[Book review] Book #13 : Can love happen twice? ( Audio book )

Part of The 52 project.

About The 52 project

The 52 project is an attempt by me to read 52 books in a year.( i.e. in 52 weeks.) It started from last Diwali and would end by next Diwali. 

IMP : for Naveen - Do not read this post, if you are planning to read the book. You have been warned. :)

Book review

Can love happen twice ? by Ravinder Singh

This is the second audio book and possibly the last under this project. The book is a sequel to the first book "I too had a love story...". Ravinder Singh, the author, says that this book is the story of today's youth and generation.

The story goes about what happens in Ravin's life after Khushi goes. He falls in love again. But then differences creep up. And he struggles to keep it going. What happens this time forms the crux of the novel.

A good attempt by the author but I have to say that, it is in no way even close to what the first book was. May be that is because, his first book was a real life incident. Something he went through personally. So, words flowed from his heart to the paper. But the second time, he had to give thought and imagination to the plot. And that difference, I think, shows.

Audio book, again read by Shwetanshu Bora and Sonal Joshi. Thankfully, they used a female voice for Simar's ( female protagonist ) part. Overall, it is worth the money that you pay for. But don't keep your expectations very high and you won't be disappointed.

Final verdict : 3/5.
A good one time read. But not as good as I too had a love story.

My take on the subject

Regardless of the conclusion the book comes to, I felt it was imperative for me to voice my opinion on the question the book asks, before I end my review.

Can love happen twice ? Of course, yes ! And there is no one who stops us from doing it except ourselves. Giving up on life just because things didn't work out, is something I will never agree to. It is easy to stop trying and give excuses why we can't. I for one, believe in the abundance of everything good in this world and life, with ourselves being the only limit to it. And that includes love.

As a famous saying vaguely goes, " Don't give me this stupid view that nothing good happens to me, God has left this world, there is no goodness left in this world and all that. If God had left this world, babies wouldn't be born. " :)

So, keep living and keep rocking !

[Book review] Book #12 : Inside Apple

Part of The 52 project.

About The 52 project

The 52 project is an attempt by me to read 52 books in a year.( i.e. in 52 weeks.) It started from last Diwali and would end by next Diwali.

Book review

Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky

Another Apple book, you would think. Yes, I would say. Third in the last 12 books I've read so far. But, this one is not really about Steve Jobs, though we can't talk a lot about Apple without him. But still, it's more about Apple and how it works than about Steve. Trying to answer questions like - What makes it shell out one blockbuster product after another ? What makes people go crazy about it ?

This book talks to some extent ( though no ground-breaking stuff ! ) about what really happens inside the world's biggest company. ( $603 billion currently. More than HP, Google and Microsoft together. ). To imagine that this was a company which had only 90 days of cash left before going bankrupt back in 1995, is something that seems to be a page out of a fairytale.

The book also talks about other finer things like, how Apple focuses only on a few things at a time and obsesses over user experience rather than revenue optimization.

For a fanboy like me who follow Apple almost religiously, this book doesn't really tell anything new. It just seems like a clever trick to encash over the growing curiosity over Apple's magical rise in the last few years. For others, who have not read much about Apple, this is something that can give you an insight.

The author has written it well, consolidating mostly publicly available information into well organized chapters. But paying 500 bucks for it, well as they say in good marketing way - "Use your best judgement." :)

Final verdict : 3.5/5.
Overall, worth a read for most but a skip advised for Apple fanboys.

[Book review] Book #11 : Ready for take off

Part of The 52 project.

About The 52 project

The 52 project is an attempt by me to read 52 books in a year.( i.e. in 52 weeks.) It started from last Diwali and would end by next Diwali.

Book review

Ready for take off by Sachit Jain.

Ready for take off, is a book about a fictional character, Anurag Sharma - an IIMA alumnus and a hot-shot investment banker suddenly given the responsibility of heading a sick Ajanta Special Steel. He has no clue about manufacturing or steel plants. The story goes about how he tries to get things in order and bring the company back to profit, with help/advice from his close friend Manu and wife Alpana.

The book is somewhere between a good story and a book trying to teach you management lessons. And there by, not doing any justice to both of them.

The author, Sachit Jain, is an IIT Delhi and IIMA ( gold medallist ) alumnus. Well whatever his credentials, one thing is for sure, he is not good at keeping a reader engrossed. His intentions of intertwining fiction and management lessons is a good idea but he fails to execute it well.

He talks about some really powerful techniques in management & leadership. Like delegating work to sub-ordinates, improving the ownership quotient in employees, 5S technique, Finding NVAs( Non-value adds ), making yourself/deparment and company ETDBW ( Easy To Do Business With. :| NHSCAG !! - Now, How Stupid Can Acronyms Get !! Uff these management jargons. They follow just one thing - If you can't explain, complicate. )

Then there is TWA ( Thoughts, Words and Action ). I don't know when will these management guys stop producing acronyms for everything under the sun, but all of the above terms and techniques are extremely simple to understand yet very powerful. I'll probably write another blogpost on it some other time, if you guys are interested in knowing more about them. Let me know.

Anyways, coming back to the book review, I would say, if it was not for these new terms and fundas, this book would have got a 0 or may be 1/5 rating. Poor and novice writing combined with too idealistic lessons teaching.

Final verdict : 2.5/5. You won't miss much if you skip this one.

Chase your dreams ! Dreams do come true !

Sachin after his 100th 100... :)

Rameez Raja      : " A child who is watching Sachin Tendulkar, who wants to be a Sachin Tendulkar, what message do you have for that little kid ? "

Sachin Tendulkar : " Enjoy your game and chase your dreams. I think dreams do come true. I had to wait for one for 22 years. We won the World Cup after 22 years of international cricket. So, dreams do come true. So, don't stop chasing your dreams. "

Keep living ! Keep rocking ! :)

Life. Planning.

Posted under the series Life.

About Life. series

Life. is a series of posts where I try to form the fundamental tenets, based on which I would like to live my life. 
We all evolve. And as we carry on with our lives, we all form our own perspective of things around us and about life in itself. We decide on few basic characteristics, that should define how we act, react and work. And thus define ourselves. This is my attempt at the same. Just that I am also being vocal about it.

I don't know if it is going to help you guys in anyway or not, but I will be very glad if it turns out to be of any help to even one of you. And that is my purpose of sharing it.

Planning and the rest.

This topic used to always intrigued me, confused me and made me feel helpless at times. I am not talking about Financial planning here but career and life planning.

You know the question that you get asked in many interviews, casual conversations and even by many elders.

The " Toh, Kya socha hai apni life ke baare me?" stuff by your parents and elders. The "So, What are your plans?" by friends and your age group people. And the "Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?" and et al. by interviewers.

Remember those awkward moments, of not looking into their eyes, trying to quickly search for a good answer and trying to sound mature ? :)

Now, I've also tried to find a decent answer to this for the last 10 years ( or more may be. ), but the answer and my life has changed so drastically in this time span that I realized I can never be 100% sure what I will be or even want to be 10 years from now. Because I don't know what subject/work will keep me interested 10-20 years from now. 

Imagine this, IT was not a cool thing in India 20 years back. I am sure many who are big shots in IT industry today, had planned for something else back then.

So the truth is, life brings to us so many such things totally unplanned that while you may be planning a career in IT, life has already decided a big break for you in a completely different, never-thought-of path, in say 6 months from now.


So doesn't planning for life defeat the purpose? Isn't it too far-fetched to plan something, for say 10 years, when you don't even know whether you'll be alive for so long in the first place? Let's shed all assumptions and think again from scratch.

Why do we ask this question? Well, to know where we are heading. To get a sense of direction. Right? Yes. So, if that is the point, do we need to be sure about what we want every time? I mean why can't life be a bit ambiguous? Why can't there be surprises? Why are we scared of just focusing on the present or immediate future at most, and leave the rest?

Based on the track record most of us have, when we look behind by say some 10-15 years, we know that it never ever works the way we plan it. And I don't buy the argument that it is NOT going to be the same in future too. Life will always be uncertain. And isn't that the fun part ? We don't know what's gonna come next. :)

As far as financial planning is concerned, yes, it is of utmost importance. And you must plan for a very long time, if possible, your entire life. I am talking of everything else here.

Let get back to the basics, again. What is the problem if we don't plan ? Well, we will not have a direction. Correct ? Yes. Ok, so planning is essential. So, what if I plan only for a year or two or max three. That should reasonably take care of things I am going to do in immediate future. That should take care of having a sense of direction. And it should also give me something to work on an immediate basis.

For the rest of the life, well isn't a simple wishlist enough? That I want to do all this and this and this. And I don't mean career wishlist here but more of a bucket list. Things that I would "like" to do before I die.

How about that? Doesn't it solve most problems and yet not sound too unrealistic?

Well, I leave that to you. For me, any planning (except financial) for more than 2-3 years is a waste of time. We should rather spend time focusing and improving our present.

Let me know your views. Until next time, keep living and keep rocking !

[Book review] Book #10 : I too had a love story... (Audio book)

Part of The 52 project.

About The 52 project

The 52 project is an attempt by me to read 52 books in a year.( i.e. in 52 weeks.) It started from last Diwali and would end by next Diwali.

Book review

I too had a love story... by Ravinder Singh

Well, I decided to try out an audio book this time and I found this one ( and one more by the same author) from flipkart.

I was initially a little skeptical about buying this book because of two reasons :

1. There haven't been many good audio books out there in the market. An audio book of My experiments with truth was the first for me and although it was pretty ok-types, I wasn't very impressed with it.

On top of it, this one was from an unheard of, publisher.

2. I didn't know for sure that the book was good or not. Although the reviews were overwhelmingly in favor of it. They were mostly from people whose reading experience was limited to either, Chetan Bhagat novels or Tinkle when they were kids. Not that I am a great reader or something OR that reading Chetan Bhagat is a joke ( that's a personal choice anyway & I liked his books too.). 

But I feel, one cannot rely on such reviews just because of the fact that the reviewer has not read enough range of books to give a good judgement.

But anyway, as you see, I decided to take the risk. And it paid off. I was not disappointed. I really like these novice Indian author books may be because of the lucidity of the language, or the general informal nature of writing, or maybe even because I connect more to it, it feels more near and real. I don't know but it feels good to pick them up once in a while.

Ok, enough crap. Let's get to the review :

What touched me more was that this book was a true story, written by Ravinder Singh after his girlfriend died in a car crash. He wanted to vent out his feelings and let the whole world know about it. And hence the book.

This background and the favorable reviews is what goaded me to try it out. The characters are the same as (I believe) in real life. Ravinder a.k.a Ravin plays the protagonist. He falls in love with a girl, Khushi whom he meets through an online marriage portal. Their love grows and they decide to get married. But a car crash just 5 days before their engagement lands the girl into ICU.

After a few days of fighting for her life, she loses the fight and dies. Ravin, heartbroken and unable to move on, decides to write this book.

A nice candid, heart-touching story.

The audiobook is not bad either. A Bangalore based theater actor, Shwetanshu Bora is the voice behind. Only minus point of this reading was that Khushi's part was also read by him. I felt it should have been read by a female voice. It would have created a greater impact.

Final verdict : 3.5/5

You'll kind of like it, if you like love stories or if you like these new Indian author books. Try it out, it costs even less than what you pay for a morning show movie.

Note : The end is very emotional, and it makes you get into deep thought. 

Vilifying a foe...

[A piece written in Amitabh Bachchan's blog today. I felt it is worth sharing. Something good to ponder on...]

“I would like to tell you a martial story, perhaps I already have, that will amaze you. It is of Pergamon, an Ancient Greek civilization that existed on the shores of present-day Turkey. This story is known because of a war memorial they left behind. It was to celebrate a victory over invading Celts, and they erected this monument at the very center of their great city, before the temple to their gods. It consisted of a series of bronze figures, struggling against their mortal wounds, their accoutrement of war still in hand. They were beautiful, noble and defiant until their dying end. These figures of war, these warriors, were given the ultimate prize, immortalized in sculpture for the ages, to be held up above the citizenry in remembrance of their greatness.”
“But here is the rub; here is what startles: these great warriors are depictions of the Celts, their enemy in battle, over whom the Pergamenes were soundly victorious.”

“Think upon it, it is extraordinary. These people of Pergamon immortalized their enemy in noble memorial. These people were strong enough, confident enough in their own culture, to remember their own victorious dead by saying, “Our enemy was great and noble and died with dignity. In our victory over them, so we are all the greater, all the nobler, all the more dignified.”

“To vilify one’s foe is to fear them: it ultimately dehumanizes both parties equally. True victory over one’s enemy is to conquer such fear. Fear and wrath: they blind; they betray good judgment; they poison the noble spirit. Pergamon did not make monsters of their enemy to defeat them: these were a people strong enough to acknowledge the dignity and humanity of their sworn foe despite war and death, for they knew that to make monsters of the enemy is to become monstrous oneself. Their victory was all the greater.” 

“The measure of true greatness of an individual, as much as of a country, is to understand this truth. Against such greatness, no adversary can ever win out, no other civilization can overcome such a fatal embrace.”

Awesome read na ! :)

Keep living and keep rocking !

Reading does liberate the mind...

An excellent shot by a fellow blogger and photographer, Joshi Daniel. I couldn't help but agree with him. All the more, because I am experiencing the same during the 52 project.

Image courtesy : Joshi Daniel. Check his post here.

He has some super cool shots in his photoblog. Do check it out when you get time.

Keep living and keep rocking !

[Book review] Book #9 : Train to Pakistan

Part of The 52 project.

About The 52 project

The 52 project is an attempt by me to read 52 books in a year.( i.e. in 52 weeks.) It started from last Diwali and would end by next Diwali.

Book review

Train to Pakistan by Khuswant Singh

It is 1947. The year when India and Pakistan had its "tryst with destiny". And so did 10 million or so people, when the largest ever migration in human history happened, albeit a tragic one.

This book is a story set in that era. The story is of a village named Mano Majra, very near to soon-to-be Pakistan, where Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully.

It had a railway station which was more of a transit stop for goods trains but was also the last station before the train passed on to would-be-Pakistan. Things take a sad turn when a train full of dead bodies arrives at the railway station.

Khuswant Singh, unlike his later novels, has not filled this one with erotic scenes and sex but has rather thankfully, relied on a better story. He writing is impressive and hooks you into the book.

This book is anyway considered a classic, with a movie already adapted from it. So, you can't really expect anything less from it. Overall, a good read with an interesting ending.

Final verdict : 3.5/5

It is definitely worth the money we pay. So, read it when you are in search of a good weekend read.

Until next time, keep living and keep rocking !

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