Book Review: Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik

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Title: Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Pages: 162 pages

Plot: Journey into the amazing world of Hindu mythology with Devdutt Pattanaik. Why are most temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva or the goddess, but not to Brahma or Indra?  How are an asura, rakshasa, yaksha and pishacha different from each other? Why did the Pandavas find themselves in naraka rather than swarga? Over several months, EPIC Channel’s ground-breaking show Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik has enthralled countless viewers. Here, finally, is the book based on the first series of the ever-popular show, which will take you on a scintillating tour through the myriad stories, symbols and rituals that form the basis of Hindu culture. Prepare to be surprised and thrilled as Devdutt narrates magical tales about larger-than-life figures – gods, goddesses, demi-gods and demons who you thought you knew well but didn’t. Learn about the intricacies of Hindu thought as he explains the origin and meaning of different creation myths, and throws light on why we believe in a cyclical – not linear – concept of time. This book is your perfect introduction to the endlessly fascinating world of Hindu mythology. About the Author Devdutt Pattanaik is the author of over twenty-five books and 500 articles on the relevance of mythology in modern times. Trained in medicine (MBBSfrom Grant Medical College, Mumbai University), he worked in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries for fifteen years before devoting all his time to his passion for decoding beliefs of all cultures, modern and ancient, located beneath the veneer of rationality.

Thoughts:  Mythology has always been an intruding subject for me. As a child I loved the stories of Ramayan, Mahabharata and the others but now I have a curiosity to dig in deeper and find out the reason behind why certain rituals are followed, why certain Gods are worshiped and so on.

Mr Devdutt Pattanaik is renowned for his mythological knowledge and this book is based on season one of his show on Epic channel. The book is in a conservative form where the questions are answered by the author. The author touches upon the various aspects of Indian mythology such as devs and asurs, Gods and foods, avtaars, devi worships, Gods and marriages, yugas, etc.

The book is in a question and answer format which makes the reading feel like a conversation or a one on one interview with the author. The concepts are very well explained and are segregated into various chapters, making it easy to understand even for mythology beginners. The book is well documented and the language is very simple to understand. I got answers to a lot of questions that had risen in my mind once upon a time. The book is definitely too informative and cannot be read in one sitting. I had to divide it in various sitting to grasp every bit of it. Over all the book explains the complex concepts of Indian mythology in a simpler way.

PS: The cover of the book could definitely have been better.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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Un-boxing- ‘Beauty Trippin’ Fab Bag May 17

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I received my Fabbag on 4th May this month. The theme of this month’s Fabbag was ‘Beauty Trippin’ The bag I received had ‘Eat Sleep Travel Repeat’. I loved the bag. It is sturdy and a little bigger than the usual size. It is perfect to be carried while traveling.

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This time there were 6 products. Let’s see them one by one:

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  • Johara Pro Shine Nail Colour Maroon Magic (Full size 10ml) – Rs.250/- I haven’t tried the Johara Pro Shine Nail Colour range before. The packaging was nice and sturdy. This range is available in 13 shades of which I received the maroon magic. I personally prefer softer shades and this color wasn’t something I would have picked. But the good thing about this rage of nail paints is that it dries quickly. The paint applies smoothly on nails. I am definitely going to try a different shade from this range soon.

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  • Inatur Olive Cleansing Milk (Full size)- Rs.225/- for 100ml- ‘Inatur’ is known for its organic and pure products.  This cleansing milk is soap free and nourishes my sensitive skin. It is infused with contains olive, chamomile, Geranium oil, jojoba oil, honey and lavender. It removes the make up easily. Leaving behind a moisturized skin.

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  • Soap Square Foot Soak (Deluxe size 79g)- Rs.400/- for 140g- The Soap Square Foot Soak is infused with crushed rose petals and rose oil. The organic Himalayan and Epsom salts are used. It is perfect for the summer heat and the smell relaxes the mind and the body.

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  • Elize Premium Sanitary Pads (Rs.100 for 2 pads)-  Elize is a premium sanitary napkin brand. Each napkin is packed in a ziplock that makes it easy for disposal. It has a bamboo charcoal strip that kills odor and has a soft cotton top to prevent any irritation. I also received a 10% off discount coupon for my future purchase.

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  • Veet Ready to Use Wax Strips (Rs.99/- for 8 strips) –  I haven’t used any cold wax strips before since I have a sensitive skin. Tested under dermatological conditions and accredited by the British Skin Foundation. This is with an aloe extract and is suitable for sensitive skin type too. I am yet to try this.

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  • Esence Soft Touch Mousse Make-up 02 (Matt Beige) (Rs 499/- for 16g) – I received a damaged product which came as a shock to me. They claim to QC all the products before sending them across. I don’t know what happened this instance.  The mousse was completely dry and unusable. I sent an image of the mousse with the Fab Bag team and they were prompt enough in assuring me a replacement within a week.

The total value of the bag is Rs 1573/- . The bag has more products than the previous bag and apart from a small glitch of the damaged product (that they have promised to replace) I am quite happy with the products I have received.

You can get a 3 month subscription for this bag at Rs 1599 here

Book Review: Mary Poser

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Title: Mary Poser: Butterflies and white lies as Bollywood Comes to Nashville

Author: Angel A.

Pages: 478 pages

Plot: The recipe for a warm and humorous story…

In a modest bowl of Nashville, gently place a girl who is Country music, Bible belt, and a Steakhouse foodie.

Then add a surprise portion of exotic and handsome Anglo Indian, who is a passionate Bollywood director, vegetarian and Hindu.

Stir vigorously on a bed of intense attraction.

At first, the ingredients will seem to clash and separate.

Keep stirring…

Include a dollop of jealous boyfriend and a meddling mother.

Splash in a serving of fun and mischievous friends. Keep stirring…

Add a dash of crazy aunt and a minister father to keep the flavors working together.

Sprinkle in even more complicated family members to taste.

Cook on high emotions.

The secret ingredient that cuts through the sweetness is a final layer of shocking revelation that adds a surprising depth of flavor.

Finish with a twist of ‘Oh My God! Is she really going to do that?’.

Serve as tasty bite-size chapters in a novel dish of mayhem and madness with a side of Country music and Bollywood dancing.

Thoughts:  This book had me at the mention of Bollywood. I had to pick it up and find out an American’s perception about it. Mary Poser is plotted in Nashville, also known as the Bible belt.

Mary’s family is a traditional Christan family, making her an ideal daughter even if she has to let go off her dreams. Mary attends a Film Festival with her friends one night and meets this dashing Indian film director, Simha. Both are drawn towards each other and connect instantaneously. Bam! Mary’s conscious reminds her that she cannot fall in love with a non Christian man but her heart says otherwise. And the turmoil begins… With on and off communication and a lot of drama, Mary and Simha try to find their way in and out of this situation.

The plot seemed promising but the writing failed to live up to the mark. The characterization demanded more strength. The religiousness and at times racism came across more strongly than the love story. I couldn’t connect with Mary’s character since it didn’t seem realistic. Her choices in life were appalling and seemed too extreme. I enjoyed Mary’s and Simha’s love story in bits and pieces. The fact that for most of the book Mary was dating another guy she wasn’t in love with, diluted the love story.  What I really liked was Rumi’s quote references made at the beginning of each chapter. I loved the end with the butterflies in it.  To wrap it up, this was a mediocre book with mediocre plot and weak characterization.

Ratings: 2.5/5

PS: – Thanks to author for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

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Book Review: Bridges- A Daphne White Novel

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Title: Bridges: A Daphne White Novel

Author: Maria Murnane

Pages: 194 pages

Plot: It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

Thoughts: This is the second book in the Daphne White series. The first one was ‘Wait for the Rain’. This book is about the three Musketeers, Daphne, Skylar and KC whose friendship has lasted from college till mid-forties. They finally decide to meet after their ‘Caribbean vacation’ which was three years back. Skylar is finally getting engaged and invites Daphne and KC to New York to celebrate, as Skyar calls it for a “non bachelorette” weekend.

Daphne has finally completed her first novel and is looking for an agent to help her connect with the publisher. But she faces polite rejections from most of them. She is facing a tough time but refrains to tell her friends. The weekend with Skylar at her fancy apartment, makes Daphne revisit her past choices. KC has a secret of her own. The three women are at a turning point in their lives. What comes next is a lot of drama, outbursts, celebrations and friendship goals.

The author nails the female friendships correctly. I loved every bit of their interaction, the crazy fun they have over the weekend, the support they extended to each other, conceding of fights and just being there for each other in time of need.  It has a ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it. The book is narrated from Daphne’s point of view. The writing is intruding and crisp. The characters are well woven, quite realistic and the relatable. The story is predictable but still worth a read.

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: – Thanks to author for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

Book Review: Chanakya in Daily Life

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Title: Chanakya in Daily Life

Author: Radhakrishnan Pillai

Pages: 290 pages

Plot: Life is unpredictable and full of challenges. One wrong step and everything can come crashing down. In such a scenario, one often wishes for a roadmap of life, but how is that possible?

Bestselling author Radhakrishnan Pillai’s much-anticipated book, Chanakya in Daily Life, will help you navigate the rough seas of life and stay on course. Covering all aspects of life from the personal to the professional, it will tell you everything from how to begin your day to how to end it, how to choose the right job, stay financially secure, have a happy married life, raise your children the right way, achieve the perfect work-life balance and much more. Like always, Pillai decodes and simplifies the visionary king-maker Chanakya’s teachings from the Arthashastra and Chanakya Niti to provide solutions for any problem that might crop up in any aspect of your life.

Thus, Chanakya in Daily Life is the perfect guru who expects only one thing from the shishya—a willingness to learn.

Thoughts: ‘Chanakya in Daily Life’ is a non-fiction, self help book inspired by the teachings of the great Guru Chanakya’s book ‘Arthshastra’. Mr Pillai has simplified his teachings for a lay man to understand and incorporate in his life.

The book is sectioned into three parts: Personal Life, Professional Life and Family Life. These sections are further distributed in smaller chapters, explaining various aspects and activities one can undertake to improve his life.

The writing is simple and direct. The language is kept simple to be well understood by anyone. The matter is crisp and the book is not dragged with unwanted examples making it a quick read.

We know most of the things that are highlighted in the book but we never tend to incorporate these things thinking for it to be too trivial and petty.  What I liked the most about the book is the fact how small things can make a big difference in our productivity and overall craft our lives.

This book simplifies the knowledge derived from the king maker himself making it easy for a common man to discipline his life and achieve his overall goals.I would recommend this self help book to all those who are looking for a road map to better their personal, professional and family life in tandem.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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Book Review: The Nest

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Title: The Nest

Author: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Pages: 368 pages

Plot: A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

Thoughts: ‘The Nest’ was a semifinalist for the Goodreads Readers Choice Awards 2016 in the best fiction category. I usually like reading family dramas and I had to read this one.

The book is about the Plumb family and the inheritance left by their father called “The Nest”.  The Plumb family siblings, Leo a successful entrepreneur in an unhappy marriage,  Melody, a mother of twin daughters who has a big home morgatage to pay off, Bea who is a short story writer stuck with her long due novel and Jack who lives with his husband Walker and has a loan to pay are eagerly waiting  to receive the inheritance. All the siblings are relying on the inheritance to solve their problems and ensure a secure future until Leo messes it up for everyone with drugs, an accident, a Porsche and a girl. Everyone’s morality and family love comes to a test.

While the plot was ordinary and the ending a cliché, the writing stood apart. The book was narrated from various point of views which could have worked for some readers but it didn’t work for me. At times the point of view changed with in the same paragraph itself. It was really brave and adventurous of the author to do this but it didn’t work well all the time.  There were too many opinions at once. I do like complex characters but I really couldn’t connect with any of the characters. They all seemed shallow, self absorbed and selfish. Maybe if the book had fewer characters or limited Point of views, the empathy factor would have increased. I could only finish the book because it was well written. In short, it is a well written book with a mediocre plot.

Ratings: 3/5

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