Monday, March 31, 2014


a goodbye so soon
wish I could stop the sand
and let the trip flow

This Haiku is shared with Haiku Horizons - Trip.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


It was easier falling in love; the difficult part was comprehending it.

Finally, after a struggle spanning few months, when companionship turned into a word that our hearts refused to register, we broke up, deciding to go our separate ways; the tears refused to flow, but our souls betrayed.

Years later, I saw her at the Sunshine Mall, and owing to the friendship that bonded us once, minus the flame, I walked towards her with a smile on my face and greetings emanating from my brisk steps.

As our lips quivered and eyes spoke in silence, we traveled back into the past, memories biting through the wreckage like a hungry demon, the residues falling on the ground crackling noiselessly.

"Can ... we ... try ... again?" I asked; a silent droplet escaped her cheek, her receding silhouette finding a way out from this maze of unforgettable clusters.

This Micro-Fiction is shared with Five Sentence Fiction - Companion.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chanakya's 7 Secrets Of Leadership - Review

Chanakya, who lived in India in the 4th Century BC, was a leadership guru par excellence. The treasure of his teachings can be found in his book, The Arthashastra, which deals with good governance based on ideal leadership. The concept of the ideal nation in The Arthashastra, called Saptanga, holds that there are seven pillars of a kingdom: Swami, Amatya, Janpada, Durg, Kosha, Dand, Mitra. For centuries, Indian rulers have used this concept as a model of successful government.
In this path-breaking book, Chanakya's 7 Secrets of Leadership, author Radhakrishnan Pillai delves into Chanakya's Saptanga with the real-life example of D. Sivanandhan. Former Director General of Police, Maharashtra and the archetype of an able administrator, Sivanandhan shares his guidelines for effective management, highlighting those that make him a dynamic leader.
In Chanakya's 7 Secrets of Leadership, theory meets practice, academic research meets vast experience in police supervision and an age-old formula is revealed in a modern-day success story. Together, Pillai and Sivanandhan bring Chanakya's model to life. Anyone can use the seven secrets of leadership to run a kingdom effectively. Apply them in your life and the magic of Chanakya's wisdom will transform you into the ideal leader.

About the Authors
Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian author and the founder-director of Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership. He has represented India in many international conferences. Pillai has authored books like Corporate Chanakya on Leadership and Corporate Chanakya on Management.
D. Sivanandhan is the former Director General of Police, Maharashtra. He has played an important role in rebuilding the defenses after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. Sivanandhan has also served in the National Security Council Secretariat. He has co-authored the book Chanakya’s 7 Secrets of Leadership. 

When you talk of leaders who played a key role in the past to shape the future of our country, one of the first few names that pops up in your mind is that of Chanakya. He is, very truly, regarded as the king-maker, his decisions leading to several milestones in the history of this country. Though he himself never ruled the land, it was his brilliant leadership abilities that have been studied and analysed since time immemorial.

Chanakya’s Arthashastra states that an ideal nation can be formed only if it has the seven key pillars – Swami, Amatya, Janpada, Durg, Kosha, Dand and Mitra. Radhakrishnan Pillai, the author, brilliantly uses these points in the context of effective leadership, explaining how effective utilization of these can lead to harmony and give birth to successful leaders. He primarily illustrates the real life examples of D. Sivanandhan, former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and Director General of Police, Maharashtra, reflecting how his judgement and actions at times of crises proved valuable, signifying his high leadership abilities.

The seven points in Saptanga are vividly explained. Swami defines a leader and his quality, and states how he should perform his duties with utmost honesty and integrity. Amatya signifies the role of a manager, and delves into the similarities and differences between a leader and a manager. It suggests how a manager can become a good manager, and the characteristics one needs to possess in this respect. Janpada throws light on the importance of the citizens and the customers, as they are the key part of any business. The conflicts, if any, between interests of self and those of the subjects should be minimized, and serving the customers should be the top priority for any unit. Their welfare should be looked upon and help and aid provided wherever necessary.

Durg defines the infrastructure that should be created for the growth of a project. World class facilities should be the norm of the day, and no compromise must be made in that regard. Whenever required, one should also be open to inputs and assistance from others, as that might make reaching the target quicker and in a more effective manner. Kosha speaks of financial management, and how it is a key ingredient for any project. Long term investments should be considered, as that would yield more fruitful dividends. Creation of funds is importance, and so is the maintenance. Dand refers to teamwork, and how people should be inspired to do their job in the best possible manner. Training should be provided that would help the team members in building their competency, and deserving candidates rewarded.

Creating a network of friends encompass Mitra. Meetings should be organized, and inputs taken to formulate the strategy. Also, one needs to help friends when they are in need, as they are a vital part in the chain.

What I really loved about this book is the continuity of ideas and flows. The language is simple and doesn't bog you down. The numerous examples help you in understanding the seven mantras in a better manner, and how they could be applied to real life. We often consider these ideologies to be best suited for free advice, but this book teaches you to learn and work with them. Surely, the pages are packed with the secrets of leaderships.

We all aspire to be leaders, today, tomorrow, someday, irrespective of our professions. This book is a perfect guide that will help you answer your doubts and motivate you to tackle your problems and find the solutions hidden in them. A must read I would say, for all those who dream big, and aim to grow and make something big out of their lives.

Title: Chanakya's 7 Secrets Of Leadership
Authors: D. Sivanandhan, Radhakrishnan Pillai
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Business, Strategy
No. of Pages: 264
Price: Rs 299
My Rating: 4/5

Friday, March 28, 2014


a few lost pebbles
and bagful of memories
who cares, anyways
waves, red and black, sink my soul
and I melt away, alone

This Tanka is shared with HAIKU/TANKA CHALLENGE #1 EVANESCE.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


He trudged across the ruins, lazily, wearily, the memories as clear as blatant lies, past that remained unanswered, somewhere in the crevices within.

The stones, lying in the pathway orphaned, the staircase, broken, tattered, and yet visualizing those lost moments that dated back centuries; the throbbing headache not diminishing his zeal, rather guiding him ahead to further mysteries.

And there it stood, the golden casket, adorned with lust and blood, painted in red, evil, malice and jealousy.

Dust whirled across his shoes as he walked towards reality, leaving an imprint on the barren floor that had forgotten visitors.

He opened the lid of the casket, the skeleton tumbled out. hugging his presence, a soul travelling through time, and rebirth finally had a new definition, as he remembered how he was brutally murdered by his brother for the prized throne, the tears and grief finding solace somewhere in torn pages of history.

This Micro-Fiction is shared with Five Sentence Fictions - Ruins.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oh Laptop Oh Laptop I Miss You Like Hell

What do you do when your laptop is out for repair, and you, well, miss it's presence? Simple, you create a sad Laptop song.

And, that's what we did. Jyotsna, a wonderful blogger ( and a super awesome friend, was sulking over her missing baby, and I, the ever heartless guy, decided to make a poem out of it (cruel of me to use a subject of someone's grief as a blogpost I know). However, instead of hurling tomatoes and shoes towards me, she gladly accepted the offer and partnered me in composing this poem (Yayyy!!!)

This is my first ever duet poem, and interestingly, it was written on World Poetry Day (March 21), which makes it all the more special. Some lines are written by me, some by her, and the rest carved by our partnership.

Oh laptop, oh laptop,
I miss you like hell,
When will you, when will you
Again get well?

My laptop, dear laptop
Why did you  go away
Don’t you know oh dear
That being with you makes my day?

That hour when you arrived,
You gifted me with smiles,
We promised to be together,
In journey across miles.

Ah, the caress and the warmth
When I swiftly glide along the keys
How badly, how badly
Those silent tickles I now miss.

The games that we played
All day long
Movies we watched
And all my favorite songs.

Writing the poems and posts
On those lonesome nights
The creativity inside me
Kissed greater heights.

And then came the darkness
Flooding the dawn
My passion screamed tears
My heart thus mourned

I crave to write, to touch
The desire to see you again
Pouring thoughts and my world
‘Cause that’s what can keep me sane.

For you, I’ll wait
My love all day
Come back to me
Just find a quicker way.

Thanks Jyotsna for trusting my insanity and craziness and making me a partner for this poem. It was a real REAL pleasure, and hopefully, there would be more to come.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

That Autumn In Awadh - Review

Young, impetuous and drawn to each other like gnats to resin, Samar Solanki and Sara Shergill try, furiously, to avoid falling in love, but, slowly succumb.
All hell breaks loose as Samar’s conservative Rajput family swears vendetta, locking Samar away, on the eve of their clandestinely-planned wedding. They vow to eliminate Sara, the audacious girl who has dreamt of sullying their pedigreed lineage, from Samar’s life. 
Through that lonely autumn in Awadh, bereft of hope, fettered and helpless, the star-crossed lovers cling to the faith they have in each other, as they brave many storms together.
This novel about love is peppered, generously, with the author’s characteristic droll wit as  it traipses through sensational turns of events that keep you absorbed till the very end.

About the Author
Rachna Singh writes for the love of capturing those funny blurbs that pop out of her head all day, into stories that enthrall. A Master in Psychology, Rachna has worked in the corporate space for over 15 years, and now works as a consultant, balancing family and her writing along with her work.
Rachna made her debut as a writer in 2011 with a rib-tickling novel on anecdotal humour called ‘Dating, Diapers and Denial’, which received rave reviews. She switched gears to write on the ever-enigmatic relationship called marriage in her second book, ‘Nuptial Knots’.
She belongs to Allahabad, and lives, currently, in Bangalore, with her husband and their two children.

When a love story comes calling, you know you are in for some sweet and savory moments, dolloped with bits of thrills and scares, and a conclusion that can either be full of smiles or lead you to tears. The basic theme of a love story is more or less the same, with just a few differences. However, what matters is the execution, the characterization and the plot, and how the writer uses these factors in the context of the story. Is the author able to capture your attention, and hold it till the very last, or does the story loses its track and you slumber your way out? Writing a romance isn't difficult, but penning down a good romantic story definitely is.

And for this reason I would give full marks to Rachna Singh for concocting a beautiful love story in the form of ‘The Autumn in Awadh’. Samar belonging to a conservative Rajput family falls in love with Sara, a Christian, their relationship progressing gradually and steadily, until Sara pops up the question of marriage, and then, they realize they are not destined to be together with religion playing barrier in the desires of their hearts. It’s this confusion and turmoil that strengthen the plot, the inconsistency in their thoughts often leading to circumstances sad and unfortunate, but very practical. Their love is true, and there is no question of lack of commitment between the protagonists, but then destiny has planned something else for them, and they fall prey to it. Do they survive, or is their love lost forever? Read the book, and you will know.

Read this book you must, and I can give you several reasons for that. The narration is lucid and fluent, and you do not find yourself stuck at any point. What makes it all the more convenient is the characterization. Sara and Samar are those two real people who you know and have met sometime in your life. Perhaps, a part of them may also be existing within you. Samar is strong, calm and composed, and so is Sara. They cling on to each other, at times good and bad, supporting themselves and their relationship that doesn't seem to have an easy definition. Those stolen kisses, the love-struck glances, and the unending wait of being with your loved ones, and then the pain of separation, every emotion is so beautifully carved out and reflected that you do not find anything amiss. The pieces fall perfectly in place, bringing with them new twists and turns and you try to fathom what would be happening next. Rachna has used her words well, making the book come alive and leading to an effective visualization.

However, I found the end a bit abrupt, as if the brakes were suddenly applied to a car that was running swiftly on a wide road. The conclusion was appropriate, no doubt about that, but I would have liked it more if the author had taken her time on this part and made it look smoother. Somehow, I felt that the last chapter could have been more descriptive, reflecting more on the mind-set of the protagonists along with the happenings.

Nevertheless, ‘That Autumn in Awadh’ does capture your heart. It’s a love story that rises to your expectations, with Sara and Samar leaving a lasting impression on your mind.

Title: That Autumn in Awadh
Authors: Rachna Singh
Publisher: Alchemy Publishers
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Romance
No. of Pages: 258
Price: Rs 200
My Rating: 4/5

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fill Your Cups With Verses

(Image Source:

a few words mingled
droplets scurrying for company
in empty crevices
of phobia
and doubts
can I write
or are my words a mere rambling
flooding the web
in hurried scribbles

as I stumble across magic
so delicately woven by dear blogosphere
I learn and un-learn
authentic, genuine
sighs of love and hope
of tears and raindrops
and smile and promises
rhymes dance in ecstasy
basking in awakening, anew
I enlist myself

a journey this has been, satisfying
but territories are yet to be charted
dear poets and bloggers
in your sweet support may I always grow
World Poetry Day, here it comes today
fill your cups with verses, and let's get started


the game now level
spectators shout, passionate
then, the final ball

This Haiku is shared with Haiku Horizons - Level.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oh Spring

how much have I waited
for your return
oh Spring
the colors myriad
floating in my canvas
as I brush against the clouds
blue and white
and the sun shining bright
red, orange and yellowish hues
oh, what joy
the birds know too
that everything is perfectly alright

alas, only if this wasn't a dream
drenched in fear, the lost promises scream
strangled in darkness, I hunt for the light
and then I promise, I'll never give up without a fight

This Poem is shared with dVerse:Poetics-Color Me Spring.

PS: This inspiring image is created by Sunita Khedekar. You can get in touch with her and her art via Facebook ( or her website (

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mistress of the Throne - Review

1631, the Empress of India Mumtaz Mahal has died. Yet, rather than anoint one of his several other wives to take her place as Empress of India, Mughal King Shah Jahan anoints his seventeen-year-old daughter Jahanara as the next Queen of India. Bearing an almost identical resemblance to her mother, Jahanara is the first ever daughter of a sitting Mughal King to be anointed queen. She is reluctant to accept this title, but does so in hopes of averting the storm approaching her family and Mughal India. Her younger siblings harbor extreme personalities from a liberal multiculturalist (who views religion as an agent of evil) to an orthodox Muslim (who views razing non-Muslim buildings as divine will). Meanwhile, Jahanara struggles to come to terms with her own dark reality as the daughter of a sitting King, she is forbidden to marry. Thus, while she lives in the shadow of her parents unflinching love story, she is devastated by the harsh reality that she is forbidden to share such a romance with another. Mistress of the Throne narrates the powerful story of one of India's most opulent and turbulent times through the eyes of an unsuspecting character - a Muslim queen. It uses actual historical figures to illuminate the complexity of an era that has often been called India's Golden Age.

About the Author
Ruchir Gupta is a graduate of Upstate Medical University and currently practicing medicine in Long Island, NY, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He has authored several books on anesthesiology. His interests include reading, blogging, traveling and learning history. This is his debut novel.

If you are a lover of history, ‘Mistress of the Throne’ is just the perfect book for you. If you do not like the subject, even then, this book would serve the purpose of satisfying the reader in you.

The tale of Mughal Empire, and their kings and the queens have always been a topic of intrigue and fascination. They have played a big part in shaping our country, India, influencing the social and cultural growth of the land and the people. Among the most famous Mughal Emperors, Shah Jahan would definitely find a place in one of the top positions. His love for Mumtaz Mahal, and the creation of the Taj Mahal in her memory surely needs no introduction. However, not much is known about their daughter, Jahanara. ‘Mistress of the Throne’ traces her journey, through the crests and troughs of the Mughal reign under her father Shah Jahan.

Ruchir Gupta’s extensive research flows in his words. What works wonder is the brilliant narration. The first person narrative, from the point of view of the protagonist Jahanara, takes you back to the golden era of Mughal architecture, when buildings and monuments flourished across separate parts of the country, especially in and around Delhi. Have you visited the Taj Mahal? If you have, great. If you haven’t do not worry. The creation of the Wonder is very elaborately described in the book, right from the planning to inception to execution, and even it's naming. The selection of the spot, the recruitment of laborers and the collection of raw materials, everything is well documented, making you witness the entire construction scene through the vibrant words.

The characterization is perfect. Jahanara is a sensitive lady, but sensible and strong, who torn between love and duty, sacrifices her happiness for the sake of her family and kingdom. The Mughal Princesses were not allowed to marry, and thus, she had to keep her love under wraps. Also, rumors were rife about her sexual relationship with her father, but she confronted them boldly. Truly, she was an epitome of virtue and indomitable determination and bravery.

Her elevation as the Queen of India results in a bitter jealousy in her sister Raushanara, who then tries various tricks and devises to pull her down. When she fails, she attempts to create a rift among the siblings, between Dara and Aurangzeb, and Aurangzeb and Jahanara. However, Jahanara is wise enough to identify her devious ploys, but then, not always could she prevent her from causing harm; and there lies the pain that she hides so deeply in her heart.

Jahanara also faces rough weather trying to bring her two brothers – Dara and Aurangzeb – close. While she is protective of Aurangzeb, she can’t leave the side of Dara, and that’s where the conflict in her mind takes the form of a turbulence. Yet, amidst all these, she is a picture of composure, living not for her own self, but for the rest, and performing her duties to the fullest. It wouldn't be wrong to say that she symbolizes thepower of a woman.

The chapters are very deeply woven with visual imagery, the progression smooth and delicate. You do not feel left out at any point of time. Instead, you read the pages slowly, sinking in the depths of its beauty and magnificence, and admiring the way the story has been brought forward. Unfortunately, after 300 odd pages, the book ends.

Ruchir, why not a sequel? This is one of the best reads of this year, enlightening and entertaining, and should be a part of your to-read list. If you have already read it, you will agree with my review. If you haven’t, time to visit your nearest bookstore.

But do not, at any cost, give this book a miss.

Title: Mistress of the Throne
Authors: Ruchir Gupta
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Historical, Fiction
No. of Pages: 324
Price: Rs 250
My Rating: 5/5

Saturday, March 15, 2014


the red pebble
silently flows down the stream
I wait for its return

This Haiku is shared with Haiku Horizon - Return.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Walls That Held True

walls that held true
for years
now crumbled
bit by bit
on the couch

licked the wound
a passive nod
a worn out smile
on quaked shore

a sigh
and memories drizzled
where once they wove stories
now, trust laughed misplaced

This Poem is shared with Magpie Tales.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Crossover Year - Review

Meet Sri Anuprabha, aka Anu, a twenty-nine year-old banker who is terrified of entering her thirties. She dreams of quitting her job at the bank, sporting yoga pants and traipsing around the world. Her world turns upside down when things go awry and she is faced with the prospect of spending her days watching Tamil serials. She comes up with a five-point plan for reclaiming her life back before she hits the big 30. But things are never as simple as drawing up a flowchart in real life, are they? Especially with a ghastly recession rearing its ugly head.
Anu bumbles through the corridors of domesticity and travels on a fun-filled roller coaster ride in a bid to discover her passion in life. Along the way, she meets new people, experiences crazy things and learns some hard lessons in marriage, friendship, parenting and life. 
The Crossover Year is a funny, yet heartwarming story of a woman in search of her identity, and a chronicle of her hilarious quest for discovering her inner mojo. Bring out a platter of cookies and a steaming mug of chai, and join Anu on the ride of her lifetime.

About the Author
Bhargavi Balachandran spent many years doing things as diverse as selling office equipment, air conditioners and corporate loans to analyzing balance sheets after her MBA. After quitting her full-time job, she found happiness thinking up insane plots and concocting stories.
She has written articles, travelogues and short stories for magazines and a newspaper. Bhargavi also has a romance novella to her credit, and is an avid blogger.
She currently lives in Chennai with her husband, and loves travelling, reading books and painting.

'The Crossover Year' is sweetness in simplicity … no unnecessary twists or frills, but rather, a conglomeration of events that jot up the life of Anu, a twenty-nine year old banker who tries to regain her identity after quitting her job at the bank.

Things can be tough when you get out of your normal routine. Anu portrays that feeling when she resigns from her job one fateful day. She realizes that she has had enough from her boss, and would no longer tolerate him or his evil schemes in the corporate world. She leaves with a dream in her eyes of making her life bigger and better than what it is currently.

However, you can never plan where life would lead you. The recession hits across all shores, and soon Anu regrets her decision to quit her job where she worked for years. Fear leads to depression and then to insecurity. Her husband, Mukund, whom she met at, is supportive and caring, but then again, he too feels the heat of monthly expenses when Anu gets overboard and spends a princely sum of twenty thousand on gym costumes.

The plot revolves around the relationships, new found and the lost ones that entangle Anu through her journey. While she feels her old friends drifting away, an unlikely bond is created with Vinita and Gaurav, and their pet doggie. A smile finds a place in your face, and you love reading her thoughts. They are relaxing in a sense, laid back and lazy, but fun, nevertheless.

The narration is lucid, and you feel that the author is speaking directly to you. That’s what keeps the pace going, and you can easily finish the book in a few hours. Right from the point where Anu quits her job, to the moment when she participates in a Super Home Maker contest, with her favorite TV actor Raakkesh being one of the judges, the author, Bhargavi Balachandran keeps you engaged with her descriptive use of words. The scenes are very well painted, and you get the feel of being in the pages along with the characters. That is one important plus about 'The Crossover Year' that keeps it glowing throughout.

Anu is a woman of today, strong and confident, but a bit confused at times. She trusts her friends, and loves the company of close associates. Her husband, Mukund, is a sweet chap who pampers her wife with ‘gift vouchers’ (I so loved this idea, totally unique and fresh). He trusts her completely and performs the role of a true partner. I loved the minor quarrels that they had, and the subsequent patch-ups. Mushy and cute.

However, a few events in the book turns out to be predictable, and as a reader you feel that a few twists here and there would have accentuated the appeal of the story-line. Moreover, at places, use of abbreviations without a reference hampered the flow.

'The Crossover Years' falls in the genre of chick-lit, and will appeal mostly to women. However, literature doesn't have a gender, and this book has the potential to draw the attention of men as well. Don’t we all want to know what goes inside the mind of women? Yes, grab this book and you would know.

If you are looking for a light read, ‘The Crossover Year’ will definitely serve the purpose. Give it a try.

Title: The Crossover Year
Authors: Bhargavi Balachandran
Publisher: Alchemy Publishers
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Chick-Lit, Fiction
No. of Pages: 288
Price: Rs 200
My Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ache, Would It Find Solace

would it find solace
in company of words
dangling from branches
hand in hand

two lives
deeply rooted
to the moist soil
brown and green
one, breathing in pages
the other, trapped since ages

free and fly
humble twigs
are harmless
you can never be prepared
for beasts
that slurp in ecstasy
tearing promises apart
and then they depart
like scars, that still pain
someday, everyday

shall I protect you
from muddy terrains
shall I hold your hands
when teardrops rain
shall I be your love
when trust flies insane

neither will you reply
nor shall I wait
perhaps, perhaps
'tis already too late

This Poem is shared with

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Prophecy of Trivine - Review

To read the full review, click here.

Title: The Prophecy of Trivine
Authors: Srivatsan Sridharan, Pulkit Gupta, Tnahsin Garg
Publisher: Good Times Books
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Science-Fiction
No. of Pages: 264
Price: Rs 250
My Rating: 3/5

A Few Stories You Whisper

a few stories
you whisper
as I close my eyes
in satiated slumber
dipped in honey
kisses and tears
soaked in love
and a tinge of fear

sulking in fables
I dance with my muse
by the open window

and the naughty breeze
so gently
wakes me up

moments of ecstasy
in words they dissolve
secrets long lost
and that's exactly how
poems evolve

This Poem is shared with Magpie Tales - Mag 208.