within families:
She was brimming with joy. Her brother was to get a new pencil box. She would get to take his!

When we talk of gender discrimination, we often ignore subtle events highlighted quite cleverly in the following lines:

The day he saw her in an army uniform, his heart swelled with pride and tears rolled down his cheeks. “You are better than a son,” he said. She wept too. ‘Son’ was still the standard!

Any work of literature that highlights issues must also give hope and probably solutions. Some of the couplets and lines are hopeful and encouraging, showing the positivity and resilience of women. 

For example:
Describe yourself.
“Fragile but unbreakable!”.


She tolerated as much and for as long as she could. The day she found her mettle, there was no turning back. How she wished she had known the liberating power of NO earlier.


One fine day she stopped explaining. Period.

Some of the lines portray hidden qualities of women:
Ever wondered why a mother never seems to like anything that is scare on the dining table? 

These are but a few example of issues highlighted. She touches upon varied issues such as love, abuse, rape, marital rape, dowry, neglect of women in old age, motherhood, working women, societal expectations, preference for male children, gender discrimination and so on.

While it is true that some of the basic experiences of women transcend geographical boundaries, some issues are specific to the Indian context. Hence, while the authors thoughts on objectification of women or discrimination at workplace for instance is relevant in a global context, there are issues such as dowry and female foeticide that is applicable to India, probably more so in the rural context within the country. As such the book talks about the different areas where women are disadvantaged.

This is a book about realities that women have to face. It will disturb, trouble, shock you and re-think the world we have so created for the gender that brings life on the planet. It gives women’s struggle a bold voice.  

For, how long can one keep pushing things under the carpet? It’s time to change things forever and this begins with acceptance of what is wrong.

  RC Rating: 3.5 on 5

     About the Author

Reecha Agarwal Goyal holds an MBA in marketing and finance from Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai. She has worked as a Wealth Manager in one of the reputed MNCs for six months before getting married in Delhi. Literature has always fascinated her and she has an undying passion for words. She believes that it is her kids, Aanya and Ayansh, who have brought out the writer in her. They make her see this world in a whole new light. 'Such is HER Life' is her first book and she desires to spend her entire life reading, writing and travelling.

Book reviewed by Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta Shah 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.