Monday, August 31, 2015

#BookReview: The House that BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan

On the jacket:

I'll make my sisters squirm like well-salted earthworms. I won't sell. Even my jutti wont sell. And if I die na, then even my gosht won't sell! The late Binodini Thakur had been very clear that she would never agree to sell her hissa in her Bauji's big old house on Hailey Road. And her daughter Bonu, is determined to honor her mothers wishes.  But what to do about her four pushy aunts who are insisting she sell? One is bald and stingy, one is jobless and manless, one needs the money to 'save the nation' and one is stepmother to Bonus childhood crush-brilliant young Bollywood director Samar Vir Singh, who promised BJ upon his deathbed that he would get the house sold, divvy the money equally and end all the bickering within the family.  The first word baby Bonu ever spoke was 'Balls' and indeed, she is ballsy, bullshit-intolerant, brave and beautiful. But is she strong enough to weather emotional blackmail by the spadefull? Not to mention shady builders, wily politicians, spies, lies and the knee-buckling hotness of Samars intense eyes? Sharply observed and pulse-quickeningly romantic, this is Anuja Chauhan writing at her sparkling best!


The House That BJ Built is a sequel to The Thakur Girls. The names of Chauhan's characters bother me. I am all for uncommon sounding names, I have one myself. But when almost everyone has such name combinations, when no one in the family sounds like they are related, it bothers my OCD. I cannot flaw with Chauhan's storytelling, and keeping the Indian readership in mind, the language too is perfect. Simple, easy-flowing, narrative and with a lot of Hinglish words. I however would have preferred to read this story in Hindi. 

As has happened with a lot of well-recognised authors on this side of the millenium, their first book brings with it fresh style of writing, fresh plots and very innovative style of presenting the story. Then innovation quotient starts dipping lower. Anuja Chauhan's  The Zoya Factor was one such. Battle of Bittora was extremely witty. Then it got repetitive. The style, not the plot. What I cannot take away from Chauhan though is, that she is a good story teller. 

This story is primarily about the relationship between Bonu and Samar. They share an interesting relationship though they are not Zoya and Khoda, neither are they Jinni and Zayn. As the title suggests, the story is about the house that the Thakur girls grew up in and its impending sale. The story is a sort of a roller coaster and Chauhan has managed to hide quite a few twists, turns and surprises in the plot. The story mainly talks about Bonu but Samar and Chachiji are somewhere important too. 

Rating: ***.5/5

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Live stream on #Fame App

How active on social media are you? Are you on twitter, pinterest, facebook, everywhere? Fantastic. Now, how would you feel if you were told that you can have access to a live streaming platform where you can display your own talent? Sing, tell stories, dance, cook, create music - do whatever you are good at, and do it for an audience, from wherever you are? Sounds amazing? Now imagine all this in an app. You open the app, display your talent and there it goes for the world to see and appreciate. Seriously, it sounds too good to be true. But, it is true. #fame app is how this can be done and you can learn the power of live stream on #fame app on August 30, 2015 at the #famestarsLIVE event. The stream will be from 12 PM to 3 PM. 
It is being predicted that in a few years, most of the Internet traffic will be made by videos only. In the next three years, smart phone users are expected to be watching videos for an average of 20+ hours in a month. For brands and businesses, this is the ideal way to create and stay ahead of trends. Imagine how many people you can reach out to through this app. Have your own fans, fans of your talent.

Livestreaming is what can be called the latest boon to people who love the entertainment industry. Make no mistake, 2015 will be owned by live streaming video on social media. It is basically the future of media and the continuation of the democratization of media
#fame has come up with the most wonderful app in which you have the liberty to live stream shows, interviews, musicals, celebrity news, gossips, and everything else! That said, you can also know how your favourite stars stay fit and beautiful, your horoscope for the week or you could yourself turn into a fortune teller. How about being a dance teacher? Poet? Log in to the app and join the stream! The #fame app has it all!

Watch prominent personalities talk about this in learning & unlearning session on how live streaming is the next big thing. Amongst them will be cricket expert Ayaz Memon and film critic Raja Sen who will share their insights. A power packed interaction is what is promised, and we assure you, you wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!

The #fame team will also share tips & tricks on how to make your live stream successful. The entire session will be broadcasted live on #fame app from 12PM to 3PM. The #fame app is available on the app stores in your smart phones. Just download and browse through. You will be surprised at how amazing the experience is. I sure was!! The app is extremely user friendly and packed with entertainment. The menu is simple and precise. 
Hop in and be a part of what is the coolest and the hottest in town! Remember the date and the time – August 30, from 12 PM to 3 PM.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Particpate in the #MillenniumFlashback Challenge

Terms & Conditions for the #MillenniumFlashback Challenge

 All the participants should either be fan on Hachette India Facebook page OR follow Hachette India’s 

Twitter handle @HachetteIndia.

 Participants should be Indian residents.

 Participants can participate only on Twitter or on Facebook. Multiple entries on both Facebook and 

Twitter from the same participant will not be accepted.

 The contest will start on 24th August, 2015 at 01:00 pm and end on 25th August, 2015 at 03:00 pm. 

No late entries will be accepted.

 Participants will be eligible for the winning, only if they correctly answer all 6 questions on Twitter or 

all 3 questions on Facebook by 25th August, 2015, 03:00 pm.

 Participants must include #MillenniumFlashback in their responses.

 The entries may be screened for defamatory content/language.

 Hachette India employees and its partners’ employees are eligible to participate in the contest but 

will not be considered for the prizes.

 Hachette India reserves the right for last minute cancellation and change in terms and conditions.

 Any disputes arising from this contest are subject to jurisdiction in Delhi.

 Winners will be determined by the management of Hachette India. The decision of the management 

will be final and no queries will be entertained in this regard.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#BookReview: Age of Anxiety by Indranil Banerjie

On the jacket:

India has been Independent for just about two decades when a young Bengali boy, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, takes his place within the portals of an ancient school that continues to glorify its colonial past. India is changing and the city that was once the proud capital of a vast Colonial empire is in rapid decline but the school holds out, white and resplendent amidst the surrounding gloom and depredation. Sarat Chandra, cut off from his familiar world, is thrown together with a bunch of boys who hail from diverse backgrounds - Marwaris, Anglo-Indians, Armenians and Muslims. Within the school’s portals he must adapt and conform to its ancient traditions. He finds a new name, makes friends and discovers the first flush of romance but struggles to come to terms with his family’s precarious financial situation, which fuels his inherent anxiety. Much like Sarat Chandra, the city too is grappling to come of age. Mired in post-Independence politics and economic decline, anxiety and gloom has spread through the populace jostling for space in an increasingly crowded and unrelenting city. The elite have taken over the mansions left behind by the colonialists while the poor throng the pavements and empty spaces. Will Sarat Chandra find his place in the city or is he forever doomed to be the outsider, the ‘mofussil’ boy with an identity crisis? This is a story about a generation numbed by the anxiety of the Sixties and the Seventies, about music dying in the bars, entire populations quietly fleeing the city and yesteryear's generation fortifying themselves within anachronistic colonial institutions to hold out against change.


There are two reasons I wanted to read this book: 1) The blurb. And the mention of a character called Sarat Chandra Chatterjee made the dormant Bengali in me, very very curious. 2) The author. I am a sucker for books written by journalists - fiction and non-fiction. In my opinion, journalists already know the art of presenting a story to the readers, so more than half the job is already done. 

And the book did not disappoint me one bit. While it did take me a while to sit and write this review, the book in itself is a wonderful read. There are very few writers out there, while reading whose books, you wish that they write more and that you get to read them all soon.

In this beautifully written tale of young Sarat, Banerjie has handled human emotions so sensitively, yet one can see sparks of wit. A tale truly beautifully told. Our boy Sarat, grew up in post-colonial Calcutta amidst various privileges. But the thing was, that this privileges came with a price. Somewhere in between all this, Sarat's father loses his job and he is almost thrown out of school. The story in itself covers the differences in classes, homosexuality, the very infamous emergency and the Calcutta described is the one which still exists in the by-lanes. If you've just been a visitor to the city, you might not be able to identify with it, but if you know and love the city, you might end up thanking the author for portraying the heart of the city.

Rating: *****/5

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

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mother and Child

- Meetal Vyas

When I first held my little boy in my arms, I didn't know how to react. 

There were no tears of joy or pain from vaginal birth. It was a strange feeling. The slight tugging of the invisible umbilical cord and the heaviness in the heart, not from the lactating sore breasts but from the fear of the raising this little being. 

I had waited; waited very long to be a mother. And when it actually happened, I didn't know how to react. All I knew was, why exactly the other procedures didn't work; why the little being didn't arrive from the conventional birthing method. 

That's because he was born from my heart. He chose me to be his mother. God chose our bond. 

I teared a little when I first saw him cling to me. The trust from a tiny being who would call me his mother. That's when I realised, I was a mother and I had a soul baby. 

With no physical or mental preparation for the new guest, a couple of days went in explaining and re-explaining and then explaining some more to people as to how come I had a baby without being pregnant! Well that's because he grew in my heart and not in my tummy. 

I can't thank God enough for this little miracle in my life. He fell right from the heaven into my lap. No, I haven't adopted him, he has adopted me. He chose me to be his mother. My love, my life, my little star. 
                                                                                        - Soul mother :)

#BookReview : The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

On the jacket:  Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal aft...