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Book Review of “Taming The Restless Mind” By Rashmi Singh

 

This book, I believe, is Rashmi Singh’s first non-fictional offering. A freelance Personality Development Trainer and Counselor, Rashmi has compiled small pearls of wisdom for her readers.
Pitching the book to be a guide, to tame your mind, Rashmi has put together about 20, quite prominent, topics that indeed are the factors that lead to unrest in the mind.

I would suggest young adults to give it a read. It is sure to help them as they walk the path of life- in college and in the corporate world.

But for most folks like me, these are topics that we are familiar with and know the nitty-gritty of the consequences they bring. The book seemed very interesting to me initially, but within a few pages it was too predictable. There was no novelty for me.

Also, I did not quite understand the usage of all caps words/sentences in between. If a point needs to be stressed up on highly, making the text “bold” could’ve worked just as fine. The usage of caps in between did not go well with my reading process. I did find many grammatical and other flaws but since the flow was soft and easy, I guess I shall by-pass them for now.

People dealing with confidence and self development issues must give it a read. There are many winning tricks highlighted in the book that are bound to help readers gather and uplift their self-esteem and decision making skills.

I will suggest this book to youngsters definitely so that they are at least aware of the things that they are doing wrong (yes, already) and how they can improve their communication and interpersonal skills, as they stand on the brink of the transition (from a youngster to an adult).

 

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Interview with Rashmi Singh

 

Love’s Journey is the debut novel of Rashmi Singh, a freelance Personality Development and Soft Skills Trainer at Faridabad.
From talking about her personal and professional life to her take on love, Rashmi gives us an insight on present day society woes and much more. Read on.

Tell us a bit about your professional background. How did you steer towards becoming a Personality Development and Soft Skills Trainer?
I had been quite active during my school/college days- Taking part in Painting, Elocution, Drama, Creative Writing Competitions (both in Hindi and English, winning prizes for Elocution/Recitation from RamaKrishna Pramhansa Society, Ranchi, second prize in dramatics, in B.H.U-.I.T. and from diff. prestigious platforms) and other co curricular activities saw a growth in my Personality. I was very good academically (except Math-ooops!), winning Best Class Citizen Award consecutively for 2yrs in school. My life could not be perceived without these!!!
I connected well with my friends without having ideas that I was better than others or others were better than me….though I wasn’t the partying type. My ability (God Gifted) to connect with friends made me the elected Joint Sec., of my college though just after graduation I got married.

Marriage came with so many other regular responsibilities which weren’t easy to shoulder so my studies saw a break. But I am thankful to my very good schooling (Notre Dame Academy, Patna and Loreto Convent, Ranchi) that I got a chance to teach English in a school where my child had taken admission-thence my journey started. Along with teaching, I carried on with my educational pursuits and finally did M.A., M.B.A., C.T.E. In schools I was generally asked by the Principal to counsel students and parents and this idea came up in my mind to hone and polish the personality of others with my own experiences of life-So about 12 years back, I quit schools and started as a Freelance Personality Dev. and Soft Skills Trainer.

What is the one thing that you think is quite important when it comes to communication skills and personality development?
It is confidence coupled with being well-informed. If you have confidence and correct information of things for which a person needs extensive reading, then his/her language defects, dressing sense, etc. could be easily covered up. But not over- confidence- this leads to miscommunication.

Would you like to share with our reader, your earliest memories of writing?
Yes, why not!
Like I mentioned, Creative Writing came to me naturally, I was always into a flight of fancy in my imaginary world. I watched people, their mannerisms very intently. Why people-I even watched animals..clouds..flowers.. My poems and write ups were published in college magazines and local dailies but at that time we didn’t have much opportunities. Moreover I belonged to a conservative Rajput family, though was provided with the best of education but all these were mainly done with one objective-marriage. But the writer in me often fought with the woman in me and I kept on writing in my diaries continually. I have 2 blogs Riviera and Lost Tranquility in the Asia Section of an International website.
But recently these blogs have become a scapegoat of the rules of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting- the write ups are there but the illustration in the form of pictures have been blocked. But this has not deterred me. Actually I am more energized now.

You get to meet a lot many people every day, given your line of work. Did that in any way trigger you to write a story/novel? As in, what brought about the ideation of “Love’s Journey”?
Yes, I meet many. There are many married men/ women who are leading an unhappy life. Though they profess, they love their spouses but actually are not happy. Many want to get out of their wedlock but have certain fears!

And above all the YOUNGSTERS. The no. of jilted lovers are increasing by leaps and bounds these days!!! Progress has come with increased no. of suicides.

Sleeping with one and then moving around with others. Though in such cases often the males do not have any qualms but the females to a great extent are traumatized. Though while narrating their stories, they try to hide their physical relationship but their restlessness and eyes tell all!!!
So I took a backdrop of Bollywood and wrote about the feelings of a woman who has to overcome hurdles of life and I think being a Counselor has helped me a lot in etching the characters.

How would you define “love”?
Love is something which cannot be defined or measured!
It is just a feeling. It rises above physical appearance and mental make up. According to me love is something when you understand a person-give him/her space. Sex is obviously there but in couples where this becomes primary, love cannot stand even a single negative onslaught. Like in Love’s Journey Jennifer falls in love four times… but with Shambhu her love was a platonic and the most strongly bonded one. She knew she was crushing her desires, then too she wasn’t at all feeling bad because the kind of selfless love Shambhu was showering on her was never experienced by her before. And with Shantanu she thought after all she had found the love of her life with her body physically craving for him but eventually it sucked her into a vacuum!!!

Who, according to you, is the epitome of love in your life?
From renowned and known figures, it is Radha- I think Radha, Krishna’s beloved is the epitome of love. She never demanded anything from him…She was married but had the courage million years ago to admit this. And nobody knows what became of her when Krishna left her. It is said Krishna gave her a place along with him to be worshipped but there is no mention of the fact, that where she went..what she did.

Wasn’t this Krishna’s responsibility to see what became of his beloved? Radha had the courage to let the world know she loved Krishna.

How was the experience of having authored a book? Have things changed in anyway? Did you face any apathy from publishers or agents in the publishing industry?
It was great! First time people could know about me-my ability to feel things around me and l
gave them ‘language’ And I for the first time could really let out my feelings to the world. Monetarily it hasn’t changed but fame wise it has!! People now relate to me. As a Personality Development Trainer, I could reach out to a limited people but now I am able to reach the masses!

Pustak Mahal People are very good and extremely co operative to me and hence far I have interacted with them only. I have no agents. I do my own Liaison. But many of my friends with finished work are facing apathy from agents and Publishers. I can’t name them as this may hamper their hard work

What’s your take on the sudden rise in the number of new young authors?
It is really nice to see that now so many young people are getting their desired platform.

What’s your favorite genre? Name some of your favorite authors and books.
Recently I read ‘The Palace of Illusions‘ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni-It’s really gripping.
Paulo Coelho‘s ‘Veronica decides to die‘ is also thought provoking.
There’s nothing like my favourite Genre. I read anything which attracts my attention.

What next do we read from your desk?
Taming The Restless Mind is a very sincere and honest effort from my side to guide people across the world! I know many would be scandalized to see a woman dealing with topics which is considered a taboo in our society-but then someone has to! Topics like confidence development/communication skill is obviously there but topics like Peer Pressure, Job Stress, Dating, Drugs, Internet Porn Addiction, Nudity, Bed Buddies, Sexual Myths and Facts are also there. So you can say it is a complete package to tame restless minds!
Though a non fiction, it is written in a narrative style. The chapters are gripping with solutions provided to the best of my belief and faith.

Rashmi certainly has shown a knack for plotting a good story and etching relatable characters. I look forward to reading her latest non-fictional offering.

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Controversial Books

The Macmillan Dictionary describes the word “controversy” as: a disagreement, especially about a public policy or a moral issue that a lot of people have strong feelings about.
Now to think that a book can cause a disagreement about social or moral issues is not all that astounding. Don’t get me wrong, but the multitude of such books has only risen with time. I know we say we don’t need reassurance from anyone regarding our selection of reading/writing books and our interpretation, but some books seem to have unknowingly fueled such flurry among society based on their content, the language used, or if there is too much of (graphic) violence and/or sexual descriptions, traces of racism, religious degradation or extreme political views and opinions.

Some books that I happened to come across include:

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
A non-fictional read, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, the book states that Jesus was not divine, married and had sex with Mary Magdalene, had children by her, and that these children or their descendants emigrated to Gaul (France), and founded the Merovingian Dynasty, which has two of the most famous Frankish kings, Charles the Hammer, and Charlemagne.

Now, this is sure to upset a lot of Christians, obviously. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the authors backed their information with hard facts. But sadly, all information gathered by them was dubious and notorious.

 

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 

Surprised? Well, I was too.

Written by Mark Twain, the book has seen the usage of the word “nigger” quite frequently. No wonder this one ranks high amongst the list of book banned by schools. Due consideration should be given to the fact that at the time Mark Twain wrote the book, the word was the most common vernacular used for black people.
Also, the story shows Huck faking his own death, befriending a slave, and they both set out to seek liberation. Issues of equality, justice, human rights surface this children’s book, contrasting childhood dreams and harsh realities of life, mixed with some coarse language makes this one quite controversial.

 

 

The Catcher in the Rye

Written by J.D. Salinger, the book was intended for adults, but many teenagers ended up enjoying the classic because of its central character Holden Caulfield. He represented everything “anti-right” –he became an icon for defiance and rebellion.

Alcohol abuse, prostitution, sexuality, defiance, alienation, blasphemy, undermining of family values and moral codes, offensive language, premarital sex. Aren’t those sufficient reasons for banning this classic novel?

 

If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer

 

 

So O. J. Simpson swears that he did not commit the crime he was accused of, but the description of Simpson’s “hypothetical” scenario is so perfect and pristine that it’s as good as the actual confession. He puts forth the case that had he done it, this is how he’d do it. How weird is that?!

 

 

The Satanic Verses

By far, one of the most controversial of all books –for its controversial topic of course. The mighty unrest this one caused goes beyond measure.
Salman Rushdie tells the story of making an alternate Prophet Mohammad –a dispute between fact and fiction. The book was considered blasphemous since Rushdie referred to the Prophet Muhammad as Mahound, which is the medieval name for the devil.
In Pakistan, there were riots in 1989 over the book where a few people were killed, and many were injured in India. In spite of Rushdie issuing an apology, the Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini condemned the author publicly, and went to the extent of putting a $1 million bounty for killing the author, increasing that to $3 million if the assassin was Iranian. Even Venezuelan officials threatened 15 months of prison for anyone who owned or even read the book. Japan imposed a fine on anyone selling the English edition and a Japanese translator was said to be stabbed to death for getting involved with the book. Major U.S. booksellers removed this book from the shelves because they received death threats. Rushdie himself lived in hiding for almost a decade. Such was the animosity towards the book, and in a way it makes it all the more appealing. Despite all this the book was still listed for the Booker Prize in 1988!

 

American Psycho

 

This satirical novel, by Bret Easton Ellis, highlighted the farce nature of the yuppies in America through the story of Patrick Bateman, an insane yuppie and a serial killer. Upon its release, the book garnered huge controversy due to its extreme levels of graphic violence and sexual torture.

 

 

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown’s book gives a fictional account of characters revealing a hidden truth concealed by the Catholic Church for centuries, including the divinity of Christ, his celibacy, and the possibility of a genetic heritage. So why wouldn’t it be controversial?!
Many complained that the book has misinterpreted the history of Roman Catholic Church and the basic questioning of the tenets of Christianity. The book was also criticized for inaccurate description of history, geography, European art, and architecture. The book and the movie ended up topping the charts.

 

 

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou’s autobiographical work gives an account of her childhood and youth filled with trauma, tragedy, frustration, disappointment and eventually independence. She describes the racism she and her grandmother encountered, in spite of her grandmother being richer than her white counterparts. She describes how she was raped when she was just eight years old by her mother’s boyfriend and how her grandmother’s influence helped her overcome the hardships in her life.

So what caused the controversy? The graphic nature of the book, depicting details of abuse and rape.
This book was also nominated for the National Book Award.

 

Lolita

Published in 1955 in France, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita caused a storm of controversy that still shadow the book.

This novel explores the mind of a pedophile (Humbert Humbert), who narrates his life and obsession for nymphets like the 12-year-old Dolores Haze.
The book was banned in France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina. But in America, it was a huge success and is said to be the first book since Gone With The Wind to have sold 100,000 copies in the first three weeks.

 

Brave New World


Aldous Huxley’s most popular novel published in 1932 showcases Huxley’s vision of a future based on science and technology. The novel depicts drugs, sexuality, and suicide and reveals Huxley’s disdain for the culture of the United States. People challenged and tried banning the book on grounds of highlighting and accentuating negativity.

 

Then there are books around religion and divinity that have been the subject of discussions all around, like The Book of MormonThe God Delusion, The Quran and The Holy Bible.
If you know of any, please let us know. You may add them here in the comment box below.

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Book Review of “The Christmas Sweater” By Glenn Beck

he Christmas Sweater

By Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe and Jason Wright

 

Here’s a story that is not just for Christmas time, even though the title may make you assume so.

Twelve year old Eddie (the main protagonist) is utterly bitter after his father’s death. He longs for a bike as his Christmas present but ends up getting a homemade sweater from his mother. He compares his life to his friend Taylor’s, who seems to have it all – Disneyland trips and all the material things that claim to make a child happy. But what Taylor longs for is love.

Bratty Eddie mistreats his mother and grandparents, till he encounters lessons on Hope and Love.

This semi-autobiographical “heartwarming Christmas tale” is essentially about redemption, family, love and forgiveness. It is about second chances and how we all deserve forgiveness no matter how big or small the deed is.

No one stands by you through thick and thin but your family foremost. We all have storms (some external, some self created) rising and falling within us each day and we have to fight it all. But not at the cost of losing faith or showering anger on our loved ones. It teaches you to deal with adversity and to keep your faith alive in God and his mysterious ways.

The story is very simple; predictable yet thought provoking; the characters are familiar; the instances and experiences are relatable and leave an unforgettable impression that truly inspires you to be the person God intended you to be.

It has a universal appeal and a message that will surely stir the strings of your heart.

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