Friday, 28 June 2019

#BookReview: Designing Destiny by Kamlesh Patel


Title: Designing Destiny
Author : Kamlesh Patel
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
Published on: 31st January 2019 
ISBN: 978-9387894532



BLURB

What does destiny mean in the course of our lives?
What is fixed and what can change?
How can we design our own destiny?

These are questions that some of the world’s greatest philosophers have asked since time immemorial. In this groundbreaking book, Daaji addresses such questions with simple solutions and practical wisdom. He leads us on to the next stage of the journey after The Heartfulness Way, guiding us on how to use the Heartfulness practices to refine our lifestyle and design our destiny, including our destiny in the afterlife. He elaborates on the subject of consciousness, the role of evolution, and explains what happens to us at the time of birth and death—and how we can act in those pivotal moments when life takes a turn.
Daaji inspires us to believe in ourselves and find a way forward, no matter what the challenge, and look at even the most difficult situation as an opportunity to grow. He emphasises that, with a few simple practices, a heart full of enthusiasm and an expanded consciousness, we can all discover our potential and the destiny we were born to fulfil.



COVER PAGE

The cover page of the book is very attractive in subtle shades. It is a kind of page which calms a person. I has a very beautiful image of a flower opening in bright pink colour. A very simple cover page.



REVIEW

I have heard about Kamlesh Patel known as ‘Daaji.’ So, when I got the opportunity to read his book I was not able to stop myself. Designing Destiny by Kamlesh Patel is a must read book. I got this book at the right moment and is a very interesting and a wonderful self help book.

Through this book, author has highlighted on the aspect of ‘Destiny’ which holds a very crucial part in our lives. And, it is believed that everything is destined, but the author has explained how one can create and change own destiny.  Through this book, he answers the major questions which are asked by many people- What does destiny mean in the course of our lives?, What is fixed and what can be changed?,  and how can we design our own destiny? For these questions, he provides us with simple solutions wherein he elaborated on the subject of consciousness, the role of evolution and even explains what happens at the time of birth.

Designing Destiny bought a lot of positivity within me when I was reading it. The book is written in a very simple manner with each and everything explained in great detail supported with various examples which made the reading experience very interesting and light. The book took me on an insightful journey, totally away from the reality making my reading experience very intense. For me, this book was for self realisation as it made me realise a lot of mistakes that I had committed. It truly changed my perspective towards life.

We all face many problems and the author has given the solution in a simple way in this book. I really liked the fact that the author has very systematically divided the book into four parts- introduction, practice, lifestyle and destiny, free will and freedom of choice.  And, the best solution to fight with any problem is Meditation as it makes our mind clear, takes us away from our past and makes us realize who we are.  So, the main focus is by practicing meditation one can achieve anything in the world.


Overall, this book is a must read. The author in a very simple way has given us a very practical solution to our problems. This book is very important in today’s time. 

Image result for 4.5 stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Known widely as Daaji, Kamlesh Patel is an original voice in an ancient tradition. His teachings arise from his personal experience on the path of Heartfulness, while reflecting his deep spirit of enquiry and respect for the world’s great spiritual traditions and scientific advancements.
Daaji practised pharmacy in New York City for over three decades before being named as the successor in a century-old lineage of spiritual masters. Fulfilling the many duties of a modern-day guru, he extends his support to spiritual seekers everywhere.
A self-professed student of spirituality, he devotes much of his time and energy to research in the field of consciousness and spirituality, approaching the subject with scientific methodology—a practical approach that stems from his own experience and mastery in the field.



*I received a free copy of the book from Writersmelon in exchange of an honest and an unbiased review.


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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

#BookReview : What Mina Did by Geeta Menon




Title: What Mina Did
Author : Geeta Menon
Publisher: Rupa Publications 
Published on: 1st June 2019 
ISBN: 978-93-5304-375-9



A SINGLE BETRAYAL CAN COST YOU EVERYTHING...


BLURB

1998. Twenty-two-year-old Mina is moving to the US from Bangalore to begin a new life with her
husband. Then there’s a horrific murder and her life is turned upside down. Mina’s best friend Neelu helps her out of the abyss.

Mina gradually leaves her past behind and settles into a new life in the US. Years later, she is forced to return to India and is confronted by the demons from her past. In her fragile mental state, she is unable to support Neelu in her time of need. Their friendship hits rock bottom.
Mina goes back to the US and faces further hurdles, this time on the work front. She tries to make amends with Neelu, but their friendship ends with Neelu accusing Mina of something unimaginable related to the murder.

Something, that deep down, Mina knows is true…
Will Mina redeem herself? Will the people she loves forgive her for what she did?
Alternating between flashbacks and the present day, What Mina Did explores how one betrayal
can have catastrophic consequences, while delving into the complex bonds that link mothers and daughters, and best friends.



COVER PAGE

The cover page of the book is very simple. It has an image of Mina standing looking outside the window but what she is looking for is a question. This image of her on the cover page attracted me to pick up the book. The shades of the cover page are also very light in black and white. A very nice and subtle cover page.



REVIEW


‘What Mina Did’ by Geeta Menon was a satisfying read for me. It made me feel so many different emotions. After quite a long time I didn’t want the book to end, I just wanted the book to go on. When I saw the cover page of the book, I got so attracted to it that I was not able to stop myself from reading the book.

‘What Mina Did’ by Geeta Menon is a very interesting read about Mina and her life. She got married to Vijay leaving behind her past life in which she faced a very tragic incident and moved to the USA to begin her new life. Years later, she was forced to come back to India and face her past demons. The coming back was so intense that she was even not able to help her own best friend Neelu in the time of her need.

The book took me on a completely different journey which is filled with Mina’s trauma that she suffered after the tragic incident of her mother’s murder. Because of this tragedy, Mina suffered from nightmares, anxiety etc. The book is a very interesting read. I thought of it as a murder mystery but it came out to be a completely different read filled with suspense, sorrow, love and relationships. The prologue of the book itself is very terrifying, it shook me and made me all the more keen to read the book. It is a book full of emotions which took me away from the reality. Though, it was a bit slow in the initial start, but the book picked up pace further. The narration is very engaging which made me engross in the book.

 The book is penned down beautifully in a lucid manner. And, the plot is very tightly packed with all the events described in a great detail. I really liked the fact that the topic of mental health was picked up and the author has portrayed about it very nicely. Even, the issues of patriarchy and racism were there. The way the author has separated the present and the past is amazing. And, the author has divided the book in two parts where the story is set in Bangalore and in the USA.

The characterization of the story is very strong and relatable. Mina is the protagonist and along with her there are quite a number of characters such as her husband Vijay, her best friend Neelu, her daughter Yamini, her in-laws and many more. I really liked the kind of relation Mina and Vijay shared having a mutual understanding. The bond of friendship between Mina and Neelu is shown very nicely and even after so many difficulties they both are there for each other. And, lastly the relation of mother and daughter, whether it is between Yamini and Mina or Mina and her mother, it stood out very nicely in the story. The title ‘What Mina Did’ is not just about what she actually did but it is much more, what the situation made her do.

Overall, It is a very well written, heart touching and an overwhelming read which actually shows how life is so unpredictable. I am really happy that I got a chance to read it.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Geeta Menon grew up in Bangalore and moved to the US in the nineties. After completing her
MBA in Philadelphia, she moved to Silicon Valley. Like any author, she draws upon her personal
and professional experiences in writing her Simon and Schuster First Chapters award-winning book What Mina Did, but the book isn’t autobiographical. She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, son and adorable pug, Blackberry.

http://www.geetamenon.com/my-novel/



* I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Rupa Publications) in exchange of a review. Thank You.



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Thursday, 13 June 2019

#BookFeature: Supernova by Faiz Yusuf





BLURB

Supernova is a coming-of-age story of how a person gets more than what he wishes for and loses more than he could bear. It is a result of when years later from a car accident and completely disappearing from the scenes, Ezra, a former well-known musician, decides to takes his narrative in his own hands from way media had twisted it previously.

Born as an orphan, things line up for Ezra in a way that he sees himself at the top of the world before realising what can push you up can pull you down too- with an even greater force.

In his own words, Ezra explains, “This story is not about how to achieve your dreams, though I did. This story is also not about how love arrives and leaves at unexpected times, even though it did. And again, this story is also not about how life is not a wish-granting factory and there will be a time you’ll be blamed for mistakes you never made, though I indeed was. This story is about everything that takes place in between those lines- the good, the bad and the worst, and that life will keep moving on no matter what, at a pace, you would mostly have little control over. 







PRAISE FOR THE BOOK

"Yusuf creates for us the experienced guide that we all wish we had to reassure us passing through the stormy emotions of youth... it attests to his worldliness and a wisdom well beyond his years."
- Elena Jacobson, CEO, Infinity Advisors.











ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Faiz Yusuf

Faiz Yusuf was born in 1999 in the city of Patna in Bihar, India. Currently pursuing Economics Honours from Ashoka University, he is inclined towards writing, reading and music. He wrote his first book at the age of 12 and since then have got an opportunity to get three books published under his name including “Pictures of Life”, “The Farrago” and "Supernova". Throughout his school life, he has taken part in numerous inter-school literary competitions, being a part of Times of India Junior Editor Board as well as bagging prizes in various National Youth Parliaments and MUNs. Furthermore, he is a recipient of Scholars’ Badge and performs Slam Poetry, one of his performances being featured on the official Youtube channel of 'Your Quote'. He has interned for HarperCollins Publishers India and Penguin Random House India as well as has done Poetry Workshop from California Institute of Arts. He also has had the opportunity of working for United Nations Global Compact and UNESCO. Looking forward to an upcoming summer semester at London School of Economics, in addition to having done online courses from Harvard University, California Institute of Arts and United Nationals Council of Research, he has been consistently good at studies, including receiving a letter of appreciation from Education Minister of India. Being an avid public speaker and have written for various magazines, he wishes to pursue a career in Economics while keeping his zest for writing animate.

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Monday, 10 June 2019

#BookReview : Snakes in the Meadows by Ayaz Kohli





Title: Snakes in the Meadows 
Author : Ayaz Kohli
Publisher: Rupa Publications 
Published on: 5th May 2019
ISBN:978-93-5333-360-7


" Don't just live to narrate stories of your cowardice.Someone will tell a better story of how you died,rather than you telling your children how you lived."



BLURB

 Jammu And Kashmir, 1987. In the hilly village of Pathri Aali, where legends appear true, Aslam and Ashwar, two young lovers, dream of marriage and of good things of life. But that is not to be. Unable to cope, Aslam leaves Pathri Aali forever. Years later, as men migrate to Saudi Arabia for employment, Pathri Aali is populated mostly by women and children. Soon they realize the Mujahideen, who guise themselves as their liberators, are the worst perpetrators, and misery seems inescapable. Ashwar refuses to be cowed down by this reign of terror and is determined not to let it devastate the once-peaceful village. The only one she can bank on is Aslam—and she calls out to him across the distance of time and space, to return and live up to the legends of their village.



COVER PAGE

The cover page of the book, Snakes in the Meadows is very simple having a picture of a girl, two people in the backdrop of beautiful valley of Jammu and Kashmir. It is very nice and attractive in subtle shades of green and blue.



REVIEW


There are few books that shake the reader to an extreme level and 'Snakes in the Meadows' by Ayaz Kohli is one such book. I have heard and read a lot about Jammu and Kashmir but the kind of impact that this book made on me is extreme. I haven’t visited Jammu and Kashmir but through pictures I have seen the beauty of the state which is the positive aspect but the hidden and the negative aspect is the sufferings of the people who live there. This book made me think a lot and after finishing it, I took time to come out of the effect that the book had on me.

Snakes in the Meadows by Ayaz Kohli is a very intense read revolving around the lives of the people of Pathri Aali who live in utter misery as the militants enter their village and the people become the targets of the militants. This book is set in the 1980s when the rivalry between the two countries was at peak and a lot of unfortunate events took place in the valley. In the same valley, Ashwar and Aslam fell in love but got separated and Aslam ran away and migrated to Saudi Arabia just like most of the men  for employment leaving behind his family in the hands of the militants but he comes back to save his Eden which was filled with Snakes.

Snakes in the Meadows is a very gripping saga which very minutely focuses on the Pathri Aali village. The book took me on a terrifying journey which was filled with utter misery, love, hate, revenge, cruelty etc. The opening lines of the book blew me and the first letter mentioned in the book is so heartbreaking. I really liked the various tales of valour, they built up the background and raised my expectations. The writing style of the author is amazing and I was glad that I didn’t get confused while reading so many different tales. His writing style is filled with empathy. There are so many terrifying events that shook me and I was able to visualise the story which made my reading experience amazing. The plot is very tight and powerful.

There are a lot of characters in the book. Though, Ashwar and Aslam are the two main characters which are very well developed.  I really loved Ashwar’s character. Apart from them, there are characters of Lal Jaan, Haji Mir, Zaitoon, Humza, Adalat Shah etc. The author has written about each character in a way that I didn’t get confused. The narration is fast paced and the book is very engaging. The title of the book is also well justified.  

Overall, Snakes in the Meadows is a very realistic fiction that sent chills down my spine. It is filled with elements of love, hate, revenge, cruelty, etc. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. 


Image result for 4.5 stars





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ayaz Kohli

Ayaz Kohli is presently serving as Joint Commissioner-GST, Mumbai. Having seen the rise and repercussions of militancy from very close quarters, and moved by the plight of the people of the border districts of Jammu and Kashmir, he has come up with his debut novel, Snakes in the Meadows.







* I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Rupa Publications) in exchange of a review. Thank You.


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