13 November 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

Review: Official Chukyagiri Season 1: Strikes the right chord!!! ****

1523rd BLOG POST -->>

This is an era of web-series for the Indian viewers where almost everyday you will find a new channel promoting and launching their web-series. Some of them are very hilarious while few of them are pure garbage. I have already ended up watching many useless web-series which I didn't even review on my Blog because I didn't know what to say about them. The last good series I watched was TVF Tripling. Since then I was waiting for a good web-series and finally ended up watching "Official Chukyagiri" by Arre Channel after lots of recommendation and word of mouth. 

I must say Official Chukyagiri is one of the web-series which touches the chord of the today's generation. There are so many students and professionals who come to metro cities for studying or working and get shocked when they are bullied by the ultra-stylish or dominating locales or established candidates. There are many who end up running back to their village while few stay back to fight against them and build their own name and establishment. The protagonist of the series, Spandan Chukya, is one of them who stayed back without leaving back for his village even when he gets to know that his father is very ill. 

Right from the 1st episode when the Spandan Chukya enters, the series captivates the viewer and you will end up watching all the episodes back to back. In the 1st episode itself, the bullying begins and the way Spandan reacts to it is surprising and the scene is also the high point of the episode. Later on, how he manages to win heart of his boss and ends up working harder along with keeping his relations intact with all the lower grade people in the Corporate is worth watching. The dilemma that he faces at moments is also scripted very well. In the finale, the inclusion of Sumeet Vyas, the superstar of Youtube web-series, makes you delighted and his conversation with Spandan is also million-dollars.  Overall, the show is very nicely directed with the available resources and I am waiting for its 2nd part. I give the show 4 stars out of 5.



Kamini Kusum: "Women Empowerment is good but trying to extend its horizon beyond a limit could be dangerous." (Interview) !!!

1522nd BLOG POST -->>

An Interview with the debutante authoress, Kamini Kusum, who have just released her first novel, "Secrets, Sins & Struggles". She have written 5 stories in her first book itself. Let's see what she has to say about this and her journey as writer.

1. Dear Kamini, how does it finally feel after becoming an author and getting that tag? What changes do you find in your life after the release of the book?

It’s a dream come true. Though I had been writing for years now- articles and short stories. Some of stories had been awarded and appreciated for creativity in my organization but with “Secrets, sins and struggles”, I become a published author. Feeling great!!

2. Tell us something about your book- Secret, Sins & Struggles.

It has five stories about five women. It’s about the lives and loves of these women, tracing their long, eventful journeys that are anything but linear. 
Pooja, a teenager forced into the flesh trade but determined to escape and get justice. Shrawani who dreams of becoming a bureaucrat despite all the trials life throws her way. Avni who is torn between her childhood friend and her brand-new boyfriend. Harsha who is trapped in a loveless arranged marriage while still being haunted by thoughts of her forsaken lover.  Geshna who falls head over heels for a high school sweetheart only to find her own life shrinking to accommodate his. 
These stories are about the odds stacked against women in their path to love and success. They are also about hope that the next turn will lead to the happiness and success they all long for. 

3. What made you write a book with 5 different stories and not just one with good 200-250 pages?

When I had started writing this, I knew I had to get it out to the world by all means as it has great messages to convey not just to women but everybody. Also, I knew that the stuff and the way I am writing is absolutely nowhere in trend in Indian market of Fiction. But that didn’t deter me. It was the best way to bring out the protagonists in the book; one single story couldn’t have done justice to it.

4. Did you research and talk with different ladies while writing this book or you created the story and emotions yourself?

Well, these stories are not completely imaginary. All these five stories have many real incidents that inspired me to pen down. For first story, I literally walked down the GB road (the red light area) in Delhi to bring a picture perfect in my story. “Madam Bureaucrat” is more or less one of my friend’s story with a little bit of  writer’s imagination. Rest other stories too are realistic.

5. Do you believe that girls in India misunderstand something else as women empowerment and fight for wrong things?

Yes, I agree. Nobody is perfect and absolutely mature and when this cloud of immaturity settles down, then they understand the reality. Empowerment is good but trying to extend its horizon beyond a limit could be dangerous.

6. How easy or hard did you feel in finding a publisher for your first book as it’s not very easy for debutante authors in India?

I didn’t approach any traditional publisher. I knew for a new author, its like waiting for ages to see your work out. I had a solid story and I believe it will be loved. I approached Zorba Books which is a self publishing company. They helped me bring this beautiful baby of me out to the world.

7. How has been your association with Zorba Books till now? How did they help you in publishing your book?

They are a fantastic team headed by a strong lady, Shalini Gupta. They did it all for me giving a big control to me throughout the publishing process making me an authorpreneur.

8. Can you tell us something about your next book? 

I  have completed 40% of my next book which is an inspirational love story. A very realistic story ; full of emotions. Though I am too much into promoting “Secrets, sins and struggles”, I intend to complete my next book by mid next year.

9. Where do you see yourself as a writer in next 5 years or in long-term?

I am a big Danielle Steel fan. I would love to churn out 2-3 three novels a year just like her. Being in a hectic corporate job, it’s difficult. Let’s see what’s there stored for me.

10. Any words for your readers who are picking up your book as their next-read?

I assure you, you won’t stop in between and will be hooked till the last page.

GO CLOWN by Shatrugna Vadwlas (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

1521st BLOG POST -->>

Earlier this week, I had rated very highly to a book belonging in the "humor" genre which made me pick another humorous book named "Go Clown" which comes with a tagline "#AccheDin for Comedy!". The book is written by the debutante, Shatrugna Vadwlas, who is a Software architect based in the US, with an American Masters in Engineering and an undergraduate degree from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), India. He is a contributor to the Times of India, Huffington Post etc. He has completed a writer’s course at the Writers center, Bethesda in Washington DC. His novel Go Clown (Get High Legally!) is a Literary Fiction Comedy set in India, America, Nepal and Thailand. He contributes to various online portals like Faking News, India Opines etc.

When you know that the writer of the book have contributed to the most famous online humor portal, Faking News etc, you have very high expectations from him. You already know that even if the book is not going to be very special, it will still be very good and you won't be disappointed. But seriously speaking, after reading this book, I am in awe of the writer. Just in the name of humor, author haven't tried to write a simple story by inserting few great one-liners and funny scenarios. He have written a very good book with a great story with humor as premise which keeps following every chapter. 

The book discusses almost the whole life journey of a guy named Kiriti who is an average Indian but belonging from a controversial land. He moves to different parts of the world to find different scenarios. He has his own point of view on things and act according to his state of mind. The Clown in him discusses and does things that will make you laugh out loud without worrying about the people sitting around you. I had read few parts of this book in the local train and people were looking at me as if I have gone crazy or mad. This is what the book does to you.

In the manner the story has been narrated seems little confusing in the initial pages as you have to actually concentrate a lot to understand what's going on. But later on as soon as you start getting the characters and set-up, you begin to understand the whole concept. The hypocrisy of Indians is discussed. How mediocrity and casteism is the base of every Indians attitude is discussed widely. The education system and what happens in campuses is also discussed fearlessly. The politics, religions, caste, region-wise, NRIs etc have been discussed in the form of satirical comedy which definitely interests the reader who have got bored reading the same kind of books from Indian fiction authors.

Talking about the drawback, the initial chapters could have been written little more simply for the understanding purpose. Sometimes, few scenes are narrated in such a fast pace that you couldn't enjoy the journey of reading while reading them. There are few grammatical mistakes here and there but they are avoidable. Rest, there is nothing wrong with this book. The set-up of the GO game is a very unique concept. There are few quotes which I liked a lot mostly in the second half of the novel. The Clown is surely going to be one character I wouldn't forget soon. I give this book 4.25* out of 5. 



Secret, Sins & Struggles by Kamini Kusum (Book Review-3*/5) !!!

1520th BLOG POST -->>

Feminists are growing in population on daily basis in our country. Haha! Owing to which, there are many books that are based on women empowerment these days. Even Chetan Bhagat's latest release "One Indian Girl" also portrayed the same theme. I am just done reading with the book named "Secrets, Sins & Struggles" written by the debutante authoress, Kamini Kusum. The book is the journey of five women and how they fought against their internal and external demons. Do not get confused that these 5 women are friends to each other in the book but it is 5 different stories in the form of an anthology. Each story is of 50 pages or something and speaks about a certain character's ups and downs. 

The SSS is a nicely written book with a very smooth narration. The narration is very simple which makes reading this book a good experience and you will end up reading it in a single sitting within few hours. The characterization is also very good of each of the 5 main protagonists and other characters associated with them. You will not feel a single character out of place. Even when all the stories are short, author have managed to explain the backdrop of the story very nicely in the initial few pages itself which builds the premise very beautifully. I also liked the climax of each of the stories as it sounds quite realistic and doesn't end up being a dramatic fairy tale. In my personal opinion, I liked the first story of Priya a lot which describes how she stays in hell and every time she gets a ray of hope, it turns out to be another disaster for her. All the other stories are also nicely woven but as they are mostly about love tales, it didn't touch me the way the first story did.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book, the only thing that I felt underwhelming was the theme of the stories excluding the first one. All of them almost had the same premise where the girl wanted to do something but because she was in love with a boy, she sacrificed everything for him and after getting hurt in love, they bounced back by achieving their ambition and falling in love with that best friend who stayed with them during their break-up phase. This problem lies basically with the 2nd and 3rd story which sounds almost same. The story based on rave party is also nice and has a different theme all over about revenge. Overall, this book is a light read and specially for the readers who have just got into the habit of reading. I give it 3 stars out of 5.


10 November 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

Band, Baaja, Boys! by Rachna Singh (Book Review- 4.25*/5) !!!

1519th BLOG POST -->>

I have always found myself disappointed after picking any book that belongs to "Humor" genre. I have always found such books a show-off where the author is forcing us to laugh by creating stupid scenarios. And these stupid scenarios sound so fake that rather than laughing, you want to hit the author for trying to fool the readers on the name of humor. I recently picked up Rachna Singh's latest book named "Band, Baaja, Boys!". This book also belongs under the humor genre but the cover page and then the synopsis couldn't let me ignore the same. And I must say that this is the first book in the genre which I have liked so much. This will always stay in my favorite list of the books that made me laugh. 

The treatment to the backdrop of the story given by Rachna is amazing where she ensures that anyone who have visited Allahabad or knows someone from there could relate with it very easily. I am a North Indian and therefore I found everything mentioned in this book very relating and true. Author have used humour and sarcasm to discuss many culture and tradition in North India which is actually disgusting, orthodox and backwards. But the way they are talked in this book makes it a hilarious reason for you to laugh and enjoy. The dialects and words used by the characters are totally Illahabadi and anyone who would read the conversations will end up laughing crazily. 

The way characters are setup and their background is discussed makes it more laughable as there is always some or the other incident discussed which we see happening in the family associated with us in our daily life. Still reading it in this book in the author's language makes it more interesting, fresh and funny. The way girls are been looked at in a state like UP has been discussed widely through which many one-liners have been carved out. This book is such that even when you will read it for the 2nd time, you will end up laughing as much as you laughed in the 1st read. I recommend it to everyone who is searching for some fun while reading. I give this book 4.25* out of 5. Definitely, recommended!



The Patient Patient by Tushar Rishi (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

1518th BLOG POST -->>

I have read many books based on the topic of the deadly disease "cancer" in both the genres: Fiction and Non-fiction. Recently, I picked the book written by the debutante, Tushar Rishi, named "The Patient Patient". It's a fiction book but basically based on the author's personal experiences. Seeing the cover page of the book, I wasn't much pragmatic about the content but after I begun reading the story, it just kept indulging me in its words and sentences. I had assumed that the story is going to be very boring as its all about a cancer patient's journey and struggle in a government hospital but to my surprise, Tushar Rishi have written this book in a very natural manner without asking for any sympathies from his readers for the protagonist. 

The protagonist is dealt as if he is just another boy and not a cancer patient. This is what makes this book so special. Also, cancer is not spoken of in every alternate sentence but as a theme in the backdrop. The characterization of every character is very well done even in this small story that you can relate with each and everyone of them. I liked how the story begins very normally discussing about the school/college life of Sameer and suddenly the medical examination and everything comes into the picture after which the life changes for him. The struggle that a person has to go through when he gets detected with a deadly disease is beautifully discussed. The tryst with government hospitals where they give such dates for appointments which only worsen the patient's situation is also narrated fearlessly.

How the whole family and even friends get affected after a person's struggle with the disease starts is described in the book. The character of Rocky, Sameer's parents and Aditi is so well described that you can understand the plight behind everyone's situations. The plus point of this book is the humour and one-liners that Tushar have inserted between dialogues and scenes which makes you smile, giggle and laugh even in between of some really serious moments. The blog posts that are mentioned in between of the chapters are a great read. The way protagonist speaks about his pain can be felt. This book can be read in just one sitting because of its simple narration, good humorous fillers, emotions and fine content. I give it 3.75* out of 5.


8 November 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

Ravindra Rao: "I am a pariah in my own family"!!! (Interview)

1517th BLOG POST -->>

Recently, I read a very interesting book based upon Bhagavad Gita named "19th Akshauhini". It was an unique approach that I found in all the recent books that are based upon Gita. Hence, I thought of having an interview with its author, Haribakth, and know more about how he ended up writing such an informative book. Read the interview to know more about the author and his first book. 

1. Hello Ravindra, how do you feel after finally becoming an author now? What changes do you find in your life or lifestyle?

I feel nice because I am able to do what I had wanted to do since past 8 years. I see myself more as a reformer with logical or rational bent of mind unraveling Gods mysterious words than   an author. Changes in life style have been made but attributable to more time available at my disposal rather than being an author.  Mind set too has changed so too outlook with writing my first book. With the template devised Most of my questions are answered. I am no longer in doubt. 

2. Our Indian society makes it very hard for us to choose a way which is uncommon. How hard was it for you to leave your job to pursue your passion of writing?

It was very hard not because of multitude of responsibilities that lay ahead but due to lack of courage. Responsibilities did make it hard but they are external. The Internal fears bogged me down more.  

3. What made you to decide to write under a pen name and not with your own name?

I am completely under the hypnotic charm of my Lord and used that name when I first signed in for an email account. All my subsequent email ID’s has that component. When writing about the pastimes of Lord Hari, It is but in fitness of things that my name should be Haribakth. 

4. Tell us something about your book- 19th Akshauhini.

It  is a  tribute to the Lord and His words , that made me name the book 19th Akshauhini. The parallels are uncanny. The God and His words are imperishable. The God left for His spiritual abode, but left His immortal words for the solace of likes like me. His words being invincible unlike other akshauhini’s which perished, the book is named 19th Akshauhini. Because it is a template of logic/algorithm for unraveling God’s words, Algorithm of the Gita is part of the name of the book. The title of book aptly conveys the treasures hidden within. 

5. What made you write book on this topic out of all the topics in the world in spite of knowing that there are already several books on the same topic?

There are umpteen numbers of commentaries on Gita and all of them can be pigeon-holed / classified under 21 different types.  But this book is radical and revolutionary in the sense that It is not a commentary but a guide to interpret/understand Gita in its resplendent Glory and in wholesomeness. Based on this book, as many commentaries may be written as there are number of persons in the universe and all of them could be valid. These facts were needed to be brought out and I was the Chosen one. How can I make that claim? Gita has been in existence in recent times for the past 5300+ years but no one has seen it the way I have seen it. I am a mediocre person with normal IQ level and could not have unraveled them but for Illumination by the Lord Himself. 

6. Weren’t you scared before getting the book published if a certain section of society might not find your views appropriate?

Truth has to be told. I am a pariah in my own family. I have told it as tactfully as my intelligence allowed me to. 

7. Do you believe only in Hindu scriptures or do you also spend your time reading books on other religions too?

I believe in the words of God. God is not necessarily Hindu or God of only Hindus. What has been said by God in one scripture (of any religion) is not different than what has been said by God in scriptures of another religion. It may have been interpreted differently by different people belonging to different faiths. The Litmus test to determine whether it has been correctly interpreted the scripture (of any religion) or not is given in my book. They have not been concocted by me but quoted by God Himself. The reference thereof is given. 

8. How has been the contribution of your daughter, Vaishnavi, helped you in completing the first book of yours successfully?

She is a good artist. The adage, One good picture speaks more than volumes of text has been proved by her in her illustrations. The credit for all the illustrations is to be attributed to her. The Idea or concept was mine. But it was she who breathed life into the characters and the book. The background, how to deliver birth to my concepts was visualized by her. But for her, the book may not have appealed to a large segment of the public. 

9. How hard was it to find a publisher for your book?

It wasn’t difficult, because I was googling for publishers the moment I started writing. The entire exercise of completing the writing has taken one year. Due to the time lag, It can be seen that in many places, continuity is lacking, though it makes little difference considering the nature of the book. 

10. Any words for your readers?

Apart from Words of gratefulness and thanks, I request them to read it with open mind. Read it and judge it independently without superimposing it on your pre-held beliefs or indoctrinated opinions of great personages or Guru’s. Reject my contention if it does not appeal to your logic or intellect but not because It has been said by Guru X or Guru Y . I would love to read a new commentary on Gita  by any of my readers  in light of my views in the book. God bless all of them. 

7 November 2016 | By: Writing Buddha

Where the River Parts by Radhika Swarup (Book Review-4.25*/5) !!!

1516th BLOG POST -->>

How rarely do we come across a book which stays with us even after hours of completing it! Some books are not written with words but soul. Radhika Swarup is one name which have got added in my "favorite authors" list after reading her book "Where the River Parts". The cover of the book is so soothing that you already get an idea that you are about to read something very decent, natural and Indian even if not an excellent piece of literature. But after completing this book I can say that rarely an author manages to write a book in such a manner that not even once you feel that the things are exaggerated or faked even when it's based on a theme and topic where many authors end up doing the mistake by sounding preachy and patriotic. 

The book starts in the period of 1946 and speaks about the tension before the partition and how the two families of different religions- Hindu and Muslim who share a very close bond are about to get affected by it. Asha, the daughter from the Hindu family, is having sisterly bond with Nargis, the daughter of the Muslim family. Eventually, Asha falls in love with Nargis's brother, Feroze. And then the partition takes place and they get separated. The sufferings that Asha's family had to bear haunts her even after many years. And Asha's journey right from her teenage to old-age is told in this book in one of the best ways possible. 

The way Radhika Swarup have traveled through times and narrated the journey of Asha from being a daughter to lover to wife to mother to grandmother is incredible and the way characterization and maturity is handled time to time is indescribable. The pain of separation and losing one's own family is reflected through the character of Asha so well that sometimes author does not even talk about it but you can feel the same through dialogues, conversations etc. The way Asha nurtures the feeling in her heart for the people who are left behind even after years speaks volume. Asha's decision for her grand-daughter in the last few pages is something which will win your heart even when her daughter is against the marriage. 

The re-union of Asha and Feroze is handled so beautifully that one cannot imagine that it's just a fiction story and it does not have real people involved. Such a perfectly written book this is! Author have handled many scenarios very elegantly without making it sound controversial. Even when the theme was so critical, author haven't made any opinions for any religions and kept everything emotional, sentimental and hearty affairs. This book is surely something that I shall always have in my shelf and pick it up whenever I would want to feel lots of love and emotions. I give it 4.25 stars out of 5. Definitely, recommended.



It must've Been Something He wrote by Nikita Deshpande (Book Review- 3*/5) !!!

1515th BLOG POST -->>

This weekend I ended up reading another book with a very big title written by a debutante Indian author- "It must've Been Something He Wrote" by Nikita Deshpande. The cover page of the book is very delighting which will surely catch the eye of the curious reader. The synopsis is yet again successful in gaining the attention and making the reader think of reading this story to know the adventure of Ruta between work and life in a new city. I have found that recently many authors are writing books on the book industry itself by drafting their characters close to a real-life personality- author, publisher etc.

If you are closely associated with the Indian publishing industry from last 4-5 years, you tend to enjoy this book but if not, then its just a normal story for you about an author or publisher or a struggling author trying to get his first book published. The story of Ruta is amazing where she is not liked by her boss but keeps on trying things to impress him. But as destiny is written for each one of us in its own way, every time she is about to do something good, a disaster takes place. And the reason is always Ruta. Author have written such scenarios with great narration that you will feel pity with her but yet it excites you to know what happens in next scene.

The book is great in the first half when the protagonist is playing charmingly with her personality with everyone. Her first meeting with Jishnu Guha is very interesting. The first thrashing in the meeting by boss is also laughable. Her blossoming relationship with Arjun is also worth-reading. But the problem lies in 2nd half when everything becomes spontaneous and consistent. You understand what the end would be like and that's when the book becomes predictable. Yes, there are some surprising moments but it is not enough to excite the reader in you. The climax is quite happening but as I said, predictable. Overall, it's a light read which can be in your list of favorites if you have just begun reading Indian fiction books otherwise it's something that can be easily missed. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.