27 April 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi (Book Review: 4.75*/5) !!!

1415th BLOG POST -->>

There are only few sensible fiction authors in India whom you can name whenever people are ridiculing you over the fact that you do not read foreign authors. The first three names that can save you from humiliation are Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subramanian and Ashwin Sanghi. The eager wait for each of their book cannot be described in words. I am just done reading Ashwin Sanghi’s latest release, “The Sialkot Saga” which is almost 600 pages and I am glad that it has turned out to be the book worth waiting for. As obvious, right from the first page, this book attracts you towards itself and doesn’t let you think about anything else until and unless you are done with its last page. Unfortunately, I have not been able to complete this book in a single sitting but I would like to say even when I took break while reading this book, I didn’t forget name of a single character. That’s how much interesting every character in this book are even when they have a small role to play.

Once again, Ashwin Sanghi have chosen to tell two stories- one based in history and another one between the year ranges of 1947-2010. This time, he has chosen to go Jeffrey Archer way than Dan Brown and he seems to have succeeded in it undoubtedly. Though, there’s nothing like suspense for which you’ll keep on turning the pages but the narration of the story is done so splendidly that you will find it hard to keep the book aside. The real incidents are used to build up the premises which is the USP of this book. Even the real characters like Atal Bihari Vajpayee are used to make the story look more significant. The book consists of all the dramas- business, competition, politics, wars, partition, Bollywood, sports, underworld, family, science, history, crime, etc. Like the Bollywood movie “Mausam”, author have set many of his sub-plots with some real tragic incidents such as Godhra incident, 9/11, 26/11 etc. Thankfully, he manages to handle it with his wit and creative writing skills.

The kind of research and study that Ashwin Sanghi must have gone for writing this book can be easily deciphered in every 10 pages. The last few pages reflects how he challenges himself to write something that people won’t even expect from him. And this acts as an added value for the reader. Coming to few drawbacks, I feel that the title of the book didn’t do much justice as Sialkot have very less to do with the story. Similarly, I feel that few pages could have been edited as they didn’t provide much boost to the story. Again, the usage of real-life characters aren’t used but kept as cameos in book. They should have been used somewhere in an important junction of the story which could have added more power to it. Anyways, this is a book which shall always stay in my Recommended List as it has everything which a reader dreams from a new book. I give this book undisputed 4.75* out of 5. 



25 April 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

A 5-Days Trip to Goa with Family!!!

1414th BLOG POST -->>

     I had visited Goa for the first time with two childhood friends in December-2012 and since then I wanted to go with my parents as they had always dreamed of a trip to Goa. Finally, their 2 decades old dream of a family trip to Goa got accomplished successfully last month when my father returned after an year from KSA. My parents wanted 1 or 2 families more to join us but I always wanted only three of us to travel whenever we do. And as I was planning everything in absence of my father, I did what I wanted to do. Haha! With your family, you can chose whichever hotel, restaurant and mode of transport but with external members along with you on a trip, you have to take care of their choices too and that's where you end up compromising almost in every section. Because I feel that this trip has been quite wonderful as we covered most of the important locations, I want to let my readers know how we planned it so that it would be helpful for everyone while referring others' experiences. 

            We caught Rajdhani Express from Panvel station on 20th March at 4.30 AM in the morning. We reached Thivim station around 1 PM on the same day. We had our booking up to Madgaon but because I had booked the hotel near Calungate beach, we had to halt at Thivim as per the advise of many travelers. From there, we took an auto for Rs. 400 and reached our hotel, Dreams Palm Beach Resort, which was situated at Umtta Vaddo, just 100 meters from Calungate Beach. The hotel package included A/c room, a television set with cable, double bed and an extra mattress for me (Hahaha!), morning breakfast and room cleaning service. I booked for 5 days on Cleartrip. The main person out there named Prashant is very co-operative. He helped us in planning on what to visit on which days. But unfortunately, this can't be said for his staff. Specially, a boy named Sharath who got drunk in night and started abusing us and every families passing by. 

            Well, on the day we reached, we had a good lunch at Sagar Restaurant nearby which is Pure Veg. and slept whole afternoon. In the evening, we just had a walk at Calungate Beach and the market area. We had our dinner at Capricorn restaurant. For the next day, on 21st March, we took the package for South Goa from Fernandes Tours and Travels which costed Rs. 350 per head. We visited Miramar Beach, Dolphin ride(which costed Rs. 300 per head extra), Basilica of Bom Jesus (Church) and Old Goa Church, Mangueshi temple, Shanta Durga temple, Dona Paula and a wax museum. In the end, we were taken for cruise at Panjim which again costed us Rs. 300 per head, which wasn't included in the package. It was a very pleasant experience. With people dancing on stage and sunset happening and many other cruises crossing yours, you will not want this one hour trip to end. This whole package cost us Rs. 50 per head extra because we went through Mr. Prashant of the hotel. Hence, for the next day, we booked it directly from the same Tours and Travels.

            On 22nd March, we covered North Goa. It was priced at Rs. 300 per head. We covered Aguada Fort in the morning. It definitely has wonderful view of the sea but any person with knee problem will find it hard to enjoy it. As my father is having knee problem, he found it little hard to walk on the rocks. Then we were taken to Ashwem and Palolem Beach which is almost at the Goa border. I found both these beaches the cleanest with blue water. At every beach, we were given limited time of 45 minutes hence we couldn't enjoy swimming but it was still a great experience as there aren't much crowd here unlike Calungate. After this, we were taken to Anjuna beach and Chapora Fort. Anjuna is good for taking photographs because of red rocks at the shore. In the end, we were taken to Wagator Beach which is again another great beach. In the end, through Baga beach, we were finally left at Calungate around 4.30 PM from where we started our journey. We had planned for Casino in the evening but because my parents were tired enough, we just went out for dinner. 

             On 23rd, we took the package for Dudhsagar Waterfall and Spice Plantation for Rs.1500 per head. In the morning, we had to catch bus at 6.15 AM. It was surprising as a mini-bus having the capacity of 16 passengers arrived instead of the big one. But we got to know later that big buses are not allowed at Waterfall. After almost 2.5 hours, we reached the entrance of the Dudhsagar waterfall after which we were shifted to a jeep. We were given life-jackets as it is compulsory before entering the waterfall. The jeep drove us through rocks, water and wonderful greenery. It took other 30 minutes and we reached the waterfall. We were given 2 hours there. The waterfall and the small lake which was meant for the tourists to enjoy swimming was great. The view of train passing in between of the waterfall is the best view that you can ever get. Hats off to Indian railways for making that possible. 

          After that we were taken to The Spice Plantation. As soon as we entered, we were provided lunch. Lunch was included in the package. Lunch wasn't great and it was hard to find taste in any of the dishes provided. After that we were taken for the round of the spice plantation and the guide gave us information regarding how each of those plantation is organically produced and maintained. The organically produced products were available there and many tourists found it enough attractive to purchase them in bulk. With this, our day ended. I forgot to mention but both the churches in South Goa was also included in this package which was covered in morning itself. 

            Finally, on the last day i.e. 24th March, we had to catch our train at 6.45 PM from Thivim station. Hence, we had kept last day reserved for swimming and bathing at Calungate beach. Haha! As it was Holi, the environment at Calungate beach was quite celebratory and we enjoyed the whole day there. I had booked an extra day at hotel just for enjoying as much as possible because we had no plans for beaches in first three days. Due to which I paid a whole day charge for just 4-5 extra hours in the hotel. With this, our trip ended successfully with overall per head cost somewhere between 9000-10000. We mostly tried sea-foods in Goan cuisine. And as a suggestion, I would like to tell all of you to keep your bags light when traveling to Goa. Purchase top and shorts from Goa market itself as they are cheap and best for 2-3 days trip. Goa is very hot for most of the months hence you'll not find yourself wearing any of the dresses that you would be carrying with yourself. That's all.

 Thanks. :-)

24 April 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

7 Years of Being a Proud MUMBAIKAR!!!

1413th BLOG POST -->>

The town in Navi Mumbai where I stay
         On this 15th April, I completed 7 years in Mumbai. With each year, the connection with this city just keeps on getting stronger and inseparable. The fresh and positive feelings with which I kept my feet on the earth of this city is still the same even after struggling for 7 years incessantly. While I was searching job last year, many people used to advise me to move to Pune or Bangalore in case I am finding it hard to find any job in Mumbai. I used to smile in front of them but I would always get worried after the concerned persons used to leave about how would I live in some other city at all. I have come to a state where thinking of migrating away from Mumbai gives me goosebumps. My father often asks me to search for a foreign job but I find it hard to believe that I would move miles away from this city. It's scary!

            I am here since my 12th class result was announced i.e. by the time I was out of my teenage, I was in Mumbai, trying to establish myself with maturity and sincerity. And there could have been nothing positive than being in a city which is itself known for fulfilling dreams of many. Currently, I have my cousins trying to find a cut off in many different fields but are failing continuously. They are staying in a city like Kanpur or Arga or Delhi and finding it hard to find a ground for themselves. I had to put my efforts just for a month and I had a job in hands. This city either gives you success very easily or very hard but it surely fulfill your wishes if you are serious enough to respect yourself.

           Many people complain about Mumbai being very mean to outsiders but if you'll start counting all the people who are content in this city, you'll find 75% of them who have migrated here from some other city. Mumbai sucks all of your energy if it is giving a part of it to you. And you should be ready for that. Every actor, cricketer, businessman, singer, writer or politician that you'll see emerge from Mumbai, you will find enough traits in them to inspire your life. Because they have fought against the challenges that this city throws upon the individuals. It tests you until and unless you do not impress it by achieving that BIG thing which you dreamed while coming in to this city.

           I find myself special that I have graduated and post-graduated from this city. I am again doing a part-time post-graduation from one of the well-known colleges. I have earned my first part-time and full-time salary from here. I have secured my first job here. I find myself lucky enough to be repeating these achievements forever being credited into my life while I belonged to MUMBAI. I want to work for next 35 years here itself. I hope God and my inner soul blesses me to fight future hurdles and secure better prospects in my professional life in Mumbai itself. This city loves me immensely and my love for it is incomparable and immortal. Hope it always stays like this. My hug and love to every Mumbaikar as they make it easy for each other to survive in this Maximum City. Jai Mumbai!!! Jai Maharashtra!!!



Review: FAN: Watch it for Shahrukh Khan's extra effort! **½

1412th BLOG POST -->>

FAN: 2.5/5

     I have been excited about Shahrukh Khan's latest release "Fan" since I saw its teaser. I remember I copied the teaser in my mobile phone and showed it to almost everyone for the next few weeks whoever said that they haven't watched the trailer of the movie. Later on, when the trailer released just few weeks ago, I repeated the same activity. Such was an excitement for this movie because SRK was finally doing something all of us always wanted him to do- Act seriously in serious movies. So when I went to watch this movie on Second Day First Show, I had lots of expectations. And when I say this, I mean to say that I wanted it to be as special and majestic as PK and 3 Idiots. And because of such high hopes, it all fell down badly. This isn't a movie which you'll want to watch again and again. But surely once because of SRK's special acting performance.       

             Fan is wonderful in the beginning when the character of Gaurav is slowly introduced to us. We start liking him right from his first scene itself and love him until the end even when he turns obsessive and destructive and villainous. His parents are also covered beautifully along with the girl whom he has crush on. The scene when Gaurav gives a performance on stage while his superstar dances on the same steps in background through projected video is one of the best ideas to be implemented since long time. Also, this whole idea of making this movie with a Fan who looks similarly as his idol is also something for which writers and director should be complimented. It's not only difficult to even think about it but also executing it finally. 

              The dialogues in the movie are wonderful. You will find them realistic according to the different characters that are created in this movie. The film disappoints because there's no scene pre-interval where people are mistaken for Aryan when they see Gaurav roaming on road. The scene when the fan meets with his idol for the first time is also little under-whelming as Gaurav doesn't show the same excitement as he shows while leaving Delhi to meet him. It is also dramatic to find a superstar running behind the fan on the streets when he has his own bodyguards who can do task for him. Also people not chasing him down when they find him chasing someone on road. All of this takes away your trust gradually from the movie before it becomes yet another Bollywood movie.

            Something for which FAN should be remembered in future years is Shahrukh Khan's effort in portraying such two extreme personalities elegantly in a movie and being flawless when it came to Gaurav's character. This is definitely one of his best performances after a long time and it will be counted in his Top 3 forever. Playing a 25-years old boy at the age of 50 isn't an easy job. The VFX has also played its part perfectly which has made FAN look actually as it was in director's mind from a long time. I give this movie 2.5 stars just because of its displeasing climax and some unrealistic sequences. 


23 April 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

Happy World Book Day to everyone!!!

1411th BLOG POST -->>

   The world is celebrating the World Book Day and I feel as if it's my birthday. Haha! Well, that must be the feeling of almost everyone who's a bibliophile or loves reading book whenever he gets a minute or two. I have been away from novels from lots of week and I feel as if I have lost half of my brain. It makes me feel as if I'm a handicap and I do not have the same capabilities in my body as before. Every time I see a new book launch happening or a new book put up for pre-orders, I remember the days when I used to read one book after another without stopping even for a minute. But then this professional life came in and sucked up the important hours from my life. The little that's left after it is consumed by MBA preparations. I miss my reading days and feel as if I have broke-up with myself.

           Books have always been a companion whenever I have felt low in life. Many a times, my acquaintances ask me why don't they find me with friends or my social media activities filled up with uncountable selfies with different friends. I tell them that pick up a good book or just any book and read it with full concentration and then let me know if you felt need of any human being at that point of time in your life. That's what a good book does with you. It's a sort of meditation where you pull your concentration away from every other activity of your life and put all your consciousness in the book that you are reading. You don't even want to know what a person sitting besides you is doing. That's the kind of relationship you start sharing with a book. And it's immortal and unforgettable. 

            Every book teaches you something. Even a pulp-fiction consisting of a cheesy love tale teaches you something about people in love. Next time you meet a friend of yours who is exactly like that protagonist, you know you'll have to respect his emotions regarding love and his partner rather than calling him a psycho or old-school. When you start sharing the knowledge you get from these books, you are made familiar with more facts that you never read or studied hence making you much knowledgeable person than before. And when you start implementing the good words advised in a book, you eventually become a person that you always aspired to be or thought it impossible for yourself. The personality gets changed with a book so easily that you won't even feel the hard change. On this World Book Day, I would like to ask everyone of you to target a certain amount of books that you'll finish reading this year itself and each one of them should be of different genre than other. Let's celebrate a life with Books rather than a Day with them. This entity deserves to be felt every day until you breathe your last. :-) 



Review: Ki and Ka: Nice concept but melodramatic execution!!! **

1410th BLOG POST -->>

KI AND KA: 2/5

          Bollywood portrays love story or marriage life very conveniently hence whenever a trailer consists of a couple as a lead, you know that there's nothing much going to happen with the movie. But it's good to find directors trying their hands on different projects such as Piku, Wazir, Airlift, Neerja etc. The trailer of Ki and Ka came as a fresh air for the Bollywood lovers as we expected it to be a stereo-type breaking sensible stuff. The movie also begins with some quick start with few meetings between the protagonists and they finally getting married. Here, the boy, with his own wish, decides to be a house-husband while the girl doesn't want her marriage to come in between of her corporate goals and dreams. Wife is proud of her husband while husband is also proud of her wife. As both are getting their desired life post-marriage.
            Tension starts creeping in when the househusband starts getting public's attention and at one point of time, he almost replaces his superstar wife in society. Now wife starts feeling jealous and she feels that he plotted the whole thing to get attention of people by introducing this term "Househusband" so conveniently in this society where people aren't used to it. Movie could have picked up even from here but it becomes just another Bollywood movie with its melodrama and illogical explanations. I also felt that inserting kissing and romantic scenes after every alternate scene isn't something which audiences like anymore. Even when the movie is just 126 minutes long, these scenes made it look as if half an hour had been wasted in such unwanted segments.

            The songs are wonderful and you are definitely going to jig at some of them. The dialogues in the movie are fine. You will love some of them as they are sensibly used. Coming to the performances, Kareena Kapoor still has the charm to entertain you with her great expressions and dialogue delivery. She can surpass many of today's actresses too. Talking about the Ka part of this movie, Arjun Kapoor again delivers a mediocre performance except one or two scenes where he becomes loud. All the other performances in the movie are also decent. The cameo of Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan is the best segment of this movie and they look real while playing themselves. You will love that part. Overall, it's a movie which can win 2 stars easily but nothing more than that. It tried to be unique but it's not.