Tag Archives: internet

Book Review of Contagious by Jonah Berger

Contagious_BookCoverWhy do somethings catch on, while others don’t? Why are some stories and songs more popular than others? Why is rumor and negativity more contagious than facts and positivity?

Jonah’s book, Contagious, highlights some of such viral content, and factors that help make an idea big / sell-able and infectious.

The six principles of contagiousness shared by Jonah focus on the simplicity, effectiveness and credibility of ideas that make it viral. Social Currency (social relevancy, resonance), Triggers (stimuli that prompt people to think about related things), Emotion (evoking connect in terms of emotion), Public (creating behavioral residue that sticks and is visible), Practical Value (monetary value and otherwise) – all wrapped in to Stories (creatively shared for the viral effect).

Smartly, the six principles form the acronym – STEPPS, and showcase “the underlying psychological and sociological processes behind the science of social transmission”.

Diving into each of the principles, as separate chapters, Jonah takes you on a splendid journey of different brands that made it big, solely on “personal recommendation”. Remember: people share things that make them look good to others.

Rich with stories as examples, the book is a good read for anyone and everyone, who aims to be viral in this digital age. As long as the content is useful, worthy, and smartly put using one or more STEPPS, you can harness social influence and be contagious!

Contagious

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “Delayed Monsoon” by Chitralekha Paul

Delayed Monsoon

By Chitralekha Paul

You truly can never tell what’s going on in a woman’s heart or mind. At times, she’d be a wreck, and quite upbeat the very next. At times, she’d be emotionally too weak, and at times the strongest one you’d ever meet. At times, she won’t be able to put her thoughts in to words, and at times she’ll go on till eternity burst. At times, she’d need your shoulder, your touch and a smile she can trust, and at times she’ll walk away at the first mention of a hug. This is what I gathered out of Chitralekha’s debut novel, Delayed Monsoon that peeps in to the world of a lonely housewife who finds solace in the virtual world, and has reality nabbing her again.

The main protagonist, Abhilasha leads quite a lonely life. Her college-going daughter and her ever busy husband (Nikhil) have only a few moments to spare for her. She yearns for love, affection and a bit of attention. And she thus finds herself being drawn to the internet. She makes a few friends –spanning different age groups and professions. She learns to move on in life and not brood over things she has no control over, or can’t really do much about. She learns about the different types of relationships that really exist in today’s world- from the long term (ever-lasting) sorts to the fleeting and momentarily satisfactory ones. Her traditional thinking at times receives a set-back only to revive and understand the age we are living in.

The book also spans different generations. I felt like this book had some sensitive issues, handled with much maturity and wisdom. Her life from childhood to present, with certain convictions and ideologies, penned in utmost simplistic yet effective manner. It is more of an encapsulation of events in her life. From moving to different cities, to her experiences with people and life around her, to making friends over the internet to falling in love with Arvind, all the phases in her life are penned in detail. Feels like she undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts. She learns about the different choices an individual is usually faced with in life, and how each choice shapes his/her destiny. Soon her sensitive nature and emotional needs are understood and filled up by Arvind.

The end brings in a bit of a surprise element, as some would say. But I did feel it coming. The feelings of all characters depicted here are quite identifiable and relatable to. The story is something you’d feel you’ve read earlier or known somehow. There were places where the author seemed to be preaching about relationships. Something most of us today, wouldn’t really want to read/hear from someone else. Also, the sub-plots too got me a bit confused as to what the actual story is about. Abhilasha’s dreams, aspirations, confusions, desires and bonding did make up for a good read. And like someone rightly pointed out, it does not merely reflect a woman’s quest for love or attentions, but a quest for a direction to her life.

The writing is simple yet quite in-depth. But at places it lacked pace. Bits of it felt like reading a monologue or a personal blog. Though the insights are quite touchy and grave, the overall feel of the book died out because of its length.
Overall, a good one-time read. If you have lots of time.

(Review by Sanjana Kapoor)

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Of loneliness, love and everything in between- Interview With Chitralekha Paul

Reviewers claim that Chitralekha Paul’s writings are similar to Jhumpa Lahiri and Anita Desai’s treatment and writing style. The dilemmas, issues and small pleasures of the protagonist of Delayed Monsoon, Abhilasha, has given critics and reviewers enough reason to applaud this lawyer-cum-writer’s debut venture. The way in which Abhilasha and Arvind fall in love, the anticipation of meeting her beloved for the first time (she fell in love with Arvind online) and the nervousness she faces of him being a person different from the Arvind she has known is written beautifully.

I got talking with Chitralekha Paul, about how she chose this story as her debut novel, about how similar is Chitralekha to Abhilasha and that one instance that helped her realize that people other than family would be interested in reading her novel.


From a lawyer to a writer – what inspired you to take up writing?

The lawyer in me is a professional person but there is also another me who is sensitive and creative. My thought process is never at rest. But being an introvert to the core, I could never share my feelings with anyone. So, I guess that is the reason I took up writing to express myself.

How was life with an Air-Force officer initially? Was there any kind of fear/apprehension about the professional hazards? Did that in anyway bring out the writer in you?
Initially there was lot of excitement. Getting married to an Air Force pilot was a big deal for a girl who was used to a calm and uneventful life far away from any kind of glamour or glory.  I was overwhelmed by the charisma of my husband’s profession. No doubt the profession was risky but somehow I never got apprehensive, except when his flying time coincided with thunderstorm or when he went into hills. Many people have asked me this question “ Don’t you get scared when your husband flies.?” And my answer was “ How can I afford to be scared when I have married a person for whom flying is his life?”


There is quite a bit of loneliness reflected in Abhilasha’s character. How did you think of the entire ideation and plot? How much of Chitralekha reflects in ‘Abhilasha’?

The story deals with the loneliness of Abhilasha at various stages of her life.  If we broadly divide the stages as before marriage and after marriage, then before marriage loneliness is something which is typical  with Abhilasha  but after marriage aloneness is quite a common feature.  My interaction with many married ladies of my time, who could not pursue their career, compelled me to ponder how void they felt from inside when apparently they seemed to be happy. Competent and educated girls who could have easily carved a niche for themselves had not thought twice before sacrificing their ambition at the altar of the family. Because that appeared to be the most spontaneous and natural choice at that point of time. But there comes a stage when family responsibilities are fulfilled, everyone’s interest has been taken care of, but what happens to them? Alas! At the end of it all, a painful realisation dawns on them that perhaps they have messed up their lives, as all their sacrifices earned them nothing more than an inferior status of being termed as a housewife, the most underrated, difficult and taken for granted profession( if it can be called a profession).  I have come into the legal profession at a much later stage, before which I was one among them. So I chose to write for me and for many more not so accomplished ladies who could have touched the sky only if they got a chance to realise their potential.

All the characters have a distinct feel and flavor. How easy or difficult was it etching them – the male protagonists as well as the female protagonists?
Human characters fascinate me a lot. We all are distinct persons with various shades. No one is outright good or bad. That’s why whenever I come into contact with any person I try to be non-judgmental so that all his traits, good or bad get painted in the canvas of my mind.  And since I am the one who loves to observe rather than being observed and listen rather than being listened, I find it easy to feel the distinct flavour of each character.

Is there any incident that you’d like to share with the readers that has left an impression in your memory, during the writing process?
Initially when I started writing I was not very sure if people will be interested in the story of Abhilasha who was just an ordinary housewife. My daughter’s remarks that the story makes an interesting read, failed to convince me as I took it to be an attempt by a loving daughter to encourage her mother. Then one day my husband happened to peep on the Microsoft word file which I forgot to close. “It’s amazing!! I have been with you for so many years but I never knew that your grip over English is better than me. With an easy flowing language, you have an interesting story to tell and many ladies would love to read your book,” for the first time in my life I was praised by my worst critique.  And I was on cloud nine.

Would you like to name some of your favorite books/authors?
I find this question a bit difficult to answer. There are quite a few authors  whose writing I enjoy. But that doesn’t mean that I would like all their writings.. May be I have enjoyed a particular book of a certain writer but some other books  written by the same author has disappointed me. But still if you want me to answer the question,  first I will name two famous  Bengali novelists and they are Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay and Sharat Chandra Chatterjee. Apart from them there are many others like R.K Narayan, Paul Coelho, Alex Haley, Jeffrey Archer, M M Kaye, Khaled Hosseini,  Indu Sudaresan and so on. Among the books Pather Panchali, Malgudi Days, Roots, The Far Pavilions, Autobiography of a Yogi and AThousand Splendid Suns are my all time favourite.

What other genres of writing do you wish to explore further?
Umm…I have not thought about this  as yet.

How has life changed after being known as a writer/author?
Well….. life is the same for me, there is absolutely no change.


What next do we see you writing?

May be another fiction which will have nothing to do with my personal experience.

Pearls of wisdom for budding writers…
Be honest with your feelings and don’t let the mind interfere with your heart in the initial stage of writing. Just go with the flow and let the story take a shape. Afterwards you will have enough opportunity to use your mind, be it changing the story line or working on the language.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs/Interviews