Thursday, June 13, 2019

THE MIND GAME BY DEVIKA DAS: A Guide to Be Fully Alive

Consider this not a book review but a suggestion or an advice article. Read The Mind Game by Devika Das, a passionate writer, theatre artist, and poet. and learn the strategies to master the emotions of the human psyche. It is of urgent concern for us all to take hold of our lives and succeed in our endeavours.

     The Mind Game brings to us a revolutionary idea. The idea that survival of the fittest should be rewritten as the survival of the one with the strongest mind. Devika Das, with her lucid language, uses her storytelling skills to place before us a set of scientific and innovative ideas to adopt.

    Adopting the strategies described in The Mind Game, one transcends oneself into the realm of the strong-minded. We are bound by the belief that our mind is something that exists within the body. Like this belief itself, we expect our mind to be limited and invisible. Therefore, we tend to overlook our emotional responses when faced with challenges in life. At every stage in our life, emotions are triggered due to various reasons. We tend to overlook the emotional reflexes when we consider the various environmental factors that influence us.

    "Emotions do not remain inside the human skin," according to Devika Das. This suggests that emotions do have a hand in transforming us physically as well as mentally. Filled with a detailed analysis of how our emotions affect us, the book opens our understanding into an arena of neurological and psychological phenomena that control us.

    The Mind Game is partitioned into six sections. Section one is titled "Five Ultra-Practical Steps To Emotion Mastery". This section gives a detailed analysis of the place and prominence of emotions in dictating our physical well-being we well as our psychological well-being.

    The second section is titled "Analysing People". This section delineates the strategies in deciphering personality traits and acquiring a proper understanding of human individual behaviour.  The third section is titled "Live Better with Less". The major focus of this section is the simplicity of living and the power of communication skills. This section also discusses the importance of the so-called first-impression.

    Section four is titled "Go Happy, Go Lucky." On the necessity to fight for happiness and establishing a stress-free living is the central concern of the fourth section of The Mind Game. Section five is titled "Angry? Don't Be!" This section offers a detailed study of the structure of anger and anger management. The author foregrounds the relevance of creative arts in managing anger in human beings.

    The final section is titled "A Happy Workplace" and nails the most important area of our daily existence. Although productivity and self-esteem are at the core of this section, Devika Das extols the role of emotional well-being and happiness on the experiential level as the key ideas that work in the direction of fulfilment in the profession.

    Published by Blue Rose Publishers, The Mind Game demonstrates a unique and effective attempt at providing the general public with the central theses of great achievement. The cover design is striking in its presentation. I also enjoyed the typesetting and printing of this book. The font size used for typesetting is apt to be read while travelling by train or waiting for your daily ride. Apt for academic institutions and libraries, The Mind Game should be on your reading list if you are serious about your career and life.  

Monday, June 3, 2019


We say several years when it comes to testing our ability to remember accurately when a particular event had transpired. I too have to submit to the urge to say sweeping several years. Nothing can match my excitement when I held the copy of Ashok and the Nine Unknown in my hands. The book was a gift from the publisher Rupa Books and author Anshul Dupare. I do not mean they presented the book to me. I mean they have gifted the Indian literatures in English something new to cherish, a shining, sweet thing that pulsates with emotions and moves with time. My memory took me back to a time travel journey. It was several years ago that I first heard and read about emperor Ashok.

 The word emperor was new to me. The story of this emperor who had conquered most of India and had the power to transform kingdoms into dust taught me that power and victory could behave at a great price.

Anshul Dupare's book opens with Ashok's response to the slaughter at Kalinga, after the Great War. I remember, one of my social studies teachers told me that there are no great wars. War is always dirty and mean. There is no greatness in war. Ashok realizes that his victory is not a victory at all. He had caused thousands of people to be slaughtered.

The book takes us into an exciting chapter in history when Ashok realized the destructive power of knowledge. He entrusts nine chosen members of his court to guard his secret. They are known as the "nine unknown men". They are probably the world's first secret society. For any lover of thrillers and the grey areas of history, this book can offer a feast.

Going back to my first encounter with emperor Ashok, let me tell you that for the first time, I read about Ashok, not in my history book. It was in a comic book known as Amar Chitra Katha, the immortal picture stories.

Amar Chitra Katha was the best of the comic books ever produced in India. They were a visual treat with powerful dialogues and the support of great writing skills. Anshul Dupare offers you nothing less in his novel Ashok and the Nine Unknown. His writing style has a visual quality to it. The reader is able to see and feel through his words.

The cover design of the book follows the lead of present-day Indian books in the English language. The trend is to give serious attention to cover design, which was not the case in the past when nobody cared about how covers were designed. The book has an illustrated cover with a matt finish. This goes in harmony with my standard. I give it full marks. The cover complements the writing of Dupare. The cover illustration is done by Prasun Mazumdar and designed by Mugdha Sadhwani.

Anshul Dupare hails from Nagpur and currently resides in Dallas, USA. Ashok and the Nine Unknown is the first book in a two-part series. Can't wait to read the second part!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

THE STORY OF BEING A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR: Interview with Kevin Missal, author of Kalki and Narasimha Trilogy

Narasimha is the first book in The Mahaavatar Trilogy by Kevin Missal, soon to be released by Harper Collins Publishers. He surprised the Indian readers with his thrilling mythological fantasies such as the Kalki books. His approach towards the presentation of books including the publishing and marketing is unique in its merit. He is not just an exaggerated market phenomenon. He writes well. He is good at crafting stories.

            So I decided to ask him my trademark six questions.

1. Narasimha' s story is known to me as a ferocious Avatar coming out of a pillar at the request of Prahlada. I have always wondered what happened to the Avatar after that and before that moment also. Is everything your story tells us fantasy like your version of Kalki? Or have you unearthed mythological subtexts for your book?

            They are in itself reimagining but if one digs deeper, everything is connected to the original mythology. For instance, Kalki's journey to Mahendragiri was not fabricated. It's from mythology. Hanuman helping him is from mythology. Many think that I just write fantasy, but it's not true. There's a lot more mythology in it. 

2. You seem to understand the Science of book covers. The cover of Kalki trilogy is fantabulous. What was the process of designing a book cover for Narasimha? 

            Just make it bright, beautiful and dynamic. 

3. What was your first communication to HarperCollins publishers like when you pitched Narasimha? Had you completed the novel by then? 

            I didn't pitch them. It was my agent. He sent it to the CEO on WhatsApp and Harper Collins wanted exclusivity on it. I had completed the novel by then. 

4. What's your writing routine?

            I write for 9-10 hours a day. 

5. Does your family support you in your life as a writer? Is the support of family important in this journey? Tell us how you introduced Narasimha to your family.

            They do. They always have. When I told them, I wrote on Narasimha, my dad really liked the message I was trying to show. 

6. This question is a fossil question. But I have to ask this anyway. What's your advice to writers who are new in this industry?

            Save money for marketing. Don't be egoistic. Learn. Make mistakes.