Friday, May 29, 2020

Unlocked - Book Review

The second book that I pick up as part of Blogchatter book review for the 2020 e-book carnival is another gem - 'Unlocked' by Sonia Dogra. She's been one of my favourite bloggers since the time I came back to blogging and now one of my favourite author's of the series too.

Book Intro - Cover And Title

Do you see a number of images of historically significant people in the back ground accompanied with barrels and footballs and submarines and yes whiskey bottles!! And to add to the suspense goes the title of the book as 'Unlocked'.

For all the suspense thriller book fans out there behold, for here comes a lyrical suspense thriller your way! And to top it all, the thrill is around something that you thought you were happy you mugged it all up when they were presented to you in those fat school textbooks and waded through the exams somehow... But wait... It need not be all washed off into history! For history is back ....and is back in such taste.... that this time you will gulp it all down with awe and even crave for more!!

Sneak Peek Into The Book

Genre - Again this time too I picked up a book in the genre of poetry but this one's unique. History in poetic verses is something I could never imagine was even possible. But here is a book which is bound to capture your attention and 'Unlock' those tales of history that you might have heard of (or should I say mugged up) and forgotten or will introduce you to a totally new discovery leaving you spellbound.

Characters & Theme - The book is divided into two parts.

Part one speaks of significant figures in history that of Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Genghis Khan, Muhammad Ali, Cleopatra etc each entwined in verses of an intriguing tale to tell. Famous figures of history whose names must be imprinted in everyone's mind but did you know of the childhood of Hitler or the Sergeant credentials of Gandhi.... What's the tale behind Genghis Khan's gravestone or Muhammad Ali's lost gold medal....everyone knows about Cleopatra's beauty but what's with her nose!!

And the best part is when the book highlights the tales of the unsung heros and not to forget the bravery of the '(S)heros' (no not Rani Lakshmibai...and yes there are many other lady warriors who fought like a woman!). The poetic tales of those valiant few that the textbooks forgot or chose to forget to cover.

Part two of the book speaks of some epoch episodes in the history of time. Be it the story behind Radcliffe line or Kokura's luck or for that matter the bewildering tale of the sunk Titanic or the lost speech of Abraham Lincon....if this book was a game of Monopoly (did you know even this game has a story in history!) .... Let me assure would end it having amassed loads of wealth comprising of knowledge of historical times!!

Literary Sense - The author being a veteran in this field and having authored many books in the past.... this book is as rich in literature as it is in history. The literary usage in composition of poetic verses around historical facts is as commendable as is the research that must have gone behind in creating this masterpiece.

I personally loved the small prologues before every chapter. And the footnotes that the author has painstakingly put explaining every significant historical event making the life easy for the reader. Let me quote the book's introductory poem which perfectly summarizes the book.

"Well, I'm going to rummage my pockets
To look for some stories,
Tales about noses and mustaches
And those of unparallel bravery,
I'll talk of famous towers
A story you'll devour,
And of speeches and gunshots
War over football matches who
Would've thought
Also, some tales desolate and bereft
Of 'Harrowed Lines' and 'Quarantines',
And some unscrupulous 'Angels of Death'.
For isn't that what I'm supposed to be?
A vast chronicle of the good and the ugly.

All of this and a little bit more
I have for you so much in store. "

So, quoting the book again.... Whether "history is necessarily a result of accidents rather than social or economic forces or laws" or if "Somewhere between the wrinkled pages of history, lie untold tales of many a bravery" that " when history repeats itself and blatantly stares you in the face"....hope we learn something from that that had once passed or failed!

My Two Pence

Any book usually caters to a particular audience based on a certain age group but this is one such book that has the potential to impress a 12 year old upto 85 year olds equally. That's the potential it carries as this is a book in which you just don't marvel at the lyrical poetic verses but the book also leaves you with a whole lot of knowledge in History to cherish and chew upon. What more can you ask for! I wish history was as interesting during school days then probably today I wouldn't have to rake my brain to try and remember the names of all those famous people or the wars and the years in which they took place. After reading this book (thrice... Yes, I was that smitten!) now I know history can be made this interesting. This book should definitely be made available in a paper back edition to make it reach the kids and for their easy read while the adults can definitely enjoy the paper light e-book edition. My only humble request to the author is to add more historical poetic tales to the book..... ke dil abhie bhara nahi  :)! 

The link to download the book is here (free download for a limited period)

PS: The link to my own book 'Dots And Streaks' is here (free download for a limited period)

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mythological Monologues - Book Review

Let me first of all thank Blogchatter for giving me this opportunity to not only get to read the book Mythological Monologues (which I had tabled for reading as I had unfortunately missed to read the posts during the A2Z challenge),  but I also am thankful to  Blogchatter for giving me an opportunity to review this very book as a part of the assigned book review process.

Book Intro - Cover And Title

As the title of the book goes "Mythological Monologues" very aptly describes what the book is about that is monologues of various mythological characters but in no ordinary style. The monologues are in poetic style of the various epic characters of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Each monologue is an introspective rendition of the mythological character from his or her perspective and pedestal.

The cover page depicting the peacock feather on a yellow silk is very symbolic to the mythological character Govind. But the aura of mythology is not limited to the cover or for that matter to the distinctive dedication. The peacock feather also accompanies you all along carrying with it the essence throughout till the end of the mystical mythological journey.

Sneak Peek Into The Book

Genre - The book might be categorized into poetry genre and mythology based but it is a definite treat for even the non-poetry lovers clan. The narrative of each mythological character as depicted by the author is no less than a short recital like a sing song tale. Each recital deciphering the multifaceted aspects of the mythological characters like presenting the scene of Ramayan or Mahabharat as viewed from their eyes.

Characters & Theme - As the book is based on mythology all the characters are from mythology, taking you back to the memory lanes of those times when you would have either watched these mythological epics cast on Doordarshan or heard of the tales from your grandparents for sure. Most of the characters are important mythological characters and are known but what's intriguing is the perspectives of each of their roles which they played in the mythology battles. 

The book not only delves into the minds of Ekalavya, Bhishma, Arjuna, Draupadi, Sita, Bharata or Lakshman but also of those who have been termed as being on the non-righteous side in the mythologies like those of Karna, Indrajit, Kaikeyi. Not to mention some conspicuous mythological characters that the book has very well highlighted and brought forward their significance as well in the epics like Chitrangada and Urmila. And last but not the least my personal favorite was the monologue caricature of queen Satyavati - the ambitious queen who embraced her vices not batting an eyelid for the galore of judgments! 

Be it the heart rendering and blood boiling scene of Draupadi's vastra haran or the spine chilling scene of Abhimanyu's killing on the battle field or for that matter the earth shattering scene of Janaki deciding to reunite with mother Earth renouncing her ever giving altruism the book describes the contemplation of each character adorning their thoughts in poetic verses of monologues. 

Literary Sense - Considering that the author hails from the field of literature and is an experienced author, the book is rich in terms of literary usage. And when accompanied with the richness of mythology weaved in the interplay of poetic verses it sure leaves the reader mesmerized.

A few quotes from the book that are my personal favorites:

"All my dilemma dissolved into thin air,
I gave up my borrowed beauty, 
And returned to the woman that I am"

"I am the chosen one
Chosen to fight various battles
I may be battered
I may be tired of fighting and losing,
Yet I am fiery and opinionated 
Beautiful and compassionate 
Because I have the lord by my side"

"I would never forgive myself
For failing Panchali on that fateful day
Panchali - the strong opinionated woman
Whose fearlessness always inspired me
To be a better man and a better warrior"

"I-Abhimanyu died like a brave, noble warrior
People will talk about my bravery for ages,
Whereas my murderers will always be
Looked down for their cowardly act.
In my defeat, I triumphed
Through my death, I became immortal."

"How desperately we humans love
The deceptive blanket and material ties!
How fiercely we humans think
Our existence would lose all meaning without them!
How dangerously we humans are
Chained in the web of illusion and attachment! "

"An ideal wife, mother, warrior
I claimed to be with foremost pride.
I was oblivious when the seeds of desire
To be better than queen Kausalya
Gave birth to a poisonous tree
That destroyed my Arcadia."

My Two Pence 

The concept, literature and the poetic style of the mythological monologues is sure to capture your attention. The book in itself coming from an experienced writer is professionally done and is a work of art. Mythology as such has a lot to teach us and especially when the times are trying the subtle lessons coming from our good old mythology are a much needed reminder. The concept of what is righteous and what is not....good versus bad...right versus wrong and why things happen the way they do?! Does every thing that happens have a greater purpose?! Are they all part of a greater ploy of the almighty!? Does each soul choose its purpose its destiny its journey before stepping into this mortal life?! These are some of the questions that the book will leave you with. Mythology being my personal favorite subject this book was definitely a treat for me to delve into. To just read the book it may take an hour with the lucid style and flow of the poems but to absorb the book in it's entirety and bask in it's true essence each poetic monologue is to be savored. This is one such book, the essence of which, even after turning the last page will still stay with you. Although the world has migrated to a more paper light platform of Kindle I personally would recommend to definitely endeavor to print this book going ahead to do complete justice to the work put in. 

The book is available at this link (free download for a limited period) 

PS : This being my maiden attempt at book review kindly pardon me for any shortcomings.

Link to my own book Dots And Streaks is here

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Monday, May 25, 2020

Dots And Streaks

Young was still the dream
Almost in it's infancy 
When she started to scribble 
Disarray of  the lines
Weaving tales of words in her mind
When she started to scribble
A story declined, a story published
A child's fantasy afterall is meant to perish
But then scribble she still did
To escape the cacophony sometimes
Or so the haunt of the silences
Capturing the musings of life
Be it joy, be it sorrow 
Or just a life's ploy
When she started to scribble 
Anonymous to her other self
A soul known just to her words
An escape to that safe haven
When she started to scribble 
But, for the dream
A dream in hibernation that lived 
Young as ever even without any nourish 
The dream that was conceived 
To bear the writer's epithet 
When she had started to scribble

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

So, that's the story behind making of my first e-book (link for download below the post)  Dots And Streaks :)! A dream or a fantasy that I had cherished as a child to see my name as the writer/author just like those below the Tinkle digest stories or Hindu's Young World publications. But didn't realise when that dream of mine as a child went into hibernation mode for years to come.

It's only when one day I tumbled upon the A2Z challenge organized by blogchatter and jumped into the wagon at the nick of time that my hibernating dream woke up from it's long deep slumber. Had it not been for the blogchatter community that is the fellow participants of A2Z challenge (you can find the list in this post of mine) and their love and support during the A2Z journey I guess my dream of becoming an author some day would have still been in it's hibernation.

The challenge of writing one post a day and that too with my chosen theme of poems... for 26 consecutive days related to each English alphabet wasn't easy. But the difficulty was entwined with so much child like enthusiasm that it was fun for once to just go with the flow. Life has a way in surprising you I guess.... Sometimes you painstakingly plan every bit of it and the things never materialize.... And sometimes you just go with the flow and the things that materialize on their own leave you overwhelmed. 

Do you also have any such hibernating dream? Any such unplanned anecdote that life gifted you as a pleasant surprise? Do share your story alongwith the feedback on Dots And Streaks. 

The book trailer for Dots And Streaks is as below:

The link for downloading (free for limited period) the book is here. Happy Reading :)! Will look forward to hear from you.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Reflections !!!

March 26th, 2020

I was sitting lazily in my corner of the couch and scrolling through my e-mails. A routine activity more out of habit than anything else. That's when this mail from Blogchatter popped up announcing the A2Z Blogging challenge. Just then S came down after putting our 5 yr old to sleep.

S ( my better half) : Anything interesting?
Me :  There is some A2Z blogging challenge being organised by Blogchatter
S : What's it about
Me : Participants need to post 26 consecutive posts for each English alphabet for 26 consecutive days with Sundays off!!
S: oh that's interesting!!Enrol me
Me : What?!!!  Are you serious? You visit your blog even less than I do... And here I have not given it a thought... And you want me to enrol you?!! Did you even hear what it's about?!!
S: Yes.. I heard it... 26 posts for 26 alphabets in 26 days ....enrol me
Me : Wait a minute!  Do you even have a theme? And what if you enrol and can't even post 5 posts forget 26!!
S : You want a theme... OK wait... Ammmm...fine my theme will be travel... Now Enrol!!
Me: And who will answer my second question?!!
S: Why should I think so much... If I can't post I won't... And what if I can post... Then I will... Simple!! I will enjoy while it lasts!!
Me : Really?!! You think I should also enroll then?
S : Of course!! What's there to think so much?!!
Me : And what if  people don't like what I write
S : Ha Ha that's when they read your posts right!! .....You can put a disclaimer... Read at your own risk :P!!!
Me : What rubbish!! Then what's the point... It will be like writing for myself...!!
S : You said it... That's the point :)!

So, that's where it started for me. I enrolled finally after some thought and decided to go with the flow worrying less on whether I will crash or make it through. But then the Sheldon planner inside me doesn't really love the word impromptu you see!! So, I took an hour or two and chalked down a plan for each letter still undecided on the theme. And the theme evolved on it's own that is exploring the various streaks of life at large.

I having actually got back to blogging itself less than 1.5 yrs back after a long hiatus of 6 yrs (where was I... Lost running the corporate race... Where else?!) and this being my first ever blogging challenge in the blogosphere I was quite unsure that I will actually make it to the end.

I think the encouragement that I got reading the comments from fellow bloggers everyday in the morning kept me going. I didn't expect people will actually  love to read my poems just like I didn't expect I will see the finish line :)! I thank each one of them for helping me reach Z and complete my first ever blogging challenge. And of course not to forget the likes and badges that I got from Indiblogger community  (22 badges for 26 posts) which made each of my day !!

For a novice blogger like me whose track record of posting is probably 26 blog posts in a year to actually completing this challenge is like living in a dream. Yes it still doesn't feel real!! I think A2Z challenge is the best thing that could happen to me. I feel deeply obliged to Blogchatter for organizing this event. It helped me to find so much talent in one single place and that too on such varied topics and areas. The blogs that I read and the bloggers I came across are simply marvellous! Just reading their posts inspires you to write better and read more of them each time. I am just at loss of words to express how good it has been and felt looking forward to the comments, reading and writing all go hand in hand over the last whole month. The best April ever!! So much so that now that the challenge is over I do feel a bit lost!!

So, what next is the question!! While my friends and family are encouraging me to go for the book carnival too I am still pondering if that's a good idea. Being the recluse that I am I feel me having my twitter handle now (again thanks to my fellow bloggers who encouraged and advised me) is itself a great step and a take away from this challenge :)!!Let's see if I yet again decide to go with the flow or just settle down with this and catch up on my reading :)!

I will end my post here thanking once again each and everyone in the challenge the participants, the organizers, the readers and the Indiblogger community . Congratulations to all those who made it through and also to those who participated in the adventure :)! I wish I could read more than I did during the challenge... But yes, better late than never ofcourse!!

PS: A special thanks to the following fellow bloggers for their support and encouragement throughout the challenge.

Sonia Dogra -
Sonia Chatterjee -
Durga Prasad Dash -
Sundeep Dubey -
Shweta Suresh - 
Shilpa Garg -

And yes, to the one who helped me take the very first step that is participate in the challenge :)

My better half (who luckily scrapped through to Z too!!) -


Links to my A2Z blog posts:

B - Beauty
D - Debris
E - Ego
G - Grateful 
H - Hope
K - Knapsack 
M - Mnemonics  
O - Obscure 
P - Pastels
R - Rendezvous 
T - Time
U - Utopia
Y - Yesteryear 
Z - Zenith

Posted as part of Reflections for #BlogchatterA2Z 2020 challenge