22 February 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

SITA’S KITCHEN by Raghav Khanna (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

1995th BLOG POST

6th Book of 2022


Well, February has turned out to be a good reading month for me. I just completed reading 5th book of the month named “Sita’s Kitchen” written by Raghav Khanna. The 220-pages book published by Rupa Publication is the story of passion, perseverance, improvement, dreams, challenge and self-realization. Initially, I had thought that the book would be just a normal storyline of a girl who loves cooking will be traveling all the way to London to achieve success and rejoice the same. There would be some challenges here and there but not more than that. After reading the book, I must say that Raghav’s writing style amazes you where even a simple scene is described in a way as if something very crucial in the plot is happening.


Right from the start of the story when Arun starts insisting Sita to leave the Indian mountain and move to London with him and work for his popular hotel, you start imagining the locale and the characters talking among themselves. The way each and everything about mountains is discussed makes you feel you are a part of it or you would want to apply leaves to be there immediately. Such is the magic of briefing author has done regularly pages after pages. Even when the story moves to London, the foreign land and the power of snow and cold is described exactly as it is – I can say with the confidence because of what I have heard from my friends who have travelled there for on-site projects.


Sita’s character is so beautifully groomed that she turns out to be the soul of the story. You just want to know about her more deeply and author just keeps on justifying your needs by regularly pushing from her external description to her food’s description – then moving on to her attitude towards everyone and finally the decisions she takes which defines her inner character. I liked how she was defined with so much of love and purity that as a reader, you don’t want anything to go wrong with her and when things go haywire, not only Sita but I am sure every reader suffers reading about how she is treated in London initially and how things go wrong for her. Apart from Sita’s character, author has also described all other characters intriguingly such as of Arun, Ben, Khan Chacha, Gabby, Alice and others.


The way story talks about the opportunities and the risks involved in the same will make you discover a lot about the kind of decisions you have taken in your past. The way Sita continuously messes in a new place will make you connect with how silly mistakes you ended up committing in your first few days of your new job. The support of Khan Chacha will make you remember that great colleague who always stood by you and made you learn things which has made you whatever you are today. The passion and yet the humane side of Arun will make you understand what a good leadership is. Ben’s journey in the story will teach you about humility, being a good person and helping out others as much as you can.


The book talks mainly about the cooking industry and I must tell you- I was quite doubtful about how words will make me imagine food and dishes and relate with the whole process of cooking etc. which book speaks about. Khanna has done a fantastic job with this part. He seamlessly describes both- the Italian as well as the fusion dishes of Indian and Italian so perfectly that you can imagine what is going on behind-the-scenes in the restaurant as well as you can smell the food through the book. Haha! Yes, that’s the power of his writing. He has done complete justice in the way he discusses the challenge of running a restaurant and how introducing a new menu can make or break an already popular eating spot. The way I have easily learnt the names of few Italian dishes talks about author’s magic in translating the whole cooking process in words.


Talking about the drawbacks – I felt that book was quite slow in the first half. You want to know what will happen with Sita but story really progresses slowly making you impatient. The book had lots of potential of also speaking philosophy and also embedding a little spiritual aspect in the cooking process but author keeps it more on the commercial side. I believe the book’s name might confuse any reader as they might feel the book speaks of recipes due to the word “Kitchen” in the title. Author could have named it differently.


Overall, the book is a short and beautiful light read. I give it 3.75* out of 5. Read to live a life in mountains, snows, London, restaurants by sitting in your balcony and enjoying the flavors of the food through the book.






16 February 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Ashwatthama vs Parashuram: The Immortal Force by Gunjan Porwal (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

1994th BLOG POST

5th Book of 2022

There are few authors who become like a subscription for you. Every time they come with a new book, it lands up with you even before you realize it and you finish reading it with the same speed. One such author for me is Gunjan Porwal. I have read both his previous works and absolutely liked the Ashwatthama’s Redemption series and rated both the work 4.5 out of 5. This made me pick up his latest release named “Ashwatthama vs Parashuram: The Immortal Force”. First thing first, the title and the cover page of the book is enough for you to give it a chance and you just can’t stop yourself from tempting to have this book in your shelf. The book is published by the author himself in around 450+ pages. Kudos to Gunjan for investing in his own stories and making it reach people so that Indians can learn a little bit about the ancient figures and tales.


The book majorly speaks about the Immortals mentioned in our religious and ancient texts. These immortals achieved this feat either through some blessing or curse which has kept them alive up till the era of Kalyug. They are now trying to hide their identity from the modern world and waiting for the Kalyug to end so that they can finally relax from living an immortal life which is finally becoming a pain for them. All of a sudden, Kripacharya, one of the immortals disappears, and all the other immortals get alarmed about someone knowing about them and their identity. They start thinking it’s Ashwatthama behind this as he must be trying to end his immortality as he got it as a curse. Parashuram takes it as a personal task to find him and stop him from doing whatever he is trying to do. This takes us to the path where we get to know about the WW2 era and meet Adolf Hitler – we are introduced with scientific elements – we are told about the efforts made to travel in past and the complexity involved in time-traveling – historical elements where we get to the Ramayan era too – and what not.


Even though the book is 450 pages thick but the way author narrates it doesn’t take much time for you to complete it – I could read 300 pages in just one go and then another 150 in the 2nd sitting. Even though the book consists of some tough concepts but the way author assures that he writes them in a simple manner does make it easy for the readers to navigate through the book. I liked how author gives a brief about all the immortals and how they got the boon or bane of immortality before starting the book. It just makes you curious to know about what the story is going to do with all of them in our current era. Though I would like to warn you that the book is not a mythological fiction but sci-fi hence don’t expect to know about the characters’ mythological tales. The story is completely fictional and the characters are described as just another human being in this era.


Gunjan’s research and hard-work behind creating the basis of the story is very much evident from the kind of concepts and periodical shift author keeps making throughout the story. It’s a great experience to see the story being connected right from WW2’s Hitler’s time till the current date and even going as back as Ramayan-era. Gunjan does all of this where every chapter is a scene going on in a particular era at a specific location. Even when the timeline keeps shifting and new characters are kept getting introduced, you don’t feel jumbled up just because the way author has managed to tell the story.


Author’s explanation of science and time-traveling concepts such as wormhole, quantum warping, quantum physics, grandfather affect, hayflick limit, Die Glocke, tardigrades, DNA etc. is very beautifully scribbled as you don’t get bored of reading and knowing about them. It’s so interesting to go through these concepts as Porwal also uses diagrams to make it easy for us to grasp them. I appreciate how real locations and places are used to describe the story as you can relate with it and imagine the story in a better way. The action scenes in the 2nd half are nicely handled which is enough to give you adrenaline rush. The whole pre-climax is wonderfully executed where there is a lot of run-and-chase sequences. The face-off between both the main characters is an amazing section to read. I liked the twist in the end when the truth gets revealed to one of the characters who tries to alter the past. Author ends the book giving this part of the story a complete closure but with a hint of continuity to the story in his next.


Talking about the drawbacks, I must say that because of the mythological characters, I was expecting them to behave similarly but the way author has given them a complete makeover made it difficult for me to connect with them. Similarly, I was expecting the book to also talk about mythological or at least philosophical aspect but it sticks to its scientific elements only. In the end, too many dialogues are exchanged between one of the antagonists and the protagonists which makes it hard to believe that why would someone share such elaborative details with their enemy when they actually need to wipe them off. I also felt author over-describing few scenes and conversations which sounds little stretchy at times and want you to skip a sentence or two in between.


Overall, the book is a great effort from the author and it is kind-of my first where the mythological characters are utilized in a sci-fi book hence my experience of reading it was like a challenge to the reader within me to accept the story. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Well, that’s a hat-trick for Gunjan with the same rating and I am so hopeful from his future works too because of his consistency. Give this one a try if you love time-traveling as a concept.






9 February 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

What The Heck Do I Do With My Life? by Ravi Venkatesan (Book Review: 5*/5) !!!

1993rd BLOG POST

4th Book of 2022

We know that people say never judge a book by its cover but I must say that there are few books which give you great vibes the moment you have a look at them. Something within you keeps pleading to get the book and read it. I don’t know if it’s cover page, author’s name or synopsis or the mindset in which you get a glance of the book for the 1st time but there’s a connection that gets established. Something similar happened with the book “What the Heck Do I Do with My Life?” written by Ravi Venkatesan. I made big expectations from it the moment I read its title and saw the testimonial of Bill Gates on the cover page. It made me believe that I would get to know the concepts I have never read before. Now that I am done reading this book, I can say that the book has everything you look from a self-help or motivational book.


Ravi’s intent with the book is very clear which he himself describes in the first few pages before taking us deep into it. His purpose for writing this book is mentioned on the cover page too which says “How to flourish in our turbulent times”. Author discusses about the shift happening around us in terms of industry etc. which is going to change the way we look at money and earn it by associating ourselves with it. He tells how AI is changing things and how it is going to impact all of us – majorly the working class. Similarly, author talks very confidently about the green revolution that’s going to happen and how the industry boom is going to be 10 times bigger than the IT boom. He tells us to prepare ourselves right from now if we want to benefit from the boom. He makes us understand that personal growth in a not-so-growing industry becomes difficult whereas just being a part of a growing industry reflects upon our career, finance and securities automatically.


Author, later, makes us understand about many factors that makes us think the way we think by introducing us to the concepts like Fixed mindset vs Growth mindset, Abundance mindset vs Scarcity mindset etc. Author gives us the confident that even if we are not from the required mindset needed for growing and accomplishing success in life, we can still develop it and reshape our life. In the next chapter itself, author starts providing us practical solutions as well where he discusses metaskills like entrepreneur mindset, agility, leadership and people skills that we must have to be able to walk along with the AI age. Author elaborates each of these points and help you understand how we can work upon it and include it in our working personality. Ravi considers Leadership quality as one of the biggest assets which makes him dedicate a whole chapter to it where he tried to make us learn that we don’t need to be in a leadership position to be a leader but we can be one at any designation or grade in the organization.


Mr. Venkatesan also speaks about money in one chapter and asks us how much is enough for us. He tells us that money is a game which has no end and you’ll just keep on playing it forever hence it becomes very necessary to understand our relationship with money. Author talks about the factor of minimalistic lifestyle, decluttering our space, optimizing time before money as it’s more valuable in any sense and also speaks about criticality of disciplined financial planning and savings. In the second-last chapter, author shares with us 10 practical ideas to navigate through our career. I must say reading this chapter was so insightful that I couldn’t end thanking author after reaching almost every point. I will not speak much about what author shares in it as it will take away the essence of reading it whenever you pick it up for yourself but I must say it will make you reflect upon yourself and ask if how we are looking at life is even the right way at all.


The last chapter is more spiritual in nature where Ravi Venkatesan discusses the concept of happiness and success. He makes us understand how subjective they are in nature and why we shouldn’t end up defining it in a way others want us to define it. He also gives tip to stay happy through the process of life which becomes complex at times. After every chapter, author summarizes the chapter giving away the major key ideas from the same so that we can always refer it for our understanding whenever we get confused in life. Similarly, there is a grey section where sometimes it speaks about reflection or action and asks us few questions- just going through them and trying to answer them makes us realize how unclear we are about ourselves.


Author doesn’t shy away from sharing quotes and statements from other authors, psychologists or personalities. The language is very simple for you to just breeze through the book as it’s of about 180 pages that can be easily completed in a single sitting. It took me 3-4 sittings to finish it as there were so many insights to be noted that I just kept writing every now and then while going through the book. Author has himself said that almost every thing that every book or even this book speaks is already spoken in a better language in our ancient texts but still, there’s a try to give a perspective from the current scenario and I must say this book does that perfectly for you.


I have found it to be completely life-transforming and motivating just like Robin Sharma’s books. I have started to find self-help books speaking the same thing but the way author has executed this book makes it bit different and far better than many books in self-help shelves in the bookstores. I can already start feeling the change in the manner I have been thinking till now. I give this one 5 out of 5 and highly recommend it to everyone who’s a professional or going to be one soon.






7 February 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Point of View by Susheel Kumar Batra (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

1992nd BLOG POST

3rd Book of 2022


After going through a short story for my previous read, I thought of getting back to reading a big one which made me pick up Susheel Kumar Batra’s book named “Point of View” which is published by The Write Place publication in around 403 pages. To my surprise, I was able to sit for 12 hours in a go and complete this book at the rate of 30 pages in every hour. I believe I have done something like this after many years which has given me confidence to finish more books this year in a shorter time frame. SKB, the author, is an Engineering Graduate with PGD in Ecology and Environment and Masters in Applied Psychology. You can find him putting his experience very well in the book as you could see him getting deep into each and every topic he mentions in the sub-plots.


The book covers story of a very big family and talks about their 3 generations and briefs on their professional aspect as well as how they end up choosing their respective life-partners. When the book began talking about two brothers, Vinod and Vijay, I thought its going to be more about their profession and how they keep their approach in almost everything in life as per their professional choices but it really made me glad when the book changed its course and went deeper into Vijay’s romantic tale with Kalpana. Author has narrated their tale with such innocence that you could imagine the kind of love people had in the previous generations where people met and fell in love with their crushes during marriages and small family gatherings. Later on, author dives into the elder brother’s romantic tale with Kiran which is given little less space but it is enough to keep you interested.


Later on, book moves further to their next generation where their children are discussed and how each one of them choses their career and profession from their own point of view. There are several instances in the book whenever any new character is introduced where author deeps down in their career and work life. I must say that I never enjoyed reading about a character’s profession ever as much as I liked it while going through this one. It gives you insight about the character’s 360-degree details which helps you in imagining them well. Author talks about these characters and the families as if they’re real in nature and the book is written as a biographical account. It makes you trust the story. Author keeps it as real and grounded as possible without adding any element which could have sounded fictional or over-the-top.


There are very rare books where every character is treated as the protagonist but author does it well here where you understand everyone’s story considering them the hero of the book. The narration of the story is very simple which enabled me to process through it in a single sitting itself despite it being of more than 400 pages. Even though the synopsis doesn’t speak of it specifically but I found this book quite romantic as it talks about bringing many couples together. In the 2nd part of the book, the story talks about bringing Kunal-Kangana, Amit-Kaya, Vivek-Palak together. Each of these tales have a different flavor to it which doesn’t let you get bored or find it repetitive. The parent-children bond is also very nicely described which is often left out in the stories.


Through discussions, author also touches upon many other factors such as the influence of Swami Ramdev Baba, Deepak Chopra’s theory of life, class system in India, psychology and its new ways etc. which helps you get acquainted with these topics too. This is a good book for the beginners who would like to read a thick book without having to worry about the tough vocabulary as author has kept it very simple for the masses.


Talking about the drawbacks, I must say that the book could have been summed up within 300 pages or so as I felt there are many places where author has gone over the board and given long descriptions where it wasn’t necessary. Secondly, author has written many sentences by translating them from Hindi to English in his mind which makes them sound very childish and grammatically incorrect. There should have been an editor who could have proofread the same and corrected the wordings of those sentences. Thirdly, I must say that the book is quite plain in terms of story as you won’t understand the purpose where it’s heading. Author tells a story about a family and how people came together from different mindset together but that’s it. There are no major twists, turns etc. which can give you the excitement of a page-turner.


Overall, the book is a light read and if you love reading stories that talks of bringing love birds together, you’ll enjoy spending time with it. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.






2 February 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Sense of a Quiet by Deepak Kripal (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

1991st BLOG POST

2nd Book of 2022


I am finding it quite difficult to read books in this new year I don’t know why. It takes time to get back to the loop of reading at times and I think this is one of those phases. Hence, I was looking to pick something light yet deep. This made me pick up Deepak Kripal’s “Sense of a Quiet” which is published by Leadstart Publication in around 222 pages. It can be finished in 2-3 sittings but it took me sometime as I was grasping it slowly because of its good characters and some deep conversations in between. Deepak’s writing style is nicely paced where it’s neither slow nor fast and keeps you comfortable as a reader. You adore the way the chapter unfolds like a primary task to be accomplished in each of them. It is similar to the way it’s done in web-series these days where every episode has its own small story.


I liked how there is no proper protagonist of the story. It is written in a manner where you will consider any character as the protagonist with whom you can relate the most. Like, for me, it is Rohan. Since he entered the plot, the way author has described him makes you relate with him so much. He is an inspiration as you can find him struggling with a divorce yet taking a big step of moving to a different city altogether on a sabbatical to work on his mental peace.


Rohan’s character goes on meeting new people without shying away from hanging out with someone who’s just a rickshaw driver. He ensures that he talks even with the maid at his friend’s home where he’s staying as if she’s a friend without thinking twice about what people will speak about him. He goes and sit with the landlord whom everyone considers quite brash but he’s able to gel with him and learn life lessons he would have otherwise not received from anyone. He is brave enough to sit and protest in an unknown city when he feels something is not happening the right way. Rohan is the character which will stay with me for the long time.


I liked how Deepak Kripal doesn’t think twice before talking about things which are still considered taboo in our modern society– few of which I mentioned above which are discussed using the character of Rohan. Author brings up many such social elements such as modern marriage, divorce issues, challenges in relationships, class system, corruption, misuse of power, healthcare system in our country, treatment of women etc. I also liked how author added the element of philosophy through the conversations between Rohan and the landlord which are quite different than the usual takes we read. There’s one story in the pre-climax about God getting cold and cough which sounded quite funny initially but the kind of messaging that Deepak provides in the end tells us the power of creativity and story-telling he has.


All the other characters of Milind, Diya, Sapna, Rakesh, Pushpalata are managed well and some of them are quite gray in shades which makes you interested in knowing how they’ll respond further in the story. The best part is that the story is unpredictable hence you don’t even know in which direction the book is taking you. It’s only in the end you realize what author wanted to say. The last chapter or say, page, is really emotional. I felt lump in my throat. I must also mention author’s quest towards providing description of the Haridwar city in a manner that I felt I have myself visited the same. The initial chapters are really powerful as I could feel sensations that I am also being called there. Kudos to author for the same. Special mention to the illustrations as they make the book little more beautiful than it is.


Now talking about the drawbacks, I must say that there are few typos such as there are instances where it has been referred as “his husband” etc. Secondly, I believe there are many sub-plots which are not given the attention they deserved such as the relationship of Rohan-Shefali. There should have been at least a flashback or something which could have made us connect little more with it. Thirdly, there are few characters which are not described properly which becomes difficult for us to connect with them- such as that of Milind and Diya. You want to know what Diya did when she locked herself in bedroom – what she was thinking or going through that time. Similarly, Milind keeps on getting overshadowed due to over-presence of Rohan.


Overall, this is a very beautiful book as it has the quality to keep you with itself and experience the beauty of the story. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.