Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review-Rukhsat by Sujit Banerjee

Where a story stops, another one begins. The thing with them is, they never walk alone. They always walk with a group of friends. Each reaches its own climax. Then with a final gasp of mortality and despair, fade away. No, they never die, they multiply. To the extent that the original gets lost and new ones are born. Over and over again. Yes, they get lost. No, they never die. They live on, permanently etched in the book of time. And from there, we borrow them and bring them alive. Again. And again. Here are twenty six of them, some standing alone and some chatting up with their long lost friends. When they depart, they leave a lingering fragrance of nostalgia and curiosity. What happened then?

Twenty-six alphabets, twenty-six names, and twenty-six short stories. Each exploring one unique emotion, taking you into the dark recess of the mind. Some frothy and most of them dark. Most standing alone and some facing a mirror, where the same story comes alive in two different ways, through two different protagonist . Meet myriad characters - from the single-minded prostitute to the man on the railways station bereft of any memory; a woman desperate for a biological child to a dead man's trial. Meet a jealous lover with a twisted brain and a gay man's memory of a one-night encounter. Meet twenty-six such characters arrested and sentenced for life inside the pages of a book. Each one leaving an indelible mark on your soul.

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Meet the Cast 

Abhimanyu – In the Beginning

I felt the poison of anger raging around me, inside me, pulsating like an entity; anger at the one who betrayed and the one who took advantage of this betrayal. The anger of not being able to stop both. Then the flash of knife and the flowing blood, shimmering in the flames of the torches inside the chamber. Screams followed by hushed voices; bodies being dragged down a flight of stairs. The sound of digging and burying. Later, ruins all around as empires fell and one intrigue chased another through time while swords sliced and arrows whiz past, seeking hearts. Who was I and what was all this about? Why were most of the images that flitted through my head always dark and tinged with red? Rarely, very rarely were they warm and loving. So rarely were they, ever like the sun shining on a cold and shivering memory.

My Honest Review

I received this book from The Book Club for writing an honest review.

26 alphabets, 26 names, 26 short stories…

WOW….Hats off to Sujit Banerjee for thinking of such unique theme for the April A to Z Blog challenge and then getting it complied into a book.

            Each alphabet gave rise to a name. Each name gave rise to a title and each title to a story. Each story is unique like its name, as if each name is a story itself. Each story is linked with previous one is one way or other. As if each character in the story is continuing with his/her version of an incident. Each protagonist is putting forth his/her point of view as seen through their eyes.

            Rukshat, The Departure – as the title of the book suggests, each character at end of story has to depart with something close to his/her heart; something from their character, something from their soul.

            Some stories touches a chord in your heart and makes you feel sorry while some leave you guessing, but not happy, as Rukshat of anyone or anything always makes a person sad. Departure of a child or parent or a friend or a lover or any person who is close to heart is not which one wishes to experience. But as it is said each and every thing which arrives has already a time fixed for its departure. Whatever comes has to go after it's time is over.

            Loved the way Sujit Banerjee has woven short stories interlinked with each other. It makes you feel, you are reading a novel and not short stories. You feel instant connection when you read stories with real life incidences.

            So, if you want to so some serious soul searching kind of reading, Rukshat is one. 

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Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, I grew up in Patna where I finished my post-graduation in Psychology and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist! Which was 
good since a Bengali born in UP and reared in Bihar does not make a great Psychologist! Am I now glad to be in tourism? It has taken me all over the world including places you would have never heard of. Eh? How about Tlacotalpan? It’s in Mexico.

Destiny had other plans as well so I became a reluctant healer. A crazy Shaman in Mexico set the ball rolling and it has rolled all the way to Delhi. Today I both heal as well as read Tarot cards. My wife thinks I am mad. My friends think I am weird. I guess I am both. 

My first story was published in a magazine when I was seventeen. The Editor made such a hash of it that I stopped sending out my stories but I continued writing. Then I broke my heart and started writing poems; first in Hindi and then in English. All personal collection. They still remain personal. I do shudder when I read some of them! Then the short stories came back and written over two years - now is a collection.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Skills in today's world

          In today’s competitive world, you need skills to make it to the top. Everyone wants to be at the topmost level of the pyramid. But what does it take to be at the top - Sheer luck or skill and determination?

          I would say if you have the skill and determination, luck will always smile at you. But normal education doesn’t provide us the necessary skill training, or prepare us to face the real competitive world. But now-a-days people are recognizing the need of special training to groom the kids from a young age so that when they face the real world they are ready to face the challenges with a brave heart.  Recognizing a child’s strength and weakness, providing him/her with support and encouragement helps the child to grow up in a confident person.

          So Mrs. Rashmi Praveen, an MBA and a Private Banker by profession was highly inspired to pursue Training as a profession due to her association with Landmark Education that made a profound difference to her life both personally and professionally. She was determined to design programs for children that equip them with different skills, methodologies and technologies to achieve breakthroughs in real life situations. Below is the profile of Simply Hire Resourses (I) Pvt Ltd, (SHRI) an organization which offers Life skill programs based on holistic learning methodologies right from Toddlers, to teenagers and Corporates. The company is tied up with various schools, colleges and corporate houses across Bangalore and spreading its wings across India soon.

          For More information click on
          Website link :
          Facebook page link :

Below is information about the organization profile :


Simply Hire Resources (I) Pvt. Ltd., started in the year 2008, has established itself as one of the preferred partners for recruitment and training programs across different industries. The accolades and awards that the company has won in the recent past, is a testimony to the quality and excellence of its service delivery.

The company has been highly successful in imparting training programs for children, young adults and corporate employees, as a result of investing thoroughly in valuable human resources in its research and development team, thereby building a team of people with rich experience in the field of training and development.  

SHRI believes in upgrading itself with skills required in today’s ever changing world and has employed experiential learning methodologies across all its programs. The company offers a comprehensive school program “ARISE” that focuses on all co-scholastic requirements of a growing child. The program has been designed to provide value-based education, life skills, soft skills and academic skills that enhance the learning abilities of children while equipping them to handle real life situations. Alongside, the company provides counseling support to schools.

For college students, the company offers Personality development programs, training programs which enhances their Soft Skills, makes them efficient in their Communication and creates awareness among students about the importance of “Brand Me”. The structured program “AKME”, and “FASTRACK”, prepares students to face the challenges of the corporate world, while testing their aptitude through certified tests.

In today’s fast moving era, demands of the corporate world are ever changing. SHRI has incorporated training programs for companies across industries and are well equipped to bring about a transformation among employees thereby enhancing productivity over a period of time. The company has been successfully implementing its yearlong program-“ACE” and conducts short duration workshops based on the needs of the company. Our Communication Skills program has been highly successful in bridging the gap and building great working relationships among employees at companies.

The company is soon launching a career counseling tool for high school students and also its counselling wing. Also, the company has started conducting workshops for general public.

As part of its CSR initiative, SHRI conducts Public Awareness Programs, Road Safety Programs and various Civic Awareness Programs etc,.
Mrs. Rashmi Praveen receiving award

With Swamiji

SHRI has been awarded for its “Innovation in Training Programs by KSMBOA”, an association of SME business owners.

SHRI was one of the finalists among 19000 aspirants in the all India competition held by Economic Times in association with CIIE and Department of Science and Technology.(ET Power of Ideas, 2015)

Recently, SHRI has won the “Future of India award, 2016” organized by 1000 Petals in association with CNBC. Also, the company’s Chief Executive Mrs.Rashmi Praveen has won the “Woman Entrepreneur of the year” award for the year 2016.

The company’s R&D Head, Mrs. Farida Rizwan is a counselor and psychotherapist who use her experience in the field to create life-skills training programs based on real life challenges faced by people. She is winner of several blogging contests and has been recognized for her work by NGOs like RT90, Indian Society of Health Administrators Sahaya Hastha and many more. Her articles as well as articles about her have been published in daily newspapers like Asian Age, Times of India, Indian Express etc. Her video on her Cancer Survival Journey got her 7th and 8th position in a Selfie Contests organized in 2014 and 2015 by HCG.    She regularly blogs at which has more than 2 million hits and shares her take on life through her quotes on

Farida Rizwan

Our Vision

Our Vision is to impart VALUE based education across different facets of society and create a totally TRANSFORMED WORLD for our future generation

Our Promise

  • Qualified and reliable workforce with certification in skill-based training
  • An efficient and innovative Research & Development Team
  • A disciplined approach towards implementation of programs thereby ensuring quality of service delivery
  • Highly effective experiential learning methodologies for training
  • Skilled and experienced training personnel

Monday, April 11, 2016

Review-The Reengineers by Indu Muralidharan

The Reengineers
Indu Muralidharan
A Harper Collins Pulications


Chinmay Narayan is plotting to kill himself. He is a misfit at school, his parents are about to divorce and the love of his life doesn’t know he exists. It seems pointless to go on with such a dysfunctional life. But before he gets anywhere with that plan, Chinmay and his friends, Anu and Sabi, stumble into the eerie world of Conchpore through a portal in Uncle RK’s library.

They find themselves in The Seeker’s School, where you can buy spiritual courses that will bring you enlightenment. While the seekers seem unaware that there is anything amiss, Chinmay and his friends stumble upon a strange and sinister plot that the teachers and students are caught up in. The three youngsters suddenly find themselves in danger, and their only hope is the charismatic Siddharth, an old student of the school who has come to visit. Chinmay discovers that Siddharth is seeking catharsis from his dark past by writing a book—a book with Chinmay as the protagonist. He realizes that his own story is a mirror image of Siddharth’s, which leads to a moment of reckoning for him: can he become the author of his own life?

Set in Madras in the early nineties, The Reengineers dispels the boundaries between fiction and reality to tell a tale that is as much a coming-of-age story as it is an inspiring narrative of self-empowerment and spiritual growth. 

My Honest Review

          I have always heard of “Engineers” but never “Reengineers”. Yes; the title of Indu Muralidharan caught my eye and made me curious. Initially I thought the story might revolve around some engineer/IIT kid. But when I started to read the book, I was surprised. As I continued reading I was held in awe.

          The Reengineers deals with the most important issue which in news now-a-days, which many fail to disclose/discuss and/or seek help; the dreaded D-word: Depression.

          Yes, depression is faced by many people in the world around due to various reasons, one being stress, as all are busy trying to win the cat-race.

          Chinmay Narayan is a teenage boy, who is planning to commit suicide once he finishes his board exams. He is a topper in school but his parents are on verge of getting a divorce and they are least bother how their divorce is affecting their only child. His parents are always at loggerheads with each other, rebuke him and constantly monitor his activities which leaves Chinmay feel suffocated and depressed. The girl for whom he has feelings doesn’t even know he exists.

          Even though he has two close friends Anurag aka Anu and Sabarmati aka Sabi, he is unable to share his problems with them. Doesn’t it sound like a typical teenage story? But as the story progresses comes the real twist.

          Liked the way Indu has weaved the story, is really mind-blowing. The book is a must read by everyone. The best part which I loved was when Chinmay pep-talks Siddharth who suffers from a bout of depression due to the crisis and when his help was needed the most; is the part which I appreciated most.

          Though a fictional story, many people would relate to Chinmay’s dilemma; wherein he is burdened with his parent’s ambition and frustration and they have no idea what their kids might be going through.

          Nice book written by Indu Muralidharan, though little slow paced but definitely an interesting and thoughtful read.  

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I am a writer from Chennai, India. To me, reading and writing are means by which I try to comprehend the meaning of life and reality. My first novel The Reengineers (HarperCollins, 2015) is a metafictional exploration of the meaning of the self, examined through the relationship between an author and the character of his novel. I am working on two other novels at the moment, both centred around the healing power of fiction and its significance in 'real' life.

I live in London, balancing a full time day job with writing and studying a part-time Master's Course in Creative Writing at The University of Oxford.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Autism Awareness

            Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a very broad term usually referred to a group of neurodevelopmental disorder.

            Children with ASD often can have one or many symptoms.

Some of common symptoms are :

  • Difficulty in Social interaction: Children with ASD like to be left alone. In other words they like to be in their own world. Some might enjoy company of those with whom they are comfortable. For them numbers doesn’t matter, what matters is the company.
  • Repetitive or limited interest: Some children might keep repeating words or sentence which they might have recently heard or taught. Some might keep doing a particular activity which catches their interests again and again.
  • Arranging/stacking of playthings: They like to arrange their playthings in a straight line or stack it one above the other.
  • Getting upset with change in daily routine: A slight change in their daily routine upsets them, which causes them to throw a tantrum. Calming down a child is a bit tedious task as each child has different tantrum level.
  • Avoiding eye contact: Children usually avoid giving an eye contact to others while interacting.
  • Slow or no response on calling his/her name: When you call a child by his/her name, they don’t respond or see. Sometimes they don’t respond to you when they are absorbed in their own tasks.
  • Lack of communication: Children might lack or have delay speech. They might have difficulty in conveying their needs.
  • Sometimes they are so hyper, that they are all over the place and are unable to sit down and complete their task.

Each child may have different level of symptoms. Some might show single, some might show multiple symptoms. It's not necessary that each child will have symptoms which will disrupt their normal daily routine.

Causes of ASD in kids can either be genetic or maybe due to stress during pregnancy. Exact causes are still not known.

            First and foremost step is diagnosis. If you feel you child’s milestones are lagging, get your child checked with your paediatric doctor or by a developmental paediatrician, as they are ones who might properly guide you.

            Children with autism might require physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational and behavioral therapy depending on their issues. Some kids might be benefitted with art/music/dance therapy as it will help soothe them.

            As parents, in today’s scenario it is very necessary to keep a track on our kid’s milestones. There are many sites available today but, sometimes it might be confusing for a new parent as which one to consult. So here is a site ( which will help all parents find all the necessary information they require to keep a track on their child’s development.

            Each child is unique in their own way. Never compare or belittle a child.

            A small poem on this…

Some call us Special,
Some call us Different,
While some call us Disabled.
We call ourselves
Differently abled.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Review-Color Me Rich by Mohan Deep

Color Me Rich 
Mohan Deep 
A sensitive love story of a handsome and talented struggling painter Akash Saigal. What happens when he marries an extremely rich and beautiful artist and art investor Zenobia Taraporevala?


J J School of Art, Mumbai.

Taking a charcoal pencil, Akash Saigal started drawing the wood-and-stone structure, popularly known as ‘Kipling Bungalow’. He was sketching sitting on a bench on which, in another era, K K Hebbar, M F Husain, Syed Haider Raza, Sadanand Bakre, V S Gaitonde, even Dadasaheb Phalke had sat with their sketchbooks, sketching the house where the author of The Jungle Book was born.

Ganpat Gupte appeared along with two of his gang. Gupte was the nephew of a minister, or so he claimed, and had the arrogance that comes with power.

“Ae Akash, kae karto?”

Akash looked up at the trio and said, “Nothing much. Just a drawing.”

“Okay. What is the day today?”


“I should have known.Tere ko blue shirt hai na?”

Akash didn’t get the connection, but Gupte’s chamchas laughed knowingly.

“Didn’t you get it?”


The three boys sang in unison, “Monday, blue shirt. Tuesday, black shirt. Wednesday, blue shirt. Thursday black shirt. Friday, blue shirt. Saturday, black shirt. Sunday…laundry!”

If Akash was hurt, he didn’t show it. He laughed sheepishly and continued sketching the bungalow.

But he would never forget this.


The elevator zoomed up, taking Akash directly to the penthouse on the 60th floor of Apollo Towers, and stopped with stomach-curdling smoothness. The door slid open to reveal his luxuriously done-up lounge.

He came out of the lift, turned down the passage, and walked over the deep-pile rug to the lounge.

He had returned from the salon.

He felt cleaner and fresher after his bimonthly facial – only Tanveer could give him a satisfactory shave - and pedicure. He liked to have his moustaches- like John Lennon's - done like in the Sixties, and he liked sideburns.

His head was still heavy from drinking until the late hours, but he looked much better than he felt. His studio was to the right, almost hidden behind the lavish bar facing him as he entered.

Perched 550 feet above the city of Mumbai, he could see the Queen’s Necklace and the World Trade Centre. From Zenobia’s bedroom, the Gateway of India and the high dome of the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Pran smiled at him.

Akash returned the smile, picked up the bottle of Blue Label and poured himself a stiff drink.

“Isn't it a little early for a drink?”

Without saying anything, Akash smiled, and switched on the TV.

The TV screen flashed a story over a video shot of Zenobia with him in happier times, followed by a shot of the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s heritage Gothic-style building and a subtitle: 'Mumbai Police give clean chit to Akash Saigal.'

The newsreader said:

“Based on the findings of the forensic department and investigation, the Mumbai Police has declared the death of noted artist and socialite Zenobia Taraporevala suicide. It may be recalled that a year ago, Zenobia died from a fall from her 60th-floor penthouse. There were questions about her death. Was it a suicide, or an accident, or was she pushed to her death? Her husband, the famous artist Akash Saigal, was under a cloud all these months. It has now been established that tired of being confined to a wheel chair after a car accident, a depressed Zenobia committed suicide.”

Pran jumped out of his seat, still listening to the newsreader with open-mouthed amazement. He shouted: “Wow!”

Both the men hugged.

A shot of Prime Minister Narendra Modi now flashed on the screen, as the newsreader continued, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Singapore….”

Akash smiled tiredly at Pran.

“You already knew about it?”

Akash nodded and absent-mindedly picked up an envelope. He took out the card, glanced at it, and pushed it back. It was an invitation to his own function.

“Boss, when do we leave?” Pran asked.
“We have lots of time. The inauguration is after three hours, and the ministers never come on time. Agar aa bhi gaya toh hamari woh Fareeda baithi hai. Sambhal legi. Dad will take care of it. Chal baith, tu bhi le.”

“No, not me. I’m driving,” Pran said solemnly.

Akash knew that this was not the time to drink. He shouldn’t appear sloshed in front of the entire world and the prying media. He took another sip, and changed the news channel. 

And found himself staring at a picture of Zenobia on the screen. The still picture changed to a video shot of Zenobia and he at a party.

The newsreader was ranting:

“In India, the law mandates that the husband be questioned for cases involving the death of a woman within seven years of marriage. Akash and Zenobia had been married for barely two-and-a-half years. And Zenobia had died under mysterious circumstances, falling from the French window of her penthouse! The police always look for ‘the other woman’ in a case like this.”

The TV showed a shot of Suma, followed by a video shot of Suma and Akash emerging from the JW Marriott in Juhu. The newsreader went on: “And they found her in Suma. Suma Malkani, the beautiful ghazal singer.”

The State Minister for Cultural Affairs, Nanasaheb Palekar, was to launch the art school, named after Zenobia Taraporevala-Saigal, that evening at Powai. There had been several protests because of the controversy over her death, but the minister ignored them all.

A protest was planned for the same day by Kapila Khandelval's NGO. It was unclear whether the NGO would go ahead with the protest or cancel it in view of the clean chit given to Akash by the police.

This project had been his baby and Zenobia's dream. The government had given the land and the Taraporevalas had put in the money. Fareeda had inserted a business angle even in this dream project of Zenobia's. The Zenobia-Akash Saigal School of Art had become the Zenobia-Akash Saigal School of Art and Business Management. She also had plans for a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in an annex. The minister had given the nod for that, too.

Akash’s mobile rang.

He looked at the screen and let it ring.

Taking a sip of his drink, he moved towards his den. He stepped into his room, and before he could shut the door, the phone near the bar table rang.

“Boss?” Pran said. “Fareeda is on the line.”

Fareeda would be having kittens without him. Akash’s association with the project had given it respectability and even a cultural cause, and got the plot at one-eighth its market value, and all the permissions.

"Fuck her!" Akash said, but he answered the phone anyway. 

Fareeda seemed frantic.

"The media will be here in three hours. And the minister, too."

Akash said, “Fuck the media!" and hung up.

The TV newsreader went on:

“Before Akash Saigal hit the big time, he lived in a small apartment in Adarsh Nagar, in the western suburbs. His paintings didn't earn him enough to buy a decent vehicle. He travelled by buses and cabs. While Zenobia almost took a sabbatical, Akash shot to fame with his mixed media and three-dimensional installations after marrying her.”

Leaning against the soft, cool leather of a luxurious sofa, Akash said, "Cigarettes?"

Pran was already sliding open the glass door of a cabinet. A carton of Marlboros had just one packet left. He gave the packet to Akash, grinned, and threw the carton in the trash box.

They might have been sharing the same flashback, the same past.

My Honest Review

            Color Me Rich by Mohan Deep is mixture of suspense and romance, art and music.

            It's a story of a small time artist Akash who like every other budding artist is struggling in Mumbai to make his two ends meet. He catches eye of rich, art collector Zenobia, who is attracted towards him for his charisma and his talent. Akash’s neighbor in locality Suma, who sings and writes ghazals have a crush on Akash but has never let him know about her true feelings.

            Color Me Rich is basically their story of their love triangle laced with suspense of Zenobia’s death/suicide. The story at first resembles like story of a well-known Bollywood actress who had fallen to death 2 decades back from her high rise flat. But other than that there is no similarity.

The book depicts life of struggling artist Akash, how he handles the ups and downs of his success and also the truth of art world.

Language is simple, and nicely written. Climax is different and not what a reader expects while reading. In first read, one usually gets mixed up with which is present and which is flash back, which is only one drawback of the book I felt.

             Color Me Rich is a short and interesting read. This is my first book of the author, but I can say liked the way he has written, blending well the lifestyles of middle class people in Adarsh nagar and also well-to-do Taraporevala’s penthouse in Apollo Towers.


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Mohan Deep, is an Indian author, painter and Feng Shui Master. Mohan Deep is the author of ‘The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala’ (1996), ‘It’s My Life’ (Novel) (1997), ‘Simply Scandalous: Meena Kumari’ (1998), ‘Eurekha!’ – an unauthorized biography of Rekha. (1999), ‘Four Options’ (2000), ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & Beautiful, the Rich and Famous’ (2001) and ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ (2002). After a sabbatical of a decade, during which he touched upon the lives of people as a Feng Shui Master, he was back with The Five Foolish Virgins( 2013). Mohan Deep is arguably the only Indian author to write what is often described as controversial, unauthorized star biographies in India. Columnist-journalist and former editor of 'Illustrated Weekly of India', Khushwant Singh called him 'a truly gifted gossip writer'. “The maverick writer”, like columnist-reviewer-poetess.

Tara Patel described him has also been called William Goldman of Bollywood’s stars (By Behram Contractor, the Editor of Afternoon Despatch & Courier) (Source) Kitty Kelly of India (By R K Bajaj, the Editor of ‘The Daily’). Interestingly, almost every book he has wrote/penned has invited controversies for its bold content.

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