Monday, April 29, 2013

Love Across The Borders by Sudam Chandra Panigrahi


Title: Love Across The Borders 
Author: Sudam Chandra Panigrahi
Publishers: All About Books Global
Date:  2012
Price: Rs. 299
Pages: 240


Snapshot:  As the title suggests, this is a love story of Jia-a Chinese girl and Jivan-an Indian boy, the difficulties their love faces due to diffrences in cultue, politics between nations etc.

The Story & The Critics Perspective: It begins with a bomb-blast. Jia and Jivan are the victims. They land up in the same hospital. Since they donot have families or friends, become a compny for each other in the hospital and eventually fall in love. Their is intially a resistance from their families but their love wins over it. However local goons, political powers ,visa issues etc. are still big problems to fight. Will the loves stand the test of all these variables? To know more read the book.

The Review:
Positives:  The author has chosen a good subject and highlighted correctly each parameter that will affect a couple cross countries like India and China.

Negatives: First of all the coverpage is not pleasant. The writing and editing needs a lot of improvement.

Verdict: A light read. 2 stars out of 5.

About The Author: A self made person, he’s a voracious reader of fiction, works in the Indian Railway as a Ticket Examiner. At leisure time, he writes poems, short stories. His poems are published some anthologies.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Music Experience Redefined Anytime with HP Connected Music Experience...The IndiBlogger Meet

We always love to listen to music no matter what we are doing. From work to leisure music is a constant companion, relaxing the mind allowing it to be more focused and thereby more creative. Music truly is with us all the time in the clear flowing water to the chirping of sparrows, to the notification that someone is calling or messaging you (thanks to technology and ringtones).

Music has been a blessing for me. As a child I suffered with severe headache episodes. My entire family of doctors across streams of Allopathy,Ayurveda and Homeopathy couldn't cure me. Some said it was migraine, some diagnosed it as some other ailment, but in the end no therapy could relieve me. Around the same time as I was growing I started listening to A.R.Rahamns music. His music was different, experimental and soothing. When Taal released (I believe that is his best creation and deserved highest accolades such as Oscar), I listened to the audio-cassette (yes CD's weren't used then) everyday. When I had the headache episodes I would go into isolation with just Rahaman Sir's music and that soothed me. I started recovering, lesser episodes and now I rarely get them. It was the healing power of music that took me out of those episodes. Now music therapy has developed as an elegant, methodical medical science curing fatal diseases such as Alzheimers, Cancer, AIDS. A detailed account with references of this in my previous, pre-meet post on music (http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/2013/04/music-in-my-lifemusic-therapy.html). 

Therefore its no surprise that when the HP Connected Music indiblogger meet was announced, I was in seventh heaven and eagerly looking forward to it. It was my second Indiblogger meet and the theme was best ever possible "music". I reached the venue and got myself mingling with other bloggers within minutes. Blogging is truly a religion that binds us. It was great to meet new people each writing about different stuff all bound by the thread of blogging. The crowd kept growing and finally the meet began. 



The best part was that there was a blogging contest before the meet and they awarded all the bloggers who wrote about music with sexy HP earphones. Though I too submitted an entry for the same, mine wasn't enlisted may be because I submitted it post the time limit 00:00 hours on 19th April :P. I hope this time both my entries will be considered.  I am writing well in time.

In this meet the organizers were innovative in giving us cards with numbers rather than their algorithm which I know from peoples experience pics the same names mostly. It was a special day for me as I finally got a chance to introduce myself, and that meant many people remembering me and contacting me on facebook later (now we are friends thanks to Indiblogger). The introductions too had a fun component that every third blogger got a chance to with the awesome comparer Prateek Shah and do some funny activity, there was a moon walk, guys couple dance, sunny deol dance, gangnam style,etc which were hilarious. 
 Then began the reason for the meet "The HP Connected Music" talk. The presentation was short and sweet, also they were methodical in inviting interested people to just experience it rather than go on and on about it. The features I loved are many. To begin with, the aim with which it started, when one downloads songs one cannot do it without having some unethical content popping up on the screen; therefore making it an undoable job at office or home unless one starts hiding the screen. Virus free downloads, original CD quality music, online playlists, and the best part the collection of ten million songs all for free for an year. I would surely love to try it, but I do not have an HP laptop(I really hope HP people really love this post and gift me one :P). Everything apart on a serious note if all your songs are at one place it would be great and that too for free. One does not have to download everything one may listen to just sometimes and junk ones computer with it, simply save it in your playlist online. One can also create multiple playlists for occasions like party, bhajans etc. Its the purest ,hastle free music experience.

I would also love have some features on this portal and want to share with HP if they can add them. They should allow bands (as in any band who composes music with some quality standards ofcourse) to upload their music and  may or may not charge them for the same(depending on their business model). The reason I request this is there are some,not much known music bands people do love, like I have loved Rishikesh, Advaita etc. and these people upload there videos on other sites which are not as great and have virus free etc. features. It will also gives these artists a platform and us enthusiasts such as myself one universal portal
 for all our music needs. After all India is young country, buzzing with
energy and talent which deserves it all.
Although the prize is just for blogging abut HP, I would also love to add that the food at the end of the meet was delicious and awesome. Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon deserves an applause for the same. Sweets especially the chocolate cup sandesh, the cute little bread,cheese and pineapple fillers and the assorted flavours of tea was a treat. With our stomachs satisfied and heart happy, we saw people winning laptops for twitter contest, congratulations to them, had great photography session (227 of them to be precise, uploaded now on Indiblogger facebook page http://www.facebook.com/indipage?fref=ts), grabbed our Tshirsts and headed home merrily with many of our new found friends generously giving each other lifts. We came alone, went together, our facebook friend-list has more amazing people now, and all we hope is to meet in another IndiBlogger really soon. As I end this post classical fusion music by my favourite band "Advaita" called "Rasiya" continues to mesmerize me.


This article is about The HP Connected Music IndiBlogger Meet at Hilton Garden Inn, Gurgaon on the 20th of April 2013.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Music in my Life...Music Therapy A serendipity

''Music is the art of the heart, 
  reflection of the soul,
  & a healer of all pain" 


Music I believe is not just a part of life but it is the colour that brings life to life. What had been a day like if you didn't hear sparrows chirp outside your window? Or birds calling each other at sunset to return back home? What  if there was no music to soothe you when you were upset?

Apart from music bringing melody to life, there is one important application of it "healing". Not only has "Music Therapy" advanced as a field of science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_therapy) but what I shall speak of now is experimented on myself. I as a child had severe headaches which would emerge suddenly without a cause. I tried the traditional medicines, to homeopathy, ayurveda etc. Everything would relieve me of the symptoms for just sometime, some better than the other. It would come again. Then one day I just started listening to an audio-casette of Taal, music by A.R.Rahaman (ofcourse just the slow songs) and slowly I started feeling better. I had loved his music in the movie and started listening to them everyday. It was serendipity that my headache episodes reduced and finally now I get them very rarely. When I do I just listen to the A.R.Rahaman instrumental playlist on my laptop. 



Though music therapy came to me serendipitously, my inquisitive scientific mind researched on it only to find the recent advances in the field. It has proven to be effective for fatal diseases such as Cancer, Autism, AIDS etc.     (http://www.themusictherapytrust.com/therapy.html#1)

Music truly heals. 

Now you too can remain connected to the world of music with HP Connected Music, all you need is a single click https://ssl.www8.hp.com/in/en/ad/hp-connected-music/overview.html


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Homing Pigeons by Sid Bahri



Title:The Homing Pigeons 
Author: Sid Bahri
Publisher: Srishti Publishers& Distributors
Date:  2013
Price: Rs. 150
Pages: 320




First of all I would like to thank the author Sid Bahri for a copy of this book.

When the author first wrote to me about this book, I felt it was just another love story similar to the ones that are published everyday by everyone writing a book nowadays (though i am a strong protester of this phenomena that we see in India today). However, when Dr.Shashi Tharoor whose writings I have followed since the times he wrote columns for The Sunday Times gave a great opinion abut the book I decided to read it. Post reading I want to apologize to Sid Bahri for the initial neglect. This is one book after Left From Dhakeshwari by Kunal Sen and Bali & The Ocean of Milk by Nilanjan P. Choudhury where I do see a the bright hope for Indian literature internationally. 


Snapshot: 

This is the story of two people Aditya and Radhika whose destinies are intertwined in a  manner that no matter what situation the cruel life presents they do meet, confess their love and be together. The one thing that no situation could win over is the immense love in their hearts for each other. If by this you believe this is one of those mushy romance novels, then no it certainly is far away from that. I would call it "life story" but the way the story ends doesn't allow me to do that. It is set in the times when India faced an incident that is marked not only its calenders and history but engraved on peoples hearts and lives, the time just after Hindu-Sikh riot occurred post Indira Gandhi's assassination, the times when it was still afresh in peoples minds. This story will make you think how deep are these wounds decades after it happend and to what intensity it can effect the common man, who is not the one to start it but is affectected the most. 


The Story:
The boois about transition between past and present. It begins with Radhika now a millionaire widow, once gets her last compulsion, getting the step daughter married, feels that being rich now she could relax and live a peaceful life. However she finds herself dwelling into the past, more often the loneliness makes her think of Aditya....her only true love who could never be her husband though life gave them a number of opportunities. 


Aditya on the other hand hardly hit by recession and personal vengeance, looses his job at Citibank never to find one again in a span of another year. His life is all about being dominated by a wife who makes it known that "she runs the house". He succumbs to alcohol and meets a woman in a bar Divya, who blackmails him to sleep with her, and pays him for the same. That was the only money he had earned in past one year. He is in a dilemma as on one hand is his conscience and on the other Divya's comments "you are very good at this, you can really do well in this profession". He is ashamed, guilty at first but the first sign of currency like drops of land in a desert makes him think about it as a career option. He moves to Delhi and becomes a male prostitute. His body may be sold every day but his heart yearns to be in the company of only one woman that he ever loved Radhika. 

His narration begins from his childhood. As Radhika an unwanted financial burden to her parents who have two sons before her, is adopted by her uncle and aunt (as they cannot have children of their own) and life was well, until one day they discover that after more than a decade of marriage she was pregnant. So when there is a line of two sisters after her and the parents still trying for  a son, she is devoid of love or concern from her family. When she does well in class 10 and her school offers her a scholarship to study further, she is sent back to her original parents at Chandigarh. Being neglected twice by two sets of people whom she called parents, her heart bears marks of disappointment and a fear of being rejected, something that follows her forever.

The shifting to a city from a small town, a better school (compared to her earlier school which was a government school) initially leaves her a misfit in a bunch of rich brats. However she finds two good friends Shipra and Aditya. Aditya the male protagonist is a tall, fair and smart guy who though bad at accounts wins Radhika's heart. Both secretly admire each other but the fear of loosing their friendship, the fact that they were young and may find someone more interesting later and for Radhika the fear of being rejected never makes them able to confess, so after school they separate.

However, destiny experiments and they meet again, four years later at Citibank where both of them land in training camp in Delhi.  But fate again ditches them and they seperate.They meet again when Radhika visits the city. Not missing a chance Aditya first thing does confess his love for her and the years of seperation finally ends in love making. She leaves for home after that only to find her parents trying to fix a match with an NRI earning well. When she tells them about her love for Aditya her mother is of the opinion that he doesnt earn that much and her marrying him will be just burdensome. So for him, his career she leaves him.

However she regrets her decision as not just that Abhinav is a mouse where Aditya was a hunk but she cannot accept him completely as her only love was Aditya. She comes back to India and meets Aditya, being totally in love they cant resist each other.  But they forget that he is a Sikh and she a Hindu. His parents with their hearts are deeply wretched with wounds of the Hindu Sikh riots that killed his grandfather and ruined their businees completely fail to accept their innocent love. 


Destiny plays the most challenging game as at this very time Radhika is pregnant. Aditya on the other hand is stuck between his love and parents. They seperate. But they have been the homing pigeons and now they meet again. Will Radhika ever forgive Aditya? Will Aditya ever be able to leave his current profession? Will she accept him the way he is now? Do all love stories have a perfect ending? 


Cant wait to know what happens next??? Go grab a copy!!!

The Review:

Positives:  To begin with the coverpage is pleasant and eye cathing. The story is new, fresh, never heard of or imagine. The characters and situations are well portrayed and realistic.

 A intricate balance of emotions even as the story goes through very high and low points. Two things the author should be applauded for are : One he focuses solely on the story not giving an over does of love making scenes or tragedy as most Indian writers do to sell and that in my opinion makes it an exception and gives it quality. He in fact had a lot of scope but he chose the story. 


Two, the biggest achievement of the author here is the exceptional narrative technique. Just two characters each shuffling between their past and present. Both characters linked and therefore to avoid repetition and boring the reader is extremely difficult. It was a great risk to use such a difficult narrative technique especially by a debutant but he did a remar
kable job.  

Language is simple and flow is maintained at a good pace that makes you never leave the book. A crisp read.

Negatives: 

At two points the author missed the past and present connect. However what he achieved throughtout is an unimaginable task especially for a debutant (I truly believe that Dr. Shashi Tharoor had the same opinion) and that is worth appreciating.


The verdict:  A story that will bind you right from page one till the end. Very well written and fresh concept. A book in the current Indian market where anyone can be an author and majority are not suited for international readers, this one is an exception. It has the story and the quality to change the trend. An  amazing unputdownable read. 4 stars out of 5.

A book that I will certainly like to re read again and again.


About the Author :

A hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry, Sid gave up a plush career in the outsourcing industry to follow his passions. Based out of Ranikhet, he is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. A selfproclaimed eccentric, he is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. Cooking stories, however,  is his passion. The Homing Pigeons is his debut novel.