The Bogus Read: A Book Review

Author: Divyamaan

Book Blurb:

In a galaxy far, far away from Earth there were two countries. India and Pakistan. Both countries somehow remained in a perennial state of conflict since their independence. After getting its shameless ass kicked thrice by India, Pakistan has now come up with the ultimate conspiracy – attack the minds of the Indian masses and capture the nation. In a partially successful attempt, it captures some portion of India. The Indian Government, led by its highly patriotic PM, Narendar Mody and His Royal Highness, Arnub Gooswamy, takes charge of the situation and comes up with a master plan of defeating Pakistan, using some of India’s most potent weapons – corruption, political-hooliganism and annoying celebrities. They are supported by five engineering students who, inspite of their otherwise mundane lives, get embroiled in the mess. They set themselves on a perilous journey only to discover how deep the whole conspiracy is and how dangerous are the brains behind it. Will they succeed in revealing the conspiracy to the Army? Will the lost territories be recaptured by India? To find out read ‘The Bogus Read’, an illogically-logical take on Indian politics, mainstream media, cinema and the television industry.

My Review:

This is a one of a kind book, especially for those who have pretty sarcastic humor. The book basically mocks the current political scenario as well as the status of media.

The author is a contributor with the unreal times, and his book is an extension of that brilliant humor. The book basically has two parallel story lines. On one hand we have the Indian Army who are caught in unaware when a leading newspaper (after pages of advertisements) lets them know that Pakistani Army has started coming in the Indian territory. On the other hand, we have a group of five engineering students who have been so focused on their counter strike tournament that they did not notice how their fellow students have aligned their lives with the timings of the Saas Bahu drama.

The author has a way with words and the easy way in which he narrates the dilemma of the students as well as the army personnel is how to deal with this sudden interest of people in taking selfies and watching saas bahu saagas? Is there some big conspiracy behind this?

Parts of the book make you laugh out loud, while others make you reflect on where is this society heading.

This is truly a one of a kind book.

BUY THIS BOOK

 

Retirement Planning: A Book Review

A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR INDIVIDUALS

Author: R.K. Mohapatra

RETIREMENT PLANNING-A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR INDIVIDUALS

Book Blurb:

The book, “Retirement Planning- A Simple Guide For Individuals” is meant to enlighten readers especially the middle class on how to invest, instruments in which to invest, and where to get started.

This book enables you take meaningful decision for your future retirement, whether you are at thirty or fifty. This book guides you to develop an attitude and aptitude for investment of your retirement and other financial goals. This book also enables you to grab the best opportunities in this volatile market rather than just investing in the conventional instruments. It also assists you on focusing goals one by one by utilizing the best possible alternative investment avenues in the market.

My Review:

Retirement Planning by R. K. Mohapata is a book for all those who wish to live a financially secure life. The book provides in depth information as to how to plan and invest in order to achieve your financial goals.

The book details the pros and the cons of various options in which you can invest, along with that the book also provides details on inflation as well as interest rates, so that while planning for our future today, we can keep in mind the changes in the currency and keep a realistic amount in mind.

This book would be extremely useful for those from non financial background. The author has taken pains to explain even the most basic concepts so at no time would you be at a loss to understand what the author is trying to say.

Each investment option is explained in separate sections so you get in depth knowledge of the options that are available to you.

If you are at a loss in the financial sea, and are looking for a way to enhance your knowledge as well as get an idea on how to plan for your retirement, this is a must have.

I am currently running a giveaway for this book, click here to view the video review as well as get the details of how you can get a copy for yourself.

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Saving Options for your retirement funds: A Guest Post by R. K. Mohapatra, the author of “Retirement Planning”

Saving Options…

For Your Retirement Fund

The growing financial pressure on retirement system worldwide is forcing individuals to change the way he or she thinks about and plans for retirement. It is need of the time for an individual to plan at an early stage to invest in various investment products in order to create an adequate size of retirement corpus. Long before retirement, an individual needs to carefully map out his or her plans for ensuring a secure retirement. Retirement plan is an arrangement to provide you an income or pension during the cessation of service when you are no longer earning a steady income from business or from employment. All the activities in post-retirement period need money and without money one cannot survive in the society. Like financial planning, retirement planning has become an integral part of human life today.

You need money for every major decision such as buying a house and a vehicle, planning for children’s higher education and retirement. You create a clear goal what your life would look like and set your milestone based on your resources and find out the real path where you want to go in your life. Once your goals are set, you may start saving small amount each month regularly. Your long-term goals may face uncertainty due to volatility of the market (ups and downs) but don’t stop until you reach your destination.

Maintain disciplined approach:

An investor must be well disciplined; otherwise he/she will lose money due to wrong decision such as selling stocks and shares & mutual funds haphazardly due to volatility of the market. The decision to not invest in the bear market also reflects that the investor is not well disciplined as he/she is not investing regularly as per the defined / targeted goals.

Which investment products you need in retirement planning?

Retirement planning generally includes two stages such as: accumulation stage and distribution stage. Accumulation stage is that stage when you create corpus over the period generally up to retirement and thereafter distribution stage starts, where you spend your created money up to life long.

“A small amount of investment fulfills your dreams; one must think about it.”

These are some of the investment instruments that can form part of a retirement plan during the accumulation stage:

  • Pension plan,
  • National pension Plan(NPS),
  • Public provident fund (PPF),
  • Gold, e-gold & Gold Bond,
  • land & building,
  • debt instruments,
  • NCD and bonds,
  • Equity  and
  • Equity related instruments (mutual funds).

These are some of the investment instruments that can form part of a retirement plan during the distribution stage:

  • Bank deposits
  • Company fix deposits
  • Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS)
  • Pension Yojana
  • Annuity of Life Insurance Company
  • Post office MIS.

You can arrange to use the corpus in the distribution stage through interest, dividends, annuity and withdrawing capital, which you have accumulated during the period of working in your life. It is a process to think today about your future life and also for your beloved ones. To achieve your retirement goals, you need the right amount of corpus to take care of your needs & key commitments and provide regular retirement income to maintain your lifestyle post retirement life.

Those who invest irrespective of market trend, will achieve their goal in due time. Start investing in diversify equity mutual fund at the age of  25,  a very small amount say Rs.3000/- per month for your retirement after 35 years you will accumulate Rs.1.95 cores with an annual return of 12% , which is sufficient to generate Rs.1.26 lakhs Per month (7.75% interest in bank FDR) , of your post retirement living expenses easily. The above corpus can be achieved only by disciplined approaches irrespective of market volatility.

Why you invest in mutual funds (MFs)?

Mutual funds are the best option on date to invest for long-term goals as they have several advantages in comparison to other investment products. They are highly liquid, investor can recover his/her money within three days from the date of redemption. Mutual fund investments enable diversification in to different Asset class. They are less risky than equity, given that fund units are professionally managed. Further, they operate with greater transparency and user-friendly because of their online presence. In addition, mutual fund investments are tax-efficient, involve lower costs and offer consistency return over long-run.

Is consistency is an important parameter for selection of a fund?

A mutual fund has outperformed its benchmark index over a period of one year; it may not do well in the coming year. You can take funds five year return and its benchmark returns on every month for five years. On and average if fund return was over and above the benchmark return, we may call consistency in fund performance. The higher the outperformance, the better is the consistency.

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What are the criteria for selecting MFs?

The selection of investing in mutual fund of portfolios by the investor will be generally guided by two criteria:

  • The investor would prefer to invest in the lowest risk fund with same expected return in a specific time frame in two funds.
  • The investor would prefer the higher expected return in portfolios of two funds with same risk.

An investor should make an investment strategy based on risk-tolerance capacity. Risk tolerance capacities differ from person to person and also their age. It is prudent for investor to invest in large cap, multi cap & diversify equity mutual fund scheme, rather than aggressively invest in mid-cap as well as small cap funds.

Invest directly in MFs

Expense ratio is the amount an investor pays a fund every year as a percentage of investment as payment for managing one’s money.  In the long term, a high expense ratio can reduce returns massively. However, a lower expense ratio does not necessarily imply a well-managed fund. Rather, a good fund is one that delivers a good return with minimal expenses. You must therefore consider the fund management charges while investing in a mutual fund.

For a SIP of Rs 3000/- per month in a diversify equity mutual fund direct growth- option scheme which generate a rate of return of 14 per cent per annum(assumed), a 1 per cent extra fund management charge will result in a loss of Rs 23.47 lakhs over a period of 30 years.

By investing directly with mutual fund houses instead of through distributors/ agents, you can save on distribution fees, and there is evidence that over the long term, direct equity mutual fund outperform regular funds by over 1%.

Think before you invest

Investing blindly in shares and other market related products may risk the loss of investor’s capital as speculator plays very important role in inflating the stock prices now-a-days. Security prices are affected by so many factors. It causes interest rate risks and purchasing power risks. Similar to the capital markets more broadly, mutual funds are governed by factors such as socioeconomic conditions, inflation and interest rates, global events, political stability, exchange rate fluctuations, as well as company performance and governance. Returns from shares and mutual funds also depend upon the earnings growth of companies. Hence, the concentration ratio of each fund should play an important role while selecting between different Mutual funds.

Create a balance portfolio by Investing in mutual funds

It is prudent to invest in different fund houses and different products, which not only protect your hard-earned money from the market volatility but also create wealth in the long-run. Mutual funds are the most suitable investment for the common man as it offers an opportunity to invest in diversified securities and different asset class, which are professionally managed by fund housed at a comparatively low cost. Mutual funds help an investor to create a good portfolio mix due to its various categories of funds such as: large-cap funds, multi-cap funds, mid-cap funds, hybrid funds, debt funds and gold fund. Equity funds have greater risk of capital loss in comparison to hybrid/ diversified funds.

“Diversification keeps you financially fit and also protect you from volatility of the market, as it reduces the risk exposure in your portfolio.”

Review portfolio & book profit periodically:

You can evaluate the performance of a mutual fund on the basis of parameters such as NAV, portfolio turnover, risk and return yearly or half yearly returns.  It is also advisable to book the profit periodically, or to transfer equity fund holding to liquid / debt fund when fund earns more than bank fixed deposit rate plus the current inflation. Investment of shares during your life times may give you 5 times positive return and 50 times negative return. It is not a process of win-win system. If you have known the actual market trend you can win in this volatile market, otherwise not. Speculative effect, demographic factors, micro factors, macro factors, fluctuation of currency & also political stability play an important role in capital market.

In addition, it is important to consider indicators such as standard deviation, the beta and the alpha, and the sharp, Treynor, Sortino and concentration ratios while review an equity mutual fund.

Why focus on the long-term….?

The S&P BSE Sensex yielded returns at a CAGR 8.83 per cent over the last 10 years. Historically, there has never been an instance of negative performance for a period of 10 years and above. As the tenure of investment increases, the probability of negative performance decreases.

Affirming this fact, as of 1th September 2016, actively – managed large cap and diversified funds generated a CAGR return of 15.86 per cent and 17.31 per cent respectively over the period of 10 years. In comparison, the benchmark index for large cap fund S&P BSE 200 yielded a lower, 9.38% during the same period. Clearly, then, equities deliver strong returns with lower downside risk in the long term, compare to debt instruments such as bonds, debentures and govt. securities. Hence, equity and equity related investments should always be for the long term, ideally more than five years, and one can assume returns of 12-15 per cent a tear over a longer horizon.

About Author:

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RK Mohapatra is Joint GM – Finance, IRCON, and an eminent author of two bestselling books, “Retirement Planning: A Simple Guide for individuals” & “Investment…Risk & Growth”.Contact author-  rk.mohapatra.as@gmail.com

A Pinch of Life – Sweet and Sour: Book Review

Author: Deepshikha

Book Blurb:

This book ‘A pinch of life – Sweet N Sour’ is a constellation of the varied chapters of life the experiences generated through it and the memories created through it. The subjects of poetry are obvious yet inevitable; the writing style simple yet impeccable and the thoughts mature yet youthful. The purpose of this book is mainly nudging us away from the daily stresses and strains of life through my poetry and driving us through my colourful journey of life.

My Review:

In her book “Sweet and Sour” Deepshikha has written an anthology poems on varied subjects. If feels like she has written about the things that she has seen, felt, observed, or imagined.

Initially, her poems were more what she has experienced, the topics like Writer’s block, teacher’s day, father’s day, etc are touched upon. Then gradually, the poet moves on to a more abstract topics. Which gave a very interesting twist to the book. This gives you a taste that the author can write quite skillfully on various topics.

In one of her poems, “Dilemma”, the lines,

The soul whispers,

The heart murmurs,

And then you know,

Which way you have to go.

struck a cord with me. The thing about these poetry is that that it does not have any ground breaking revelations, it has simple day to day thoughts…that you may have taken for granted and the poems remind you of them.

Simple, sweet and a wonderful collection of poems can be found in this book.

Ratings: 4.5/5

Buy this book

 

An Interview with Deepshikha, Author of A Pinch of Life – Sweet and Sour

Let us know something about your book.

My book ‘A pinch of Life – Sweet N Sour ’ is a poetry saga which talks about the journey of life. It has poems on the day-today topics like life, love, success etc. The book has 25 poems in total.

How did you go about getting this collection of poems together?

I used to write poems since my childhood. I had compiled all of them in my messy green diary. My mom used to scare me that if I wont get them compiled then I would lose track of them. It was then that good sense prevailed in my mind to weave all the poems in a single book. This is the birth story of this poetry collection.

Your poems fall under various topics, from a poem dedicated to mother or father to dyslexia to a marriage between an ant and an elephant. How do you get inspired to write on such diverse topics?

My poems are based either on my personal experiences or the experiences shared by my near and dear ones.

Once you decided on the poems that you wanted to publish, how did you go about getting it published?

I looked for various publishers on the internet. I looked for the best self publishing packages that suited me. Finally I found BlueRose with lucrative offering and planned to go ahead with it.

Who is the poet that inspires you?

Robert Frost. In particular this phrase

“Woods are lovely dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep.” Inspires me

If you could pass along one piece of advice to aspiring poets, what would it be?

Don’t go for tough lines or difficult phrases, rather use simple sentences with deeper meaning.

Are you working on your next project?

Yes, It’s a self help book which deals with lighting the lamp within.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

My readers can reach out to facebook and find my profile. They can also mail me at

deepshikha.3001@gmail.com. My blogs are also available at

https://deepshikha3001.wordpress.com

We thank the author Deepshikha for this interview.

An Interview with R. K. Mohapatra, Author of Retirement Planning-A simple guide for individuals

 

  • Let us start with a brief introduction of yourself and your book.

 

My name is R K Mohapatra.I am an Indian author, known for my work on financial planning and retirement planning for individuals. I am working as Joint General Manager of Finance in IRCON INTERNATIONAL LTD (A Govt. of Indian Undertaking),  having a  25-year rich experience in the field of finance in India and abroad.

My contribution towards social and religious fields is also commendable in addition to my work related to finance and accounts.

I am rewarded, “IRCON Managing Director award” in the year 1998 for my meritorious work. I launched my new book  “Retirement Planning-A simple guide for Individuals” in the month of June by presenting a copy of the book to Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of state  culture & Tourism and civil aviation. This book is under the category of  non-friction business self-help, which is available through popular online website of Amazon, Flipkart, Shopclues and Blue rose publishers.

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I recently won the 32nd Dr. S. Radha Krishnan Memorial National Media Network Awards-2016, as ‘the Eminent Author’ for my meticulous bestselling book, “Retirement Planning-A simple guide for individuals” at constitutional club in New Delhi.

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I like to write about the  day-to-day problem of personal finance planning faced by the people of India. Infact, I started writing about financial planning three years ago. The truth about financial planning is nobody knows it because it is not taught in schools, colleges and also professional courses. It is unfortunate for every individual in India, because they are poor about financial literacy. We really don’t know more about financial planning. It has a great importance in our life. Most of us start the work without any planning and consequence is negative, and unsuccessful. Why, this happened? Because, we do not understand the situations that are the need of the hour. There is no clear cut answer of this issue, because we think that devoting time in personal financial planning may not help us in our life. We will hire the advisor from time to time and do our financial plan whenever required. In fact, the result is opposite, we are unable to reach our goal in time.

About the book:

My first book, Investment Risk & growth, describes the topic of financial planning for an individual along with future growth for financial product in India, which also reflects an investor’s perspective on handling his or her hard-earned money carefully through proper investment planning.

My second book is Retirement Planning-A simple guide for Individuals. The book explains with concise and concrete examples, which can helps an individual to understand about the pre-retirement stage (accumulation period), preservation stage and post-retirement stage (distribution period).
The book, “Retirement Planning- A Simple Guide For Individuals” is meant to enlighten readers especially the middle class on how to invest, instruments in which to invest, and where to get started.
This book enables you take meaningful decision for your future retirement, whether you are at thirty or fifty. This book guides you to develop an attitude and aptitude for investment of your retirement and other financial goals. This book also enables you to grab the best opportunities in this volatile market rather than just investing in the conventional instruments. It also assists you on focusing goals one by one by utilizing the best possible alternative investment avenues in the market.
How small investment in public provident fund, NPS, and diversify equity mutual fund through systematic investment plan (SIP) you can achieve your desired goal of retirement, very clearly explained in the chapter no-2.

This book consists of 9 chapters along with illustrative examples which reflect in readers mind to map out a road map to handling their hard-earned money carefully through proper investment/ retirement planning.
The book describes the market trend, risk-return of investment product, individual behavior as well as market behavior in different situations, impact of inflation, macro factors and socio-economic factors which affects the return of investments.

In the book, I have elaborately describes mutual fund chapter, which elucidates how investment through SIP ensures disciplined investment regardless of the volatility of the market, and further how it helps an investor average his/her cost through market cycles for creating a big retirement corpus during the pre-retirement stage sans taking too much of risk and get the desired post-retirement expenses during the distribution state. How value of mutual fund in retirement planning and its expense ratio and  concentration ratio impact the return on investment very clealy explained in the chapter-No-4.

In this book, you will learn how to utilize your hard-earned money in your distress period in every stage of your life. You will understand the hidden, untapped power that you have and can also manage your hard-earned money in a better way without the help of a financial planner.

 

  • How important is retirement planning according to you?

 

The growing financial pressure on retirement system worldwide is forcing individuals to change the way he or she thinks about  planning for retirement.

The importance of money on an individual life, whether in  service or  after superannuation, is necessary because there is no definite retirement policy/ Pension plan till date in INDIA.

Pension plan provides financial security and stability during the old age when people don’t have  a regular source of income. It is need of the time for an individual to plan at an early stage to invest in various investment products in order to create an adequate size of retirement corpus.

Long before retirement, an individual needs to carefully map out his or her plans for ensuring a secure retirement. It is a process to think today about your future life and also for your beloved ones too. It is a multidimensional process; one can consider so many factors while making a comprehensive retirement plan. Retirement plan is an arrangement to provide you an income or pension during the cessation of service when you are no longer earning a steady income from business or from employment.

 

  • In your book, Retirement Planning, you have emphasized on the need to start investing early to generate enough corpus for your retirement. What would be an ideal age to start investing for retirement?

 

Well, the answer is very simple! Start today, because tomorrow you may lose the right opportunity of the market and may not have created a desired corpus for future life.

The earlier you start investing; you can take more benefit of compounding factor of interest earning. It’s what happens when your interest keeps earning interest, year after year and your corpus is increased at a faster rate. In my opinion one can start investing in retirement  product such as NPS, PPF and diversified equity mutal fund at the early age ideally in between 30 to 35.

In my view,

“Retirement is not an age; it’s a monetary amount you have thought about for the rest of your life.”

An individual may start with mutual funds to generate an optimum retirement corpus. A diversified portfolio is to be  maintained through out the accumulation stage in order to minimize the risk of the investment.

 

  • People often plan for gaining new assets, retirement is hardly on their minds, especially in early thirties. How should that person plan so that both the short term and long term financial needs are met?

 

Planning and budgeting chapter in the book solve the investor’s  issues with respect to short-term and long-term goals. The investment products for short-term and long-term enables the readers  to map out how much money is required to achieve one’s desired goals in a specific time horizon.

There is no definite way to educate to readers about investment product available in the market. Each of us has different paths while investing for achievement of desired goal in our life. It is vary from person to person, place to place and market to market.

Each of us will draw different approaches and gateways to begin our personal financial planning consciously and unconsciously. We also sometimes share our views with experience adviser and get a better experience of ourselves. Even though we may not know all the possibility of risk and rewards in investment still we belief certain philosophies and principles of our economy and try to best utilized our hard-earned money in this market.

For  example, if you are looking for  a short-term investment then you can invest your money in post offices , government bonds, mutual funds, FMP and fixed deposit (FD)and if you are concentrating on long-term investment then public provident funds (PPF ), National Pension Scheme (NPS) , SIP in equity mutual funds,five year recurring deposits, Post office monthly income scheme(PMIS),  10/ 15 years Infrastructure bonds, ELSS and long-term bank deposits (FDs, RDs)  are the best options for you.

 

  • Generally we see that the people with non financial background hire someone to handle their investments. Is this the right thing to do?

 

Is money the root of all causes? If it is so, then it needs proper financial planning at a very early stage? People who may be by profession a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, teacher, professor, Accountant or a  business man, all are required to be involved in financial planning. Financial planning has become an integral part of human life today. The need of a financial planner is of utmost importance for the common man.To accumulate money through investing in short-run as well as long-run, one must have knowledge and certain process. Knowledge is power and attitude is a thought which drives an individual towards fulfillment of his/her objectives in the life.

The role of a financial advisor in an individual’s life is very important in the changing world , unstable economy and volatile capital market. Risk of an investment is not so easy to understand because all risks do not impact equally.

In my opinion, before taking the advice of an advisor, you must read this book and acquire certain basic knowledge such as investment products,its risk & returns, taxation etc.

Knowledge is the ability to understand a subject and a situation which is made possible by utilizing the internal power of an individual for taking action and making the right decisions in life.

“Don’t always believe the advice of financial adviser / intermediary consultant because they might have misguided you to sale the product. You chose your product according to your needs.”

 

  • If someone was thinking to start retirement planning, but does not know where to start, what should be their initial steps?

 

We live in a tough and uncertain world, where we have to face challenges each and every day in our life. You do not know how to invest, instruments in which to invest, and where to get started.

It is the main goal of this book to help retirees as well as perspective investors who eagerly start investment for their future betterment by using their own strategies, principles and methodologies.

First, you make a list of your current wants & desired goals and assess these in terms of money. To achieve these goals you can invest your monthly saving in to different investment products according to time horizon. Lack of knowledge and awareness about the investment vehicles, insurance and taxation laws sometimes confuse an individual to set her or his goal.

My two books, having ample of examples , how to achieve your desired goals through SIP, in shares and Mutual funds, gold, e-gold, gold bonds, NPS, PPF and other debt instruments. This handy book will definitely help the readers like a friend, consultant and advisor.

“Success comes with proper planning and disciplined investment approach,

investment in right amount, at the right time and in the right product.”

 

  • Are you working on your next project?

 

It is a great question. It is natural for a writer to think and write, which is not possible each day on my part. Despite a hectic work schedule I have effectively managed time to pursue my passion for writing articles in newspapers and magazines, blogs, and books on relevant financial matters pertaining to the problems and queries of the common man, it gives me strength in mind and it eases the stress of mind sometime, I think which is beneficial to all. My next topic may be advice to government to set of a policy towards common man for secured life.

 

  • How can readers discover more about you and your work?

 

I am available through online 24*7  for readers those who need my service. They can contact me on my web site www.rabindramohapatra.com and social media https://www.facebook.com/rk.mohapatra.as.in. They can also find me on https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092649.R_K_Mohapatra .

We thank the author, R. K. Mohapatra, for such an enlightening interview.

Strangers With Known Faces: Book Review

Author: Gautam Dutta

Strangers with Known Faces

Book Blurb:

Rajat, Meenakshi, Sadaaf, Amol, and Shanaya are five University students with nothing in common- who should never have met in the first place. They meet after winning a lucky draw- the prize of which was to take part in a puzzle game. Though the game was engrossing, they were unable to solve the puzzle in the stipulated time. However, this lead to the beginning of a deep friendship between them. Their friendship blossomed. But ego and misunderstanding led to an acrimonious break up. They meet again- two decades later- when Shanaya is murdered, and the other four are suspects. The four soon realize that in spite of being estranged for so many years, there were unknown ties that bound them- ties of treachery, deceit, and subterfuge. Ties that have led them to come together in circumstances that no one could have foreseen. And the game that they had left incomplete two decades back has to be played yet again – on a much bigger canvas. Now they have to trust each other, clear their names, and get to the bottom of the mystery, which threatens not only their lives and relationships, but also the fabric of democratic India. As their travels and travails continue, they discover hitherto unknown facets of the people around them, as well as their own selves. Can they succeed in resolving the puzzle this time? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? As hidden aspects of the human personality are revealed, they realize that no one is what he or she appears to be. For the world comprises of ‘Strangers With Known Faces’.

My Review:

This is the story of five friends who find themselves thrown together and discover friendship before drifting apart. Suddenly, a murder brings them all together.

The author has crafted his characters in a way that each creates their own distinct impact in your mind. The complexity and the way each chapter is dedicated to the back story of these friends was the most interesting part of the book. I enjoyed reading how each character grows and develops before the readers eyes. The complexity of the story, and how different stories mingle with each other was a delight to read.

Additionally, the way the author has described the meaning behind the main title was so bang on. I remembered the countless people who used to have such an important part of my life at one point of time, but now are strangers.

I felt if the author had developed the ending in a slightly different manner, this book would have been even better. As the development and the pace of the story that had been set initially was really great and mature, but the ‘plot twist’ came a bit too fast and the pace just escalated, the story also lost the realistic feel that we had previously and started feeling a bit filmy.

Buy the book

 

Why this sudden ban on 500/1000 rupee notes is worthless.

So this guy, Narendra Modi thinks he is such a smart fellow, he decided all on his own that he wants to stop 500 and 1000 rupee notes, that too within a couple of hours!

How could he do such a thing? Rahul Gandhi is so right! He does not care about poor people! How on earth will that daily labor or the vegetable seller get their groceries? I mean, of course people who buy their rations on a daily basis will have only 500 and 1000 rupee notes.. How inconsiderate! Even if those stupid economists say that after a few weeks of difficulty, in long run the inflation will decrease, better investments in infrastructure will happen, black money will decrease, economic standing of the country will be better and thus foreign investments will increase (of course that Modi’s visit to Japan in order to invite investors immediately after banning these notes was so that he does not have to stand in the line..not coz of some high fangled get investors shit..I ain’t stupid!), more daily wage earners and villagers open bank accounts, jobs get created, new schemes will be released with all the additional tax received,unemployment is decreased, political parties will have to stand in elections with white money….but what do these economists know? Why would I listen to these people when our greatest leader Mamata Banerjee, who we all know has absolutely NO BLACK MONEY, calls it a heartless and draconian decision.

And how is it not a heartless decision? Why would Modi not have the heart to think about how I have to stand in the line and face minor inconveniences, how DARE he think of the long term betterment of my country and indirectly me? Does he not know how difficult it is to stand in the line?

Also they say we can exchange money by going ALL the way to the bank AND STANDING IN THE LINE! I have to leave my AC car and AC office and STAND IN THE LINE! The horror! I agree that the Government should have ‘done something’ for this country’s economy, but I should not have to do anything about it other than crib and post on social media about the ‘sad state of affairs’ when I hear about the rise of black money from my friend’s facebook. My life should not be disrupted..how does this even make sense? Of course I want to live in a better country..of course I will go all over my social media, telling everyone I know how all Modi does is fly internationally and like the ‘FEKU’ he is..he would not do anything..What he should have done, in my expert opinion, is that he should have contacted the minister of magic, learn how to do the vanishing spell, Evanesco, and just vanished all that black money..easy-peasy…huh..

And of course being the person Modi is, he got up from his afternoon nap (Of course he takes hours of afternoon naps..he be lazy that way..everyone knows it..I saw it on google!) and said, “Call the media people, I had an excellent dream..I will just remove the black money.” Of course he did not consult with those foolish people at RBI or finance ministry.. And even if they did…I have better intelligence  than them, so obviously they did not think of all the inconveniences that  I would have to face! I have never stood in a line in my life…and just because of the stupid Modi government, I have to do all that. All those schemes of Jan Dhan Yojna which makes banking accessible to all, the income declaration scheme wherein he specifically said, “No one should blame me if I take tough decisions after the 30th (of September)”, and all those things were also a part of his unplanned rash decision making. Obviously,  ensuring people had easy access to banking and allowing time for people to declare black money was in no way related to this “unplanned and rash” decision with “no idea of difficulties public face.”

Also, everybody with an iota of basic intelligence would know this is not going to help the economy. Those idiots at business standard and economic times who spent their time talking to various industry experts do not know what they are talking about. After all what do those people sitting in their plush CEO jobs at India’s premium banks, real estate and all other affected industries know about the “ground realities” that I know. I know the best, I know it will not lead to anything, all this government does is harass people..

In the end, everything is the government’s fault..and India should grow and prosper and all that..but I should bloody not have to stand in the line for a few hours for it..


SARCASM ALERT: For those who did not understand till now, this is a sarcastic post for all those ‘educated’ people who are now posting on facebook on how is this a horrible, unplanned decision because they had to stand in the line for hours.

 

The Diary of A Young Girl: Book Review

Author: Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl

Book Blurb:

The Diary of a Young Girl (also known as The Diary of Anne Frank) is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944 and Anne Frank ultimately died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The diary was retrived by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne’s father, Otto Frank, the only known survivor of the family. The diary has now been published in more than 60 different languages.

Its popularity inspired 1955 play The Diary of Anne Frank by the screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which they subsequently adapted for the screen for the 1959 movie version. The book is in several lists of the top books of the 20th century.

Book Review:

I still remember the first time I read this book. I was thirteen. At that time I had vague idea of this book’s contents as well as had enough knowledge of WW2 as was provided by the history textbook. Which basically meant nothing.

I could relate to this book instantly, as this book was written by a girl of my age. I especially loved the idea of writing a diary, and started writing one as well. The diary format helps you connect to Anne at a very personal level, she starts to become one of your very dear friends.

The book eases you in, so initially you have young Anne writing about her daily life..her school, her friends, her teachers, her crushes, etc. Then you find slight mentions of ‘minor inconveniences’ popping up like all Jews have to wear stars on their dresses. Then it escalates to Jews cannot ride public transport, then Jews cannot own bicycles. Later we see people being called to the concentration camps.

When Anne’s sister Margot is sent summons, the Frank family movies into a ‘secret annex’ along with another family. The rest of the book deals with the lives of these two families who cannot go outside, who are stuck in these small rooms for almost two years, fearing the worst, living their lives on eggshells and yet, finding small joys to celebrate.

Truly a heartwarming tale.

Buy this book.

Interview with Haribakth, the author of 19th Akshauhini: Algorithm of the Gita

19th Akshauhini answers all the questions about the Gita that are plaguing minds. You can read more about the book here.

Let us get to know the mind behind this book.

19th Akshauhini: Algorithm of the Gita

1. 19 th Akshauhini is a book that in a way explains the complex concepts of Gita in a very scientific manner. How did you get an idea of using various analysis techniques and linking it to Gita?

Analysis is a pre-requisite for using data for decision making to test hypothesis and prove or disprove beliefs, theories etc. This is widely accepted amongst the   believers, nonbelievers and the un-decided whereas scriptures are acceptable only to some persons and further restricted to the denomination to which they subscribe or the creed to which they belong. The various analysis was essential in view of the need to broadcast God’s words even among the latter two categories of people along with the believers.The need gave birth to the idea.

2. What is the motivation behind writing this book?

To please God and earn His love, appreciation,grace was the prime motivation.
However the initial motivation was to express my say which remained unsaid during the course of discussions with my brother.

3. The book also utilizes illustrations to explain certain concepts. How did the idea of using these illustrations come to you?

Around 3 decades ago many readings (of Gita) later and many books later, I was none wiser. Than came the mega serial “Krishna” of Ramanand Sagar,The Gita episodes therein made me understand many things. I am not proficient in Video making etc, besides it would be construed as an entertainment venture more than a spiritual endeavor. My daughter is a good artist and I spoke my mind to her and thus the illustrations were born. What I could not convey in reams of paper was conveyed by her in a single sketch.

4. If you had to tell one fun fact about you book, what would it be?

The Illustration wherein a mother with a child hanging across her shoulder and searching for the child everywhere except her shoulder juxtapositioned with a person searching for God everywhere except within was really fun. It is a powerful picture and hits the nail on the head. Then there is this picture where I am trying to analyse Gita with mundane tools and Narada Muni is laughing at my endeavour is another powerful presentation and filled with fun.

5. Gita is an essential part of Mahabharata. It has been categorised in both mythology and spirituality genre. Is there a difference between the two?

The categorising Gita as mythology is wrong. It tantamounts to classifying Mahabharata as fiction and the sublime Gita as a figment of imagination. Mythology is just Myth or unreal and imaginary. Spiritual is that which belongs to the spirit andnot to the realm of matter. In fact description of Gita as a religious scripture too is a misnomer and restricts/confines Gita within a boundary of four walls. Actual Gita is a scripture for Universal family (Vasudaiva Kutumbham with Vasudev (Krishna) as Karta or the head of the Family). My book aims to fathom this essence of spirit instead of having a parochial view.

6. You have mentioned various FAQs that people ask about GITA, what is the most interesting question that you have encountered? And why was it so interesting to you?

The single most interesting answer in FAQ to the two fascinating questions about Gita is

o How is a forty minute discourse complete knowledge ?

o Gita is not relevant and it’s teaching is obsolete and not keeping up with times.

The next interesting question is How is Gita NOT sectarian, partial ,divisive and communal.

These questions are interesting because it is challenging and difficult to give an answer which satisfies the doubtful. I found the answers very convincing and satisfying because it can be cross checked and tested with our experience.

7. Did you encounter any fact about GITA that you were previously unaware of or did you discover something about yourself in the course of the research of this book?

The core of the book, i.e. the 18 principles or the algorithm were always staring at me but I was blind. During the course of my writing, it became visible. I could also co-relate verses from different chapters (which I used to view in isolation earlier) Which shed light on God’s sayings to unravel new perspectives.

About discovery of myself, I found that God is playing GOD with me and chose me as favourite. How ? The 18 principles always existed in the modern times for the past 5300+ years and remained unnoticed till now and came to my notice first (by God’s infinite grace).

8. Are you a reader yourself? Can you name some of your favorite books?

I was an avid reader till two decades ago. My Job left me with a little time for my personal activities or hobbies. About my reading days , my all time favourite is Mahabarata and Gita. In the same genre , I love Bhagavata & Uddhav Gita . Uddhava Gita titled “Krishna’s other song “ by Steven Rosen is very lovable. Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead”, “Hawaii”by James Michnener, All of Arthur Hailey’s books , Gardner’s Perry mason series were engrossing.Back to present,for light reading, I prefer Chetan Bhagat’s books.

9. Are you working on your next project?

Presently No, but I may start the same in beginning of 2017, after completing my commitments. I wish to do the following.

o Sequel to my book with additions and modifications

o Uma Maheshwara Samvada(Conversations between Lord Shiva & his consort, UmaDevi Matha )

o Illustrated version of entire The Gita

The last one would be very challenging but fulfilling and depends upon my daughters priorities – for Illustration work.

10. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

There is nothing worth while about me warranting their curiosity. I would advise them to discover Him through His own words which would be really fulfilling and give them escstacy.

I thank the author for his time. Readers can buy his book here.