Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Although Gilbert has written other books before, her most successful book was Eat Pray Love, which I enjoyed tremendously. Committed, in some way, is a sequel to the previous book since it deals with Gilbert’s feelings towards marrying the person she meets in Bali. She is very sure of her love for Felipe, the Brazilian-born Australian older man in her life; it is the institution of marriage itself that scares her. Both Felipe and Gilbert are ambivalent towards remarriage, after having undergone painful divorces. Therefore what Gilbert offers in 285 pages is another memoir (with extra socio-historical bonus sections!), her systematic study of marriage in all its forms and its evolution in Western society over the ages. With eight long chapters with titles such as Marriage and Surprises, Marriage and Infatuation, Marriage and Autonomy, she describes and debates the role of marriage in society, its effect on women, in particular and put these subjects in the context of her own personal situation. Her situation, I must mention, is a deadline imposed by the Department of Homeland Security for the two of them to tie the knot in order to bring Felipe into the country, legally and forever.
Gilbert manages to keep her sense of humor as in the previous book but never gets to being really funny. The self-deprecation which lightened the tone of the serious issues she tackled previously is missing from this heavy and serious tome. It is just a lot of self-centered, mostly imaginary angst that the readers are subjected to. It was very hard for me to feel any degree of empathy for the author as she struggles to measure her “marriage-readiness’ or worthiness of marriage itself. At some point, I fast-forwarded to the last chapter to see how the book ended, which was quite predictable. Whether you take the step of marriage with a great deal of thought (and a book to prove it) or wander into the institution unawares, it is a question of individual choice. Perhaps Gilbert herself caught the gist of this when she writes in the context of motherhood, after interviewing several mothers, “… there wasn’t a pattern. There was just a whole bunch of smart women trying to work things out on their own terms, trying to navigate somehow by their own instincts.”
If you want to study the subject of marriage, either as someone who is contemplating marriage in the near future or just curious about it, perhaps you might consider going through this contemporary thesis on an old institution.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Price : Rs.895-00
This is the travel guide book that shows you what others only tell you. This book is voted Best Guide Book by Guardian and Observer.
Some comments about the book:
" No other guide whets your appetite quite like this one " said The Independent
" A pleasurable read with ravishing photography plus maps and plans of supreme quality. " said The Observer.
This travel guide book is packed with photographs, illustrations and maps, the flavours of India region by region, huge selection of hotels and restaurants, sights, beaches, markets and festivals listed town by town.
The book not only gives the places and routes but it gives the complete cultural history of each of the area including but not limited to the way of living, and the varieties of dance forms. Prehistoric sites in India date back to at least 250,000 BC, with agricultural settlements appearing around 7000 B.C. By 2500 B.C., a sophisticated urban civilization emerged, stretching across Indus Valley and North West India all the way down to Gujarat. This is called Harappan Civilization which had a thriving trade with Mesapotamia. By 1800 B.C. these cities declined because of natural changes. The book has given in detail about The Vedic Age, The of Mahavira and Buddha, The Mauryan Empire, Central Asian Invaders, Rulers in the South, Northern Kingdoms, Southern Dynasties, The coming of Islam, Independent Kingdoms, New Cultural Influences, the coming of The Mughals, the Europeans, The Rise of the British and the Independent India. In a nut shell, we can know about the history of India from about 250,000 years BC to the present day.
The book has detailed information about
* Where to stay
* Where to Eat
* Shops & Markets
* Outdoor Activities & Specialist Holidays.
About where to stay, the book says in India A wide choice of accommodation is on offer for the rising number of visitors to India - from modern Western-style deluxe hotels and grand old palaces to budget hotels and tourist bungalows. Star rated luxury hotels,cost more. The moderately priced budget hotels, often managed by the state tourism departments, may lack the glamour of the 5 star hotel but they are clean and excellent value for the money. Cheaper accommodation is available at guest houses, youth hostels and even spartan pioligrim abodes such as dharmashalas and ashrams. The hotel listings in pages 690-717 provide a selection of some of the best hotels throughout India, to suit every taste and budget.
The guide book has given a survival guide, practical information and travel information as well. Under practical information it has given the best time to go to that place, what to take, information related to advance booking, permits, visas and passports, immunization, and insurance. The book also explained about the etiquette followed in India like greeting people, body language, places of worship, tipping and also about beggars. The book dealt in detail about personal security and health, banking, local currency and communications. Tips about traveling by Air, Train, by Road, by Bus, Coach or Ferry and local transport in cities. Ask any information about travel in India, the EyeWitness Travel India Book has it.
This book is an asset to have to browse and know the places even if one cannot visit all the places.
PRASAD N GONTLA
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Name of the book : 100 Best Weight-Loss Tips
Author : Fred A. Stutman, M.D.
About the Author : The author has done extensive research in the fields of exercise physiology, diet and nutrition at the U.S. Naval Air Development Center and in his private medical practice. As a medical officer in the U.S. Air Force, he has established one of the first walking programs for cardiac rehabilitation patients.
About the book :
Dr. Stutman's new book ‘100 Best Weight-Loss Tips’ features a series of effective weight-loss strategies that promote healthy eating habits and an easy, safe, permanent weight loss system. Dr. Stutman also shows how low carbohydrate diets are extremely dangerous to your health and how these diets invariably lead to rebound weight gain once they are stopped. The book gives you the necessary building blocks to lose weight quickly, stay fit and firm, and live a longer, healthier life.
Dr. Stutman says there is no need to follow unsafe low-carbohydrate diets that deprive you of healthy, good tasting nutritious foods. These unhealthy diets not only fill up your body's fat cells with extra pounds of fat, but they also can clog your arteries with cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Kidney and liver damage have also been reported to occur in some people who have been on extended low carbohydrate diets. Low carbohydrate diets are not only extremely dangerous to your health, but invariably lead to rebound weight gain once they are stopped.
The author has divided the 100 tips into 10 categories as below.
1) Card Tips
2) Fiber Tips
3) New Diet Tips
4) Protein Tips
5) Fat Tips
6) Great Weight Loss Tips
7) Secret Get-Slim Tips
8) Calorie Blasting Tips
9) Diet Step Tips
10) Power Fat Burning Tips
The author has given in Tip # 66 the list of really good foods as below:
2) Whole grain wheat bread
3) Whole-grain cereals
4) Dried beans, peas and lentils
5) Fruits and vegetables
6) Increase omega-3 fats and decrease omega-6 fats.
While the really bad foods are
1) Red Meat
2) Potato chips and French fries
3) Fast foods
5) Smoked and cured fish and meats and pickled foods.
There are also Secret Weight-Loss Tips for seniors given in Tip # 6
This book, ‘100 Best Weight-Loss Tips’ by Dr. Fred A. Stutman is a very good book to keep you healthy, firm, slim and active by following the tips. This book costs Rs.225-00 and is worth following for all age groups.
Last but not the least, he suggests that walking for about half an hour a day for 6 days a week for all the age group people is very good to keep the body healthy.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Once there was a team of ferrets, exploring mysteries, who landed upon a small blue planet and discovered a hidden valley that opened onto the land of the humans. The ferrets found these creatures a promising species, of grace and charm, intelligence and curiosity, of warm humor and great courage.
Because of this, and because of the dangers and promises ahead for the young race, the ferrets gave to the humans four powers with which they could prevail over the challenges to come.
The first was the power of fire, the second was the power of the wheel, the third was the power of written language, the fourth was the power of courtesy and respect, one to another.
The humans were quick to learn, and cherished the gifts that the ferrets had brought. As the explorers prepared to depart, the humans begged them to stay and to share with humankind the delight of the brave new civilization that would rise.
The ferrets were touched, and promised to return. On the day of their departure, one human turned to them. "Of these powers, dear ferrets, which is the first among them, which would you have us guard above all others?"
"Well asked", replied the ferrets. "Without fire can you prosper, and without the wheel, and without the alphabet, for many have prospered on your planet and across the galaxies without these. The one power without which no civilization can long survive, however, is the last, the power of courtesy and respect for each other and for all life."
The humans murmured, understanding and used their new letters to scribe the Courtesies on tablets of onyx, the words finished in purest silver. When the ferrets had departed, the new race learned swiftly, mastering the natures of fire and wheel and alphabet.
They pondered long, however, how best to protect the most precious of powers, and at last it was agreed to keep the Tablets of the Courtesies in the safest place their world could offer. From reverence, no copy was made, nor were its holy words read but by those who first had heard them from the ferrets.
And so it came to pass that one essential of the Four Gifts was weighed in rare metals and precious jewels, locked within a giant chest of iron, and after a long voyage and with great ceremony, was given to the waves and buried, safe forever in the uttermost part of the sea.
How others deal with gifts we've given is not our decision, but theirs.
---Antonius Ferret, Fables
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
If we talk about fiction category, typically the reasons are thin plot, too slow a narration, not enough or clear characterizations, and last but not the least an abysmal ending. But this is all about the writing style - obviously there are takers are for a casual plot, there are people who have patience to read through a very slow narration and whether one likes an ending or not depends on the reader's mentality. And here comes the book that I just read - it added a new definition for 'bad book' - grammatical mistakes (and mind you! these are not typos), putting an effort to mix the story with a message but that comes right out at you, irresponsible usage of font, and of course all the usual culprits mentioned above.
We all have heard about how a book gets published - author writes a story, author's acquaintances usually review it, and then it gets reviewed by at least one publisher and after a whole big process, the book gets published. When such a long process is involved in getting a book into the market, how did this book get out into the consumer world ? I can only think of one reason - the book has been reviewed by people with similar mindsets and capabilities.
I hope this stands as a gentle reminder to all the (new) writers - get your book reviewed not just by your peers but please for all consumers benefit, get it reviewed by people who can give you a frank feedback and who have better writing skills and who can actually read the book as a third person.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
A) Ah! Nothing! Just the usual grind - work, family, errands and thats all! Hardly get any time to do anything worthwhile!
Does this sound familiar ? If so, Meet Ms. Priti Aisola. She did her M.Phil in English literature, and has been a part-time middle and high school student's teacher at international schools as she has been travelling all over the world because of her husband Ravi Shankar Aisola's job. At some point, she realized she had to do something more and not just get stuck in the whirlpool of the mundane chores. Well-wishers suggestions from the past about picking up writing came to her mind and she did just that! And guess what! Her book, See Paris for Me, got published by none other than Penguin publishers! For those of you not too familiar with the publishers, Penguin is one of the top publishers in the world and not every book will pass through its editorial desks. Congratulations Priti! It is a job well done!
There is another point that is definitely worth a mention. Priti, you will have to excuse me on this but if what I am about to mention will inspire at least one person, I will perceive my job as the messenger done. Any guesses on the age of Priti ? She was born in 1960. And her first book, 'See Paris for Me' was published in 2009, late last year. Never is it too late to start what you love!
Even though I have blogged the book's review already, I will jot down one line from the book that will explain the spirit of the book: "Wash away all emotion that clogs and all thought that chokes the free flow of life in me".
Priti, Appreciate you coming over to EveningHour and the valuable time you spent with all of us. We all truly enjoyed your company and wish to meet you again and again.
Monday, March 15, 2010
There were close to 180 nominations for the event. All the businesses had to be originated in Hyderabad. The number though seems small is actually quite big for the city. 180 Online businesses - all started and run in Hyderabad. This brought up the question - How much is Hyderabad into the online world?
Not that long ago, may be about 4-5 years ago, a friend asked - How do you buy any product without taking a look at it ? That was the opinion of many at that time. Now that we have at least 180 businesses and IT Product showcases being held in the city, it does seem like there is a change in the trend. But has the city gone completely online ? Or should there be a offline presence as well ? What would consumers buy online ?
If we take the product showcase as a sampler, almost every product in consumers category had an offline presence as well. There's BigFlix, TravelSpice and your own EveningHour. All of them have an online presence but a strong offline base as well. It does indicate that there is still a demand for offline stores even though there is market for online businesses.
The next question is - what would consumers buy online ? Would they buy books online? How about clothes? Paintings ? Book flight tickets ? Needless to say, buying travel tickets online is in place. It seems like consumers are likely to buy books online. But personal experience has taught that there is a considerable percentage of people who have second thoughts about even buying books online. Certainly seems like buying clothes, furniture and such has a long journey.
To summarize, even though people have not yet embraced the concept of buying online, they are on the way! This is the time to start any online business because there is potential in it.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
This brings us to our question - What is in Technical Symposiums? Is it just about competitions ? Or are there other qualities that the participants and the organizers will learn that helps them through their life ?
Lets talk about the organizing team for Pragnya - Initially, they chalked out a plan for the event, got approvals from their coordinating professors, and then went to talk to potential sponsors. In the process, they reached out to companies and institutions like EveningHour and obviously convinced them to sponsor their event. On the other hand, the team sent out information to other colleges and universities inviting them to the event, taking in the registrations and all the rest that is involved in that. Last but not the least is providing accommodation to all the visitors. As is usually the case, the number of students that turned up is very less than the original registrations. So there was a last minute search for accommodations. The team was found on bikes driving around trying to finish all these last minute tasks. Of course, this is just a high level task list. There is a lot more involved. For the organizer team, this is in all probability the first of such activity. This would have taught them the importance of much needed life-skills of organizing, planning, keeping on schedule, team-work and most of all, the confidence and a life-long memory. Kudos to this team and all those who have successfully organized college symposiums and meets.
As far the participants, they have the experience of competing and interacting with students from other colleges, the exchange of ideas and of course the fun attached with it all. All in all, everybody wins with such meets.
Our best wishes to the entire organizing team and participants.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Name of the book ; One Life to Ride
Name of the author: Ajit Harisinghani
This book is a travelogue well written by the 54 year old author Hari Singhani. Hari Singhani has narrated a wonderful journey by road of about 4300 kilometers on his Enfield motor cycle all alone. He has started from Pune in south India and travelled to Kashmir with halts at Dahanu, Ahmedabad, Mt. Abu, Jaipur, New Delhi, Kiratpur, Kasol, Manali, Darcha, Pang, Leh, Hunder, Leh, Dras, Srinagar, Patnitop and Jammu. From Jammu he has returned home to Pune by train.
The narration of his journey beyond Manali is very good and adventurous. He has given a clear picture of the areas in Himalayas which many of us can never see. His description of the snow clad areas, the high altitude passes, glacier melt nalhas , the tented accommodation etc., will make all us to feel as if we are ourselves on the move. He describes about his accommodation at Darcha after Manali and Rohtang La as a circular tent, which looks large enough to house two cricket teams. He counts a total of 40 metal beds ( with mattresses and thick quilts on each ) placed in rows seperated by a foot-wide aisles on either side.The hotel is operated by a tibetan couple whose own space is cordoned off from the guest beds by a curtain of some more thick brown canvas. The menu at almost all the places in the Himalayas tented accommodation is dal rice combo.Enroute such tented accommodation is available.
Through out the Himalayas ( ofcourse from Pune itself ) the author rode the motor bike alone even without any pinion rider. At most of the route even without any phone connection.
On the way to Leh the capitol of Ladakh he passes Tanglang La ( 5360 metres ) the second highest motorable road. The author explains that the atmosphere suddenly changes by minute and some times a high dust storm also happens. The roads are too narrow and once it took him more than an hour ride to overtake a convoy of military vehicles.
He says that lot of tourists from around the world are there at Leh. Hotels are there . But the cost is too high at around Rs.3000-00 per day.
The author has visited many places in Srinagar , Jammu, Kargil. He narrates the difficult , lonely life of the army personnel who are guarding our boundaries sacrificing their present for our future.
This is a great book and a very worthwhile to read. The author shares many thoughts on biking and of lifestyle in various regions of India as well as elsewhere. You won't regret buying this book thus commented one reader from Spain.
Now here's a brilliantly talented writer who, with no great prior preparedness, has the guts & gumption to bike across from one end of the country, ready to deal with situations as they emerge and tell us things we rarely hear about this wonderful land called India. One life to ride is a marvellous book. thus commented another reader.
This is a wonderful book which will create interest the regular traveller and makes others to get interest in travel.
This book makes us feel to travel Himalayas by road. If not on a bike alone but with friends on a car. There are lot of travel agencies in Delhi to cater to our needs. Though I am over 61 years I am planning to go this summer.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I have always believed that women are capable of great things. There is enough public proof with lists of women who have achieved success in all spheres of life. I also strongly believe that a group of women have the ability to change the world… if only they put their mind to it, once they finish their other, the family taken care of, the dog fed, the cupboards organized; and after attending to all the other myriad chores and responsibilities that occupy their waking hours.
I decided to invite a few friends to Evening Hour, my neighborhood bookstore cum library for a little get together on the eve of Women’s Day. I emailed about 8 women friends with an open invitation to bring along friends who may like to be part of this gathering. Only 5 showed up, the others had excuses which did not sound too convincing. Nevertheless, the ones who did show up are to be commended for prioritizing a social gathering with like-minded women, a meeting with no agenda or expectations, an event where you did not have to dress-up or please anyone or fear the feedback after the event.
We spent about two hours in the library sharing a few laughs, took pictures, ate samosas and cake and just hung out. There wasn’t much discussion about kids or specifics of our work. We supported those who were in the midst of a career change. We fantasized about exotic vacations. All of us were pleased to be surrounded by books. It was a relaxing evening.
As we dispersed with a promise of meeting again, I wondered why we women behave so strangely when it comes to prioritizing ourselves. If we had to attend a business dinner that was essential to stay in the rat race, if we had to drive through town to show up at a wedding reception of a distant relative, or if we just had to buy those necessary vegetables, we would find time and delve into the last of our resources to do what we think is needed. But when there is a chance to do something that is just for ourselves, we feel guilty about it. When the pile of things to do keeps increasing, taking some time out for self seems like an indulgence. But the fact remains that if you cannot be responsible to self, it is harder to be responsible for others, with a clear conscience.
There are only a few pleasures in life that give you more comfort than the support of good friends. It is so rejuvenating to be in midst of easy, undemanding camaraderie. A break from the routine grind of deadlines and chores actually helps you focus better on the household once you get your batteries charged in a soothing environment. But tapping into the alternate source of energy requires some effort – the effort of breaking free of the familiar drudgery and being open to the possibility that a meeting with known and unknown fellow women may actually be good for the soul.
I am sure that successful women all over the world have figured out the key to having it all lies in the ability to make time for yourself.
Even a child of just 3 1/2 years also came to dais and narrated a story in English without any fear and received a standing applause for the same.The winners are presented with prizes and all the participants also are given prizes in token of appreciation of their courage to come forward and narrate the stories at the dais.
The session is a grand success.
As suggested by the members it is planned to hold another competition for children between ages 10 and 15 years on April 03rd. The topic is their DREAMS . They need to tell what they want to become and what are their dreams.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Meghna then goes on to have a life that seems perfect and complete in every way - a rich husband, two lovely kids, supportive in-laws, a reliable group of friends and work that makes her happy. But the emptiness that she sees in herself, the growing discontent with the status quo, no matter how comfortable it appears on the outside is what she battles with. And then comes a point three decades after that fateful meeting in Goa, when she has a chance to keep her promise to meet Aditya in Goa. The book takes a look at what happens to established marital relationships which continue solely based on assumptions about the spouse and how even the most congenial relationships falter when the past appears unexpectedly.
The book is an easy read and moves quickly though the lives of the Meghna and her family. There are some lovely, poetic descriptions of Goa and profound passages of the discussions between Meghna and Aditya. But in the second half there are places where the author hits the right notes as to how women get labeled – when a friend remarks that only one of their group of four has not “settled down” meaning married with children. At that time, Meghna, who is already blessed with two kids, thinks to herself that she is also “not settled” – her private opinion of herself, so much in contrast with the prevailing public sentiment. Much later, Meghna muses about how many women seem relieved when their husbands die or they get divorced – a thought that is not voiced out aloud by women, although pondered upon quite often. My favorite paragraph is the one where Meghna wonders how Aditya might have changed in the intervening years –“Like things lose their magic when you grow up, old schools that appear small and cramped, old homes that appear ugly and unkempt, old loves that appear ordinary, old people who have no smiles left.”
The character of Aditya is enigmatic even as the details that appear to explain his unconventional behavior are revealed. But his name is not just a metaphor for the rising sun who brings warmth and laughter into Meghna’s life but also is a symbol of what we all need for inspiration to break from the self-imposed barriers of our life. We can reinvent ourselves through a mere memory of a time gone by, a simple word of encouragement, a personal talent that brings joy, a seed of something that is already and always within us, as long as we are willing to experience it.“If you love someone…” tells you that simply, and compellingly.
Friday, March 5, 2010
The lead character in the story, 'See Paris for Me', is a house-wife happily married to a high profile government official because of which they are in Paris. With their kid in Hyderabad with the grandparents, she has suddenly found lot of time for herself and started thinking of all the possible things she could have done with her life. At around the same time, she meets 'Kanav'. The rest of the story is about how they interact, what goes between them and if and how they take their relation forward.
The author, Priti Aisola, gave a lot of attention to the characterizations and the details. The efforts put by the author is quite evident in the way she mentions different books along with their author's names, the various museums in Paris, the detailed descriptions of the art pieces and such. One would get a fair glimpse of what one can see and do in Paris.
The book is an interesting read. Though one might perceive the book to be a slow read, given that the plot is dealing with a sensitive topic with a lot of emotions involved, there is no other way the plot can be dealt.
p.s.: Priti Aisola has humbly agreed to come to EveningHour on March 20th 6:30 PM. She is a very nice lady and would be a treat to meet and talk to her directly and get the inside information on the book, writing in general. For details, contact EveningHour team @ 65873003.