Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Devil's Gate: An Impossible Journey - Book Review


The Devil’s Gate: An Impossible Journey
By Deepak Kripal
Review By Ila Garg

The Devil’s Gate: An Impossible Journey is a novel by the debutant writer Deepak Kripal is published by Frog Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd). The paper and print quality show that it is a publication house that we should keep an eye on. The book has an apt cover, however it could have been slightly better than this. The font used for the title of the book could have been modified too. The title is tempting though.

The author, Deepak Kripal is
a doctor by profession and a writer by choice. He believes in dreams, and tries to live one day at a time. A known name in the blogosphere, he loves to blog. Writing a book was always in his mind. This is his literary debut.


Plundered by humans of their habitats, animals take a drastic step when they decide to send a team of a cat named as Katy and a dog named as Dug, to an invisible island known, as the Island of ‘Five Hundred Graves’. The island becomes visible only for a short time on the night of the full moon.

Legend has it that the island is inhabited by the demons. Katy and Dug are supposed to negotiate a deal with the demons, convincing them to allow the animals inhabit the island. Majority of the animal community believe that tinkering with the other world could bring their wrath to the animals. The team is sent to the island nevertheless.

But can a deal with the dead be materialized?

Are there really demons on the island? Is there any conspiracy involved?

Will Katy and Dug be able to negotiate, or will survival remain their only question in the deadly island?

Initial impressions of the book from the title, cover, and the tagline - "An Impossible Journey", on me were that it’s gonna be yet another horror story. And yes it is a horror fiction, but an unusual one.

This is the story of two animal species. Katy (cat) and Dug (dog) meet at Pantheon, a beautiful forest town located on the tropical margins of the equator. The way the author has developed the story is indeed something to look out for.

This story is about how the animals turned into demons when side-lined by men. Indeed, a compelling story with an unusual aura. The suspense is well built from the very beginning when the characters are just introduced. Gradually it is revealed to the readers that Katy and Dug are actually animals. I loved the author’s innovation as he continued to take the story further by coining several different terms like UA (United Animals), B.M.S. (Bachelor in Multiple Skills), UAIL (United Animals Intelligence Institute), etc.

Characters of Katy, Billy, Cheeku, and Dug are exceptionally adorable. It’s fun to read their conversations which have been given human touch by the author.

As simple as it seems, the story doesn’t go straight. It complicates with every page. It’s almost like one day all animals woke up and decided that, since humans are not listening to us, we should talk to the demons to let us co-habit with them. It’s fun to even imagine a situation like that, but this is what is actually happening in The Devil’s Gate: An Impossible Journey.

It’s an interesting thought with endless opportunities to explore, and the author hasn’t much disappointed the readers. What happens after animals take this initiative of visiting the Devil and try to get help from the dead to let them have a habitat of their own makes the base of the story.

Quoting lines from the book - “Devil’s Gate, as the name suggests, is a gate that you have to open to enter the central part of the island.”

The book is undoubtedly a nice read.

‘Yay’ Factors: The story line, narrative, personification of animals, a completely different theme, unusual revelations, title, names of the characters, and coining of terms.

‘Nay’ Factors: The cover, starting could have been more appealing, chapters somehow get too boring as the story builds up. I almost forced myself to read few pages which I realized could have been omitted.

The 248 page book is a perfect quick read (provided you read intelligently, skip few pages here and there). I mainly loved the book because of the plot. The urge to reach the climax, kept me hooked all the time. The language and pace is comfortable for all the readers. A satisfactory work for a debut writer! Best wishes for future writings.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Prophecy Of Trivine - Book Review

The Prophecy Of Trivine
By Pulkit Gupta, Srivatsan Sridharan, & Tnahsin Garg
Review By Ila Garg

The Prophecy of Trivine, a gripping and thrilling narrative by the writers Pulkit Gupta, Srivatsan Sridharan, & Tnahsin Garg is published by Good Times Books Pvt. Ltd. The paper and print quality is undoubtedly nice. The cover is eye pleasing and hooks the readers. It speaks for itself engulfing the onlookers in its depths. The title too is interesting. In case you are wondering what Trivine means, here’s the definition:


he word ‘Trivine’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘Tri’ & ‘Divine’ which signifies a team of three human beings & one divine being.”

The three authors interestingly are from the same profession, i.e. engineering. The trio have been active in the field of writing since their school days and with the passing years their passion only enhanced, resulting in blogs and later in this book ‘The Prophecy of Trivine’. Who could have imagined that three best friends from college, each excelling in their respective fields will collaborate one fine day to create a unique plot that leaves no stone unturned to fascinate the readers with a story line so brilliantly imaginative that it leaves the readers in complete awe!

The blurb reads as “An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever.

These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behaviour of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved.

Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time.

Intrigued? Believe me, as much as the blurb interests you, the story line will grip your heart and take you in its folds. And trust me you won’t want to easily come out from there.

The story revolves around three guys, a hacker Philip ‘Phil’ Mascarenhas; a scientist Siv, who’s on a quest and an artist Arty. Most intriguing of them is Arty as he seems to be most comfortable in the dangerous forest and not much is revealed about him throughout the book. All three of them belong to different professions yet destiny brings them together when they end up in the forest.

The trio Pulkit Gupta, Srivatsan Sridharan, and Tnahsin Garg have beautifully written this book. Nowhere does a reader can distinct between their individual writings which is an achievement in itself. Their writing style too isn’t very difficult to decipher. The simple language is perhaps the USP here. Readers won’t find it too complex in terms of comprehension and can enjoy every page of this page-turner marvel! They have kept the pace comfortable, the flow is maintained and the interest is well maintained too. The authors have good narrative skills.

I found the beginning of the story very tasteful. It began with Phil aka The Red Dragon, a hacker. It is interesting to read how he manages to escape the policemen and take refuge in the forest. His conversation with Siv are so animatedly written that you can imagine them talking in front of you and laughing as they pull each other’s leg.

Every word is so well knit in the story that nowhere can a reader feel disconnected with the plot. The story in a nutshell, is about the alien forces called Gucutep, who created mankind but aren’t much satisfied with their creation. They want to destroy mankind for this reason but the youngest of them all, Xona, objects to immediate termination and asks for one year’s time before taking further decision. After much debate, she’s granted permission. This also is the main crux of the book. Once Xona reaches the forest and comes across these three men, a lot of excitement is created and readers are almost compelled to read in it in one go.

The 259 page book takes you along with it and doesn’t let you get bored. It is a perfect bond of normal and paranormal that intrigues the readers.

‘Yay’ Factors: The good thing is no unnecessary characters are introduced. I loved the theme esp. because it is a rare genre for Indian writers to intervene in. The plot and language get another ‘yay’ from me. I enjoyed Phil’s character.

‘Nay’ Factors: For me, it is the cover art. After reading the book, I wished the cover to be better than this. Also, the quality of the cover could have been a little enhanced. I found some of the chapters very dragging.

The fate of mankind at the hand of the alien clan is one of the many reasons you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens in The Prophecy of Trivine. To find out whether Xona finds a way to stop the destruction of mankind, Phil escapes the police force or not, Siv’s experiments on Flora n Fauna reached some result or not, who was Arty, what was the reason for the paranormal incidents in the forest, how the trio managed to survive there, what happens when they are found by Xona; you will have to read the novel, The Prophecy of Trivine.

I personally feel as debutants they have nailed it. I recommend this book to all readers, irrespective of their age. The story line kept me glued till the end; there is definitely a scope for sequels which I am looking forward to though there is no mention of it anywhere in the book. Cheers to the authors!

Ratings: 4/5

Buying Links: Amazon | Homeshop18 | Bookadda | Infibeam Indiatimes | Uread 

This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com. Thanks Nimi Vashi for giving me the opportunity to read such a nice book!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This life is to be lived alone...

Searching in my delusional world,
In enormous atrocities I'm curled.
Yet vainly I look for it,
I hope to get it before I quit.

Deep inside I know what it means to me,
Yet I question; to be or not to be.
The answer part is not easy,
Engulfing me in a deep frenzy.

I know the key lies within,
To be in love is not a sin.
And yet I want to stop now,
As my heart doesn't allow.

It wants to remain a stone,
This life is to be lived alone.

I have seen  its good side,
But the bad images play in my mind.
It has made me smile, laugh, and dance too,
However, it has also left me with no clue.

I acknowledge that it has given me a lot, but oh,
It's the pain that it has given me in plenty though.
I remember being with my knight in shining armour;
in those arms that are my safe harbour.

And yet my heart refuses to mellow down,
I guess the reasons is the frown.
How can it hurt the one it loves?
So it moves on and shoves.

The one I was looking for remains unknown,
And this life is to be lived alone...

Monday, April 14, 2014

In Conversation with Rishi Piparaiya :)

Professionally, Rishi Piparaiya heads marketing and direct sales for a financial services multinational. Prior to this, he spent years dozing his way up to a super duper senior position at a fine global bank, which ironically never sleeps. His other professional claims to fame include running football betting syndicates in Spain and setting up random internet businesses that contributed to the dotcom bust.

Academically, he perfected the art of cracking exams without attending classes at the Cathedral & John Connon School, University of Rochester and Cornell University.

Athletically, he has completed half marathons (21 km for the sportingly ignorant) in well under three hours. To put this speed in perspective, the rate of continental drift is four cms per year: landmasses take 500,000 years to cover the distance that he can in barely a few hours. To put this time in perspective, the Mohenjo-daro and Harappa baloney that they taught us in school is 5,000 years old. So it’s no wonder that champion distance - running nations like Kenya and Ethiopia are clamouring to give him citizenship.

Intellectually, Aisle Be Damned is his first book.

Here he lets his readers know a little more about himself and his journey so far. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring to you Rishi Piparaiya:

1. Tell us a little about yourself? Your aspirations and your hobbies!! 

I am a corporate executive having spent close to fifteen years in financial services. I have had the opportunity to live, work and study in various countries across the globe.  I have made some pretty unconventional choices in my education, career, and hobbies and that constant desire to do different things or do things diffferently reflects in my work. And hopefully in my book. 

2. How did Aisle Be Damned emerge in your imagination? 

I take 8-10 flights every month and I am a pretty nervous flier. Sitting on planes every week, clutching the arm rest or praying frantically, Aisle Be Damned just wrote itself! 

3. Can you justify the title of your book?  

A window seat v/s aisle seat is one of the first decisions that passengers have to make when they check in. Aisle Be Damned is a play on the Aisle seat. It’s a nice simple title that translates well across media – print, digital, social etc. I went through about 25+ options before zeroing down on this one! 

4. What message do you want to convey to your audience through your book? 

I think my biggest message is that life is quirky, random and there is humor all around us. Its just a matter of perspective and how one chooses to see and embrace life.  

5. What made you want to become a writer? 

I have been doing creative writing ever since I was a young child. It’s never been about wanting to be a writer – it’s a just a medium of expression for me. Some do it through speech, some through music, some through dance – I use a humble pen. 

6. How does it feel to be a published author? 

It had always been a goal of mine – to see a book published. And I’m sure I’m inspired by my father who has written close to ten books on a variety of subjects. So I am hoping to keep up. 

7. What is your biggest achievement till date? 

Mundane as it sounds, my biggest achievement has been to quit smoking. On one fine day in 2009, after close to two decades of smoking, I puffed 8 cigarettes one after the other, and as I stubbed the 8th one out, I said “I am done”. And I haven’t looked back since then. It has taken a lot of will power and self-control but it has been more than worth it. 

8. Tell us something about your book?  

Aisle Be Damned is a hilarious take on just about everything associated with the dog and pony show of air travel. It seamlessly integrates flying tips with quirky witticisms and is a great guide to simplifying one’s airline experiences while getting umpteen laughs along the way. It provides perspective on an array of common travel situations including: how to get upgraded to Business class, how to micro-manage bathroom-frequenting pilots, how to win elbow fights with co-passengers, how to breeze one’s way through immigration and making fundamental decisions such as window v/s. aisle seats. It is a fluid read with mass appeal, catering to frequent fliers, first-timers, and even the uninitiated. 

9. How and why you decided to publish your book through Jaico Publishing House? 

Aisle Be Damned is not really a typical book by any yardstick. It straddles genres, it deals with an extremely offbeat subject, it has anecdotes, images, funny captions and perspectives on a variety of topics – there is really nothing like it in the Indian or global literary space. I was looking for a publisher who had the track record and pedigree to manage this book and yet the hunger to innovate and experiment. As a first time author, I was looking for a publisher who would give my book the requisite attention that I think it deserved. And finally, a team that was committed and held itself to the highest standards of integrity and performance. Jaico, under the leadership of the unflappable Akash Shah, was an excellent fit. 

10. Is there a key person or group that has inspired you in the process of writing? 

Ever since I can remember, friends and colleagues have encouraged me to write a book. And many of them were most supportive in giving me feedback on the earlier drafts of Aisle Be Damned. 

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

The earliest memory I have of writing is poetry – as a 7 year old Grade 2 student. And looking back, without appearing cocky, they were pretty good poems – they had rhythm, rhymes, and told a good story! I remember my class teacher of that time coming home once – just to let my parents know how much she enjoyed my writing. So I guess that was my first foray into the world of writing. 

12. What genre do you despise and why? 

Rather than think about what I despise, let me focus on what I enjoy. I am not an avid reader but I enjoy autobiographies – there is always something to learn from the successes and failures of others. I enjoy descriptive works – books that paint a picture with the usage of beautiful words. And lastly simple short stories with a twist – something that makes you unexpectedly smile. 

13. What are your views on co-authoring? 

Any author or newbie you would like to co-author with? My view is Why not? If there is someone who is on the same wavelength and shares a similar perspective, it should be fairly plausible for both people to pen their thoughts into one piece of work. Finding someone like that though is the challenge. 

14. As an author what according to you is biggest power in your hands? 

I believe that the biggest power that an author has is the ability to influence people. Readers give you their most valuable assets – their time and attention. And as an author, one needs to ensure that one has made it worth their while. So whether you are transporting them to another world or just sharing your experiences in this one, you are shaping their thoughts. You are giving them something to think about. And that is a huge power. And along with power, as the cliché goes, comes responsibility. 

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

I enjoy listening to music. I have tried my hand at sailing. I have run a few half marathons. And I read the occasional book. 

16. Is there any character in the book that is inspired by you? 

The entire book has been inspired by me! Taking 10 flights a month, year after year, I am the character! 

17. Do you try to write without letting your personal biased opinions interfere? 

Good question. Probably not. Aisle Be Damned is a personal perspective on air travel and it has been a free flowing writing experience. That said, once in a while, as most authors would do I assume, I step back and see whether the writing is in bad taste or would hurt anyone. Its one of the challenges of writing humor in particular – everyone may not appreciate the same humor or tones. 

18. Every coin has two sides if one side people like your work there are people who are against you. Does that disturb you? 

No, that does not disturb me a whole lot. Of course, I would prefer to hear praise for my work rather than criticism. But that said, I would rather the coin land on one side or the other instead of not tossing it at all – that is, I would rather people give me their views – good or bad – rather than stay mum! 

19. How do you see yourself 5 years down the line? 

I will be five years older – that’s for sure! The rest still has to pan out. 

20. What’s your strategy to promote your book and make your stand as a writer? 

My professional job is in sales and marketing and it is therefore natural that I try to incorporate some of my experience into Aisle Be Damned. The book is garnering significantly positive pre-release online reviews and I have launched a comprehensive visibility campaign across social media. Our website www.aislebedamned.com is arguably one of the most unique websites built for any book. We have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter. And slowly but steadily, traditional media is picking up on the humor and uniqueness of the work as well. 


A Hilarious Take on just about Everything Associated with Air Travel.

- Getting seamlessly upgraded to Business Class.
- The hows and whys of micromanaging the pilots.
- Action plans to counter the airlines Technical Snag routine.
- Sure shot strategies for winning the affections of flight attendants.
- Awesome icebreakers to start conversations with attractive co-passengers.
- How smart executives deal with the Walk of Shame to the economy section.
- How a water bottle dramatically improves flight safety.
- Breezing through immigration and customs, always making your flight connections and a whole lot more

Rest assured, your flying experience will never be the same again!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life's Little Instruction Book

Have a firm handshake.
Look people in the eye. 
Sing in the shower.
Own a great stereo.
If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
Keep secrets.
Never give up on anybody, miracles happen every day.
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Be brave. Even if you are not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
Avoid sarcastic remarks.
Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of all your happiness or misery.
Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
Lend only those books you never care to see again.
Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
When playing games with children let them win.
Give people a second chance but not a third.
Be romantic. 
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it seems.
Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for your convenience not the caller's.
Be a good loser.
Be a good winner.
Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
Keep it simple. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
Live your life so that you're your epitaph could read, No regrets.
Be bold and courageous when you look back on your own life. You'll regret the things you did not do more than the ones you did. 

Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those you helped you.
Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else chose it for you.
Visit your friends and relatives when they are in hospitals; you need only stay a few minutes.
Begin each day with some of your favourite music.
Once in a while take the scenic route.
Send a lot of valentine's card. Sign them, 'Someone who thinks you are terrific'.
Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
Keep a notepad and pencil on your bed-side table, Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 am.
Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless for how trivial their job.
Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
Become someone's hero.
Marry only for love.
Count your blessings.
Complement the meal when you are guest in someone's home.
Wave at the children on a school bus.
Remember that 80 per-cent of the success in any job is based on our ability to deal with people.
Don't expect life to be fair.