Devdutt Pattnaik on Women in Mythology

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Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, a trained medical practitioner, studies the writing of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their impact on culture. Watch his passionate delivery on some of the nuances of Indian mythology.

Here is a list of books you might enjoy if you liked this talk:

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (born 11 December 1970) born and brought up in Mumbai and completed his MBBS from Grant Medical College. After working for 14 years i

The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1): Book Review

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Author: Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

Book Blurb:

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasures, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

 

My Review:

The main and the only reason I picked this book was because it was written by J K Rowling. I enjoy her characterizations, her writing and her the worlds that she writes about.

This is her first Adult Mystery book Series and as with J K Rowling’s other books, her writing and her characterizations are just fantastic. But, she has a very different voice here than Harry Potter or the Casual Vacancy, so if you do pick it up, read it as something different, do not try to compare, and you’ll enjoy it!

Cuckoo’s Calling is not some fast paced, action packed novel. Lula Landry had died three months before the start of the story, the Police had done the investigation and pronounced it a suicide. So, when Lula’s brother comes up to Strike to ask him to investigate, his major motivation is the money, as due to his breakup and sad state of finances, he was living on noodles and staying in his office.

Strike goes on interviewing everyone who was in touch with Lula, and through each interview, we come to know a different fact.

Now, I do not know if it is because of reading far too many mystery novels, but the person I thought would be the killer, turned out to be true.

The book needs to be read mostly because of the interesting characters and the fabulous writing style that just draws you in it. Each character has their own back story that somehow made it more real.

I really like Cormoran as a detective and as a person. The awkwardness, the fierce pride to hide the obvious state of his living, his way of thinking, his cool, calm demeanor. Just perfect.

But more than Cormoran, I loved Robin’s character. She had always fascinated about the detective line of work, I liked how smart and witty she is.  I somehow feel she would end her engagement with Mathew in the next book, but if not for anything else, I’ll be picking up the Silkworm to know more about Robin.

 

 

 

Game of Blogs – Midway Through The Heart!

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TEAM QISSA

[ READ THE PREVIOUS PART OF THE STORY HERE ]

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Memories are strange; one could live without as much as a thought about someone, but one little incident can open the floodgates of emotions. Emotions as fresh and raw as if the incidents happened a few moments ago. The only difference is that the happy moments bring with them a twinge of sadness, a longing of what once was.

 

*Ping*

Jennifer, still busy giving finishing touches to the photographs, smiled and checked the time.

11:30 pm.

She shifted the tabs on her browser and there it was, the mail she had been waiting for.

“[New Post] Cyrus Daruwala has posted a new blog Post”

Quickly clicking the link to the blog post, Jennifer started reading. He had written a very thought provoking article on the state of Juvenile law in the country. As she read, she was impressed with how deep and meaningful his arguments were. Even though he was almost a decade younger than her, she felt he was quite mature for his age. She admired his writing style, his passion for what he was doing, the earnest and almost naive belief that he would change the world.

She distinctly remembered the first time she had chanced upon Cyrus’s blog. She had started off looking for inspiration for her latest photography project. One site led to another, and before she knew it, she found herself reading one blog post after another by a young law student.

His posts were so precise and verbose, the way he wrote his feelings, she could not help but be drawn to his words and had consequently written to him. This had opened a floodgate of communication between them, they had so much in common and yet, they came from different walks of lives, had different experiences which lead to a lot of discussions and conversations.

Even though she did not want to admit to herself, she knew that one of the main reasons she was attracted to Cyrus, was that she was reminded of someone who once meant everything to her, and yet, someone who now had become a stranger. Cyrus’s writing evoked a deep longing in her. A longing for what once was hers, of what she had given up thinking that there were other things more important. Ever since that fateful day that she had read Cyrus’s blog post, she could not stop herself from re-visiting her past. A past, that she thought was now too far away to haunt her. How wrong she had been! The pain was gone though, that was a good thing. She no longer felt that gut wrenching pain when his carefree smiling face slashed before her eyes. Time might not have erased the memories, but it had successfully erased the pain.

Shekhar had the same way of expressing his feelings via words. Just like Cyrus’s words, she would be lost in the worlds that were created by Shekhar’s pen. The same earnestness, the same naivety, same offhanded carelessness, Jennifer often found herself wondering if what she had with Cyrus was the result of what she had with Cyrus or was it because she had suddenly started missing and actually longing for a relationship that she had with Shekhar?

Is it really fair to Cyrus, if she kept looking for someone else in him? Was she looking for someone else? Why this sudden need to know what Shekhar is up to?

Sighing to herself, Jennifer decided to just go to sleep. She knew that if she would start to analyze and over think this, she would just end up in a mess of emotions.

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“Damn the Delhi Traffic!”

It had taken Cyrus two hours to reach home from his college.

After a quick bath, he ordered Pizza for himself and opened his laptop.

This was the best part of the day for him, all the tensions and the worries just melted away when he started to write. For Cyrus, writing was his way of relaxation, he could feel all the pent up energy leaving his body by the way of words. It was eleven thirty by the time he was finished with the day’s blog post. His half eaten pizza lay cold beside him on the table.

Taking another piece from the box, he opened his social networking site. After briefly scrolling through his timeline, he found himself on Jennifer Joseph’s page. He had developed this habit of visiting her profile almost every time he opened his laptop.

These days anyone with a digital SLR camera called themselves a photographer, but Jennifer’s pictures had a distinct charm of their own. Each picture had a story of its own, and the writer in Cyrus was intrigued by these stories. He remembered the day she had first contacted him, he had reverted with a polite response to her message and briefly glanced at her profile. A lady almost a decade older to him, he had never thought they would become such close friends.

The clock told him it was almost forty five minutes since he had uploaded the post. Cyrus felt a twinge of disappointment pass through him. There were a couple of likes and comments, but the one person’s reaction that he wanted to see had not come. He could not exactly pinpoint why this sudden disappointment. What did Jennifer mean to him? She was just a friend after all. But then again, he did not feel this disappointment when his other friends did not acknowledge his blog. How could he even think that anything with Jennifer was even a possibility? The age difference made it impossible, why then was he feeling thus?

His head swimming with these thoughts, he refreshed Jennifer’s profile. No new update.

Shaking his head, Cyrus shut his laptop for the day.

 

Click here for the next part of the story.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

What Kind of Censorship is this?

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This question is plaguing me for quite some time now, ever since I saw The fault in our stars movie, I guess.

I have read the book, loved it and so when the censor board decided that I was not fit to view the Amsterdam scene, I was quite uncomfortable.

Now, as some people decided that that was a scene that I should not watch, I have not been able to see how it was portrayed, but in the book it was this cute, awkward, extremely clumsy scene between Hazel and Agustus. It was their one way of finally accepting their relationship, knowing well how short lived it would be. It was at this weird time when Agustus also finds out about his disease. The scene I felt was important because it showed the bond between them.

But apparently, others disagreed.

The question that arises is if that scene is inappropriate, how are other scenes/songs like this appropriate?

1) Katrnia Kaif being clad in just a bed sheet surrounded by a group of men on a bed, thrusting her chest in the most awkward way at the start of Sheela ki Jawani?

2) Shahid Kapoor tells the girl he falls in love with to shut up and deal with his stalking and that because he likes her he has a right on her, in the song “Agal Bagal” song?

3) Too many Item Songs, Remix Songs, etc. with raunchy lyrics and highly objectified women and somehow fully clad or at least comparatively more clad men?

4) Casting the likes of Sunny Leone just to keep inhaling deeply while wearing shortest clothes possible and prancing around the men without almost no significant role in the movie.

4) Almost any Imraan Hashmi movie?

And many more…

I find these much more uncomfortable to watch, and did not feel any level of discomfort reading the fault in our stars?

My question for Censor board is:

How do you decide what I can or cannot watch? And if the fault in our stars’ scene was so ‘vulgar’ that it needed to be censored, why the above points acceptable?

Is it because the TFIOS scene did not objectify Hazel from weird angles?

I must add here that I do not approve of censorship of any kind, I feel each person has a right to decide what he or she wants to consume, be it movies, literature or movies.

But I do have a problem when even a U/A passed films have almost naked women singing and dancing to horribly double meaning songs, glorifies eve teasings,  have songs that approves of stalking, graphic violence, rapes, etc., but when the same audience is not considered mature enough to watch a scene of real, meaningful and consensual sex.

 

 

The Book Thief: A Book Review

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Author: Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Book Blurb:

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Review:

As I completed the last words in this book, I just sat for a few minutes. That’s always been the power of great books, they force you to think and reflect on everything. Damn, Markus Zusak, What did you do to me?

This book just makes you appreciate the goodness of Humanityit feels strange even writing these words. For God’s sake, this is a book about Germans living in World War 2 and is narrated by none other than Death.

O yes, you heard that right, this is a book that is from Death’s point of view, how he goes about picking up souls while trying to distract himself from his job by noticing the colours of the sky. He does not enjoy his work, but you know, it’s a job that he has to do, and he does it.

This book was different. In more ways than one.

Apart from its extremely unexpected narrator, the book starts at the ending. And death even lets you know what to expect in the end “to soften the blow”, but, even though you know what is going to come, and you think you have come to terms with it, the end just blows you apart, softly and gently, just as death’s cold hands dive into the warm bodies. And when the book ends, you just know something has been added in you, and that something is an experience.

The book is also about words. The value of words, the way they can calm a person, comfort a person, make them forget their fears, troubles and worries.

The characters People in this story are not just someone you read about, they are your close friends, the people you meet regularly and drink coffee and discuss the general affairs with. You are invested in them, they are flesh and blood. You are as interested in what Hitler’s next war strategy is as them, your heart beats as fast as theirs in the basement while waiting for air raids. You are as worried about the fates of their loved ones as they are.

A few rare books are like this, and I am glad I came across this. A big thank you to John Green for mentioning this book in his videos, which made me pick this up!

Movie trailer of this book:

Timeless Jokes-Ageless Wisdom: A Book Review

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Author: Awdhesh Singh

Timeless Jokes-Ageless Wisdom

Book Blurb:

There is a great similarity between humour and spirituality because both deal with the conception of the world, which can’t be perceived by sheer common sense. From ancient times, great spiritual leaders have been using jokes and humours to explain wisdom to the common people. We are all familiar with the stories of Mulla Nasruddin, which are used the world over by Sufis and Masters to explain to us the deepest wisdom.

Every good joke has a spiritual message and wisdom in it, if we can really understand its spiritual meaning. The greater is the punch in a joke, the deeper is the wisdom contained in it.

However, most authors are still using the jokes created many centuries ago in different contexts to explain the spiritual wisdom. The modern generation is generally not able to connect with such jokes or stories, which they find as incomprehensible. The book uses old and new jokes in this book to convey the wisdom of ages to the modern generation.

This book contains several jokes and humorous stories to help us understand the deepest truths of life. Since we don’t forget good jokes and good stories easily, we also never forget the wisdom contained in these jokes.

My Review:

It had been quite a while since I read a good humour book.

This book had a lot of Mullah Nassruddin, Akbar Birbal etc Jokes that brought back memories from my childhood. I used to have books of such jokes as a child, so most of these were already known to me, it was still a great refresher.

The author also gives his views that very quite interesting. The little things we can learn from each joke if we put a tad bit of an effort.

Many mistake spirituality for religion, so for them I’d like to clarify, this book does not cater to any specific religion, it deals with the common knowledge and intelligence.

The cover design is excellent, it gives you a kind of soft, happy feeling when you look at it.

It is a small book of just 105 pages, a simple, light but insightful book.

P.S. I’d like to thank the author Dr. Awdhesh Singh for sending me a surprise package of two autographed books! :)

Because of Reading The Fault in Our Stars

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There is this wonderful series “Because of Reading” on Instagram (original account here) and I had blogged about it here.

But as a lot more wonderful pictures are coming up, I thought better separate the learnings from each important book.

First Up, fault in our stars by John Green (Book Review: Here)

If you like The Fault in our stars , Click here for a list of books you might like as well.

Because of reading...

Because of reading...

We sadly do know all because of the legendary Augustus Waters :') ~Ema

Because of reading...  #okay #TFIOS #movie

Book titles should be italicised and or underlines. But maybe its different for imaginary books.

Because of Reading

The Fault In Our Stars

Because of Reading

Because of reading

Because of reading

Because of reading... #TFIOSThe Fault In Our Stars

Because of Reading

Because of Reading

Because of Reading

TFIOS, the fault in our stars, john green, young adult novels

Because of reading...

Because of reading...

Because of reading...

Because of reading