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Book review


In times of an ideological crisis, conversations are imperative to prevent the homogenization of ideas by the authority. Rabindranath Tagore felt the emergence of a crisis during the freedom struggle. As a result, he delivered three speeches in different parts of the world, with two of them talking about the oriental ‘nations’ of India and Japan. The third lecture centered around the West and the ideology exhibited by its people. Tagore believes that the idea of nationalism originated as a measure to counter chaos and disorder. The chapter of nationalism in the west draws a subtle line between truth and untruth, and shows how untruth is lionized as a means to economic attainment. Through a resourceful criticism of the West, he gives them hope and assurance of a better future. The author praises the West for being a lover of individual rights and liberty but denounces its acts of suppression in the colonies. In Nationalism in India, Tagore scrutinizes the Indian society and provides numerous warnings to the same. In the beginning, he gives an explanation for the existence of the caste system and implicitly justifies it by terming it as a legitimate response to the diversity present in Indian society. Towards the end, he calls for action against the caste system, thereby retaining the faith imposed on him by his readers. Tagore showers words of praise for Japan, a nation which, according to him, embraced modernity while retaining its own spiritual and humanitarian values. He writes, “In a word, modern Japan has come out of the immemorial East like a lotus blossoming in easy grace, all the while keeping its firm hold upon the profound depth from which it has sprung.” As seen in the other two essays, he warns the Japanese as well, by saying that they might lose their ideals by racing with the west. “If it be a mere reproduction of the West, then the great expectation she has raised will remain unfulfilled.” The Nobel laureate writes the trio of essays by giving it a poetic touch. He’s able to capture the essence of oriental philosophy in a few pages, long before the world came to blows with each other. His essays draw a distinction between the oriental and the western culture, which serves as a beautiful reminder to the millennials, people who look at their hands and see no history. Tagore’s Nationalism ends with a Bengali poem, The Sunset of the Century, which is translated into English. In the last few lines of the poem, he appeals to the conscience of his readers through words weaved in majestic lines. The last stanza of the poem beautifully sums up his belief. Be not ashamed, my brothers, to stand before the proud and the powerful

With your white robe of simpleness.

Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the freedom of the soul.

Build God’s throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty

And know that what is huge is not great and pride is not everlasting.

Feature Image Credits: Sify

Kuber Bathla [email protected]]]>

Read our correspondent’s opinion on the book Fangirl. 

Fangirl is a coming–of–age story of two twins who grew up in the world of online fandoms. The protagonist, Cath, assisted by her twin Wren is one of the most successful fanfiction authors on the web based off of their favourite books. Wren and Cath had done everything together, owing to the absence of their mother in their lives growing up, until now. Moving out to university in Nebraska, Wren does not wish to be roommates with her twin and the decision proves difficult for Cath who has evolved into an introvert, being overly attached to Wren- her best friend and only link to a social life. Now being separated from her only source of comfort, Cath must face the life of a freshman in university, dealing with anxiety, a rude, eccentric roommate and hyperactive Levi, the guy who just won’t leave her alone.

Every chapter begins with excerpts from not only Cath’s fan fiction but also the “canons” from the Simon Snow books, which she is so intricately and deeply in love with. Through her writing, Cath can express things she can’t in real life, where she’s extremely reclusive and socially inept. Wren was the only one able to link with Cath and her parallel realities, but now she seems uncaring in her own party-life. Shaken, Cath finds solace in the company of Levi, and the emergency dance parties with him.

More than anything, the book proves to be extremely relatable. An easy, laidback yet creative and funny writing style aptly complements the fresh narrative layered with empathy, emotion and understanding.  

I’d wave my hands around and make noises to make everyone read this absolutely delightful yet a book that makes you think. It made all the emotional goosebumps and the teary-eyed reading and the big sighs happen for me as a reader. I so identified with Cath, with her determination, her directness and her fear of being a part of a world which was far from reality but brought her peace and ease when nothing else could.

So, fan-people, grab your copies today and let’s get that emergency dance party going.

 “Cath felt like she was swimming in words. Drowning in them, sometimes.”

– Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl


Feature Image Credits: Thoughts of a Bibliophile

Bhavya Pandey

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Han Kang wrote this three-part novella, inspired by her short story Fruit of My Woman, in 2007. Deborah Smith translated the Korean novel into English in 2015 and it won the Man Booker International Award in 2016. The book has been widely read and Ms. Smith has been appreciated for her sincere translation. The subject and not the protagonist of the novella is Yeong-Hye who turns vegetarian after a gory and bloody dream. The book explores the various dimensions and consequences of this decision on her husband and family. The first section is a narrative by Mr. Cheong, her husband, expressing the havoc the decision wrecks on their family. The second section titled ‘The Mongolian Mark’ delves into the utter neutrality and insanity of Yeong-Hye post her divorce and her relationship with her brother-in-law who remains nameless throughout the story. The third part titled ‘Flaming Tress’ traverses through the past and present of the sisters, their dreams, and their inhibitions. The story is a dark tale at some levels as it plunges into the depths of cruelty against animals as well as women. It also has a feminist edge to it because the two women/sisters do not wish to conform to societal roles and want to break free from the clutches of patriarchy, one evident example of which is their father. The narrative is rhythmic and almost musical to the reader’s ears. It has a spontaneous bounce at the end of each sentence that I have never come across in any book. The story floats in front of the eyes and you feel one with the subject, Yeong-Hye. By the end of the story, the very definition of ‘vegetarian’ undergoes a paradigm shift. The choice of consumption of meat is questioned multiple times and the reader cannot disagree with it. Being a vegetarian in India would not be a hullabaloo but it is a complete change of one’s lifestyle in Korea, the place of the story. I, as a reader would have loved to hear Yeong-Hye’s voice in one part of the book to get a deeper insight into her decisions, insanity, dreams and reality. In a nutshell, the story is moving tale and should definitely be given a try.   Feature Image Credits: Daily Jstor Prachi Mehra [email protected]]]>

The Happiness Equation is a Self-Help book published in 2016. It is written by the Canadian author, entrepreneur and public speaker Neil Pasricha who gives science-based secrets to stay happy.

“Want Nothing + Do Anything= Have Everything” reads the slogan of the book titled “The Happiness Equation”. It is a self-help book published by the Canadian author, entrepreneur and public speaker Neil Pasricha who talks about how people fail to stay content with their lives providing science-backed tips and tricks to achieve happiness.

Staying happy is the essential purpose and yet people struggle to do anything but be happy regardless of what they are doing. And this is not just about being financially solvent or well-qualified, people at every level are competing to be better and be happy. This is the basic focus of the book where the author addresses the issue giving reasons as to why people are not happy. Most importantly, the author attempts to answer the question “How to stay Happy?”

There are elements of science and various methods of their applications which can result in finding the solution. Some of them are like the “Ikigai” and the “Saturday Morning Test”. “Ikigai” is a concept followed by Japanese people in a far-off island which translates to “Reason for waking up in the morning”. He wants to convey that having a purpose to wake up every morning can stimulate a person to work and achieving the same at the end of the day can help people stay content. The latter concept is about asking oneself about the things we would like to do if we had no obligation to fulfil. The answer to these simple yet significant questions can help a person understand their needs and interests better.

As to how the book is written, it is unique and catches the eye. Pasricha has mentioned “Nine Secrets to Success” which when discovered can help us answer the question. The mention of different “tests” and concepts intrigue the reader and the content is as helpful. The book is not continuous as in it is not portrayed as a story moving along as the book progresses. The different chapters are more like independent topics that convey a different message with reference to something. It more like a collection of different elements placed together in a single but has been bifurcated on some broad lines.

Personally, apart from the various tips and tricks mentioned in the book, it is the presentation of the book that is particularly helpful to the cause of the book. The book has small chapters that are not bombarded with content; instead, they convey the idea behind the book with simplicity rather than imposing it. Leafing through the pages, one feels very relaxed and enjoys the book rather than being on a mission to unearth some miraculous secret. In fact, because the book is so simply presented, one can connect to the book helping in the assimilation of the lessons given.

Overall, the book can help us understand ourselves better. It provides a different viewpoint of attaining happiness. It is worth the read!


Feature Image Credits: Thought Catalogue

Karan Singhania

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The book is a great guide for financial planning and also can be used as a reference to learn the art of earning money regularly.

Hailed as one of the best books on money-making ever written, The Richest Man in Babylon is a great book penned down by George S. Clason. The book was published in 1926. Despite being an old book talking about preserving and making money, one cannot term the book to be outdated even in today’s time.

The book is a more like a collection of short stories from the time of Babylon. Each chapter covers a different aspect of financial knowledge that occurs between different characters mostly in the form of conversation. The writer gives various examples of how people lacked the knowledge of money. He also talks about why a normal person fails to earn and save money. More importantly, he gives various tips and tricks to combat this major issue. The failure to earn money and solutions for the same is the spine of the book.
The writer portrays the condition of Babylon through words very clearly. It is not hard for the reader to imagine how wealthy and powerful the Babylonian empire was. One can easily picture the slavery system that was practiced then and the huge gap that was present between the elite and the lower class. The writer draws various similarities between the present time and the Babylonian era. One such connection that he talks about is how the people from nearby lands come to Babylon hoping to make it big in the land full of riches and opportunities and end up failing at it. It is resemblance of the condition of modern day cities.

Personally, I found the book to be interesting on different fronts apart from just the financial part. The book has these small tales written in utterly simple language which gave me a taste of childhood just like reading all those fairytales and stories. The use of Latin words like “thou”, “thy”, “doth” intrigued me adding to the feel of reading a book based on ancient times. Also, the book uses phrases like “The Laws of Gold” and “seven cures for a lean purse” which sound a bit attractive and added to my excitement.

The one big reason why I would recommend people to read this book is that the book is very generic. The issues that are mentioned in the book are experienced by everyone which make it a must read. Also, the simplicity with which these issues and solutions have been given make it very easy for people from any background to grasp what the writer is trying to say. Above all, earning money and managing finances is an art everyone wants to learn and this book can exactly what you need.


Image Credits: Best  You Pro

Karan Singhania
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Many would argue that our gender-equality oriented culture is prominently an on-going matter. It is very off-setting for the youth who openly recognise themselves as LGBTQ, and difficult for the people of the past generations to accept this culture on micro and macro levels. Sexual morality has varied greatly over time and between cultures. A society’s sexual norms and standards of sexual conduct can be linked to religious beliefs, or social and environmental conditions, or all of these. In his book, Devdutt Pattanaik, along with editor Jerry Johnsons and others have introduced the animating principles of the major karmic faiths (based on the beliefs of rebirth) related to sexuality. The karmic faiths Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Hinduism share many common roots. The holy scriptures of these religions contain stories, ideas, and narratives of different sexual orientations and gender identities. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two different concepts, as are sex and gender. On one hand, it is biological and on the other it is societal. Sexual orientation is the romantic indulgence towards other people and can range from heterosexuality to homosexuality etc. Gender identity is one’s sense of self as a woman, man, or transgender, and may be different from one’s biological sex. Through the introduction of the modern doctrine of secularism and keeping away organised faith from politics, economics, and identity, there have been escalating instances of societal problems like queer-phobia, which is the explicit and implicit hostility towards LGBTQ people. Hinduism reveals a greater comfort with transgender stories, like describing Lord Vishnu turning into a beautiful damsel Mohini, and Lord Shiva becoming a half- woman. Over time, the traditions and beliefs of the people changed and things turned hostile for the queer. Their exclusion and isolation- socially, economically, and politically- became the new tradition dear to different communities, religions, or nations. However, the overarching and fundamental wisdom common to these faiths make ample room to accommodate the queer with innovative ideas. These karmic faiths describe that our body, our personality, and our sexuality are outcomes of the karmic burden and they are therefore natural. While the third gender is acknowledged in India, homosexual unions are criminalised. This can be traced back to the conservative Christian and Islamic frameworks where there are notes of homoerotic love, like that between David and Jonathan, and it was described as “unnatural sex”. As you read through the book you will realise that the fundamental principle of equality is not a feature of karmic faiths, rather there is a celebration of diversity. They articulate the strains of beliefs that affirm the dignity of queer expressions and encourage a sense of identity that is authentic and liberated from social and illusionary constructions.   Feature Image Credits: Radhika Boruah for DU Beat Radhika Boruah [email protected]]]>

If you are spending this Christmas or New Year snuggled up in the warmth of your home or PG and thinking of some suspense thriller to get you through those party hours then Remember Me can serve the purpose well. This thriller written by acclaimed author Mary Higgins Clark is full of twists and turns and will surely keep you engaged.

Menley Nichols is trying to come to terms with the tragic death of her 2-year-old son, Bobby while taking care of her infant, Hannah. Adam’s old friend, Elaine helps the family get the Remember House at Cape Cod on the shore along the beach. The house has legends attached to it. She gets her bouts of post-traumatic stress a number of times while vacationing at Cape Cod with her husband and baby girl. Meanwhile, a death of a rich girl takes place in the neighborhood and her husband, Scott Covey is suspected of the murder. Menley’s lawyer husband, Adam takes up the case of defending Scott while juggling work in New York. On nights when Adam is away, Menley has nightmares of her accident of her son which wakes her up abruptly as well as Hannah, she hears/hallucinates her dead son calling out to her. Time and again, people say something about the house which alerts her even though she absolutely loves the house. Her work for her magazine and next children’s book keeps her distracted and partly sane. Her work also helps her to discover stories about the house she is living in and the city. But amid all this, Adam is not at ease when Scott is acquitted. The plot twists and turns to solve the ultimate questions nagging Menley and Adam’s minds.

The twists are absolutely unexpected and keep the reader hooked to the very end. It is the perfect suspense read while you are fighting the winter blues because the story is set in the beach town of Cape Cod with the summer breeze and starry nights.


Feature Image Credits: Kobo

Prachi Mehra

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Economics constantly looks to the view that man’s primary response to economic necessity will be rational. But what if economics needs to expand its boundaries on what’s actually rational behavior these days?

Who Me, Poor? is a book by Gayatri Jayaraman, also the writer of the viral article on Buzzfeed – ‘The Urban Poor You Haven’t Noticed: Millennials Who’re Broke, Hungry, But On Trend’. An extension to the article, Jayaraman delves into case studies and analyses each with particular keenness, almost as if to justify herself for writing the widely criticised article in the first place.

Being grossly unaware of the existence of the article, I divulged into reading the book at the first glance of the synopsis at the back – it promised fresh thought, facts, analysis and research, the recipe for a modern-day paperback success. An excited cursory glance introduces me to a hunger-deprived generation that was unknown to me up till very recently. Jayaraman explores the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ in context of modern-day hyper-consumerism and the myth that the ability to network has it easy. The author has managed to dig out highly relevant examples of people who are genuinely affected by peer-pressure: fresh graduates in the fashion industry who are inducted under the tutelage of employers who force a ‘socially acceptable’ way of dressing. The book brings forward the plight of new age millennials, and how they are broke by month-end despite being able to afford luxury items. There are several points which ring a bell and are substantiated with concrete facts. The changing paradigm and a generational shift from savings to spending and making it big in the start-up culture by a personalized struggle story, alongside the cost of tuition spiraling manifold over the past 20 years have had an adverse impact on the youth.

Exploitative workplaces make use of overabundant staff and carry forward layoffs with equal ease. However, to use the above reasons on the pretext of going broke and hungry is highly questionable; something Jayaraman has tried doing throughout the 180-page book. In what could be perceived to be an actual phenomenon after reading the initial part, you soon realize that this self-imposed lifestyle choice is quite obviously lack of financial literacy. Over the course of the rest of the book, it reduces to over-telling and reiteration of the same point that, “you pick a choice that was never quite yours” and that peer pressure had driven the unwitting few to overindulge and spend way over their means. The author completely takes off on an unrelated tangent when a detailed parallel has been drawn between the urban poor and poverty, and how “living wage” should be factored in the Indian scenario. In a developing country with one-third of its population living in abject poverty and deplorable conditions, this comparison simply trivialises and demeans the problems of the poor in front of this first world problem of lack of financial literacy and decision making skills of millennials today.

There is a an overarching, subtle hint that ease of credit cards and debt facilities have made it easy for the youth fall prey to maxed out credit and going broke by the month’s end. Then there are a few unnecessary examples of corporate honchos buying luxury items to impress their seniors, or to simply give themselves the life they think they deserve. Instances pointed at a deep-rooted class divide and culture shock affecting individuals in the corporate workspace are well researched yet unfortunately clubbed along with those few whose ability to make decisions is disillusioned.
With an amorphous definition of basic needs and growing ambition of the youth, it’s a first that the issue of urban poor has been put in the limelight in the Indian context. However, we need to realize that for economics to expand its boundaries for rational behaviors, first world problems of the privileged lot are the least pressing issues to look into.

Image Credits: The Book Satchel


Vijeata Balani
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The beauty of some moments lies in the fact at how short lived they are.

These fleeting moments are interspersed by complex emotions making it really difficult to put it into words. However Priyanka Sharma Kaintura deals with these emotions with a lot of subtlety leaving the readers wanting for more.
An amalgamation of bite sized stories and poems; this book is divided into seven different parts. Each part explores the different moods of the author. The first part titled ‘Orations’ has diverse range of really short stories or experiences ranging from mythology to partition of India. One such article titled ‘What Makes Shiva So Desirable’ really stood out for me where the author in around three hundred words tries to understand what exactly it is about Shiva that attracts everyone to him. In this manner the author takes stories and ideas from around us that are hugely popular and connects it to our day to day life and experiences.

The second part of the book titled ‘Eclogues’ is a compilation of poems. These poems seem to convey experiences and emotions that are close to the author’s heart. They string together a beautiful tale of author’s dreams, aspirations, desires and her unspoken thoughts. The next part of the book titled ‘Monologues and Dialogues’ explores short conversations on diverse topics that give the readers a food for thought. The fourth part of the book contains some really short stories. The fifth and the sixth part of the book are divided according to the moods of the author and are titled ‘Pathos’ and ‘Satire and Sarcasm’. While the last part of the book ‘Life Aphorisms and Epigrams’ deals with complexities of life in around four or five line poems.

This compilation of stories, poems, ideas and opinions are a kind of personal reflections by the author on a diverse range of issues. This book closely reminded me of Paulo Coelho’s ‘Like the Flowing River’ which also followed a similar format. Though in some stories Priyanka Sharma Kaintura fails to engross the readers, she manages to tighten the grip on her audience in other parts of the book. These recollections by the author will put you in her shoes and help you to understand life through her eyes. This book leaves one contemplating about the mundane things that should be appreciated but usually go unnoticed in the hustle bustle of life. Although few stories fail to resonate, it is not difficult to find a lot of other stories and poems that are sure to strike a chord. The author at various occasions articulately conveys a nexus of emotions leaving the readers much to think about. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to unravel some mysteries of human life.

Image Credits: YouTube


Anukriti Mishra
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Frangipani was an Australian best seller in 2004 and was also chosen for Australia’s 2009 Reader’s Digest Select Editions. It is the second novel of the trilogy written by Celestine Hitiura Vaite revolving around the character Materena Mahi. The first book in the series is Breadfruit while the third is Tiare. Frangipani is a type of fruit tree.

Materena Mahi is a Tahitian woman residing in her homeland, Tahiti, which is the French Polynesia. The book begins with Materena arguing with her husband to let her collect his pay cheque. Her husband is reluctant to let her do that as it would make him the butt of jokes amongst his colleagues. To win the argument, she uses her promiscuity, but to no avail. Later, when she musters up the courage to pick her husband Pito’s pay cheque, he walks out on her, leaving her pregnant with their second child. A month later, they reconcile not only out of love but as a result of she rescuing her husband from a duel.

The story progresses with Materena getting a job as a ‘professional cleaner’ at a French lady’s house by writing the first professional letter in her life, giving birth to her daughter, and then another son. Her daughter, Leilani, is the absolute opposite of what a girl is supposed to be in the traditional Tahiti tribe. She is quick-witted, intelligent, smart, and inquisitive. Materena encourages her daughter to be what she wants but faces the consequences as she is unable to control her.

The story is beautifully woven around the mother-daughter duo along with all siblings, aunts, families, and distant relatives highlighting the Tahitian people’s entwined relations and how everybody is a relative. The ending warms your heart and leaves you with a story to narrate.

It is a must for people wishing to learn about Tahitian culture first-hand and also for those looking for a light-hearted story away from the hullabaloo of stressful college life.


Feature Image Credits: Goodreads

Prachi Mehra
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