Friday, January 28, 2011

The Immortals of Meluha:A mythological adventure story

-By Swetha Amit

A mythological adventure story news
Amish Tripathi’s book, The Immortals of Meluha, the first of an interesting trilogy that humanises Lord Shiva and takes the readers back to a mystical period in time, makes for an engrossing read says Shweta Amit

Author: Amish Tripathi
Publisher: Tara Press
Price: Rs295
Classification: Fiction
Set in the same period as the Indus Valley Civilization, The Immortals of Meluha dwells on how Lord Shiva, due to his karma, is born a mortal and slowly rises above his mortal bonds to become the legendary Lord Neelkanth.

The story commences when Lord Shiva's tribe migrates from Mount Kailash to the paradise town of Meluha. Meluha is nothing less than perfect, having been under the rule of Lord Shri Ram, whose reign is praised by everyone. On reaching Meluha, which is under the rule of King Daksha at the time, Shiva gradually learns about his destiny. The kingdom of Meluha looks up to him as its saviour against the evil clan of Chandravanshis and Nagas. Whether Shiva succeeds in living up to the trust of Meluha residents in him forms the rest of the gripping narrative. Shiva's romantic inclinations towards Sati, the only daughter of King Daksha, forms an important part of the narrative.

The Immortals of Meluha is a fast-paced and absorbing book. The character of Shiva is interestingly portrayed. Right from his light-hearted sense of humour to the various shades of his personality — the soulful dancer, loyal lover and valiant warrior — each aspect of his personality is highlighted. Sati as his love interest is shown to be the embodiment of beauty, valour, pride and intelligence. The other vital characters in the book like Nandi, Shiva’s right-hand man and devotee, and Parvateshwar and Kanakhala, the commander-in-chief and prime minister of King Daksha, respectively, add charm to the tale.

It is likely to appeal to those who are interested in the intriguing subject of mythology. The first book in the trilogy about Lord Shiva, Immortals of Meluha has a ending that serves to whet the appetite and generate curiosity and eagerness in readers as to the sequel. The creative treatment of a mythological story is probably what earned it its bestseller position in leading bookstores.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An ode to freedom

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein haiDekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil mein hai

Aye watan, Karta nahin kyun doosraa kuch baat-cheetDekhta hun main jise woh chup teri mehfil mein haiAye shaheed-e-mulk-o-millat main tere oopar nisaarAb teri himmat ka charcha gair ki mehfil mein haiSarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Waqt aanay dey bata denge tujhe aye aasmanHum abhi se kya batayen kya hamare dil mein haiKheench kar layee hai sab ko qatl hone ki ummeedAashiqon ka aaj jumghat koocha-e-qaatil mein haiSarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Hai liye hathiyaar dushman taak mein baitha udharAur hum taiyyaar hain seena liye apna idharKhoon se khelenge holi agar vatan muskhil mein haiSarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Haath jin mein ho junoon katt te nahi talvaar seSar jo uth jaate hain voh jhukte nahi lalkaar seAur bhadkega jo shola-sa humaare dil mein haiSarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Hum to ghar se nikle hi the baandhkar sar pe kafanJaan hatheli par liye lo barh chale hain ye qadamZindagi to apni mehmaan maut ki mehfil mein haiSarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Yuun khadaa maqtal mein qaatil kah rahaa hai baar baar'Kya tamannaa-e-shahaadat bhi kisee ke dil mein haiDil mein tuufaanon ki toli aur nason mein inqilaabHosh dushman ke udaa denge humein roko na aajDuur reh paaye jo humse dam kahaan manzil mein haiSarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Wo jism bhi kya jism hai jismein na ho khoon-e-junoonToofaanon se kya lade jo kashti-e-saahil mein hai

Chup khade hain aaj saare bhai mere khaamosh hainNa karo to kuch kaho mazhab mera mushkil mein hai

Happy Republic Day!!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Lohri

May the Lohri fire burn all the moments of sadness and bring you warmth of joy,happiness and love.
Happy Lohri to all! God Bless!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Business bestsellers of 2010

-By Swetha Amit

1. Global Crisis, Recession and Uneven Recovery
Author: YV Reddy
Publisher: Orient Blackswan
Price: Rs595
Classification: Non-fiction
A sequel to the author’s earlier book titled 'India and the Global Financial Crisis’; this book provides lucid understanding of the economic crisis and speaks about the uneven recovery across the globe. Written in a technical yet simple style, it provides an indepth analysis about and perspective into the recession. It describes the lessons to be learnt in order to avoid such setbacks in the future and concludes with a chapter focusing on India’s performance during the crisis and prospects in the future. Targeting a readership of corporate professionals mainly, it will enable them to look back, learn from mistakes and look forward to better times ahead.

2. Fault Lines
Author: Raghuram G Rajan
Publisher: Collins Business
Price: Rs499
Classification: Non-fiction
The proud winner of the Goldman Sachs best business book award, Fault Lines describes the fractures that are still threatening the economy. The author looks deep into the causes of the meltdown and cites faulty choices made by greedy bankers, the government and ordinary homemakers that lead to the crisis. He speaks about the need to adopt corrective measures to rectify the fault lines. The author's lucid style of writing makes for easy reading. He concludes with a passage on the promising future of the Indian economy. This is a book which will find a wide readership in the corporate world.

3. Reaching for the Skies
Author: Richard Branson
Publisher: Virgin Books
Price: Rs599
Classification: Non-fiction
'Sky is the limit' is the essence of this book. The author dedicates his book to all those who have mastered the airspace. The book takes the readers on an unforgettable flight of inspirational stories of people, their adventures and survival. It also dwells on new ideas and inventions. The language is technical in certain instances but overall imbued with the simplicity of real-life experiences. It is a heart-warming read which will especially appeal to those who have had some tryst with the skies; it will win over inventors; while visionaries and dreamers will find it an interesting book.

4. Simply Fly
Author: Captain GR Gopinath
Publisher: Collins Business
Price: Rs499
Classification: Non-fiction
This is a riveting story of a young boy who has come a long way from riding bullock carts to flying high. It is the story of the birth of the first low-cost airline. The various incidents that make up the story of the airline that enabled the common man to fly are narrated with great poise, and the book provides a glimpse of the author’s personality, his persevering nature and his voyage from poverty to prosperity. Written in a down-to-earth style, it is a must-read for every Indian, who is bound to find it motivating and awe-inspiring.

5. Tata - The Evolution of a Corporate Brand
Author: Morgen Witzel
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Price: Rs599
Classification: Non-fiction
The book is a well-documented history of the Tatas as a brand. It describes in detail the birth of the brand and how it has evolved over the years. The author traces the brand from its origin, through the image-building processes that followed, to its brand equity now. He dwells deep into the makings of what is one of the most popular brands today, one which is based on values. Through his placid, unhurried style of writing, Witzel manages to provide the reader with a clear perspective of the group and the family from which it derives its name. It is bound to appeal to those interested in the birth, growth and evolution of one of the most respected organisations in India.

6. Ambani & Sons
Author: Hamish McDonald
Publisher: Lotus Roli
Price: Rs395
Classification: Non-fiction
The book is about the scintillating rag-to-riches story of the Ambani family. It not only dwells on the development of what is one of India’s largest corporations today; but highlights the struggle, corruption, politics and powerplay that are part and parcel of the interaction between government and business houses. It also describes the expansion phase of this business house and the infamous split between the heirs. The author, in his exemplary style, has brought out the dynamics of entrepreneurship in modern India. It tells the revolutionary story of what is one of the biggest empires today. A compelling read which will find a wide readership.

7. When the Penny Drops
Author: R Gopalakrishnan
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Price: Rs399
Classification: Non-fiction
Using his valuable experiences as lessons, accompanied by examples from mythology, the author of ‘The Case of the Bonsai Manager’ comes up with an inspirational source of learning. Far from being just another management book, this one provides memorable lessons which will rouse the cerebral cells within you. It enables one to analyse and retrospect about one's doings. It’s a book that will enable us to learn from our mistakes and give us a code of conduct. Citing appropriate examples at regular intervals, the author makes it a motivational read which will appeal to all those open to learning and growing as individuals.

8. You can Sell
Author: Shiv Khera
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Price: Rs195
Classification: Non-fiction
The author of ‘You can Win’ comes up with yet another inspirational read. This book teaches you how to sell by delving into the dynamics of what does not sell and the attitude, personality and psychology required for successful selling. It stresses upon the importance of gaining an understanding of consumer needs, positive communication and the ethics required to become a successful sales person. Written in a simple uncomplicated style, the book opens up a new view into selling, especially for sales professionals, with the many examples cited. A read which will appeal to various segments of the population, one can consider this a veritable sales bible.

9. Connect the Dots
Author: Rashmi Bansal
Publisher: Eklavya Education Foundation
Price: Rs150
Classification: Non-fiction
Driven by ambition and desire, this is a story of 20 individuals who dared to dream about becoming entrepreneurs without aquiring a traditional MBA degree, thought to be a must-have qualification for an entrepreneur. Idealism and the desire to prove themselves propelled the 20 to chase their aspirations. The book portrays the complex difficulties faced by each person and how they overcame the obstacles in their path. With interesting headings for every chapter, the author writes earnestly on how to become a successful entrepreneur. There is no quest without attendant frustration, as the author tells us. The book ends on a positive note, emphasising the triumph that is to be achieved by following your heart and making things happen.

10. The Professional
Author: Subroto Bagchi
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Price: Rs399
Classification: Non-fiction
This is a heart-warming book with inputs on how to become a successful professional; the author provides relevant questions to ask oneself to get a clear perspective about one's ambitions. It emphasises on factors like integrity, self-awareness, appropriate qualities for a professional and the ability to manage the complexities and challenges that are bound to come in the way of attaining success. Subroto Bagchi puts his knowledge, based on lifelong experience, to good use when he talks about how to make the right choices. Not a light read, with an intense feel to the language, the book will gain a wide readership among those who have ambitions of being successful in their career.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Resplendence of the Red Sea

Written by Swetha Amit

No one knows why it’s called the Red Sea. Many in fact have mulled over its unique name, and we were no exceptions. This was one reason why we decided to take a plunge into this water body, besides being certified scuba divers.

When one thinks about diving in Egypt two places instantly come to the mind, namely Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, both located by the Red Sea. We chose to visit Hurghada as it was along our tour route. The Sharm el Sheikh was situated on the other side of the Sinai Peninsula. Hurghada was bustling with activity with an array of shopping centres, restaurants and friendly people. Adding to the charm were shops with attractive posters, which rented out diving equipment.

Having arranged for equipment from one of the shops, we assembled at the dive centre eagerly awaiting our underwater expedition. After filling in a few formalities, we were onboard the boat with our guide and a few professional scuba divers.

Welcome aboard: The boat was modern, well-furnished and well-equipped with rest rooms, water and soft drinks. The beverages were essential to hydrate ourselves pre and post dives. There was room on the deck to spread out our wet suits, masks, fins and breathing equipment. During the cruise, we were briefed about the dive sites we would be visiting and precautions and signs to be used underwater. It sounded pretty exciting to hear about the aquatic species we would be bumping into during our dives. As we neared the location, we slipped into our scuba diving suits and paired up with our respective diving buddies. Before taking the leap into the rippling waves, we did what was called the ‘buddy check’, ensuring that our partners’ equipment was in place. After which we jumped into the sea, one by one.

The enchanting world below: The temperature of the water was not more than 25 degrees. Being a sunny day and the sea quite calm, the visibility was up to 20m. We descended down slowly as guided and reached the ocean bed. We looked around in amazement and awe at the world that lay beneath the waves. A shoal of goldfish swam past us, and we couldn’t help but notice their beauty and grace. We ventured further, led by our guide, and soon felt no different from the fish when we used our fins. A clown fish spotted in the vicinity led to a ‘finding Nemo’ moment. Keeping an eye on our buddies, we swam further, hoping to spot a shark. We stumbled upon a gigantic moray eel basking at the bottom. Not far from it, we found a blue spotted ray; the sun's rays trickling down highlighting its vivid colour. Further down, we were delighted when a Napoleon wrasse graced us with its presence. This species is huge, and rarely goes unnoticed by divers. We found ourselves caught in mild currents, which we navigated, and were treated to the sight of angel fish. These rectangular blue fish had a patch of yellow on them. The butterfly fish added additional colour to our underwater safari with its bright yellow streamlined body. It was exciting to encounter finned creatures of varied shapes, sizes and colours. Our first dive came to an end and we wistfully headed back to the surface.

Between the dives: On reaching our boat, our dive time recorded was a good 45 minutes. Time seemed to fly faster underwater than on land. We had time to grab a bite before gearing up for our second and last dive for the day. This time the nervousness that was present earlier was replaced by enthusiasm. The Red Sea contains about 38 per cent salt, which is the highest in comparison to other salt water bodies. This increased buoyancy, ie, the ability to remain afloat. After jumping into the waves once again, we descended down to explore a dive site, namely the Aquarium.

Feeling like a mermaid: We were introduced to finned species quite different from our first dive. Our tryst began with sighting the orange-spotted unicorn fish. We came across the moray eel lazing behind the rocks. Eels are night predators, hunting down prey. As we moved ahead, we spotted the lizard fish, which appeared unfazed by the crowd of divers around it. Living up to its name, it resembled a lizard and was covered with dark, tough scales. A masked puffer fish which played hard to get close to, swam in its own world, with a black mask over its eyes and mouth. With a mouth shaped like a parrot, the parrot fish was quite flamboyant in its appearance. We were once again graced by the majestic Napoleon wrasse. This time the sea was friendly and we were spared its currents. All good things come to an end; we once again bid farewell to the surreal world.

Back to the shores: We surfaced, got on the boat and headed towards the shores of Hurghada. It was a memorable return journey over a silky smooth sea with the sunset in the background. We carried back with us treasured memories of the enthralling world of mermaids and mermen. We were lucky enough to be blessed with perfect weather and reliable underwater equipment. As we scanned through the images, I came to the conclusion that the colourful array of species is probably what gave the Red Sea its resplendent name. If anyone wondered what it was like to be a mermaid or merman for some time, diving in the Red Sea, one of the best places to dive in the world, would answer your question.

How to get to Hurghada

By air: One can fly to Cairo and board a flight to Hurghada from there. Direct flights to Hurghada are available from European countries and the Middle East.

By road: One can reach Hurghada by driving down from the city of Luxor, which takes roughly about four hours. Direct flights are available from the Middle East and European nations to Luxor.

Best time to visit Hurghada:Hurghada is a year-round destination. However the best period to visit would be between February to April; it is usually pleasant, with the onset of spring, and the sea is perfect for diving. July and August are the hottest months of the year; however, this makes it even more suitable for diving, and the rates in Egypt are usually half around this time, being a lean season.

Cost of diving:The cost of renting equipment for each dive sums up to around Rs10,000 per person. However rates may be subject to variation depending on the dive shop, number of dives or if the person is carrying his / her own scuba diving equipment.

Tips essential for diving
One needs to get a certification from either Professional Association of Diving Instructors or Scuba Schools International.
Never dive alone.
Never dive when you are diagnosed with cold or cough or any infection that affects your breathing.
Ensure that you are always accompanied by a professional guide.
Strictly adhere to instructions given on board the boat.
Always keep an eye on your diving buddy while underwater to ensure you do not get lost.

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Happy New Year

Hey guys Firstly wishing you all a very Happy New year!

I haven’t been blogging for a while since I had taken ill for more than a month. I was hospitalized for about ten days and have had a torrid winter. But faith in God kept me going and I am hoping the worst is over. I really missed reading the blogs of my fellow bloggers. But will be back in action now since the doctors have reassured me that I am on the path to recovery.

Had a lot of time to retrospect into life, rethink and reevaluate some decisions and also become a better human being. We all wonder why we go through so much pain and suffering but it turns out later that everything happens for a good reason. 2011 as I see should start on a promising and positive note. During these miserable moments a quote of a famous poet Shelly came to my mind 'If winter is her, can spring be far behind'? So it’s just a matter of time before I see those chirpy birds, pleasant sunshine and the warm gush in air.

Have a great year friends and will be more active in the blogging world from now on. Cheers

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