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One of the Best Birthday Gifts to a writer is ….

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Matrikas! The name holds a special relationship with me. A few years back, I played a chess event that was conducted in a college in Virudhanagar. On the ground floor, I saw a few books colorful books on a table. Being a lover of journals, my eyes couldn’t resist. I went ahead and bought four books! They were smartbooks, 2 in purple and 2 in green. In addition to this, I also bought a journal that had a chess pawn on the cover picture. The flexi bind is the plus point of these books.

http://www.matrikas.co.in/smart-block-unruled.php

After two years, I got to know about their Creative Journal!

 

In this modern world, where most of us are bound by monotonous routines.  this creative journal is an attempt to install soulful habits among people. I know how important it is to write every day. No, I am not talking about being a novelist. Writing is an exercise to keep your mental health in check. Mental health workshops always mention the importance of writing. It is a window to vent, a platform for clarifications and a safe place to put trash.

This creative journal offers space to scribble your heart away. You can fill the pages with moments of happiness, you can seek company of the blank pages in the moments of sadness. Basically, you can be yourself and the pages won’t judge you for anything you write or do. They are yours, and will always be.

Apart from the normal pages, the journal has sheets for doodling and colouring. Doodling is a modern tool to elevate your soul and Matrikas understand the essence of this art very well.  Most of us have our bucket list of places to visit. There is a section called ‘Places to be visited’ in the journal.

We all need reminders in life. This journal has a lot of stickers that serve as reminders. Some stickers serve as wonderful prompts to delve into your within.

There are pages dedicated to your reading lists. You can keep track of whatever you read. It also has contact lists page, no more relying on the smart phones! Matrikas have sensed the need of the hour. We all need to go back to our survival tools, we need them. Mobile phones, computers and technologies have started owning us. It is time to change the trend and begin again.

We all are capable of being soulful, this journal reminds us of our true nature and helps us in connecting us with ourselves.

Keep an eye on their products, you might want to try their journals and smartbooks!

https://www.facebook.com/MatrikasPaperProducts/

http://www.matrikas.co.in/

The journal is available on Amazon in four delightful colors:

http://www.amazon.in/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=matrikas+woman%27s+journal

Here is a video about the journal:

https://youtu.be/5Skb9wGW5hE

One of the best birthday gifts to a writer would be ANY product from Matrikas!

Scribble your soul!

 

Being Indian: #MoreIndianThanYouThink

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Being an Indian is a gift in itself. The nature of this land is very well suited for the growth of one’s soul. I play chess, but some of my moves bear the Indian flavor. It might be difficult for a non-chess player to understand it, so I will stick to sharing experiences related to overall life and how the culture has impacted me positively. If you ask me what makes me Indian? I would say that it is my culture!  If you want to explore India and its ways, Gita could be a good hook.  I am very grateful to my parents for introducing Gita to me at an early age.

#1. You are your hero. So, Love yourself!
If this belief is installed in every individual at an early age, the individual can reach great heights. I have written a few lines from Gita in my journal and they help me to stay on the course even where there is no help.  There was a situation in my life where I lost 4 games in a row. A friend even sent a message, asking me to withdraw from the event. But, I didn’t know how to give up. It didn’t seem like an idea at all. It is easy to hate yourself when you make mistakes, isn’t it? I made mistakes and then I backed my self. I said to myself ‘I can’t change what happened. But, I can focus on improving the situation. For that to happen, I need myself.’

I continued the event and finished the event strongly without conceding a loss in the remaining four games.

A man should uplift himself by his own self, so let him not weaken this self. For this self is the friend of oneself, and this self is the enemy of oneself.  – Gita, 6.5

 

#2. Do the best, leave the rest to God.


He who does actions forsaking attachment, resigning them to Brahman, is not soiled by evil, like unto a lotus-leaf by water.  – Gita, 5.10

Expecting good results after the work can push you into more worry and anxiety. You might fail to enjoy the present of the present moment. I have experienced that doing the best without focusing too much on the result helps in keeping pressure at bay. Focusing on the process is more rewarding and fulfilling.  I owe this learning to Gita!

#3. HOPE: Hold on, pain ends. 

Even if thou be the most sinful among all the sinful, yet by the raft of knowledge alone though shalt go across all sin. – Gita, 4.36

No matter how bad your life is, you still have to hope. Remember the scene from Shawshank Redemption:

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. – Andy Dufresne.

Here is an extract from the teachings of Swami Vivekananda:

Let a man go down as low as possible; there must come a time when out of sheer desperation he will take an upward curve and will learn to have faith in himself. But it is better for us that we should know it from the very first. Why should we have all these bitter experiences in order to gain faith in ourselves? We can see that all the difference between man and man is owing to the existence or non-existence of faith in himself. Faith in ourselves will do everything! 

The soulful concept of staying on the course and not giving up is also conveyed in the Batman Trilogy! Remember, how the dark knight rises?

I have shared how concepts like these have helped me in creating magical moments here.

The lessons are universal and conveyed through different mediums. Isn’t it? 

#4. There is only ONE destination.

In whatever way men worship me, in he same way do I fulfill  their desires; (it is) My path, O Son of Partha (that) men tread in all ways. – Gita, 4.11

India is a country that has taught the world ‘Universal tolerance and acceptance’. It is this nature that is a source of acts of kindness. The ways of praying may differ, but all the roads lead to Almighty!

#5. Look at the BIG Picture!
Don’t let the temporary challenges blind you from the BIG picture. Count your blessings, be grateful and focus on what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

Just by being grateful, one can attract more goodness. During my evening walks, I think of all the things I am grateful for – it is an instant mood changer! Try it 🙂

These ideologies have shaped the way I think and live. They have made me, ‘me’ and I owe it to the culture of my country!

Few weeks back, I came across a video on a social media group that shared Gita’s lessons in 90 seconds:

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In the language of tech, India is a software that is being picked for installation in every culture and society for the immense qualities it beholds within.  I am going to share a few instances that have made an impact on me.

Hearing the first five words of the Indian Giant at the World Congress of Religions, the members showered him with three minutes of thundering applause! Yes, I am talking about Swami Vivekananda ji.

Brothers and Sisters of America! 

The welcoming salutation carried respect, dignity, humbleness and divinity that moved the members in Chicago. Now, this is #MoreIndianThanUThink.

I’m sharing a link of a movie based on Swami Vivekananda. It is worth watching!

A few days back, I saw a picture of Modiji with the Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull having a chat at The Akshardham Temple! The picture was the news of the day on all the newspapers because it symbolized our culture. We are open and welcoming.

Akshay Kumar recently came up with the initiative Bharat Ke Veer which lets people contribute to the families of the soldiers. I cannot NOT write about the Indian Soldiers while writing about India. They sacrifice their sleep so that we could sleep peacefully.

Two months back, I was in Lienz for a chess event. Lienz is a medieval town in Austria, beautiful, simple and high in culture. They have ice sports and various tourist attraction spots. On the way to the tournament venue, I found this amazing picture that brought a smile on my face:

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A group of people have established a meeting point where they meet and meditate at the centre of Paramahansa Yogananda. We are everywhere, Isn’t it? 🙂

Be it food, Yoga, Ayurveda or the mantras – they all have something unique that strikes a chord and impacts your soul. There are Indian Chai corners in The United States. There are Paan centres abroad. Even Barack Obama has had the pleasure of enjoying a paan. Talking about food reminds me of Veeraswamy’s 90 year old restaurant in London, UK. He was honored with a Michelin Star in 2017!

Yes, we are everywhere. Recently, Lufthansa came up with a special commercial where the coach talks about how important it is to imbibe the Indian-ness to beat the Indians. He asks his players to think like Indians, train like Indians, eat like Indians, dance like Indians and even FLY like Indians. Don’t believe me? Watch it:

If you ask me what touched the most? It is the food at 00:50 where the air hostess places the plate with Indian dishes. Being an Indian, we long for Indian food desperately while we are flying abroad. For some of us (vegetarians), it is probably a last Indian meal before reaching another country and we may not see Indian food for a while. Also, while we are returning back to India, we desperately want an Indian dish to be a part of the menu in the flight as our taste buds are thirsty for Indian food.

I am hoping to experience Lufthansa soon as they have Basic I and Basic II fares in both economy and premium. They have Hindi newspapers, desi channels and radio as part of In-flight entertainment. Hindi newspapers? Yes! In addition to this, they also have AVML (Indian Veg) and HNML (Non-Veg) meal options. Oh, How can I forget to mention the Chai? 🙂 Fantastic, isn’t it? 🙂 #MoreIndianThanYouThink

Explore your possibilities here: bit.ly/2oQTj8q

This feels like a home away from home. I am hoping to fly through Lufthansa to Germany for a chess event in the future.

How about you? 🙂

Strengthen Your Chess Foundation by Nisha Mohota : Chess DVD Review #1

I’m back with a review, but it is not a book. Yes, you read it right. After a long time, I got back to reviewing and it happens to be a chess DVD! Let’s get started..

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DVD Category : Fritz Trainer Basics
DVD : Strengthen Your Chess Foundation
Author / Presenter: Nisha Mohota
Running Time: 6hours 5 minutes
Aimed at : Tournament Player
Indian Price: 999/- (Download version)
Normal Price: 29.90 Euros

Blurb:  On this DVD I show and explain elements of chess strategy and tactics every player should know. I offer guidelines to steer you through the opening, show basic endgames, help you to understand fundamental pawn structures, and explain principles and patterns of attack and defense. But to play successfully, theory is not enough. It also helps to know a bit about chess psychology because even the strongest players make mistakes. It is important to know how to deal with errors – errors of your opponent and errors you make. Throughout the DVD I try to highlight two of the most important elements of chess: the process of decision-making and how pawn structures shape the position and help you to find the right plans. Finally, I talk about ‘beauty’ in chess – after all, this is what attracts me to the game.”

• Video running time: 6 h 05 min (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Including CB 12 Reader

System requirements: Minimum: Pentium III 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Windows Vista, XP (Service Pack 3), DirectX9 graphic card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 12/Fritz 13 or included Reader and internet connection for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel Core i7, 2.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, DirectX10 graphic card (or compatible) with 512 MB RAM or better, 100% DirectX10 compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet connection for program activation.
Introduction:

Review: 
When a friend records a DVD, curiosity knows no limit! In the introduction, Nisha shares her intriguing story of her cards-to-chess shift and makes it clear that she is going to cover some practical aspects and leave you with a few tools by the end of the DVD.

Intro
Nisha Mohota makes it clear that she is going to focus on practical aspects in the DVD and not trouble you with openings!

From a learner’s perspective, I am amazed by the flow of the DVD. It felt like being a part of a story that kept teasing you with what’s next?  I am sure that I’ll be able to plan topics for my students in a much better way, thanks to the contents.  It starts with to err is human and ends with a beautiful game that shows that we are all capable of mistakes and brilliant moves! Such a cinematic touch 🙂

Pros:

I liked the survival tools discussed in the DVD. The difference between an amateur and a master is that amateur is bogged with the immense possibilities and the master focuses on the essence. On your journey to getting better at chess, you will learn techniques that can help you in EVERY game.

CCT:
According to Nisha, C C T stands for Checks, Capture and Transfer.
She recommends keeping this acronym handy as it might help you in a lot of positions. Considering checks, captures and piece transfers may make your job of finding a good move easier.

Candidate Moves:
The concept is simple, but hardly taught in the beginning in chess circles. With this DVD, you can re-frame your basics and get better by knowing concepts like candidate moves. Look at a few options before choosing your move. You never know what you might miss. As lasker put it so well ‘When you see a good move, look for a better one’.

Pawn structures:
In the heat of the game, it is easy to forget about the pawn structures. But, refreshing the basics of pawn structures can aid you in need.  In this DVD, Nisha talks about the nuances associated with knight and a pawn :

Knight construction

The pawn on g6 restricts the knight on g3. This awareness can lead you to making better decisions on the board.

If I had refreshed a few structural nuances before this event in Moscow, I may not have made the following error:

Black to play
Black to play: Savitsky – Niranjan, Moscow Open 2017

I played 32…g4? and made things difficult for my knight after 33.h4 Qb6 35. 34.g3 Ng6. After the game, my opponent told me that this pawn construction favors white. Of course, I knew. But, I missed the nuance. So, there it is! Refreshing basics can save points.

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One bad piece can make the whole side bad!

She says Pawn structures are very important. They tell you a lot – where to attack, to attack or not to attack and also makes you aware of the weak and strong squares.

Chess also has the Shakespeare element, folks!

Highlight:

The highlight of this DVD is that it covers topics that have not been covered before in a DVD format at this level. For instance,  the tendency of transpositions,  the psychological aspects,  game attitudes (keep fighting) and some survival tools for the tournament player.

As far as the test positions are concerned, I loved this study by Horwitz!

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White to play

 

Answer:  1. Bc2+ Ka5 2. b4+ Ka6 3. Kc6 Ka7 4. b5 Ka8 5. Be4 Ka7 6. Bf3 Ka8 7. b6 cxb6 8.
Kxb6#

And this example in decision making:

 

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White to play: Decide between 1.Ke3 or 1.Ke5

She ends the segment on interactive positions with words that hold true to every chess player It is important to pay attention to your opponent’s possibilities.

I’ll not spoil the position for you; I recommend watching the DVD to compare your answer 🙂

Cons:
Chess is vast and it is impossible to cover everything in six hours. Still, I feel that Rook vs rook endings could have had more examples and would have made this complete toolkit a little better, as one cannot rely only on the positions discussed in the DVD. I understand that the DVD dealt with vast range of topics, but it left me longing for more rookish endgames! It would have made the task of learning rook endings for my students easier.

Who should watch the DVD?
*Players who want to improve their understanding of the basics
* Chess enthusiasts who want to enjoy chess for a few hours
* Coaches : The DVD carries a lot of instructive material which could be used by coaches to train students
* Players that have problems with understanding structures

Chess-In-Schools program is being implemented in some parts of India. If the DVD becomes available in a YouTube Format, some schools could play it in their chess period on a projector as well.

What could have been included?
Every aspiring player wants to know how to work on the game! Isn’t it? It would have been very good if the author also shared the specifics of working on the game at the initial level. Learning to fish could benefit a lot in the long run 🙂 Let’s hope she comes up with another DVD.

Final word:

Nisha Mohota’s Strengthen your chess foundation is a jolly ride to basics that enriches your chess thinking habits, improves your theoretical knowledge and leaves you with practical tools to apply in your games.

I believe that the DVD has a lot of potential and might help a lot  of players who have played few tournaments. ChessBase could consider uploading videos on their YouTube channel at Indian costs, just like the movies work. A lot of chess crowd rushes to Facebook on daily basis and sharing YouTube links of some segments might help in increasing the visibility of the DVD. This might also work for those who don’t use laptops. A lot of Indians are used to Android phones and this might comfort them!

Note: If some positions or videos do not appear properly, watch them using Chessbase Reader.

About the Author: 

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Nisha Mohota started playing chess as the age of seven. She became India’s youngest WIM in 1995 and India’s fourth WGM in 2003. Since February 2011 she is a full IM – her highest ever Elo rating was 2416.

Nisha has represented India in 25 countries. Her accomplishments include qualifying for the 2001 and 2008 Women World Chess Championships as well as playing for India in 2004, 2008 and 2010 (Women) Olympiads. She won the Indian National Women Premier title in 2005.

Nisha’s first love, chess, helps her continue her other passion: writing, photography and travelling. She also loves to learn foreign languages and has a diploma in Spanish, which she wants to master in future! She is employed with Oil India Limited (OIL), a petroleum company, as a sportsperson

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An article about the DVD in The Telegraph newspaper

I thank ChessBase for giving me an opportunity to review the DVD.

 

 

Guest Post : Bread Omelette

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She sighed breathe of relief after the TC completed his round of checking. Unlike most of the times, she had forgotten her ID proof. She noticed it just before the ticket collector reached her berth. A phone call from an unknown number actually saved her. The TC glimpsed at the E-Ticket in her hand and continued checking the ticket of the next passenger.

‘Hello? Who is this? Hello…?’

The line was not clear and she said ‘I’m not able to hear you. Will call you back’

This time, it was Gulzaar’s ‘Raavi Paar’ on her lap. At the end of the title story, she remembered that she had to call the unknown number that ended with 109. Before calling, she checked the number using Truecaller and the app was of no help. It had no information about the name of the person. She called and it was a voice of a male from the other end

‘Hello’

‘Hello, I got a call from your number. May I know who is speaking?’

‘Hello, Sorry, I dialed a wrong number. I don’t know how…’

‘Okay’ and she disconnected.

After a few weeks, she received a message from the same number.

Hello Madam, How are you?’

She easily recognized it, thanks to the last three digits that meant something to her. She instantly replied ‘Wrong number is a wrong number. Do not disturb’.

‘Sorry again. I just wanted to hear your voice to make sure that it was a wrong number. I found your voice very sweet. I had no intention of disturbing you’

The little compliment actually triggered a smile on her face
I don’t talk to strangers’

‘You are already talking to me. Now, there are just two possibilities: Either you don’t consider me as a stranger or you are contradicting your own words ;)’

‘What is your name? What do you do?’

‘I’m Surya and I’m a lawyer. BTW, What does your name Asavari mean?’

‘HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME?’

‘Truecaller’

‘But, the same truecaller did not give out anything about you’

‘Yes, this is my new number’

‘I’m named after a raaga that is sung in the morning hours. True to my name, I’m a morning person’

The two switched to an instant messenger after a few months…
The exchanged their likes and dislikes and the story encountered a twist when it came to food

It was time to board the train to Delhi again; She was reading Gulzar’s Half a rupee stories  – a collection of twenty five fascinating stories! Just then

 ‘Where are you?’

‘In the train to Delhi’

‘Had food?’

‘Not really. I don’t eat during journey’

‘Oh no. You must try. Do try Bread-Omlette at Food Plaza. It is very famous and one that I love to eat any day’

‘No, I don’t want to’
and that spelled an end to their conversation

A few weeks pass by without any exchange of messages. Asavari felt that something in life was a miss and felt incomplete without any buzz of Surya. In her next train journey, she made it to Food Plaza and ordered Bread-Omlette for take-away.

‘How are you and where are you?’

‘In train, travelling again’

‘Oh, did you try the Bread-Omlette?’

‘No’

‘Why not?’
She doesn’t answer. After a few minutes, Surya texts again

‘Where are you travelling?’

‘Mumbai’

‘I live in Bengaluru. When are you going to come here?’

‘I don’t know. I haven’t visited B’lore since the last two years’

‘Okay. We will meet this time and I will take you to Frazer town that is known for Chicken Biryani and Chicken Kabab’

‘No, thanks’

‘Why not?’

‘No. Not anymore’

‘why?’

‘I stopped eating non-veg after my marriage. Your last three numbers 109 always remind me of my marriage. 10h of September. I have a daughter who is 5 years old and I work in a cosmetic agency as an executive and have to travel a lot to convince my clients’

this line actually shook Mr Surya. After months of conversations, this revealing shocked Surya. He had developed a liking towards her and to know that she is married already was hard to digest. Although, he managed to reply

‘You never actually told me about your marriage
. We have had so many conversations and not a word about it?’

‘I felt it was not necessary’

And then there were no messages from Surya for so many days. Asavari started carrying Bread-Omelette parcel during her journeys. It always brought back those conversations to her.

‘Memories are the result of the relationships we shared. They don’t need a form or a label’ he texts
‘Hold on. I have a label. Bread-Omelette. Neither veg or non veg; the meaningless mean’ she replied

Asavari was ready, yet again with the parcel in her hand to board the train to delhi.

_____________________________________________________________
This story is written by Nivedita Chandrashekhar. The story is published in Kannada’s reputed weekly magazine- Karamveera.

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November 13th – Karamveera

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https://www.facebook.com/nivedita.kulkarni.9

Oh Kindlewalon! Attention Please

Kindlewalon Attention,
This post contains the books I enjoyed reading on Kindle recently. In addition to that, I have also added books that I read last year. These books are available on Kindle Unlimited.
This is my way of being grateful to all the writers whose work I enjoyed reading!

Oh, that’s okay. Thank me later 🙂 (drum rolls)

For now, get ready for some lovely recommendations!

You don’t really need a Kindle device. You can also download the Kindle application on your smartphone and read the books 🙂

Step 1: Subscribe to Kindle Unlimited for a month at 199/-
Step 2 :Download the books worth 3000/- 🙂
Step 3: Make sure you read it in a month 🙂
Step 4 :Do post a review and support the author

#1. Rain by Sriram Subramanian
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Kinde link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01LX4F1HJ

I took my time with this one. I read and reread a few chapters. Jai is easy to relate with. He is authentic and so is the story. I will remember Rain for the technique of cut, usually associated with screenplays, poems or haiku. The story doesn’t preach or tell you. But, the cuts make it clear.
The language is close to the heart of the setting. Use of words like Tchalel, Adjust madi – made me smile! The images brim with resonance. This is one story that I wished never ended. I got addicted to it after some point. After a certain point, I wanted to know what is happening in his life – like you normally wait for the next episode of a TV soap. The four circle theory knots the whole plot well.
So, I read it slowly and loved it. This is not a review, but my feelings about the book. I loved it and I am glad I picked this book. Because, never before a four word title has touched me so much. Rain is a beautiful metaphor, one I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

#2. Success vs Joy by Geet Sethi
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Kinde link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00NHAVVC6

A friend recommended this book to me in 2013. I tried hard but was not able to it as it was not available in the most famous bookstores, including Sapna. A few days back, I saw a facebook post about this book on my friend’s timeline. I checked Amazon immediately and found that this book was available on Kindle! I loved reading it. I read it at a stretch. But, this is a book you might want to read again and again. Geet Sethi talks about his struggle with joy, his harmony with the family and his game.  There are two parts in the book: 1) Joy 2) Success vs Joy

#3. A Thousand Unpsoken Words by Paulami Duttagupta
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Kinde link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B0189NOKW8

I am glad I picked this book! I am amazed with the author’s ability to convey the intricacies without literally telling it. The instances in the story will make you think and experience the pinch. We play so many different roles in our lives and we are also judged by how well we enact them. I loved the thread of dichotomy stitched through Musafir and Riddhiman. The story feels real and authentic; I loved the use of bengali words, it added glow to the overall setting. I also loved the dynamic conversations between Riddhiman and Tama’s father.

The story has many layers and reminded me of Kamal Hasan’s films. It is more than just a love story!
I loved a lot of lines in the book. These lines certainly deserve a mention : ‘Do you really feel silences can talk?’ she asked quietly. ‘It depends; if you find your soulmate, then yes. Silences don’t feel empty, they are companionable. If not, silence can be the most claustrophobic thing’.

It would be interesting to read a sequel too. I feel the story could go on, because at some level – we all can relate to Riddhiman and would want to know more about Riddhiman and Tilottama!

#4.A Biography of Rahul Dravid by Devendra Prabhudesai
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Kindle link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B015A9TIEO

The Nice Guy Who Finished First!
Personally, I learnt a lot from the book. The best of all is his motto to play every ball on merit.Don’t miss this one!

#5. Confessions on an Island by Ayan Pal 
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Kindle Link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01M1VG3D5

Ayan Pal’s Confessions On An Island is rich in novelty and richer in narrative! The stories metaphorically represent Russia’s Matryoshka Dolls. There is a story woven inside a story, each chapter helping the reader to know a little more. Interestingly, The Island speaks! This is a story told from three perspectives at the same time. I also liked the unique names of the chapter.

The book could also be turned into movie (like Dus Kahaniyaan)
I loved the grand setting, lovely long lines and the tricky endgame in this game of Confessions.

#6. MSD by Biswadeep
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Who wouldn’t like to know more about MSD? 🙂 I loved reading it. Covers a lot of behind the scene stories.

Kindle link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B015A9ZT92

#7. The Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar
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Kindle Link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01268J8C4

There are commercial movies and then there are art movies. When it comes to books, this book not only fits well in the category of art, it also shines bright to be the best in its genre. The cover is brilliant – reflecting the topics of the book. The essays at the end make it a valuable source for people to use it as a guide for research purposes! Kudos to the publisher and the writer for attempting a novelty again.

If you want to take a break from the reading sessions and want to watch a movie revolving around books, here it is :

 
#8.

Just You, Me and a Secret by Ganga Bharani

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Kindle Link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B0144ATIW2

The storyline keeps the reader hooked. The diary entries are well timed and gel well with the narration. The book is a movie potential. Kudos to the author! May she turn this into a screenplay soon.

#9. Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto
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Kindle link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00JUS9950

THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ in 2016. That should say everything 🙂

#10.
The Broken Home by Lopamudra Banerjee

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Kindle Link: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01FWMBGN0

The fluent and vibrant translation enhances the soul of the novella. Charu’s character resembles Edna of The Awakening. This unusual story of Charulata is woven with subtle intricacies that echo Freud’s phrase ‘Riddle of a Woman’. Kudos to Lopamudra for succeeding in conveying the essence of Nastanirh. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

#11. The Cornucopia of Broken Dreams and Other Poems by Eisha Sarkar

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Kindle link here:  https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01H5LY9HG

I read the book in one sitting! I loved reading the book for two reasons: 1) It was a pleasure to read a poem about chess! There were a lot of poems that appealed to me. These deserve a special mention: Alphabetically Indian, Cornucopia of memories, Red curse, Moment and Memory, Choice, The Man Who Wants to Fly & Creation.
2)Some of the poems were written using random words. Being a fan of randomness, I loved the concept and the execution. I am inspired to try #ThrowMeAWord myself 🙂

#12. Thank your Wicked Parents by Richard Bach

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I have read most of his books and I liked his unique approach to books. Read this for powerful reminders on how you can use gratitude to make progress in life.
BTW : You can read this book in just 20 minutes! It is short.

Kindle link here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01F998OAY

#13. 21 Ways of Being Happy by Shama Patel

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Kindle link: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00RKTTTV0

The 21 ways touch upon this aspect of being the best ‘you’. The novel and easy to implement ideas in this book are powerful tools to elevate and connect to your true-self.

I could easily relate to a quote by Denis Waitley : ‘It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit’ while going through the book.

The summary at the end of the chapter in a text-book style do not fail to impress. Those are points that could easily make place in your journal.

You can find my complete review of this book here: https://niriwrites.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/book-review-2-21-ways-of-being-happy/

I will not waste this opportunity of sharing the link of my book here!
www.amazon.in/dp/B01LSNI77A

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Book Review #7: The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer

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The Story of A Suicide by Sriam Ayer is not just a book, but an initiative to change perspectives in the society. It is a humble attempt at touching the less touched topics through a story represented by four characters – Sam, Hari, Charu and Mani.

I would consider the book as a novella, as the chapters are short in length. There are thirty one chapters altogether, backed with illustrations by Ghana.

Plot: Sam, Hari, Charu and Mani – all the four characters have challenges and aspirations of their own. Their stories battle the labels of the society, while each of them struggles with their floating minds and flickering tendencies. The story woven through the four young characters portrays the complexities of daily life. It traces the minute details of a suicide and paves way for the readers to interpret the message in the story

What I liked:
I liked the initiative and the idea. The book in the blog is tailored to help people in need. After reading the book, I toured the site and found a lot of useful stuff. For example:
http://www.storyofasuicide.com/how-do-i-all.html
The link acts like a handbook. This is not a FAQ, but a much needed FAQ. How many of us are open to an idea of discussing mental illness openly? This initiative gets all the marks for doing it in a creative way.

The line in the book offers food for thought:
There are many deep secrets and demons within us that we do not have answers to. Some we might never find. It’s okay. Before we accept each other, it is important to accept ourselves. Accept our feelings, our past, our flaws, our situations. I am not saying this in a defeatist way, but once you begin to accept, you will start appreciating what you have now and be grateful. This way we can be less anxious about life, more secure, so that you can love more,” said Mani.

Some illustrations metaphorically conveyed the essence of the story, Kudos to Ghana for great artwork.  One of my favorite illustrations is from the seventh chapter:
http://www.storyofasuicide.com/when-caesar-met-draupadi.html
This particular chapter is about an imaginary rendezvous between Caesar and Draupadi. I love the idea very much!

What I disliked:
The use of tweets in the story seemed irrelevant at times, but negligible.

Cover, Blurb & the Idea: Full marks to the concept. The illustrations are rich, supporting the content very well. This is not just a book, it is an initiative that will encourage open-mindedness. It will encourage people to be less-judgmental and move towards acceptance.

Conclusion :  Going by the flavor of the book, I will refrain from rating the book. This is a good read, conveying lessons on to-do’s, do-not’s, could-be-done’s in a unique way.

You can read the story here: http://www.storyofasuicide.com/
For those who prefer audiobooks, here is the link:
https://soundcloud.com/story-of-a-suicide

You can find about more about the book and the initiative here :
http://www.storyofasuicide.com/about.html

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/storyof_suicide
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/storyofasuicide/

Before signing off, I will leave you with some tools that could help you in your journey:

1. Carry a personal totem with you. It could be anything. Could be your favorite pen, batch, sticker of a Buddha, God’s photo, anything! Let that be a reminder of all good there is !

2. Rendezvous: Meet yourself every day. Spend a few moments talking to yourself every day. It could be through a journal, could be an objective observation of thoughts or some healthy self talk.

3. Doodling: Doodling is a great way to heal yourself. You could check out some videos on how to Zen Doodle. It is a great stress buster and helps you in rejuvenating yourself!

4. Coloring: There is no age bar to coloring. Don’t shy away from doing what makes you happy!

5. Connect with the Nature: Walking can do wonders! Go out, walk a little. Embrace Nature. You could also start gardening. Start your own mini-garden, Plant a Tulsi and watch it grow. Water it every day, spend a few minutes with it.

6. Play the Question Game: Have a question in mind? Get hold of the book nearest to you. Think of question, flip to a random page and place your finger on the line. Read out the answer and be happy to have tried a little game of randomness.

7. Charlie Chaplin: Don’t forget to laugh at least once! Have a good laugh. It helps. Charlie Chaplin could help you do that. Watch his videos, spend some time laughing! It is healthy.

8. Listen to Om Mani Padme Hum: You could play this mantra while you are at work, or while you are about to start working. It works wonders! It is available on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbgHZWwyhcQ
Same goes for Gayatri Mantra too. It has a lot of positive vibrations.

9. Read biographies: Mandela’s Way by Richard Stengel is one of my favorites. I finished reading ‘A Biography of Rahul Dravid: The Nice Guy Who Finished First’ by Devendra Prabhudesai and learnt a lot. Reading stories of inspiring people fuels your soul to keep moving forward. It will help you keep distractions and depressions at bay.

10. Affirmations: Have a set of positive affirmation for yourself and chant them. It could be as simple as ‘I am the best’. Some codes like ‘I can’ could help you in your testing times.

11. H.O.P.E : No, it is not ‘Hold on, Pain Ends’. One of my friend sees it as ‘Help One Person Everyday’ and it is true! You could consider helping one person every day and that counts. Karma can never go wrong.

I hope the tools will serve you in channelizing your potential, All the best!

I thank Indiblogger for letting me know about the story and the wonderful initiative.

Give me the first line!

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I tried an interesting experiment last week. Here is my attempt:
There are two versions of the poem:

Version 1

Untitled

In a London taxi,
Someone over the phone “I will check the register and let you know if somebody…”
“Oh God”
Wish I knew what she wanted
You spend your whole life learning what!
Late Last summer I had the good lyrical harmony and line
like the One Touch Canister
the lacquered brightness of boxes and the lingering nimbus of God
tugging her close
Heaven and earth together demonstrated
And yet, she couldn’t deny that she wasn’t entirely fearless, not when it came to love and relationships
“Oh No”
A friend of mine helped me tweak this a little:

Version 2:

Untitled

In a London taxi,
someone over the phone : “I will check the register and let you know if somebody…”

Wish I knew what she wanted;
you spend your whole life learning what!
Late last summer I had the good lyrical harmony
and line
tugging her close.

Heaven and earth together
demonstrated the lacquered brightness of boxes
and the lingering nimbus of God.

“Oh God.”

And yet, she couldn’t deny that she wasn’t entirely fearless,
not when it came to love and relationships.
“Oh No”

How did I come up with this poem?

I sent the following message to my friends:
1. Pick up a book that’s closest to you. Magazine/novel.
2. Turn to a random page.
3. Choose either the left or right hand sides of the page.
4. Type out the first line.
5. Mention your source (title, author, pg. no.)

{Note: If the sentence is incomplete, it’s fine. All I need is the first LINE of your random page. Even if it ends up having just 2 words}
I received the following lines from my friends and composed the poem using the lines.

1) I will check the register and let you know if somebody : The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance, Niranjan Navalgund, Page 29

2) lyrical harmony and line. The lacquered brightness of boxes, Book: A Journey with Elsa Cloud by Leila Hadley

3) speaks to someone over the phone. “Love you honey” he : Confessions on an island, Ayan Pal : Page 78

4) Kaleb lay down in front of her, tugging her close. Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh, 103.

5)wish I knew what you wanted (The Essential Rumi by Coleman Banks – pg 93)
6) Omnipresent advertising campaigns, the price positioning as a maker of premium goods, and the lingering nimbus of Steve Job’s personal charisma all contribute to a perception that Apple Offers products so good as to constitute a category of their own. Book: ZERO TO ONE
Page: 52
7) “Late last summer I had the good” travel leisure magazine-july 2016 edition

8) One Touch canister – Tupperware promo magazine
9)And yet, she couldn’t deny that she wasn’t entirely fearless, not when it came to love and relationships. Ttile – like a love song
Author – Nikita Singh
Page No. – 153

10) If you ever find yourself in a London taxi’. It’s from Reader’s Digest June 2016 issue. Story “Street Smart” by Roff Smith.

11) Reference : Looking for Alaska by John Green. Pg 92
The line is :
“Oh no!” The Colonel said “Oh God”
12) “Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.” Excerpt From: Shakespeare, William.“Hamlet.” PlayShakespeare.com. iBooks.
13) “You spend your whole life learning what”
– I wrote this for you and only you – By pleasefindthis, Pg 166

The Lively Library is live!

The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance by Niranjan Navalgund, peppers a bibliophile’s heaven with an aura of enchantment, mystery, & a romance that fights against all the odds

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The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance is live on Amazon.com and Amazon India.

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Author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni mentions The Lively Library!

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The book was launched on July 9th at Atta Galatta, Bangalore.
Signatures of all those who bought the book at the launch:
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Blurb & the cover:
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Word cloud of TLL:
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Consider buying it here:
http://www.amazon.in/dp/938585415

https://amzn.com/9385854151

Happy Reading Bibliophiles!

 

 

Cover, Blurb & the Invitation!

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Blurb:
Unknown to Nayan, the library he inherits from his deceased father, is a mysterious place. Hiriya Halepu, Pu.Nayaka, Kapshi and and many others live there. They have a secret world with celebrations, romances, pangs of separation and conflicts. This is the Book-World. As two souls in this world fall in love, they encounter a strange predicament that separates them from each other. Things go from bad to worse when an unknown enemy sends a threat of destruction to this whole mysterious world. They call their resolute protector, Helmine, who unravels many unknown facets of this world, in an attempt to save it from the danger. The lovers struggle to find each other, and Helmine tries hard to decipher the threat messages. But will she be able to save this world from destruction? Will the two souls in love be united? There are no easy answers. Because, this is no ordinary Library, this is the place where books come to life

The book will be available at Amazon on July 9th.

launch

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Bangaloreans, Do fill the google form and let me know if you are coming 🙂
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XuhVAUY-MXR5F8ZjG5z1lwAth3r1ZX8QSwh4dMI4MPo/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

For any queries, email: niranjanchess23@gmail.com

 

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