Book Review: A Second Chance With Love In Corona by Abhinav Kashyap

A sweet love story of Kabir and Kia, this novella by Abhinav Kashyap gives an essence of how a married couple, living under the same roof and distant with time, come close and transform their relationship during the pandemic.

Pandemic brought tough times, especially the lockdown. When the news of lockdown broke suddenly, people went helter-skelter. There was a state of commotion. Everybody thought initially they would be shattered, their jobs and so many other things which become the livelihood and life support for families were at stake. A second chance with love in Corona sums up these feelings precisely through protagonists, Kabir and Kia and how they make the best of this time.

The story is about the duo who hardly could spend their sweet time together, since right after their honeymoon, due to the busy work schedule of husband. They now had all the time for themselves, thanks to the lockdown. During this period, they rediscover themselves and keep aside the adversity to rekindle the spark in their married life. It’s worth a read.

The book is a light hearted, bed time kind of an emotional read. Written somewhat in an informal and casual language, this 13 page book is a ‘take a break’ sort of writing. The climax of the book ends on a positive and a happy note conveying the underlying message, life does give a second chance, only if you know how to turn an adversity into an opportunity.

I congratulate the author, Abhinav Khashyap on his first book and hope there are many more to come. Best wishes!

Let me know in comments if you liked the book review. 

Pages: 13

Availability: Kindle

Buy: A Second Chance With Love In Corona https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08GZRT5B4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_GYhyFbYJG7QNV

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Book Review: I Will Survive by Sunil Robert

First thing first, this book is a marvel for teenagers, period!

Having said that it’s not that people of my age and above shall not read it. There are takeaways for all age groups. How does one expect a book on comeback stories of a corporate warrior—Full of challenges, learnings, hardships, cut-throat competition, leadership lessons, trials and triumphs. Yes, it does have all of that.

And, it heavily reflects upon the author’s inspiring journey through the testing times, battling poverty to support a family of six right from his childhood and coming through with flying colours.

Tough life dealt with a sense of optimism and urge to fulfil dreams, this book is a fine depiction of how one has the ability to transform his or her life if they focus on the positives and ignore the negatives.

Every chapter is summed by some thoughtful and practical learnings applicable and relatable to all of us.

Since the author starts his journey through his childhood hardships; how being unable to pay the school fee bills to pursuing further studies alongside job to mastering the art of writing and communication and to excelling in public speaking that led him to support a family throughout since a very young age and also give him a global recognition.

A fine read I would say. If you have a school going kid about to step into his or her teenage, make them read this book for preparing them for future challenges. Because, no matter how much we avoid it thinking they are too young, the truth of the fact is the world is highly competitive and favours those who can build strong relationships and have passion, energy and a clear vision.

The book has numerous tips to apply in practical life for a definitive success.

My takeaway from this book is ~ you often feel instead of scattering your energies in diverse activities you should be more focused on one thing for profound results. The author from his experience strikes off this mindset. He writes that all the wide experiences define your identity in an unfathomable way.

@westland_books

#anupriyamishrarecommends

——

Let me know in comments if you liked the book review. 😌

Pages: 191

Publisher: Westland

Buy: I Will Survive: 1 https://www.amazon.in/dp/8189975986/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_PfFxFbTHC21AN

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Book Review: The Mother I Never Knew by Sudha Murthy

Life is a big quest. If you start finding the reasons for everything, you may just end up losing your sanity. There are many sages who advice not to dig into the past.

Contrary to which, this refreshing book with two novellas present a gripping family drama of two men who are on their respective expeditions to validate some life events and bitter truths they explore later in their lives.

Why I found this book riveting and worth writing a review is because it comes with a strong message of coming to terms with past mistakes and not running from them. The sense of satisfaction one gets in exploring the unexplored and mending mistake knows no bounds and the book passes the message mightily. Once you face your biggest fears and accept the truth, you have nothing to hide or run away from. You can live peacefully in utter joy. Makes so much sense to me.

Sudha Murty needs no introduction. Her writing is simple yet intriguing. Even in her simplicity of words she gracefully weaves a plot within a plot. A simple story unveils an unexpected ending leaving you in absolute bewilderment.

Adding a new favourite author in my list hereafter. I’ll be reading more of her books and have decided to make a collection of her novels. Hope you like the book as much as I do. #bookreview

@_sudha_murthy

@penguinindia

@penguinukbooks

Pages: 206

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: The Mother I Never Knew: Two Novellas https://www.amazon.in/dp/0143422251/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Pg6wFbEC35E6V

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Sunsets That Made Me Sway

Sunset brings with itself melting emotions of bygone days;

Golden days that make you sway to an unheard tune;

Tunes those were once the songs we hummed;

With our fingers intertwined only to watch it give way to night;

Those sunsets were different than the sunsets of today;

Sunset was an emotion then, it is just another evening today;

Each sunset was then captured in the eyes and saved in our souls;

Today I capture it with my camera to praise it as nature’s galore;

Sunset is an emotion, I remind myself again;

Lost in its beauty, I go down the memory lane.

Skin Problem is Common, Living with it is Not. Here’s What You Need to Know

After the scorching heat of summers, monsoon showers bring a refreshing change. However, this also leads to a lot of skin and hair problems. I have been extremely vocal about personal care and hygiene and all the more when it comes to using the Herbal/ Ayurveda products over chemicals. Most of the products I use are fresh and straight from the kitchen or kitchen garden. However, this season I tried it all and nothing really worked.

Although I have a healthy skin that’s neither prone to pimples nor acne, however, this season brought some new experiences to me just like the lockdown. I could notice acne on my chin, making my skin slightly worn out and rough. Took me a few days to understand what it was and how it could be cured. I really was in a dilemma if these were blackheads, whiteheads or acne. Meantime, I read a lot about it, tried various homemade remedies but of no use. If it wasn’t for the lockdown, I would have rushed straight to a dermatologist and shelled some good money in treatment and medicines. I’m sure many of us would not be very clear on what acne is. I’ve collated a list of points from my research on acne. Hope this helps because skin problem is a common problem but living with imperfections is not.

Acne must be timely cured. Keeping your skin oil-free can avoid these.

Small in Size, Big Trouble

Acne is very common in the humid season. It’s not just prevalent in adolescence but can happen at any age. Imagine me getting acne in the mid-30s for the first time, yeah right. As per Harvard research, acne is caused by inflammation in and around the sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland secretes an oily substance, called sebum that lubricates the skin. The exact reason for this inflammation is unknown, however, excessive sebum secretion clogs the gland which may result in acne, a kind of bacterial infection. And acne may further lead to blackheads, whiteheads or even pimples. Thus, it’s important to cure them at this very stage.

Whatever be the reason, one must, in general, take good care of skin and be extra cautious while treating acne.

  • Eat healthy and avoid oily food – although none of the scientific studies has proved that acne is caused due to a specific kind of food. However, eating fresh food is advisable for a healthy gut and skin.
  • Wash face with a mild face wash/ cleansers twice a day-Limit your face wash to two times in a day as excessive wash may further cause inflammation and irritation. Read on to know more as this is a very crucial step I’ve taken it in detail.
  • Avoid direct contact with sun or pollution – Use sunscreen only once the acne is cured else it will make your skin further oily
  • Do not over scrub or bleach excessively- Overdoing of these two is never a good idea. It breaks your skin and causes irritation.
  • And, most importantly do not ignore acne as if ignored they can be really dreadful. Do not wait for them to vanish on their own as they would not.

Oily skins are more prone to acne and thus, I decided to keep my skin oil-free by regular washes. Tried various home-made products—Besan or gram flour ubtan, cucumber, tomato but nothing really worked. Acnes are awfully stubborn, unlike pimples. I must have bought and tried 5-6 types of different face washes that promised oil-free skin. Unfortunately, I have hoards of them now as none of them was highly effective.

What Worked for Me?

Only when I had given up hope, I came across a Multani Mitti Face Wash by The Natural Wash (TNW). Like other face washes I tried, it did promise an oil-free and radiant skin. With little heart, I thought to give it a try only because it claimed to be Organic and an Ayurveda product. Moreover, Fuller’s earth is a soothing component used since ancestral times and known to be oil-absorbing and a natural cleansing agent. Nowhere did the product mention about treating acne, however, at this time all I wanted to get rid of was my oily skin as humidity is at its peak.

About Multani Mitti Face Wash by TNW

No exaggeration. It does work wonder!

The first time when I applied this Multani Mitti Face Wash by TNW, the earthy aroma and the smooth texture of Multani Mitti mesmerised me. Even after the face wash, the aroma stays for long giving you a fresh feel. It is said that the first impression is the last impression and I was convinced with the first experience of this product. With regular use of it, twice daily as I’ve mentioned above, for over 10 days now I see a significant difference. My acne have not just reduced, they have vanished. Also, perhaps because it was just the beginning and I did not have plenty. I’m an ardent believer of standing by the genuine brands and products, the ones that stand by what they promise. TNW is one of those.

Anything that stands by its commitment and proves to be effective and authentic needs a special mention. And, that’s what I stick to. My ongoing acne woes in this humid season were resolved by Multani Mitti Face Wash by TNW after trying my hands on multiple products. I highly recommend this product to people prone to acne or pimples as it absorbs the excess oil from your skin and clarifies it. It’s 100% natural, Sulphate and Paraben free. Multani Mitti or Fuller Earth has healing properties. Since ages, it is known to have exemplary benefits:

  1. Fights acne and pimples
  2. Removes excess sebum and oil
  3. Deep cleanses skin removing any form of impurities
  4. Evens out and brightens the skin
  5. Act as a cooling agent in treating tanning, pigmentation, sunburn, rashes, and alike
  6. Improves blood circulation
  7. Keeps away blemishes, blackheads and more

Why Not a Multani Mitti or Fuller’s Earth Face Pack?

You can definitely try Multani Face Pack as well. I find applying a face pack slightly cumbersome and I often tend to forget to apply regularly. Face wash can be easily brought into your daily skincare regime so this Multani Mitti Facewash by TNW is a must-try to experience the difference.

I have always shared my personal experiences so that you can make a wise choice. I have successfully overcome the acne woes, I hope this piece helps you to get rid of an irritable skin easily. If not, then timely consider a prescribed medication. Keep glowing and spreading your radiance!!

Wish to Purchase?

You can check out the products on TNW website https://www.thenaturalwash.com/ and choose as per your skin type and requirement. If you wish to buy the same Multani Mitti Face Wash, here’s the direct link: https://www.thenaturalwash.com/products/multani-mitti-facewash?_pos=2&_sid=5b3adeed4&_ss=r .

About the author

Anupriya Mishra is a Journalist and Branding professional having more than a decade of experience. She supports local businesses and strongly believes in supporting meaningful causes for social upliftment. For specific queries, you can drop a line in comments section below or follow her social media pages for regular updates.

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Book Review: The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma, a renowned author and one of my favorites, who never fail to fascinate with his charming narrative, unique story-line and of course a life-transforming message. He doesn’t hide behind some twisty titles. His book titles are as straightforward as his description. I find it very appealing as that makes me confident, as a reader, whether or not the book entices me. The 5 AM Club was one such book which drew my attention amid hoards of books in a local bookstore.

I bought The 5 AM Club first thing as the lockdown regulations were slightly eased out. The last few months during the lockdown were difficult. Precisely because of the routine that was completely disturbed as stay at home was a new thing and we were all getting accustomed to it; still are. And I must confess this book really helped me to a great extent. I’ll tell you how as we move forward. In the meantime, I would like to say you need to own this book to make a significant difference in your life. Own this book to “Own your morning and elevate your life.” and bring it to practice. Easier said than done! You bet I tried hard and still trying, going through a difficult time in adapting to the things mentioned in this book. It’s not only about waking up at 5AM, it’s much more.

In the process of trying hard, I’ve faced mood swings; felt happy in the first half of the day and agitated and sleep deprived in the second. I have felt bloated with energy and enthusiasm of seeing the morning sun one day, and also felt fatigued the other day. However, despite the crankiness and exasperation, as days pass by, I feel a happier and content person. One must know, The 5 AM Club is not about the morning routine, it’s about a total transformation of how you live your life. The way you live each day comprise the way you live your life. Any good change in your day automatically results in an improved and enhanced life. You are sure to see a better version of you and this is certainly no magic or shortcut. That’s what makes this book all the more practical and logical. Nowhere does it suggest depriving yourself of anything, even a seven and half hours of sleep each night is recommended which is a fair deal. Isn’t it? Do not just go by speculations, feelings or hearsay. Robin Sharma has meticulously backed every single fact with scientific reasoning and thorough research. This is another interesting aspect of the book that will leave you in awe, driving you to be a better version of yourself. In this book, Robin Sharma has methodically put forth the 20/20/20 Formula, the 10 tactics of lifelong genius and the Twin Cycle of elite performance. You would not know the beauty of these, if you do not read through and also start bringing them to practice.

The 5 AM Club is not a preachy book with life-transforming messages. The entire book is intricately weaved around the four main characters. It’s interesting to read how the lives of these four strangers are intertwined together from the beginning till the end. You would find similarities in their lives and struggles. After a couple of chapters, you would feel deeply engrossed in the setup and characters. Robin Sharma has made a perfect concoction of emotions, drama, inspirational journey and practical theories and examples.

“Often a bad example teaches us more about who we wish to become than a good one can ever provide”—The book has many such relatable lines that would leave you to think and relate to any bad experience that disappointed you initially, but later turned to be in your favour. “Your excuses are seducers, your fears are liars and your doubts are thieves.”—So do not let any of these deter you. It’s not going to be an easy road as earlier mentioned. You would want to ditch the idea of The 5AM Club every single morning, but only a consistent effort will lead to a beautiful change and a better you, a better us and a better society in large. Encourage as many people around as possible to be the change. This book is not to be shelved, but passed onto younger generations who are gullible enough to adapt to things easily. Let The 5AM Club be the new generations’ bible while we learn to adapt to it now, because it is never too late. Otherwise, as the book says, “Too many among us die at thirty and our buried at eighty.”—a powerful line to awaken your soul and rouse you. It continues to say, “If you sense your life’s a mess right now, this is simply because your fears are just a little stronger than your faith. With practice, you can turn down the volume of the voice of your scared self. And increase the tone of your most triumphant side.” Thus, practice and consistency is the key!

Leave your comments below, letting me know what you think about of the book review. Was it helpful? Also, if you have read the book or willing to read, do share your thoughts.

Pages: 314

Publisher: Jaico

Buy: https://amzn.to/2E0aPQJ

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Book Review: The Spy by Paulo Coelho

In The Spy, Paulo Coelho shares an intriguing set of incidents related to Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” MacLeod, popularly known by the stage name Mata Hari. She was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan. She was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I.

The beauty of this book by Coelho is that it revolves around a real character with real incidents with a touch of fiction. Little did I know about Mata Hari before I got my hands onto this book. Perhaps that was one reason to stay glued to the book other than the captivating style of writing the author possess. The story begins drawing an imagery of a strong and independent woman and of course not on a very positive connotation, “Her only crime was to be an independent woman.”  This gives a subtle underlying message of a woman who has lived on her own terms and has not been treated well by the society. The first few paragraphs in it unfold the challenges Mata Hari had faced from being penniless when she arrived in Paris to being an affluent dancer within a few months. A couple of pages in the book only talk about the luxury items she used to carry in her suitcases while she used to travel from one part of the country to another for her dance shows.  She was as bewitching a courtesan as she was a dancer and ‘the era’s richest and most powerful men’ dreamed about her and some of them also made up to her.

Various events in her life unfold and have been presented in an exceptionally dramatic and fascinating manner, so much so that I could not stop myself from going over and beyond the book to know more about Mata Hari. And, to also probably relate how much of what Paulo Coelho has written is her real life and how much of it is a fiction. Paulo Coelho in his usual style has managed to generate curiosity around the protagonist and score brownie points for revealing a character not many know in today’s world. The lady dancer was having the best days of her life, breaking the conventions, setting her own rules, raging popularity, getting attention from all influential men until she had to pay a hefty price.

The scene moves to World War I, when the country was only suspicious about each other’s activities, Mata Hari’s lifestyle came to question. She was arrested on accusation charges of espionage. The story moves in the form of letter exchanges between the protagonist and her lawyer. She was alleged to be a spy agent for France and Germany. Part of the story also traverses through her thoughts between writing letters and waiting for the final verdict. She discloses various events of her life from being sexually abused by her school principle to receiving materialist favors against sex to her other encounters with men and eventually self-realization of how wasteful her life had been.

She has been projected to be guilty of the choices she made and her heart full of remorse and repentance except considering working as a spy when she says, “I am a woman who was born at the wrong time and nothing can be done to fix this. I don’t know if the future will remember me, but if it does, may it never see me as a victim, but as someone who moved forward with courage, fearlessly paying the price she had to pay.”

Somewhere the book lacked the charm of a typical Paulo Coelho book, mainly because unlike his other books, there was no takeaway for the reader. Despite portraying a strong renowned character, the feeling of content and joy to know such a character was somehow missing. Had it not been for the love of author I enjoy reading, I would not have picked up this book. I’m sure it impacts differently to different people as those who would have known about her history and grew in Holland, Paris hearing about her in stories would be able to relate better. While I did my petty research to do a comparative study on the amount of fiction and reality that’s been presented in The Spy, I came across an exciting piece on National Geographic, exclusively on Mata Hari if you may wish to read more about her (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2017/11-12/mata-hari-history-killing/).

Pages: 186

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: https://www.amazon.in/Spy-Paulo-Coelho/dp/0143429167

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Death is Never an Option

Losing someone close to you is painful, however what’s more painful is not being able to comprehend the pain a person must have been going through when he was alive. The entire nation is mourning over Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate and unnatural death. People are also emphasising on mental health and with open arms welcoming people to pour their heart unto them. Then the same majority is busy trolling the Bollywood bigwigs on promoting Nepotism. I fail to understand why people are so judgemental all the time. Not a single being on this earth is a pure soul. People who leave no stone unturned in pinpointing others are full of profanity. They are the real troublemakers.

I am extremely heartbroken with Sushant’s death because it reminds me of losing someone dear under somewhat similar circumstances. Having said that I am absolutely not in favour of blaming anyone and putting them down because then there’s no difference between something that may have worried the passed away actor and our actions. Everyone has their own fate. Life’s full of struggle and you got to face the challenges and be strong enough. Someone has rightly said, “Tough times never last, tough people do.”

Our society is full of hypocrites. They are best at humiliating someone by their own damn statements. Targeting someone in particular can lead a person in the same situation as other. Stop bullying! Which industry doesn’t promote nepotism? I have worked with big media houses all my life and I hated this industry only because of the nepotistic approach, biases and ruthlessness. Although I have always and throughout loved my work, not the double standard people I’ve worked with. Giving up is never a solution, fighting and overcoming every bit of a challenge is.

Not sure what mental state of a person forces him or her to take this extreme step of suicide. I’m sure it’s just in the spur of a moment. I neither promote this act nor do I hold respect for people who take this dire step only because it’s not the person who dies, it’s also the family and friends whom he takes along. Some crucial part of his or her loved ones always go with the person who departs from this world.

Everyone makes way through hardships on his own. Some get the support from “godfathers” and some may not reach to that height because they had none, and it’s absolutely frustrating but fine. Live with it! Either learn to bend or learn to accept and move on. There’s no way one can break you until you do.

Who doesn’t have problems? Who doesn’t face difficulties? Who doesn’t face sarcasm and bully? Who doesn’t have to fight hard with the system and wrong practices to make space for themselves? Everyone has to and so have I. Plenty of times!

I feel proud to have stood strong and faced the problems all alone. I never stood silent, always fought for what was wrong. Yes, the outcome was either I was pushed to extremes or I moved on. In both the situations I was always content that at least I spoke and fought for my rights or for the rights of other people. This is no great act, it’s normal. Why am I sharing this is so that more and more people can speak up against bullies.

I had a boss who misused his power in order to control people. He treated people like bonded labours, shouted at them in a way that even your parents would not have yelled at you that way. You would feel ashamed of working in such an environment, coming from a decent family and professional atmosphere. Some managers make people work with respect and some with fear, he used the latter. He would make everyone work 16 hours and inhumanly call you the 20th hour for more work and then even shout at people, insult them for hardly any fault without appreciating their efforts even for once. I was stunned. Why? Because I had seen people tremble while talking to him, they fumbled because of the fear to be shouted and insulted more. Moreover, in my entire career of almost fifteen years I had never come across a manager like that.

I had worked in professionally sound places and having a sound work culture. Even in my family had I not seen anyone raising their voice on any individual. This was terrible, shocking and inhuman. I flagged some of the issues, knowing nothing would happen because I was trying to raise concerns relating the top guy who can use/ misuse his power. Sure, nothing happened as expected but there’s always a sense of satisfaction to give him back as he would think twice before ill-treating others.

Speak up! Bring to light such bullies and idiots who think high of themselves. If you do not speak up neither would you be at peace nor would this professional manhandling stop. Fight it out and don’t give up. Be it any industry, you’ll always find such people. Bring them to limelight so that their acts are known to the world. Do not leave it on people to speculate. Dying is not a solution! You can save so many lives by guiding them from taking one wrong step. Remember, God is your saviour and He always has a bigger plan for you so don’t be afraid and don’t give up on life. All God wants is to see you fight through.

If you have faced something similar please share in comments and leave your thoughts.

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शहर छोड़ दिया मैंने

दो वक़्त की रोटी को मैं निकला था गाँव से

अम्मा बिलख-बिलख रोई , बापू भी थे बौराये से  

क्यों जाते हो शहर को, इन खेतों को पीछे छोड़

अपना घर यह गांव है, बाकी सब है माया मोह

न आई बात समझ तब, चल दिए सीना चौड़ा कर

शहरों में पैसा है, गाँव में आखिर रखा क्या है

एक छोटा सा है खेत, खून पसीना बहे अपार  

आंधी तूफ़ान आये और कर दे सब बेकार

गर आंधी से बच जाए धान, कितना मै पाउँगा

कुछ आ भी जावे तो क्या ही बचाऊंगा

अरे घर कैसे चलाऊंगा जब है बड़ा परिवार

इसलिए अनसुनी करके, निकला था लाचार

किया मजूरी, धक्के खाए, सहे हर हालात

भीषण सर्दी गर्मी में न लौटा अपने गाँव

गांव जहा थक जाने पर माँ गर्म दूध पिलाती थी

नीम की ठंडी पुरवाई सारे गम भुलाती थी

कुछ पैसों के लिए बनाया अनजान शहर को अपना

आ पड़ी विपदा जिसका नाम था कोरोना

हालात फिर बदले बोला निकलो अपने घर

ये शहर नहीं था अपना, कोई न था हमदर्द

चल दिए पथिक हम वापिस अपना झोला लेकर

क्या होगा आगे इसकी किसी को न थी खबर

न जेब में पैसा, न ही खाने का कोई ठिकाना था

चल दिए हौसला लेकर, तिनके सा कोई सहारा न था

कितने मीलों दूर चलें, चप्पल ने भी साथ छोड़ दिया

दो सूखी रोटी खा के, गाओं की ओर रुख मोड़ लिया

फटी बिवाई, निकला खून, तार की उन सड़कों पर

जो शहर को जोड़े गाओं की उन कच्ची गलियों पर

वो लम्बा सफर तय कर, अधमरा सा घर पहुंचा हूँ

अब लगा यहाँ अपनापन, शहरों में बस धोखा है

सब भागे कमाने की खातिर, न मनुष्यता, न प्रेम है

जहाँ देखो वही बस इंसानों की होड़ है

नहीं चाहिए ज़्यादा पैसा, करनी नहीं मजूरी  

गाँव मेरा घर है, शहर जाना नहीं ज़रूरी

दो वक़्त की रोटी, यहीं रहकर कमाऊंगा

अब शहर नहीं जाऊंगा, अब शहर नहीं जाऊंगा

Wrote this a month back in the plight of migrants during COVID-19, posting it now. Hope you like it. To follow my daily updates and content follow me on Instagram @appy.tales.

Book Review || Sur/Petition by Edward de Bono

I had mentioned in one of my Instagram posts, “Life is about constantly working on yourself.” Further to this, the excellent book by author Edward de Bono, explains the necessity of going over and beyond competition to sustain and win in the global marketplace. Edward de Bono, the author of this book encapsulates the need to move beyond old competitive strategies. In a world, where everyone’s constantly thinking of going ahead of their competition, it is time to focus more on creating/ manufacturing value that goes a long way i.e. competing with yourself.

The book is for individuals, who are competitive, creative and always strive to go over and beyond, especially when it comes to strategic thinking. We anxiously watch and focus on what others are doing, and often forget to translate our own thoughts and to work towards value creation. Competition is just a bottom line to any business and is a traditional way of looking at things. What’s more important in today’s time of global connectivity and marketplace is to unleash the vast potential of ‘integrated values’ that revolves around any business. A deep study, research, knowledge and understanding of any business is important to be in the competition. However, reinventing ways to go beyond competition by exploiting and leveraging strategies and values, around the product or service you aim at, makes all the difference.

What I loved about the book is, it’s published in 1993 and each word stands true to this day. Bono talks about preparing for the time when there’s a slump in the economy. He also mentions how it is important to stand out if one deploys serious creativity, concept design and R&D and elaborates on the application of each one of these. Although the book speaks more from the business mindset, it is yet well relatable to any profession you are in. I could relate to it from being a marketing & branding professional to also as an entrepreneur.

It will inspire you to go beyond not just average but beat the best of the bests through quality, creativity and giving serious value for anything. The book does not say that the competition is wrong; it just tells you how to think beyond the competition. In other words, to be extraordinary, it’s important to beat the ordinary by providing unexpected products and services. You can’t just replicate business to be in the global marketplace because if you do so, you’ll never be able to create a monopoly. Monopoly is the art of ‘Sur/Petition’. It is the art of breaking the rules by unleashing the value propositions to stay ahead of the game. Being the best or producing the best is not enough in today’s competitive world. Sur/Petition is the need of the hour because value backed with strong strategy, concept and R&D can never go wrong.

Bono explains every aspect of the behavior in a world of competition to the aspects that fall under sur/petition and how the two are different. With thorough experience and life examples, he has done an incredible job in writing this book for generations to come. There’s lot to learn and follow. The initial few chapters would make you feel; you know things already because we have been in the competition state always. Do not stop there. The second half of the book brings you the interesting ways to stay ahead of competition through sur/petition. Go on, read this book and leave in comments how you felt about the book. Please like and share if you found this review useful and follow me on my social media.

Pages: 240

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: https://amzn.to/2MmlPbQ

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An Ode to Lockdown 2020

I do the dishes, my nails get chipped,

And, I often forget to do my hair.

I juggle between my work and household chores,

Unlike the times earlier.

My hair is all messy these days,

My dress mostly a pair of pyjamas.

I do the laundry, broom and wipe,

And, cook various meals in a day.

Unsure, if I should crib or be thankful,

Of the time that made me do all this.

Making me value all workers, domestic help,

And respecting the hard labour they put in.

The job we sometimes think to be menial,

Is extremely cumbersome.

I’ve treated every being with respect,

I do now more than ever.

Lockdown has taught me not to take things for granted,

Since they don’t come your way easily.

Life can go topsy-turvy any moment,

Make the most of it before it flees!!!

YouTube link for the video: https://youtu.be/UIShNKwg7S0

Book Review: India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha

Just finished reading India after Gandhi. It is a book written by Ramachandra Guha, an Indian historian and economist. I must say it carries intricate details of the post-independence era. One thing, however, needs a mention that the book completely and absolutely revolves around Nehruism.

Someone has rightly said that people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. This book made me realize how true that is and how ignorant we are of the factual reality. Our academic books did not cover any of these and we have no good reason to distil the facts. We were made to study the Akbars and Aurangzebs, however, never was there a clear picture of what happened post-independence.

The book unveils all the challenges, disturbances and also on various occasions reinstates, how none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could run the country, shattered in pieces. Quote unquote, Pandit Nehru followed and directed Gandhi Ji’s dreams and principles. Both wanted a secular country—one not divided by religion, caste, creed, ideologies, and language. I believe, this became the base for all irrelevant measures taken or important actions not taken, during the period after Gandhi.

Little did it talk about Lal Bahadur Shastri. Where we all until date, speculate and debate reasons of his death, Guha in one line has simply presented saying, he died of a heart attack. Period!

The era of Indira Gandhi’s regime is then described very meticulously in full length and breadth. Guha is known to have his loyalties towards Nehru dynasty and the Left-wing. Time and again he has also been criticized to distort facts and truths, however, I’m not the right person to comment on that as I, and rather all of us have been kept aloof of the real facts.

What we have is the Left version of facts and the Right version. Till date, we do not know what’s the actual version of ‘India After Gandhi’. The best thing about the book is, if you are not thoroughly aware of the flow of incidents or the background, you will get ample of information and knowledge here. The book covers a lot of chronological details wherein, you’ll not just refresh your memory but also fill the gaps of historical events.

My advice would be to chew this book, but do not digest it. This 900 pages book is addictive, interesting and at least worth a read. You must always know all sides of the version to make the right choice. The ball is in your court!

Please leave in comments, your opinion about the book review or the book, if you have read it.

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Jallianwala Bagh Through My Lens

Jallianwala Bagh, a place that witnessed the worst massacre on April 13, 1919. If you’ll visit the place you will realise the agony which the masses had undergone with no escape at all.

They were shot dead by the British Indian Army on the orders of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.

Pic 1 – The only entrance and exit the place has, which led to thousands of people entering the garden for a gathering. Who knew they would never exit the place

Pic 2 – The narrow lane of the corridor which could not allow people in such large numbers to exit and save their lives

Pic 3 – Windows of rot iron where the army men climbed to point their guns towards the unarmed Indian public

Pic 4 – Now, there’s a pyramid like stone, kept to depict the spot from where gunmen shot thousands of bullets in all directions. They horrifically killed masses which included men, women and kids

Pic 5 – The wall which has many bullet marks safeguarded till date

Pic 6 – The well which engulfed many bodies of people who jumped in it as an only option to save themselves, but unfortunately could not

Pic 7 – Granite stones mounted on a wall with history etched on them in golden ink in languages – English, Gurmukhi, Hindi

Pic 8 – Flame shaped memorial in the memory of the tragic incident and those who lost lives

Winston Churchill called the 1919 massacre of Indian protesters “monstrous.” Queen Elizabeth said it was “distressing.” Prime Minister David Cameron went with “deeply shameful.”

However, none of the Britain officially ever apologised for the grave mishap.

I’m deeply touched with the incident and whenever I think of it, the flash of incident appears before my eyes as if I was present there.

On this day, I take the opportunity to pay my tribute to thousands of families who lost their loved ones and the souls who battled till their last breath for survival. Jai Hind!!

Quarantining, Are You? Here Are Some Smart Ways to Do It

100 ways to quarantine and it’s not gardening. Read on…

Quarantining has become the most trending topic due to the uncalled guest, COVID-19. Nevertheless, it has brought people back to basics, giving us a time that was missing in our lives since last many years.

If you look at the positive side, forgetting the worries and boredom for some time, quarantine has helped quaran-teaming while sitting at home. Meetings which otherwise looked difficult, management who could hardly trust their employees have all come together on Skype, Zoom In and alike to connect and plan further on a day-to-day basis.

Quaran-tone has become another popular thing. What can people post on social media, especially the influencers, sitting at home? Thus, posting regular fitness videos and yoga asanas have become the in-thing. People have started taking care of them in a more serious and disciplined manner. Else, they would end up being a couch potato, which hardly anyone wants in today’s time.

Quaran-time, the best time when you socialise on live-chats, video chat with your multiple friends and family through one window. Never have I ever been so social in the last five years. The busy routine at work kept me aloof. I used to forget calling back my well-wishers and now I simply can’t do without seeing them at least once in a day.

Not only that it is also the time to quaran-tame. Many of my friends are taking out time to train their pet. Taming, loving, patting, treating and spending time with furry kids, who otherwise longed for hours for us to come back home after a 10-hour shift at work and driving through the traffic. The adorable doodles are finding it terrific.

Not sure about others, however, one thing I would love to mention is quaran-toming around this period. After ages, I have picked a scholarly book on Indian history, extremely bulky, and the good part is I’m about to finish it. I started reading it twice before but due to lack of time, gave up after a few pages.

Quarantining is not that gloomy as you see. All you need to do is make the most of this time as it’s hopefully never going to come back, I wish. So, hum to your favourite quaran-tunes, tap your feet, click your fingers and try some moves. Try all that can keep your spirits high. Learn new things, polish old ones and sing to glory.

No time is bad. It’s just the way you perceive it. Help people in need by donating in whatever little way you can, supporting them howsoever possible. Spread positivity and absorb good vibes. You can’t get everything so live in the moment and make the most of it. Quarantine has so much to offer if you redirect your energies to learn and evolve. Don’t just quarantine, pick one of your types and share your stay home story in the comments. Stay home, stay safe!!

This is #MyStayHomeStory. What’s yours? Leave in the comment and use the above hashtag.

From Janta Curfew to Lockdown and Everything In-between

Janta Curfew to Lockdwine during COVID-19
Get addicted to good things and withdraw from the bad ones!!!

We often plan big things for ourselves without knowing what the next moment hold for us. Corona came to our lives in one such way–unpredictable, unexpected and without any prior warning. People initially took it as just another news, until the hard-hitting news of rising death tolls from neighbouring countries and the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation hit our screens.

Was it too difficult to understand that we are facing a global pandemic and have to follow some precautionary measures? Well, I fail to understand how and why. Much before the Janta Curfew, I asked my domestic help if she was aware of the situation and she told me two things; firstly, there’s some disease which is being spread (she, of course, wasn’t much aware of the details) and secondly, to keep distance with people who have cough and fever. I added whatever more information I could add to her knowledge and told her to keep washing her hands, use sanitizer despite washing which I had kept especially for her and also maintain hygiene in her family and teach her kids the same. One more day at work and Janta Curfew was announced. We both have been at our respective houses since then.

The point I want to make here is that if the government has a role to play in such a crisis, so does the community. We can complain endlessly about what the government is not doing or should have done better, while we as an individual fail to carry our small responsibilities of educating people of the situation, if not more. Nevertheless, these testing times I’m sure shall bring some positive changes in every individual’s life. Somewhere, in the daily race of making a living, we had forgotten what the essence of life is–What it means to be with the family without taking a call or being on WhatsApp, how fun it is to catch up with childhood or college friends and exchange some pictures of the birthdays we used to attend, how sometimes cooking becomes a recreational activity for partners and taking care of your mind, body and soul brings out a new you.

Sounds great, isn’t it? So here I am sharing all that the first week of quarantine taught me.

Being at home – I think the most challenging phase was the first 2-3 days when I was clueless and did not know how to spend time simply sitting at home. I was going crazy! There was no specific time to sleep, but the waking up happened to be on the usual time dot 6.30 am and then do what? On the third day, I made up my mind to sleep on time and plan my next day to finish most of my work during the office hours. Read a book in the night and fall asleep. I have successfully learned the art of being at home.

Managing my chores – It has mostly been either office work or home chores for me. For the first time, I could plan my day and manage 100 per cent of both simultaneously without compromising on any of the two. My home looks like a prettier version of home, with cleaner and greener corners as I’ve strategically placed green plants in my living area. It feels good!

Finding time for self – Despite double the work, spend time on social media, watch News and web series, do something creative at least one day a week. But, most importantly exercise/ yoga and meditation for physical and mental development is extremely crucial in today’s time, which was missing from my daily routine. No matter how hard I tried with work, the daily driving and traffic took a toll and I ended up exasperated with no energy left to do anything by the time I was back home. This only energizes me and keeps me super active to be more productive.

Finishing all pending tasks – Pick all the pending tasks one by one be it some half-done painting, a craft, a write-up or a novel; finish it off. There will be no better time than this. If you look at the positive side, you have also been wanting this time for yourself. Now that you are doing some good by being at home, do some good cleaning the clutter and finishing the unaccomplished projects.

Getting over of online shopping addiction – Yes, a very common thing and thanks to this time when all online services are suspended, I find myself withdrawing the cravings of shopping online. Although groceries, veggies and milk do become a necessity, I still feel better without having the urge to buy anything non-utility!

Reading books I never had time to finish – Pick a book you always wanted to read but knew had no time to finish. I have picked up a book on Indian history I always wanted to finish. I tried twice reading it earlier but left it mid-way because of the lack of time. I’m glad I could make it this time.

Planning itineraries I have been dreaming of – Most of you would know by now, how big a travel freak I am. One thing I love the most doing nowadays is planning itineraries for my dream destinations. This might sound weird, but by doing this I keep myself updated on my favourite subject while I plan for my future travel. Additionally, as I have been counselling some folks on travelling, I am doing my bit and preparing myself well in advance.

All in all, I am an extremely optimistic person who has firmly believed since a very young age that whatever happens happens for good. I have the least doubt that these testing times certainly have something good in store for everyone. However, waiting for the time to get over and do nothing will be insane. Get up, make a wishlist of the things you always wanted to pursue or complete but could not due to lack of time and take it one-by-one. The satisfaction you will get after you start achieving them will be unparalleled. I shared my wishlist with you, time to know yours. Leave in comments some of the things you always wanted to do and now getting the time to do it. Stay home, stay safe and upgrade yourself for the post-quarantine period.