Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And Let There Be Light - Book Review

And Let There Be Light
By Binduu Chopra
Review By Ila Garg

And Let There Be Light, a beautiful novella by the Binduu Chopra is published by Shambhabi Publishers – The Third Eye Imprint. The cover art is attractive and also gives a glimpse into the plot of the novel. It is photographed by Rathish PK and conceptualised and designed by The interesting thing about this cover is that it was selected via a contest. The title is very involving as well. Who doesn’t want a ray of light in this dark, evil world, after all?

First impressions: Good cover, could have been a little better. A nice engaging title. The book size and paper quality could have been better too. Editing is done well, though I did find 2-3 proofreading issues, which can be easily neglected.

The blurb reads as “There is nothing that can hold you down. The limitations are only in the mind, and if the mind is kept open, you will have the freedom to enjoy & celebrate life. The insights shared by Binduu Chopra in her book ‘And Let There Be Light’ can naturally change lives in a simple way. The book on self-development talks about a journey from mundane life to living an awakened life. Various topics like peace, joy, death and wisdom keep the reader engaged and opens the door to embark down a path for inner freedom.

Binduu Chopra, Author – Poetess, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Aura reader calls herself a mind designer. Having travelled extensively within India & in different parts of the world gave her a chance not just to learn about various cultures, but to understand relationships better. She is warm & vivacious. She wants to finally retire with street children.

P.S. When you buy this book, you help a person with psycho-social disability. (Indeed a noble thought, isn’t?)

Coming to the book, I felt it to be an enlightening experience. The depth of insights shared by the author with such a seamless effort engages the readers instantly. It is a book that will be your bible for self – development skills. The author has good writing skills, as she has managed to keep the language crisp and clear which adds to the beauty of the book.

‘Self-discipline’ is the key word to deal with in this book. It will make you feel aware of your own strength and how to bring it to the fore. It begins with a prologue that introduces us to the origin of the idea behind this novella. It also tells us how paying it forward is such a rewarding experience!

Quoting from the book, “I am happy with my life as it is a mirage. I am blessed to hold an empty cup and stretch my hand, for if it was full – I would not seek to quench. I would be called born, but would have lived dead.” The author has definitely made ample efforts to put together so many varied instances that will lead the readers to a whole new perspective. Like no two fingers are same, the route will not appear to be the same to everyone. It all depends on how you take it, which path you choose to tread on.

Life is an endless cycle of beginnings and ends. Do we find answers to all the questions that life raises before us? Are all our prayers answered? Are all our desired fulfilled? These and many such questions are given way here. The leading light of Guru is our prime focus, once we find this light life won’t seem to be harsh. The book is all about finding the ‘Ignition Key’. It will lead you to your self-discovery!

Through her experiences, the author tells us how it is important to love. She also shares episodes on how we should not let hatred reside in our hearts and the necessity to forgive! It talks about an inner journey that will help us to improve ourselves as individuals. The book engages with several topics like pursuit of a Guru, desires, emotions, discovering self, love, forgiveness, freedom, death, discipline, truth, wisdom and inner journey. It’s a struggle to find deeper meanings…

A spiritual quest, it’s an aspiration to transform yourself from the ordinary to become a beacon. It tells us that there is nothing wrong in having desires as long as one is able to conquer the temptations by timely withdrawal. Heart, Mind, Soul, and Intellect should be in harmony to tread on the path of enlightenment!

The 50 page book, divided in 14 chapters and a prologue and introduction is a quick read, recommended as one of the best pick for reading during your travelling time. It will just take an hour of your time. However, the impact that it leaves behind can be long-lasting depending on your interest to change your life for the better. It leaves you with a hope to aspire for happiness, to venture in pursuit of peace…

Binduu Ma’am has done a wonderful job with it. Everyone must read it because life is too short, one must not die unhappy! The affirmations can help in transformation to a great extent. This book is therefore, for all those who seek their inner freedom. It’s like a key to open and come out of the confinements of the doors. Best wishes!

“I continue to grow beautifully on my inside while those wrinkles take care of my outside” – Binduu Chopra

Ratings: 3.75/5

Buying Links: Flipkart | Infibeam

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bad Romance!

"It was anyway a lot better for me to concentrate on my work instead of brooding over a wasted relationship, a maniac boyfriend, a bastard friend and a lover who had cheated on me."

Bad Romance - A book that tells you why you ought to say NO and to not submit into any kind of abuse, whether physical or emotional.

About the Author

A full-time writer, she is the author of 'One In A Million' that got published by Mahaveer Publishers in April 2013 in her final year of Mechanical Engineering at G.L. Bajaj Institute of Technology and Management, Noida. She is an avid reader and a prolific blogger. She loves reading classics and is a diehard Mills and Boons fan. She believes that writing provides solace to her soul and that is why ditched her engineering skills for the mighty pen. She writes for a number of online platforms on a regular basis and loves interacting with people. 

Apart from writing, she loves travelling, reading, listening to music and spending time with friends and family. At present, she resides in Gurgaon and works as a Content Writer with a leading e-commerce group.

You can reach her at:
Twitter handle: @hsrivastava0205


Life is a bitch and I’m one of its victims. I had the perfect life. I was blessed with the perfect boyfriend, a perfect best friend, the perfect set of girlfriends and perfect choice of career. There were some loopholes but then they went beyond my perspective. Overall, I had the kind of life people would ideally like to have but happy times aren’t meant to last forever.

Sometimes we feel that we have figured life but that’s something that is never going to happen. You know why? It’s because it has this habit of kicking us right in the middle of ecstasy. No wonder, it did the same with me.

This is my story, my story of that exploration within, my feelings, my emotions, my thought process, my priorities, my conflicts and my journey into the temptation of love, lust, lies and betrayals. This is the story of Kritika and a man who gave her life another dimension, Tanishq. This is a story of the complexities of relationships and the trap that a simple idea of sensuality, pleasure and euphoria can put you into. This is a story for everyone who has loved, lost and fought for survival and love, together. 

Title: Bad Romance
Publisher: Gargi Publishers
Author: Harshita Srivastava
Edition: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN: 9788192960913

Buying Links: Infibeam | Amazon | Flipkart

Rendezvous with Amrita Suresh :)

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a Hatha yoga teacher, who has also been a faculty handling business presentations for M. Tech students at IIIT, Hyderabad. As of now, I am a busy mom to a still more busy toddler who being two years old is more qualified to be a yoga teacher, since the tiny brat spontaneously teaches everyone the art of deep breathing!

2. Throw some light on your debut book ‘When the Lawyer Falls in Love’.

My first book ‘When a Lawyer falls in love…’ was written when I was fresh out of college and hence has that certain light hearted tone that every college student who has ever bunked class can identify with!

3. What inspired you to write your second book ‘When a Lawyer walks down the aisle’?

Would you believe it, that there is actually a nine year gap between the writing for my two books and there was just so much happening in these nine years that has been reflected in my writing. I went through the whole comical arranged marriage route, yet I was lucky to fall in love with the person I was arranged to meet! The story behind every marriage, I believe is worthy of a book and considering I married a lawyer, this is saying something, isn’t it?!! :P

4. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My previous book had a male character as it’s protagonist, yet this time, it’s the female lead, Sonali Shah who steals the show. I love reading and have a personal collection of over 1500 books and the character of Sonali is also depicted as this erudite yet talkative lawyer, who would have been fun to hang out with, had she been a real person.

5. How much of the book is realistic?

Okay, so what I’m about to say is going to sound a bit freaky, so brace up. When I was 21 , I enrolled in this program called the ‘Eternity Process’ which is organized by the Art of Living Foundation, Bangalore. This is basically a past life regression therapy where under hypnosis you can experience flashes of your past life and the in between states after death. So in that sense, the idea of the novel came from this fascinatingly unique experience, I had, when I regressed back in time.

6. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anyone who is remotely interested in the paranormal and wants to lose their fear of ‘ghost’s should read this book. I have to admit, that growing up, I was someone who could be scared easily, yet after reading more than two dozen books on the paranormal, I’ve come to have a fair understanding of this whole phenomena called ‘ghosts’. And as comical as this sounds, yet at some point of time, all of us have had the experience of casting away our physical body. We just don’t remember it, that’s all.

7. How did you come up with the titles of both the books?

I had always thought I would become a lawyer, hence this wish is somewhere reflected in my books.

8. What is the hardest and the easiest thing about writing?

I truly believe, that any art form derives it’s inspiration from something beyond the mind of man. I know, I sound like Sri Aurobindo here, yet it’s true. J.K. Rowling says that the whole concept of Harry Potter was downloaded into her mind like a fully formed idea. That’s what is called inspiration I guess. So getting inspiration to write something can be both the hardest and the easiest thing about writing. That apart , there is also the question of discipline.

9. How long, on average does it take you to write a book?

Like I said, sometimes it’s all about being inspired and then the ideas simply flow. A book can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on how earnest one is.

10. Are your books self-published or traditional?

For every fellow writer out there, here is a humble request. If you have a great idea and fairly good writing skills, just do yourself a favour and self publish. I was quite hung up on the idea of having a traditional publishing house take up my work, only to realize that self publishing is a far more satisfying option, both creatively and financially.

11. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published the other way around?

You know, probably in the time of Jane Austen, one had to be at the mercy of a printer to publish and circulate one’s works, yet today the same idea is plain foolish. Firstly, from the conception to the writing and even the marketing everything is left for the author to do, yet when it comes to the share in profit, now that’s a different story. The lessons I learnt after having my first book published, will stay with me for a lifetime, so my earnest appeal to every gullible first time author is to self publish. Very few publishing houses have the bandwidth to do a whole publicity campaign so when a publisher hardly does any publicity for your book, trust me you are better off self publishing. At least whatever amount you make, after all the hard work, will be yours!

12. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Enid Blyton, since it is said that she wrote almost 6000 to 8000 words a day, which is truly remarkable! Also, Sonam Kapoor the actress is someone whom I envisaged while scripting the character of the feisty lawyer Sonali. I like bubbly people who have an aura of intelligence and Sonam Kapoor is one such person, I feel.

13. Tell us something about your future projects.

My next book is a bit semi autobiographical and for anyone interested in the concept of past life regression, it will be quite a treat!  I did a google search on some of what I saw of rural Bengal during my regression and the results threw up some startling facts, I had absolutely no knowledge of earlier. It was quite eerie actually!

14. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Like I said, self publish, don’t get swayed with the idea of signing a ‘contract’ and as authors it’s important not to be gullible. Publishing is a big business after all!

15. What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favourite ways to unwind - whatever comes to mind.

I’m a professional tarot card reader, who has people coming for solutions regarding 160 crore property disputes. I had read over a 100 books during my rather rough pregnancy as a result of which my new born would thoughtfully stare even at the cover of a book as if he were reading it. My mom was diagnosed with fourth stage cancer when my son was 10 weeks old and she passed away 20 days before the release of this book. So in that sense, writing this book has truly been some journey… Yet if you stubbornly hold onto hope even during the roughest weather, the night will give way to dawn. It does.

And now, before we end this session, how about a snippet from the book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
This appears as part of the book blurb, so that the reader is tempted to get a copy of the 125 rupee book...
“There is someone in the car...!!” Ankur said, his voice thick with terror. Vyas, who would normally scare easily, seemed surprisingly calm. Perhaps, due to his stint abroad, Vyas was somehow familiar with car hijackers. “Listen Ank’s... don’t panic, I’ll just check...” Vyas said.  They were standing a few feet from the car and Vyas a bit hesitantly strode up and peeked into the black Honda city . And sure as day, there was an elderly lady seated inside. For a few seconds, even Vyas was a bit confused and even as he turned to confirm to Ankur the possibility of them being kidnapped by a frail octogenarian, he noticed a rather strange thing. The elderly being seemed to have left the car.

Even as the doors were securely shut. A chill ran down Vyas’s spine. Meanwhile a lot worse things, were happening to Ankur’s spine as the elderly ‘ghost’ made an appearance before him.
“Ankur… Run!!” Vyas almost yelped as he saw the ghostly figure inching towards his best friend from college. Without further encouragement, Ankur simply took to his heels and his pudgy frame ran as fast as his feet could carry him. And even as he ran, Ankur realized that this was by far the best advice ever given to him.
Buying Links: Flipkart

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In Conversation with Ashwati Menon :)

Ashwati Menon, though is a native from Kerala, is born and brought up in Gujarat. Writing came early in life and started writing at young age of 8 years. The journey began with short poems and hence on, it has been an upward climb towards trying new style of writing. Currently, she is working in IT Software Company as a Project Manager and has three years of work experience. Education included a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Computers. Her favorite hobbies include reading, dancing and playing guitar. Also she has published her first novel under the author name “Anita Raghav” titled “Let Me Sleep!” 

Here, she lets her readers know a little more about herself and her journey so far. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring to you Ashwati Menon: 

1.      Tell us something about your book? 

The book explores the hidden powers a human mind can possess. It is not just our normal day to day things; our mind has extraordinary powers of which we are not aware of and this book tries to explore unraveled parts of mind. 

2.      Why Gargi Publishers? 

I believe it’s more with the faith that you have on the people to whom you give your manuscript to do justice.  The team at Gargi Publications have relentlessly worked to ensure that the story gets to become a book, the book reaches the masses and that people know what the story is about. Their efforts and crisp professionalism is all that was needed for my story. Plus, they are very strict to the kind of stories they pick for publishing. I believe that’s a very important factor. 

3.      What inspired you to write this particular book? 

I was not sure how this book was turning out to be until I wrote the third chapter of it. After the third chapter did I realize the direction of the book and how the story was going to flip in many places.  There was no particular inspiration for writing this book, except for the fact that as I continued writing, I was getting inspired to continue and each chapter in itself was inspiring to write the next. 

4.      What do you think is your biggest strength when it comes to writing? 

Ability to do justice to all characters I believe is an acid test. A writer has to be impassive at times when it comes to marking the view point of all the characters. What might seem a negative necessarily may not be and what seems ethically and morally a wrong thing to do might actually be the right one. Between both the situations, writer has to maintain a balance. The key strength is to give a balanced book to the world. The book should never be a beginner’s guide to biased writing. 

5.      Share some of your interesting memories you lived while writing this book. 

I have a bad habit of repeating dialogs to myself and enacting a scene if it is stuck in my head. I share my apartment with my friends and on one unfortunate event when I was chanting the dialogs; they happened to arrive on spot and were shocked. It was a hard time convincing them that I had not gone mad writing the book. 

6.      If you were to describe your book in one line, what would it be? 

I would describe it as “A light mode Science based book.” I have not heavily used huge and strange scary sounding words. I would not want the readers to be in a stupor after reading it and that they wonder “What just happened!” type of feeling. Science is there but it’s not a science textbook. 

7.      What made you decide on the title? 

The title was just a random stroke of inspiration. I had kept a different title back when I had started writing. Somehow it didn’t go down well with me. Later, during my midnight meanderings on the streets, the title came to me – it jumped at me and Scarred for Life, Healed Forever was born. 

8.      What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 

The blank scenario – when you get a block. It is like a fish out of fish bowl condition. You know you have to move forward and yet you cannot. It happens a lot and is terrible to live with. 

9.      What’s the earliest memory you have of writing a story? 

I believe upper primary in school was the time when I started writing stories and though it began with story writing as part of English subject essays that was one part where I spent several dedicated hours and complete it with flourish. Soon, vacations would be the times when I would work on small sized story writing. Writing for me was more of self-satisfaction than anything else in the world. 

10.  What genre do you particularly like? 

There is no particular genre. As long as I feel inspired to write and complete the plot, all genres are my favorites. 

11.  What are some things you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I love my guitar. Even as I get too much tired of writing my book, Guitar is a fantastic unwinding factor. I even like to shake a leg or two; it’s good physical exercise after sitting too long in a position. Else of course, a good book makes up for everything else. 

12.  How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written? 

I like to take it on to an intellectual and logical level as to why the disagreement happened and what are the possible agreeable answers to it all. If it doesn’t go well with me I try not to stretch further lest discussions change course of wind. Perspectives help to know people better but it will be incorrect to be judgmental of people based on it. 

13.  What’s the biggest mistake new writers make according to you? 

I think beginning to write without understanding a style or a form, is a common mistake any young writer can do. Of course, initially it might sound goofy and non-understandable. But that is where the true ability comes; a young writer should read a lot if they want to work on one plot. Guidance goes a long way. 

14.  Was it difficult to get this book published? Or Gargi Publishers were the first one you approached? 

No, it wasn’t difficult. I had a serious discussion with them regarding the theme of the book and how it might be a new concept for people to digest. But they were ready to do it, try something different and thereby it has been a steady journey from a raw manuscript to a full book. 

15.  Tell us something about your future projects. 

At the moment, there are no ideas for future projects as I am planning to take a short break from writing. I need to replenish my vocabulary stores and then again may be in four to five months. I am not sure what will be the theme next time. The theme is something over which I have no control. 

16.  Lastly, is there a message you would like to convey your readers? 

I would like to let them know that please try and read classics and vintage stories. Not that all of them would be easy to figure out in first go, but yes, you get to read some real genuine stories and the way they describe and narrate story; there is a lot to learn when you refer through the good books of English literature.
Author can be contacted at: 

Email Id:

Pre-order link for Scarred for Life, Healed Forever:


The story begins in the peaceful streets of Ahmedabad and occasionally travels down the memory lane of Nishtha as she remembers her life in Australia when she had gone as an exchange student. The fateful Tsunami rips off Australia and Nishtha loses all her friends and her yet-to-be-started love life. Back to where she belongs, Nishtha finds it difficult to adjust to living itself after undergoing treatment for almost a year. She soon finds that her mind is still in hyper active state and that she gets strange sensations and feelings before any calamity or near-death situation is going to happen in a gruesome way.

Nishtha wants to know why it is happening but before that she has to put her ghosts to rest. But will she be able to do so? What can give her peace? Is there a rational and a scientific explanation to what’s wrong with her? Will she ever be able to get back to the normal Gujarat life that she had lived or is the nightmare going to haunt her forever?