Thursday, April 18, 2013

Featured in DNA Mumbai Edition

It's my great pleasure to tell all of you that The Standing Coin has been featured in DNA,Mumbai Edition on Page 4 on 18th April 2013(LINK). Here's the link to the PDF copy(http://www.4shared.com/office/uamu5IV5/18042013-md-main-4.html). Also here is the actual review as well

The first thing that intrigued me about Sidhharth Gupta’s blog was the name: “The Standing Coin.” What would ‘the standing coin’ mean? The blog is a potpourri of stories that range from traditional book reviews and poems to opinions about movies and commentaries by a modern teenager on the political system, and a few dandy snaps in “The other side of the camera”.

From all the poems, the one that stands out is “The Sunset of Daybreak” that describes life through these natural events of sunset and daybreak. In the story “Who am I? : An Indian teen’s identity crisis”, SidG brings out the perplexities that an Indian teen goes through over her/his identity on account of the multiple rifts and divides in our society. 

In another, (“Its okay to be confused”) he delves into the career choices a teen has to make, from a range of stereotypes and the baggage that comes along. 


He criticises the “hard-working Indian politician”, who is eager to serve his constituents in “What a joke Indian Politics is”. Unlike many who constantly point a finger at a particular family for ‘creating’ dynasties, SidG points out the other numerous dynasties that also exist in the country but are missed out occasionally. (“Mere baap ka hai dynasty politics”)
The Standing Coin covers nearly every facet that a young modern-day blogger could scribe. It is exhilarating and breaks out of the ‘what the youth wants’ stamp, with a valid retort by someone who is young. As SidG puts it: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in a nation where nearly 58% of the population is under 30, and can be legally elected with a minimum age of 25, 41 is classified ‘YOUNG’.” 
The blog will definitely beguile the au courant, blooming section, giving them an insight into something that they should unquestionably gather on, that is our country’s structure of governance, contemporary and approaching.
Vishakha Wadhwani

The Standing Coin Featured in DNA Mumbai Edition Page 4 on 18th April 2013
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Despair Of Helplessness


The Patriot’s Day Marathon in Boston ironically martyred 3 more people and injured hundreds Less than 24 hours later, a 7.8 Richter scale magnitude earthquake hit the Iranian city of Zahedan, killing more than 40 people and again injuring hundreds of people.
Earthquake in Iran on 16th April 2013
This post is not to blame anyone or any organisation. Neither it is to preach a lesson of peace for the simple reason that I’m sure, both the parties responsible i.e. Mother Earth and those ghastly insurgents or non-state actors who bombed the Marathon would not be reading this post. Rather this post is a simple cry of anguish, an echo of sorrow and a reflection of pain at my simple inability to do anything about this situation.


Take a moment to think about it. 43 people just died for absolutely no fault of theirs. They could have been fathers, inspiring their children with patriotism or simple men working to earn bits of their livelihood, awaiting nothing but the trip back home, back to their family. Some children will never see their mothers again and some mothers won’t see their children again.  Imagine an average person with an average person’s dreams and aspirations. All gone; crushed, if you will. The car he had been saving up for all his life will never be parked in his garage. The engagement she was celebrating will never turn into a marriage. The smile on the child’s face will never return as the cruel game of death destroyed his face.

Bomb Blast at Boston Marathon on 16th April 2013
I ask myself why, why did this happen? I’m unable to answer my question. Some crackpots believed that they will achieve their motives by blowing up people whose singular crime was to be present at that spot, at that moment.  Ignoring the terrorist act, I find myself flummoxed even more. If vengeance or twisted motives were to be blamed in the first case, whom or what do I blame for the Earthquake in Iran? The tectonic plates?  Natural processes?  The answer is not to be found. No one can reasonably explain this destructive event.

I may not be making sense but I sideline this due to my grief. Helplessness is a situation every human being hates, and being put in that situation, is deranged. Today, every person on this planet is feeling helpless. But at the end of the day, we have to move on. We can help them, rehabilitate them and do hundreds of things for them.  I end by quoting a track which has always lead me on in life, Across The Universe by The Beatles

Sounds of laughter, shades of life
Are ringing through my opened ears
Inciting and inviting me.
Limitless undying love, which
Shines around me like a million suns,
It calls me on and on across the universe

Jai Guru Deva.
Jai Guru Deva.
Jai Guru Deva.
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
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The Oath Of Vayuputras By Amish Tripathi -A Book Review



The Oath Of Vayuputras By Amish TripathiToday India stands at the precipice of a cultural and religious breakdown. Yes, we do have religious fanatics who wish to polarise the nation on communal basis. But let’s focus on the other half. People do not know about the rich history of India or even its deep mythological history. Amish has single handily changed this paradigm. Using an unique factor of narrating the tale of Shiva by bringing him to life in the ancient Indus civilisation, Amish’s Shiva Trilogy has brought an entire reading generation into a brilliant world.

 

This 565 paged novel is Amish’s third and final part of the Shiva Trilogy. The first two parts, The Immortals of Meluha and The Secrets of Naga where blockbusters and were amazing reads. Unfortunately I didn’t review them but yes, they were pretty good. The basic story(for those who are uninitiated) is that Amish has taken the concept of Shiva as a God in the context that he was an unbelievable human being thousands of years ago, and today, his superhuman deeds are regarded as godly in nature.


Oath of Vayuputras starts off from the cliff hanger Amish left us with at the end of book 2.The book doesn't disappoint, as the pace continues. All characters seemingly have their own hidden little agendas as they fight what they deem to be evil. Add in a strict adherence to morals, principles and analogous rules, the book shows a world that punishes yet rewards, and keeps you gripped.


I won't give away the plot though I'll tell you the small little things whose presence or lack thereof disappointed me slightly. Firstly, modification of certain established mythical stories. Although the statement itself sounds very redundant, the truth is that after so many years, people are used to a general version of the story in question. Any departure from it, even in a work of fiction, makes me slightly uncomfortable. Another factor that ticked me off was that the book had an idealistic tone for a major part of the narration, which just doesn't add up to plot which is near reality.


Amish TripathiTo sum it up, yes there are very tiny, almost microscopic issues with the book, but overall, it's a must-read. In fact, I would recommend the entire trilogy to you. Read it, discover Lord Shiva and through him, a new generation of Indian fiction.


Har Har Mahadev

 

Like: Style of narration, Brilliant mixing of fiction, myth, history and logic



Dislike:  Idealistic, Modification from general myths

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tantra By Adi -A Book Review



Tantra By Adi- Book Review

Vampires are IN.this fact is undeniable. It may the unprecedented idiotic popularity of Stephanie Mayer's Twillight series or the even banal television show by Ekta Kapoor, vampires are becoming a part of mainstream entertainment. Those fanged mysterious beings with a certain suave nature, have taken over our imagination and strongly created a new genre, which I explicitly refer to as “The Vampire Stuff”

This 335 paged novel is Adi’s first novel. It’s a story dealing with the life of Anu, a vampire hunter from New York who has just shifted to New Delhi, capital of India and its crimes. The reason behind the shift is clear and personal. Her goal is vengeance. The vendetta of avenging her now-dead lover Brian is what she wanted but this leads her to stumble upon a sinister plot, which may wreck the entire city or the entire country, and maybe the entire world. Armed with new friends and new enemies who are her allies, this novel is a small little tale of a strange world which defies all of Anu’s pre-assumed conventions as she discovers a new strategic and tactic method of fighting her foes: Be and let be.


Highlighting the key points of the book that delighted me, Tantra deals with some fine unexplored nuances of Indian fiction like tantric magic, vampires and secret hunting’s. Not that other books haven’t attempted this, but they always failed, unlike Tantra. It wins because it defeats other books in certain aspects which enchant a reader. Tantra has characters which resemble people you may bump into everyday i.e. the characters are believable rather than fantastical imaginary perfect human beings. Also, the setting of the book is as I like it, subtle and subdued rather than over-detailed and explicit. Also another nugget i loved was the entire “shaadi karo beta” underlining in the book which almost every person in India is used to and tolerates in a grudging attitude.

Adi and Soha Ali Khan at Book Launch of Tantra

The place where the book fails me is the narration. I found the book to be too much of “Chetan Bhagat” style of narration. Yes, the characters were lively and relatable but the plot as well as the storyline was not. I found it hard to believe the instances mentioned in the book as many fine points were just glossed over, rather than being detailed. I re-iterate myself when I say that a book is not damaged by its details but rather by its lack of details.


Overall, this book is a decent read with a non-flowery pattern dealing with an interesting topic. A definite recommendation to light readers or newbie readers who want to sink their teeth on something easy before moving on to something more intimidating or the big guns.


Like: Easy to read, Relate-able, Interesting topic, Light, Simplistic


Dislike:  Pedestrian or “Chetan Bhagat”ish narration, Lack of character history, Glossing over required details


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