24 May 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

Afternoon by Nidhi Dalmia (Book Review: 2*/5) !!!

2066th BLOG POST

17th Book of 2023

People often ask not to judge a book by its cover but there are times when I still pick books based on their cover, title or just synopsis. There is one such book I read recently named “Afternoon” written by Nidhi Dalmia. This 225-pages book is published by Rupa Publications. It is based in the timeline of 1950s and 1960s hence reading it makes you understand what the world thought about many things during that era. The story revolves around different places in the world such as Kashmir, Delhi, San Francisco and New York. You get a gist of how certain revolutions took place globally and the way mindset of people was getting transformed gradually. It tells you about how people were themselves evolving and accepting many forms of relationships which earlier were considered as taboo and unacceptable.


 Nidhi’s writing style is powerful and keeps you engaged. He knows how to narrate even small setups that you read it so carefully as if there’s a larger meaning to it. The way he has used locations and its aesthetics speaks a lot about the research he must have gone through to understand how to portray them through the story. Similarly, the historical events are mentioned so beautifully that you never find them forced in the story setup. You are able to accept all such inclusions and want to know what happened simultaneously with the main plot of the story. Dalmia has also mentioned many poems and lyrics of the songs which are such a beautiful piece of literature and art that you wish this was a separate book altogether. If you are poetic, you are definitely going to enjoy reading these segments.


The story basically speaks about how the relationships define a person and also brings major changes in one’s life without any plans. The protagonist, Rajiv, falls twice in love. The 1st one mentioned with Ayesha is something I could very much relate to. The way book starts with their rising chemistry and eventually discusses how their kisses started getting better day by day. Frankly speaking, those sections are very sensuous and I just couldn’t stop myself from imagining things. Haha! How their love story gets impacted is also narrated aptly as it makes you emotional and empathize with the character. The 2nd part of the book which is Rajiv’s relationship with Catherine speaks about how nothing could come in between their feelings for each other despite of their own growth as individuals.


Their inter-continental love speaks about the challenges that occurs when people from two different cultures and time-zones falls for each other. The long-distance relationship and its difficult path are evident from few sections when the couple goes through the same. The book is basically going to resonate with people who are aware of multiple cultures beyond India as they can relate with many real-life incidents and other art-related development that the author discusses; otherwise, for me, this has just been a soft-porn where you will end up reading about two people kissing and getting physical every now and then. There’s not many twists and turns in the book and no deep-diving in terms of characters in love.


The story is very plain with nothing that can actually touch your heart. I found it very absurd in terms of how can someone write a book with no major set-up but only with over-description of few places, culture and sensuous scenes. It’s good to gift to your partner if you are below 25 as it can help both of you get more closer in terms of your love-making process but other than that, I don’t think that the story goes anywhere. Anyway, I give this book 2 stars out of 5. I wish I could have stopped reading it midway but my anticipation that some twist will bring an impact to the book made me stay up till the end.






20 May 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

My Illegitimate Son by Sanjay Jha (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

2065th BLOG POST

16th Book of 2023

I remember myself reading many books based on politicians in forms of autobiographies and biographies but never expected or imagined a politician writing a fiction story. I am just done reading “My Illegitimate Son” written by the former National Spokesperson of the Congress party whom many of us have seen debating on news channels on prime time. This 184-pages book is published by Rupa publication in the month of May 2023 itself and this is the first review that is being posted on Amazon/Goodreads. I am glad to be one of the initial readers of this incredible story which has been written in the first voice of Louis, a pet dog in a house of a family living in Mumbai.


Well, this has been a unique attempt in writing a book from perspective of a pet animal. I was initially quite doubtful if author would be able to provide entertainment through the story - How many perspectives will he be able to convey through an animal? But Sanjay has dumped all such doubts of his readers by writing not only a story of how an animal enters a family and gets amused by the love and over-excitement of everyone but philosophical elements too. Author’s command on the language is obviously great as he is regularly involved in writing for newspapers and editorials. He has used some great vocabulary in few chapters which helped me learn many new words even after reading for so many years. He has not shied away from using words which helped define the situation or scenario best. This book should be picked considering that you’ll have to refer dictionary regularly hence you can choose to read it on Kindle as well making it easier for you.


The way bonding between 3 different dogs is shown along with their love-hate tales makes us think if they also process relationships similar to us. They also have all the good and bad emotions which makes them be good or nasty to others. The initial chapters were a delight to see how dogs feel when people arrive regularly and adopt couple of them making them leave their friends behind. They also sense how the prospective parents could be and accordingly show their excitement or treat them with complete ignorance so that they are rejected. There was a painful part in the beginning itself when a mother and son are about to be separated. This one paragraph itself gave me the sense about what kind of emotional roller-coaster ride this book is going to be.


The quote in the start of every chapter sets a realization tone for the reader as there is enough for you to introspect about your life. Sanjay has tried giving real life references through a dog’s perspective and you can find him taking dig at current government as well as few personalities from Indian politics. He also makes foreign references using many current affair topics. The illustrations are very beautiful which enables you to imagine the characters of pet animals. Jha has given his own reference through a character called Beard. It was fun reading those parts where Louis describes him.


As mentioned in the synopsis, the story is based on factors such as love, loss, happiness, grief, regret, redemption, life, death, ego, forgiveness, loyalty, acceptance, spirituality, violence, after-death etc. It answers many questions about the way we humans process our thoughts. It tells how complex we have made our world whereas it could be as easy as it is for the animal world. The pre-climax and climax made me emotional and I controlled my tears in contrast to all the chapters which otherwise made me laugh with funny take of the pet on the family he was adopted by. Sanjay has been immensely witty in this book. I never knew about Sanjay’s humor in both- straight and dark forms. Haha!


After reading this book, you will obviously start looking at animals in a very different light. You will understand that they are also processing some opinions about us. The pet lovers will be able to relate with all the tales. They’ll be extra-cautious to not be judged by their pet after keeping this book down. Haha! Overall, it’s a great attempt and something very fresh in the new arrivals. I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5.






18 May 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

How Social-media Influencers are playing with our Self-Esteem!

2064th BLOG POST

The boom of unlimited internet offers from Jio and lockdown gave popularity to many Youtubers. Whenever any individual gets an instant fame or money, they tend to believe that they have won the race of life and hence, they have answer for almost everything. Sometimes, when I go through any Youtuber’s video thumbnails, I feel like laughing seeing them talk on several different topics which actually needs an expert’s comments rather than a generalist. But because they have audience right from the age of 12+ following their content, they know that fooling or in the technical terms – Influencing them is easy. They don’t even feel ashamed when couple of Users comment and let them know about the several aspects they have wrongly represented or not considered at all while speaking on the critical topic. They’ll end up creating another video calling those genuine netizens as trollers. As I said, you can declare Earth as flat if you have followers on Internet because you will always have followers believing and supporting you in almost anything you say.


The biggest issue that I have understood after watching significant amount of such videos and podcasts that rather than providing you any kind of motivation or inspiration, it can only make you feel incomplete, unhappy and loser. Yes! I am not saying that all videos/podcasts are useless but almost 90% of them can’t provide you practical inputs because people speaking in front of the camera are talking about every thing from their perspective. For e.g., people have shared immense amount of content related to morning routine as well as evening and night routine in few cases. What I have understood from the same is that one will have to keep 3-4 hours in morning to give it to themselves for all sorts of activities right from cleaning your system to brushing teeth to exercising, meditating, journaling, listening to classical music, planning your day, writing gratitude, enjoying sunrise in nature blah blah blah!


Let me break this down for you taking my own example- as I said, everyone talks from their own perspective. I have to get up at 6:30 AM for just getting through the essential activities to get ready to leave for my office around 7:45 AM to catch the most famous- Mumbai local train. After being at office for the whole day where a person can’t have Me-time as you are being paid to work for minimum 9 hours. These influencers also suggest us to take afternoon nap. How to tell them that we aren’t at a privileged position like them or those start-up founders who have liberty to have an afternoon session all for themselves. We have to rush to reach cafeteria, catch a table, warm our food in microwave after standing up in queue even there, eat fast because there are other employees watching at you to vacant the table so that they can begin their lunch too. After that, we get 5-10 minutes of time to have a short walk or gossiping session with our team members and get back to desk for completing our tasks or else, wait late in the evening until all the tasks aren’t completed.


By the time, we reach home – it’s already 8:30 or 9 PM and in most scenarios even later than this up to 11 PM. We freshen up, drink water/beverage, have dinner and its already time to sleep as your body has given up after such a day where your spine has been straight for almost 16 hours and more since you woke up. How am I or anyone expected to then work on their skin care routine by applying serum on face, under-eye cream for avoiding dark circles, castor oil on hair for its growth etc. Not only this, we are expected to have dinner 3 hours before sleeping and even sleep by 9-10 PM. Dude, we are reaching home between 8 to 11 PM. Are you asking us to even carry dinner with us and eat it at 7 PM before leaving office – the stale food without even having provision of warming it up? And how am I supposed to sleep by 9-10 PM when I am reaching home exactly then?


These influencers will never be able to respond to such queries because they haven’t lived this life and they aren’t aware about it at all. In fact, the videos should suggest what we can do while traveling by public transport. How we can read books or work on our passion if it can be executed on laptop etc. They should guide regarding working upon journaling or even meditating while traveling. Obviously, without sitting in the proper meditation posture but by just crossing our leg to give us the feel as meditation is more about focusing on our mind than how we are sitting. Hence, anyone with a corporate life can never feel happy if we keep watching such videos and feel that this is what needs our attention than realizing that we are already doing great with our life by earning bread and butter for our family and future.


The reason why many of us are unhealthy is because we genuinely don’t have time for ourselves. But we will always be ridiculed and laughed upon in such videos calling us procrastinators or lazy. I am seeing students influenced by them and rather than studying and researching, they are spending most of their times either in watching these impractical content-creators or journaling, meditating and following skin-care routines. Because of the Instagram and Snapchat, they feel that they need to always look beautiful, handsome and young so that their pictures always look enough cool for them to fetch views, downloads, likes and proposals. Thankfully, the social media came into the picture only after I was done achieving all that I wanted from my academic life. Even though it was there when I entered college but I always utilized it to promote my blog and book-reading culture.


Please beware of such content on Internet and focus upon what you can do in already planned day to create special moments in your life which can take you ahead. We have weekends and we can make most of it if we have a tough weekdays routine as I mentioned above. Don’t ever feel that you aren’t special and inspirational just because you are not able to do stuffs these guys boast of doing in their videos. We don’t even know if they are actually doing this or just selling their content by letting us feel how perfect they are. Most of the content of their videos are inspired because a sponsor wants them to talk on a specific topic – either about online courses or a cosmetic product or a mutual fund investing platform etc. Hence, they try to be master of all so that they can get all sorts of sponsors and keep on earning through brand collaborations. We even end up buying those products thinking that it will help us like it helps our online idols. I hope I have made myself clear enough and don’t need to rant anymore. Haha..





11 May 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

The Hitman by Manoj V Jain (Book Review: 3.25*/5) !!!

2063rd BLOG POST

15th Book of 2023

There are few authors with whom you build a connection and end up reading their book just after it releases. Manoj V Jain is one such author whom I have read couple of times and always found his philosophical insights relatable. Repeating the phenomenon, I picked up his latest fiction book named “The Hitman” and completed it within couple of hours. This 125-pages book, I believe, is Manoj’s shortest book till date and I am surprised to know that he had almost thought of quitting but this story gave birth to his 2nd innings as an author.


Story-wise, the book discusses about the protagonist, Vivek, who is going through the same mid-life crisis as his 40th birthday is round the corner. He is not happy with his job, life, family, city etc. and is generally not excited and curious about anything. One day, a person promises him that if he doesn’t want to live, he will help him die within a couple of weeks. He is been given a deadline. The moment Vivek realizes that he has limited time to live, he tries to change his lifestyle and perspective so that he can experience few things and meet people before he is gone. While doing this, he finds many insights which starts making him realize the beautiful moments of life.


Author, Manoj V Jain, capitalizes on this plot and uses it to help us understand how we keep on ditching life and its beautiful aspects without feeling gratitude towards many great things happening with us. I liked the simplicity with which this book has been written which helps you as a reader understand the unrealistic beginning and accept it eventually. The character of Vivek is built up nicely and I believe almost every reader will be able to relate with him. If not now, eventually you will when you face the same mid-life crisis like him at 35-40. Haha!


Manoj’s intent is very evident as he tries to display how egoistic and self-centered, we eventually become that we never take care of giving any kind of relevance to our family and friends. We end up blaming them without ever talking with the person we see every morning in the mirror and ask what we have done for others. The way Vivek realizes these small facts about himself and how he starts feeling bad about not being able to live forever with these amazing people makes you cheer for him to live and avoid being killed by the Hitman. This makes you keep on reading and turning the pages until you finish the book. You just expect the story to end happily. I would not reveal what happens in the end – you need to pick up the book to know this.


This is a feel-good novel which can be read when you are feeling sad or demotivated. It is a kind of self-help book which will throw lights upon the fact about how simple life is and how complicated we make it. I would also like to mention a fact here that the story doesn’t have lots of elements or twists-and-turns hence from this aspect, there’s a disappointment too. Also, I believe that there could have been lot that could have been done with this plot but Manoj expected his readers to understand the emotions between the lines which Vivek was going through rather than deep-diving into it and getting spiritual about those events. I missed that because that is how I identify Manoj- an author who speaks about spirituality through fiction stories. He could have easily added 50-odd pages and weave magic to the story.


Overall, the book has a lesson and few quotes that you would love to read whenever you are feeling down. I give the book 3.25* out of 5. Definitely, not Manoj’s best but a one-time read, indeed.






9 May 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life by Ashdin Doctor (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!

2062nd BLOG POST

14th Book of 2023

I remember the time when I was in my last phase of teenage when everything was going wrong for me. It wasn’t the era when social media was omnipresent. If one had to come out of their below-average life, one had to learn their lessons only through books. Thankfully, I read one then which taught me about the importance of managing our day well as eventually the same days are later collectively called as month, year and life. One thought changed me enough to concentrate on how I live my day with good habits forming major part of it. It’s 15 years since then but I am yet fascinated by the power of good habits which made me pick up another book based upon it named “Change your habits, change your life” written by Ashdin Doctor. The book also goes along with a tagline which says “Your guide to an awesome life”.


Speaking about the author, Ashdin calls himself a Habit Coach who helps his clients understand how they can bring granular changes in their daily routine to finally get out of bad habits and follow all the good habits they always wanted to indulge in. He has a Youtube channel where he shares tips regularly as well as conduct podcasts which helps us understand perspectives on this. Ashdin knows well how to engage his readers and just as he advises to insert habits gradually in our routine, he takes us into the important concepts gradually after preparing us well to not get overwhelmed right from the 1st sentence itself. This book falls into the self-help genre and hence, unlike other books, it doesn’t try to motivate you in your face but speaks like a friend.


Ashdin has kept the tone conversational without trying to sound preachy. The book has been divided in several segments and further into smaller chapters. Every chapter is further explained in different bullet points which makes it easier for you to make notes while reading. At the end, author asks us to do an exercise. Frankly speaking, the book needs to be read slowly at the pace of one chapter per day so that you can do your exercises mindfully making you understand Ashdin’s intent behind every chapter clearly.


In the 1st 10 pages itself, I was floored by the two formulas that is been shared: One being – Routines + Emotions = Rituals and second – Habits + Routines + Rituals = Life. The impact of simply these two concepts blew my mind and I understood that I am going to read something very important further in this book. The explanation of Inspiration and Motivation is also defined properly which helps you in understanding that both of these are extrinsic factors whereas what you should be focusing upon is Intention for which you want to inculcate certain habit in your life. In one chapter, author discusses several frictions that comes in between when we are about to take first step towards a good habit and how we can fight against them in order to avoid getting distracted.


Later, there’s a story author shares about Milo and the Bull which is one of the most effective short stories I have ever read. It helped me understand what the power of compounding can do to our lives if we stay focused on improving every day. I liked the two-day concept shared by Ashdin which tells how we can work upon our habits by not dying to execute it every day but trying to maintain a balance initially with our current lifestyle and the proposed lifestyle. In the last chapter, Doctor shares case study of around 5 patients on whom he worked where each of them came to him with different problem statement and goal. This helps us understand how different kind of problems can be treated by focusing on just one part of our life – Building good habits.


Overall, this book is of around 200 pages which can be completed by anyone within few sittings. You can even read it multiple times to keep yourself refreshed with the concepts. Talking about the drawbacks, I must say that most of what Ashdin has shared is already mentioned in some book or Youtube video hence there are very pages which are actually unique. Similarly, I feel that there could have been a better way of describing few concepts with examples and diagrammatical representation to make them look more realistic and effective. Rest, this book should be on your shelf if you are fighting with your cluttered life. I give this book 3.7 stars out of 5.



This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program




1 May 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

What is Spiritual about being Punctual? by Ramesh Bijlani (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

2061st BLOG POST

13th Book of 2023

Well, after reading couple of fiction books, I thought of getting back to my favorite spiritual genre. I picked up Ramesh Bijlani’s non-fiction book named “What is Spiritual about being Punctual?”. This 184-pages book is published by Rupa Publications. There are 36 different chapters where each of them talks about a topic/activity/lifestyle in which we can add a spiritual aspect and make it a devotional or divine act rather than doing it just for material gains. We generally question and discuss how we can be spiritual in this materialistic and practical world where every minute of ours is related to being responsible at work, family or our own well-being. Ramesh has tried to eradicate all these doubts in our mind and teach us a way how we can be spiritually-connected in every form of life in whatever we do.


I liked the way Ramesh has tried summing up this book in different chapters where each of them is of around 3 to 7 pages only making it easier for the readers to go through any topic at any given point of time. It’s not necessary to read the book in the traditional linear fashion. You can jump to any chapter as per your mood and it will give you immense perspective to understand a new philosophy towards living life rather than being dependable on the previous chapters. Ramesh has used easy language for his readers to understand the content easily without getting confused with too much spiritual jargons. Yes! Many spiritual authors purposely use such words, narration or philosophy that it makes tough for reader to understand its meaning. I am glad Ramesh has tried to reach out to his readers like a good teacher explaining things until completely understood by the readers.


Though the title of the book is a bit confusing, it is also just one chapter in the book than the whole book discussing about this one particular aspect. I don’t know why it was made the title as it’s not easy for readers to get attracted towards it due to its complexity. Anyway, author talks about how we can understand the real purpose of our life which is definitely related to spirituality and then, we find answers to everything that we do in our life regarding how we can do it in a spiritual manner. In the last chapter, author gives a great understanding regarding how even a war like Mahabharata was fought in a spiritual manner and not for purpose of violence or display of power. That chapter in the end makes everything crystal clear to you even if the first 35 chapters may not be able to make things decipherable for you.


There are few examples that I would like to mention here which author has discussed in the book: how marketing agency advertises a product in a manner where consumers are fooled about its features whereas it can be done in a way that both the parties gain something from it rather than feeling cheated – how divorce can be avoided and even if it needs to be processed, how both parties can mutually separate without causing any harm to the other – how we can drive car on the road keeping our ego and anger aside taking care of everyone: pedestrians, other vehicles on the road, two-wheelers etc. – Grihastha chapter discusses on how parents shouldn’t think raising child is a transaction where they should accept the same love in return…


Further, author discusses how few people have the bad habit of grumbling over everything bad as well as even when something good happens with them – how Internet has made it possible for us to be physically apart yet communicate with each other instantly which was clearly not imaginable even 25 years back – the utilization of money can be improved by ensuring that we use it for good means and realize that people who need it get the due rather than acting miser with them – the importance of touch for human beings is explained and how hugs make us feel calm and safe - Surprisingly, author also covers the aspect of photography regarding how rather than enjoying the present moment we end up capturing it and get stuck in past forever looking at them – How shopping can be done in a way where both shopkeeper and customer can interact with each other thinking about a win-win situation rather than approaching each other for personal gains only etc.


Ramesh has given ample number of examples that helps us understand that even in our daily routine, if we just change the way we look at things, we can achieve happiness and joy rather than waiting for it to arrive in our lives only when we do a spiritual activity. Author has given all the perspective being unbiased towards everyone. The book is basically based from the learnings that author gained from the spiritual personalities- Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Initially, I thought that the book will be all about promoting them but author doesn’t get involved in these tactics and stays true to his purpose behind writing this book.


Talking about the drawbacks – there’s not many but just two points I would like to mention. Author could have added little more topics to the book i.e. around 15-20 more of them as I wanted to know more about such perspectives but felt that the book ended soon after letting us know a very little. Secondly, in the topics such as divorce/marriage/love etc, author sounds biased towards women as all the wrong activities are mentioned to be done by the men only. Author could have kept it balanced by also talking about how women are equally problematic in the modern times and makes it difficult for men to survive by blackmailing them on pretext of lodging false complaints of rape and dowry etc. as our Indian laws are gender-biased.


Overall, this book needs to be read by everyone as it speaks about aspects which can change your whole approach towards life and people. I can definitely feel that I learnt few new things from this one even after having read more than 900 books. I give this attempt 4 stars out of 5.