Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Second Spring Book Review

Title : Second Spring
Author : Sandhya Jane
Number of Pages : 285
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis and Review:

Second Spring is the debut novel by Sandhya Jane which narrates the life and happenings of Avantika a single mother, who has a strong persona and is highly successful in her profession. The book is all about the ups and downs in her life because of the love which hits her a second time, and on reading the synopsis, I felt the book will mostly reflect the hardships faced by Avantika in a innovative way but sadly I am heavily disappointed as page by page, the book felt like a daily soap or a Bollywood flick. I don't want to sound rude, but I was bored after finishing 50 pages. The story was going no where and was absolutely predictable just like any Hindi movie! First few pages made me feel may be this book has more to it than just the love, spark , infatuation and confusion episodes between Rohan and Avantika but I was wrong. The book has redundant episodes and thoughts of Avantika and Rohan. I really felt, the author should have done more work on editing and removing the repetitive lines. Avantika's son Aarav's bond with his mother was some thing I enjoyed as it showed how single mothers can get deeply attached to their kids. Other than this , I liked few tidbits like, description of the corporate atmosphere, the necessity to be quite social and the tactics one should possess to improve networking so as to have career progress. The respective episodes felt real and the author described the projects , meetings and presentations aptly as she herself works for an investment bank I believe. The intervention of Facebook and how lost friends can be searched and found is shown well. The life and episodes of Rohan and Avantika during the time they spent together, and after they part their ways covers 90% of the book. It is possible that the turn out of all the events can be a real thing, but the way it was narrated, I felt I was watching some hindi movie from 80s - 90s.
Source : here
Avantika slogs for the progress of her company and herself but it feels bad to see that she shifts to Missouri (USA) only to forget her love.  By the end of the book, the only thing I could appreciate was that the protagonist Avantika carefully and confidently chose what she wanted , with out falling in the booby trap of emotions once again but even this felt like, I was watching the climax of the movie Hum Dil De Chuke sanam . The book oscillates between Rohan and Avantika's diary pages thrown between infinite number of meetings and office hours. Rohan's family pressures, forced marriage and orthodox beliefs are all highlighted which are day to day problems in India but on this date and time when things are slowly changing , I could not relish the age old story line where he sacrifices himself for arranged marriage and so many lives ultimately get destroyed. The surprising element in the book is Rhea, a kid who is the love child of Avantika and Rohan. This surprise totally failed the story for me as once again , it got too filmy where in kids are born as easily as coffee comes out of vending machines, just by spending one passionate night together. Again it is a possible scenario but I couldn't make myself like it! Sorry to say that the book is too clich├ęd and I couldn't enjoy it.

I am not an author myself but there is a lacuna in this book even if it had good language and vocabulary. A weak plot, routine story line and monotonous episodes made me want more from the book.

I wish the author good luck for her future endeavours.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2015 Roundup- "A sheer roller coaster ride!"

The year 2015 was quite a roller coaster ride for me, as I shifted my city and multiple jobs. It taught me too many lessons which can never be forgotten and it also gave an insight in to my heart and helped me understand myself better with each passing day. I will try to maintain the tone of this post not too emotional and the length appropriate :) The year started on a high note, when Imran (my husband) and I decided to shift to Hyderabad from Bangalore. I was actually low but was feeling high as well, as new things make life less mundane! I was also high as I will be near to mom , dad and low as I would have to leave the city I loved the most. I will list down the major events of 2015 in my life!

High Points and Low Points
  •  I celebrated Newyear 2015 after visiting God's Own country Kerala - Wayanad and wrote the below lines when the clock struck 12:oo A.M. on Jan 1st 2015 - "A new path is ahead of us. We may not be able to predict to where it will lead us but we know we have to walk it anyway and embrace it and not run away. Wish you all courage, strength, love, optimism, good will, health and fun while you tread along it ! Happy newyear 2015 to one and all" Well it is the same for any newyear. The trip was beautiful and rejuvenated me for the big move to Hyderabad

Taken at soochipara falls - Wayanad
  • Hyderabad- The land of Biryani and Haleem and the land where mom, dad and bro live did pull me towards it. I was glad but at the same time was feeling confused as I hate being in midst of too much crowd and too many known people. Fortunately I was and am not a part of many social gatherings but still the very thought, spreads the phobia instantly in my head, due to various reasons, the major one is in the snapshot below :) , My dislike towards "variety" of people and liking towards books and my cosy corner, only increased with each day. Sadly I became more unsocial but I became much better , because who else can be better friends than books ? The best book I read in 2015 is Life of Pi , which is worth a 1000 friends !
source : here
  • I joined a new job in Hyd in Feb, and it took it's natural course of time to get acclimatized. It was neither easy nor tough. Started missing my Bangalore office friends as each day felt more lonely. I finally got used to the place, did well in the job and received accolades and managed to get bonded with the team.My Doctor appointments increased due to carpel tunnel syndrome and other general recurrent health issues and naturally I had to mention this at work, but I felt blessed as most of the team was co-operative and polite. They had that rare attitude which wants the co-worker to do the work and go and I feel proud to say that my work always spoke for me. My timings in office, the energy or enthusiasm were measured ofcourse, but never scrutinized a lot, and I was at ease even with tight schedules and micro management only because I loved my work and they knew that fact! I slowly started forgetting Bangalore.
  • A big personal blow which happened in 2015, is the breakup of a loved one with his spouse. I visualised how the marriage was broken and what all lead to it and was totally shattered. It still shocks me whenever I revive what all happened and when I keep hearing or seeing what all is happening. It taught me a big lesson, that a sweet smile, education and a beautiful face are not good enough reasons for a marriage. It is very tough to choose the right person specially in India where many people go with the tide and try to work on their broken relationships much later and fail. I appreciate the guts of the person who decided to file a divorce. A loud applause for making the decision to restart the life, because it doesn't make sense to live on broken remains with bruised hearts! My prayer for 2016 is that honesty and truth should eventually win. I want the hearts of all my loved ones who are facing the brunt of this broken relationship to be repaired. I want them to use their hearts again and feel good. When  I think of them, I always remember the below quote from the movie - Home alone and for those who have caused pain, their acts are their own curses !
source : here
  • Expect the unexpected, I had to leave the job after 6-7 months due to travel plans to Europe and the conveyance issues to office, which were hampering my health but the twist in the story is , I couldn't travel due to few unavoidable reasons and joined another renowned company much near to home after a short gap. I felt it is the solution to all my problems and I can save my time, energy and stay fit but God indeed is a gamer. My health problems increased in a month of joining the new office. The place was unfriendly, work was always random and unclear , and people somehow were too disconnected and I was cheated as there was a  mismatch between the written policies in joining forms and the actual baseless policies which were mentioned to me at work. I somehow failed when it comes to "attracting" the new manager and new people with my work. I always was and am passionate about the work I do but when the boss sucks and when Devil wears Prada doesn't work for long, I felt I should resign . The lesson I learnt is to never ever express the vulnerabilities at work place as the person to whom you report may seem empathetic in the start with the honey dripping tongue but has full potential to be an actual jerk. After too many arguments , verbal fights , and me escalating and mailing the other authorities , I left the job. I definitely am not enjoying whatever happened. It took me 10-15days to recover from the poison spurted out from crap mouthed person who is the sole reason for my resignation. I still am in shock and it will take time but this only made me more strong and when I will be back, I will be back with a bang. She (my manager) for a second seemed to have sucked the soul out of me like a dementor in Harry Potter. When demons invade from all directions , you are shaken and you loose confidence for a while but then you have to come back because you know your worth and no Tom , Dick , Harry can measure it in a span of a mere 2months. To hell with her and to hell with the people who lick her feet. I was never so glad just because of not seeing a person on daily basis! 
I want to suggest a book Big Leap by Gay Hendricks for all who are sailing in the same corporate boat and have to face rude bosses , unhealthy work culture and robotic people around you. I am sure it will definitely help you either to go with the flow or just amend or get rid of the mess!
source: here This is my all time favorite movie- Pursuit of Happyness. I feel so peaceful , when ever I watch it. I watched it after I resigned and regained the faith that I can conquer the world and I will not let any idiot tell me, what I can and can't do
  • Another major event for this year is my husband's visit to Belgium as part of his office assignment , for a period of good 3 1/2 to 4 months. Long distance made me miss him like never before and I can surely say it strengthened our bond. Minus point is that I did not plan to visit Europe and joined the new job which I left now :( Biggest learning is to not miss such opportunity if it knocks my door again. I was extremely tensed after the Paris terrorist attack as husband visited Paris just two weeks before the attack! I was quite edgy till he landed in Hyderabad and let out a sigh of relief as soon as I saw him in the airport. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I want to say that as soon as I saw him half of my worries vanished and my faith in myself got restored with him by my side again :) The bonuses from the trip are the Belgium chocolates , which taste heavenly & the gifts I got from Paris!
  • I travelled to Mumbai for just 2 days, to meet bloggers and attend an amazing event #BNLF (Blog Now , Live Forever). It gave many memories and made me glad as I travelled with a friend and this is something which I wanted to do from long. I went to watch a movie all alone. This must be a silly thing for many, but I fulfilled it after ages , so making it one of the milestones reached in 2015 :) . I visited Pondicherry, which is blissful due to the beaches, ashrams, and the general calmness around the city! It is the best place to unwind and relax away from the run-of-the-mill life!
Pondicherry Beach Sunrise
The loot from Belgium

At #BNLF Mumbai

Some desires and to-do's for 2016

I don't have any resolutions for 2016 as resolution sounds like a heavily loaded word, but I want to make a to-do list, strive to implement most of the stuff from this bullet list and yes, I do have some prayers!
  • To read more and to travel more. I have read around 10 books in 2015 and I definitely want to increase the number. I have challenged myself to 30 and I am really hoping to reach the goal as I am a slow reader.
  • My prayers for my loved ones. I really pray they get rid of the evil vibes which are bothering them from long. May the good omens be with you!
  • A prayer to not witness terrorism and be a part of some good change and do my bit, giving importance to burning issues and NOT BE PART OF ANY MUDSLINGING on trivial crap over social network.
  • To reduce the intensity of FaceBook usage and deactivate my account for a while. Only blogs keep me glued to FB or twitter but excessive usage damages brain at times. I am waiting to take a break from online socialising rituals and see less updates from the entire world :)
  • To work in a company only if I feel good about the change and not take any hasty decisions while taking up a job!
  • To blog more, cook more, learn new recipes, to continue the gym regime and to just be in good health, be happy and smile a lot.
A very Happy new year to one and all. Have a great 2016 Fellas!

What were your #Talesof2015 and do you have any plans for 2016? Do share :)

I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda

Thanks to Blogadda Team for this topic as it helped me to reopen my blog :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Salute to Mumbai Martyrs (26/11)

Image courtesy : here
Saw a Spine Chilling documentary on 26th Nov 2015,of the Mumbai terror attacks and the Siege which lasted for more than 60hrs from 26/11/2008 to 27/11/2008 and was too shocked to speak or have any opinion. Excerpts from Ajmal Khasabs interview in Hospital shown on HISTORY channel are shared below.
Police: Whom are u asked to kill?
Kasab : Logon ko (People)
Police: U know what is meant by Jehad?
Kasab: Nope!
Police: Then Y r u killing?
Kasab in a satirical tone: For the money sir (Paisa milta hai baau)
Police: Dont U feel guilty for doing so many killings? Havent U questioned your trainers that?
Kasab: Yes. At times I feel so, but they do wash our brain and in 3 months make us ready for sacrifice.
Other than this, all the live conversations on radio phones between the handlers from Pakistan who were coolly giving instructions to each Terrorist to kill, to not get diverted, and to scare people by throwing grenades or burning the dome were recorded. They also passed continuous instructions on how to fight till the end and not get caught by police men made me too dejected , helpless and my eyes and head were boiling by the end!
I was not aware that they also had put Rdx in taxis which took some more lives . Looking at the feed of surveillance cameras made me silently cry. Hearing to stories of survivors did not make me courageous. At one juncture the handlers from Pakistan over the radio phone, when the attackers were amused by the hotel were exchanging conversation like below:
Attacker : “You know here they have computers with 30 screens or so, masha allah ! So amusing!”
Handler: “Don’t get distracted . Have you put the rooms and dome on fire or not? I should see them on TV Live . Do that ASAP.”
They were discussing their agenda and passing orders between each other simply like we do in case of an office project or some sport played for fun or a good cause :( I watched the massacre on TV for more than an hour and couldn't sleep properly the whole night as the scenes and voices kept dancing infront of my eyes!
8 terrorists or may be more in groups of 4 destroyed the city like never before. They are doing it with out any thoughts or feelings , like robots who are keyed and loaded with evil programs. I was too terrified when I saw that the terrorists made it a point to kill till their last breath. Not sure if it is right to feel this, but when a guy called Fahadullah said that his partner died just beside him, I felt pity - Pity on their nonchalance, the life they lived, the parents who gave birth to them, the country(ies) who nourished them. I felt weak and hopeless when they were chanting the beautiful words like Insha-allah and Masha-allah for these evil deeds. Again the same questions bothered me! How can they be brainwashed? How do they become so evil? What can stop all this? How can we uproot terrorism? How to do our part in uprooting it?
I know there are many Indians too who are recruited by all the terrorist organisations like ISIS or Al-Qaeda or any such inhuman organisation which makes me shudder. How and what can stop all this ? Can we be united and come up with a strict agenda to end the evil? It was Mumbai or Hyderabad then. Peshawar or Gaza later, Paris and Mali now and the places like Syria, Palestine, Nigeria, Gaza, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on , so forth who always live under the canopy of terror."Saddest fact is that the main motto of these people who call themselves saviors of Islam is to destroy Muslims like me and many." The terror waves are getting bigger with each day and How ? What ? Why? When? - such questions keep flogging the mind as always.
Wish the youth gets a right direction. Wish God takes the lives of terror creators in worst possible way. Wish initiatives like this - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Islam-and-terrorism-now-in-madrassa-course/articleshow/48383137.cms keep increasing. How I wish everyone can prefix the words Non-Islamic to all the terror organisations, instead of tagging “Islamic” with all attacks. How I wish I can live a life where there are no questions bombarded at me about the religion I follow!
But for all the perpetual questions, the only answer I have is- " I am a human and any human who does an act which I can't even fathom for the betterment of humanity is God to me!" I am not sure how to end this post but I just want to salute all the brave hearts , like Vijay Salaskar, Unnikrishnan, Hemant Karkare , Tukaram Omble and many more who have lost lives during this massacre - http://www.ndtv.com/photos/news/a-tribute-to-mumbais-bravehearts-982#photo-9649 . Whether or not it counts this is my tribute to all the “HEROES”
Note: This is an FB note I wrote on 26th November
The pics courtesy : https://www.facebook.com/Indianarmy.adgpi/photos/a.154174701445834.1073741939.123788044484500/437212886475346/?type=3


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