Housed in a statement making turquoise-walled building, BARO, a striking home décor store is boldly decked in the spirit of an art gallery. The trio behind BARO, Mahesh Mathai, Srila Chatterjee and Siddharth Sirohi, have worked in the realm of film and advertising. However, going further from being a showcase of beautiful art and furniture, BARO has emerged as a cultural hub. Recently, the space bustled with a spirit of a different kind- Mantoness. The occasion was the screening of Manto, a biopic of the famous Urdu author Saadat Hasan Manto, written and directed by Nandita Das.
Manto is Das’s second film after Firaaq (2008). It stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the profound writer who had a very short but extremely eventful life. Manto translated novels, wrote short stories, essays and screenplays. His life in Bombay of the pre-partition days is a topic in itself! He immortalized his interactions with the film luminaries of the times in a book called “Stars from Another Sky”. His challenging life was fraught with issues. Charges of obscenity were often imposed on him. He migrated from Mumbai to Pakistan after Partition. He had a drinking issue which affected his liver. He died in 1955, at the age of 42. Das’s film captures the spirit and essence of Manto, by focusing on a specific period in his life.
Biopics have an unsaid burden of glorifying its protagonists, but I feel Manto would have liked me to portray him with all his warts and blemishes and not put him on a pedestal. For him, beauty and ugliness together make a reality. Manto, through his writings pushed our limits, our morals, our prejudices. In a way, I have tried to do the same through the film – to question our morality and righteousness, our empathy, our ability to be moved without being manipulated. Manto was not sentimental and I didn’t want the film to be either. I wanted to tell the story honestly and let each person take from it what they wanted to.
For me Mantoiyat (‘Mantoness’) is the desire to be honest, outspoken and courageous! I believe all of us have it, whether dormant or awakened. If we carry a bit of that Manto spirit with us after watching the film, I would consider it mission accomplished. The film hopes to make people uncomfortable in a way that they would want to do something about it. After all, we all want to be more truthful, courageous, and free-spirited. And Manto inspires us to be that.
If you make a film on Mozart, it would be incomplete without hearing his music. In the same way, I felt Manto’s life story cannot be told without giving a glimpse of his work. To understand the man, one needs to know how and what he wrote and to understand his writing, one needed to know the person behind it. Also the line between his fact and fiction are blurred, so right from the beginning I had thought of interweaving his stories in the main narrative, almost seamlessly. I felt this form would allow the audience to enter his state of mind, both as a person and a writer.
In the face of all the friction and disharmony surrounding us, and conversations becoming increasingly polarized, I thought I could take refuge in history and in Manto to respond to today. It allowed me to not be didactic and yet convey what I want to say as there is a deep resonance between Manto’s struggle to be himself and our own desires to find our true selves. The times are not too different either, even after 70 years. I think the greatest lessons the audience can take back are Manto’s convictions and his courage. When one’s truth is stronger than one’s fears, courage follows.
If they can read Urdu, then you have Manto’s world at your disposal. If you can read Devanagri, you have his vast collection in the 5 volumes of Dastavez. But if English translation is what you will need to rely on, as I did too in the beginning, then your choice currently is limited. Sadly, I don’t like most of the English translations this far. There is ‘Bitter Fruit’ edited by Khalid Hasan but maybe the better ones for stories is ‘Manto’s Selected Stories’ translated by Aatish Taseer and for his essays I recommend Aakar Patel’s ‘Why I Write‘. I believe some more are going to come out later this year. I am delighted that Manto books sales have gone up considerably, thanks to the films. That’s my two bits in spreading Manto and Mantoiyat.
MORE BOOKS BY MANTO
I bought “Anusual” way back in 2015 from Kitab Khana, Fort. The book attracted me because of its tagline – ‘The Memoir of a girl who came back from the dead’. I did not realize then that the author of this memoir, Anu Aggarwal, was the scintillating and glamourous actress whom I saw in a movie on T.V. when I was a school kid. When I was very young I was fascinated with the cinema, and loved to watch old films which used to be shown on the television. The movie I loved and adored was ‘King Uncle’ a Rakesh Roshan film. Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff played the main lead. His heroine was the sensual but beautiful ‘Fanny’, who was as I gathered after reading ‘Anusual’, Anu Aggarwal herself.
As far as I could recall, Aggarwal was a really beautiful woman and a charming actress. But after reading her memoir which is captivating, beautifully penned and astonishing, I realized that sometimes a glamorous life is not really all that wonderful. The book is soul searching, shocking and un-putdownable.
I remember back when I was five or six years old in the early 1990’s being told of a very good Bollywood film called ‘Aashiqui’. My mother wanted me to see it whenever it would come on T.V. I never got the chance to watch it, but that was Aggarwal’s first break with director Mahesh Bhatt. Aggarwal was a super model, an advertising diva, a Bollywood successful actress, a glam doll, but as she states in her sensitive memoir, she did not really want to be known as just some glam doll for the rest of her life. The memoir dissects how Aggarwal was always looking inward, wanting to find the truth of life and real happiness. This really astonished me, especially when after making it big Aggarwal left everything to join a yogi ashram, to learn yoga and to meditate.
Let’s analyze this in perspective. In India, every second girl wants to get a break as a model or a Bollywood actress. Bollywood is the lifeline of many cinema crazy Indians both here in India and abroad. Bollywood pays big time. If your movie becomes a super-hit like Aggarwal’s ‘Aashiqui’ did, then you have crossed the first hurdle. Then it’s all up to choosing good movies, playing your cards right, being dedicated to your craft, honing your craft, and with the right advisors, you can become big – a millionaire or a crorepati. When I was reading ‘Anusual’ I was thinking of the lavish weddings of some of the top Bollywood actors and actresses that took place last year 2018; when I heard how many crores they spent on the festivities, I was shocked that so much of money was spent, numbers going into 100 crores plus, and in a country where some people don’t even get a square meal a day.
Where are our priorities? That is answered by Anu Aggarwal in her memoir ‘Anusual’. Being a glam doll is not worth the hype. It’s a hollow life, and we need to set our priorities to make this world a decent place to live in where there are no hungry children due to drought or famine; no slum children who leave school due to financial difficulties; no widows left to fend for themselves because their farmer husbands have in desperation committed suicide; where minors are not sold as sexual slaves; no Dalits still struggling with the still prevalent caste system; where no riots take place over petty issues; where one is not judged because of the color of their skin. And yet, when we see these decked-up dolls of Bollywood – what messages are conveyed to our minds? That a ‘great life’ is the ‘elite way of life’ or is there something more to it? That’s what ‘Anusual’ is about and the reason why she left showbiz and became a yogi in training.
Anu Aggarwal’s journey through the corridors of a yogi ashram is described lucidly and poignantly. Her relationship with her guru, her good works, and how she experienced the truth deep within her, comes out very well in this book. Yoga is the focus of Aggarwal’s life. She has sold everything she has ever owned in the name of taking ‘sanyas’, something that scares me but which she was brave enough to do back in 2001. She has made it her life’s mission to train children and adults in the practice of yoga for free, as part of her ‘sanyas’. She has found her peace. But she was tested in her faith and would been dead long ago.
You see, Aggarwal was a victim of a terrible accident that put her in a coma for 29 days. All the doctors working on her had given up hope and opined that she would die soon. But on the 30th day, she came out of her coma. Struggles continued, but Aggarwal’s determination to rise above her situation and to become one with the oneness in her, won through. It was a miracle, and she felt the miracle was a way of telling her that now was the time to take ‘sanyas’ – to give up everything and follow the oneness, to follow the path of yoga and start the process of collecting good karma. And most importantly—to know that love is more than what the body’s groin can ever understand.
I am an existentialist, but reading books like these sometimes makes me wonder about the power of the human will, mind, and that thing called ‘the soul’. About the woman Anu Aggarwal, there is a lot to say. She is independent, daring, forthright, blunt, beautiful, and radiant and so many other things that you will encounter in her well written memoir, about how she came back from the dead.
I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. If you are weary of all the materialism showcased constantly on every media platform in your world, this is the book you should be reading. If you remember the superstar, Anu Aggarwal, and want to know about her change of heart, this is the book for you. For anyone looking for a down to earth and short memoir, this is the book you should be reading next. Yoga enthusiasts, people searching for meaning in their lives, people who are interested in living a more spiritual life, people who are looking for a quick inspiring read, etc., ‘Anusual’ by Aggarwal is the book you should buy right now.
I am so glad I read this book. Believe me, I just couldn’t put it down. It’s a short book, good for reading during the week. Spiritual enthusiasts will definitely love this book as well as anyone looking for something fresh in a Bollywood celebratory memoir. With all the celebratory sham books that are being churned out cheaper by the dozen these days, the story of Aggarwal’s unique and different take on life is like a breath of fresh air.
The book ends with a question about a probable Bollywood comeback. Since I’ve not really paid attention to the movie world for over fifteen years, I may have missed her comeback. I am quite a recluse myself; I hardly get out of my office-cum- writing hut. So, if anyone reading this knows about her comeback do let me know in the comments section.
This post first appeared on www.insaneowl.com
Author: Anu Aggarwal
There is something very specific and strong about the context and setting of the novel, A Gujarat Here, A Gujarat There. The protagonist, Krishna, is a young and sharp woman. It is the year 1947 and despite the momentous event of independence, there is confusion and pain everywhere. Due to the partition, Krishna moves to Delhi where her family resides, from Lahore where she studied. She then seeks a position as a governess in Sirohi, Gujarat, which in itself is in a state of flux. The British have gone, leaving India as a free democracy. But, the princely states may just not have kept pace with the times. Would Sirohi go to Gujarat or Rajasthan? Would the young adopted heir, a child at the time of independence, succeed the throne? Would he be recognised by the newly formed government of India?
The story follows Krishna as she works as a governess to the young prince at the court of Sirohi. Krishna is made of tough stuff. The novel alternates between the pangs of pain due to separation from Lahore, the place she knew as home, then from Delhi where her family now resides and then her move to Sirohi, where she works as governess to the prince. The reader will be amazed at the brave foray into accepting the changes that mark her life. I found her a most delightful character! Her acute understanding of human nature and the politics of the times shines through.
The language that Sobti uses is beautiful and poetic as well, and laced with intelligent humour. For example, “Decisions were not circulated like advertisements and orders from governmental departments; instead they wandered hither and thither like rumours”. Krishna Sobti is not easy to translate, but Daisy Rockwell has done a great job!
This novel is known as a feminist partition novel, and rightly so. The protagonist has to negotiate her way into life not only as a woman in those times, but also as a refugee. Sobti wrote the novel at the age of 92, distanced in time but not in spirit by the partition and the events surrounding it, that make up the backdrop of the story.
The story gives a deep insight into the psychology of a person who has been displaced. In the current context, where displacement of millions due to politics and wars, is so alarmingly common, the book feels strangely relevant. Being ripped from one’s roots and replanted elsewhere is not a good position to be in for any human being. What does this do to a person? How does it completely consume her mind and emotions, and yet how can she move ahead into an uncertain future?
The audacity of the protagonist, her refreshing self-assuredness, and her complete faith and confidence in herself, at a time and moment in history when women were still shadowed by patriarchy, pulls the reader inside the story. Her varied uprootings shake her, but they don’t bring her down. Despite the dizzying changes around her, Krishna is in charge of her life. Her subtle sense of humour and powerful observations about people around her will leave you admiring her intelligence. Even once within Sirohi, she does not give in to what ‘well meaning’ people around her say. For instance, she rejects the housing options shown to her by her employers and demands for a small cottage that is supposedly haunted.
She questions the antiquity of thoughts and customs at Sirohi:
« Ancient teachings for ancient times. Do our pathways change when we ourselves change ? »
However, partition is only the background. The story moves ahead as the governess to the newly crowned prince in an old state of the newly independent country, moves on with her educative duties.
The language is quite crisp. This is one of the unique attributes of Krishna Sobti. There is no room for fluff! The pain and pangs of being uprooted are indeed best expressed through this hard hitting, well-chosen and curated selection of words.
It is really strange to revisit history through lived experiences. Here, I felt as if Sobti’s sharp observations took me back in time. The event of partition, the assassination of Gandhi, Nehru visiting the refugee camps with Lady Mountbattern and few other instances, we see this through the eyes of someone who experiences and witnesses these.
Gujrat is a place in Pakistan and then there is the Gujarat in India, where Sirohi is. This explains the title, A Gujarat here, A Gujarat there. Krishna comes from one Gujarat to another, in a sense. But her spirit is one to look ahead.
Author: Krishna Sobti, translated by Daisy Rockwell
Striking and beautiful images supplement the text as the book expresses the myriad aspects of including living décor within your home. There is a section devoted to practical care for plants. There are tips on watering, giving sunlight, taking care of pests and so on, in view of the fact that the plant is kept indoors. The book then talks about specific indoor plants and the care that each of them requires. Elsewhere as the book progresses, many names of specific plants or categories (such as succulents) come up.
However, the part I found most exciting was the mix and match of the plants with various other decorative or utility items within the house. It is not just about displaying the potted indoor plant by itself. What kind of pot is it in? Where is it placed? What decorative or other items will you place around it? Will you create a story to it? How will it blend in or stand out in the décor scheme of your setting? How will you change and redecorate it? These were some of the aspects that I paid attention to while reading the book- and I got plenty to ponder over!
I also enjoyed the project section which is a recipe-style writeup of how to create specific projects, such as a plant chandelier, a glass globe terrarium, a pumpkin inspired centrepiece and a couple of other DIY projects. The author provides an insight into the concept of Herbariums and how ‘found’ objects such as leaves and flowers can be preserved for décor.
Living Decor is a book that is packed with implementable tips and many images. It will also lead you to discover and identify your unique décor style and understand how your indoor plants can blend in your specific surroundings and décor schemes.
Title: Living Décor
Author: Maria Colletti
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Genre: Non-fiction, Home and Gardens
Engineering A Life by Krishan K Bedi is a memoir about his roller-coaster life – first his struggle to get an engineering degree in the US and then the dilemma of where to settle with his family.
Krishan Bedi’s childhood in Punjab helps the reader envision how far he comes from his roots to spread his wings. What impresses right away is his determination to complete his engineering studies in the US despite being an average student and not having any inkling of what life in the US was like. Even with financial pressures and high expectations, he lives life on his own terms. Krishan’s subtle humour and candid acceptance of his faults, make him a likable guy whom the reader feels like rooting for.
Though the book is chronicled well, it feels like some impressionable experiences are glossed over. More depth to some scenes would help the reader relate to and understand what was going through Bedi’s mind at that time. It is sensitive that he has refrained from passing any judgments, but this leads to book sounding like a series of activities.
Krishan’s passion to learn not just academics, but from life experiences is inspirational. He proves that obstacles can slow us down, but dedication, perseverance and hard work always win in the end. Our heart goes out to his family when we read about the struggles they face in India after giving up a comfortable lifestyle in the US to settle in the country of his birth. He rightly gives his supportive wife, family and community the praise they deserve in the book.
Title: Engineering A Life
Author: Krishan K Bedi
Publisher: Rupa Publications
This is clearly the year of Instagram. The simple photo sharing app has metamorphosed into a veritable platform. Businesses taking to their customers through social media is not news. However, with the increasing popularity of Instagram, there is an increasing group of ‘influencers’ who seek building a community on Instagram. Hashtag Authentic: Finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond by Sara Tasker shares practical and experience based advice for those who want to increase their influence and specifically get the best out of their Instagram account.
Photography may be seen by some as a transient art in today’s age of social media, but it is time we focus on intentionality behind photographs. I loved the introductory pages to Hashtag Authentic since they very beautifully describe the world of photography as it exists today. Her words gently draw our attention to the fact that while having our cameras in the pocket has democratized the field of photography, the aspect of intentionality is something we all need to focus on. How many of us put thought behind the photographs we click?
Everyone has a story to tell and these stories have the power to slowly but surely shape the world. I like the feeling of gentle nudging throughout this book. It delicately pushes you to think. What story can you tell? How can you get inspiration from your everyday life? Why should you start with what you have? How can you see the magic in everyday moments? How can you maintain this visual record of everyday life?
The entire goal and direction of the first half of the book is geared towards sharing how one can craft images that truly resonate with viewers in a responsible way. Images that tell a story. It is actually a crash course in how to click good photographs! The book is replete with photographs that illustrate the points that the author chronicles so beautifully.
One of the handy features of this book is the exercise section which aims to make the reader do some practical exercises and soul searching in order to implement and see in practice the ideas and suggestions expressed in the book.
There are several such exercises in the book and going through all these will hone your skills in photography and specifically in expressing yourself on Instagram. These are all geared toward finding your unique Instagram style. It is also replete with specific tips geared towards Instagram- for example, taking pictures in portrait mode for more engagement, what to do when you feel you are at a loss of ideas for photographing,
Besides good photography tips, the book also has specific details about Instagram stories, tips on building and growing your Instagram community, thinking about the future and the direction you could take once you have ‘made it’ on Insta, how to remain safe on the platform and several other useful bits of information that will take the instagrammer beyond merely clicking good images.
In short, this is a book that helps you develop a clear and coherent voice in your unique style for your Instagram account. True, it focuses on Instagram specifically, but I feel it is equally appropriate for any platform that involves you, your audience and a screen! Building a community on Instagram follows good content and a strategic approach to this platform. If you are keen to dive in, Hashtag Authentic: Finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond by Sara Tasker is the right place to start!
Author: Sara Tasker
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Genre: Business, Self-help
We’ve all felt that inexplicable feeling of love. The beginning of a crush, the first stirrings of desire, the excitement to getting to know somebody and wanting to spend every free minute with them- the process of falling in love is probably one of the most beautiful experiences of life. It’s no wonder then that this feeling has been encapsulated in the form of songs, movies, books, art and plays since centuries. Love stories continue to be one of the most popular genres of art, and books based on this theme has countless readers.
One such gem is Akhil Maheshwari’s novel, Love is Beyond Everything. A classic love triangle following the lives of Aditi, Kabir and Maan, Maheshwari tells an engaging tale. Kabir has always been in love with Aditi who is hopelessly in love with Maan, the father of her daughter. Despite several efforts, Aditi has been unable to shake off her feelings for Maan and concocts an elaborate scheme to finally get over him. The scheme involves Kabir, his unrequited love and Aditi’s daughter. However, the best laid plans can often go awry and this soon results in a tumultuous tussle between all parties involved. Various facts come into light and feelings and realizations resurface.
While the thought and intention behind the book is noble, the story is a bit robotic. It sometimes lacks the wistfulness and fantasy that love inevitably brings making the story a bit too cut and dry. The characters are well developed but they end up being cardboard cut outs and generic.
However, the fast pace of the story and heart-warming scenes make Love is Beyond Everything a light and pleasant read. Women and college students might enjoy the book more, but men interested in getting in touch with their softer side may find this an informative book. All in all Maheshwari has written a slice of life kind of romance that will leave you asking the eternal question- can true love really trump all?
Title: Love is Beyond Everything
Author: Akhil Maheshwari
Dhruv Somani may be a textile tycoon. But beyond the businessman lies an ardent admirer of Hindi cinema. Dhruv has recently released his first book: A Touch of Evil. The ‘book’ is actually an elaborate collectible volume of four books. It is a unique compilation of details and trivia of films from the horror, thriller and suspense genres.
Bookedforlife chats with the film buff to know what made him chronicle the legacy of fear….
This set of books is a mammoth encyclopaedia on Bollywood movies in the horror/thriller/ suspense genre. Can you let us in on the genesis of this idea?
According to me, this genre of suspense, horror & thrillers was always an underrated one. The films made under this genre and their maverick filmmakers never got their due. The information and data available about these films are also lesser, as compared to the more commercial ones made in Bollywood. A book specifically on this subject was the answer in my mind for all the fans and film lovers of this genre.
Besides the synopsis of the movies that you have written about, you have also given us interesting trivia as well as images of some really nice collectibles like posters, lobby cards, tickets and so on. Do you collect these memorabilia?
I have been a collector of Bollywood memorabilia since some time now. To find memorabilia on these rare and unpopular titles has been quite difficult. For a popular film like Sholay the publicity material is huge and in volumes, but for a horror film like Purana Mandir the material for publicity is also limited as the budgets for these films was restricted. So, in other words, it took me a lot of time and effort to look for memorabilia for some of these films.
What about horror films and thrillers appeals to you?
For me, the fear of the unknown or the unseen has been always more exciting to watch as these films could be unpredictable and daringly different at times. The thrills and the adrenaline rush while watching these edge of the seat spooky entertainers gives me a high which I thoroughly look forward to.
You are not merely describing, but also commenting critically on the genre. This deep insight is also fascinating. You talk about ‘horex’ as a genre. What do you feel is appealing about this genre specifically? Who is the target audience?
There was no category as horror in the decades of the ’50s and ’60s in Bollywood. The films made in these decades were mainly on the themes of the supernatural and the reincarnation and were considered spooky.
It was only in the early ’70s with the onset of the Ramsay Brothers and their first full fledge horror film Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche and its thumping success at the Box office, which established a separate genre or category of horror. The banner got established with making successful film after film as they were a treat to the audience with enough sleaze and gore. The successful formula inspired more filmmakers to jump into the race and the mantra continued decade after decade.
The newer directors refurbished the formula with sensuality, haunting melodies and horror stories which emerged as a new trend or genre called horex. This genre has caught up fast with the new generation and is here to only grow further as it was clearly visible in franchises like Raaz, Murder, and Race to name a few.
You also talk about web series like “Ghoul”. Do you feel these will lead the way specifically in this genre?
Personally, I felt that Ghoul was a well-made web series which was also marketed well. Unfortunately, it was called a flop as it did not achieve the same popularity as their web series called Sacred Games. According to me this trend is getting hugely popular over time as shows sans censorship are fast becoming an essential part of the next generation. This platform is also attracting big stars as it offers them stories to experiment and explore.
I can only imagine the level and the amount of research that has gone into the four volumes that make up the series. Can you describe how you conducted the research for the same?
My main research was watching all these films over and over again! Besides that, I am a collector of a lot of Bollywood memorabilia like old magazines, booklets, lobby cards, and posters which were very handy and informative to precisely give some details of the films. Also, I have seen most of these films as a child due to which I remembered the stories and characters very clearly.
You have quite insightfully given an indication of how the genre has evolved over the years. Now, as you look back at the history of Hindi cinema over the decades, through the prism of the horror, thriller and suspense genres, are there any specific glaring observations that you would like to share about the industry, or even about the society that it caters to?
The films made in the decades of the ’40s, ’50s and the ’60s were films that largely belonged to the supernatural and suspense category like Bees Saal Baad, Gumnaam, Mera Saaya etc. For those days and times, these films were considered to be creepy and spooky as they were successful in scaring the audiences.
Then entered the Ramsay Brothers in the early ’70s who made films after films scaring the daylights out of people with their horrific monsters and their haunted havelis. Films like Purana Mandir, Veerana, Bandh Darwaza gained popularity.
The Ramsay’s ruled the Box-Office till almost the early 90’s as gradually the phase of horror films almost disappeared till the emergence of director Ram Gopal Verma with his successful films like Raat, Kaun, Bhoot etc. Another promising director who established himself as the torchbearer of this genre was Vikram Bhatt whose films like Raaz, 1920, Shaapit etc became successful and gained popularity. Today so many upcoming directors are coming up with films of this genre. It is only a matter of time when some will come up with a big budget horror film that will rock the Box office.
Who is the ideal reader and buyer of A Touch of Evil?
300 films of suspense, horrors & thrillers with more than 600 photographs from booklets, posters & lobby cards all originals covering films from the last 7 decades weaved together in a series of books is a treasure box for any film lover. It’s the first book of its kind that aims as a felicitation for directors who dared to be different, educating the information seeker, enlighten the curious fans and finally act as memorabilia for the future generations.
This may be difficult…but which are your 3-4 best horror movies of all times?
Its really difficult to choose from so many films but nevertheless some of my favourite ones are Gumnaam, Jaani Dushman, Purana Mandir and Raaz.
What’s next on your writing list? People who have read your work, I’m sure they will be looking forward to it!
I have really not finalized anything as of now as it’s just been a month to the launch of my first book A Touch of Evil, but I’m very keen to write a filmography of films done by my favorite actresses of the decades of the ’70s and ’80s. It could be Rekha, Zeenat Aman or Dimple Kapadia.
IF YOU LIKE BOLLYWOOD MEMORABILIA, YOU MAY WANT TO READ https://www.bookedforlife.in/features/bollywood-memorabilia-osians-catalogues-greatest-show-earth-reveal/
Stress. This is the word that is the bane of our existence today. It is the cause of a number of lifestyle diseases, mental health issues and can negatively impact our holistic well-being . Yet, we grapple with stress management techniques! Why is achieving the stress solution so difficult in the age of information overload?
Dr. Chatterjee is all set to simplify stress management. In an authentic voice born out of his medical practice and informed research, he presents four pillars on which you can build a stress-free life.
In The Stress Solution by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee you will read about a multidimensional approach to stress management. After all, stress solutions need to address more than one area of our lives.
I would like to use the analogy of a car here. Just like a car wouldn’t get going without all the four wheels working well in harmony, we can’t handle stress without adopting a multi-pronged approach.
The book focuses on purpose (how having a sense of purpose can help you deal with stress), relationships (how to nurture and develop them), Body (how physical wellbeing is linked to stress free living) and Mind (this section deals with mental well-being but more specifically talks about the tech menace that is so rampant today).
The Stress Solution is written in a lucid manner. I love the use of terms that really stick in your head and ensure that you remember concepts from the book. For example, he talks about MSDs or Micro Stress Doses that basically refer to little things that add to the stress we experience in day to day life. He elaborates on how to LIVE (Love. Intention. Vision. Engagement). In a sense, he dresses the concepts in a way that one can remember the key point.
We live in a world where stress does not merely stem from one source. We live in an ecosystem of stress! The book considers all these different angles. It then tackles topics such as time management, need for solitude, having a good morning routine, giving due importance to key relationships, eating healthy, exercising, sleeping well, handling tech addiction that somehow seems crazily pervasive nowadays, reconnecting with nature, decluttering your surroundings, breathing correctly, meditation and much more.
For me, the one of the most crucial part of this book was the section on relationships. Have you tried the 3D greeting with your partner? This is a little 15 seconds secret revealed in the book…Similarly in the section that talks about good eating habits and the relationship of food to stress, I found the Eat Your Alphabet Chart really easy to use and implement.
Twenty-first century living is harming our minds. We’re filling our heads with stressful information, bombarding ourselves with noise and light. Infinite distractions vie for our attention. We think nothing of continually drowning our thoughts in news articles, status updates, health blogs, text messages, notifications or emails. This information overload is playing havoc with our mental health.
It is at such times that we need to step back and reassess the situation. Are we living in a way that is indeed best for us? Are we allowing stress to overtake our lives in a manner that will prove harmful to us in the long run?
The Stress Solution by Rangan Chatterjee is a book that speaks to us in a language that we understand. Filled with authentic information and observations, and very practical tips, it’s your resolute guide to living a stress-free life!
BOOKS BY RANGAN CHATTERJEE
Title: The Stress Solution
Author: Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
Genre: Health, Non-fiction
When you’re a child, thinking out-of-the-box comes naturally. Backyard Adventure by Amanda Thomsen is a book that is filled to the brim with ideas and tips to reclaim the childhood that ‘should be’. As gadgets and structured lessons fill our children’s lives, a book like this is a reminder to slow down and savour beautiful moments that will go on to make the foundation of a child’s life.
The book is filled with many pictures and short snappy ideas on fun projects that children can do in their own backyard. These are real images of things done by real children and hence will definitely be inspirational.
Some of the projects may require a little bit of help from adults, if the children wish that is! There are some big projects such as building a fort or tepee, or a hideout with straw bales and tree branches, or a cardboard castle, complete with instructions. Then there are other executable ideas such as making creative sandboxes. There are instructions and suggestions on how to set up ‘tinkering’ areas such as a science lab or a musical studio, again by using easily available material. Children are also encouraged to make a ‘giant mess’ in some specially designed experiments. For those with a green thumb there are hints as to what they can grow. Some of the ideas involve messing around in the wild, or doing science experiments, again often messy! Another set of tips revolve around how kids can capitalize on their backyard space in the dark! (hint- it has to do with glowing objects!)
The materials required for these projects are simple things that one uses at home. In fact, most of the things are recyclable and these projects are all eco-friendly in that sense. Children can make use of waste and old stuff to indulge in these!
In all, the book is filled with easily executable ideas. Older kids (tweens) would be able to do these by themselves while younger ones would need some help from adults.
Some ideas for backyard fun that appealed to me:
Take a pick from your favourite ideas and bounce them off on your kids. You will soon discover that the backyard is a blank canvas…. paint your fun the way you like! And who knows, backyard adventure may not just stop with the kids!
Title: Backyard Adventure
Author: Amanda Thomsen
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Genre: Self-Help, Non-fiction