Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Readers Cosmos Diwali Contest

Readers as a part of my immense love towards books and reading and spreading this love to you my readers this year with one of my most favorite authors (whose books have made me lock up in my room entire weekends) Indu Sundaresan and Harper Collins India I am here with a "Diwali Contest".

As Diwali is the time for Mega fun and Mega Masti we too have mega prizes to be won!!! Guess what???
      
Two Sets of The Taj Trilogy+ The Mountain of Light  authored by Indu Sundaresan to be won!!!




To win all you have to do is:




2. Follow Indu Sundaresan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ISundaresan


4. Follow The Readers Cosmos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thereaderscosmo 

5. Share this picture above on facebook and Twitter and tag the Readers Cosmos &tweet @thereaderscosmo. You can also write and tweet about Indu Sundaresan's books, excerpts from her books or why you wish to read her latest book
"The Mountain of Light". 

Don't miss to tag us!!!

We shall be counting every tag and keep a score. the more you share and the more creative you get, your chances of winning improve.


Apart from this we shall also have a live conversation with Indu Sundaresan on her facebook page: 

on Saturday 2nd November 2013 from 8pm to 11pm IST.

Don't miss this unique opportunity.

The Contest ends on 10th of November 2013 at 00:00 Hours 


Terms & Conditions: 
1. This contest is open to Indian residents only.
2. The decision of the judges will be final.


"Have a Happy Fun Filled Pollution Free Diwali"


 


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Dance of My Life : Education for Women

I love dancing and if I am to dance for one cause I shall be ready to dance all my life for till every woman on earth gets the right to education, the very cause I took lead of at the DID Indiblogger meet on 23 October 2013. My reason for this cause has its roots on a very personal incident that shook my life. 
 



I belong to a small town in Gujarat and my locality doesn't have many people. The only neighbors we had was the staff of the post-office next to my house, and they too were a 9-5 company. Post 5:00 pm there was nobody to play with. My joy was boundless when one of the employees decided to shift with his family in the staff quarters. That would mean I could tell my classmates I finally had neighbors! The icing on the cake was they had a daughter too, three years elder to me. I had already made her my best friend when I heard they were shifting, before I actually met her. I am not sure whether she was a lonely child too or stayed in a lonely locality before like mine as she loved my company too. She was the company I needed, a true friend and an elder sister that I never had - She was Kalpana - My Kalpana. 

Kalpana was an above average child and very good at extra curricular activities. Though she studied in Gujarati medium government school and I in a better English medium private school, she was sharp at Mathematics. Whenever I had doubts I would go to her. I however never realized why her parents always suggested she should concentrate on looking after the house, cook food, learn embroidery etc. I could understand that her parents were not as modern as mine but they clearly didn't celebrate her genius in studies, which I found very strange. The highest disappointment was after standard 12 her education was stopped and she completely took charge of the house. She resisted initially and I too but I was banned from her house and she ultimately turned to fate, hoping what her parents have in store for her might really be the brighter side of the world. After all they were her parents, they had lived lives, had experience and all parents wish the best for their daughter. Three years thus passed and I saw her parents were trying to arrange her marriage as many strange people visited their house in decorated clothes. In the mean time I moved to another city to pursue my Bachelors degree. I heard one day she was getting married, I attended it only halfheartedly.

Kalpana however seemed happy that day, may be she was finally getting freedom from that jail her house had been for the past few years or it is really the day a girl waits for in her life. It could also be that the parents had paid a lot of dowry to get so called "best suitor" and she wanted them to be happy so she was acting. After the ceremony when she was going to her husbands place her parting words were "This is a new beautiful beginning for me". I prayed with all my heart that may God grant her wishes, but those were just her last words to me, the only remains of my childhoods memories. One day as I returned from college my mother called me and she was crying continuously, after a lot of effort she was able to tell me that Kalpana was brutally burnt alive by her in-laws. My best friend was no more. A few days later the local Gujrati paper's headlines said "Kalpana Chawla - The First Indian Woman In Space" and on page eight a small section that one might even miss reported that a young, newly married woman Kalpana is another victim of dowry and was burnt alive by her in laws.  On one side was a Kalpana - a woman that inspired millions in the country and made India stand out on the world map and on the other side my Kalpana deprived of education, her dreams, trying to find a new life was there alone that night, screaming for help until life gave up on her. 
I don't think anybody who has witnessed such an incident in their lives would ever recover from it. I started questioning myself then "Why are girls considered burden by their families?" "On one end you do Lakshmi pooja on Diwali every year and on the other the Lakshmi in your house, your daughter/daughter-in -law is mistreated?" "Have women not shown to excellent in every field they have pursued, than why while a Kalpana Chawla goes into space, another is tortured and brutally murdered?" The only difference between the two Kalpana's was "Education". Education is the biggest asset that can empower an individual, give them the self confidence and the ability to conquer any situation. Unfortunately many girls in India like
Kalpana are forced to drop out of school even though they are academically brilliant and aim to become someone, some cannot even enter the school gates. How will your daughter face the big bad world unarmed? How will she have the courage to stand up to the wrong that is done to her in any walk and phase of life?

According to statistics: 106,000 Women Burnt to Death in 1 Year (http://genderbytes.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/video-murder-by-fire-100000-women-a-year/)

Dawn.com 2013 reports that One woman dies every hour in India over dowry.

Is this a future you want for your daughter? No! Certainly not! Therefore make her an equal in society. Giver her the wings of education to fly and then she will soar to the heights you never even dreamt of. We need more Kalpana Chawla's, P.T.Usha's, Sarojini Naidu's in this nation and not girls being added as numbers to the statistics above!

My dance is a plea to all the parents "Educate Your Daughter", an educated son will brighten up up one house while an educated daughter will enlighten the future of two families. Education will give her the courage to standup against any wrong done to her and help her generate respect for herself in the family, society and the nation.


This year Zee Tv has for the first time in the history of Indian television started a program Dance India Dance's season 4, which will be aired from 26th October every Saturday and Sunday at 9:00 pm with a mission for people to dance for  cause they believe in. I believe it is one of the greatest ideas as dance is the purest form of expression of all kinds, love, anger, hatred, belief etc. And who better than our country to start this great initiative as since the era when Gods lived on this land we know Shiva as "Natraja", he expressed his emotions in the form of a dance. Also they have a great vision that the winners of this season will have a mission to go to places, understand their problems and present it on national television to world in the form of a dance. This mission therefore deserves all the applaud and attention in the world and I can already fathom great changes that will happen because of this.


Also, a great improvement over the other seasons in DID this year is that the finalists will be trained by very efficient, young, energetic and humble choreographers such as Master Mudassar Khan, Master Feroz Khan and Shruti Merchant. We had a great opportunity to meet two of these very talented Choreographers at IndiBlogger Dance India Dance meet in association with ZeeTv on 23rd October 2013 at The Oberoi, New Delhi. They taught us a few steps, divided us into teams and gave us 20 minutes to prepare an act. As I was one of the chosen team leaders, I decided to #DanceItOut for #Education for Women.

The judges Master Mudassar Khan and Master Feroz Khan were very encouraging. They observed each act and pointed out something good from our naivete performances and encouraged us to #DanceITOut. Post the session too they stayed amongst us during dinner, where I discovered how grounded they were and despite the fact that they hadn't slept in last 3 days before the event they stayed amongst us to interact,mingle and tell us stories of DID's mission, audition and their experiences, when they could have chosen their comfort and sleep. This level of dedication touched my heart and now I am 200% confident of Zee Tv's and DID's Season 4's immense success. 

Below are the images of our group's act on the same issue #Education For Women #DanceItOut 
 The team planning for and preparing the act in just 20 minutes 

The performance was divided into two parts: 

Part 1. A girl is forced to leave her studies and forced by her parents to start taking care of the household. She is eventually married to a man and burnt alive by her in laws.

Scene 1: The mother forces the girl to drop out of school and work in the kitchen


Scene 2: She is married to a man of parents choice who is also paid a hefty dowry(picture not available)
                                                                          



Scene 3: The girl is brutally burnt alive by her In laws

 Part 2: Here we show what would have happened if she was educated? She could have educated the community.

 


 The girl grows up to be a teacher and educates everyone


 Lastly as the father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi said "Be The Change You wish To See In This World", and Zee Tv gives us a platform with Dance India Dance Season 4 to #DanceItOut , lets dance together and dance till we see each woman educated, confident and an equal to a man.


This post is a part of #DanceItOut https://www.facebook.com/ZeeTvIndia

(The story in this post is derived from and dedicated to countless women whom I have seen suffering domestic abuse and some even brutally murdered. Those who lost their dreams to study and wings to fly and some even their lives)

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Redeemers by Suresh Taneja

Title: The Redeemers
Author:Suresh Taneja
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Frog Books
Date:  2013
Price: Rs.145
Pages:229
 SNAPSHOT: This is a fiction story of four friends who by a unique, never before thought method succeed in making India corruption free.

The Review:  
When I was in school in the early 2002 we heard a lot about India becoming a super power by 2020. As we can see now just after a decade that all we have is a nation full of corruption, we have realized that  all those promises were just dreams. We had been fooled and our emotions played with. However the author in this story presents that beautiful dream we saw and still in some corner of our hearts we wish to live it some day.
The story begins with the four friends and the main characters of this story Manisha, Akshay, Yuvika and Vikram meeting for their annual gathering in the US. While Vikram is shown to be the Indian ambassador to US, India is already a super power and the year is 2030. A rupee is equal to a hundred dollars, Tata manufactures the best cars in the world etc. I believe that is enough to trigger your imagination. 

The bad cookie is the author already reveals that the mission started by these four individuals was successful. I would rather have waited till the last page to know what happened, however what we don't know is how dis it happen? A couple of back to back incidents refelecting on corruption in the country in every sector from traffic police to healthcare drive these individuals to think hard to the root cause of the problem. They are shown to be intelligent and well thought individuals who come up with a unique and never before thought plan for rescuing the nation.  Though I have my own opinions and doubts of the idea's success the authors imagination here is commendable. 

What the idea would be? How will they face the smallest and biggest challenges? How will they drive the smallest bit of corruption from their own families? These are the plots that the story is all about. 

The Verdict:
Positive: A very fresh and unique concept.
Negatives:  The following were the short comings in my opinion: The author giving away the result of the movement in the first place lowers the readers interest. Two the central characters haven't been very well developed. Right in the beginning there is a hierarchy of family members to remember, though there is a family tree in the beginning but introduction of all the people at the same time is chaotic. The Namita Sarkar part and character wasn't needed. The writing was simple but not crisp. There were a lot of moments where I had to really motivate myself to read on.

The Verdict:  I believe it is a great story that could have turned out much better. But do read the  book for the concept and the story, its  fresh and worth pondering upon . If you read Revolution 2020 this is surely better in terms of the story as there is actually a revolution. 2.5 stars on 5.
About The Author:
Suresh Taneja is a chartered accountant by profession and is looking after the financial affairs of a listed company. He published his first book We can pull it off in 2010. This book is an improved and complete version of his earlier book. Suresh aspires for maximum readership of the book, particularly by children and youth. Suresh strongly feels that the youth need to play a leading role in shaping up the future of our country which presently is plagued with alarming proportions of corruption, malpractices and declining moral values. The intent behind this book is to kindle a sense of awareness amongst the youngsters on their possible role, encouraging them to be creative in finding solutions and inspiring them to translate their thoughts into action. Suresh writes regularly to express himself on a variety of issues. His writings are generally inspired by his life experiences and keen observations. Suresh does not wish to confine himself to issue based books only; he is keen to experiment with different genres and capitalize on his knack for storytelling.

Grab a copy now!!! http://www.flipkart.com/the-redeemers/p/itmdk2czmqhjz65y?pid=9789382473398&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=the+redeemers+&ref=f71deb48-b99e-4c23-9fc6-5fc8bd627b07

I thank the author for a review copy.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kolkata Book Fair 2013- an experience by Raviraj

I don't always bunk my college but this time I did, not that I wanted to hang-out with my friends in a luxury shopping mall or go for a random movie in a nearby theater. My purpose was different, the 37th Kolkata book fair was being held on the Milan Mela Grounds near Science City on E.M.Bypass and I couldn't miss my chance to visit it.

Though I haven't read any quality books other than The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, books always fascinated me. My friends always used to find me either in Crossword or at Starmark fiddling with books if at all we hanged out at City Centre or South City Mall, in the other sense books attracted me. Being the first year of my stay in Kolkata, how could I miss Asia's largest book fair?? I didn't and straight away bunked my college.

My bus stopped at a distance, it won't go any further, the crowd was such that the driver couldn't move his vehicle an inch and I had to get down 500Mts approx. away from the main spot. There was a barricade of bamboos directing the way to the book fair and on the left side were many vendors displaying some old second hand novels and many Bengali books, I didn't knew Bengali. The display continued till I stopped at the main entrance where there was a security check, it had to be, terrorist targeted crowded areas and this happened to be the highly attended book fair where the last years count went to 1.7 million people.

After clearing all the security checks, they checked my bag which was usually had my course books and Revolution 20-20, I made my way into the Book Fair. The view inside was breath-taking. People were moving inside like a swarm of bees, books were the honey of course. There were many ways leading to various stalls of which I picked one which lead me to a strange era, year an era I would call it. The arrangements there didn't look Indian, exploring inside I found a vast collection of Bengali books, brand new at the same time of different length, breadth and width. I looked around and found out that they were Bangladeshi Books. Few moments later I discovered that the Focal theme of this year's Kolkata Book Fair was BANGLADESH, all the books written by the Bangladeshi authors and books displaying their culture, heritage and history were available there. Shuffling, gazing and staring were one of many thing I did there with the unknown-to-me script of those Bangladeshi books.
Moving with the crowd, out of the Bangladeshi theme, I came across the stalls which had books by particular publishers like Tata McGraw Hill, Pan McMillan, Oxford, Penguin and many others of which I made my way into each and every stall keenly observing the neatly arranged books out in the display. The view inside was no less compared to a picturesque landscape, it was a panorama. The smell of those new books was intoxicating like they asked me to come explore them and live them. I was in a whole new sphere of knowledge, books all around me. I still have a vivid memory of the display, like it happened yesterday.

Not all stalls had books in them, there were stalls which promoted several brands like Pailan group which organised a competition to quote a tagline for their company. There were stalls displaying several hand made artifacts, some had gifts while other had both fast and street foods. I was an observer silently exploring the globe with naked eyes. After some two hours of time and a few km walk round the stalls, the Milan Mela Ground is a huge area, I came across a place where I saw three things, food food and food, branded food they were. The famous Ali-Baba biryani, french fries by McCain and much more. I didn't had a penny, only my eyes feasted on them, they got lucky.
A huge book fair taking place in a metro city without media's attraction, not possible. ABP Ananda, Telegraph, Hindustan Times and some other news papers and channels were covering the ongoing happenings in the Book Fair. On my way back, to the exit, I was shrugged by a gorgeous lady in yellow and behind him was a camera man holding his huge video camera trying to capture me with her. She then asked “May I ask you a few questions??” and I readily accepted. Her questions included, what I did, how was my experience here, and last but not the least did I buy any book to which I said “I wish I had enough to buy the whole but presently I don't have enough to buy one.” and walked away slowly out of the Book Fair.
 

This article has been written by :
Raviraj Ramavarapu was born and brought up in a small town of Jharkhand called Sahibganj. He is presently aa 1st year English Honours student studying under University of Calcutta and resides in Kolkata.He loves playing volleyball and listen to his favourite bands Linkin Park and Backstreet Boys. He loves to play xbox games, Assassins Creed series being his favourite. Reading novels and writing poems also adds up to his interest lists.