Thursday, April 10, 2014


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Monday, February 24, 2014

AIESEC: Bringing Ideas Together

AIESEC! in Delhi University organized an event - Global Village - at Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon on 13th February 2014. The event was a melting pot ofcultures, with AIESEC interns from all around the world coming together at one place. These interns work in the country for 5-6 weeks, embrace India's colourful heritage and leave behind some of their own as well.
With a number of stalls put up that represented various countries like Egypt, China, Afghanistan etc, the interns showcased their patriotism with the help ofnative food, clothing, and souvenirs. They also put up dance performances for an incredibly excited audience at Kingdom of Dreams, who were happily snapping pictures of the show.
People in the audience had a great time interacting with the foreign interns and learning about their cultures. A lot of the interns gave away little bearings and baubles from their countries to the visitors. This, along with Kingdom of Dreams launching their economy ticket for Rs. 500, lead to an abundance of smiles.
You too, can experience the same extravaganza with AIESEC by being a leader, making an impact on society and going for the Youth Global Entrepreneur Program. As a college student, this is what enables one to shine brighter than the others."

For details about Aiesec, our internships and our events, mail us at


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Eve's Tomb

It's a mysterious book with recognizable elements. A suspense where you have a sense of deja vu. Maybe the characters, the setting, the episodes sound familiar, but you will stay hooked till the last page. That is the beauty of Eve's Tomb, a novel by D.R. Hadrian, and published by Blackbuck Publications.

The book follows the trials and tribulations of Vinamzi Lance, an Oxford graduate who suddenly discovers that his professor has been murdered. What complicates the situation and implicates him in the matter is that the last message by Professor was addressed to Lance. But to get to the message, Lance must crack the code. To unravel the mystery, Lance undertakes a journey spanning various regions of religious and spiritual importance, and brace the rivalry of the Church. References of church, mystic code, Vatican makes one notice a strong resemblance to 'The Da Vinci Code'. But then, a good read is a good read.

The initial chapters have a sense of deep, dark mystery. There's ambiguity, there's fear, there's speculation and there lies the power of the writer to pull you in. The book flows nicely, with a strong sense of 'what-lies-next?', and overall nicely defined characters. There is a problem with the editing though, with some misspellings, and some loose ends to the storyline. For instance, Yodakani, an Indian origin woman, unknown to Lance, accompanies him on a secret, high-profile mission without any hitch. Too fictional.

I liked the book for its balancing of a complex story in a simple narrative. The book doesn't feel heavy, and I read through the book easily, which wasn't a case with most other writers who have attempted this genre. I hope this is a new wave of writing, which sees better avenues and goes on to develop our indigenous sets of Dan Browns. Eve's Tomb may well break some ice.

Book: Eve's Tomb
Author: D.R.Hadrian
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Price: Rs 150

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Book Review: Sudhi Kannan

Writing an adventure tale is a job which requires skill, maintaining the reader’s interest throughout requires a practiced mind, and interspersing the narration with humor is a sign of creative intellect. Take up ‘Sudhi Kannan: An Elephantic Adventure’, published by Blackbuck Publication and you will find it all there. Penned by Krishna Raj H.K, the novel is a page turner in all its aspects.

Sudhi is a ten year old boy, who’s being brought up by his father, Kannan, a single parent. Sudhi is mischievous. Kannan is fun. Both of them take life as it comes. The father-son duo shares a beautiful, friendly relation, and this is a very strong driving point of the book. Sudhi has a friend in school, Shijon, his partner in crimes and a dear friend. The school is upset with Sudhi’s antics and Shijon’s involvement in all of them. Kannan finds his son to be different. In fact, Kannan is an image of an ideal young parent, managing an advertising agency and playing a doting father.

The book has multiple narrations going on simultaneously which helps break monotony and shuffles the perspective of the story bringing a brilliant pace to the narrative. The story proceeds like this: Kannan takes a day off from work and takes Sudhi out for a one-day getaway to Elelphanta Islands. On this trip, they meet Pooja Mithaiwala, Sudhi’s classmate, and her mother Megha. Pooja and Sudhi dislike each other and maintain a distance from each other, occasionally pulling each other’s legs.

On the island, three men land to take control of the place. The motive is revenge. The three men are no ordinary folks. The leader of the group, Boss, has mind-bending powers. The other two, Stephen and Velutty support him in his plan. Boss takes control of the military powers and holds tourist for ransom. He reigns supreme, and is nearly through but for Sudhi and Kannan. Yes, the ten year old boy and his father. Then more twists follow and the excitement peaks with the climax. The end is unpredictable, and that is amazing.

Krishna has managed to do a very fine job with such a difficult genre. His writing is tight and the intensity oozes out from his sentences. I loved the fast paced action. The switching of the episodes between Elephanta, Sudhi and Shijon is finely balanced. The humor quotient is also good. I laughed out loud at various incidences and could almost see it as a motion picture in my imagination. Maybe someday I will.

Sudhi and Kannan’s tale was a beautiful father-son story, a cute blossoming love story, and an action thriller. And these elements call for a sequel.  I hope the writer has more adventures for Sudhi and Kannan. I would love to read more of them and more from the author.

Till then, Pause. Rewind.

 Book: Sudhi Kannan: An Elephantic Adventure
Author: Krishna Raj H.K
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Price: Rs. 180

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Life's Like That

Sometimes you come across a book which turns you on with its cover, excites you with the blurb and promises you an exciting journey. A part of them manage to do that in the end, while the rest fall short of achieving the desired effect. ‘Life’s Like That’ (LLT), by Prashant V. Shrivastava falls into the latter category.

The novel has all the elements required of a mass seller book. Campus life, check. Love-angle, check. Youth dilemmas, check. Lessons about life, check. Pretty much everything is packed, but then where does it lack? A very loose structuring and narration stifles the goodness out of this book, coupled with too-big-to-go-unnoticed grammatical and editing mistakes. I felt sad to see them throughout the book.

LLT is a story about four friends, Preeti, Amit, Ishita and Sankalp. These four are joined by two other, Niharika and Rahul, as the story proceeds. The story is set in Udaipur, Rajasthan and uses some of the landmarks in the city to set some really important sequences. The college life and love life of Preeti-Amit, Ishita-Sankalp and Niharika-Rahul are interplayed alternatively and after a point the story starts to drag too much. Then the ending feels rushed. There’s quite a lot which could have been removed to get a tighter, nicer flowing story. This one failed to keep me glued.

A lot of effort has gone in explanation, to spell out the visuals, to explain the scene which sometimes went overboard to the verge of sounding desperate. The characters are explained mostly through their interaction with each other and each of them has a different outlook towards life. The book is light overall with not much melodrama, and love-scenes interspersed at frequent intervals. One of the things I liked about the story was the carefully planted social messages of women empowerment and education. I think that’s a wonderful thing to do with a story when you have the power to influence a large section of the society.
The love story of Preeti-Amit takes center-stage in the story, and forms the crux as the blurb informs. But the climax starts and ends within the last 50 pages of the 221 paged book, which roughly stands at just around twenty three percent of the total book. The rest was just college life, story progression and confusion.

For me the book had an idea, but lacked focus. The content is severely hampered with the grammar and punctuation mistakes throughout the book, which is unforgivable and leaves a bad-taste.

I feel quite disappointed, mostly because this book had me expecting a lot from the brief I read and the introduction I got to the story and characters. But then, life’s like that.

Book: Life's Like That
Author: Prashant V. Shrivastava
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Price: Rs. 150

Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review: A Country For Men

The current socio-political turmoil in India has large fields of stories to be cultivated.  And when I say India, I talk about the whole nation in general. Many social evils hold down the progress of our country, as it tries to cross the threshold of becoming a superpower. To overcome those limitations, awareness is indispensable. ‘A Country for Men’ (ACFM) by Rohit Kumar Singh Jadon is one such brave attempt.

ACFM talks about the contemporary issue of women empowerment and throws light on the dark practices prevalent in our society. The book is an anthology of news-pieces mixed with the opinion of the author. The peg for the book is told to be the Delhi Gangrape of December 16, 2012.

The book expresses the frustration of an average Indian youth about all the negativity which binds us, of all the encaged emotions dismissed as taboo. In retrospective, talking about rape and sexual harassment was considered a taboo. Channels were switched and pages flipped. Status quo was priceless.

But a price had to be paid someday. Hundreds and thousands of women in India pay that price everyday. Silence is golden they are taught and ignorance bliss. But till when has to one bear all this, and to what extent? Jadon raises some very interesting points in his book. “It’s the very same (Indian) culture we brag about; this culture is the reason for unfair treatment towards the women,” he says in the book.

The book dissects the whole notion of treating women as goddess in the Indian society. I remember reading somewhere in the book, “Only goddesses are revered as goddesses.” The book has an almost angry narration. You feel the angst and pain as you turn the page; More so, when some of the gruesome incidents in recent Indian history, are quoted.

A lot of statistics and media reports are quoted in the book which shows the extensive research behind the book. I appreciate Jadon for taking up such a task and building it to a satisfactory level. The book enlightened me, and I hope other readers will also take something from this book.

Having said that, and with all the positivity for the book and the cause it talks about, I had some hiccups while reading this book. The book has an interesting collection of information but it feels too much all over the place. The book is divided in chapters, yet the contents seem to transgress into each other. The repetition of facts, though emphasizes the point, greatly reduces the flow of the narration. Then there are spelling errors and grammatical mistakes on most of the pages which upset my reading to a large extent. It could have been a brilliant product overall, only if there had been a tighter, crisper writing and editing.

Jadon has chosen a daring topic to pen his thoughts on. Most of the people today would fall short of words, or rather choose not to speak, on issues pertaining to sexual harassment. But the truth is that it’s still a menacing evil, lurking around on roads, offices, schools and homes. We need to realize the importance to sensitize people about gender issues, to raise voices against sexual violence. It is time to stop paying the price to be a girl. It is time to be free and equal. The fragility of our social system needs some strict reforms and I hope this book is a step towards that reality, which we can proudly call beautiful. 

Book: A Country For Men
Author: Rohit Kumar Singh Jadon
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Price: Rs. 130

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roadside Razors

Amid growing fascination for branded services, the traditional art of hair-cutting lives on in the lanes of Delhi.
“Apply sesame oil to control hair loss”. Trust the roadside salons to treat you with such advice and stories while you get a quick clip and snip. These hair-dressing shops are a far cry from the upmarket unisex salons. The barber’s chair is all wood with no cushion. The place is not air-conditioned; the salon does not have any walls. Rather than passion, compulsion drives these barbers who serve their loyal customers on the sidewalks of dusty streets.

Mohammad Akram has been earning his livelihood as a street barber on a busy street in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi, since he left his home in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, three years ago. He now lives in a shared rented accommodation in Abul Fazal Enclave, an unregularised colony in south Delhi. 

Being the sole earning member in his family, he has to send money every month to his wife and six children in Bijnor. He works hard to survive in the city, to help his family and clear the debts he incurred for getting his eldest daughter married. Life is tough and savings tougher.

Photo: Aaqib Raza Khan
Hairaab has been working as a street barber outside the Jamia Nagar Police Station in Okhla for the past 25 years. His ‘shop’, on a pavement of a busy street, is covered with a blue tarpaulin supported by two bamboo logs. “All my money goes to support my family. I have a wife and a son who are ill. Three of my children have died due to various diseases,” says 43-year-old Hairaab. “My son needs an operation costing 2 lakh rupees. I am saving for it. Other things don’t matter”.

With higher disposable income, upmarket unisex hairdressing salons are cashing in. The Indian hair-care industry is valued at Rs. 12,400 crore with a 33 percent increase over the last year, according to a 2013 report published by Franchise India Holdings Ltd.

Zafar Khan, a software engineer with Tata Consultancy Services, is a regular customer of an upmarket salon in New Friends Colony. “I am much more comfortable in these salons than the regular barber shops. The treatment, the ambience and the staff, everything is up to the mark. I have no problem with the price as long as the service is good,” he says.

Many Indian hair-dressers, such as Jawed Habib and Ambika Pillai, have achieved celebrity status, with a personal haircut by appointment costing anywhere between Rs. 800-1000. But away from all the Jawed Habibs and Ambika Pillais, Vinod manages his livelihood grooming the people from the lower strata of society.

Vinod charges Rs. 30 for a haircut and a shave. “My customers are mostly from the labour class, so the price has to be affordable,” says Vinod, as he trims the lock of a porter working with Delhi Jal Board, Delhi’s water supply administration. A face massage and neck exercise usually comes complimentary with a haircut.

Raj Kishor, an auto-rickshaw driver waits for his turn at Hairaab’s shop. “This place is cheap. Plus, he’s also a friend so I can pass my time here,” says Kishor on why he chooses to wait instead of going to another shop.

Pramod Kumar is a faithful customer of Shankar, a hairdresser near Modi Mill, South Delhi. Kumar works in a factory and finds it cheap and convenient to get his hair trimmed by Shankar. “I earn Rs. 200 per day. If I spend Rs. 30-40 on my grooming, what will I eat then?”

The traditional art of hair-dressing is seeing its last batch of practitioners. “It is getting difficult for me, but I am unskilled for anything else. So, I am forced to continue this job.” says, Vinod. “I am not yet married, but when I have kids I will make sure they get proper education and do decent jobs.”

With the progress of time, there is a gradual shift from blue-collar jobs to white-collar.  And the respect which comes along is an added incentive for many. “If I had been educated, I would have liked to be a banker with a stable job. My eldest daughter was doing a course of the Holy Quran, when she got married. Now I wish my eldest son to become an Imam (A man who leads the prayers in mosque),” says Akram. “It has been a tradition, but with me, it all ends here.”

The traditional art of hair-dressing is seeing its last batch of practitioners. [Photo: Aaqib Raza Khan]