Thursday, March 8, 2018

Exam Warriors, by Narendra Modi - Review

Exam Warriors, by Narendra Modi

This book was given to me a few days back by my father, who recommended I read it because he said it was educational. The title says, ‘Exam Warriors’, and I decided to read it as my exams are nearing. This book gives you various tips that would help you concentrate before, during, and after the exam. It is written by Narendra Modi, our Prime Minister, and is a very motivational book. Each chapter has a point you should follow, and all of them are valid and help. It is not boring, as the author uses day-to-day examples to prove his point, and the language is simple. All the points mentioned in the book are what most people have gone through before and during exams. I really like the first chapter, as it made me start to love the book. The first chapter says that festivals are the occasions that anyone waits for, and the same way, kids wait for their exams, and before the exams, there is a lot of talk and preparation. The book also points out that both, festivals and exams, are meant to bring out the best in us. We should not treat exams like a burden but enjoy them. The book makes such a strong point, that you start to understand what the author is trying to stay.
Let me briefly go through the contents of the book. 
  • Mantra 1 – Exams are like festivals – Celebrate them 
  • Mantra 2 – Exams test your current preparation, not you. Chill! 
  • Mantra 3 – Laugh in, Laugh out 
  • Mantra 4 – Be a Warrior, not a Worrier 
  • Mantra 5 – Knowledge is permanent – pursue it 
  • Mantra 6 – Compete – with yourself 
  • Mantra 7 – It’s your time – make the most of it 
  • Mantra 8 – The Present is God’s greatest ‘Present’ – live here and now 
  • Mantra 9 – Technology is a great teacher – embrace it 
  • Mantra 10 – To do your best, take adequate rest 
  • Mantra 11 – Sleep is a great weapon – sharpen it 
  • Mantra 12 – Play to shine Mantra 13 – Be your own anchor – celebrate your own strengths 
  • Mantra 14 – Revise and become wise 
  • Mantra 15 – Little things matter – observe exam discipline 
  • Mantra 16 – Your exam, your methods – Choose your own style 
  • Mantra 17 – Presentation is key – master it 
  • Mantra 18 – To cheat is to be cheap 
  • Mantra 19 – The answer sheet is a one-way ticket – move ahead 
  • Mantra 20 – Discover yourself – experience all that life offers 
  • Mantra 21 – India is incredible – travel and explore 
  • Mantra 22 – As one journey ends, another begins 
  • Mantra 23 – Aspire, not to be, but to do 
  • Mantra 24 – Be grateful 
  • Mantra 25 – Yoga brings transformation – practice regularly My favourite points were 
Mantras 3, 5 and 23. I have noticed that when anyone laughs, they look more relaxed. When you are more relaxed, answers come to you more quickly. During exams, if only part of a chapter is coming, no one looks at the other part, as they only want to study what will be coming in the chapter. They do not get that we study so that we can carry the knowledge with us to our next academic year. The last mantra explains to you that we should not keep dreaming, but get on with the work. If you want to become a singer, do not keep dreaming, but go for classes, and practice singing instead.

The book has entertaining exercises after every mantra and a page that reads ‘MY MANTRA’, which is where you can write your own principle that you follow during the exams. At the bottom of some pages, there is a QR code that if you scan, you can upload your exercise on the Narendra Modi App, and read what other exam warriors have written. The simplicity of the book is what attracts me to it. The book does not include anything that we cannot do but has simple techniques that will assist us. For a student taking exams, it is a must, as it reassures, motivates, and most importantly calms you down before an exam and helps you do much better.

This review first appeared in OpIndia on Feb 17, 2018.

Book details:
Paperback: 208 pages 
Publisher: India Penguin 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0143441507 
ISBN-13: 978-0143441502

Kindle IN, Amazon INHindi, PayTM

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Avishi by Saiswroopa Iyer

 Avishi: Reimagining Vishpala of the Rig Veda

By Saiswroopa Iyer
 Category: fiction: mythology: Hinduism
Age: +13
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN

This book is written by Saiswaroopa Iyer, and is the second book she has written. I liked her first book also a lot, so I decided to give this book a try. I also picked it because the book’s title itself was extremely interesting. The title of the book is ‘Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined’. I have never heard of Vishpala, and so the title intrigued me. I love the book, and so far, I would recommend you to place it on top of your ‘To read’ list. This fabulously written book revolves around the Avishi, whose life is based on the life of Queen Vishpala, a valiant woman who fought against Khela. Khela was an evil king who wanted to change the rules and regulations that everyone followed, and twist them according to his tastes. During a battle, Vishpala loses a leg, and has it replaced with a metal leg. Even though she now has a metal leg, it does not stop her from fighting Khela at the end. I loved this book, and it has inspired me. The way Avishi fought even with serious injuries, and her leadership should be a lesson to all of us. Saiswaroopa Iyer was able to build the plot up well, as towards the end when Avishi and Khela fought, I was holding my breath, waiting for how it would end.

[this book has been included in our January 2018 edition of eGranth]

I have written a longer review of Avishi here.

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Saraswati’s Intelligence by Vamsee Juluri

The Kishkindha Chronicles: Saraswati’s Intelligence
By Vamsee Juluri
Category: fiction: mythology: Hinduism
Age: +12 
Buy from: Amazon IN, Amazon US

This book talks about Hanuman before he met Lord Rama. Vamsee Juluri wrote the book, and it’s the first book in the trilogy of Hanuman’s life, that he has been writing. It starts with a small race between Hanuman, Sugriva, Vali and other monkeys. Sugriva hurts himself, and spills blood, which Hanuman touches when he goes to help Sugriva. When the other monkeys saw the blood, they yelled ‘Parama Dharma Apchara’ and ran away. Parama dharma apchara was the violation of the prime duty. The people in Hanuman’s time believed in Ma Saraswati. She was the one who poured blood into their body when they were born. A single drop of blood was made of the sunlight of one hundred and eight leaves which made it so precious. Parama dharma apchara was when you spilt blood. He was thus banned from Kishkindha. He took Sugriva to Vishwamitra who healed him. They decide to accompany Vishwamitra on his journey to uncover hidden secrets in the north, followed by Sugriva. On their journey, they met the Ganeshas (elephants) who accompanied them. On their way, they discover a pack of deadly barbaric creatures who ate elephants and then used their skin to disguise themselves. After a study of the child, they realized that these creatures had to be tamed, or the parama dharma would be breached. Vamsee Juluri knows how to capture the reader’s attention and not make the book boring in between. He beautifully describes the story of Hanuman’s life. Through the whole book, he keeps talking about what is Dharma, Parama Dharma, etc. This way he also teaches us more about Indian culture, through a story. I liked the way he favored Hanuman and told us about his habits, culture, fears and his qualities. He also sympathized Vali as he was almost a servant for his mother Riksharaja.

[this book has been included in our January 2018 edition of eGranth]

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Power of Five: Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz

The Power of Five: Raven's Gate
 by Anthony Horowitz
category: fantasy, science fiction, horror
Age: 12+years
Reviewed by: Anvita
Buy from: Amazon USAmazon IN

This book is written by Anthony Horowitz, who has also written the famous Alex Rider series. The name of this series is 'The Power of Five', and has five books. The story begins with one of the main characters, Mathew Freeman, a young boy, who is caught stealing and is then sent off on a program that will help in reforming him. He is sent with Mrs. Deverill, an old lady, to Yorkshire. When he goes to a nearby village, he is frightened when a man warns him to flee before it is too late. He gets scared and later finds a few police papers in Mrs. Deverill's room. He tries running away but cannot find his way out. Somehow, all the roads end up leading to the same point. On his way, he sees a nuclear power station called Omega One. He meets the same man who warned him at the station. The man gives him a key that would help him get out of the place without getting lost. A few days later, that man is murdered, and the words 'Raven's Gate' is on the wall. He runs back to Mrs. Deverill and she shows him that the man is alive. He goes to a town in Yorkshire to find out more about the Raven’s Gate. On his way back, he meets Richard Cole, a journalist. Later, Matt and Richard see something strange going on at Omega One. It turns out that Mrs. Deverill and the rest wanted to kill Matt for some reason. How will Matt escape them?

I loved this book to the core. After reading the first fifty pages, I was so hooked on to the book, that I was reading the book late at night past my bedtime. The way the author builds the plot up is fantastic, slowly adding the strange behavior of Mrs. Deverill and then the murders. The author has been able to keep it long, yet very gripping. I am very keen on reading the other four books, and am sure they will be as good as this one.

[this book has been included in our January 2018 edition of eGranth]

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Avishi, Vishpala, these are names you may not have heard before. This book talks about Vishpala, a queen mentioned in the Rig Veda, who lost her leg during a fight and then had her leg replaced with a metal one. Saiswaroopa Iyer, the author, has reconstructed Vishpala’s life through Avishi and also imagined some of it, to present before us this wonderful book.

Saiswaroopa Iyer has written another book called ‘Abhaya’. Both her books have one thing in common - both talk about tales of women with unimaginable courage. When you start reading Avishi, you will be enthralled by the immense hardships she had to face and her bravery in facing those hardships without flinching. This gives a message to everyone, that women aren’t weak and never were. It dispels that misconception and inspires children who read it.

Here is a gist of the story.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Garuda Purana, by Bibek Debroy

Garuda Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

This is the ninth Purana I am reviewing, and as you all might have guessed, is a Sattvika Purana. It is listed seventeenth in the list of Puranas, and is nineteen thousand shlokas long. It is divided into two parts, the Purva khanda, and the Uttara khanda. The Purva khanda has two hundred and thirty-four adhyayas (chapters), and the Uttara Khanda has only forty-five adhyayas. This Purana was recited to Rishi Kashyapa by the great bird Garuda himself. This Purana says that Vishnu had twenty-two incarnations, not ten! The names of the incarnations are as listed below:
  1. Kumara (young boy)
  2. Varaha (boar)
  3. Devarishi (great sage)
  4. Nara and Narayana
  5. Sage Kapila
  6. Sage Dattatreya
  7. Son of Ruchi and Akuti
  8. Urukrama (son of Nabhi and Meru)
  9. King Prithu
  10. Matsya (fish)
  11. Kurma (turtle)
  12. Dhanavantari (physician of the gods)
  13. Mohini avatara
  14. Narasimha
  15. Vamana
  16. Parashurama
  17. Vedavyasa
  18. Narada
  19. Rama
  20. Krishna
  21. Buddha
  22. Kalki (yet to come)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

eGranth - Books Newsletter, December 2017

Editor’s Note: - This is the December Newsletter, that I, Anvita Agarwal, am editing. This time, we have many books in the Fantasy section, and all of them are books you will love to read. During this month, I managed to complete another Rick Riordan series, and have shared that with you. Along with that, I have included a book that will simplify your History and Geography lesson’s. ‘The Incredible History of India’s Geography’ is a book that will surely spark you interest in these two subjects. Two other famous series have been included in this newsletter. The ‘Tom Gates’ series, a series of side-splitting books on the life of Tom Gates, and his journey through school with Mr. Fullerman, his grumpy teacher, and Delia, his annoying sister, and a lot of unexpected accidents. Enjoy as you delve deeper into the mystical world of Narnia, as you read the adventures of Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy, as they solve the different issues that keep popping up in the wonderful world of Narnia. Join them as they visit different lands and meet different creatures. Hope you enjoy this newsletter!     - Anvita 

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