17 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Tales of Different Tails - Mishti Learns to Swim by Surbhi Mittal (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

2104th BLOG POST

10th Book of 2024


If you have been following my reviews recently, you must be knowing by now that I am indulged madly in this children book series named “Tales of Different Tails” and I have finally finished all the books I had. The latest book that I finished reading is named “Mishti learns to swim” and the cover page of the book itself is so lovely that you can’t avoid the cute characters and would want to know more about them.


Sonalika Publications has initiated a series titled “Tales of Different Tails,” drawing inspiration from the authors' habitual zoo visits and their study of animal behaviors. They suggest that despite the significant evolutionary progress humans have made over thousands of years, there remains an element of our original monkey nature within each of us.


The first book in the series, "Introduction," sets the stage by explaining how the main five characters meet and come together. The second book, "Friends," focuses on one of their adventures that highlights their friendship. The third book is called "Investigation" and humorously depicts how these friends often overthink and overanalyze various situations. Finally, the 4th book “Mishti learns to swim” talks about the fear of swimming that one of the animal friends is going through and how the rest of the friends make it easier for him.


An outstanding feature of this book is the unique approach of presenting the story in both English and Hindi on the same page. This is a fantastic way to teach children both languages and show them how the same content can be articulated using the correct vocabulary in each language.


Unlike the other books in this series, the author credited for this book is Surbhi Mittal alone whereas her children, Diya Mittal and Annant Mittal are added as adding the spirit of monkeyness to the series. The book is filled with illustrations by Sachi Shukla, who has created an animated look that mirrors what children see on television, making it easier for them to identify and relate to the animals.


The authors have skilfully named the animals, adding a touch of humanity to them. This story has the most words compared to all the other stories and your child will finally get to read and learn more. The language of the book is also getting slightly better as I believe author has assumed children to have learnt the basics after reading first 3 books. This book has lot of dialogues and conversation among characters which shall help kids understand how to talk with someone.


Author has very intellectually made children aware of the Archimedes principle giving it prominence in the story. The concept of making children learn such terms through stories is such a beautiful idea. Surbhi has also highlighted the importance of library and books through another event as well. The story is written in an entertaining manner where you will yourself feel like going to a swimming pool and enjoy water. Kids are definitely going to relate with this story and go into the world of their imagination.


The book mentions few difficult words used in both the languages in the end along with their meaning for increasing the vocabulary of the young readers. There are exercises for children as well similar to the previous books.


Overall, this is a good read and I give this book 4 stars out of 5.






15 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Tales of Different Tails - Investigation by Annant Mittal/Surbhi Mittal (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

2103rd BLOG POST

9th Book of 2024


As soon as I started reading the new series of book “Tales of Different Tails”, I couldn’t stop and I have already completed 3rd book of the same back-to-back. The series is meant for kids but I can vouch it for everyone that you’ll enjoy reading it even when you are a full-grown adult. Haha! The stories are unique despite having the same characters in all its books. Similarly, it makes you feel nostalgic as well.


Inspired by their regular trips to the zoo and the animals they observed, the authors have teamed up with Sonalika Publications to create this series. They contend that even though human beings have undergone extensive evolution over millennia, there is still a hint of our ancestral monkey-like traits in all of us.


The first book in this series was named “Introduction” as it is literally the introduction of this series on how the main five characters of this book came together. The 2nd book is named “Friends” which narrates one of the tales which describes their friendship. The 3rd book that I have just finished is named “Investigation” which is a funny take on how these friends overthink and overanalyze sometimes.


A standout aspect of this book is its innovative dual-language format, where stories are written in both English and Hindi on the same page. This method is an excellent tool for teaching children both languages and demonstrating how the same concepts can be expressed differently yet correctly in each language.


The story is authored by Annant Mittal and his mother, Surbhi Mittal, with Diya Mittal also contributing as a co-author. The book is adorned with numerous illustrations by Sachi Shukla, who has brought the animals to life with an animated style reminiscent of television, aiding children in recognizing and connecting with the characters.


The authors have thoughtfully named the animals, giving them a human-like quality. This story is very different than the other two stories in this series as it is more an enjoyment read without any messaging as such. Rather than teaching anything about life lessons, this story helps the young readers understand about the different nature of plants. It introduces us with a new type of carnivorous plants which eats insects as well. The investigative nature of the friends are nicely described and how one of them knowing the fact doesn’t hide it from others but help them learn it. Reading such camaraderie among the friends is a great delight and pleasing element of the story.


The book mentions few difficult words used in both the languages in the end along with their meaning for increasing the vocabulary of the young readers. There are exercises where the words are jumbled up which the readers will have to correct. There’s a coloring exercise as well where the readers get an opportunity to paint two of the main characters of this series.


Author also introduces the concept of shadow hand puppets where we can make some signs with our hands and an image of an animal shall reflect on the wall through the shadow. The last exercises helps children match animals with their respective babies and find the heavier animal of all listed on the page.

Overall, this is a good read and I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.






12 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Tales of Different Tails - Friends by Annant Mittal/Surbhi Mittal (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

2102nd BLOG POST

8th Book of 2024


As mentioned in my previous book review, I have been reading a series which is targeted for school-going children. Sonalika Publications has launched a new series called “Tales of Different Tails,” inspired by the authors’ frequent zoo visits and their keen observation of animal behaviour. They believe that despite humans evolving significantly over thousands of years, a trace of our primal, monkey-like nature still remains within us.


The first book in this series was named “Introduction” as it is literally the introduction of this series on how the main five characters of this book came together. The 2nd book is named “Friends” which narrates one of the tales which describes their friendship.


One notable feature of this book is the brilliant concept of presenting stories side-by-side in English and Hindi on the same page. This approach is an excellent way to help children learn both languages and understand how the same ideas can be expressed using appropriate vocabulary in each language.


The story's authors are Annant Mittal and his mother, Surbhi Mittal, with a third author, Diya Mittal, also credited. The book is richly illustrated, thanks to Sachi Shukla, who has infused the illustrations with an animated style similar to what children see on television. This helps children easily recognize and relate to the animals depicted.


The authors have cleverly named the animals, giving them a human touch. The story teaches on how even animals stand for each other in tough times rather than leaving them alone. It teaches on how we should perceive friendship in our own lives. The book also talks of importance on planning before any activity and also ensuring that there’s both- Plan A and Plan B in case the first plan fails. Through different incidents, what animal is good in which activity is described which shall help readers understand the strength of each animal.


The book ends with certain exercises which explains the tough vocabulary used throughout the story. There are other activities as well where readers shall be matching opposite and rhyming words against each other and better themselves in both the languages.


Overall, this is a good read and I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5.






11 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Tales of Different Tails - Introduction by Annant Mittal/Surbhi Mittal (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

2101st BLOG POST

7th Book of 2024


It has been a decade in our Indian literature set-up where we have accepted the books written in the form of series- duology, trilogy etc. When I went to a bookstore and found that the same concept is present in the world of children’s story books also, I thought of purchasing it for my near-and-dear ones. I found Sonalika Publications’ initiative of a series named “Tales of Different Tails” which is inspired by the authors’ regular visits to zoo and observation of animals. They felt that even though the humans have evolved a lot in 1000s of years but there’s still a bit of monkeyness in each one of us.


The first book in this series is named “Introduction” as it is literally the introduction of this series on how the main five characters of this book came together. One thing that I must mention is the amazing concept of writing story side-by-side on the same page itself in two languages- English and Hindi. This is definitely going to be a great way for making your children learn both the languages and how the same things can be written in both languages using the right vocabulary.


The authors of this story are Annant Mittal and Surbhi Mittal who are son-mother by relation. They have also added the name of 3rd author as well- Diya Mittal. This book is again heavy with illustrations which are contributed by Sachi Shukla. She has given an animated feel to the book by sketching animals the way we see them in television which shall help children to relate and identify the animals immediately while looking at the images.


Authors have very intellectually named the animals giving them a human touch. How one can add friends in their life is properly narrated in the book where two friends start their journey for attending a fair and keeps on adding more animals in their group to finally becoming a group of 5 friends. The title of the series is inspired by the same concept – Tales of different Tails.


The story also tries teaching how even when one is not your friend and joins you due to loneliness, rather than avoiding them, you show a sense of inclusion and involve them in your activity as well. Similarly, when you find someone wanting more members to play a game, you can yourself give them an offer and help them play the game enjoying the same yourself as well. Similarly, author also emphasizes how we should be appreciating strength of others and acknowledging it rather than becoming jealous of it. This quality ensures that all these 5 animals get together without any ego clashes.


The book ends with certain exercises which explains the tough vocabulary used throughout the story. It has a drawing activity which will help young readers in drawing one of the main five characters. They shall also be able to portray their intelligence by connecting the name with the respective animal and showcase their alertness while reading the story. Similarly, they get an option to analyze which animal eats what for their survival.

Overall, this is a good start to the series of the book and I give this book 4 stars out of 5.





9 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

2100* BLOGS in 5458 Days with Lakhs of You!!!

2100th BLOG POST

Well, we have finally reached this milestone where this small space on the very big World Wide Web has completed 2100 BLOG POSTS. It has almost been 15 years since I have been writing here – my thoughts, my opinions, my life updates, book reviews, discussion on movies and what not. At the average with which this has been continued for 1.5 decades, it boils down to 140 posts every year which means a post in almost every 2.5 days. I don’t know if I have ever been committed to anything in the way I have been to writing on this platform.


There have been times in life when things have scattered me but the thought of this medium being stuck with no updates has always poked me even in those vulnerable and broken state. I have always wanted to come back here and find my peace. This is a therapy for me. Whenever someone explains the moment when someone has achieved complete spirituality without being aware of their identities, I am able to relate it with the period when I am blogging. I actually forget everything and I am completely in a flow state where thoughts start appearing automatically. The only job I have to do is to keep punching keys on my keyboard and keep reading myself what’s getting created in the nothingness of the universe of my mind.


This year – 2024 is turning out to be the most depressing year in terms of my appearance on this space as this is just the 10th post and the 2nd half of the year has already begun. This one thing has been a source of irritation whenever I sit and analyze my days. The irregularities of getting into the space of writing is pinching me every moment. Despite having the environment and enough time, somehow, I am not able to manage this. Certain priorities must have definitely taken the pedestal over and above this but I know my core. I know it can never live in satisfaction without writing here. Not that I anticipate readers to read it but because I know how my emotions get relaxed after having keyed out some of it here.


Anyway, let’s promise this space that I would try to better the 2nd half and not end up making 2024 the year with the least updates on this medium. I will ensure to buck myself up and level up with the expectations I have with myself. Apart from the blogging world, the 1st half of the year has been a very mixed year for me personally. There have been sweet moments but unfortunately, the poisonous ones have almost touched the count of these moments and ensured that I am always in a hopeful moment waiting for great times ahead. Going through the present can sometimes be very difficult if future isn’t arriving soon. You love pain but only up to the point where it doesn’t become suffering. Once you start suffering, life doesn’t remain to be pleasant and joyful.


Professionally, I learnt a lot in the first six months but also experienced toxicity very closely for the first time. It created a good amount of havoc in my life. But as we always mention while acknowledging the unpredictability of life that good things happen to us when we least expect it, I experienced something similar when I met the moment which changed everything for me. This beautiful occurrence collided with the worst days I was going through and everything started falling in place. I was able to fight against the tide because I had someone to hold me whenever I found myself stumbling down. Otherwise, I act strong in isolation but it taught me how companionship makes your vulnerability come up and face you. It only happens to judge if you are able to share it with your companion free-mindedly. If Yes it means you have already taken a big decision of your life to not lead life all by yourself but with someone as a partner.


I have spent some really lovely days of my life in the last 5 months and I can’t stop thanking God for it and everyone who must have prayed for such time to come in my otherwise boring life. Haha! There are events which makes you take some harsh decisions for yourself realizing that you also want the opposite to happen for your wellbeing. It’s just that certain incidents scare you enough to not wanting to go through the same route again knowing that it is repaired now and many have already crossed the same bridge safely. You just want your inner peace to be safe and immune hence you make yourself ready to not let anyone touch that soft space which can break again and take another lifetime to repair.


But when you become hopeless, I don’t know how great hopeful moments start getting pulled towards us. You get more than what you ever expected. You get more than what you ever deserved. You get more than what you call happiness. You get more than what you know as Life. You get something beyond which explains that life is no more the same experience but something more blissful than it has ever been. I found myself in a state of flow where I could find my most loving side taking over all the negative traits. I understood that I am already on a journey where I am meeting myself through someone else. I understood that there could never be a complete I without WE. I comprehended the fact that life is no more going to be only about me but a beautiful US which will challenge my default and make me upgrade my existence every moment.


21 is considered to be an auspicious number in Hinduism. It is also considered to be perfection in Bible as well. Whenever the highest honour is to be given to someone, 21-gun salute is considered to be the best way to portray the respect. 21 is considered to be the age when a human being is considered to be mature to take certain individual steps in their life without any elder guidance. And here, I write my 21st century Blog Post which is auspicious in certain ways and I dedicate it to the phenomena – to the event – to the person – to the lifeline – to the one who is spreading love and hope in my life. To the one who appeared in my life like a magic and proved the existence of the divine energy in whom I always believed- even when someone else in my shoes would have proclaimed of no such superpower existing who fulfils the wishes of human kind. This year shall always be about this beauty that has touched my life with its gentleness and hence, this special Blog Post, in all its essence and glory, is a tribute to the same energy which has brought Life in my Life.


Thanking everyone who has stayed along in this long journey of 2100 Blog Posts and hope you shall walk with me until I am capable of moving my feet step by step and reach whatever milestone I can through this. Gratitude and nothing else! Signing off..



2 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Happytual: The Non-Pursuit of Happiness by Pawan Kumar Mishra (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

2099th BLOG POST

6th Book of 2024


There are times when you need a spiritual book to make you understand the basics of life to balance and manage your emotions. As I was facing some issue due to certain unwanted aspects happening in my professional life and I sensed that I am not able to manage my mind, I thought of picking up a short book which is semi-spiritual without going much into minute details. This made me chose the book named “Happytual” written by Pawan Kumar Mishra. The book also comes with a tagline that says “The non-pursuit of happiness”. It is published in around 120 pages by Rupa Publications.


As the title of the book suggests, the prime focus of the author while writing the book is to narrate it to his readers about how to be happy in a spiritual context without doing much about it but just analyzing yourself. Author’s intent is very evident right from the first instance when he dives into the topic that he wants us to understand the benefit of going within and finding peace somewhere there rather than trying too many things to achieve it from external sources.


Author has chosen the very same narration methodology of conversational tone where a younger character is asking questions about life to an elder mentor and he is answering and guiding the character with the insights that can change the course of their life by just tweaking the way they look at things. Author has used very easy language while writing the same which ensures that readers of any age group shall be able to go through it easily. Author has blended the ancient wisdom with the modern context by giving some new examples to explain the theories and explaining the old concepts in a new tone.


The concept of Fourth which is almost a reference to soul is nicely explained which makes it easy to understand where do we need to hit within to fix things in our life. The main USP of the book is the chapter named “The Lotus Flower” where author discusses about 24 petals of the flower by naming each one of them on an area that needs to be managed to lead a happy life. Later on, the way author comes to the conclusion of how happiness shouldn’t be a pursuit helps us understand how we can achieve it without actually chasing it.


Author also touches upon yoga and meditation and teaches few deep breathing techniques which shall turn out to be essential for beginners in this area who haven’t tried anything before. Along with such insights, the way author has also tried taking through the arc of each of the characters involved in this keeps you interested in the book.


Talking about the drawbacks or shortcomings, after reading almost 900 books, I must say that I couldn’t find anything unique in the book. Definitely, author has tried to speak the same thing in a new way but it doesn’t teach you anything new. This shall be a fine book for beginners but if you have already gone through a spiritual kind of a self-help book, this one might not sound new or unique to you. Hence, I rate this book an average 3 stars out of 5.






1 July 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Masala Chai for the Soul by Jairam N. Menon (Book Review: 5*/5) !!!

2098th BLOG POST

5th Book of 2024

Reading books since more than a decade and half and I never thought that a funny and satirical book can play the part of a very well-written self-help book in my life. I was recently going through a tough phase but reading a self-help book seemed boring hence I picked up “Masala Chai for the Soul” written by Jairam N. Menon and published by Rupa Publications in around 200 pages. I didn’t know that the book is not only going to be satirical but it shall help me see small and usual things of life in a very different light.


Jairam Menon has a very beautiful way of saying things which makes you see both the facets of it- the one being said in a lighter tone with an intention of making us laugh and the other which is trying to teach us about how to enjoy life rather than finding concerns in almost everything that gets thrown upon us. If author has based few chapters completely from an intention of displaying his prowess in humor, he ensures that he is balancing the same by actually getting serious and giving us some really good advices like a senior in a tone that makes us feel better and rejuvenated.


As the book title says, this is definitely like a great beverage for our soul. While reading it, you would want to re-read many of the chapters because of their simplicity in the way tough topics are presented with a flavor of simplicity in them. Another good addition by the author are the illustrations in the beginning of the chapter which reminds you of the childhood-days’ newspapers. Similarly, there’s a quote by few of the popular personalities related to the chapter at the end of it which sometimes are such a divine experience reading them that we start repeating the whole chapter again in our minds trying to establish the fact that the chapter wanted us to learn such a deeper insight.


There are few one-liners which really makes you laugh out loud. They are enough hilarious for us to stop at the sentence, highlight them and share with everybody on our social media statuses and stories. There are few moments that I would really like to highlight which made my reading experience wonderful:


·         Author keeps quoting other authors to ensure that we also learn the real thing as well. Haha!

·         He also himself gives advices in the chapter “Envy- Proofing your Life” to help us understand how not to become jealous.

·         The part about vision mission statement that copying from one is plagiarism whereas copying from multiple is called research talks about the hypocrisy we have created in the professional world.

·         Chapter on superstition is so funnily written giving the context of why we should believe it. For e.g. if we dont how will we justify the success of people we dont like. 😊

·         The chapter on overthinking is so rightly executed where author again uses humor throughout the chapter and in the last 3 paras, gives us a good message about what we need to teach our children about the topic.

·         The chapter on small talks is so beautifully written that author almost gets into the mode of a self-help writer and tries to explain the importance of it in a very interesting manner.

·         The chapter on religion is written very maturely trying to explain how we are comparing Gods and ruining d relationship among ourselves.

·         The description of potholes by meriting them with the quote "The road to success is always under construction" written by Steve Maraboli is so aptly included. Similarly, describing trucks to be doing item dance is another ROFL moment.

·         The description of procrastination and bosses made by the author can fail all the LinkedIn posts.


Overall, this is a superb read and I am desperately wanting author to write part 2 of this book and make us learn small joys of life which can give great happiness through his cheeky style by making everything an entertainment for us. Hats off to Jairam N. Menon for writing this book so beautifully and making it an easy read. Along with that he ensures to use good vocabulary which will also help new readers learn great words in the process. I give this book 5 stars out of 5.