29 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Fast But Lost by Dr. Pallavi Joshi (Book Review: 5*/5) !!!

2016th BLOG POST

19th Book of 2022


I have always been interested towards living an urban lifestyle. I remember how madly I wanted to be in a metro city when I was residing very well in a 2nd tier city which wasn’t much less than a metro city. Only after shifting to this competitive and fast lifestyle where if you don’t keep on progressing, you find yourself largely behind than all your friends and peers which starts affecting your personal as well as social life. Hence, I always love watching movies or reading books based on characters who are surviving with their up and down emotions in an urban setup. The same interest made me pick up this book of around 215 pages named “Fast but Lost” written by Dr. Pallavi Joshi. It also has the tagline which says “Overcoming depression in city life”.


To start with, I must say that the cover page of the book is very beautiful and specific to the topic. If not the title of the book, at least the cover page will surely make the readers give it a chance while roaming around in bookstores. Writing an all-and-all non-fiction book based on depression is a very scary and gutsy choice because we have so many psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, doctors and even people like actors and social media influencers guiding us on this issue. It can become very challenging for the author to write without thinking about what would people say about her treatment and overcoming methodologies.


This book is an answer for every question you had about your anxiety, stress, depression, suicide and every related thought. It is a very well-planned book which speaks of every point in a very structured manner. Author ensures that you don’t get lost in big terminologies hence keeps the book simple without making it sound overwhelming to the reader even once. There were times when I cried or wept while reading few sections as it talked about emotions or moments I had gone through in my life and in few scenarios, I am literally going through them currently. Pallavi has ensured that she doesn’t miss even a single reason or trigger that causes depression so that any of us who pick the book find something for us in it. I am telling you covering all these aspects is not an easy task at all as it deals with various kinds of human emotions.


Joshi has nicely made us understand the most asked questions about difference between psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor and therapist as well as sadness, stress and depression very appropriately. Similarly, she has busted many myths related to depression in initial chapters itself which helps us clean our mind and learn everything she tells with an open mind. She also elaborates upon symptoms of depression that is surely going to make it easier for you to understand the type of depression you are going through. I really got emotional every time I read any section based upon patient’s case studies. I am glad author put it all so well.


My personal favorite has been the 4th chapter where author mentions each and every aspect which can cause us depression along with explanation, case study, solutions and when to go to a psychiatrist. Some of the discussed aspects are as follows: break-up, marital discord, infidelity, death of a loved one, exam stress, parenting, elderly care, job loss, infertility problems, diagnosis of terminal illness, sexual orientation etc. Dr. Pallavi has also made us go through the very popular talk therapy called CBT and the connection between situation, thoughts and reactions. She also explains other therapies as well. Author talks elaborately about suicide which was very necessary to be discussed. I was quite surprised to know that even suicide has its types. I am glad author has written this chapter as it has many information which can help you get away from suicidal tendencies and also make you equipped to help others going through the same feelings.


The book closes with the chapter on how lockdown and Covid scenarios made a great impact on people’s mental health. Author summarized the whole two years in few words but it was enough to trigger the emotions as each one of us have gone through this phase. Overall, I must say this is one of the most perfect self-help books I have ever read. I will recommend this to everyone. Please don’t let yourself feel alone. This book is going to be your first savior in the crisis. And yes, not only for the people from urban lifestyle, this book can be read by anyone residing anywhere doing anything and going through anxiety, stress, sorrow or depression. I give this book a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. I am just mesmerized and I would like to show my gratitude towards Dr. Pallavi Joshi for attempting this.






19 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Are all our Good Decisions always taken by us?

2015th BLOG POST

I am currently reading a non-fiction which is about depression – majorly in urban cities where life just doesn’t have a pause button. There are several instances mentioned in the book which brought tears to my eyes. Many of them were because I felt I am going through the same pain, suffering or have dealt something similar in past. I kept the book aside at around 1 AM and started scribbling why do I feel a certain emotion at certain time. As it is said that writing is the best therapy anyone can have, I started feeling better after writing my pain-points and analyzing it. When I was going through my life, I saw that most of the bad things happened were chosen by others for me. Then I went onto another level of this flowchart and thought if I would have decided something else for myself if the decision was forced upon me.


Luckily, the answers for most of them were true – I would have chosen something else if I had the option to choose – either during my childhood days or higher academic options or relationships or other prominent landmarks in my life. Then I also started looking at good things that have happened to me. I started writing why did that happen at first place. I also started refactoring how did I come upon taking those decisions for myself if I wrote only my name against the event or achievement. Somehow, I realized that even that happened because either I got influenced while having conversation with someone or through some content I consumed through books/articles/movies/videos etc. Then I started removing my name against all these points and wrote the name of the influencer which made me take the decision that went right in my life.


Finally, I realized that nothing in life happens only because of us – our emotions, decisions, dreams, aspirations or actions. It is always either influenced, decided or suggested by someone. Maybe you won’t remember at the moment but subconsciously, your mind knows how did you reach a point where you took or rejected a decision/option. Though I believe that decision-making is a skill in itself and most people on topmost designation has no job but to only provide approvals for certain tasks that has risks involved in it. People from outside think that they have nothing much to do but in reality, the kind of decisions they take can make their company/product or its future into success or failure.


So, coming back to the topic, when I realized that, I started pondering over the fact that every time we are about to do something or make some decision, when the same set of people who have taken or influenced most of our decisions in our life are available, why do we ignore them or their take about us? Why do we feel that we shouldn’t let someone else take charge of our life? Even though they are just going to give their inputs because many of us don’t see ourselves as 3rd person but these people do. They know our level of capabilities, behavior, commitment etc. towards certain activities which relates to the progress or quality of our life. Sometimes, others are in better place to guide us than we, ourselves.


But when the same or certain thing goes wrong in our life where we didn’t include them in the decision-making process, they are the first people we run towards for help and guidance. We find solace in them. Even their presence and few words of affirmation for our future gives us comfort. We then realize our mistake of not including them while we were getting into this activity which had certain risk or failure involved. For e.g. when you find a partner, you never want to discuss that with your parents. Similarly, we keep turning down all the red flags raised by our siblings/friends because eventually, they end up knowing about it.


Later on, when we get a setback in our relationship, we run back to the same siblings/friends whom we considered jealous or less-informed about our emotions/choices. In case, the environment at home is moderate/liberal, we tend to cry hugging our parents or siblings. But what happens when we are getting into something as serious as this which can impact our emotional state later on? Why do we become so arrogant? What gives us the confidence that we are taking the best possible decision ever and it will never fail whatsoever? Isn’t this something we should consider when its eventually the people around us who help us get out of the rut we have trapped ourselves in?


The same scenario applies for everything – choosing our field of study, college, courses, job, job location, life-partner, hospital for delivery, job switching, purchasing a home, renting and the list keeps on going. When we end up realizing in any of these situations that we have screwed ourselves, we are ready to follow any advice given by our well-wishers. We give everything in their hands to do it for us just because we want to get out of the trap we have fallen into immediately. But the moment we are out again, we get back the same swag of playing with our life on our own terms. Where does this swag and terms go when everything gets lost in the race? Haha!


Life is funny and we are funnier. Life is shit then we are the ones shitting on it. It’s time to understand how we have reached wherever we are. If everything bad has happened due to others, even the good has happened because of others. These might be the same set of people or different but we are not the only ones who impact our life. There are always OTHERS who are involved in it – you like it or not. Now, how we have to handle the involvement of others – how much to include/exclude them – how much to take/not take their advice – is all upon us. But for that – we must know the set of people who have almost/mostly been right and wrong for us so that we can have our own set of board-of-directors kind of thing whom we consult every time we are trying to get into something which can impact our life largely. Best of Luck to you – hope you find your BoDs soon. 😊





17 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Teen Machine by Ishita Agarwal (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

2014th BLOG POST

18th Book of 2022

Though I am in my early 30s but I feel that I am mentally in the same zone as I was in my late teen years. The number of challenges and anxiety I went through those years have still stayed with me and I believe it will stay till the last breath. Hence, whenever I find someone speaking or writing about their experiences of 11th-12th std where other students are giving their best with complete focus and we are going through dilemma about what should be chosen for the future, I just sit and listen to these people. I am someone who failed 11th standard twice and couldn’t pass it at all. I finally did my 12th privately without any college. Well, that’s the reason Ishita Agarwal’s new book “Teen Machine” attracted me.


The book is published by Rupa Publications in around 265-odd pages. The title of the book itself says so much. It reflects how teenagers have been conditioned to be less humane but more like machine – where they have to sit for competitive exams one after another with an expectation of not failing even once in their life. For parents, it is quite normal to make their child go through this process because they wish a good future for them. Unfortunately, for children/students, this becomes a traumatic and self-destructive process where they lose themselves on daily basis in this ultra-competitive and machinery world. Ishita has tried to reflect on what goes behind the Indian child’s brain who has to go through so much in the age when they should also be chilling a bit and figuring out things themselves.  


Through the character of Avani, author has ensured that we can relate to the pain and struggle of a girl who has been good in her school days but finds this whole environment and set-up of 11th std quite challenging and out-of-the-world. She is unable to identify with the same classmates who were with her until 10th std. Everyone’s stance has changed and she has to adapt to this new culture where classmates are only talking about studies, doubts, exams and results whereas she wants to gel with others on human level.


Ishita has given significance to the fact how it hits you first when you realize you won’t be going to school anymore but the coaching classes are going to be your new home. She tells how even after the long-running coaching, students are expected to invest minimum 6 hours of self-study daily. Even the group they chose needs to be a study group among whom doubts and studies can be discussed. Author also focuses on the hormonal changes that happens during this age when you start liking someone and get infatuated. Though I am glad that author didn’t insert too much love-angle and cheesy conversations in the story. She limited this angle quite intelligently to not make this a chick-lit stuff.


How parents become judgmental towards their children during this phase is nicely portrayed through Avani as well as Avik’s character. I liked how Ishita also showed the behavioral changes of both- mother and father where the loving one takes up a hunter well as an aggressive parent becomes caring during this phase. Ishita focuses on how academic results start showing up when a child removes all the negative opinions, thoughts and inferiority complex away and only focuses on self-improvement and stop lying to themselves about their investment in studies and towards their goal.


The characterizations done in this story is perfect as you could relate with each of them. The depth shown with Avani’s character is also commendable as you get to understand her internal thoughts as well as her external actions during any scenario. The narration is simple which makes it easy for you to finish this book within one or two sittings. I liked the climax of the book as it tells you a lot about life in particular which is so true at any age. The only drawback that I could sense while reading this book is keeping the character’s challenges only towards academic. This is the age when children also get distracted by several other things which becomes a hindrance towards studies – which I believe should have been included – if not with protagonist, then with any other character in the story. I felt the plot to be too straight-forward and linear.


Overall, this is a book which needs to be read by children after their 9th std so that they understand how to channelize their emotions to get the academic results as well as maintaining mental peace. Also, this is as much effective for parents in order to understand how to mould their child with love rather than judgments. I give this book 3.75 stars out of 5.






12 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

Creative Entrepreneurship: The Walt Disney Way by Virender Kapoor (Book Review: 5*/5) !!!

2013th BLOG POST

17th Book of 2022


It happens that we know a well-known personality or an inspirational figure but we often don’t have knowledge about the journey behind what it took them to reach the position they are at. Walt Disney has been one such figure for me. We are lucky to have Rupa Publication who is publishing short books on such figures regularly and making us accustomed with such personalities who can definitely lead to some positive change in our attitude towards our life. I have just completed reading “Creative Entrepreneurship: The Walt Disney way” written by one of my favorite authors, Virender Kapoor. This is a short book of just 135-pages which tells us enough to get inspired and motivated by the life of Walt Disney.


You can complete this book within two hours itself and that’s what Virender has also mentioned in one of the sections that if the world is loving short videos in reel format and you produce your marketing videos in long format then there’s going to be minimal traction in your product sale. He is writing biographies in the same format whereas it can be written in around 500-pages because every such personality has a wonderful life journey but Virender choses to describe it in as less words as possible to make it easy for people to read and grasp the learnings from their life. I like how Virender doesn’t keep things for readers to interpret but either through his direct conversation with readers or the headers of the section, he makes it easier for people to understand what are the takeaways of the respective piece.


Author is successful in providing us the lessons from Walt Disney’s life if implemented can definitely moot our life to next level. The courageous and hard-working attitude of Disney is described very aptly. I was able to imagine him while working on his creativity. The best part is how Kapoor has narrated the whole story keeping in mind the theme of creative entrepreneurship which is also the title of the book. The current era is all about people in creative field wanting to build their own brand through their content – either online or offline. This book will definitely make them understand the skill sets and attitude required to walk on this tough path.


I am glad that Virender has not only used the successful achievements of Walt Disney to influence us but also discusses about his failures, mistakes and ego issues. It is really fulfilling to know that an achiever like him also had issues to deal with. Author also talks about how his marriage life was thoroughly impacted due to his passion of creating cartoons and animated characters. We also get to know about his depression being highlighted and given due attention even in the era of early 1900s – something which is considered taboo even now in 21st century for many of us. How his over-obsession led him to treat his colleagues and sub-ordinates badly that many of them left working with him. We also realize how he couldn’t understand how to handle money throughout his career due to which he was always struggling with it being in debt most of the times.


The last chapter is such a powerful boost as it lists down everything that we can learn from this powerful creative and determined man named Walt Disney. Post the last chapter, author yet again gives takeaway pointers in numbered bullets for our ease. Virender has written this short biography in a manner which can be gifted to someone who’s just 12 years old and this will be an interesting read even for someone who has retired. There are not many short book authors who can manage to write for such a vast range of audience. I give this book 5 stars out of 5. It deserves nothing less. It’s enough to transform your attitude at work and lead a successful and determined life.






9 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

MAKE YOUR LIFE EXTRAORDINARY RIGHT NOW: Secrets to Better Living from the Supergurus (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

2012th BLOG POST

16th Book of 2022


I remember reading a wonderful compilation of some beautiful chapters from bestselling books worked upon by Aleph publication house named “Become your best self right now” last year. I am very glad that Aleph is continuing with this series that has resulted in release of another book named “Make your life extra-ordinary right now” – the tagline of which says “Secrets of better living from the Supergurus”. I don’t think there’s any reason left for anyone to not pick this book up when another element on the cover page of the book mentions “Books by these authors have collectively sold over 100 million copies worldwide”.


The book has compilation of chapters from the bestselling books or articles from the following authors:

  • Hector Garcia
  • Sadhguru
  • James Clear
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Jeff Keller
  • Grant Cardone
  • Louise Hay
  • Brene Brown
  • Daniel H. Pink
  • Napolean Hill
  • Randy Pausch
  • George Clason
  • Joseph Murphy
  • Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Sheldon B. Kopp
  • James Allen
  • Viktor E. Frankl


The book has been divided into three different sections such as: The path to a good life, success and prosperity. The first section talks mainly about how we have to conceptually lead our life on daily basis to create long lasting impact which can give a positive tone to our life. An excerpt from the very famous book “Ikigai” tells us how to implement workout of our mind as it results in a youthful body in long term. Then there’s another extract from Sadhguru, a very popular spiritual guru who shares four practical tips to ensure that we wake up the right way, for a healthy and joyful life. Dalai Lama’s chapter teaches us to be compassionate towards everyone and treat the whole humanity as one. Brene Brown explains how to cultivate authenticity and letting go of what people think about us. I am glad the Aleph Editorial Board chose to include an extract from Paramhansa Yogananda’s transformational book which gives us insight on Yoga system that speaks of the Eightfold Path. Dale Carnegie, another popular author, tells us how our people skills can make many things easier for us to achieve than other efforts involved in it.


By the time you think that the book is speaking more about mindset and thoughts and less about actions required to achieve zenith performance, another section begins on Success which will just push you harder to take your hustle on a different level altogether. James Clear talks about the two-minute rule – that every time you find doing something tough just commit yourself for two minutes daily on it and eventually it will become a part of your routine with the amount of time it actually needs from you. Daniel Pink speaks of five steps that can bring us closer to mastery. Dale Carnegie who again appears in this section talks about how we like to excel against our peers naturally without requiring any extra push and also shares with us some tips on how to be an effective leader.


Finally, talking about the last section which talks on how to grow your wealth and prosperity – you will not be given exact advises on how to protect your money or multiply it but it will give you highlights that can make you think about money if you have yet not given much thought to it. The one chapter that I really liked in this section has been about putting 10x effort in order to achieve 10x success than our competitors written by Grant Cardone. Joseph Murphy’s chapter on how our mind can give us the access to the new sectors is a positive read.


Overall, this is yet again a light motivational and inspirational book that can help you achieve the mindset or that push you were waiting for. You can finish this book within 2-3 hours easily but I would advise reading it a page a day and apply the learnings in your life and journal your own experience after implementing it. There is a consistency in the way chapters are ordered as you can relate with the narrative editors have wanted to create for us to process the learnings easily. You will find many beautiful quotes and suggestions in this book which you’ll want to highlight hence keep a highlighter with you before even picking this book. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.






8 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

The Imperfect Deception: A Slow Burn Second Chance Romance by Shalini Ranjan (Book Review: 3.75*/5)

2011th BLOG POST

15th Book of 2022


When I started reading books around a decade back, I was in college and loved the new love stories that were releasing back-to-back by many IIT pass-out authors. Later on, I lost interest in the love genre and moved to other non-fictions or mythological fiction but I still end up picking up exciting book by any Indian author from the same genre whom I have never read before. Hence, this time I picked up a book named “The Imperfection Deception” written by Shalini Ranjan which is probably her 3rd release. This 264-pages book also has a tagline that says “A slow burn second chance romance” – it attracted me enough to choose it from the unlimited list of books that Amazon recommends.


This is not a typical love story but it has many layers to it. As you keep on reading, you identify that the two main characters just can’t get together so easily even when they keep on falling for each other at times. Every time they feel that everything is going to settle for them, author brings up in a twist which takes the story further for us to explore and know what and when will the moment arrive when both the characters will finally stop fighting their inner demons as well as external factors that keep on impacting their crawling romance.


Shalini has very successfully crafted this story which seems like a marathon divided into many laps – where every lap is like a piece of relay race – as exciting as the previous one. Her writing prowess can be felt as you will want to finish the story in a single sitting which is what I did. It has been a long time since I have read 250+ pages within 12 hours which this book has made it easier for me to achieve. The book is one of the interesting page-turners I have read in 2022. The book has released just in June and I am glad that I got my hands upon it quite early. Shalini’s command over the language is very good which is rare to find with the new Indian authors who get their book published through their own efforts.


I am glad to find how she was able to narrate a story in a manner where certain important facts are kept hidden without affecting our reading experience. The way she discloses and reveals certain flashbacks in the italic fonts just changes every thing in the story and as a reader, you jump on your seat and pace up your reading speed to know what will happen next with these new revelations that have taken place. Reading this book, I regularly felt as if I am watching some web-series which is getting interesting with each chapter and phase. Even when the book ends, there’s a relaxation that I am finally done with the story but you still wish that the story shouldn’t have ended. I don’t think there’s anything more to say about author’s storytelling skills than this.


I liked how Shalini didn’t give a feminist tone to her female characters who are actually very strong and determined in the book. She didn’t speak lowly of men in her story which is what many female authors do to state that women are stronger and better than men. Even when the book talks about failed marriages and unloving engaged couples, she ensures that she shows both sides of the story and tells confidently what went wrong from both the people involved in the relationship. It is very mature of Shalini to get onto this path rather than easy one to woo the newly woke feminist crowd.


How parenting is such an important aspect in modern society where a child deserves both the parents equally is very nicely portrayed. Parental alienation is a very big issue in our Indian system which is not spoken much in the society but I am glad authoress was able to throw a good amount of light even on this topic. This is quite a daring story, I must say. Similarly, author gives a very nice perspective on life on how to unapologetically live your life rather than regularly pissing yourself in regret and self-pity because of few big mistakes you make in life. Through her protagonists, she is able to display how they accept their wrongs but still keep moving on in their life dealing with new set of challenges.


Talking about the drawbacks – I must say that the book’s publishing quality – size, font, spacing etc. could have been better. The cover page could have been more exciting considering the multiple layers the story and its character had. The book could have been cut short by almost 25% for sure as there comes a time when you don’t want to read every expression or reaction of characters between the conversations. Hence, you have to fight the temptation of skipping sentences in between. I felt pre-climax and climax part was quite dragged and it wasn’t needed to be so lengthy. It just starts testing your patience by then.


Overall, this is a nice exciting read. Just because of the last 50 pages i.e. pre-climax which added unwanted pages to the book – I am deducting 0.25 stars and hence my rating is 3.75* out of 5 otherwise I definitely wanted to rate this book nothing less than 4 stars. Looking forward to reading more books from Shalini Ranjan now.






6 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

A Dangerous Mind: Consciousness Belongs to God by Golam Maula (3.75*/5) !!!

2010th BLOG POST

14th Book of 2022


I finally got a Kindle for myself this year and I was looking forward to read a completely new author’s book on it which has been released in Kindle edition only. After searching a lot, I choose to read Golam Maula’s A Dangerous Mind as my first Kindle book. It also has a tagline that says “Consciousness belongs to God”. This 356-pages book is quite a ride as author takes you on a journey which has a plot with many twists and turns. Though it is not a thriller but author manages to keep changing the theme of the story after every few chapters which keeps you interested and excited to know what’ll happen next. The book is quite a good page-turner which will make you finish it within 2-3 sittings itself; though it took little more time for me to complete due to my first Kindle reading experience.


Author’s writing style is cool – yes, I am using this term to define the way he writes because it makes you feel that you aren’t reading a book but watching it on a big screen. The narration is fast-paced and doesn’t bore you as author keeps his characters on toes always. Generally, as a reader, when you complete the first 50 pages of a book, you are able to guess on what tone the story will move ahead but here, I would really like to applaud author for choosing to write in a manner where you feel that you have read not one but many stories in a single book itself. The characterizations of both the main protagonists- John and Anjali is done so perfectly despite the fact that their background is from two different countries – US and India. I was quite impressed with the way their aesthetics and beliefs are portrayed in the book which makes you understand them so well that you feel you already know them.


The book starts quite romantically which made me imagine it all in a very Bollywood-ish manner – a boy trying to search a girl whom he found at a temple praying but her beauty mesmerized him. Then they keep on bumping or meeting each other at some places after which they finally get to have a conversation and know each other. The instant liking makes both of them fall in love. Till here, I really enjoyed how author defined the emotions of a boy who wants to get to the talking terms with the girl he has got attracted towards. Their initial conversations also make you fall in love with the characters and imagine yourself in a beautiful relationship.


Now, the tone of the book shifts again and author gives prominence to the casteism and belief system of parents and its impact on the children - How marriages are not seen as compatibility and love of two people for each other but it is made more about what castes they belong to. The whole struggle of the two characters will make you resonate with their pain as many people in our country go through this issue and end up suffering emotional damage for a long time because of losing someone for no reason at all just because they belonged to two different castes. The characters of parents are also nicely crafted which makes you understand where they are coming from and why they are so hell bent over their decision.


The main power of Golam’s writing gets revealed when the story proceeds after this where John meets an accident where some revolutionary medical experiment is performed on his treatment which changes his mind, his life and his perspectives forever. He is being referred to as the most intelligent person on the planet. He also ends up losing memory which keeps on coming back and losing again periodically. Now, in such scenarios, when Anjali finds John in a completely different zone and mindset, the real test of their relationship begins where she tries all her efforts to keep it up but John’s memory loss makes him explore life very differently. Here, I started imagining everything in quite a Hollywood-ish way which is a completely contrast to the first half of the book which I mentioned was quite Bollywood-ish till then.


I liked how Maula used philosophical aspects where there are many colours of life being explained through characters in their conversations. I liked one section in the 2nd half of the book where John is reading Anjali’s diary paragraph by paragraph and she is explaining her point of view about why she wrote it and how things have changed since then. The climax is quite painful but predictive as I had guessed somewhere in middle of the story what would happen with the characters later on.


Now talking about the drawbacks- firstly, this is quite a lengthy book which I believe could have been cut short by 25% of its total length with good editing. Secondly, I believe author got quite preachy at places when he talks about religion, faith and other such aspects which somewhere makes you find Anjali’s character quite boring at times. Thirdly, the word “Ardhangini” is used so many times in the book to prove how serious and beautiful relationship a marriage is that you would want to give divorce finding this concept being pushed every once in ten pages.


Other than this, I believe author has done quite good research to make the whole medical scenario of John look natural. Similarly, his efforts to know about India, its culture, belief and religion is evident otherwise it’s not easy to describe the whole country and its people the way Golam Maula has done. I give this book 3.75 stars out of 5.


P.S. This book has been awarded the best novel of the year 2022 by APS Book Awards in Chicago, USA.






5 July 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

JNU: Nationalism and India's Uncivil War by Makarand R. Paranjape (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

2009th BLOG POST

13th Book of 2022


I don’t generally read books which are written on very heavy topics or are too historical or contains stuff that might make more than 50% of the book not comprehendible to me. Hence, I never pick up such pieces in either of the genres- fiction or non-fiction. Luckily, there are few topics which are of such character that you wish to know about them – either because of curiosity or to understand what exactly happened which made it so famous or relevant. One such topic for me has been about JNU – the college, what happens in its premise and what is the reason that makes the environment there so political and leftist rather than academic. I had no idea about the institution until 2016 until we know how a boy named Kanhaiya Kumar launched an agitation which became the talking point country wide; well, in international media too. I just completed reading the book named “JNU: Nationalism and India's Uncivil War” written by one of the oldest and prominent professors from the same university, Makarand R. Paranjape.


I am ashamed of myself that I didn’t hear his name or got to know about his stance against the Leftist crowd and particularly, Kanhaiya Kumar. It is only through this book that I went online and checked a lot of content which involved the author. This 270-odd pages book published by Rupa Publication is a combination of two aspects – Paranjape's memoir as an insider and personal journey at JNU and his stance and opinion on the activities that takes place in the JNU premises which gives it enough negative limelight. The book starts from his own journey – how he joined JNU and what made him leave IIT and move to this place which is always full of controversies and is completely different from what IIT offers. Then, author takes the story forward and explains how he got involved in the JNU row.


There is an extensive chapter where author shares a lot of open letters and how he responded to them vs how his responses were accepted. It is fun and exploratory to understand the viewpoints and opinions of both the sides – left and right and try gauging ourselves which side we want to stand with. It makes you question a lot of things – if favouring state and system completely is good or going extremely against them and bringing things on standstill a right choice. Author tries to give us a deep account of how typical JNU crowd thinks, what they need, what they do to get what they need and what is their agenda behind this. Everything that author mentions are highly debatable and controversial. You will definitely find complete support to this piece of work or a complete disregard- there's not going to be a normal reaction though author keeps insisting that he falls somewhere in between the left and right wing of our nation.


In a chapter, author gives a nice brief of the lives of Tagore and Gandhi – as their professional work and personal opinions at times stood completely with nation or it questioned the moral of the state. I really enjoyed reading this as I never knew much about Tagore’s various aspects of work and his opinions about our country. Few things really opened my eyes towards the history of our nation and how we have always been handling the extreme opinions and standing tough with all these voices roaring around us. Author speaks of how JNU has also produced great alumni's like Nirmala Sitharaman, S. Jaishankar, Abhijit Banerjee etc. and raises an expectation as well as question if JNU will produce such likeminded productive and nation-builders in the future considering its current opinionated and politically-influenced crowd. 


Author doesn’t shy away from narrating how JNU students run away from studies and want to protest on meagre issues even when it is something like rise in fees by some hundred-odd rupees or mandatory 75% attendance rule etc. He tells how students want the institution to be closed or lecture not happening for more than half of the year hence they find some issue to revolt against and ensure the whole attention is towards the same than studies. Lastly, author discusses how JNU can be further saved from such toxic and extremist culture and what needs to be done to make it an institute that can bring change and reform to our country in a positive manner and gets mention for great things happening than the reasons why it is currently mentioned regularly. Author’s hope and genuine care towards the institution is evident in every sentence that he’s written. The research work and documentation of all the JNU events since 2016 displays the hard work author has put to give this book a proper shape. 


Overall, if you have always questioned about JNU, leftists, anti-nationals, tukde-tukde gang and what the whole 2016 azadi slogans were all about, you should definitely pick this book up which has an equally sensational cover page. For a beginner, the language is tough as there are instances where you’ll have to refer to dictionary 7 times in just one sentence. Haha! So, pick it only if you have been reading journalism content since a long time and have good vocabulary prowess. I loved deep-diving into this complicated and controversial subject through Makarand Paranjape’s lenses. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I have learnt a lot about the other side which I was looking forward to know since long.