• tales, pensieve, Shadows, northlands, Vishwesh, Desai

Book Review: The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

I was somewhat surprised that I liked The Zoya Factor so much. I expected to merely pass the time on a flight with the book; what ended up happening was that I was perhaps the only one not sleeping (or not trying to sleep) on a late night flight, completely hooked to Anuja Chauhan’s first. The story line and plot

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Book Review: My Days In The Underworld

Agni Sreedhar’s bio on wikipedia reads as former gangster, writer, critic and artist. His book Daadagiriya Dinagalu (Kannada), winner of Karnataka State Sahitya Akademi Award, has been translated into My Days In The Underworld – Rise of the Bangalore Mafia. The translation, by Sreedhar himself, stays colloquial and the tone of the book is naturally street side. What an exciting

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Book Review: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

This was the first Jhumpa Lahiri book I read and from the get go, I was enchanted by the poetry of Lahiri’s prose. It is a little difficult for people who have grown up reading Jeffrey Archer’s short stories – people like me who expect every story to have a beginning, a premise and an end – to fully appreciate

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Book Review: Breaking Out and Making Big

The first thing that I noticed about the book when I saw it was the cover. In an explosive pink color, the cover is cluttered with a huge hyperlink mouse pointer image with little badges surrounding it. Yes, Start-ups in this technical age revolved around computers. For the sake of argument, which business doesn’t? I could make out the title

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Book Review: Byculla to Bangkok by Hussain Zaidi

Syed Hussain Zaidi’s Byculla to Bangkok is touted as the sequel to Dongri to Dubai but it fails miserably, leaving very few traces of coherence in chronology. It is the first time in my life that I have been disappointed by a Hussain Zaidi book; even Rahul Bhatt’s sob story, Headley & I (co-authored with Zaidi), was far more tolerable.

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Book Review: In the Shadows of Death

‘Being an avid reader of crime fiction myself, I have always harbored an ambition to make my own humble contribution to this genre,’ said writer Sourabh Mukherjee in an interview. ‘The story, of course, had its germs in my own interests in human psychology and in the complexities of human relationships, especially in these times of changing social order.’ ‘Also,

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Book Review: The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga

To me, ‘God of Small Things‘ has always been the gold standard for the kind of book that should win a Booker. Booker winning book after book since has disappointed me sorely. The Booker Prize it seems, is more about the one eyed amongst the blind and not really the best book of the year. That said, ‘The White Tiger‘

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Book Review: 1857 – The Real Story of the Great Uprising

Written by a Brahmin mendicant (Vishnu Bhatt), who somehow fortuitously ended up being in parts of India where (and when) the revolt was breaking out, ‘1857‘ is a fantastic book chronicling the first great uprising of the Indian freedom struggle. Vishnu Bhatt wrote the book as a diary – which was published only after his death in the early 20th

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Book Review: Alchemist of the East

“We dream and we actualize those which are closest to our hearts” Alchemist of The East is a story about a boy who copes up with his life after the untimely death of his parents and tries to follow his dreams only to be informed about a legacy he is a part of. Everything that follows adds to the making

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Book Review: Do and Die

I read this book after I came to know the movie version wasn’t really an accurate adaptation of the actual history of the Chittagong uprising. Being a history buff, I really wanted to know what actually happened in Chittagong. Chatterjee does justice to the subject and keeps you hooked even though you know the fate of the uprising already (from

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Book Review: The Curse of Brahma

As a lover of books based on Indian mythology, I opened Jagmohan Bhanver’s The Curse of Brahma with a bit of apprehension. And, there was a certain reason behind that. Lately, a number of retelling of Indian mythologies had disappointed me. But, to my own surprise, this book captured my attention in the Prologue and then I could not stop

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Book Review: It’s Not Right…But It’s Okay

“It’s not right, but it’s okay. I’m gonna make it anyway… Don’t you dare come running back to me… I’d rather be alone than unhappy.” This number by Whitney Houston has been playing on my music system ever since I accidentally discovered it while looking for Anuj Tiwari’s novel of the same name. The song examines a woman confronting her lover about his infidelity.

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Book Review: Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You

There is perhaps a law of diminishing returns with an author. Look at John Grisham – the same guy who gave the world classics such as The Rainmaker or The Testament – also wrote absolute putrid shit such as The Summons, The King of Torts or his latest Theodore Boone book series. It is perhaps a disservice to Pattanaik that this is the first

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Book Review: My Dream Man

Author as a main protagonist has always caught my attention. Also romance is my favourite genre. This book was a combination of both and thus I did not flinch even once to pick this up. Ajopa Ganguly is a struggling writer. Her script has got rejected many times, thus making her not wanting to write any further. She picks up

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Book Review: Borrowed Plumes

When I went through the book blurb for the first time I knew the story is going to be something that is totally unlike other thrillers. As the cover of the book hints, the sole theme of the story is based on the significance of the emblem printed on the cover of the book. The story, Borrowed Plumes, revolves around

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10 Best Women Writers from India

Have you been reading? Reading women writers? May you read, read more and read more women writers. If you ask why, I believe that women have been adding more sensitivity to writing in India. I have been brought up on a staple of books written by women in Bangla, and they are all amazingly touching and close to reality. Women

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Book Review: Chaddi Buddies

Set in the tiny village of Golvada in Thane, Oswald Pereira’s Chaddi Buddies is a sweet story revolving around the protagonist Robert’s transition from a meek boy to a strong young man. The book is essentially a tale of four friends who grow up together and whose bond undergoes a huge change with coming of age. At the start of the

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Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s Latest Offering ‘You’ve Got the Wrong Girl’ Had a Kicking Kolkata Launch

Love is in the Air!! Astor Hotel in Shakespeare Sarani of Kolkata was all abuzz with excitement. All in anticipation of a book launching event – Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s third novel – You’ve Got the Wrong Girl published by Hachette India. Following closely on the heels of her female erotica, Sita’s Curse, this new book has generated considerable amount of interest

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How to Create a Fantasy World – Tips on Worldbuilding

Fantasy is not a creation of the modern world. In fact the roots of fantasy go back thousands of years to an age of myths and legends, when wandering storytellers sat by a fire and recounted fantastic tales of wondrous worlds, populated by gods, heroes and monsters. Starting from the ancient epic of Gilgamesh and The Tales of King Arthur

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Book Review: Shakti – The Divine Feminine

After last year’s success with Kamadeva – The god of Desire, Anuja Chandramouli returns with this striking work on Shakti – The divine feminine. We all know about Shakti – She is the Mother Goddess, Mahamaya the enchantress, the supreme consciousness, the pure source from which all creation emerges and to whom all must eventually return. As Ushas, the enchanting goddess

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Book Review: eLove – Terms & Conditions Applied

Romantic books, movies have always fascinated me. The feel good factor that they bring to the table is what draws me to the,  always. It makes me want to read more and more. E-Love is a teenage saga. Wanting to reminisce my teenage years, I picked up this book to review. Ankit’s brother is getting married in an arranged marriage setup. He meets

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Book Review: Palm’s Foster Home for Peculiar Stories

I am quite ambivalent about my opinion on this book. It usually does not happen. I know whether I like it or not. It is a different matter that I may not be brutally honest in my review for a bad book, or superfluously glowing for a good book. But I know. Not this time. Because, Palm’s Foster Home For

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Book Review: The Shadow of the Dark Soul

Nirbhaya case had taken the entire nation by shock. It was one of the most talked about and heartfelt case in the history of Delhi Rapes. This particular incident has again come to the limelight, due to the juvenile being released free after committing such an atrocious crime. In the midst of all of this when I got the opportunity

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Book Review: Principally Yours

Principally Yours is a piece of nonfiction narrated by Bubloo Sen about her experience of teaching and moulding many lives to bring about positive changes in the society around her. Revolution can come from any sphere and in any size. What matters is the intention behind it and the result. This book is one such story of a mini revolution brought

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Book Launch: Love Comes Riding On 3 Wheels to Delhi

New Delhi: It is a cold, wintry morning in Delhi but Jain Book Depot, a well-known bookstore in Connaught place, New Delhi is all deck up and business as usual. The chairs are laid out and the stage set for the launching of Anurag Anand’s   latest novel – Love on 3 wheels published by Srishti Publishers & Distributors. Slowly people began to trickle in.

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Book Review: Just Married, Please Excuse

When I was offered this book for review, I almost grabbed it – for two reasons. The first reason obviously was the quirky title and the ‘V versus Y’ on the cover page, which I thought was a really funny way to denote a marriage. The second was the warning sign, Caution: Marriage Ahead in the summary. I had not really

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Book Review: The Winds of Hastinapur

Hindu mythology has always attracted my attention and of them, the retellings of Mahabharata and its characters are my favorite. So when I was given an opportunity to read and review a book based on Bhishma, I knew I couldn’t miss it. The Winds of Hastinapur is a story told by Ganga, the first wife of Shantanu, one of the

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Book Review: The Illicit Happiness of Other People

This book had me at the get go. From the opening scene, I read, in a trance like state – most likely under one of the very neuroses Manu Joseph researched to write the book. An unconventional mystery about a father trying to find out why his cartoonist son committed suicide set in the Madras of the 90’s, the book

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Book Launch: The Day of Coke

Kolkata: BEE Books (a Kolkata based publishing house) and STORY (predominantly a bookstore, previously called CROSSWORDS) organised a reading session on the evening of December 13, 2015 here. The event was of actor-author Barun Chanda who released his thriller, COKE, back in October in conversation with actor-director Churni Ganguly. After going over the basics of the storyline where the young

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Book Review: The Department of Denials

Anurag Mathur is the man who was Chetan Bhagat in the 90’s and early 00’s. After the unprecedented success of his book, The Inscrutable Americans (the book was even made into a movie), Mathur fathered several other books. The Department of Denials is one of them. I found The Department of Denials readable. It’s not massy, it’s not coherent and most importantly,

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Book Review: Of Marriageable Age

A saga of forbidden love and loss, of insurmountable desires and longing, of resistance and change… Of Marriageable Age narrates the story of three characters divided by time and space and yet intertwined together. Spanning across continents and decades, the novel intersperses a coming of age story of Nataraj, Savitri and Sarojini who refuse to bow down by the sheer

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Book Review: Glowing Dark

Glowing Dark by D Siva Rama Krishna is an adventure thriller. The story revolves around a hidden treasure in a palace. The story is about a vicious plan plotted by a dear companion of an imperial family to plunder the concealed fortune of a kingdom. While some members of the royal family were killed in the process of plundering the concealed

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Book Review: Eighteen – The End of Innocence

We are termed as the Y generation. Science and technology has progressed and reached a level where nobody can function without Internet. Like every coin has two sides, this definitely has it’s own share of cons. Teenagers are feeling lonely. Relationships have become futile. Intrigued to know about their day to day issues, I decided to read this one. Raghu, like

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Love, This Time on 3 Wheels…

What does it take for someone to juggle a demanding day – job with writing stories which pan genres, geographies and audiences alike? “Sheer passion,” quips Anurag Anand. “The euphoria of having written yet another book is significantly shorter-lived vis-à-vis the long drawn journey of putting the words together. The trick is to relish the journey itself and not wait

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Book Review: Chief Minister’s Mistress

I devour crime fiction. There are not many Indian authors who attempt this genre. So when I got an the opportunity to read this crime fiction by Joygopal, I immediately took it up. Joygopal had written 5 novels in 9 months in 2012. Also 10 novels in 21 months. Alarmed by his speed, I was pretty excited to read Chief Minister’s

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Book Review: The Last Soul Children

The most of the memories a person makes is during his childhood, especially during his school life. The book I had been reading for a week – The Last Soul Children by Aman Chougle is a perfect picture of childhood memories depicted through various short episodes that are stitched together in order to create a thread of recollections. The book

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Book Review: The Accidental Prime Minister

I finally finished the book that has had tongues wagging from South Block to South India and also, possibly contributed maybe ten odd incremental seats to the NDA. Baru begins the book by justifying his reasons for writing the book (i.e. showing Manmohan in a better light than the internet jokes circulated about him), using the example of foreign civil

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Book Review: There’s Something About You

This is Yashodhara Lal’s third book, after her first two successes Just Married, Please Excuse and Sorting Out Sid. The lady is firmly establishing herself as one to watch out for in the Young Rom-Com space. Her protagonists are career folks sweating out their love stories. Their work, personal and social spaces and the balance (or the lack thereof) in them,

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Book Review: Primal Woman

Sunil Gangopadhyay was one of the most prolific writers in Bangla. His books, over the decades, have enriched the readers and reached new heights of popularity. He is my favourite author, of course, having read almost all his novels since they came in periodical magazines with a lot of suspense between a week’s separation. Not only novels, Sunil Gangopadhyay was

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Book Review: Thousand Unspoken Thoughts

We all think everyday, every hour, every minute about things that this universe has created, about our existence and belifs. The questions never have proper answers. A poet on the other hand has a mind that’s a never ending questionnaire, that gives the million minds the answers they seek. Poetry is really different than prose; it has depth and brevity

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Book Review: Romancing with Life

Brought to you by the same mind that brought you crass such as Mr. Prime Minister, Censor, Love in Times Square, etc. Dev Anand’s autobiography Romancing with Life is a hodgepodge, below par literary effort, mostly overflowing with Mr. Anand’s barely concealed lust for women. When I started reading the book, I expected to come across filmy anecdotes – to be transported

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Book Review: Soul Warrior

In the last one decade, the Indian book market has seen a rapid upsurge of mythological fiction. Writers like Ashok Banker, Devdutt Pattanaik, Amish Tripathi has struck a chord with the young Indian readers who although seem reluctant to read the primary texts like The Mahabharata, The Ramayana, are more than interested in modern re-tellings of these texts which make these

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Book Review: The Middleman

Men, authors, books come and go and yet our country remains filled with angst ridden youth. Sankar’s Middleman is a Bengali novel translated to English and even though it chronicles the life of an unemployed young man in 1970’s Calcutta (as it was called then), it could well have been set in 2014 in any of our country’s cities. Somnath

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Book Review: 1 Friend Request Sent From Hanuman

We are living in the world of digital technology and a number of our interactions happen through social networking sites now days. But, what will happen if you find out that one of your beloved Gods is trying to reach you through one of these social networking sites? Have you ever thought about that? Well! 1 Friend Request Sent From

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Book Review: The Paradox of Vantage Point

“The Paradox of Vantage Point is the journey of Anwesha Nair, Raghubir Kishor and Vikram Madane from being compassion-deficient to acquiring a deeper analysis of life. It is their story of surviving the battle and ultimately painting the canvas of life with positivity and gleefulness.” Couple of corrections, and then I will say – Raghubir Kishor does not come across

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Book Review: Travels in Kashmir

Frederick Drew pointed out emphatically – ‘from Kashmir AND FROM NO OTHER SPOT IN ASIA one may go westward through countries entirely Muhammadan, as far as Constantinople; eastward among none but Buddhists to China; and southward over lands where the Hindu religion prevails, to the extremity of the Indian peninsula.’ What can be more enticing than the above lines about

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Book Review: When The Heavens Smiled

When The Heavens Smiled is a heart-stopping mystical tale of love by Ritesh Arora which talks about love surpassing all odds and winning. As a reader I read novels as they are, sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes confusing. But as a reviewer I can only say to the publishers that the stories being published in recent times are not maintaining the basic requirement of sharp

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Book Review: Edge of Desire

When I discovered The Edge of Desire by Tuhin A. Sinha, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The blurb sounded promising and the reviews gave a positive feedback. But, the thing about Indian writing is that I could never feel connected to it. Some books just work out fine for me, while others lead to utter disappointment. So it is

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Book Review: Never Kiss Your Best Friend

Never Kiss Your Best Friend sounds like a love story that happened when it was not supposed to, like all love stories this one is special too. “Feelings that suddenly come knocking at the door of your heart are feelings that never left the comfort of it in the first place”… A philosophy is born out of love such as a

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Book Review: The Tusk That Did the Damage

How often is it that we meet a protagonist who is recognized as one of the biggest mammals walking on earth? This was certainly a first for me and such was its grandeur that it will forever be etched in my memory. Period. From the critically acclaimed author of Atlas of Unknowns and Aerogrammes, here is Tania James’ latest adventure-cum-tragedy set in

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Book Review: Resonance

Indian publishing is at a very interesting turn now. We currently have a hoard of writers writing in different genres. I don’t claim that all of them are readable but there are definitely some gems that don’t see the limelight much but are gems nevertheless. As a reviewer who gets review copies from most of the known publishing houses in

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Book Review: The Curse of Surya

Indian history. Ancient secrets. Mythological legends. Thriller. Reminds me of Ashwin Sanghi and The Krishna Key. Yes, when I read the blurb of this one it did remind me of The Krishna Key. A book blurb that has ancient Indian history mixed with some treasure hunting always intrigues me and, blurb of The Curse of Surya had these elements in

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Book Review: Brutal

I first heard of the ePublishing venture – Bloody Good Book (BGB) on Twitter (through the tweets of the founder herself – Rashmi Bansal). BGB is a unique eBook publishing venture where the power of crowd sourcing & crowd curating is used to find the book that is considered for publishing by BGB & Westland Books. Brutal by Uday Satpathy

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Book Review: The Thirteenth Day

The Thirteenth Day is the tale of the Great War between the cousins – Pandavas and Kauravas. The title announces what can be expected out of the book. The blurb is crisp and describes the story, arousing the reader’s interest. The cover page gives a sneak peek into the battle field and how it would have been. Mahabharatha is one

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Book Review: Corners of a Straight Line

Love is indeed visible in ‘the Corners of a Straight Line’ Life can never be lived while travelling on a straight line, it is indeed the corners that shapes our destiny and our character at large. “I never wanted a straight line to epitomize my life, I preferred corners” Corners of a Straight Line opens the essence of life and love

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Book Review: The Bestseller She wrote

From the bestselling author of white collar crimes based thrillers, Ravi Subramanian, comes a story of love, deception and revenge – that the book cover promises to be different from the author’s usual offerings. But when you read it, it turns out to be more or less a thriller of a more domestic nature. Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor’s life is

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Book Review: Just six evenings

From yet another IT employee turned author comes a surprisingly simple and unpretentious novel – Just six evenings. The novel starts-off with the lead character, Atul Sharma, being arrested by the Haryana police department, for reasons not mentioned and the character thinks about the event that leads to this situation.  Eight years ago, while still starting his career, in Bhopal,

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Book Review: When Arya Fell Through the Fault

To begin with, the cover page is funky and vibrant at the same time. It has a boy who is caught between Lord Rama and the scary Ravana surrounded with things that is dear to him. The title is a little long, yet apt considering the plot. The book blurb is brief and would surely grab your attention. The characterisation

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Book Review: Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister

Tabrik C’s Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister explores how the twists and turns of fate can play havoc with the life of a man. He is compelled to move between different parts of the world …right from the portals of Harvard to the adventurous city of Mumbai to the political labyrinths of New Delhi. Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister is a fascinating tale

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Book Review: Body Goddess

In a fast moving world of corporate life and busy schedules, health has become secondary for women, replaced by the aim to earn more money and living a comfortable life. We tend to forget that to achieve this aim we need a healthy body and an even more healthy mind. The lifestyle wellness guru turned author, Payal Gidwani Tiwari, in

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Book Review: The Dowry Bride

The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal focuses on the life of a wife in an orthodox milieu of Indian society. The story in this book shows that a wife in a traditional Indian society is generally given a secondary place. This results into losing all notions of her independence, her individuality, stature and strength. The story revolves around Megha who gets

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Book Review: The 3 U Turns of My Life

Shriti Publication is known for publishing stories that are not only fresh in plot, narration, and characterization but also fresh in formulating that perfect memory that takes you on either a joy ride or a philosophical one. Having read the previous titles published by them I picked up The 3-U Turns of My Life thinking it would be an interesting story

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Book Review: Simple Plane Love

Love, an emotion which forms the core of our existence can be different but the essence remains the same throughout. This evergreen emotion has transcended ages and brought us together to co-exist peacefully. This has been a popular genre among emerging writers to connect with the masses at large. Frankly when it comes to writing romance the narrative has to

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Book Review: Innovation – The Einstein Way

Virender Kapoor brings us the life of Einstein, the greatest physicist of all times, with a few lessons for us to derive from the genius’s life. How did Albert Einstein acquire such a cult status? What was so great about him? And, more importantly, what can we learn from his life? One of the most admired figures from the last

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Book Review: Rustom and The Last Storyteller of Almora

Let me start this review with an ominous sentence: Indian writers tend to be bad at storytelling. I was wary of picking this book up but then I happened to real Parab’s “About the author”. Slightly overcooked, but he still had my attention. And then I thought, well, what the heck… let’s give it a shot. I couldn’t have been

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Book Review: Kismetwali and Other Stories

Kismetwali is a collection of short stories, woven around the –walas and –walis that we are so used to in India. Just to set the context right, we are not talking about the Parsis such as Shenaz Treasurywala, or my good friend Perseus Patrawala or his wife Pinaaz Pagdiwaala. We are talking more about the chaiwala, taxiwala, malishwali, kaamwali, phoolwali

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Book Review: Jiyo Dil Se

Modelled on self-help/ mentorship books, Jiyo Dil Se is written by Harish M. Bhatia, CEO of 94.3 MyFM, and draws inspirations from his life and professional journey. Picking on the central theme of living your life to your heart’s fill, the book quotes examples liberally from the lives of celebrities to further emphasize on the theme. One cannot help but

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Book Review: The Great War of Hind

A latest trend in the Indian book industry is the publication of books based on Indian mythologies. This clearly reflects the contemporary popularisation of such books. This also shows that these ancient stories are still compelling. However, most of the times, readers do not find anything new or different. What they generally find is the same old tale with slight

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Book Review: Deja Karma

Best known for writing crime fiction, Vish Dhamija’s latest offering Deja Karma is a legal psychological fiction. Crowned as the India’s John Grisham, Deja Karma has undoubtedly stimulated the genre of legal fiction in India which was almost non-existent before the arrival of Dhamija on the scene. As suggested by the title, the book commences with the imploration of the

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