Sunday, January 19, 2014

Live What You Love: Notes from a Passionate LifeLive What You Love: Notes from a Passionate Life by Robert Blanchard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars on

The book is about life experiences and learnings. The authors talk about their life experiences as a couple and business parterres; their struggles in life and how they strive through.

The book is easy to read with short stories and a checklist at the end of each chapter for readers to reflect on their own experiences and achievements.

The narrative style of the book inspired me to at least jot down my little success stories even if I don’t write the next bestseller

View all my reviews and my profile

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book review: Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

The story is about an immigrant Iranian-American family living between two cultures.
The characters of Mina and her mom Darya strongly hold the story together. As an Indian American immigrant myself, I could relate to the cultural yin-yang faced by this immigrant family. Mention of various Iranian delicacies including Baklawa is mouth watering.
At times it feels as though the author is trying to fill the pages with extra narrative, but the writing style is indeed captivating.

Republished from my Amazon review and Goodreads

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book review : Secret Daughter by Shilpi Gowda

Here is a review of book Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter is well written novel written by an Indian American author Shilpi Gowda, that has a heartbreaking storyline that tugs on one's emotions. Gowda is a great story teller and one can easily get caught up in the story, which at times feels like watching a soap opera.

The book highlights cultural differences between India and America using adoption as a central theme. It also takes on social issue of female child foeticide in India contrasting that against the desire of infertile, childless couple to adopt one. The story explores emotions of motherhood, loss, identity, and love through the experiences of two families--one Indian, one American--and the child that binds them together.

The only negative: The plot is good but at times the characters feel weak, like the narrative of Asha's paternal grandmother's stories. At times it felt like the author was stretching the story more than required just to fill additional pages.

A great read for those who enjoy genera of multi-cultural writing.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Review : Indian Doctor Series One (BBC)

I came across the DVD of "Indian Doctor Series One" recently. Here is my review

The drama series is a fascinating portrayal of immigrant Non Resident Indian (NRI) saga that we have all heard of and have different perceptions of.

The story is set in the sixties in a small Welsh town where the life revolves around the local Coal mine. The Indian doctor, Sanjeev Bhaskar, and his wife migrate to Wales, with the first wave of Indian doctors "imported" by NHS.

Dr. Sharma promptly tries to integrate into the village by socializing with the locals at the pub and flirting with the ladies while Ayesha Dharker plays his wife, an uppity Indian character who just doesn't want to settle in a "village" The story also portrays the migrant saga, the travails of landing in a foreign land, having to prove oneself. And the delicate balance of trying to blend in while maintaining one's roots.

A charming first series has a mix of everything, some comedy, a bit of drama, a "villain" and the many shades of local gray.

(Also posted review on

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Inspiring memoir from Condoleezza Rice

Review for "A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me"
This is a story of an extraordinary woman and dedicated parents, a gifted child, and a prodigy or as Condoleeza's father says the God's child.

The book talks about her upbringing, education, passion for piano and skating also her interest in sports. It highlights her close relationship with her mother and later when her mother dies her relationship with her father and her acceptance of her stepmother. It is also about her career growth and her extensive experience of being a provost, National Security Advisor and becoming the first African American to take the office of Secretary of State. She muses on the loss of her dad the last few lines "I could almost see John and Angelena Rice at the door of my West Wing office, as national security advisor. I could hear them say "Now don't forget that you are God's child and He will keep you on his care. And I feel the unconditional love of the extraordinary, ordinary parents that I was so blessed to have." The book also touches on her personal struggles with her health and the reason for her not getting married.

Condoleezza Rice's memoir is a must read for biography fans.(Also on

Monday, June 10, 2013

Topical and funny: Immigration Humor

The blog post on "Immigration Bill May Open Door for Millions" by Melvin Durai (link) is both topical and funny.

Question: I work at a flower shop, cutting stems of roses and other flowers. I heard that the new immigration bill will offer green cards to workers in stem fields. It sounds too good to be true. Is it? — Maria, Los Angeles.

Answer: The immigration bill does make it easier for STEM workers to get green cards, but STEM  stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Do you count the stems after you cut them? If so, you may qualify under ‘mathematics.’ Do you have an advanced stem degree? If not, I’d advise you to acquire one right away. You may do so at our affiliated website Act quickly. For a limited time, all degrees are ‘buy one, get one free.’

Q: I have been illegal since 1992, when I came from Guatemala. My friend says the immigration bill will allow me to become a citizen in 13 years. So I want to ask you this: why did they pick an unlucky number like 13? Why not 12 or 11? I am afraid that after 13 years, they will say, “April Fool! This is just a joke. Now go back to where you came from.” — Manuel, Chicago.

A: I wish I could tell you why they picked the number 13. Maybe the Democrats wanted 6 and the Republicans wanted 20, so they compromised at 13. But if you don’t like the number 13, do you want them to postpone the immigration bill until 2014? I didn’t think so.

Q: I am in America for last 8 years. I am hear that to become citizen I needing to pass English test and Civic test. Can I take Civic test on any Honda Civic or do I needing my own? — Hideo, New York City.

A: It is actually a Civics test, not a Civic test. That means you need to take the test on two different Honda Civics. One should be automatic, the other manual or stick shift. The government wants to make sure that all immigrants can drive safely in Japanese cars.

Melvin Durai is an Illinois-based humorist and writer. His first novel “Bala Takes the Plunge” was published in 2010. He hopes to complete his second novel this month. Read more of his humor at

Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: The Day My Brain Exploded: A True Story

An articulate biography written from the heart  

The book enlightens readers on arteriovenous malformation (AVM). I admit, I didn’t know much about AVM before I picked up Ashok’s book. The catchy title “brain exploded” is what caught my attention. However, the book is more than just brain exploding.  I came away  with a much better understanding of what people with this rare disease go through. 

Of course, the book is not just about a man’s disease or how he overcomes his aliments.  Reading Ashok’s  story brought out raw emotions in me, with some laughter thanks to his self deprecating humor and some tears while trying to empathize with his travails and tribulations.
He articulates his strong emotions experienced towards his family, primarily his father and brother. With his brother, it is a manifestation of an element of sibling rivalry. In the book, Ashok opens his heart, giving the readers his true feelings about life, relationship, race and work place politics and the life of a AVM survivor.

Hats off to Ashok for the effort in writing with his heart ; an eloquent and highly readable book.  

After a full-throttle brain bleed at the age of twenty-five, Ashok Rajamani, a first-generation Indian American, had to relearn everything: how to eat, how to walk and to speak, even things as basic as his sexual orientation. With humor and insight, he describes the events of that day (his brain exploded just before his brother’s wedding!), as well as the long, difficult recovery period. In the process, he introduces readers to his family—his principal support group, as well as a constant source of frustration and amazement. Irreverent, coruscating, angry, at times shocking, but always revelatory, his memoir takes the reader into unfamiliar territory, much like the experience Alice had when she fell down the rabbit hole. That he lived to tell the story is miraculous; that he tells it with such aplomb is simply remarkable.

More than a decade later he has finally reestablished a productive artistic life for himself, still dealing with the effects of his injury—life-long half-blindness and epilepsy— but forging ahead as a survivor dedicated to helping others who have suffered a similar catastrophe.

NRI Angle: The book is authored by Ashok Rajamani, a first-generation Indian American, who explores his emotions after his tragic brain aneurysm

Review link on