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Showing posts from 2020

This is Now Your Company- By Mike Rognlien

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Mike Rognlien has derived from his 15 years of experience of working with people at Facebook and other companies in the Silicon Valley and has shared practical knowledge on developing a better employee-employer relationship that results in the coveted growth trajectory of the individual career as well as the organisation as a whole. He shares information on what all constitutes a company's culture. It is indeed the sum total of each of its employees behaviour. For example, Facebook as a company leverages the individual uniqueness of each of its employees. The radical thought of being the owner of your company, as the title of the book suggests, implies owning complete responsibility of the impact of one's behavior on the organisation's culture and overall growth. Some of the radical yet useful ideas presented in the book are as follows. Neutrality or just living under the radar, without raising your voice for or against a certain practice that needs attention in the compan…

Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

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Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy, and the mul…

The Baztan Trilogy

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The first movie 'The Invisible Guardian' begins with the killings of several teenage girls and elaborate staging of their bodies by the river in the damp valley of Elizondo. Amaia Salazar, our protagonist, returns there, her hometown, as the Chief Investigator for the case. She heads the homicide department. The serial killings seem aimed at young girls who don't uphold the traditional norms and have begun exploring their sexuality. Through the case, Amaia grapples with her own demons, her relationship issues and traumatic memories of abuse from her past. We get to know that her mother had abused her, being seemingly senile herself, and was then admitted to a facility.The setting of the damp valley where it rains all hours of the day, the cloudy scenery, the fog covered thick forest maintain a sinister vibe throughout the movie. It is an apt backdrop for a crime thriller, with supernatural undertones. The mythical beast  basajaun, the big hairy beast of the forest, seems t…

When Breathe Becomes Air

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It was towards the end of the book that I realized that this is almost an unfinished manuscript. But still it feels complete in itself. I was constantly wondering throughout why this book is so short. He is an amazing writer and you know that when you hear his thoughts while reading the book - his narrative - his writing style just reveal his love for poetry, literature, philosophy and spirituality. It was striking that he had persistently wondered about death- the meaning of life- its purpose throughout his growing up years, even while choosing a career. And even after he was first diagnosed with lung cancer, he did the same. 
 "Literature not only illuminated another's experience, it provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection." - on the love for literature.Paul draws the difference between a job and a calling, something you are meant to do for the world in the limited span of your mortal life, in the first few chapters as a Doctor, before his diagno…

Latest Binge - Emily in Paris

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There is a certain allure to a foreign land, a foreign culture, a different language, unchartered territories and a promise of romantic adventure. The latest offering from Netflix ‘Emily in Paris’ gives us all of these and more. It is all of 10 episodes of 25 or so minutes each, and is worth a binge-watch. It’s about a social media content strategist, Emily Cooper, played by Lily Collins, who moves to Paris from Chicago to work for a marketing firm, a big career opportunity, dreaming of a wonderful life. It’s about her adventures both in career and romantic front, as she learns French, making hilarious mistakes and feeding her Instagram with all-things-Paris.

We watch the beauty of Paris in its culture of life-first-work-second, all things luxurious- from fashion to perfume to wine, the spiraling staircase of a hundred-year old building where Emily stays, the ornate architecture, the old-world charm mingling effortlessly with the new, the elaborate office dinners, the picturesque water…

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

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I had expected to be bored thinking it to be some over-the-top comedy and quit watching this midway. I had not expected to be sucked into their lives, in upstate Manhattan, and feel their life change over the ten seasons so personally. Ten years in the lives of these characters. And this attachment to that apartment. I had not expected that this sitcom that had been airing globally for ten long years, to not at all be ‘over-hyped’. I wish I had set aside my judgement and for once watched this during my college days. It would have been such a cherished experience. It would have validated all the emotions of those days.Watching the six friends’ personal trajectory from Season 1 to 10, over the ten years, through ten Thanksgivings and Christmases and Hanukah, was such a pleasure. I never knew I could enjoy comedy, and in comes Chandler. I remember how in the first few episodes, I couldn’t even remember their names, and now they feel as real and relatable as any other person. We all have …

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewel - On a Book Discussion

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This book was voted by the book club members to be read and discussed, for the month of September. And the one and half hour-long session was yesterday, on 20th September. We based our discussions on the questions already provided at the end of the book by the publisher as cues for facilitating such conversations around the book. It was the first of its kind that I attended. I had always wanted to take part in such a discussion- a dedicated book club activity- where book lovers sat around, sipped coffee at a café, and analyzed the length and breadth of the subjects and themes in it, providing their unique perspectives to it- a wholesome experience to any reader.Aniesha Brahma, a blogger and an author, had organized such events with Bee books, and scrolling through their photos in social media I had always wanted to be a part of it. Sadly, it was organized in Kolkata, in a Café and I was in Bhubaneswar or Hyderabad or Dehradun. Yesterday I got the chance, as this one was being conducte…

Dongri To Dubai - Book Review

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‘Dongri To Dubai-Six Decades of Mumbai Mafia’ by Hussain Zaidi is the first of its kind book based on years of crime reporting, police documents and numerous interviews, on Mumbai underworld, the gangs of organized crime who started out small as smugglers and went on to become violent most wanted criminals in the modern history of the country. And it is most importantly the narrative of the making of Dawood Ibrahim, the don and the now declared global terrorist. It encompasses the story around the mafia before Dawood- big names like Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, The Pathans; the Mumbai police using the then street thug Dawood to control the menace caused by the other gangsters; the rise of the son of a head police constable to unimaginable ranks in Mumbai mafiadom; the clout and network of the don extending from the police to the political insiders; ingenious ideas in smuggling that was replicated in the then Bollywood storylines; onslaught of terrible violence and gang wars, plotting of g…

Listening to Aanchal Malhotra on Memories, Oral Histories, Objects, and the Need for Archiving

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I like listening to podcasts and discussions these days. There's something in the spoken word and being spoken to, that influences me, motivates me and delights me as well in equal measure. Owing to the current situation, many interviews and conversations around books have come up in the online platforms, be it Facebook lives or Instagram lives. And YouTube is serving as a great repository for these videos too. One such is Aanchal Malhotra's conversation here. She is the author of a non-fiction book "Remnants of a Separation" that deals with individual accounts of first generation migrants of the partition. She captures memories around a certain tangible object that the bearer carried with him during the migration, while leaving behind their home. The sub-continent was divided into three parts over the years, decades infact, and history in its ideal sense is not able to capture the diverse experiences of multitudes, the millions who were a part of the world's gre…

Movies on Murder Mysteries

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It doesn't seem engaging at first. Seems to have a rather slow start. Not moving fast enough. Not thrilling enough. But you sit through the first hour, registering the numerous characters in your head. Each of them seems to have had the reason to commit the murder. Most belong to the same family, that makes it certain that it is indeed an insider's job. You think it through yourself, as the police and detective does in the movie. You are being taken on a ride. But just as you try to decide to quit watching, something is revealed, piquing your interest. Then something else comes up, making you question your own deductions so far. Then you are hooked. Glued to the screen. It is thrilling, the second half. And the end seems satisfactory, explaining all the open ended questions you have had through the watch. That is an awesome amazing thriller for me.Since a few days, I have been hung up on thriller movies. Can't get enough of those. Starting from 'who-dunnit' flicks …

Sunday Scribbling

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I don't really know what has gotten into me these days. May be I really don't know what I want to do for creativity department anymore. Earlier, I used to watch the sitcoms people around me didn't even know about, I used to read books by authors they weren't that acquainted with, I introduced them to all such new exciting unventured arenas. I painted sometimes when others though talented couldn't spare time. There was so much bewilderment and wonderment in me then, which seems to have lessened, or just overshadowed by practicality. I haven't been overwhelmed to be compelled to write since I don't remember when. I have lost my touch. Of course I post here to practice it once again, in an attempt to bring it back, but who knows. 
I don't imagine that vividly again now. May be age has taken over. I don't day dream. I have to-do lists now, for that matter. And even blogs are becoming a thing of the past these days. Instagram posts with long captions have…

The Tipping Point

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Thanks to the lockdown and being at home, I have too much time to spare, and it gives me so much happiness to devout this time for all the things I love and care. Oh my, that rhymed! So, I have been reading to my heart’s fill, binge watching sitcoms – especially ones adapted from bestselling novels, and doing some experimental cooking, as in home who’s there to judge anyway. I have been seeking out non-fiction read that is simple in its description and interesting enough to grasp my wavering attention for a complete sitting. ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell is one such average length book, that had been sitting there in my bookshelf for years. I had bought this International Bestseller from a bookshop near a Museum in Bangalore. (I remember this as it was my first time exploring the city of Bangalore, then.) It talks about how little things can make a big difference, as the tagline reads. Now we have another term for it – ‘going viral’. How social behaviors, fashion trends, pra…

Regaining the Reading Habit through Kindle Unlimited

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At the very first glance and search through the Kindle Unlimited collection in amazon.in, it feels disappointing. But I discovered, through various online lists and some filtering, there are many interesting titles worth a read. I would now for the next few months be regularly reviewing some of these titles that I discover on the platform. (Hopefully!) The following are a few short mythological binge reads I devoured in a day. Each is around 30-50 pages, which you can easily complete reading in a single sitting. So, fret not, your investment in this platform would be worth it.
1. Bhoomija 


After reading Anand Neelakanthan's prequel to Baahubali, 'The Rise of Sivagami', I was a fan of his storytelling and narration. I had interacted with him in 2017 Blogchatter Writing Festival over the Twitter prime time chat, and I remember receiving this book then through the event. As bloggers and aspiring fiction writers, we have a lot to learn from his works. So, I browsed a few books o…

Bulbbul - A Review

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A Netflix Original, released on 24th June, Bulbbul is a different take on the subject of witches - 'chudail' as is called in India, narrating the tale from the perspective of the out-worldly being. It is India's very own 'revenant' tale - a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.  The storytelling in the movie is quite gripping. The way it intertwines sweet memory and nostalgia of childhood, the grief and longing of missing someone, the beautiful colors and scenes of old world Bengali zamindar family of British Raj with the Gothic-like feel of spook and fable and a tale of revenge, is remarkable. The dialogues are no nonsense. There's this poetry piece or song - that is sung by two central characters in two different situations, rendering a totally different meaning to the words each of the times. There's a hint of metaphor and word play that seems naturally drawn into conversation. The entire movie is visually appealing - the red hues …

The Rise of Sivagami

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This is the first Anand Neelakanthan book in my ‘Read’ shelves in GoodReads now. I devoured the book, all in three days. Having watched the Bahubali movies, I was intrigued about the book. I had received this book with the author’s signature in 2018 May, as a gift token, from Blogchatter, for volunteering in their writing festival. Since then, didn’t really get a chance to read it. I returned home to Bhubaneswar last week, from Mumbai. So, during the self-imposed home quarantine I had awesome time reading this about 500 page kinda thriller. I would just sit in the balcony in the morning breeze (the weather here is really good these days, cloudy but it doesn’t rain) with my cup of black pepper chai and Marie biscuits and keep reading to my fill. Best time ever, since months.
Sivagami is 17 year old who has grown in her father’s friend’s home, after her father was given the capital punishment, in quite a brutal way, for treachery, when she was five. She is filled with unanswered questio…

My Last Trip Before Lockdown

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When Covid19 had just put its foot in the country with only 3 cases in Kerala, we had our Ooty trip planned. All tickets and bookings were done since the new year. With just three days in hand, four of us travelled from Mumbai, Pune and Bhubaneswar, to Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, to join a few others staying in the city. And the excitement to finally meet one another after 6 months of that trip to Pune, the Lohagard Trek- we were kids excitedly clicking selfies in our face masks, hurriedly putting a quick dab of sanitizer before hugging one another.


Next day early morning we were to start for Ooty. Sleepy heads, gulping a bowl each of muesli, we started onward journey to Bandipur National Park. Devouring uttapams, dosas and piping hot cups of coffee for breakfast at a restaurant by the highway, chit chats were full on, as was the music and dance in the 12-seater vehicle. Funny anecdotes had us laughing our hearts out, gossips were such a thrill and cooking recipe exch…

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