January 24 2016

Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures

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Blurb: “After having recurring dreams, a man considers retracing Lord Hanuman’s epic journey from India to Sri Lanka. While rationality argues against the pursuit, the dream appeals to something deeper and he sets out with two friends on a 1200 kilometre trek across South India. The journey however, doesn’t turn out to be quite what they expected. Along the way, through encounters with evil cans of pepper spray, wise men, pimps, hellhounds, and manic elephants, they are forced to confront their personal demons. At one of their lowest moments, plagued by doubt, they lose all hope. That’s when they experience a sign, the first of many, which renews their spirits and helps them push forward. Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures, provides a candid account of the trio’s incredible journey – their misgivings, sufferings, and triumphs, all in search of faith.”

About the author: Harsha is a freelance writer and the author of ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures’. After graduating with a Master’s in Business Administration, he worked with a large IT company for a few years, before taking a sabbatical to trek the Hanuman route. In 2013, he moved to a beach town, where he spent a year beach bumming, mooching off family, and writing ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures’.

Review:  This was my first time reading a travelogue, a genre I hardly read or prefer reading but this book ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures’ by author Harsha did not disappoint me. The book was indeed a fresh read for me. It was a well written and maintained appropriately journal than a book. The book is a travelogue mapping the route Hanuman had taken to rescue the kidnapped Sita from Ashok Vatika in Sri Lanka and the author Harsha in fact ventured out with his friends on a 1200 km path across South India and book also highlights the journey of the trio and their many experiences congregated on the way. Though I love travelling I have never been on long trips, and while I was reading this book I imagined myself the trek, the roads, the troubles, the sun, the moon and the terrains. With the right amount of humour, wit and insight and those verbal exchanges among the friends made this book a special read. Apart from being a travelogue, the book is also the author Harsha’s memoir with the loss of his beloved grandmother and subsequently that of his faith; he seeks a resolution on this journey. I found the book to be funny, adventurous mythology with a dash of humour and excitement. I would highly recommend this book to all those readers interested in travel, and adventure.

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January 23 2016

The Third Day-Dwapara Yuga

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Blurb: A day in Brahma’s life has 14 Manvantaras + 15 Sandhyas, which is equal to 4.32 billion years. Each Manvantara has 71 Divya-Yugas, which is equal to 306.72 million years. Again each Divya-Yuga is divided into four Yugas, Satya, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali. Brahma created eleven Prajapathis and seven Saptarishis, who are called the Manas Putras to serve in creating the Universe. However, he made an irrevocable mistake on the first day of his life that cost him his honour, as one of the supreme Lords of the Trimurti, and led to the fight between evil and good and the loss of billions of lives. The very existence of humankind was questioned. In the Dwapara Yuga – Brahma fought to regain his honour – and Elsker, the Universe – to save his love Sarayu, the earth. In the first millionth year, of the Dwapara Yuga – the Tala Pata Grandas – the prestigious holy scripts, written on holy leaves – were opened, unveiling the unpleasant things to come. A terrifying war broke out between the cannibals and humankind. However, the unison of Elsker and Sarayu ended the war abruptly, during the first millionth year. Nevertheless, the evil had not yet ceased and Elsker left to build his army to combat the evil that was unleashed! The second millionth year began. To unearth the ‘City of Lost Souls’ and fight evil – the Universal Mind and Elsker began their quest for Nirbhaya and the Manas Putras. The Manas Putras were re-incarnated in the third yuga of the third day of Lord Brahma’s life. Elsker was not alone in this quest, the King of Narmada’;s soul; Daksha guided Elsker. Expect the unexpected…

Review: Hearty congratulations to Harshita Vallem for her debut. As I decided to experiment with different genres of reading and writing its review this year, I could not say no to the Author Harshita when she asked me to review her book. As I read The Third Day Dwapara Yuga I felt it like stories which I heard about ancient times has come true in front of me. The story has a dispute between Good and Evil. In the Dwapara Yuga Brahma fought for his standing and Elsker the Universe to save Sarayu the earth, his love, and in between raised a battle stuck between the cannibals and human race. The author has successfully written the story well and the narration has a right mix of reality and fantasy writing. No doubt the author has taken lots from the Indian mythology which went along her factious charming world. All the characters are well written a designed especially the antagonists. The author writes about the past that ties Elsker and Sarayu but without giving out many details. The narration has blended well of both the worlds. For me it was a good read with philosophical theme which contributed to the novel. The legends, imaginative world were interesting. I recommend this novel to everyone as the style of the author has successfully managed to create a good read and it is a wonderful treat for fantasy genre readers with hints of Indian mythology.

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January 12 2016

Get a Job WITHOUT an Interview – Google and Beyond: “We don’t mind to lose a good applicant, but definitely not hire a bad applicant.”

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About Book:
Make it Big! – Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe
Strengths: Simplified Interview Structures, Best Hiring, Misconception to Programming
Weakness: Addition to Software Industry, Best Software Engineer, Steep Career Growth
Opportunities: Dream Job, Best Ways to Learn, Be a part of Best Companies
Threats: Sleepless Night, Software Syndrome, Neighbours Envy

About Authors:
Santosh Avvannavar started his career as a consultant and Soft Skills Trainer. After his college education from NITK, Surathkal, he worked as a researcher at University of Eindhoven, University of Twente, and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He was also the Placement President while working at IISC, Bangalore. He has over twenty-five publications of mostly research documents in national and international journals. He has also authored sixteen conference papers and regularly writes articles for a national and worldwide daily paper. He also works as an advisor for different organisations.

Raghavendra has 17+ years of experience in various roles like developer, system admin, and test engineer in companies like i2, HP, Yahoo! Love OpenSource and educating others on Software Programming and Testing.

Review:  I found this book to be very interesting and very useful for job seekers. Hiring process and analogies presented in the book are easily understood and adapt. The companies’ hiring requirements are mentioned so clearly that the person going for an interview has all scenarios very clear in his/her mind. I am not an IT professional but I would definitely recommend this book to my students or acquaintances who are studying to become IT professionals.  The book is very reader friendly as it was small & handy. This book prepares the candidate how to be ready when the big day arrives. Kudos to both the authors for writing this book which would help many job finders and others similar.

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January 9 2016

The Other End of the Corridor – Sujata Rajpal

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About the Author : Sujata Rajpal is a Corporate Communications Manager by profession and a writer by passion. She holds an MPhil degree in Economics, and has studied Journalism & Mass Communication from Panjab University, Chandigarh. She regularly contributes articles and short stories to publications and journals, such as Femina, Deccan Herald, Star of Mysore and others. Besides writing, she enjoys being a Toastmaster. Sujata is a yoga enthusiast. She currently lives in Mysore, India, with her husband Rajiv and sons Nikhil and Rahul. “The Other End of the Corridor” is her first novel.

Blurb: When your dreams are tainted with lies and deceit, you have no other choice but to walk to the other end of the corridor Leela has nothing extraordinary about her except the dream to become famous. Her desires take wings when she gets married to a handsome boy from a respectable family in Delhi. But her dreams are shattered even before they have a chance to take flight. She happens to meet two friends from a long forgotten past, which infuses hope and opens new avenues to realize her dormant aspirations. Leela delves into previously unexplored paths of deception and forbidden passions that only make her stronger. In an attempt to rediscover herself, she falls in love with life and with herself but her life takes a sudden turn again… No matter what, Leela will continue to chase her dreams. Where does this journey take her?

Review: I would like to start off talking about the character of Leela. I appreciate author Sujata for writing this character with so much of depth and simplicity that it is easy for anyone who reads to connect with her. I feel author has taken inspiration from every street and every town, watching people, especially women to write Leela’s character. It was initially boring for me, but as I read on I found it very interesting and I could not put down the book. I would highly recommend this book to every women to believe in chasing their dreams and don’t lose faith until you achieve them. The story is about unfortunate girl forced into marriage while at young age, the devastating her dreams and hopes towards life. There are hints of gender prejudice, marital brutality and blames of society on the rape victim. I loved the share of twists the story has offered. The dilemmas faced by a common woman in day to day life’s situations has been written well by author in very easy read language. This is my first read of author Sujata and I really look forward for her next book which I am sure will be better than this one.

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January 7 2016

Ramayana – The Game Of Life: Stolen Hope

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About the book: In the evil labyrinths of Dandakaranya forest, human values are put to test. Rama’s righteousness, Lakshmana’s loyalty and Sita’s endurance reflect our own sense of values and judgment in difficult times. The story unfolds the facets of human life – the conflict and trickery, the praise, the slander and above all, the hope and the despair in the eventful forest life of exiled royals. Stolen Hope is about extreme deception and extreme love. It is about arrogant power and deep devotion. With every twist and turn, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana find themselves robbed of whatever and whoever they valued the most. Exploring the dynamics of human relations – between father and son, husband and wife, teacher and disciple – and the complex game of power and greed, Stolen Hope mirrors our own dilemmas in the modern world and teaches us how we must overcome them.

About the Author: Shubha Vilas is a spiritual seeker, motivational speaker and author of ‘Ramayana – The Game Of Life’ a 6 book series and India’s first self help book based on the story of Ramayana.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShubhaVilas/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shubhavilas

Review: ‘Stolen Hope’ is the third book of the series of Ramayana written by Shubha Vilas. I have read and reviewed his earlier books – ‘Rise of the Sun Prince’ and the second one ‘Shattered Dreams’. In all these 3 books, author Shubha Vilas has successfully offered the genuine Ramayana in a contemporary way. This book again caters to the spiritual and motivational series. Coming to the story, it continues from the ending of 2nd book ‘Shattered Dreams’ where Lord Rama was expatriated to exile with Sita and Lakshmana. They reach Dandakaranya to mean that the punishment would be further blighted by the Sage Gautam Rishi who would infest the forest with deadly demons and only Lord Rama can be able to clean it by destroying the demons. This indicates at that the events are interlinked and the sages were able to predict the life. Lord Rama runs into Viradha whose name means one without love who was the son of Jaya and Satradha with power of 25,000 elephants and caliber to defy weapons. He was one other than Tumburu, a Gandharva. I came to know of this fact that in Ramayana, Lord Rama never killed anyone in front of Sita.  I appreciate the author Shubha Vilas’s comparisons of Sun and the Moon with Lord Rama and Lakshmana. It is a fact that even though Sun and Moon avoid each other, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman never avoided each other. The author Shubha Vilas has elegantly interpreted the real meaning of each name used in this book. Agastya Muni is introduced as the story progressed. As I read I noted that the credit of creation of Tamil Language goes to Agastya Muni who even gifted it to Lord Rama. The story also mentioned about Five Banyan Trees where Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana dwelled and as I read about them I imagined myself to be a part of them and lived along the trees. As the story went one, the author Shubha Vilas introduces the reader to Ravana who had 18 curses hanging over his head with one being Vedavati – daughter of Kushadwaja who is the son of Sage Brihaspati that she would be the cause of his death. It continues to tell us that Lakshmana did not draw the Lakshman Rekha as per the original Valmiki Ramayana. When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, she threw all her jewels except her Chudamani since it was a symbol of her marital status. Lord Rama was separated from Sita for about 10 months. Jatayu dies in the lap of Lord Rama. I cannot wait to read the next 4th instalment where I expect Lord Rama meets Sugriya to seek his help in finding Sita. There are lot of things one must learn in this journey of life and I have learnt a few from the three books so far. The author has used not one but many brilliants phrases throughout the story which connects with various events as and when it happened in the story. In this instalment, it has shown us how, when power is misused, it lead to one’s downfall. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it is really interesting to read the epic Ramayana without getting bored.

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January 6 2016

Abhaya

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About the book: An assertive and idealistic Princess Abhaya meets the enigmatic Krishna Vaasudeva. A bereaved Dhatri, hounded by her own family is saved by Lord Bhauma. When subverted religion becomes a tool in the hands of power thirsty and strikes Bharatavarsha, the land of Aryas, Abhaya finds herself face to face with the impending doom.  “Can we combat the fear with faith? Can we keep our faith undeterred when the last traces of hope melt away? Can we receive blame and adulation, accept them and yet not give in to them?”

About the author:  Saiswaroopa Iyer is an IITian and Venture Capital professional turned author.

Review: It is one of my book reading resolutions of 2016 to read a book out of my comfort zone and complete it fully. Debutante author – Sai Swaroopa’s “Abhaya” is that book. Abhaya is a fantasy novel set in ancient India, in the era of Mahabharata. We get introduced to many fictional set of characters in this. The story is about Abhaya, a young princess of the fictional city of Anagha, located in the borders of powerful kingdom of Avanti, towards the western frontiers of ancient India. When Abhaya finds herself in the midst of a far greater crisis, she along with Lord Krishna and her brother Vikram go all-out to struggle for what is correct and defend their confidence from breakdown. I congratulate Sai Swaroopa for her debut. Not just on the Mahabharata, but complete and fresh outlook on Diwali and Narkasura has been depicted in the story.  Her writing had clear plot, with characters who stood up to their characterization with all the twists and turns required. If you are familiar with mythology, this book becomes an easy read as you get to read a mention of Pandavas, and Lord Krishna in this. For me, the philosophy in this book was well written and handled. It was over all a good and quick reading.  I strongly recommend this book to everyone irrespective of liking or reading mythological fiction book should definitely give it a try.

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