Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Complete/Convenient by Ketan Bhagat

On the jacket:


How is life outside India? Like they show in ‘Karan Johar’ type of Bollywood movies!

How is life in India? Like they show in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ type of Hollywood movies! 

Have you ever wondered why NRIs long for India? Sitting on their pile of dollars, freedom, cleanliness and convenience, they often talk about the land full of scams, jams, crowds and corruption. 

Just like a real life is full of fantasy dreams, can a fantasy life be full of ‘reality’ dreams? 

What is it about an Indian life that fascinates those living outside it… even those who voluntarily left it themselves? 

Welcome to the world of Kabir, a twenty-something software sales professional aspiring to relocate overseas. Charming, humorous, street smart and interesting, Kabir is a typical boy who loves life. The kind of boy usually Ranbir Kapoor plays in movies. Living in Mumbai with his best friend, who is his complete opposite and a walking-talking ‘excel sheet’, and in regular touch with his forthright girlfriend and family in Delhi, Kabir’s life is full on. 

Elated on being transferred to Australia, Kabir quickly gets married and hops onto the next flight to Sydney. Dazzled by the glamorous free-spirited Aussie world, the newly-married honeymooning couple soon find themselves living a life beyond their rosiest imaginations. A quick professional success acts as a further icing on the cake. 

But as time flies and the humdrum of married and professional life take over, realizations of loneliness and helplessness underlying an envious NRI life begin to surface. Worst come, the relationships left behind are beginning to wither. As his best friend and family battle through unexpected crisis and Kabir himself gets embroiled in professional challenges, balancing between the two worlds – Australia and India – becomes a stressful lone battle. 

Based on emotions that every NRI and people related to NRI go through, “Complete / Convenient” sensitively journeys through characters and situations that the author, like every NRI, personally experienced during his stint out of India (including four years in Sydney).

Review:

Another Bhagat novel. But before anyone of us starts reading this, we need to keep all comparisons aside and treat an author on his own right. I had to remind this to myself before I began reading, hence I am stating this, to anyone who would be reading this review.

Complete/Convenient is exactly what the cover pic suggests, which complete showing India and convenient showing Australia. We all feel at home, with our families, in our own land. We feel convenient here. Yet, we travel and live abroad for convenience. Convenience of earning more and then sending it back home, converted to India Rupees. While convenience takes us farther from home, it's at home where we feel complete. The tagline, however, could have been done without.

Written from an NRIs perspective, which Bhagat is, Complete/Convenient is a very sweet, heart warming and honest story. No pretentions, no over the top narration, nothing that will scream out loud from the book that, "This is the last time I am reading this author."

Bhagat clearly writes well.  For me, what added to this impression was his description of how he had bothered a whole lot of people to read the draft of this book, because he was not sure if it was good enough. A vivid description of Australia, for someone who hasn't travelled down under. If you are an NRI, you will relate to this book. If you are planning to migrate out of India, this book will give you a clear picture of how you will start to feel once the novelty of the new country wears off. 

Complete/Convenient is a story about Kabir, newly married and recently moved to Sydney, hoping to make life better. Glad to be away from problems, depressing political situation, power cuts, traffic jams, sky high prices and a string of things he wants to leave behind in India, Kabir is sure life in Sydney will be much better.

But, is it? How much? And is it worth it?

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Srishti Publishers & Distributors. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Book Review: Law of Averages: A Hilarious Love Story-Filmi Ishtyle by Kshitish Padhy

On the jacket:

Ritwik is your average boy next door, struggling to make it as a scriptwriter in the Comics industry and his love story will take you through a rollercoaster ride, full of thrill and adventure, mishaps and most unexpected twists and turns. 

Ritwik's amazing love story starts with a drab bus journey from Meerut to Delhi, until he meets Shubhangi and falls head over heels in love. Determined to marry Shubhangi, Ritwik goes all out to impress his prospective father-in-law, but only ends up messing his personal and professional life. Will he win the biggest gamble of his life by risking his career and embarking on a wild goose chase simply to appease the eccentric professor? With the odds stacked against him, Ritwik, a born loser is hoping for the Law of Averages to finally catch up with him.

Get set to enjoy this romantic, funny, whimsical and outrightly crazy journey undertaken by Ritwik to win the love of his life!

Review:

A book with a very interesting cover, Law of Averages is all that your mind can conjure up when you glance at it's cover. In a plot where one of the protagonists is not an IIT/IIM pass out or working in advertising/tv channels etc, Ritwik with his struggling career in the comics industry is a breath of fresh air. An average guy who doesn't even have luck on his side, most of the times, he embarks on a journey to Meerut for a new life and career. 

The plot takes a usual turn where Ritwik meets Shubhangi while on his trip back to Delhi and cupid strikes. Alongside runs a parallel story of Ritwik's friend Sushant and his lady love, Arpita. 

The plot definitely is filmy, as the tag line on the cover suggests. If you have grown up reading Raj comics, then you will fondly remember the various characters from the books, once you have read this story. The narrative is casual and easily identifiable for new readers as well. References to characters from Raj comics keep cropping up from time to time, to keep the reader nostalgic.

Editing could have been a bit tighter, but overall a decent, light, and funny travel read which will not let you get bored.

Rating: ***.5/5

[This review is for Paper Clip Books. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Book Review: Falling in love again by Ruskin Bond

On the jacket:


Once I saw her, leaning over the balcony railing. I stopped the taxi and waved to her. She waved back, smiling like the sun breaking through clouds.

Suffused with warmth and passion, the stories in Falling in Love Again showcase the myriad variations of romantic lovefleeting, intimate, joyous, heartbreaking. Featuring classic stories by Ruskin Bond, such as The Eyes Have It and The Girl from Copenhagen, this stirring collection captures the range of feelings that are indubitably part of the infinite spectrum of love.

Review:

I doubt anyone would even be reading this review. I mean, why would anyone want to know the review of a Ruskin Bond book? His books are to be blindly picked,  and enjoyed, coupled with a mug of piping hot chocolate and a heavy downpour outside. Nevertheless, I simply need to write this review, just to express how soothing a read Falling in love again is!

Not a love story, as the title suggests, it's about falling in love again. A collection of short stories, each one will touch strings, you never knew existed in your heart. The book is dedicated to Vishal and Rekha Bharadwaj. I have been lucky to hear about a part of their love story and seeing this dedication made me smile. How sweet! Any couple which has braved the world to be together and has then braved each other, to be with each other, to me is a great example of love and it's ways.

The book is a perfect collection of reads - short stories, poems, message of flowers,  and extracts from other stories by Bond, including the very famous The Room On The Top.

Rating: *****/5

[This is a personal read.]

Book Review: Dhandha: How Gujaratis Do Business by Shobha Bondre; Translated by Shalaka Walimbe

On the jacket:



Dhandha, meaning business, is a term often used in common trade parlance in India. But there is no other community that fully embodies what the term stands for than the Gujaratis.

Shobha Bondre’s Dhandha is the story of a few such Gujaratis: Jaydev Patel—the New York Life Insurance agent credited with having sold policies worth $2.5 billion so far; Bhimjibhai Patel—one of the country’s biggest diamond merchants and co-founder of the ambitious ‘Diamond Nagar’ in Surat; Dalpatbhai Patel—the motelier who went on to become the mayor of Mansfield County; Mohanbhai Patel—a former Sheriff of Mumbai and the leading manufacturer of aluminium collapsible tubes; and Hersha and Hasu Shah—owners of over a hundred hotels in the US.

Travelling across continents—from Mumbai to the United States—in search of their story and the common values that bond them, Dhandha showcases the powerful ambition, incredible capacity for hard work, and the inherent business sense of the Gujaratis.

Review:

I like reading about entrepreneurs. So reading Dhandha, about five of Gujarat's successful businessmen was intriguing. A foreword by the state CM and an introduction by the state's brand ambassador didn't work for me. Dhandha is a well conceptualised, nicely written book. I fail to see the political backing, or maybe I am reading it wrong.

There were a few things my logic doesn't agree with. Like when someone is ready to toil and work for 20-22 hours (first story), why not use a few hours out of that, to gain education. I am a Bengali and the only way I know to earn money is by studying, gaining qualifications and thus making myself sellable in the job market, to bring back to moolahs. I understand concepts and priorities differ from community to community, so while in no way am I saying, putting all your energy in earning money is what I would want my children to do, I accept knowing how a Gujarati's mind works when it comes to business, is fascinating.

Back to the book, it is about five businessmen in five stories. Diamonds are forever talks about Bhimjibhai Patel, we get to read about Mohanbhai Patel in The Circle Of Life, and about Dalpatbhai Patel in Motelier becomes Mayor, while Life Of A Salesman tells us Jaydev Patel's story and we meet Hasu & Hersha Shah in Not Only Potels. Every story is inspiration and teaches the same values our parents have tried to inculcate in us - work hard and dream big. Only and only if you are ready to work hard for every awake moment of the day, can you taste success in whatever you do and once you reach there, you cannot just stop dreaming. 

A good read and unputdownable to an extent, Dhandha is a book all entrepreneurs should read and get inspiration from. In fact, in a country like India, where there are people of so many religions, castes and communities, there should be more such books. There is so much to learn from each state, a talking about how and why the locals are the way they are, would be very enriching

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Book Review: One Last Time by Shubham Arora

On the jacket:


One phone call changes it all for him. Her phone call. After one full year. She is in the US, informing him about her marriage. She wants to meet him.

He had moved on, at least that’s what he had made himself believe. Unsure of everything, he books a flight from New York to Carolina to give his past the final closure.

The journey brings all the painful memories back to him. They have both come a long way since they first met as kids and then again as adults, before parting ways and . . . moving on.

But flight 1549 is not destined to reach its destination. Unaware and oblivious, he is lost in his memories of her.

Ambala. New Delhi. New York.

Love. Career. Distance. Longing. Separation.

Will he realize her importance in his life? Will she ever find out who she is actually meant for?

What if he doesn't live up to the day to meet her one last time?

Review:

Two people in love. They separate. He moves on, or so he believes. And then comes a phone call. A call from across continents, telling him, she is getting married and wants to meet him one last time. He sets of to meet her. The book takes you on a journey from Ambala to New Delhi to New York. But will he meet her? This is what One Last Time is about. 

A story about Ishaan and Tithi, who have known each year since they were toddlers, they grew up together, dated and then broke up. Almost a year later, she is getting married and he is on his way to meet her. Immersed in his thoughts of her, and memories of them together, Ishaan wonders if he can tell her he still loves her. You average love story amongst the 20-something gets a special twist when the reader is faced with the climax. 

The author has done a commendable job in spinning a concise story, characters are well-developed and the plot has a certain innovation to it, which makes it better than every other regular boy-girl love stories. Editing, however, leaves a bit to be desired. Sweet story.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Paper Clip Books. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Book Review: The Pedant In The Kitchen by Julian Barnes

On the jacket:


The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire. A stern critic of himself and others, he knows he is never going to invent his own recipes (although he might, in a burst of enthusiasm, increase the quantity of a favourite ingredient). Rather, he is a recipe-bound follower of the instructions of others. It is in his interrogations of these recipes, and of those who create them, that the Pedant's true pedantry emerges. How big, exactly, is a 'lump'? Is a 'slug' larger than a 'gout'? When does a 'drizzle' become a downpour? And what is the difference between slicing and chopping? This book is a witty and practical account of Julian Barnes' search for gastronomic precision. It is a quest that leaves him seduced by Jane Grigson, infuriated by Nigel Slater, and reassured by Mrs Beeton's Victorian virtues. The Pedant in the Kitchen is perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook and is something that none of Julian Barnes' legion of admirers will want to miss.

Review:

Books on food and cooking seem to be the latest trend. I say so, as this is the second such book I am reviewing in 10 days and lucky me, both proved to be exceptional. I picked this book out of sheer inquisitiveness. I mean, Julian Barnes writing about food? Whoa! Barnes is a very high level literary figure and while I have only read him once before (and loved!), this was a new genre for him.

A collection of short essays, in The Pedant In The Kitchen has spoken about why most cookbooks don't work for us, primarily because we try to follow the recipe as a rule book. Pedant: someone who pays a lot of attention to guidelines and details. He sympathises with the likes of us, who are not very good in the kitchen, but would love to cook good food for their friends and family. But recipe books confuse us; (eg) if a recipe says, a spoonful of sugar, what do we make of it - level or heaped?

Hillarious, insightful, sympathetic and logical, The Pedant In The Kitchen goes in my list of favourite books; the kinds which I refer to people to read. So, why don't you try as well!

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: The Other Side Of The Table by Madhumita Mukherjee

On the jacket:



Circa 1990.
A world drawn and woven with words. 
A bond punctuated by absence and distance...
Two continents. Two cities. Two people.
And letters. Hundreds of them.
Over years. Across oceans. Between hearts.
Between Abhi, who is training to be a neurosurgeon in London, and Uma, who is just stepping into the world of medicine in Kolkata. 
As they ink their emotions onto paper, their lives get chronicled in this subtly nuanced conversation through letters ... letters about dreams, desires, heartbreaks, and longings... about a proverbial good life falling apart, about a failed marriage, a visceral loss, and about a dream that threatens social expectations...
Letters that talk. And don't. Letters about this and that. Letters about everything...
Letters with a story you would never expect.

Review:

I really don't know where to begin talking about The Other Side Of The Table. I have already recommended it to people and somewhere deep within, I want more people to read this. I want my mother to read this book, I know she will connect to it. I placed an order for this upon seeing the reviews on goodreads by other readers. And I was not disappointed at all. 

Nowadays, only once in a while does there come a book which makes you stop reading, go back a few pages, and read a certain page again. The Other Side Of The Table is one such book. The book is a collection of letters between Abhi and Uma over the period of 1990-99. Abhi is training to become a neurosurgeon in London and Uma, joins medical college in Kolkata, when the book begins. They used to be neighbours when Abhi was in India, and despite a decade of difference in their ages, they were very close friends.

The friendship Abhi and Uma share is remarkable. It left an ache in my heart which I cannot quite put to words. Not a sad ache, a retrospective ache. Over the period of almost a decade when they are writing to each other, Abhi and Uma live each other lives through these notes; cry for, laugh with, worry about make fun of, be supportive of each other. Somewhere in between, even they didn't realise, these letters became their life supports. Emotions and human behaviour have been depicted in such subtle yet exemplary manner, one would be surprised it is the author's first book.

There were a couple of times in the duration of reading this book, when I had to stop to cry. Or want to hurry and finish just to know what happens next. I'd got that involved with the two.

One thing that stuck me was that the author was brought up in Delhi and now lives in England. But if you are a Bengali, you will understand what I mean when I say - the way she wrote about Uma's life and surroundings, it felt like she herself was sitting in an old south Kolkata house, with green windows and red floors, and writing the book.

Oh! And the absolute blonde moment that I faced. I spent a few minutes wondering why Abhi and Uma are talking about Grey's Anatomy back in 1990. Silly me, the only Grey's Anatomy I know of, is the tele-series and not the book which medical students refer to!

If you have loved Gurney's Love Letters, or our own adaptation of the same, Tumhari Amrita, you will love The Other Side Of The Table as well. The similarity stops at the point that the themes are same, but Mukherjee has given her debut book a very intriguing finish.  

Rating: ****/5

[This was a personal read.]

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: Seven Days Without You by Anmol Rana

On the jacket:

‘Seven Days Without You’ is a story of two childhood friends that finds its destiny only when they live seven days away from each other. What the joyous life of years together couldn’t unearth, was dug out by the heart breaking realities of seven days that were no less than a new life for him– one where his child hood friend was not with him.

The protagonist, Vishwas is all set for his first job. Enthralled with excitement the small town ‘mummy-papa’ boy leaves for Delhi and would return after seven days. His seven days without Shailja do not happen as he thought they would. His dreams ruined, expectations shattered and fantasies turned into nightmares, he realizes that life isn’t as simple as it looked from the balcony of his room. 

Fun, joy, excitement, sorrow, disgust, embarrassment, deception and then LOVE… Seven days teach him the perfect definition of every sentiment. The battle of emotions and confessions that lasts for seven days transmutes his years old relationship into something else and his heart overflows with the love he thought Shailja would never kindle inside him. 

What happened in those seven days that gouged his love out of friendship?
Will Shailja still be waiting for him after these seven days? 

And will she reciprocate his love...

Review:

When I picked up Seven Days Without You to read, I checked reviews on goodreads like I always do. The first review was a five star and spoke very highly about the book. Satisfied.

Not a very typical love-story, yet nothing very new about it either. A story about two friends, who are thrown into each others' lives because their fathers are good friends, so are the families and they end up being in the same school and college. Though till the point where the story begins, neither of them (Vishwas or Shailja) have any love lost between each other.

Vishwas moves from Dehradun to Delhi to join his new job and is scheduled to be back in Dehradun a week later, for his birthday. The story is about his experiences with people he meets from the time he leaves his town to the time he gets back, this time to a Shailja who is bedridden. 

To be frank, the plot of the story was decent. It is something I haven't read before, at least right now I cannot remember reading a similar plot. What disappointed me was the narration. The book is too long and too descriptive. Another thing which bothered me a lot was that the book has little or almost no editing done to it. Glaring errors and lack of proof-reading made it a very uncomfortable read, to be frank.  

Rating: ***/5

[The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.]

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: Bong Mom's Cookbook by Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta

On the jacket:


The elaborate Sunday morning breakfasts, the seasonal delicacies, the preserves that made available non-seasonal flavours – this is the stuff of childhood memories. Tragically, given the sheer pace of life today, it has become harder and harder to follow in our mothers’ footsteps, to recreate moments of bonding in the kitchen, to maintain family traditions, especially when it comes to food.

Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta – blogger, foodie and mother of two – strives to make this possible in her own life, and yours. This delicious book travels from Sandeepa’s grandmother’s kitchen in north Calcutta to her home in a New York suburb through heart-warming anecdotes and quick-easy recipes. Find out how to cook the classic kosha mangsho, throw in a few mushrooms to improvise on the traditional posto, make your own paanch-phoron.

The new woman’s spin on old traditions, Bong Mom’s Cookbook is a must-have kitchen supplement for Bongs and non-Bongs alike.

Review:

First things first.
  • Before I could read it, my maa read this book. Cover to cover. And when she finally gave it back to me, she said, "Tumi ekhan theke dekhe besh koyek-tai ranna korte paarbe." (You can try quite a few recipes from here.)
  • This is not just a cook book.
So, I am not much of a cook and being married to a non-bong, Bengali food goes into my tummy only if I go to Maa's or if she is here. The most I manage is aalu-posto, as I hate cooking separtely for both of us. I did want to introduce the husband to Bengali vegetarian food items, but at the risk of sounding snooty, these items take a lot of time and hardwork to make. Not your regular, dice the veggies, toss in oil, put the same masalas in every sabzi kind of a routine.

So, coming back to Bong Mom's Cookbook, the book is a good collection of easy to make recipes, something not only misplaced Bongs like me can refer to, but even others who like to venture into different cuisines, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. What I loved in the way Sandeepa has put together the book, is how she has included anecdotes and occurrences from her own life to bind the recipes into a story. It's as much as reading about cooking, as it is about reading about a Sandeepa and her life. Yet another reason why I want to try these recipes soon is that Sandeepa mentioned she has not been cooking since forever. Which means she learnt her way through cooking, and that, to me, automatically makes her someone I would want to learn from.

The pattern of meals described by Sandeepa  do hold true, but possibly only in Bengals living in Bengal, that too, as she has mentioned, the current generation is slowly turning more health conscious and eating lighter meals. Even though I am first generation probashi in my family, with both my parents having strong roots in Calcutta, but I have witnessed such elaborate meals only when I went to Calcutta for my vacations. 

Recipes are explained in very reader (or, cook) friendly manner and I know I am going to start attempting them soon. Even if you haven't tasted these items before, I suggest you try because how else will you know what being a true foodie means!

Rating: ****/5

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: There May Be An Asterisk Involved by Vedashree Khambete

On the jacket:



Ira Bhat, copywriter by day, sleep-deprived copywriter by night, has only one goal: to not go utterly bonkers. In the face of comma-obsessed clients, award-obsessed bosses, blind dates who think she works for the Government and the new account planner who’s looking increasingly interesting…

It sounds easy. But is it? Because when it comes to advertising, somewhere, hidden in the fine print, there may be an asterisk involved…

Review:

Vedashree Khambete’s There may be an asterisk involved has an interesting blurb. While I have repeatedly faced situations where the blurb was interesting but the book fizzled out before the first chapter ended. I read There may be an asterisk involved in a four hours train journey and it was just what I needed, a perfect read.

No overdose of any emotion, though the book is definitely a high ranker in humour, There may be an asterisk involved is about Ira Bhatt, an independent girl who is a copywriter in one of the country's leading advertising agencies. What I loved particularly was that the characters were developed only on the work front and there are no unnecessary sub-plots about their personal lives. The plot is how life of a ad professional is, 90% at work. This was fresh about the plot of There may be an asterisk involved.

Characters are well-defined, the plot is clean and not confusing, language good and so is the editing, subtle humour and smooth flow of sequences, Vedashree Khambete’s There may be an asterisk involved is overall a fun, good read.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Hachette India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: Because I Am A Girl - Seven Girls Seven Lives

On the jacket:


Because I Am a Girl is a collection of seven stories of seven girls from different parts of India who fought with their situation and tried to empower themselves. With an Introduction by Govind Nihalani and written by personalities from all walks of life—writers, actors, artists, and TV stars—the stories try to capture their struggles, their dreams, and how they keep hope alive in their lives. • Anjum Hasan visits a village in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, where young girls are forced to become sex workers. • Pooja Bedi goes to Lucknow and meets a woman who gets an ultrasound done but then decides against killing her unborn baby girl. • Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan travels to Hyderabad where she meets a young girl who comes to the city, learns data entry and finds herself a job. • Shahana Goswami meets a young school drop-out who has done a beautician’s course, and plans to set up her own parlour. • Namrita Bachchan tells the story of a young girl who sells vegetables in the male-dominated Delhi’s Govindpuri sabzi mandi during the wee hours of the morning and then learns to read and write during the day. • Nafisa Ali Sodhi writes about a young girl in Delhi, who works as a rag picker but is a bright young student. • Aditi Rao Hydari encounters a woman whose husband died of tuberculosis and who is training to be a nurse now while being an apprentice in a hospital.

Review:

Because I Am A Girl - Seven Girls Seven Lives came across as a recommendation from a fellow book-reviewer who is very well-read. Following her recommendation, I googled about the book, liked the synopsis and the concept behind it and placed an order for it.

Because I Am A Girl - Seven Girls Seven Lives is a happy book. It doesn't talk about people in the best of situations, what it does talk about is how they made the best of what situations they were presented with. To me, that is a major part and pride of being a woman. To be given the worst of all deals, yet make the best that can be, off it.

With an introduction by Govind Nihalani, Because I Am A Girl - Seven Girls Seven Lives has seven stories about seven girls written by Anjum Hassan, Shahana Goswami, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, Pooja Bedi, Aditi Rao Hydari, Namrita Bachchan and Nafisa Ali Sodhi. Very well written and crisply edited, though these are not the aspects you would be concentrating on, you would be living the stories, like the writers were.

My favourite of the seven are by Shahana Goswami and Anjum Hassan. Hassan's story of a bar dancer shows so much promise that one cannot help but feel, all is not bleak for the Indian woman. Of course, a story has word limits, does not accommodate ever hardship the protagonist went through, but the way even men & women in rural India have a modern outlook, was fascinating. Goswami's story showed another shade of our society were a woman who has worked in people's houses to bring up her children is actually broad minded to let her own twenty-five year old daughter make her own career first instead of getting her tied down to marriage.

Every story talks about women who are struggling to make ends meet. Yet, every story exudes positivity and courage. Probably because that's what being a girl is all about - being courageous, because the world will never be kind and a girl will always have to fight her way out.

Read this, to feel good. Read this, to interospect.

Rating: *****/5

[This is a personal read.]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream


I have a very, very sensitive skin on my face and rarely comes a product which I can use on my face and continuing doing so for a long while, without any skin problem. I do no experiment randomly and whenever I start using a new product or brand, I am very very sceptical. Rightly so, I believe.

A month ago, Blogadda came up with a product review offer. I am a regular part of their book review programme but had never reviewed any products. Blogadda and Olay, both being trusted brands, I hit on apply. A couple of weeks later, I had a trial kit at home. 

Nice packaging and a easy to use nozzle - the only thing that got me thinking on this aspect was, what is there so much of air space at the bottom of the bottle. It's like a small bottle with the cream, inside a bigger bottle - with some space left. 

I started using Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream from May 31, 2013 and was very very sceptical about how it will affect my skin. My already sensitive skin is fighting acne due to certain medications I am taking and I didn't want any more spots on my face. I am strict about the night cream that I use, so Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream was applied, after bath.

This is what Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream promises to take care of:
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Balance and even out the skin tone.
  • Reduce appearance of age spots.
  • Smooth and even out skin textures.
  • Provide nourishing moisturisation
  • Give skin radiance
  • Minimize the appearance of pores.


I took little bit on my palm (see pic above), it felt oily and that is why I tried with very little of it. But, surprise!! The cream was not oily at all. In fact, it didn't leave any residue on my skin. My skin felt soft, immediately. Still, let's see how it fares after repeated use, I told myself.

I have used Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream for almost two weeks now and while I don't know how effective it would be with continued usage, I am happy with what it is doing to my skin now. As I mentioned I am fighting some unfair acne, I paid special attention to the clarity of my skin. The acne stayed. There have been no new spurts due to the cream, and the best part is that other areas of my skin look clearer. It moisturises the skin well and absorbs quickly. 

No new havoc caused on my skin because of trying a new cream, is a blessing. And it being summers, while I am in air-conditioned rooms almost every minute I am indoors, I feel Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream is holding it together quite well. The trial pack was a 20g pack with SPF 15 and is priced at Rs 369 incl of all taxes. 

I don't know if I am looking visibly younger just yet, but Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Cream has certainly added to making my skin feel softer and more supple and look clearer that before. I think I will continue using this product.

I am trying out Olay Total Effects as a part of the product review program at BlogAdda.com

Book Review: The Redeemers by Suresh Taneja

On the jacket:

One bizarre vacation marked a turning point in the lives of four teenage friends. It dawned upon them that corruption and malpractices had become rampant and deeply ingrained in our culture. They felt anguished and shocked at the shameful state of affairs. 

They pledged to redeem and change the destiny of the country. They had only two weeks of vacation left to take some big initiatives. The pressure on them was immense. Status quo or failure was not an option for them. 

Read the inspirational story of a unique movement masterminded by youngsters through innovative ideas and creative thinking. Not a single family could escape from its unrelenting onslaught. It was a rewarding outcome for their persistence and hard work, as they nostalgically recall in 2030.

Review:

The Redeemers is a very futuristic book. When I say futuristic, I mean, the author's impression of how India should be ideally. Feel good, because, to be practical, this won't be India in a few years but how nice it would be, if it was. Considering the plight of the country, the development the story speaks about, does seem absurd a lot of places, but a man can dream and this was a pleasant one. 

The story revolves around three families, the men being best friends for life. The families are very close knit, so much that the children and even the next generation is best friends with each other. So much that the three couples die at the same time in a car accident, leaving their four children, the spouses and the grandchildren to cope with the deaths together. Yes, a little too far-fetched.

India is a super-power, in 2030, and giving huge loans to the US. One of the characters is the Indian Ambassador to America and his sister along with two other best friends and their families have gone to visit him and his own family in the US. Here, some events unfold and lead to a day when these four friends tell their children a story - a story of how they were instrumental in bringing about a revolution which made India the super power that it is in 2030.

Editing needs a lot to be desired. Kolkata is spelt as Kolkatta  and for me such a major mistake was the first turn off. As a story, there is a lot of imagination, at places, one feels it has run amok. Interesting plot and the author has kept it tight. On the flip-side, too much has been written on character building, all together. Bits and pieces about the characters could have been included throughout the story.

Rating: ***/5

[This is an author requested review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview: Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

On the jacket: 'I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writin...