Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I can read your mind!

Well, that's what Lior Suchard said. And he definitely can. This is what we found out recently at this show aptly titled as "Limitless" because that's precisely what Lior's powers felt like. Now I wasn't really sure what this show was going to be about or how deeply impressed I was going to be at the end of it. You'd think why would I then spend my money on buying tickets for a show of which I didn't even know was about. Now that's where the perks of being a blogger come into picture. Yours truly was invited to witness this incredible show that's going to leave any of us dumb founded. The show Limitless by Lior Suchard at the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon.
I tried to read a little about the likes of Lior Suchard, ala who a mentalist is and what they exactly do. Apparently they can read your minds, tell you the most intimate secrets of your life you are sure you have never shared with anyone, and guess everything that you think they can't. Watching the show feels so much ironical because you just can't believe that another human being can actually read your mind as if everything was just scrawled across your forehead. You can't believe it and yet you are stunned at the incredibility of it all.

"Reserved" !! :-)
H and I were seated in the front, the section reserved for Media. The show started off very well, with coordinated lighting and fancy music, the kinds you see and hear on foreign live shows. We were sure quite excited to be a part of such a show. And then the Lior-isms started. He started with randomly picking up people from the audience and telling them the exact number they were thinking. If that's not strange enough for you, fasten your seat belts. The flight to fantasy had just begun. Sample this. He randomly asked who remembered the name of their first love. Many people did. He called up one girl on the stage, interacted with her for a little while and then gave us all the name of the guy that girl had had a crush on in her 10th standard. No mean feat.

The highlight of the evening was that H and I were also the ones to be up on the stage with The Mentalist for one of his gigs. We were right there on the stage, trying to be poker faced and all, hiding a coin in one of our hands, and every single time, he would guess it correctly. He had a lot of tricks up his sleeve and we were just gawking and aping and incredulously shaking our heads most of the time. Sometimes we even forgot to clap, so stunned we were. The evening finished on a high note and all of us moved out of the auditorium trying to make some logic to explain what we had just witnessed? Was that even possible?

Lior explaining the coin trick to H!

And that's both of us with Lior on the stage!
The benefits of being a blogger didn't end at the Platinum seats reserved for us at the show. We also got the opportunity to meet Lior Suchard, up, close and personal after the event. All of us had so many questions and he answered most graciously. But he refused to teach us any of his tricks when I asked him about it ;-) He says mind reading is a highly evolved science that involves a lot of practice and intuition. We came back starry eyed, with a book authored by Lior to understand the power of positive thoughts, and to know a little bit more about mind reading.

Also, since I was visiting the Kingdom of Dreams for the first time, leaving you all with some of the pics of the beautiful "Culture gully".

Beautiful handicrafts and authentic jewellery!

The state pavilions!

The Mumbai pavilion!

Some beautifully painted walls!

Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the most beautiful of them all?

A night view of one of the sculptures!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Love is Vodka – A Shot Ain’t Enough - Book Review

Love is Vodka
Title : Love is Vodka – A Shot Ain’t Enough
Author : Amit Shankar
Publisher : Vitasta Publishing Pvt Ltd
ISBN : 978-81-925354-4-9
Number of Pages : 203
Price [INR] : 195
Genre: Fiction

Being a love child; Moon is anything but a conventional teen. With a leading TV news anchor as her mother, an aspiring entrepreneur as her boy friend, the word LOVE baffles her. The whole idea of having one partner and love being eternal intrigues her.

Life turns upside down when she falls for her mother’s boyfriend. Destiny further complicates things by blessing her with a mega modelling assignment and turning her famous overnight. A war between her head & heart exposes her to various hues of love.

Will she decipher the true meaning of love? Embark on an exhilarating rendezvous with Moon and discover love like never before.

The book revolves around a teenager and love-child Moon, who has had a not-so normal upbringing because of her mother's Payal Malik's rebellious thinking. Payal Malik is a hot shot journalist who has spent all her life in the field of journalism, fighting out the cut throat competition and finally emerging at the top. She is now the editor of a leading national news channel. Her father is French and although Moon has never met her, she keeps in contact with him through emails and chats.

Moon's problems are typically what all teenagers go through during this phase. She has a boyfriend who she thinks she is in love with, but cannot understand her attraction towards other men at the same time. She knows she is beautiful, and yet she longs for people's approval by posting her pictures on Facebook and waiting for more "likes" and "comments". Her behavior typically stems from the fact that even though the mother has provided much more than for all her needs during her growing up years like a palatial bungalow, a chauffeur driver car and the spoils, she has raised her with an iron hand. Moon longs for her mother's sensitive side, and without realizing keeps searching for it in the form of love from men.

Life gets out of control when she falls in love, and eventually moves in with her mother's "friend". She is all of 19, he is 45. Their chemistry sure is crackling in the beginning, but of course it has it's fireworks because Moon is an excited teenager who wants to do all the wacky and weird stuff whereas he, being the director of an ad company has been there, and done that. And probably cannot take risks at this point in his career.

And so, Moon keeps getting in and out of relationships with nobody but her confused mind to blame.During the second half of the book, after the fiasco with the mother's boyfriend, she comes back to her mother's place, only to leave it again for an Anna Hazare like political revolution. She realizes she wants to do something worthwhile for the country. At the same time, she s also confused as to why Gautam (the guy who is spear heading the revolution) doesn't care a hoot about her beauty, even when she is ready to give all of herself to him.

The book looks promising in the beginning, as the author sketches Moon's character quite aptly for a pampered silly teen-aged girl. but somewhere along the way, he loses plot. The book just seems all over the place. Too many things are happening but none for a reason. The book completely loses its steam towards the end and then I just waited for the last page. I thought everything would converge to amount to something. But to say the least, I was disappointed.

My rating 2.5/5

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Do-It-Right Story!

It was during one of the examinations. We, the younger class ( I guess 7th standard) were made to sit with an older class (10th or 11th standard). The guy sitting next to me was typically one of those guys who come to the examination hall on the sole merit of the guy sitting behind/front of him. But, alas, it was not to be. That day, due to the seating arrangement and his bad luck, we were seated on last bench. And apparently this bhaiyya's (that's what we used to call our seniors in school) friend was the one who had to sit behind him and prompt him the answers but he was made to sit in the adjacent row's first seat. There was no way these two guys could have helped each other.

The bell rang. The exam started. As a junior, I was in awe of the seniors and the senior classes because their syllabus was so much tougher. For the first one hour, I remember, this guy hadn't attempted a single question. He just kept turning the question paper and answer sheet. He was writing down the questions. I felt weird and initially thought that may be they had a certain way of attempting the answers. But after the first hour, it was clear to me that this bhaiyya had not studied anything for his exam. I could sense that he was growing restless with every passing minute. As soon as the bell rang indicating that the first hour of the 3-hour exam was over, he sat upright. I think he just decided he had to do something to salvage his exam.

And so, he prodded the guy in front of him to show him something, anything. The guy reluctantly kept his answer sheet a little to his left so that this guy could copy down his answers. And so the cheating started. This bhaiyya must have used to doing this because he did manage to con the supervising teacher. All the awe  and importance I had been feeling of sitting with a senior flew out of the window. They were supposed to be intelligent guys, cracking difficult questions. And he wasn't supposed to be asking a 7th grader (i.e. me) if I knew answers to any of his questions.

I warned him. And the first time I did, he just smiled. I told him that if he continued doing what he was, I would inform the teacher. But I don't think he had any idea that this 7th grade girl, who wasn't in the least intimidating (not even 5 ft tall and very thin) would have the guts to do anything like that. He continued with his antics, and I with my warnings. He just kept ignoring them. Finally, when I could not take the breach of the righteousness taught to us any longer, I walked up to the teacher and told her that the bhaiyya sitting next to me was continuously cheating from the guy in front.

The teacher immediately walked up to both of them, snatched their answer sheets and made a huge cross on them with a red pen and wrote "Caught cheating". It was quite awkward after that. I walked back to my desk and this bhaiyya was sitting forlorn. He threatened me with a "dekh loonga tumhe" (I will see you later).

But today when I look back at this incident, it sends shivers down my spine. Haven't we all heard gruesome tales of kids harming and killing other students and even teachers who have in the past reprimanded the? We hardly heard of such stories in the past. Today they are an everyday reality. What if that bhaiyya had been a psycho too who would try to harm me for the fiasco I caused? I was a harmless little girl and I am sure I would not have been able to avert it. But those were good times I guess. Kids back then had some goodness in them. So what if they were caught cheating? So what if they were tipped off by a junior? They didn't come back at me. I am not sure if the scenario had been the same had this incident happened in today's times.




With all the vices this world has for kids these days - from child abuse to misleading advertisements that have kids at their hearts, there are few things left that let kids learn about right and wrong or retain their innocence. Tata Capital's initiative to publish a book of DoItRight stories, for kids and by kids is something about which I feel from the heart. And that's why this story from my own childhood is my contribution to this initiative.
I wish all kids and parents read these stories and it has a far reaching effect on the kids. That Honesty, Kindness, Compassion, Respect and Integrity are not just words. They are virtues that will hold them in good stead for along long time to come. And will take them very far in life :-)

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at BlogAdda.com in association with Tata Capital.

Monday, August 12, 2013

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

Book:Land of The Seven Rivers
Author: Sanjeev Sanyal
Publisher: Penguin
Language: English
Pages: 330
Price: Rs 399

A book that says on it's cover page that it's going to talk about the history of your country's geography is enough to send you a clear signal - either you want to read about it or you don't. Now I was the worst ever History and Geography student throughout my student life. I could never get the dates right, the innumerable wars, civilizations, and the maps! But history is interesting if you don't have to sit for an exam at the end of it. And hence, I grabbed with both hands the opportunity of reading this book and making up for my poor knowledge.

Working with a set of questions — Did the great flood of Indian legend actually happen? Why did the Buddha walk to Sarnath to give his first sermon? How did the Europeans map India?
Combining scholarship with sparkling wit, Sanjeev Sanyal sets out to explore  how India's history was shaped by its geography - answering questions you may have never thought to ask. Moving from geological and genetic origins to present day Gurgaon, Land of seven rivers is riveting, wry and full of surprises.

Land of the seven rivers moves through the Indian sub-continent and along the way are the major landmarks like the Harappan civilization, the Vedas, Ramayna, the Mahabharata and further along the British and the Mughals. The book covers over 6000 years of Indian history about cities, landscapes and its rivers. It tells us about the world before Pangea happened and how India was once very close to Madagascar in Africa. That explains the similarity in the elephants and the genetic code. It also talks about how the various cities came into being, which rivers had flown there, how they were central to the existence of that civilization, how trade routes were created and so on and so forth. It has a lot of information about ancient and medieval India and the book covers historical as well as the geographical parts of it like plate tectonics etc to validate its logic.

I liked the book for it's never ending information. More so for a historically and geographically challenged person like me. But after a while, the book seemed just like my history text book. Overflowing with dates and names of civilizations and information. When I had read the words "Combining scholarship with sparkling wit", I had thought may be the book would not be just pure veggies, but a nicely done salad with the thousand island dressing ;-) That was the only thing that was a bit of a disappointment. Otherwise the book is a store house of interesting and (I think) never-before-read geographical aspects of Indian history and vice versa.

My rating : 3.5/5

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