Book Review: A Hundred Little Flames

Author: Preeti Shenoy | Rating: 5 / 5


First Impressions: I just love reading Preeti’s books. She details out everything so nicely, it’s like you are living the book while you read. The story majorly revolves around a 26-year-old – Ayan and his ‘Muttachan’ (grandfather) – Gopal Shankar. In between the story, there are other characters as well who play an important role to take the story forward however more of it, is a relationship between the two and what Ayan learns on Love, Life & Friendship. The book is divided in four parts / 40 chapters. Preeti has brilliantly described the places. I feel she is the best when it come on writing the descriptions of cities, location, sunsets, sunrises, etc. All have been wonderful.

The front cover clearly describes what you are going to find in the book. It is one of the IMG_1752scenes described in the book when Ayan is talking to his Grandfather and searching over the internet on his Laptop. Picture of the ‘Thekke Madom’, an ancestral home, where Gopal Shankar lives with lush green trees and verandah. Choice of colors is classy not too vibrant and not too pale, I liked it.

The back cover blurbs are interesting and you can’t wait to start reading the book immediately. However it does not give away the entire story (there’s LOT more than just this) and that keeps you intrigued and wanting to complete reading the book.


Summary: The story starts with Ayan attending an office party in some pub in Pune and at the same time, Gopal Shankar has a fall, 1000kms away in Kerala. Everything is going well with Ayan when he has been told by HR that he will have to resign and leave immediately. His father is not happy with him and asks him to stay with his grandfather for some time there and also keep looking for job. Initially, Ayan is not happy to move but then looking at nothing to do in Pune, he goes to Kerala. He starts loving the life there when suddenly his father visits Kerala and does something (can’t tell, do read the book)  which takes away all the respect Ayan had for him. Gopal Shankar used to write diaries during his young/not very old age which he refers to Ayan and ask him to read. Further the story revolves around the Past and current life of Gopal Shankar and Ayan. How Ayan connects the dots & helps his Grandfather and how he learns on what is Life, Love & Friendship.


My Favorite Part of the book: I loved the snippets from the dairy of Gopal Shankar. They have been written so well. You would love reading them and the letters written by Gopal Shankar and Rohini – Just Awesome. Above everything in the book, the descriptions written by Preeti explaining about ‘Thekke Madom’, Pondicherry, River Creek, Temples. All are just ‘Wow’.


My Opinion: It’s a wonderful read with everything required in a story – Love, Life, Relationships, Family & above all Friendship. Strong storyline, characters, places exquisitely described. Atleast I could not keep it down without completing to read chapter by chapter. #MustRead.

My Recommendations: I have read all her books and each book is in itself a ‘Masterpiece’ including this one as well. Everytime I think what can be better than this book and then, releases a new book of Preeti. This is one of the best works of Preeti Shenoy. #Waiting for #LoveALittleStronger releasing on 27-Apr-2018.

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Book Review: Sita – Warrior of Mithila

Author: Amish Tripathi | Rating: 4.5 out of 5


First Impressions: This is the second book of Ram Chandra Series released after a long long wait of 2 years and as the book title says – ‘Sita – Warrior of Mithila’ is majorly about Sita from her birth till marriage and in between how she becomes a fierce warrior. The story revolves around the same line as the Book1 – ‘Scion of Ikshvaku‘, however from Sita’s perspective. One of the best thing about this series, is Amish has given a diagram that depicts the complete series. He has wonderfully linked the book1 of this series – same plot, Ram’s perspective.

The front cover is completely opposite in color compared to Book1. Evening auburn sky with Sita ready to hit one of the enemy in the jungle. The background is bit shady but goes well with the picture. While you read the story, you will come across this picture, beautiful written.

The back cover blurbs are interesting, however does not give away the story and that keeps you intrigued and wanting to complete reading the book.


Summary: The first chapter reminds you of the last chapter from book1 however written from Sita’s perspective. The ruler of Mithila saves a child from wolves in jungle and adopts her. She is no ordinary child. She is ‘Sita’

Raavan – The Demon king of Lanka rules the most part of Sapt Sindhu and is aggressively making his mark in every kingdom getting more and more powerful.

The protectors of the divine land of India decide that a Savior is needed to protect the ‘Sapt Sindhu’. Two powerful tribes decide on a savior, one each from their Gurukul, however there should be only one Savior.

The story further showcases how the marriage of Ram & Sita happened and why. The story ends at the kidnapping of Sita as how it ended in Book1 as well. There are lots of stories connected to the main storyline left untold which made me more excited for the next book in the series. Few are: the relation between Vishwamitra and Raavan; the story of ‘once a friend, now a foe’ – Vishwamitra and Vashishtha. Similar to the ending of Book1, this book also leaves you with a thrilling twist wondering ‘WHAT?? WHY??’


My Favorite Part: There are two parts I liked the most. First one is the meeting/discussion between Sita & Ram at the Bees Quarter (initially when they met for the first time) and again at the Royal Garden. This part is so wonderful dealt with showcasing the strong character and storyline.

Second favorite part (including my friend who also loved this) was the discussion between Bharat and Sita on the strategy to rule – Ayodhya sharing their respective views and how it would be beneficial.


My Opinion: It’s a wonderful read with everything required in a story. Amish’s writing style is best. Strong Characters, beautifully imagined storyline, atleast I could not keep it down without completing to read chapter by chapter. #MustRead but start with Book1.

My Recommendation: I have read Amish’s ‘The Shiva Trilogy’ and ‘Ram Chandra Series Book1 and now Book2’. Each book is wonderfully written. His imagination has no bounds. I would strongly recommend reading all his books, however ‘Sita – Warrior of Mithila’ is one of his best books.

For Readers: This is my first brief book review and I would love to know whether you liked it or how it is overall. I would continue writing such reviews and would be part of my blog. Do Read, Do Share..!!! 🙂

That one moment..

I have been travelling since I started to work. My son is now 12years old. I couldn’t spent much time with due to the constraints of my work. It was mainly on weekends or holidays when I used to meet him. It happens, when you don’t spend much time with your child, the bonding gets weaker.

He plays Tennis and it’s on Saturdays’ only when I get time to see him play. Many times, I would guide him what are his strengths and weakness. Somehow I used to feel that he is just listening for the sake of it or maybe being his Dad he had to. I felt bad, more than that guilty. It was me who could not give him time and this had to happen. The bonding between us was getting weaker. I had then stopped giving my opinions.

It was during his summer vacation when I took time from my work and was there with him for an entire week. Every day we went to the practice sessions which lasted for 1 hour. I tried to talk to him more and more about his interests. He had so much to share and I was all ears to him with a smiling a face. That week Saturday was his tournament and as every day I too was there watching him play. He won and I was happy seeing him enjoying his win. While returning back home, he was started talking about the shots he hit and how he won the game.

It was all normal when suddenly he mentioned, “Dad, you remember last month when you were here and you told me how to hit that one shot? I did that at the end got my final point.”

I stopped that car and asked him with a smile, “Yes, I know. Do you still remember all that?”

“I remember all the things which you guide me through and I keep practicing that.”

At that moment, I felt that I was the most happiest Dad on the earth. All that guilt, that bonding was not that bad. If one week with him could have brought me here, I can get this much farther and strengthen our bond. That day, I made a promise to myself, wherever I might be, I will always keep guiding him, talking to him and will always be there for him when he needs me.

Happiness is, when you come to know that you are one of the important part of someones’ life..!!!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Tangled Life

Recently I wrote a post on Life whether it is complicated or it’s us who complicate it. Some more thoughts revolving around my experiences of Tangled Life. Last weekend we went out for a picnic, all fun and joy. The time we left the place, the sun was all set to take a nap steadily hiding behind the trees. I could not resist myself from taking a snap of such a wonderful scene. Taking a second look on the picture, I realized that our life is the same. We keep trying to find the way out of problems and it keeps getting tangled over and over again, leading to a huge mess. The more we overthink, it takes us into a deep black hole, which finally leads to impatience and frustrations.DSC_0106-Edit

If you see just a small ray of light, it gives us a hope that we can do away with the problems being happy and remaining focused. The way sun peeps out from the tangled branches of the tree making it look beautiful, similarly it’s with life. Problems will always be there, small or big. Its upto us how do we look at it, whether we see the darkness by overthinking or we see that small beam of light helping us to untangle.

Few days back I read a quote: “Life is very complicated. Don’t try to find the Answers. Because when you find the answers, Life changes the questions.” I decode this differently as let’s keep finding the answers (road to success) and let life through more and more questions (challenges) on us. The more you face it, the more you leap towards success.

Life is really simple, it’s us who unknowingly tangle it and we have all the powers to untangle as well

A Dream, of a Friend

It was coffee time that weekend, late night, chilling out with friends. If you too have coffee with your friends during the weekends, you can relate what discussions would have been going on. Nevertheless, one of my friends appeared to be upset about something. After endless questioning, overlooking his unwillingness to share, he finally revealed that he had a bizarre dream early morning. He started describing his dream. He was driving his car to a hill station on curved roads, with music on – FULL VOLUME. He was off to a vacation with his family enjoying the cool weather. It was midwinter and as he advanced up the hill, the weather gradually became foggy. He slowed down his car as he could not even see 50mtrs ahead on the road. Suddenly he heard a loud thumping sound which broke his dream and he woke up in panic.

Next thing I asked him, what you think would have happened. And he stated that it might be that the car met with an accident and they all would have died. I thought for a while, why people have to be so negative about dreams? Why this is the first thing that comes to their mind and not anything positive? I told him, just think for a while, if your dream could have ended on a happy note. Think that your car’s tyre would have busted and you parked your car on the side. When you come out of your car, you look down the valley and mountains, fog all over, cool breeze with bit of sun rays peeping out from the sky. Best location to take a family photo. You take few pictures, change the car tyre and start uphill with happy memories.

Dreams

I have seen many people who dream and when they wake up in middle of the dream, they always thing that something most terrible would have happened. I too have dreams where I wake up in fear but what I think later is that it would have concluded happily and that brings up a smile on my face. The more you think negative, the more your fear takes control over you. I told him:

Your success lies on the other side of your fears. Kill your fears or Kill your success. The decision is all yours..!!!

Be Happy, Be Positive..!!!

You never know where life is going to take you tomorrow..!!!

Is Life complicated or it’s us..!!!

I have seen people complaining that their life is a mess with so many problems in place. Professionally, personally and sometimes both. It’s like their daily routine. I don’t understand one thing: is life complicated or it’s us who crib on the problems rather than working towards the solutions?

There would be many people across the world who would want to be stress-free, problem-free. Many a times people keep thinking – “Why only me”; “what will I do now”; “Nothing is happening”, rather than “How to get it solved”; “How to get back on track”


I would like to share few things I have learnt through experiences and which has helped me a lot during problems & issues.

1. Consolidate & Prioritize

Make a mental note of the problems and think twice, is it worth the time you are giving it? Is it that is ruining your day-to-day life? You can do lots, in that time. And also prioritize the problems. Think which one is impacting you the most. Start working towards it rather than thinking for all in one place.

2. Think of solutions than problems

Every problem has a solution or a workaround. You need to make it happen. And that only works when you actually start thinking of the solutions. Think of anything which might take it to resolve. Let it be the smallest thing it could be. Think of it, apply it.

3. Give yourself 15mins a day – ALL ALONE

Solutions does not come your way just like that. You need to give time. You need to think. Start giving time to “YOU” at least 15mins a day. Any time of the day. See what time suits you and then fix that time for yourself. I mark it in my calendar. I go out for a walk, Sit on a bench, let the day rewind. Try it. Helps a lot..!!!

4. Think Positive, Be Happy

I have learned one thing from life, Positive Thinking. It’s all about you thoughts. The more your think positive, more fast you are going to find solutions. And Be Happy, whatsoever is the matter. It’s just a day of problems and that to will pass giving you more happiness inclined life.

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It’s not all that easy how I have mentioned above. People think it’s better written than practically applied to life. But I must say this has given a completely different perspective to my life and has helped me a lot in years. I would leave you with this quote

Life is not complicated. We are complicated. When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, life becomes simple.

See you soon..!!!

An Evening to remember

Everyone has that one thing planned to kick start their New Year which will keep them inspired and motivated for coming days & months. For me it was the same with #WINxpress event planned in Ahmedabad by BlogAdda on 07-Jan-2017 and I was more than happy to be part of it. I was excited as well as looking forward to attending it as it was my first such event and secondly it was for BlogAdda, the team who had shared my blog post when many others didn’t even respond to it. Since that day, I felt more motivated and inclined to writing. Thanks blogadda.com. 🙂

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Me, Penning down the awesome ambience

The event was planned at Cafe City Monk in Ahmedabad. When I reached there and entered the Cafe, I was completely taken aback by the ambience & the way it was organized. It was just WOW. The stage was all set. The sitting area was casually arranged with chairs & bean bags. The best thing I liked was the ceiling where the books were dangling from the top. The ambience was so positive and with the books hanging over our heads it felt like we were getting some inspirational energy from it.

The event started with the introduction of BlogAdda with their highlights and activities they plan. Mr. Paresh Godhwani (@Par_God) shared his experience of Six Degrees and his association with BlogAdda. After that we gathered in group of five for an activity where we had tell one “secret” thing that nobody knows, discuss it out and then announce that one interesting secret out of five.

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Our group in discussion

Later we had to meet other groups to find that one person whose secret it was from their group. One of the #IceBreaker for all of us. It was fun and together inspiring too, meeting the bloggers, knowing them and their work.

 

Later we had some sessions from prominent speakers:

  1. vlogging’ (Video Blogging) tips and tools from Mr. Sahil Shah (@sahilshah0801)
  2. Travel Blogging tips from Mr. Rishabh & Ms. Nirali Shah (@_GypsyCouple)
  3. Ms. Juhi Bansal (@ClosetBuddies) shared some Fashion Blogging tips and her experiences
  4. Mr. Amit Panchal (@AmitHPanchal) explained what tools you can use and SEO Tips for blogs.

And last but not the least a session by Ms. Raksha Bharadia (@raksha_bharadia), Editor of Chicken Soup series for India & Founder of bonobology.com. She explained and shared tips on writing short stories and how you can connect with the reader. One of the best sessions and learnings I had experienced till date.

Thanks to BlogAdda for organizing such a wonderful motivational event and thanks to all the speakers for sharing their experiences and wonderful learning.

It was an evening very well spent and would be remembered as one of the best start of New Year till date.