Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review : 7 Secrets of the Goddess

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

The author Devdutt Pattanaik has made a name with his numerous books on Indian mythology.He is a doctor .And yet, his flow of words never does reveal that he has been anything else, other than a weaver of tales ! His numerous books include 7 Secrets of Shiva,7 Secrets of Vishnu,Seven Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art among others.His latest is "Shikhandi : And other tales they don't tell you ."

 This book is published by Westland Books.The cover illustration is the Calendar print of Balambika ,daughter of Humanity.The image of Balambika is extremely attractive.The book is of 259 pages & is priced at Rs 395/- only.Every alternate page has photographs of idols,or calendar art or other paintings depicting the various Goddesses & Gods.this makes the book highly interesting & visually appealing.All the photos are captioned for better understanding.

 The book begins with Author's note on Reality & Representation.In this ,the author reveals that representations of Gods & Goddesses in Hindu mythology mean many things.Literally ,they signify something.And symbolically ,it refers to something else.Context is equally important.There are 7 chapters in the book each revealing a particular Goddess's secret.The book concludes with symbols of Goddess & a note on Acknowledgements.

 In this book,the author tries to determine the reason behind the worship of Goddesses,their depiction ,their power,their position ,etal.The narration is crisp & taut.He narrates many stories like that of Annapoorneshwari,Kanyakumari ,Bhu Devi,Shri Devi & many more.He incorporates even Greek,Polynesian ,Egyptian mythology to trace the origins of worship of Goddesses.There seems to be a common thread across mythologies across the world.He states why particular animals like tiger,swan ,elephant,are associated with Durga,Saraswati ,Lakshmi & what the said animals symbolise. He says that the Goddess represents nature & God ,the mind.Mind cannot exist without nature .Yet nature can exist without mind .This is a very feminist statement empowering women !

 He states that Vedas were full of rituals.Puranas which came later talked of bhakti & devotion.Gram devis were the Goddesses of the early communities.As society developed further,a sense of property arose.This led to the women being claimed as property by men.So ,the seeds of patriarchy were sown thus.The patriarchal attitudes became stronger when Hinduism was attacked as being pagan by Christianity & Islam.Christanity & Islam had Men as Gods.There was no feminine deity in these religions.In Hinduism ,there were many Goddesses & this was not taken kindly by Muslim & Western raiders & This led to purdah,etc.This led to more subjugation of women.Later ,scientific thinking & Liberals saw new light in Hindu practices & rituals.Yet ,Mahabharata & Ramayana are seen as enforcing patriarchy.This was never so .There are many versions of Mahabharata & Ramayana .We believe in plurality unlike Western culture.

The author concludes that we must expand our mind to appreciate various thoughts.This will make us outgrow gender.A must read to unravel the traditional worship of the Goddess ! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Maa / Saas toh aisi hi hoti hai !

In India,the parents are always held very high up by her children.It is that the offspring can do everything  for parents..All this is reinforced by Bollywood movies & sitcoms,wherein sons & daughters will go to any extent ,to please their parents..Rather it is the way or ways to exhibit their love & care for their mothers & fathers .This is more true of a mother son relationship as all stories,are marked by patriarchal attitudes.The mother believes that her bachha can do no wrong.Nothing could be more untrue ! Of course, not all actions and omissions are crimes & yet how can adultery ,one night flings be ever justified ? Yet ,the Bharatiya naari in her mom avatar blindly dotes on her son .She believes,he can never do any wrong.He is a good son.This ,despite all evidence to the contrary.And her belief is stronger because she has to confront her daughter in law ,who is married to the ( errant ) son.I thought, that only in India,moms were fiercely protective of their sons.

I was wrong. I am an addict of the show "The Good Wife " on Z Cafe .In that sitcom,the good wife that is, the protagonist's hubby is jailed for corruption.He has used the services of a prostitute as well.The wife is shocked as her husband's secrets start tumbling out.And yet,the mom in law steadfastly sticks to her son .She says,"You are a good son .''Though she is a woman like the good wife,never once ,does she say that her son has wronged his wife by his sex escapades.

 On Life OK channel on the idiot box, ,there is a new show "Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh".In this show ,wife of the minister has to fend for her family after  husband is jailed for his misdemeanours.Again ,in this show,the Indian mom says that her son has been wronged.He has not done any wrong.though ,the wrongs of the son are being splashed all over the media ! The daughter in law is shocked that her mom in law can be so blind to the wrongdoings by her son. When ,the bahu buys a gift for a wedding in the family,the saasu ma chides the bahu for being a spendthrift when her son is languishing in prison. The bahu informs her that she has got a job & the gift has been brought from her salary advance ! This enrages the saas no end .She decides to creates hurdles so that the bahu will have hiccups & ultimately give it all up.This would ensure, that she loses her job & be back at home as before !

 In the "The Good Wife " ,the wife goes shopping to buy a formal dress for her interview .The mom in law comments,"You always crave good life even when your hubby is imprisoned " The protagonist says,"A good dress costs as much these days "The mom in law disagrees & says that she is trying to get a job by turning on her feminine charm while hubby languishes in jail ! As I watch these serials ,I am reminded that moms all over the world are like Indian mom : fiercely protective of theirs sons.And particularly against their daughter in laws !

I thought emotions,relationships,etc had little place in the Western World including  son -mom bonds ,mom in law & daughter in law ties etal. The western world believes more in materialism & little else The son -mom connect is simply & truly Indian . And the disaffection between the mom in law & the daughter in law is so very Indian.The two just cannot get along .This bond ( if it can be called so ) gets twisted & knotted if the son is undergoing calamity !

The aforesaid serials made me realise that the mom son bond is so Indianised,universally.Similar to the saas bahu disconnect.The same disaffection can be sensed in the western world between the two ladies who get related by marriage .It is ,as if ,all over the world ,the Indian mom son drama is being enacted.Along with the saas bahu dramatics  So ,it is Maa toh aisi hi hoti hai .Saas toh aisi hi hoti hai !

Similar emotions arise while travelling on the Lufthansa ! One is at home, away from home in the skies ! So comfortable & homely ! Lufthansa with  ghar ka khana,Bollywood movies & atithi devo bhava attitude is so steeped in Indian  ethos  Lufthansa has Indian culture  at its heart .Hence,Lufthansa has earned a place in the hearts of Indians, all the world over !

This is my entry for the "More Indian than you think " contest on IndiBlogger.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review : God is a Gamer.

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

Ravi Subramanian's latest thriller "God is a Gamer " is the first bitcoin thriller ! Ravi Subramanian is a banker .He has authored many books in fiction ,namely Bankerupt,The Incredible Banker,If God was a Banker,etal All his books have been been loved by readers in India as also abroad ! He has also penned a non fiction book "I brought the Monk's Ferrari ". 

 The book "God is a Gamer " is published by Penguin.It has an impressive cover .The title is embossed  in Golden letters.There is a stamp of a Bitcoin, also in gold ! The cover shows the White House at a distance & a man in black from head to toe standing in front of the White House.It appears as if he wants to confront the political establishment represented by the White House.

 This is story which unfolds all over the world in many places.Gillian Tan ,a senator and a trusted friend of US President is ambushed in Washington D.C. Gillian Tan seems to have the best of everything .He had a loving family & ab great career.Or was it just a screen saver ? There is Aditya Rao & his son Varun who are upbeat about their gaming company in Mumbai.There is Sundeep as also Swami who look up to Aditya Rao as their guru.Malvika is Swami 's boss & the two of them cannot get along.Many banks in India have outsourced lot of work to Aditya's BPO company.And when the ATMs are raided across New York in one single day,all hell breaks loose.Swami resigns .Aditya & his BPO unit are the main suspects.Malvika jumps to her death ( out of frustration) or was she murdered ? Tanya, Malvika's daughter accuses the Indian finance minister of killing her mother.Kabir Khan of CBI,India ,Adrian Scott,Special Agent,Tony in US & a host of others are having a hard time cracking the ATM heist,the death of Gillian Tan & Malvika & the blowing up of many laptops.And to top it all ,Bitcoins are being exchanged all over the world to cover up illegal deals in drugs & other contraband.Who is the brain behind all this? Why was Gillian Tan killed ? Is the finance minister guilty ? Is Aditya Rao, the mastermind behind the ATM heist ? Or perhaps, Varun as he is tech savvy ? Or maybe, it is the father son duo, who are up to dirty tricks.

The novel narrates how the internet age has made cyber crime, a harsh reality in the internet age.And many times,it is nearly impossible to point out the perpetrator /s .This is because, any server anywhere in the world can be used to commit a crime somewhere else.And if bitcoins( an internet currency )  are used instead of real currency,the cyber crime becomes a double jeopardy.That is,it is doubly impossible to unearth anything.

 The book is spread over 310 pages & is divided into 99 chapters.The book begins with a Prologue.Many chapters are just one page long.This encourages readers to finish that page & move further & so on.The mystery starts building up from the first chapter itself.There is never a dull moment.There is lot of technical lingo that is used & yet, it never gets monotonous.There are many characters & the author has managed to give equal importance to one & all.The story ends in a spell binding climax & how !A truly worthwhile read !

Friday, October 17, 2014

Society woes

Dear Managing Committee,

I would like to thank you all, for beefing up security at the society .So much so, that I & many others just short of missed casting their valuable votes at the recently concluded State elections.

I learnt that the society wherein, I reside has become impregnable through  word of mouth publicity .From the returning officer at the polling booth, where, I had gone to cast my vote.I was ranting that I had registered umpteen times & yet,the voters list remains bereft of my name.My rant was heard by the officer on duty.She proceeded to ask my address.When I stated the society name ,where I stay,she shot back,"Your society banned our entry at the gate itself.So ,we had to deposit all the voter ID cards with  the security ." She allowed me to vote ,as she located  my name in the voters list.

As I was returning after casting my vote,I asked the society security about voter ID cards & I was handed a bunch of 10-15 voter ID cards.I collected mine.I was told that the cards had arrived the day before.The society omitted to inform that the voter ID  cards had arrived & were in the custody of the society ( or the security who are handling it as per instructions from society ).I am sure,voter ID cards issued at the time of National elections must  be lying with the society as well.

The Government is truly  impressed with the security measures taken by the society.In fact,NSA ,Army & Paramilitary forces will be soon be  trained by the managing committee of the society ! Really ,the society is going places or rather the members of the managing committee are ! In fact,the society committee members who thought of making this society an impregnable fort ,will soon be posted at  the national borders, for obvious reasons !

Almost all the time ,one flat or the other is being renovated or repaired.Old & infirm are unable to rest as walls,plinth,etal are hammered down.It is like a new flat/s being built...oops sorry being rebuilt.I fail to understand as to why renovate or rebuild a flat which was brought say four to five years ago ? If there was even an iota of doubt that  the flat was going to be wanting in any  way,just buy some other flat ,more suited to the needs.And to think, that would be a simple solution is so foolish of me.

Buy a flat.Start breaking it down completely Noise ,dust & other pollution be damned.The society permission is a tame affair.The argument is, since others did it before them ,all can do extensive repairs,even if it damages the building ! After all ,all who repaired and or are renovating swear by team work.They wouldn't want the building to go down without their efforts at aesthetics of their flat/s.POP is the name given to most of the repairs that are being done in flats Plaster of Paris  work  is creating false ceiling etc.Now ,since all the emphasis is on false,can truth ever come out !

The society has eyes only for security & none for the building.With such an attitude,very soon ,the building will bite dust.And the managing committee will move to another society to beef up security there !

I am sure, that this letter will be abandoned just like the voter ID cards as the committee members attend an important meeting on security ! To investigate, how a tenant in a society flat has the audacity to  even address a letter to the society  ? !

Thanking you,

A tenant.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cover Reveal : Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora

Cover Reveal 
Lemon Girl 
Jyoti Arora 
The She....
The He...
The Author
Jyoti Arora
Jyoti Arora is a Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Her writing achievements include two novels, three blogs, several wins in national level blog competitions, over five years of freelance writing experience, developing books for kids and abridging 24 famous English novels like Jane Eyre, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn etc. 
Jyoti's first novel, Dream's Sake, was published in 2011 by V&S Publishers. It received great reviews and much appreciation from readers.Books have always been Jyoti’s best friends. In fact, books so fascinated her from early childhood that she learnt reading, by herself, even before she started going to school. And she considers herself most fortunate that she is able to pursue her dream of being a novelist and work at what she loves best.
However, if books are Jyoti’s first love, and she’s still very devoted to them, the thrilling and steadily advancing world of technology also fascinates her. As a result, one of Jyoti’s blog is a technological blog called Techn0Treats. In 2011, a post in this blog won her the title of Samsung Mobile when Samsung made her a part of the team of the twenty bloggers chosen from all over India through a blogging competition. In this team of twenty bloggers, she was the only woman and perhaps the only one who had studied literature instead of science. As a Samsung Mobiler, Jyoti acted as the promoter and ambassador of Samsung.
Jyoti is a patient of Thalassemia Major which forced her to stop going to school after class seventh. After that, she continued her studies on her own through correspondence courses. Her zest to overcome her medical problems and made her an inspiration for many.
Check her out at her website </ div>
So are you curious now ?????????

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book review: The Helpline

"The Helpline " is the debut novel by  Uday Mane .He works as a social media enthusiast.He writes stories as well.He is a voracious reader & has an impressive collection of the classics .

The publisher is Frog Books.The cover of the book is white, with the novel name written in red & black towards the top of the book.Below that is stated the authors name, in black.The cover displays a young chap holding a gun to his forehead.The body of the boy as also half his head covered with words like pain,depression,dreams,goals,et al.The words are all in black over a greyish background.The cover art is by Yogesh Parab.The art is subtle & sets the pace of the novel.

The story is about Samir who is so depressed that he is attemtping suicide .He has tried it & failed.His friend goes on her honeymoon & he gets more suicidal.Then he comes accross a hotline wherein, he can call up & talk his heart out.He dials & is able to talk to Rachael on the hotline.Samir is able to put out his heart to Rachael.Is the call able to help Samir in preventing him from another suicide attempt ? And, what is the secret behind the patient hearing by Rachael ? Who is she ? Is she someone, who is known to Samir ?

The novel is simply told.Yet ,the sadness & grief as also confusion faced by the teens is so aptly put across, that it overwhelms the reader.This book states, why so many teenagers just feel like ending up their lives .Hopefully ,this book should help teenagers, to have a rethink over what the teens think are failures which lead to doomsday.

The book is of 252 pages .It costs Rs 145/-.The paper quality is good .Print is easy on the eyes.It is worth a read ,especially to understand  a teenager a little, if not completely.

The author has done a good job.I liked his humour or rather, the sarcasm .This is towards the end of the book wherein ,a character rants about parents.I am a parent myself & I knew that the character was rightly angry .Parents just want their child to have a decent job.They cannot think ahead.They have a very narrow vision which travels very little."Indian parents have kids because they want to safeguard their senile days.It's like an investment." And yet again ," It's a failed investment,that's what you are."And sample this " They will have kids ,mostly two ,just to ensure that if one is a rotten egg,the other should be ripe.They will have a long term plan right from the moment ,you are only half arrived to this world." This rant made me laugh uncontrollably though I know that I am a parent who behaves similarly.I hope to change for the better after reading this rant.

The book is very emphatic about teens ,& even about the differently abled.I loved the book.Would recommend it to all parents & even teens, to peek a glance  into what the teenage years are all about !


by</ span> Uday Mane

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The Blurb</ b>
 Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life. As his story reaches its conclusion, Rachael will know the true reason behind his suicidal tendencies. But this suicide helpline is not any ordinary service. There is more to the mysterious and yet so convincing voice of Rachael. As this new mystery begins to unfold, Samir is going to discover three things: 

What is The Helpline? </ span>
Who is Rachael? </ span>
What is Samir’s own identity?  

Every year, several teenagers in India attempt suicide because of failing relationships, dwindling careers, parental pressure or the competitive world. This story is about one such teenager, his early problems and the hurdles to cope with them. This story is about finding hope in the struggle. This story is about fighting for what you believe in and discovering your true identity. This is not a story about falling in love. This is a story of rising from a failed love story.

Buy @

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Meet the Author

Uday Mane was born in Pune and raised in Mumbai. He works as a marketing professional during the day and a storyteller during the night. He is an avid reader, and loves to collect classic books. 

The Helpline is his debut novel that was launched in March 2014 at the hands of Padma Shri Paresh Rawal.

You can stalk him @

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