Book Review: Tulsi Badrinath’s “Madras,Chennai and the Self”

Just got done with Tulsi Badrinath’s “Madras,Chennai and the Self”. I’ve been taking so much more time than required to read a book, and I’d blame it on my sleep and work patterns. After reading 20 pages on an average during the week, and a good 80 pages today, here’s my review!
The book holds Accounts of people from different fields, of their memories and experiences with the city. The book covers some inspirational stories in terms of the individual’s before and after, and some exasperating tales of tradition vs. modernity and the dynamics of caste. 
I was disappointed with this book. Although some of the stories were motivating, I found the book not particularly gripping. And for someone outside Chennai, with no visual of the details of the streets and the city, I failed to capture and relate to the image that the Author was trying to portray. Having no connection to the city, the book for me was only a compilation of the experiences and lessons of individuals, which I believe was not the aim of the book. 

This book wasn’t for me, I’d rate this book a 2.5/5. 

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Book Review-Savi Sharma’s ‘This is Not your Story’

Hi guys! I am currently gulping down some watermelon attempting to rejuvenate my senses from this unbearable heat. I just finished reading ‘This is Not your Story’ by Savi Sharma, a sequel to her ‘Everyone has a Story’, and here’s my take on it!
I personally liked the book way better than the first one. It was wonderfully baroque, and I loved the characters. The plot was neat and I liked how it was laid out, with the characters giving their perspective to the incidents that had followed. 

The characters, Kasturi, Anubhav, Shaurya and Miraya held a charm of their own with characteristics so diverse, but bound by their broken pasts. They held each other and attempted to re-write their stories, knowing well by now that their future is in their hands and settling for a future half-heartedly would be unjust to their potential and dreams. This is a story of how each of them succeed in life and love, all from supporting and believing in one another. How fear is a bigger obstacle than the task itself, and how you’re half way there once you overcome your fear and board the journey to your dreams.

I would rate this book a 3.5 on 5! 
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review- Savi Sharma’s Everyone has a Story

Hi Everyone! So, clearly I’ve been having a lot of time on my hands lately. I just finished another book! It’s Savi Sharma’s Everyone Has a Story.Here’s my review. 

The story revolves around 4 characters, Nisha, Kabir, Vivaan and Meera. Meera, a budding story teller is in search of a tale that would move souls and have an impact on readers. She dreams about the time she would read her story to avid readers like herself, while attentively listening to the authors presenting their work in the cafe. Kabir an employee at the cafe and a friend of Meera is a source of motivation and encouragement for Meera’s dream. Nisha, a long-lost customer at the cafe, guarding her own dark secrets, ends up being one of her best friends. She finally comes across Vivaan, assistant bank manager of Citibank, igniting an idea for a plot. In her sessions at the Cafe, she attempts to decrypt Vivaan. Amidst these interactions, stories and events unfold, revealing information and struggles of each of the characters. As she pens her growing relation with Vivaan, she realizes that there are certain people who leave a mark on you, freeing you from the mental boundaries and encouraging you to grow and work persistently towards your goals. 
I wasn’t quite impressed with the storyline. I found the plot quite stretched out and there were elements that were amiss. Although there were attempts at humour, I found them weak. The philosophical aspect was nothing out of the ordinary. There will be some people that will bring out the best in you, and will make you do things that you may have never imagined. This wasn’t anything new, or untold. I’d hoped I would maybe grab something about life, love and friends that i’d never come across before. I found the story quite ordinary, but not completely disappointing. 
I’d rate the book a 2.5 on 5.
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda

Book Review-Nicholas Sparks’ Two by Two

It’s been terribly long. A month maybe? I got done with my papers around 10 days ago, and finally have time for some guilt-free binging on TV Shows and books. Anyone else re-watching FRIENDS for the third time? 
I just finished reading Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, two nights ago. Anyone who sits around me in class would’ve seen me clutching onto this book for over two months. I was just immersed in assignments or maybe it was a reader’s block. Anyway, I managed to get through and here is a book review! 
If you’re the kind that has no control over their tears, you’d better have a tissue box(es) close by or make a strategic choice for your reading spot. I don’t usually cry, but this book had me holding back tears. Although Sparks is all about Romance, this book was more than that. It revolves around the bond between the protagonist Russel, with Marge, his sister; London, his daughter; Vivian, his ex-wife and Emily, his re-kindled love and the roles they play as Russel goes through life’s challenges. It was beautifully written with every page leaving you fixated on the story. The book was centered around the father-daughter relation, decrypting the soft corner for his daughter in his sturdy exteriors. And how London, his six year old was the primary reason he kept going through the abyss of chaos and confusion. 

I personally loved the manner the book touches on the relation between an elder sister and her brother and how it was portrayed. Amidst all the taunting and fights, there lies an unbreakable bond. 
This book was a gift from a friend, and I am so thankful for it! Thank you so much Yazad!
I would rate the book a 4.5 on 5 and definitely recommend this to anyone ready for an emotional rollercoaster. 

Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review: “Colorful Notions”, Mohit Goyal

Currently basking in my laziness on my bed. It’s 11.43 am. Don’t get me wrong, I am a morning person. I wake up at 6 am everyday, weekends included. But this is what happens when everyone’s gone back home for Holi and you decide to stay back and are now bored out of your mind. Having completed my morning checklist, and in a desperate attempt to do something productive, I realized how I’ve slacked here. So, here I am with a book review! 

Colorful Notions by Mohit Goyal. Three Youngsters on a mission to cover the territory of India by road. And quite obviously things weren’t hunky-dory during the trip, or the book wouldn’t have been half as good. 

The characters have distinct personalities, each with a charm of their  own. Their choice of destinations provides them with an experience like no other. From being fear-stricken before tigers in Jim Corbett and haunted forts to attending rave parties in Goa and being robbed of all valuables including their ride home , they’ve done it all! A particular favorite of mine was the Biriyani Challenge in Hyderabad, since I could totally see myself doing it. It naturally got me feeling hungry and decided my lunch for today. Hopefully, the Biriyani from Moti Mahal satiates my hunger.

As the journey goes, we see relationships put to test. There are plots wherein life’s guilty pleasures take over rational minds to destroy the purest of relationships. How it’s important to understand that no one has it all. Their meeting with Dalai Lama’s pupils teaches us how gratitude and fresh perspective towards life makes battling issues so much simpler. 

The story ends on a beautiful note, with the characters attaining contentment, relationships being renewed  and embarking on yet another beautiful adventure of life. This time with clear purposes and a de-cluttered soul. 

A great read. 

Rating- 3

A very happy Holi to all! 

Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda 

Board Games

Sonepat Weather needs to get it together.
The months of February and March give the chills to almost every student in India, with the winters not to blame.
I’d given my Boards not so long ago. One of the most nerve wrenching periods of my life so far. You start measuring time in terms of chapters. Attending events, become contingent on the completion of certain number of numericals or chapters.
Your sleep cycle goes for a toss.
I’ve been through it all. And since the boards are right around the corner, I thought I’d do my part and help  out.
1. BREATHE- It’s completely alright to have anxiety, or nightmares of failing math. I’ve been there. The key is handling the stress and not letting it get to you.
2. BE CONSISTENT- Cramming the night before is a NO. It’s too important an exam to pull this off. Creating a Timetable definitely helps!
3. BOARD QUESTION PAPERS OF PAST TEN YEARS- I cannot stress enough on this point. It has helped me immensely in understanding the pattern of the papers and managing time.
4. TAKE BREAKS- We’re all well too aware with this point. Make sure to have a *reasonable* time off to flop onto your couch and spend time with non-academic beings.
5. GUIDES/ REFERENCE BOOKS- I would definitely recommend being thorough with your Text Materials before you begin solving advanced problems. The question formats are almost always from the Textbooks. Only after you’re done solving your textbook problems and if you have time on your hands should you move onto advanced materials.They may stress you out unnecessarily, however, if you’re working on clearing Competitive Exams, I wouldn’t stop you from attempting them.
6. Remember,this sheet of paper *will* not ruin/make your future.The Exam is only a stepping stone into your desired field. But getting the job you love, and living the life you’ve dreamt of, is a journey, in which the boards will play merely a marginal role.
You are so much more than your marks. 
You got this! 

All the best!

Lots and lots of love,
themysticalpanda

Book Review- Sudha Murty’s, “Wise and Otherwise”

Currently in my dorm room, all cozy under my blanket and my pair of socks with the hot dogs on them. I can’t wait for summers, the Sonepat winters are getting to me.

I’ve always wanted to read a book by Sudha Murty. We had one of her stories as an academic reading back in 10th grade, and I remember it being one of my favorites.

Sudha Murty’s ‘Wise and Otherwise’ is a collection of short stories, depicting instances from her life that left behind a message. A message so strong, she believed it was worth recollecting and penning it down. And it truly was.

Each story teaches you a lesson, lays down the bitter truth of life, and leaves you at a loss for words. There are stories that have touched my heart and others that angered me. I was saddened that I couldn’t brush some of it off as fictitious.

The world isn’t in the textbooks. You can only learn by experiences. And then can you be wise. Then can you tackle the unpleasantness. Then can you live.The book doesn’t provide anything new or eye-opening. We can all relate to the instances and are well aware of the negativity people have developed. But we’ve accepted it to be a phase and have chosen to flow with it. And that’s where the issue lies. We cannot be passive for long. It’s imperative that we take steps, small it may be, but towards positivity and happiness for all. And that’s exactly what the book screams.

 

 

Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda