Sunday, August 31, 2014

I Burn In This Flame

your sultry pink smile
knocks off my senses, always
I burn in this flame


This Haiku is shared with Haiku Horizons - Sense.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sahara : The Untold Story - Review

Sahara - The Untold Story is a book compiled after all a scrupulous research undertaken by the author to clarify India’s most guarded and mostly unlisted business, the Sahara India Pariwar. It also probes into the firm’s current legal clash with the market supervisor. Entrepreneur Subrata Roy could be called the guardian angel of the group, as people in the Pariwar admire and respect him beyond doubt. He aspired to reach out to a million lives and feels hindered and covered up by regulations. The legal battle with the market regulators was thus unavoidable. Roy is also well-known for glamour and his association with film stars, cricketers and politicians. But a lot of questions remain when it comes to firm’s sincerity and honesty with the public involved and the depositors who have trusted it. Discover more about the man and the conglomerate in this book written by an experienced Indian journalist.

About the Author
Tamal Bandyopadhyay is associated with a financial daily called Mint, as the Deputy Managing Editor. He completed his post-graduation in English Literature from the Calcutta University. Tamal started working with The Times of India, Mumbai as a trainee journalist. He was later associated with The Business Standard, The Economic Times, and Financial Express. He has also written the books: A Bank for the Buck and Anupam Meenrashi.



There are biographies, autobiographies, and then, there is 'Sahara - The Untold Story'. When a book, supposed to be a work based on truth, comes laden with a disclaimer from the concerned people, Sahara India Parivar in this case, that "we don't agree with many of the things and the way they were presented in the book", well, you know, it would really be difficult to keep your curiosity under check.

And why should you?

Tamal Bandyopadhyay, the author, clearly mentions that this book is not a work of fiction, and shouldn't be considered as a creative product. Rather, it's a journalistic work that has been conceived and brought forth after intensive research, and that shows, very vividly, in the way this book has been documented, unearthing 'facts' and demystifying several conceptions relating to this giant conglomerate, in turn posing several questions, some answered, and a few that are still awaiting apt responses.

Subrata Roy founded Sahara India in 1978, headquartered in Lucknow, and gradually the organizational group rose to epic proportions, carving a niche for itself in the Indian and International market. With investments in diverse fields such as real estate, sports, retail, media, finance, entertainment, hotels, health care, power and airlines, Sahara made sure they were way ahead of the competitors, earning profits as well as goodwill from all quarters. Things looked good and well in line. However, the tremendous success wasn't short of its share of controversies.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India ordered the arrest of Subrata Roy on the basis of evidences that suggested Sahara India had not been playing a clean game over the years. Sahara's continuous rift with SEBI, and it's different approach to KYC policy have often led to bitter disputes with the Government bodies. Also, it was alleged that several thousand crores that were deposited had not been refunded to investors. Allegations. Proofs. Allegations. Proofs. An entity that soared high into the realms of success, Sahara soon found itself burdened with controversies that it wouldn't have preferred.

While the authorities of Sahara India, Subrata Roy included, have come up with justifications over time and again, there still were loopholes that crept up regarding their handling of finances. How they have been generating bulk of money, investing in avenues and properties, and how they have maintained their accounts have always been a topic of keen interest among the avid debaters. Tamal Bandyopadhyay puts forward the case, with all it's aspects visible to the readers.

'Sahara - The Untold Story' traces the various facets of the conglomerate. It applauds its charitable approach, and the fact that it has provided employment to several people. Subrata Roy in fact is treated as a father figure by his employees, and is a man with confidence and unparalleled persona. Tamal also provides the outlook of SEBI and RBI towards Sahara, and how they created problems for Roy, questioning him and his actions time and again. What I really found interesting was the interview with Roy, the man with a mysterious aura surrounding him. Was Tamal able to resolve the mystery? Yes, and no. In times to come, we will certainly hear a lot about Sahara and Roy, and the detailed analysis provided to us will help in forming our own judgment. 'Sahara - The Untold Story' is a good material for study, and throws light at several corners of the Indian financial system.


Title: Sahara : The Untold Story
Author: Tamal Bandyopadhyay
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biographies & Autobiographies, Business
No. of Pages: 388
Price: Rs 450
My Rating: 4/5


Friday, August 29, 2014

Stardust

that blue little star
fell down in the frozen lake
once diamond, now dust


This Haiku is shared with Haiku My Heart - Stardust.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Traveler

let's explore, why not
camera, pen and paper
we need nothing more


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Traveler.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Flames

drenched in flames
two souls, entangled in rain
it's pouring passion


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Flame.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Silence Plays The Flute

together they walked
across promised land of dreams
silence plays the flute


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Silence.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wait

If syllables bore weight, 'wait' would have definitely been lighter; alas, life isn't a haiku that runs on patterns.

Like the setting of a song, the ascent and the gradual transition from the ears to the soul to the parched lips, you have lived my heart, the monotonous humdrum fine tuned by the kisses you have so warmly enveloped across my arteries, pumping life into my shallow veins.

And then, one fine autumn evening, the poetry ended abruptly, the trees devoid of green, rustling my swan song, breezing past the tumultuous winds of fall.

You kissed my feet, and lay me in a coffin, wooden, bland, black; the musty air filling the interiors with hatred, the bile rising to my throat, drenching me with a willingness to die, to live again.

You betrayed my love, and here I wait; a wait for a new life, a new birth, when I shall go back to that world, undo the evil acts that you so vilely committed, and repay you for your sins, of burying me alive, my last breathes violently trampled by your dirt.


This Micro-Fiction is shared with Five Sentence Fiction.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Path



on a path laden with stars
and a bag of honeyed kisses
you set forth on a journey
of hits and misty misses

a few tricks up your sleeve
to face the tasks at hand
this path throws you surprises
you now have to take a stand

that's how you grow, that's how you run
in flowery bush and thorny hedge
time to don the student's cap
this path is one learning stage


This poem is shared with Poetry Jam - Path.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

There Are Stories



there are stories
that just sail by
pinning us with hope
and that single crescent lie


This Poem is shared with Magpie Tales- Mag 233.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Tapestry

swirling waves, blue clouds
sweet fragrance immersed sand
nature's tapestry


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Tapestry.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Confused

confused I was
narrating the tale
worried about the result
pass or fail

confused she was
smiles embracing tears
finding out ways
to drive away those fears

confused we were
two lost hearts
scared of adversities
we decided to part


This Poem is shared with Theme Thursday - Confused.



Rhythm of Solitude

(Image Source: http://soulscapes.com.au)

sit back and listen
to the rhythm of solitude
eyes closed, soul open


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Inner Self (Solitude).



Gifted - Review



To read the full review, click here.

Title: Gifted : Inspiring Stories of People with Disabilities
Author: Sudha Menon and V. R. Ferose
Publisher: Random House India
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction, Motivational and Inspirational
No. of Pages: 304
Price: Rs 299
My Rating: 4/5


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dig Up My Grave



dig up my grave
and you will find a story
hidden in words
and twigs pale gray
that squirm beneath your soles
as you march over departed souls
leaving in its wake
the trails of fading glory


This Poem is shared with Picture It And Write.



Friday, August 15, 2014

Wings Of Promises


wings of promises
soaring high in pristine hope
and then comes the fall


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Wings.



I Am Dead But My Heart Beats - Review

How a love story once hated saved 6 lives in a Communal Riot?
Should community, language or tradition be the obstructions for true love from blossoming?
How cruel can a married girl's destiny be to throw her into prostitution?
Have you ever attended an uninvited marriage reception with your beloved and got caught by the hosts?
Why a boy decides to spend his entire life in a mental asylum?
Why a girl at midnight runs away from her family?
How worse it can be if you are caught by your girlfriend's parents while kissing her?
I am dead but my heart beats is a fascinating saga of love, education, community, hatred, sacrifices and hope. It's about four youngsters from different communities ,speaking different languages - Aryan, Anshika, Zahid and Swati. Get ready for a heart-breaking journey of a complete real life story.

About the Author
Priyank, born in Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) on 29th October, 1992 and brought up in Ghatsila (a small town near Steel city JAMSHEDPUR in Jharkhand), Priyank is a Gold Medalist in Creative writing. He is currently pursuing his Engineering (3rd year, Electrical Engg.) from BIT Sindri, Dhanbad (Jharkhand government's lone technical institute since 1949). He is a top 100 rank holder in Science and Mathematics Olympiad. Keenly inclined to his studies since school, Priyank's dream is to bring changes in the country and make it a better place to live in. Writing was never his passion, nor his goal. It happened to him by chance, by destiny, in an attempt to fulfill someones dream. He loves cricket, travelling, sleeping and reading novels. He is highly passionate about entrepreneurship, autonomous robotics and Indian politics. Join Priyank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Priyank.bits and know more about him. You can also reach him directly at reachpriyank29@gmail.com or through his official novels page on Facebook www.facebook.com/iamdeadbutmyheartbeats You can visit his blogs at http://authorpriyank.wordpress.com.




One good thing about ‘I Am Dead But My Heart Beats’ is that the pace never stops. The story moves ahead briskly, and you don’t get the feeling of being left stranded in static prose. Unfortunately, this also turns out to be one of the primary drawbacks of this book.

‘It’s not a love story … it’s a revolution’ is the tag-line of Priyank’s debut novel, the author giving a clear indication that this is not just another teenage romance, but deals with more serious issues. Fair enough. It’s always a pleasure reading something that contains deep materials, and not just revolves amidst college campuses. With hopes and anticipations floating high, I turned to page one.

Now, I do not have the complete idea regarding how a book gets published. Well, I do know in bits and pieces, for example, the writer pens down his story, approaches a publishing house, and the editor looks upon his or her work and rectifies the mistakes. Once the errors have been eradicated, the book goes on print. This is the basic concept of the publication industry, with a few steps added here and there. What happens when one of these steps go missing?

Editing is one of the key components of every story. Whether you are writing a short story or a novel, you have to make sure it’s properly edited before the final version is released. ‘I Am Dead But My Heart Beats’ fails miserably in this front. Too many grammatical errors, wrong use of tenses, and misplaced words mar the narrative. Also, while the basic tone is simple, a few ‘heavy’ words have been used here and there, and I don’t know why. What matters in a story is not what you say, but how you say it. Usage of those words often leads to a disconnect between them and the rest of the sentences.

‘I Am Dead But My Heart Beats’ tries to deal with several topics at once, which on one hand adds a briskness into the narrative, but on the other hand, also leads to a lot of unnecessary clutter which one could have easily done away with. Aryan and Anshika are the protagonists, but then, we also have the love story of Zahid and Swati running on a similar thread. The book addresses various topics like love, lust, education, parental pressure, religion and violence, and in doing so, often drifts away from the track. The author tries to communicate several messages all at the same time, and in the humdrum, the words get lost in a chaotic maze.

It takes a lot of time and patience to write a novel. Hundreds of pages, thousands of words and a plethora of thoughts give shape to the idea. However, shouldn't an equal amount of time be dedicated to ensure that the final product doesn't have significant flaws? A better editing, and a well organized sequence of events would have worked wonders for this book.

Priyank can certainly do better, and hopefully his future projects wouldn't be complaining of flawed editing.


Title: I Am Dead But My Heart Beats
Author: Priyank
Publisher: Teenage Publishers
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Romance
No. of Pages: 224
Price: Rs 140
My Rating: 2/5



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gift Me A Wing



gift me a wing
so that I can fly
high, high and high
above all the clutter
beyond every mess
the world wouldn't mind
one inhabitant less

too much have I seen
too many places have I been
yet, the story is always the same
wars and hatred, humanity ashamed
tears lay burnt in ashes of hope
violence is insane, a drug, a dope

gift me a wing
so that I can fly
away to a world
where souls wouldn't cry
build a new tomorrow
erase the gory past
peace would prevail
and love shall forever last


This Poem is shared with





Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lucifer's Lungi - Review


To read the full review, click here.

Title: Lucifer's Lungi
Author: Nitin Sawant
Publisher: Fablery
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 111
Price: Rs 120
My Rating: 4/5



In The Swirling Pond



every pebble
flashes with a new haiku
in the swirling pond


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Pebble.



Friday, August 08, 2014

Enticingly Sumptuous, Yet Again

It was a pleasure to emerge as one of the winners in Round 1 of 'My Beautiful Food' organized by Indiblogger in association of Borosil. As the Borosil hamper came knocking at my doors, I, along with my family, decided to cook and present the dishes in these Borosil beauties.

We cooked:

1) Fried Rice
2) Methi Chicken
3) Pomfret Bahar
4) Punjabi Chhole
5) Raita
6) Gulabjamun

And this is how it turned out to be:






















This is my official entry to 'My Beautiful Food - Round 2' contest organized by Indiblogger in association with Borosil.

Check out the official page below:
http://www.myborosil.com/



Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cafe Latte - Review

We are brought up listening to and reading stories, which make us form a clichéd framework of expectations and concepts about life. Café Latte, takes you on a tantalizing foray into the unusual with some refreshing and some startling stories. A young man, Bikash, is delivered a message through paranormal forces while waiting on the railway platform; A doctor snaps a young man back to life by promising to help him commit suicide. A poor boy, Lokesh, dreams of people at a cinema night show perishing in a fire. Will his desperate attempts to save some lives succeed? ‘The Other Side’ is the story of a nymphomaniac fighting her desperate craving for sex. ‘Smart TV’ showcases a smart sales performer, Raj, buying his wife and daughter an expensive TV to cover his affair. ‘Code of Honor’ is a poignant tale of an army jawaan and his last letter to his son who shuns the army. The stories cover a broad spectrum of people and events and have us turning the pages eagerly for the twist in the end.
So shed the mundane, become a fearless traveler and savor a fresh approach towards the enigma called Life.

About the Author
Author of three national bestsellers; Flight of the Hilsa, Chapter 11 & Love is Vodka- A Shot Ain’t Enough, Amit Shankar, with his penchant for telling offbeat stories, has this time found his expression in the form of eighteen, unusual, short stories. He is an avid music buff and a great exponent of the guitar. His genre includes rock, jazz and blues. To know more about him, log on to www.amitshankar.in.



What does it take to be different? How can you experience the unusual? Well, one just needs to ask Amit Shankar to get a reply to the first question, and pick up a copy of Café Latte to know the answer of the second.

Short stories are meant to enthrall your senses, to heighten your curiosity, and at the same time, leave you with a feeling of satisfaction towards the end. A good story is one that is riveting and has the potential to keep your attention engrossed at every moment. The task becomes all the more difficult when you have to pour all these ingredients into a concoction of just a few pages, the word limit surely binding you at times. How does one, break these shackles and cook a perfect tale in just a few thousand words?

Amit Shankar, author of three bestsellers – ‘Flight of the Hilsa’, ‘Chapter Eleven’ and ‘Love is Vodka’, comes forth with his fourth title – ‘Café Latte’, a collection of 18 short stories, 16 among them by Amit himself, and two by the talented kids Kartikey Sharma and Vasundhara Goyal, aged ten and sixteen years respectively. The cover is very well designed, with coffee mugs in the background staying true to the name. The layout is grayish while the fonts on the title are colored green, pink and white. An unusual color combination indeed, but it does feel interesting to the eyes.

However, cover alone doesn't make a good book. The content is what matters the most, and here too, Amit delivers as expected. The stories belong to diverse genres. They tell tales of love and hate, loss and gain, and victory and defeat. They make us smile, and cry, and often, we are forced to gape with amazement at the sheer uniqueness of the plot. Though all the tales are different, one thing is common between them – the sense of mystery.

Yes, it is this feeling of ‘what – happens – next’ that binds the readers to this paperback. The sixteen stories by Amit track the different facets of human lives, but in a manner we hadn't expected. Be certain to experience goose bumps when you read these stories.

‘Temple of the King’ narrates the story of living a dream conceptualized by someone you admire, while ’26 Down Express’ leaves you with chilling beads of perspiration. In ‘The Jazz Player’, one can relate to the ironies of life, whereas ‘Let Me Help You Die’ chills you right through your bones. ‘Writer’s Block’ comes with a smiling twist, ‘True Lies’ teaches you to be positive, whatever the circumstances, and ‘ The Black Widow’, my favorite in the book, is like that piece of haunting melody that keeps ringing in your mind. ‘The Lion, The Leopard And The Hyena’ rediscovers love and lies, whereas ‘The Chosen One’ makes one believe in fate and destiny. ‘Home Sweet Home’ is a mixture of love, compassion, obsession and ironies. ‘The Other Side’ is the journey of a woman, often lonely, always alone. ‘The Dream Chaser’ leaves the readers with a bitter-sweet feeling, while ‘Smart TV’ showcases the danger of the increasing ‘smartness’ in modern gadgets. ‘The Guardian Angel’ will make you smile, ‘Code of Honor’ has the tinge of patriotism, and ‘Every Mouse Ain't A Mickey Mouse’ is all about the rat race in modern world.

Café Latte is a book you can pick up any day, summer or winter, spring or autumn, or while savoring the monsoon rains. The stories amuse you and refresh you, just like the sweet smelling coffee drink that’s a perfect mixture of espresso and steamed milk.


Title: Café Latte
Authors: Amit Shankar
Publisher: Vitasta Publishing
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 208
Price: Rs 150
My Rating: 4/5


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Redemption - Review

A Shocking Betrayal - Kari Baxter Jacobs is furious, hurt and confused. Her husband Tim, a respected professor of journalism is having an affair with a student. Stunned, Kari returns home to the Baxter family to sort things out. But when an old flame comes back into her life, she is more confused then ever. 
A Difficult Decision - How can Kari forgive her husband? What could possibly ease the pain? And what about her own revived feelings for Ryan, a man she knows she should avoid? 
A Reason to Hope, as Kari searches for answers, an unexpected discovery gives her hope for the future. But when she faces her darkest hour, can she find the faith and strength she needs to move on.

About the Authors
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. She has written more than forty novels and there are over 15 million copies of her award - winning books in print. Visit her website at www.KarenKingsbury.com.

Gary Smalley, America's relationship doctor, is the cofounder of the Smalley Relationship Center and the author of more than forty bestselling, award - winning books, including The Blessing, The Language of Love, and The DNA of Relationships.



There is a certain tinge of familiarity you sense when you meet the characters of Kari Baxter Jacobs and Tim Jacobs; no, not in the sequence of events that flood their lives, but in the way they face it, with faith, belief and hope. Isn't it true in the case of all of us? We commit mistakes, without realizing that we are treading towards the wrong path, but once light dawns on us, we try to move in the right direction. Humans are prone to error, but don’t we all wish for forgiveness? Are we not seeking redemption?

'Redemption', the first book in the series, is authored by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley. Based on Christian ideologies and principles, the book follows the lives of the two protagonists, and how they survive the turmoil and do their best to emerge victorious. When Kari gets to know that her husband, Professor Tim Jacobs, is dating one of his students, her world falls apart. Tim wants divorce but Kari holds on to her faith, knowing that the good Lord will set everything right. She is supported by the other members of the Baxter family, and derives strength from their love. However, when she meets her ex – flame, Ryan Taylor, a serious confrontation takes place between her mind and her heart. Memories from the past hog the present, and she finds herself going back in time. She does resist though, and as events unfold, the plot progresses into a sensitive portrayal of love and relationships.

'Redemption' does have a complex plot, with several characters, interconnected at times, the decision of one affecting the lives of others. However, full credit to the authors for presenting the story in a simple and easy – going manner, which provides a soothing and a relaxing sensation when one goes through the pages. Often, a reader would find himself questioning some of the actions in the book. Was Kari right in following her faith blindly, believing that the events which cloud our lives do happen for a reason, even though they might be bad? However, one also finds inspiration from the determination and grit exhibited by Kari against all odds, holding on to her fort when everything seemed to be crashing downwards.

The novel is descriptive, which helps in the visualization of the sequences. As the plot thickens, the story mesmerizes the readers into its subtle narration and lucid flow. It gives the impression of watching a daily soap on television, such is the beauty in its imagery. Also, each chapter heightens the curiosity of the readers, regarding what would happen next. With numerous ups and downs in the lives of the characters, there is no way we can keep the book down once we have started it.

The cover comes with a beautiful quote from the book – “Love is a decision.” Isn't that true? We fall in love, and that one moment changes the entire course of our lives, and we gradually learn to acclimatize to this change.

For anyone looking for an engrossing read, Redemption surely is the book to go to. Read it at your own pace, and get soaked in the aura of this beautiful tale of love, betrayal, relationship, trust and hope.


Title: Redemption
Authors: Gary Smalley, Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 380
Price: Rs 299
My Rating: 4/5



Sunday, August 03, 2014

Petal-ed Sunshine

(Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org)


wish I was a bee
racing through petal-ed sunshine
making the world sweet


This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem Haiku Kai - Sweetness.