Apurva Purohit

Lady You are not a Man by Apurva Purohit

10:40:00 PM

Today's woman wants to make a success of both family and career and is unwilling to compromise on either. But the burden of coping with deadlines, recalcitrant children, lazy husbands, difficult bosses and equally difficult in-laws can be daunting, even overwhelming. In this book, Apurva Purohit, CEO of Radio City 91.1 FM, shows how women can accept, adapt and achieve their way to the highest rung in every arena. Through real-life stories and funny anecdotes, she provides pithy tips on a multitude of topics: from training husbands to training interns, from the right attitude to getting it right with kids, from dealing with household crises to office emergencies, from building a reputation to paving ones way to the top. Warm, witty and empathetic, Lady, You're Not a Man! is a must-read for every woman on the quest for work-home balance and determined to succeed in her career and live a happy and fulfilling life.

Nimue Says : There was a time I was sceptical of such titles , not 'cause I doubted the content or the intention but mostly due to the fact that most of such books were too preachy. NOT THIS ONE. 

The book drives home one very important lesson , the title : Lady , You are NOT a Man. And as much one tries hard , we can not be like them. Which Apurva shows is to our own benefit. 

There are all sort of women around us and every one of them can teach us a lot - either by showing what to do or what not to do in our life. The Chandni - Chameli analogy or be it the strict boss who was portrayed as devil/monster by the employee who did not want to work hard but hide her flaws , Be it the funny anecdotes from her life or the lessons learned from others , be it ones in-laws or the boss or the matters of pregnancy and children that each one of us have to face at some time , I will never forget Apurva's bottom line at the end of such chapters - One can blame these factors or other people only to some extent. Ultimately it all depends on your will and hard work that will take you ahead. 

One can not spend life regretting or begrudging others for lost opportunities or the sacrifices you make. It was your decision and one should live them proudly.

This book is a wonderful journey , well shared for all - men and women alike. 

It has made me a bit more glad about what I do and way I manage my life today.
It also helped me be aware that inspite all that comes , I can win over the situations with time.

Rating : 4/5


Indian fiction

The Guardian Angels by Rohit Gore

5:50:00 PM


The Guardian Angels is the epic and tumultuous story of two star-crossed lovers who weren’t just soul-mates but were also each other’s protectors.

The fates of Adi Mehta and Radha Deodhar are deeply entwined when within days of their first rendezvous they save each other’s lives. Despite their vast sociopolitical differences, they are drawn to an uncertain future fraught with contrasting ambitions, personas and ideologies.

. . . he is the son of a billionaire, she is the daughter of a socialist.

. . . he is quiet and unassuming, she is a firebrand and spirited.
However, the unexplained phenomena ties them forever – whenever they are in peril, they are each other’s only saviors.

Over the following two decades Adi and Radha live through hope and despair, joy and sadness, and try to decipher their relationship. As the truth of their bond is revealed, they must confront the true nature of love, and ultimately, their destinies.



I picked this book only 'cause I liked Rohit's book "Circle of three"  . I wasn't aware that there was another book he has penned ( which I am going to search and read pretty soon ). The first time  I read the plot , the first impression was  , "Ok , this sounds predictable. Let's see what Rohis has to offer differently here" . 100 pages into the book , I wrote an email to him mentioning the number of times I shed tears and how much I am loving this book.

So , yes , predictable end or not , this story will move you to tears and want you to confront the true nature of your love [ I wrote quite an emotional email to my fiancee as soon as I finished this book :D ]

This is a tale of Adi and Radha who meet as teenagers , grow up together sometimes , mostly apart , loving each other , yet letting the world dictate otherwise some times. Following two lives over two decades is one hell of a task and I am impressed Rohit doesn't let the story falter at any given moment. A friend of mine recently said "soul mates are meant to shape you , change you and appreciate you , but rarely stay with you "

This totally suits Adi & Radha. It was heartwarming to see their concern and sacrifices for each other , the price they willingly paid for each other's smiles and yet never admitting once , the life they could "live happily ever after".

Rohit has created another spell-binding world in this book , which you automatically feel a part of. The circumstances , the people in their life , the events that occur , none of it seems misplaced. No dialogue lets you down , no goodbye leaves you without a lump in heart.

Maybe I am an emotional person and so could relate so much to this book. But , in all times , for most readers , I can readily recommend this book and know you won't be disappointed.


The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Non Ficion

Land of the Seven Rivers - A Brief History of India's Geography

3:17:00 PM


Author: Sanjeev Sanyal
Publisher: Viking
ISBN-13: 9780670086399
Binding: Paperback
No. of pages: 352
Copy Source: Think Why Not
Rating: 4/5

I've been a bad girl as far as reading goes, and worse still, about reviewing books. A mad phase at work leaves me with precious little mental energy at the end of the day and by TBR pile looks at me accusingly. However, I not only made time for Sanjeev Sanyal's 'Land of The Seven Rivers' , but also found it quite unputdownable. It is unputdownable not in the manner of thrillers but by way of presenting the reader with many 'Oh!' moments.

'Land of The Seven Rivers - A Brief History of India's Geography' is a delightfully informative read, and Sanyal even manages to pepper it with wit! I was very intrigued by the title; finally someone was promising to tell me something about India's history that had nothing to do with the same old Marathas and the same old Gandhis. Geography was also not a subject that interested me much in school. Who wants to read endlessly about kharif and raabi crops, right? But here was a title that claimed to be none of the two, yet both.

And Sanyal holds true his promise. With extensive research, a lot of which is based on his personal travels, Sanyal traces the origins and evolution of the subcontinent. The book is divided into eight chapters that chart the course of India, right from the pre-historic times down to the present-day. The first chapter, ‘Of Genetics and Tectonics’ deals with the formation of the natural geographical boundaries, using the continental drift theory and examines the latest notions about the nation’s gene pool. Citing modern research, Sanyal too finds the Aryan Invasion theory redundant and concludes that the Indian people are a truly eclectic mix from across the world, then as now.

The second chapter, ‘People of the Lost River’, deals with two of the most intriguing elements of India’s past – the Harappan Civilization and the River Saraswati. Sanyal does a quick recce of the vast body of research on the Harappan, or what is now called the Indus Valley Civilization. The author is in agreement with the modern researchers who propose that the Vedic and the Indus Valley Civilization were the same. Disproving the Aryan Invasion theory again, Sanyal points out that India’s earliest cities withered away due to the drying up of the great river Saraswati. The chapter also talks about the Bharata tribe, from whom India derives its name.

The third chapter, ‘The Age of the Lions’ discusses a period that roughly coincides with the Late Iron Age. It was the milieu of some of India’s most important personas including Gautama Buddha, Chanakya and Chadragupta Maurya. It was also the time of Alexander’s invasion, and the building of the first highways. Sanyal also discusses the introduction of the lion in the country, supporting it with scriptural and historical evidence, and the induction of the animal as a symbol of royal power.

‘The Age of Merchants’, the fourth chapter, talks especially about the ports of southern India that flourished during the Chola dynasty. It emphasises the importance of port towns in serving as the melting pot for cultures and commerce. Sanyal also points out how the once flourishing maritime trade in India diminished with the onset of caste restrictions on ‘crossing the waters’. Through the fifth chapter, ‘From Sindbad to Zheng He’, Sanyal continues to talk about traders that made their way into India and eventually set up communities here, slowly giving India its multicultural hue. There are many interesting tidbits about evolving maritime technology too in these sections.

In the sixth and seventh chapters, ‘The Mapping of India’ and ‘Trigonometry and Steam’, the author sheds light on the aspects of cartography, not just in India but the increasingly dominating European nations. Europe’s advancement in map-making, mathematics and technology paved their path to eventual world domination, while the Indian dynasties like the Muhgals and Marathas crumbled under the weight of the old world.

By the time we get to the last chapter, ‘The Contours of Modern India’, the British have obviously established colonial rule in the nation. We read about Calcutta’s emergence and disintegration as the seat of power. We read about the making of Delhi all over again by the British, as by a long line of Indian rulers. The chapter also obviously speaks about the partition, the making of Bangladesh and the strained relationships we share with Pakistan and China.

The book is so full of amazing facts that I couldn’t help but write such a long review. It is a must read for anyone interested in India’s history, geography and even mythology! Sanyal’s authoritative voice and extensive research make it a great read and it may as well serve as a handbook for any student of ‘India’. I most certainly recommend it.


Ambalika

You Adored, Me Ignored by Ambalika

12:24:00 AM



You Adored, Me Ignored

Author: Ambalika
ISBN: 9788183283267
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Wisdom Tree
Number of Pages: 122
Genre: Fiction
Language: English
Price: Rs. 100


About the Author:

Ambalika was born during an extraordinary planetary eclipse that had momentarily wiped off the sunshine from her life. When the darkness threatened to take over, she wrote and wrote, and when the eclipse passed,she found that she had authored this book. when she feels that writing needs a break from her, she switches to her other persona, to coach youngsters and help them communicate better.

Swarnali Speaks :

For starters, I thought the author had assumed a pseudonym for her debut work and it was only later that I realized she actually is called Ambalika Bhattacharyya :) (Interesting name I must say.)

Coming to the book now. Anam, our heroine of the book is a simple small town girl, who wants to make a life of her own, on her own terms, without constraints. A girl who has set out to search for her identity and carve a niche for herself in this big wide world. I think a lot of readers will be able to connect to her as she wades her way though obstacles of all kinds towards self-revelation. The daily family drama with relatives and cousins has been very humorously presented in the book.

The book is a roller coaster ride which starts like a romance with our first person narrator talking about herself and her clan (her family as she calls it) and then slowly turns into a murder mystery as a murder happens out of nowhere, when you are least expecting it. What follows next is a journey which is less of a murder solving and more of a discovery for Anam as she tries to get herself out of the suspect list. Even though the murder seemed a little outlandish to me, I suppose I can suspend my disbelief for a while just to go along with the flow of the story.

The best part of the novel is the fact that the author hasn't stretched the story more than necessary and has ended where it should, at 122 pages, which makes it an extremely light and breezy read. Humorous anecdotes and colloquial first person narration makes the book all the more fun to read. A perfect option when you want to wind down and read a book without burdening your mind too much.

Rating : 3/5

crime thriller

"Fire in the rain" by Surendra Mohanty

7:28:00 PM


A serial killer is on the loose. He surfaces in one metropolis after another, leaving behind a trail of murders. He masquerades as respectable citizens in different cities – Navy officer in Mumbai and Hyderabad, a film director’s brother in Kolkata, restaurateur in Bangalore, racehorse buff in Pune – and targets single working women. ACP Kale is desperate to catch the elusive killer before he strikes again, but he has no clue except that the killer invariably strikes on an ominous day – Friday the thirteenth, and hires luxury cars to date his victims. One of his quarries, the beautiful Richa finally tames him.


Frankly , the cover was a bit of turn off . So was the name , which did not make much sense to me till the very end ( though I can not say it means much to me even now ).

But I am kind of glad , I moved ahead from these observations and decided to read this. A short and engaging read , this book doesn't offer much of thrill but yet , you will appreciate the plotting and planning that the killer does for each of his victim. It really is a bit sad , the way he meets his ends but also made me wonder , if it was really an illusion that he fell for or love had another tragic tale to its credits. Not that you would appreciate his actions any time , considering the troubles others fall in for his crimes.

The scenes are convincing , the dialogues are good and the whole story has a kind of real feeling to it. And that is the reason I liked the book most.

worth a free afternoon read :)

My rating : 3/5



Frankly Spooking

Frankly Spooking

7:53:00 PM

                                     

Book: Frankly Spooking
Author: Sriramana Muliya

Synopsis: ( From the book cover)
These are stories that will draw out the fears which lie hidden in the deepest, darkest recesses of your mind. Where the dead meet you in the corridors of a swanky office, a busy shopping mall, a quiet classroom. They may even come knocking on your front door.
Unexpected yet familiar, Frankly Spooking is perfect for those nights when the rains lash against  your windowpane and the lights go off.

Excerpts:
"Then? I mean.. you can tell me, you know. I have always tried to be a friend to all my teammates."
"I'm telling you, Preeti. She'll not come back."
"But why?" Preeti demanded.
"Because we just had her for supper."

Padma trudged up the stairs to the first-floor bathroom where the machine stood. It was spinning. Her mouth went dry. Who had switched it on? Heart throbbing, she looked closer. She stopped the machine and opened it to inspect the clothes inside. Her blood froze.
Tangled amidst the clothes was Aniket's face, staring right at her.

Maithili Speaks: 

After terrorizing his readers for years on his blog, Sriramana Muliya makes his debut with "Frankly Spooking".
As the book promises, the darkest fears in the recesses of the mind are unraveled. 
The most mundane events become paranormal, the most harmless possessions become deadly. 
 The book has stories that you will flip through the day and dread at night :O 

The starting chapters are light and set in a feel for what is next to come. You only get over the inertia of what happened last, when you are knocked with a new dose of the ghost. This time it is the innocent looking teddy in your bedroom or that pair of earphones that are always circling your neck.. 
There are stories that you have to read again to make sure you read that right. Some will make  you petrified for life if you are weak minded. 
"Breath taking sight" and "Team Player" are my personal favorites. A common pursuit of lovers to seek for deserted places takes a ghastly turn in "Breath taking sight". Trust me, you wouldn't go peeking your nose in other's business if you read "Team Player".  That is what makes this book a winner. It makes you scared and think twice about what is second nature to you. Would you do it again? 

This unchartered territory, as Sriramana puts it, is a breathe of fresh air from all those college romances, MBA tragedies and sleazy engineered fantasies. The book explores the fear of the dead, the undead and those in between. 

Read it at night when it is raining outside and there is no power in the house. I dare you to get out of bed ! This book goes into my collection. If nothing, you will have a whole range of stories to scare the hell out of people staying over and talking late into the night about ghosts.

Come on, its been ages and we are hearing the same "Reverse footed, floating, candle bearing ghost". 

Caution: Read at your own risk. Do not hold me responsible if you are paralyzed the whole night :D 

Rating: 3.5/5

Price: Rs 299/-


Abhay Nagarajan

Corporate Atyaachaar, by Abhay Nagarajan

10:06:00 PM



About the author:
Abhay Nagarajan worked as a financial advisor for more than two years. He enjoys writing and reading statistics of cricket, which has been his first love since class five. This is his first novel.

Cover and blurb:
A humorous portrayal of life in the corporate world with a cartoon, and a story of a financial advisor freshly recruited from campus. It felt like it might be a good read.

My thoughts:
As someone who follows a same routine every day and looking for change, and unable to find it yet, looking for humor at the workplace, I felt the premise of Abhay Nagarajan’s first novel was a good one, and that it might hold a lot of fun. Whereas it did have humor in places and it started out well enough, the novel had very less in it to actually hold my attention.

The story of a young guy, who was selected into a small team in a known company, with a friendly boss who had a proclivity to scratch his private parts (appropriately abbreviated to HBS) and a lady who was sweet and helpful but tended to scream too much, Corporate Atyaachaar takes us along with the guy (not named) on his corporate journey.

However, every chapter felt like a diary of his client meetings and felt like it ended with the line about office. It had a good premise, and there is humor in bits, but I don’t feel the same joke told ten times very quickly works each time, so the repetition foiled it. I give him props for keeping it real, but not a novel I’d be reading again.



My Rating: 1/5

Book details:
Title: Corporate Atyaachaar
Author: Abhay Nagarajan
ISBN: 978-93-80349-23-7
Genre: Fiction/Humor
Publishers: Srishti Publishers
Price: INR. 100



Reviewed by Leo

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Anthony de Mello

The Prayer of the Frog, Vol 2. by Fr. Anthony de Mello

2:12:00 PM


About the author:

Father Anthony “Tony” de Mello was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. An internationally acclaimed spiritual guide, writer and public speaker, de Mello hosted many spiritual conferences.

My thoughts:
Usually, non-fiction genre and my bookshelf are miles apart, but of late, more seem to be finding their way into it. The latest acquisitions, courtesy my local library, were two books on spiritualism, by Fr. Anthony de Mello.

Books on spiritualism are to be read slowly, they say. I understand that, and I’ve taken it as slow as I can. The book continues the wisdom of Volume 1.

Education should not be a preparation for life; it should be life. I think that has been one of the best quotes I have read. And the example used to illustrate it has been worth it as well. It was something I could relate to as a writer. The words expressed, for being a writer, you should just go write, not prepare for writing.

Another witty lesson was the one with the girl and the banana peel. It was humorous, but also showed that not all things can come back once gone, and we shouldn't fret on it.

All of us want to live atleast another day. This was illustrated by the story of the man who saved another year of his life by promising to make a horse fly!

But the one I liked the most was the idea that our walls are only mental, not physical. A bear in a cage paced up and down the twenty feet of the cage length. Even after the cage was removed years later, it continued pacing just that twenty feet. It showed that once we are fearful or trapped, the effect might linger longer than we think.

Once again, I'd recommend the read, but it is not to be absorbed at once. A slow read would best be suited.




Book details:
Title: The Prayer of the Frog Volume 2
Author: Fr. Anthony de Mello
ISBN: 9788187886266
Genre: Non-fiction, Spiritualism
Publishers: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash



Reviewed by Leo

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Anthony de Mello

The Prayer of the Frog, Vol 1. by Fr. Anthony de Mello

12:40:00 AM



About the author:
Father Anthony “Tony” de Mello was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. An internationally acclaimed spiritual guide, writer and public speaker, de Mello hosted many spiritual conferences.

My thoughts:
Usually, non-fiction genre and my bookshelf are miles apart, but of late, more seem to be finding their way into it. The latest acquisitions, courtesy my local library, were two books on spiritualism, by Fr. Anthony de Mello.

Books on spiritualism are to be read slowly, they say. I understand that, and I’ve taken it as slow as I can. The book is divided into eight parts.

My favorite part is the one where Sage Narada’s arrogance is punctured by Lord Vishnu. It showed that even when we are most busy, and occupied with our lives, if we invoke God, then God will hear us. That God knows we love him.

The second part is Awareness, wherein the part about “evident” was something that was thought provoking. In our life, we often express our opinion even when it is not needed. Sometimes we are right, sometimes not. This part showed in a different way, that what is evident to us may not be the truth always.

Another story is the story of belief. Most of us do believe in God, at least as a universal entity, if not by one name or religion. The story of Providence shows us belief in a different sense. It is the story of a priest who believed that God will save him, and refused to be saved by three rescue boats when a dam burst and his town was flooded. When on reaching Heaven, he asked God about why He didn’t come to save him, God replied that He did send three rescue boats. He always sends his grace and blessings, but we should understand that it might not be in a way that we expect it to be.

I could share my thoughts on many such gems of wisdom in this book, but then, the post would end up a mile long. If you chance upon this book, my suggestion would be to read it slowly, and let the meaning find you, rather than you finding the meaning. It might not come on the first read, or even the second. But it is a search that is worth doing I feel.



Book details:
Title: The Prayer of the Frog Volume 1
Author: Fr. Anthony de Mello
ISBN: 9788187886259
Genre: Non-fiction, Spiritualism
Publishers: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash



Reviewed by Leo

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Leo

Home Remedies, by T.V. Sairam

10:28:00 PM



About the author:
T. V. Sairam, a senior member of the civil services, holds a master’s degree in botany and a doctorate in alternative medicine. For the past three decades, he has been gathering and documenting data relating to the household use of medicinal plants.

My thoughts on the book:
I remember about a year or two back, my colleague gave me a set of essays to mark and rate for an inter-school competition. The topic for that was Grandma’s Home Remedies. It was fun to read the various takes on the topic, and some of them were not only well presented, but well written, so much that I could find myself thinking of these remedies that my grandmother had shared with and tried on me when I got the ailments. I’m sure you can too, right? Salt for mouth ulcers, or jeera for digestion, I think at one time or another, most of us might have heard these age-old remedies.

This book is almost an encyclopedia of how to use these medicinal plants which are quite easily known or identifiable. Plants like mango or lemon which are easily obtainable are given here. Each plant may have lots of uses in various ailments, like pimples or swelling, and bigger stuff like obesity and diabetes. They are very systematically arranged and indexed in the book for easy use.

When I chanced upon this book at my local library, I was immediately attracted to it. There are parts at the very beginning of the book on “How to use the book”, “How to prepare it” etc. So I urge any readers to go through those parts carefully, or if still doubtful, consult a physician before trying anything out. After all, a remedy not taken or administered correctly could lead to more complications. I’m just a reader, not a doctor!



Book details:
Title: Home Remedies – A Handbook of Herbal Cures for Common Ailments
Author: T. V. Sairam
Genre: Non-fiction/Medical
ISBN: 978-0140-277-09-8
Publishers: Penguin Publishers
Price: INR. 250



Reviewed by Leo

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Fiction

How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company, by Varun Agarwal

6:57:00 PM


About the author:
Varun Agarwal is a 25 year old Indian author, entrepreneur, photographer, and filmmaker. The author did his schooling from Bishop Cotton, Bangalore, and holds a BE degree in Telecommunication. His start-ups are Alma Mater, Reticular, a social media marketing company, and Last Minute Films, a film production house. Agarwal used to write blog posts on Facebook which became very popular. He sent a few articles to Rupa Publishers, who later asked him for a complete manuscript. This is how his debut book was born.

My thoughts on the book:
Few books call out to you on the humor factor just with the cover design alone. I’m not a big fan of humor as a genre but somehow this book did attract my attention, and it was a hoot! I think this book is worth a read because not only is it humorous, but also a little inspiring. The message is not for everyone, but even if it helps one or two, then it is a helpful book after all.

I’ve heard this book was written in about eight days. What a nice way to spend eight days! A story about a young guy who has just completed his engineering, but not yet got a job. I can understand this part… the confusion, the parental pressure, the talk behind your back and all that… because I’ve faced it myself. And Varun brings those emotions out easily. I particularly love the monologues which give those short contrasting thoughts that we usually think to ourselves while saying something completely different, all come out very nicely. The work that Varun and his friend put to get their company started… the obstacles, the setbacks, the little fights and misunderstandings, and oh yes – the secrecy of the whole thing from the parents… everything was tactfully and wittily shown. There is an “Anu Aunty” in all our lives. Someone who tries to push you into something you don’t want to do, and who convinces your parents that what you do want to do is not really valuable. From the disclaimer to the end, it holds you in its characters and sometimes subtle, sometimes out-and-out humor. Simple narration, understandable and apt dialogues, and a message that is nice.

The small drawbacks are the lack of depth to the small romances that are portrayed. It could have been brought out better. Overall, it is a book that is worth atleast one read.



My rating: 3.75 stars

Book details:
Title: How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-founded A Million Dollar Company
Author: Varun Agarwal
Genre: Fiction/Humor/Inspirational
ISBN: 978-81-291-1979-7
Publishers: Rupa Publications
Price: INR. 140



Reviewed by Leo

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inspirational

Wise and Otherwise, by Sudha Murty

7:30:00 PM


About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

My thoughts on the book:
Life is a strange package at times. It is not strange because of its failures or successes, tears or smiles but because of people. In life’s journey, we come across different kinds of people, who make us stop and think about that strangeness. This book shows us some of these people, the incidents that Sudha has experienced in her trips as a social worker and brings to us fifty short vignettes of such witty and sometimes thought provoking incidents.

Human foibles like boasting of things we haven’t done when we have things to actually boast about, sticking to rules that were advised to us by those who have had experience of the same, or honesty from a heart that is innocent and grateful for things that have gone it’s way, each of these vignettes have something to say, something to make us wonder, and even sometimes touch our heart. There’s a tale of a girl who was sold by the boy he adored the most, her brother, and a tale of an uneducated woman being more sensible than an educated man. She brings out wit with an incident where a telegram worded the wrong way became a funny trouble and poignancy with the tale of a family who moved on after a death because the death made their life easier.

Read this book for it is a passage through human behavior, and infinite wisdom in thought and experience.



My rating: 4 stars

Book details:
Title: Wise and Otherwise
Author: Sudha Murty
Genre: Non-Fiction/Inspirational
ISBN: 9780143062226
Publishers: Penguin Books
Price: INR. 250



Reviewed by Leo

Shared with Indian Quills Reading Challenge at The Tales Pensieve.