someday ill be in company of all....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: As a man Thinketh by James Allen

Title: As a man thinketh
Author: James Allen
Publisher: Manu Graphics
Price: Rs 95.00
ISBN: 9789380078557
Genre: Inspirational
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Personal

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As A Man Thinketh provides the readers with insights into the effects of the thoughts they harbor, upon their life. This book comprises seven chapters, which include Visions and Ideals, Serenity, Effects of Thoughts on Health and the Body, The Thought-Factor in Achievement, Thought and Purpose, Effect of Thought on Circumstances, and Thought and Character.
In the first chapter, Allen tells the readers that a man is what he thinks he is, and his character is the sum of all his thoughts. He further explains that man can improve his current state in life by simply choosing to think the right thoughts, and implementing them correctly. Allen goes on to draw the link between the effects of thoughts on circumstances, explaining that a person’s destiny is influenced by their thoughts. He further states that a person’s current phase in life is due to their thoughts and actions.
Allen also provides insight into the analogy that the body is the mind’s servant, and explains that thoughts, whether good or bad, will have an effect on the body for better or for worse. He also tells the readers that they should fight to achieve their goals, and make certain sacrifices as well. Allen also encourages the readers to dream big, and states that their dreams would be their future destiny in life. He also deals with the quality of serenity, explaining that having a calm mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom, indicating that it is the outcome of long and patient effort in self-control.
This book was written in the early 1900's and I'm amazed that how the thoughts remain so everlasting...Its been few years since last I read an inspirational books, but this particular one caught my attention as it said that this book is the mother of all inspirational books for the generation to come and after reading it I saw why.The book itself is just 90+ pages and single thought could be developed into a book by itself..
Allen hasn't tried to elaborate them and explain concepts through anecdotes but has simply given the thoughts for the reader to contemplate and take it in one's own stride.The book is divided into seven chapters viz.,  thoughts and character, effect of thought on circumstance, effect of thought on health and body, thought and purpose, the thought factor in achievement, visions and ideals, serenity and the final one is dedicated to quotes by Allen..
The theme of the book is the its mans thoughts that defines his life and his future.I read the famous book secret by Rhonda Byrne and I could see many thoughts were derived from this one only difference is that Byrne focuses on the universe while Allen is more driven towards god as the divine power...Allen says that a godlike image is not by chance but by a man's persistent way of associating himself with such thoughts.(p-20).
One particular quote that I loved is in the chapter-effect of circumstances,  Circumstance does not make a man but that reveals him.(p-32) how true.
Few other quotes that I found interesting :Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.(p-33) and Nature helps every man to gratification of thoughts, which he most encourages.(p-45)

I  had my reservations on the chapter on the effect of thought on health and the body, I'm not sure if all disease and ailments are a result of one's thought if so then how can one describe about disease of a new born baby's  is it the result of the mothers though?? he uses his images to get more focus on things..

They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles and self-pitying. In short a man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it.The thought factor in achievement  he explains that a persons sufferings and his happiness are evolved from within.(p-67) In visions and ideals he explains by quoting examples of Columbus who cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it;Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe and he revealed it, Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.(p-78). Finally I would like to wind up with the thought, To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve (p-96).and this reminded me of this quote that goes something like this, "Our deepest fears is not that we are inadequate, our deepest feat is that we are powerful beyond measure, we ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous, actually who are you not to be?"In short man is the ultimate power of his being , making it or destroying is all the results of his own thoughts...

James Allen is an inspirational figure, so I thought I include that too
James Allen was a well-known philosophical author. Apart from this book, Allen wrote The Life Triumphant: Mastering The Heart And Mind, Man: King Of Mind, Body and Circumstance, James Allen’s Book Of Meditations For Every Day In The Year, and The Shining Gateway.
Allen was born on the 28th of November, 1864, in Leicester, England. His father was a factory knitter, and he travelled to America in 1879 after the downturn of the textile trade. Within two days of arriving in America, he was declared dead by the New York City Hospital, who put the case down to robbery and murder. Due to severe financial difficulties, Allen was forced to quit school, and start working. Through most of the 1890s, he held the position of a private secretary, and stationer at a number of British manufacturing companies. In 1893, he met Lily Louisa Oram, who he married in 1895. In 1898, he began to pursue his writing career working for a magazine called The Herald of the Golden Age. He later launched his own magazine named The Epoch, which his wife continued after his death in 1912.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: Age of Kali by William Darlymple

Title: Age of Kali:Indian Travels and encounters
Author: William Darlymple
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 408
Price: Rs 399
ISBN: 9780143031093
Genre: Travel / Non-fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Borrowed

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Buy Age of Kali from

I read this book just after my secondary final exams some 10 years back, though William Darlymple is one of my favorite authors, the book did not impress me a it did back then.Age of Kalyug is a post independent India's modern face.
The book is not a travelogue ,but it also includes his encounters with people from different walks and different circumstances..Travelling, he doesn't stop with India but extends his visit to adjoining countries like  Pakistan and Sri Lanka with all its social unrest..
The book was written in late 90's and 90,s were indeed historic for India in terms of economic liberalization, series of nuclear tests that put India in the forefront, IT boom with many job opportunities,yet like two sides of the coin, there were events in the country that was quite contradictory to the positive events and somehow the book captures more of the grayer dull part of the coin.

That being said, Age of Kali refers to the final era as per Hindu scriptures wherein the world age is divided into four,viz., Satya, Treta, Dvapara and finally Kali yuga. Yuga means era. Kaliyug is believed to be apocalyptic age. It is believed that during this period human race would go down the lane of degeneration in terms spiritual being, social confusion, with moral sensibility to nil.In short it is the dark age of the era. And it is this dark age that Darlymple has captured. Though the history part and his experience stays,  the current events described in the books are bit outdated hence I had an urge to browse fast than read.

Darlymple effortlessly paints the multifaces of India ( all negative side) through the lanes of old  Lucknow bringing alive the gone by Mughal era and the Nawabs who are still caught in the web of  gone by days, the palatial houses, colleges housed in old buildings that are on the verge of destruction all paints a dark state of affair of the beautiful history transformed into tattered present,moving through the northeast frontiers, to Bodhgaya where Lor Budha had his enlightenment  are now guarded by the protection force for the safety of tourists.Later through Gwalior's history and cultural improvishment to the land of Deorala famous for sati (wife killing herself upon husbands death) incident.. Rajputs ruling over the underprivileged in the name of caste are the major points he notes.. He also observes the  dawn of a powerful middlewho are financially independent and well educated on a middle class and their struggle to lead a better life..
I felt that chapter on Sri Lanka, Pakistan could have been made into another independent book that would have ..But when it comes down to India and history you can see the magic of Darlymple all through the book.
What sets Darlymple apart from the crowd of foreign travelers through India is in his keen observational skills which is entwined with his  research , he also tries to compare and contrasts the relevance to the present among which few are convincing few may not.. Many facts are outdated and might sound bit boring..

The main problem with the book is when Darlymple tries to generalize, for instance Bangalore is not about the MNC food outlets or Miss India contest agitations nor people like Shobha De or Baba Sehgal represent the mass of then Bombay..I was surprised when Vrindavan was given an image of a place filled with abandoned and outcast widows, though that is one part but not the major one...The book fails to give a comprehensive picture of a place.Though Darlymple has tried to go beyond the people who hit headline by interviewing the widows, LTTE female wing leader in Srilanka, still somwhow I felt at many places he has failed to feel the pulse of the place by giving more importance to the circumstances he was subject to rather than the what people of the place were subject to.. The X factor that that made him my favourite author is missing in this one..

Through his journey he also happens to meet Laloo Prasad  and getting him some politically correct questions and stays diplomatic through out out..His rendezvous with Rajmata to Benazir Bhutto when onto till Imran Khan in Pakistan.
Like I said before through cultural clashes, caste discrimination, illiteracy in-equality down the social hierarchy reader starts feeling bad about everything ..One good thing is his zeal for his work,he would go to any extend in the pursuit to find his subject and talk to any kind of people for the same..But then why Darlymple couldn't find any goodness around.. This is a stark contradiction from a man who has been able to  find the different edge ad midst all unconventional situations...
In final chapters of reunion Darlymple moves to Srilanka and Pakistan... Pakistan was a part of India but then Sri lanka has been independent way too early even through mythology of project save Sita in Ramayana so then why was it all brought together..I couldn't agree with the author's nod to the Mandal commission that according to me turned India upside down in the name of caste for the sake vote banks..darlymples's venture through drug showers of North-west frontier is totally commendable..
The only point that brought smile across my face was the section that had a description of a  festival in Madurai, you can feel Darlymple's signature through the portrayal, be it the crowd or the set up around.

His book is an effort of comparison and description of  the domestic, ethnic, imperial, social and cultural changes through ages.The book paints more of the dull grey picture of the country and in spite of all the short comings I would still recommend this book But do  not take this book way too seriously as it has not aged gracefully..So go for The last Mughal and The white Mughal by the same author.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Finally a post!!!!!

I know i know it's been ages that I even logged into my blogger account.My research kept me super busy that I hardly had time to keep up with anything around and with my mobile been lost I have been literally cut off from social networks as well. Books have helped me to keep up with my otherwise serious work, I failed to squeeze in  time to blog..Now that I have found some time to breath and relax I thought Ill do justice to my blog..
 That being said I was wondering why not a fun post rather than a book review for change..So here are some random facts about me..

  1. I love my name and I love my parents for christening me Vibina Venugopal, but they hardly call me by it. I'm still figuring it out what it means.I use vb (vibi) in my blog.
  2. Way back in school days I happened to visit a research lab with research buzz at its peak, staring at the research scholars in those squeaky white coats gliding around ,touched a string in me and here I'm, a research scholar doing my doctorate of philosophy in chemical-ecology.
  3. I love reading so much that there are hardly few books that goes unread even if they do not fall into my kind of genre.For me its the process of reading that appeals, but then genre that I don't like consume more of my time.
  4. I do not stick to my TBR list, I buy books by  hunch though nowadays I try to stick to the list.
  5. My wishlist is piling than the list I have read..(err call it my disability to keep up!!!)
  6. Though my mother tongue is Malayalam, I can't write it well when compared to Hindi that I learnt in school.
  7. My efficiency with Tamil is the same as that of Malayalam.(okay now I'm trying to improve both). Though I learnt Sanskrit I'm not good at that either.
  8. I have always wanted to learn Italian and live there at least for a month, Florence is my THE place to visit before I die.
  9. I'm a coffee girl , kind of addicted to it.
  10. I'm crazy about travelling, both for fun and for work.I can sit in a train and can go on forever.That is the reason I started my travel blog which I have not been able to update for a year (Its time that I'm banged for it).I love photography too but the the even the basic technical terms (like aperture, shutter speed, ISO) is greek and latin to me.
  11. I'm not claustrophobic yet long dark and closed corridors scare me .
  12. As a young girl I wanted to have pets but my parents refused (frown frown), how I wish to have a Persian cat someday.
  13.  My reflex coordination is so great that if someone throws something at me 99%  of it it would land at my feet than my hand, and if I throw something to the bin it lands just aside the actual bin.
  14. I love my food to be hot and I'm more inclined to Indian delicacy than any foreign cuisine though I do experiment also I eat fast and don't like to talk while I eat.
  15. Though I cook my food, I wouldn't  call myself a good cook, cooking  is something I'm yet to explore and master.But my mom is a great cook.I hope I inherit her skills.
  16. My favorite color is red, "My name is red" is one of my favourite books.
  17. I love wind chimes, candles(scented or otherwise). I have many around my place, I keep changing my decor of my room just to beat the monotony , it could be even decor of the wall or the least  position of furniture.
  18. I love gardening but living in the second floor of the apartment all I could manage is few potted plants in my balco.
  19. I have a guitar in my place for sometime which I haven't been able to learn till day.
  20. I'm not a fan of Harry Potter series though I loved the first two and liked the third , but my interest eventually faded with the subsequent books, anyhow I read all of them.
  21. Same is the case with Twilight series.
  22. I'm positive and a cheerful person 90% of the day.
  23. I have many friends with  few close, whom I have been annoying right from my school days, but unfortunately all live far.
  24. I can get along well with kids.
  25. I hate to wait and I'm irritated when someone keeps me waiting. I don't go anywhere late that makes me anxious.
  26. Cavin and hobbes used to be my favourite comic, Tom Jerry my favourite cartoon.
  27. I love dark chocolates
  28. I used to be and still am terrible in sports.
  29. I'm spiritual and can be religious too.
  30. I love to write but I have given up the habit of writing in my personal journal.I love non-fiction than fiction.
  31. I love history and I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was in school.Though I did not become an archaeologist my love for history stayed. I used to be good in history than in science.
  32. I love shopping ( ok now all girls do!!) be it for myself or someone else.I Love the sheer pleasure of getting dressed and going out for shopping rather than online shopping.
  33. I always carry a pen, notepad, book, umbrella in my bag and I love bags over clutch. 
  34. I can't keep up people's name(so bare with me if I recognize you still do not address you by your name) and dates, every time I have to record it in my lab log I have to check at least twice.
  35. I'm  really bad with math.
  36. I used to  name everything around me (for example my laptop, my bed, etc etc) call it weird or well just being  me.
  37. Butterscotch is my favourite flavour and I hardly experiment with other flavours.
  38. Suspense freaks me out, I don't mind watching a movie knowing its story line.
  39. I love celebrating my birthdays.
  40. I love tattoos but I don't have one on me.
So these are few random facts about me, and see you around my my regular posts.
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