Monday, October 24

Book Review : Agniputr by Vadhan

Even before I start reviewing, take a look at this book trailer. 

Wow! When did they launch this? Makes me want to read the book all over again... AND wait with fingers crossed for a movie being made basis this alluring introduction!

Bloomsbury books sent me a copy of this engaging novel a few weeks ago, and it is only in the past week that I could finally get started with reading it. Once I started, it was a challenge to put the book down, and I kept waiting to get back to the pages any free moment I got. My rating for this one: 4.5 on 5. 

So what's the book about? Well, quantum physics for one, that I can make neither head nor tail of, and maybe that snatched the half star away from the rating. But it also describes and connects some engrossing characters that lend their heart to the story and manage to steal the reader's in turn. 

The start is marvellous and midway, the book picks up amazing pace. In the 1940s, something evil called the Sutram is created and it is desired by a tantrik with an even more evil heart to become the master of the universe. There is a conspiracy and betrayal in the Surya family which leads to the death of one loved Surya who before he breathes his last, manages to limit the power of the Sutram. Over the years, the Sutram is contained in a hall, deep under the ground, but it destroys all that comes on its surface. Not surprisingly then, the perilous hall is proclaimed out of bounds for all villagers and others.

Time passes, and the Sutram is gathering more energy. Soon it will reveal itself and destroy the universe. It is ripe to be harnessed. By who? The same tantrik who was biding his time. He uses some political pawns and devotees as his means to the end, but he is not prepared to be thwarted by Raghuram Surya, lawyer and heir of the Surya family and his companion Sheila, a quantum physicist. How Poti, SRK, Pichi Rathaya, Kant, P. Eshwar, SRK and Valaneni play their parts is an interesting read. What is even more thrilling, are the horror scenes, where bodies are strung and suspended in mid air, a precursor of the fate of Gudem.

I, in particular, loved Raghu for his intelligence, humor and confidence. His philandering ways also lend charm to his ultimate affection for Sheila, who has a past and personality of her own. Poti's fierce loyalty and Tirupati Balaji's presence won't fail to impress you and the steady build up of excitement will ooze out of the pages. Once the discussion on atoms and quarks starts, I found myself a little lost and impatient to move on, but it will be entertaining for a sci-fi geek, I presume. Full points to the author for trying something different, but not my cup of tea. This, thankfully, did not mar my experience of the climax which was a tad predictable, yet memorable. I would have preferred the end either to be slightly different and not as benevolent as it is, or maybe more utopian than possible. 

The words come to life and the characters stay etched on your mind, and that's the true victory of this book. The style, vocabulary and plots are above par, and in my opinion, this book is way more enticing for the audiences than Ashwin Sanghi's creations, on the same lines as Amish and Vish Dhamija. Such a heartening feeling, to see Indian writers making their way up the literary ladder. 

Kudos, Vadhan and Bloomsbury. Thank you for this gift and experience. 

Grab your copy :-) 


Thursday, October 13

Two Month Update... and Apologies

Absolutely abominable. From once a month, I've dipped to a new low of not having written to you fellas in over 2 months. Apologies. Sincere ones. 

It's been a crazy time. I guess God wanted me to feel not-so-listless anymore (!) akin what I said in my last post.  

So, what have I been up to?!! Loads. 

I'm now a certified Fierce facilitator, and there are less than 20 of them in India alone. Fierce Conversations is a book, philosophy and tool by Susan Scott which talks about how can make our lives, careers, relationships more fruitful and enriching by engaging in meaningful conversations with people about topics that need to be spoken about. What's more, I am going to be training all the leads in Hitachi Consulting India on this wonderful program so that they can make the organization more powerful and the culture more rewarding. Targets are huge, and the payoff is going to be phenomenal. 

But what is also exciting, is that I was sent to London for the training and I had a great week working and another lovely one roaming around the magical city. With no set agenda, I went around the streets and experienced the grandeur of the Land of Harry Potter. Be it the Buckingham Palace, or the Big Ben, right from the ArcelorMittal Orbit to Old Spitalfields and Covent Garden. My office is bang opposite the Tower of London, and I whizzed around on the tube from Moorgate to Greenwich to Knightsbridge. I ate duck and pigeon at the Canteen in Royal Festival Hall, and I loved the Victorian Sponge and Jude ice creams in salted caramel and chocolate flavors. I purchased at Primark and M&S when I roamed Trafalgar Square and I enjoyed the bustle at Camden Market where I dug hungrily into Poppies' Fish and Chips. The Thames was a delight rendered prettier by the opening of the Tower Bridge. My lifelong dream came true when I visited Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross, and I was thrilled to see I was not the only one (or the oldest one) nuts about Pottermania. It was truly a trip to treasure. 

And yet, I missed home. 

I have always been a little envious of my friends and colleagues who went abroad and chose to settle there, now having been there for all of 2 weeks, I think India is home and I am happy to be back. As much as I love traveling, my wanderlust does not permit me to move bag and baggage to another land. My husband is ecstatic about this discovery!

Life otherwise has been super packed, too. Be it reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the plane, and now moving on to Vadhan's Agniputr. Both of which are stupendous. Or movies that I and the hubby watched full throttle: Dhoni, Pink and Tutak Tutak Tutiya. All of which were not bad. Dhoni was the most paisa vasool, great acting and inspirational story. Pink is overrated, same old plot in a new package with Big B to sell it to you, open letters and all fakeness included. TTT was something that we just bumped into, since we had a free night without the bub. Time pass film with lots of humor and not too much brain. The only disappointment was Chang's, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Viman Nagar, that seems to have hit rock bottom in terms of flavor, service as well as cost. 

Aarush is growing up into an amazing rockstar, what with his nonstop chatter and action. It is rare to see that boy sit or sleep, and his cheerful smile and soothing voice allure the young and old alike. The kid's got vocabulary, affection and intelligence that could shame some adults I know, and it's a pleasure to be his mom, even if I occasionally find myself getting really livid with the tiny monster.

Personally and professionally, life has become quite stable and fulfilling. The calm after so many endless storms. Thank Heavens it's time to sit and relax for a while. I wish I could dedicate some more time to writing, though. I am getting stuck in the mundane even as my heart yearns to publish at least one book in my lifetime.

Let's see when that will happen....

Until then, 



Friday, July 29

Listless and a Poem For Pop n Maa

I am getting old. 

Birthdays don't excite me anymore. 

Of course, I'm getting old. Crossed 30 last year. 

(Hell, that's still a lot younger than how I feel inside.)

(At least at the moment.)

When one imagines oneself, age ceases to matter and you only look at your past and future without serious consideration regarding the chronological details. 

However, my current (longstanding) circumstances and stress make me feel like a crappy, scraggy old hag who feels meh about everything and excited about (almost) nothing. 

Like the Annual Award I bagged in office for all my contributions throughout the year. Like my son's second birthday that we plan to celebrate with pomp and ceremony this November. Like watching movies, reading, travelling and book writing which have been my childhood passions and ambitions. 

I just don't have the fire.

Amazing how someone or some situation can completely suck the life out of you.

Strike that. 

It's not amazing.

It sucks.

Real bad. 

When I used to fantasize about my life, it was quite like the things people post on Facebook - all happy, hunky dory stuff which makes others (mostly) envious and (some) joyous. Ironically, my timeline of memories looks more lively than my recent updates. 

I know people say that all those FB posts are hogwash and it's just attention seeking behaviour. Well, what can I say. They succeed!

I know folks say you ought to count your blessings. I am a stupid woman who does not understand that maxim. 

I know the Gita says you should do your karma without expecting any return. I am not that pious or generous.

I feel out of place and forced to behave normal on days when I am low. Is this what's called depression? 

I am doing very well at work, this is probably the best phase of my career, but I just want to take a sabbatical. I don't want to interact with anyone. I don't want to be alone. I don't want to think about the next meal or the next salary. I want to do all I can for my family. I want to make them happy. I don't care what anyone says about me. I want to fight for my rights. I want to not bother about anything or anyone.  

I used to be full of spunk and energy. I used to always have a plan and a big smile on my face. 

I am getting old. It's now a task to gather myself and do some things that excited me before.

Yes, I am reading - finished the 3 trilogy by Shobha Nihalani. Going on to The Girl with All the Gifts. Got a few more tucked into my to-read shelf. Trying to blog when I can. Came to know that Roadies X4 has begun so catching up with that. Been partying with the friends and colleagues at Bar Stock Exchange, Fly High, Cuba Libre. Watched Sultan and found it boring. Hate India and Indians for letting Salman go scott-free....

But end of the day. Duh. Listless. Lonely. Tired of it all.

But my parents... Damn! They're a different, unique breed. So energetic and enthusiastic about life though they are twice(+) my age!

Here's a little something for them. Coz they're awesome!


Dear Mom and Pop, Abba and Ammi,

Been a while since I wrote to you,
My anger more tangible and frequent than my affection;
My actions and thoughts receive your support,
Even when they deserve beration.

As I look back at all that you’ve done for me,
And I look forth at your unconditional love;
I realize that whatever I say or do for you,
Could hardly be enough.

The annoyance comes and goes,
As people we’re poles apart;
And yet I know that I will always,
Adore you from my heart.

So blessed to have a relation,
So profound and not sham;
Coz I thank you for being who you are,
And I applaud you for making me who I am.


“The most beautiful feeling in the world is to see your parents smiling, and knowing that you are the reason behind that smile.” I wish I could give them more reasons and less hurt.

No matter how badly I fell or failed, they have always been there to pick me up and boost my confidence. They have always treated me like a winner, and that is the reason for all my achievements in life. 

Papa, Mummy, Abba, Ammi - Thank you for always forgiving me, accepting me and encouraging me with your words and actions. Raising Aarush is teaching me how much you love me, and he is more fortunate than I am to have outstanding grandparents like you. Thank you for being the best parents and grandparents in the world. I love you.

Forever indebted,



Cheerio Guys!

Thursday, June 9

Namma Bengaluru

Hi Buds, 

Writing in from Bangalore. 

Feeling Aarush-sick. 

I last saw him on Sunday when I left him at his Naani's since I would be travelling on business. The first two days are always okay as I revel in my freedom, eat and do what I please and sleep like a log. Third days are tough and the following are pure torture. I watch all those baby videos on Facebook and feel dismal. When I hear him coo-cooing in the background as I speak to mom, I can hardly hold back tears. Can't wait to be back home, hug and cuddle and kiss him all over. My little baby. Being a working mother has it's share of sacrifices and compromises. 

Bangalore is pleasant with rains and a packed agenda. Good to meet my colleagues and hit the party joints once again after October last year. Last night at Watson's was pretty nice, and tonight shall be another adventure I suppose. Will probably take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool this evening after work before I head to the hangouts. 

While I still have to finish the last few pages of Nine's sequel, I have started reading The Girl with All the Gifts. A stunning start, and I'm super curious to know where the story is heading and what the clandestine context is. More on that as I delve deeper.

Meanwhile, you may congratulate yours truly for a salary hike and title change: I am now Location Lead for Pune and Bangalore at Hitachi Consulting. While I was doing the job anyway, this title is more suitable and reflective of my span of control. 

So hurray, and take care!



Monday, May 30

And thus ends May...

Almost a month since my last post, time to say Aloha June!

Time's a-flying. Like someone once said, "the hours don't pass, but god knows where the months and years went" - okay, that's not exactly what he/she said, but this was the interpretation. More like "lamhe katt-te nahi, saal beet jaate hai".

Work's catching up pace and I'm making up for all the lost and compromised time during my maternity leave and baby-raising tenure. Getting ahead at work is a task in a corporate world where people are forgotten the moment you don't connect with them regularly or do something to catch their attention. I've managed to do that and more, and my rating is proof of my effort. Feeling damn kicked about it, and want to do even better this year for my wonderful employer. I am blessed to be with Hitachi Consulting, and I pretty much plan to stick on unless something really extraordinary comes around. The kind of flexibility and support they've allowed me while taking care of Aarush and my personal issues has been nothing short of benevolent, and I better make myself worth it for them. And I am! Go ask my manager and colleagues. Have been able to make a positive difference to colleagues and teams; feels good! Bring it on :-) 

Aarush is naughtier than yesterday but not as naughty as he shall be tomorrow, so I don't know whether that's good news or bad. But, I'm drained at the end of every day and I wish I had a few more hands to do all the things that I want to do. Joint family seems like such a good option at times, until I remember all the cons that go with it, and thank my stars for being a nuclear one. No such thing as a free lunch, eh. 

I shall be traveling to Bangalore soon again this month, after my delightful pleasure-cum-work escapade in October last year. Bangalore is a wonderful city to live and party in, if you got the right company. Wondering what this trip has in store apart from loads of meetings and training sessions....

I've been to quite a few new (for me) joints in Koregaon Park courtesy a couple of girl friends who are active on the social and hangout scene. Some names are Savya Rasa (serves amazing South Indian fare, yeah yeah, I screwed my nose too when I heard that but the food is lip-smacking and worth returning!), Bar & Eatery (your regular eat and drink joint which has tasty Chicken Steak and Mash), Jimmy Hu (was better earlier than it is now), Forrente (overpriced, bad menu and worse service). 

Haven't watched any movies apart from Jungle book that I thoroughly enjoyed, and which Aarush allowed me to see calmly till the interval. I'm sure he'd have been morre cooperative had the film been 2D but well... It brought back memories from childhood, a time so delightful and free, unlike the chaos that we all live in now as helpless, overwhelmed adults.

Books - yeah, that's been the highlight for sure. I've been ordering them by the truckloads from Amazon, and also went shopping in a REAL bookstore with my uncle' felt just like old times! So, I've read the first part of Shobha Nihalani's Nine - Revenge of the Kalingan, and I was so enamored that I am now on the sequel. I finished Jef Arch's Cometh the Hour, again a fantastic book in the Clifton Chronicles (although I've lost the plot and details of the prequels). What's exciting is that I still have many books left unread on my shelf, and lack of material to read is not a challenge that I shall face anytime soon. Cheers to that!

What's on the cards next? Well, salary first of all, which comes in tomorrow :-D

And then as I said Bangalore, before I take off for my anniversary vacation to Goa mid-June. I haven't been there for a long time, and I'm really looking forward to spending some kid-free time with my husband. Marriage is probably the one relationship that we all take for granted a few years after tying the knot, and one way to keep it alive is to create twice (or more) the number of happy memories as the unpleasant ones.    

And then, there's work and more work. And Aarush and more Aarush.

Hope you'all doing well my dear readers!

See you sooner :-)