Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review :: ‘She Walks She Leads’ by Gunjan Jain

Genre: Non-fiction, biographical
Publisher: Penguin

• Nita Ambani launched the Indian Super League, on the lines of FIFA, to boost football in India 
• Sudha Murty gave her savings to her husband, Narayana Murthy, to help start Infosys 
• Naina Lal Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School 
• Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon with a seed capital of Rs10,000 
• At the age of sixteen, Sania Mirza became the youngest and the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam 

These are some snippets from She Walks, She Leads which profiles twenty-six iconic women in modern India. These leaders tell their stories, up close and personal. Their relentless ambition to shatter the glass ceiling, their pursuit for excellence and the challenges that came their way – all of this is captured vividly in this exclusive anthology. Each chapter is based on extensive research and has never-seen-before photographs of these luminaries. The chapters are followed by interviews with their companions and close confidants who have seen them grow over the years. The women leaders profiled in the book come from different fields like banking, media, cinema, sports, fashion, philanthropy and industry. 

My Review:
Who is not in need of inspiration? No matter how strongly one denies, I am sure everyone has experienced that one moment when he/she has admired and/or learnt a lesson from another human being.

Today when the current generation of women are breaking glass ceiling in all the spheres of life, be it education, corporate or sports, it is inevitable to take a peak into the lives of women who have broken the patriarchal molds and are leading the charge from the front.

‘She Walks She Leads’ by Gunjan Jain is one such mine of real-life stories which give wings to one’s thought and strength to achieve higher goals. The collection features twenty-four successful women of India who have beaten every odd to reach the top position in their chosen field.

The book includes the mini-biographies of Nita Ambani, Rajashree Birla, Sudha Murty, Yasmeen Premji, Parmeshwar Godrej, Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar, Arnavaz Aga, Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Zia Mody, Swati Piramal, Priyanka Chopra, Mira Nair, Shabana Azmi, Kareena Kapoor, Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar, Jyotsna Darda, Shobhana Bhartia, Indu Jain, Mary Kom, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal.

Though in India we are mostly aware of the profession and causes these eminent personalities are associated with, but the book gives an up-close view of personal struggle and growth of these women from the start. I am particularly inspired by the lives and achievements of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Mary Kom and Priyanka Chopra.

The author has divided the book to encompass diverse fields; from social responsibility, corporate, media to entertainment, sports, and fashion. She has also taken care to cover personalities in terms of age, region and background. The book is structured to give a peak into the lives of the celebrities and then goes on to a detailed interview by either the family member or closest friend or associate.

I liked the fact that the narration sticks to facts and views of the inner coterie, and nowhere it gets preachy or dogmatic. The author at the beginning has summarized the success values that are common during the course of meeting these legends and writing the book, thereby easing the readers into the book.

The language is simple yet sophisticated making the book an engaging and fascinating read. The book is further embellished with colored photographs and thoughts of more than hundred people associated with these super achievers. 

‘She Walks She Leads’ is a comprehensive, well researched book to add to one’s collection, to be referred time and again and get inspired by women-power of our country.

Disclaimer: The book was provided by the author’s publicist. The views and opinions stated in the review are solely mine.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Review :: ‘Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right’ by Varsha Dixit

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Rupa Publications


Love is in the air again…and this time it’s steamy, bold and manipulative!

Gayatri, a rich, spoiled diva, is fighting to establish herself even as her tyrant father pushes her into a life not of her choice. Viraj is a genius and a con who shuns society and its hypocrisies.

Gayatri sees Viraj only as a means to an end. For Viraj, Gayatri is the epitome of all that he despises. So when their paths cross, it is a battle of feisty wills and desire.

Will Gayatri and Viraj prove to be each other’s salvation or annihilation?

From the best-selling author of Right Fit Wrong Shoe and Wrong Means Right End comes Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right. All the unforgettable characters of the earlier two bestsellers make a comeback in this unforgettable story of hurt, hearts and hope.

This is a tumultuous journey of two Wrongs who might just make everything Right!

My review:

RWWR is a romance novel and touches on the truism that first impressions can be deceptive. It focuses on story of Gayatri, who had made an appearance in the previous two novels in the series as well. The emotional backstory of both the protagonists play an important role in shaping the entertaining story arc.

Gayatri is a rich socialite. Though her father supports her financially, he has always snubbed and humiliated her, leading to her lack of self-esteem. Her dad is also hell bent on getting her married to a man of his choice. Finding and holding a job has become a life and death situation; not only to regain her self-confidence, but independence as well. 

For Viraj maintaining a persona of a high IQ, eccentric scientist has become a convenient excuse to distance himself from social milieu. With a twist of fate, Gayatri manages to break the shield he had built around him. The romance and chemistry between them, they refuse to acknowledge, slowly spreads its loving tentacles and consumes them. I simply loved the twist in the end and Viraj's faith in Gayatri.

The characterization of both Gayatri and Viraj is very interesting. The author has expertly and thoroughly vindicated Gayatri’s negative personality shades as evident in the previous two books. I would have loved to know more about Sana, but it doesn’t take away anything from the story. The novel support characters are the main protagonists from the previous books in the right-wrong series and they provide lighter moments in the story.

The narration and language exhibits Varsha Dixit’s characteristic light as well as touching tongue-in-cheek style, leaving the reader thoroughly entertained. Though it is the third book, but can be read as a stand alone novel.

All in all Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right is a light, breezy and romantic read.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review :: “No Safe Zone’ by Adite Banerjee

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins
Qiara Rana will do anything to save her mentor and their non-government organization from ruin. Even if it means visiting the city she had vowed never to return to. But within a few hours of landing in New Delhi, she is being chased by a gunman and is a potential suspect in the murder of a high-profile businessman. 

The only person she can turn to for help is Kabir Shorey, the man who stood her up ten years ago. Past and present collide in a deadly plot of crime and greed that moves from the cosmopolitan streets of Delhi to the bazaars and villages of Rajasthan.

My Review:
Engaging, racy and extremely romantic are the adjectives which come to my mind as I finished reading ‘No Safe Zone’ by Adite Banerjie. It is commendable how the author comes up with unique locales and theme for each of her novels. While the setting of her earlier book ‘Trouble Has No Name’ is vacation cum wedding in an exotic beach resort, and now NSZ gives a flavor of crime and suspense with colorful Rajasthan as the backdrop, both of them cleverly intertwined with sizzling romance.

Kabir is handsome and dangerous, Qiara is sexy and daring. The combination sets the story on fire right from the word go. Qiara, trying to save her mentor and organization from the worst possible scam and allegations, lands in New Delhi, and then reaches Jaipur with gun toting villains after her. She meets Kabir, with whom she shares a love-hate history. Together they unravel and bust the highly powerful crime ring.

Qiara as a law student, working in an NGO shows spunk in handling the goons, and the truth about her birth. Kabir, an Intelligent Officer investigating a dubious businessman, fits royally well given his parentage and history. And when they come together the result is hot, sizzling chemistry.

The author has come up with intriguing elements of surprise at regular intervals in the story, maintaining the high pace set at the beginning. The skillful way their painful past and intriguing present are linked makes the plot highly entertaining. The romantic interludes as well as the action scenes come alive with expert narration and fluent language.

Highly recommended read for all who love romance, with some kick-ass action.