Kareena Kapoor, though not really a trend-setter, is almost always well-dressed. I noticed her experimental and interesting styling during the promoti...moreKareena Kapoor, though not really a trend-setter, is almost always well-dressed. I noticed her experimental and interesting styling during the promotions of ‘Heroine’. Earlier, her Manish Malhotra dresses and saris were fashionable but they never stood out. To her credit, she did spark media frenzy for Size Zero because it was too drastic and shocking, considering she was chubby earlier.
The book has high production value (like a coffee table book) with lots of glossy pictures, although I am not such a huge fan of the cover page image of the lady (it looks ghostly/ pallid and not diva-esque). The font size on the back cover is also too big. But the book makes up with lots of gorgeous pictures – old and new, published and unpublished, glamorous and simple. The book also has a lot of doodled drawings which render the feel of a diary. The pages are in shades of pink.
The book has Kareena’s distinct voice and personality – unapologetic, undiplomatic and straightforward. It reminds so much of that line from Jab We Met, which translates to – “I am my biggest fan” and Kareena Kapoor is! It comes out very clearly in this book as well as in all her interviews. She has always been extremely confident, even as a newcomer. The book is chatty, conversational and confiding.
When I first read about this book, I was curious because it was something new. I don’t remember any other Bollywood actress writing about her style secrets. Which girl wouldn't want to know the style secrets of a Bollywood heroine who lives a life of glamour and style, and who is spoilt for choices?
I would say I have mixed views about this book, and whenever I feel that way, I jot down ‘what worked for me’ and ‘what did not’, to be fair to the book and to give an indication to the potential readers on what to expect.
WHAT I LIKED > Tonnes of fabulous pictures – beautiful, glamorous and many from personal collection > Neatly organized into 4 sections: Body Basics – Growing up years, Size Zero, diet plan, workouts, Yoga asanas, exercising while you travel, food, etc. Fashion Fabulous – her favourite looks from films and how to get them, personal favourites / style, fashion tips, different kinds of clothing, favourite brands and shopping destinations Beauty Truths – Hair care / skin care / personal beauty tips and tricks, everyday maintenance and grooming, make up, understanding your best profile to look good in pictures Man Power – snippets from her love life, making your relationship work, dressing and grooming your man and gifting right to your love > Snippets from personal life like how she plans her travel, her favourites, her growing up years, her relationships, creating looks for her films, preparing for big events, etc.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE > Repetitiveness, like her favourite destination is Gstaad, she is a winter person, blessed with good skin and so on and so forth > Exaggeration about sparking trends on how her looks from movies and public events were copied soon after. As far as I am aware, Kareena can take credit for Size zero frenzy and Long kurta with Patiala from the movie Jab We Met (which also was Imtiaz’s idea) > Digressions from the book’s main topic like planning your wedding (!); detailed information on various types of everything – inner wear, Indian dresses, gowns, shoes, bags; dressing for office (!). > A lot of common style and fashion tips > Dilution of the main focus of the book : Trying to tell us the behind-the-scene story on Kareena Kapoor’s styling, and her tricks and tips; and also trying to be a fashion guide to a normal girl. The book should have focused on Kareena’s style and her favourites, and not attempt to bring out her ‘normal girl’ side, because there are no parallels between her lifestyle and a normal young girl’s. We cannot buy those brands or designer wears (forget about custom-made) neither can we shop on Net-a-Porter.
Frankly, I don’t know what I was expecting from this book because largely a star is as stylish as her stylist.
This book will certainly appeal to Kareena Kapoor's fans. The fashion and style enthusiasts may only end up pointing out the abundance of common information and tips in the book.
I first read ‘Holy Cow’ in 2006 or 2007. It was interesting to look at Indian diversity and idiosyncrasies through the eyes of an outsider who wanted...moreI first read ‘Holy Cow’ in 2006 or 2007. It was interesting to look at Indian diversity and idiosyncrasies through the eyes of an outsider who wanted to make sense of the chaos. I loved it. But in order to appreciate this book, you must have the ability to laugh at India’s eccentricities. It is one of the very few books which I have re-read and enjoyed.
Sarah Macdonald, an Australian journalist, broadcaster and presenter, did not like India on her first visit and never wanted to return. But she returns to India after almost 11 years to be with her boyfriend Jonathan Haley. “Holy Cow” is more of a spiritual journey of the author which takes her through interesting experiences and people.
She writes right at the beginning: “India is Hotel California: you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”
In her early days, her cynical self only finds the problems: widespread poverty, no respect for time, no sense of space and privacy, people gawking at western women, dirt and filth, the unbearable heat, poor medical standards, etc., etc. But soon she decides to make the best of her stay in India, since Jonathan was away most of the time for long duration owing to wok commitments. Sarah’s experiences were diverse: finding anything but peace in the spiritual ‘market’ of Rishikesh, brushes with death in the forms of earthquake and double-pneumonia, making sense of the Indian marriage scene (its close connection with family and honour), cleansing of mind and finding inner peace through Vipassana, learning about Sikhs and meeting a unique group of white Sikhs, grim realities of a paradise lost in Kashmir, experiencing Jewish rituals, getting blessed by Mata Amritanandamayi, meeting film stars, exploring Christianity at our Lady of Velangiri, to name a few.
There are several such books by western travellers / journalists / explorers but Sarah Macdonald has a distinguished voice. Some may find a few of her observations or comments offensive, but you must remember while reading this book, or any such book, that this is a personal journey of the author. In this particular book, we find Sarah Macdonald transform from an atheist to someone who begins to enjoy the expansive spiritual roads India offers, its many religions. At the end of it, she is humbled by India’s accommodating culture, affectionate people, diversity and experiences. At the end, if you really read it with an open mind, there is not a thing to offend. She sounds a little conceited in the beginning but I think, it is purely to bring out the contrast in her transformation from someone not amused by the situation in India to someone who had begun to enjoy the “organised chaos”.
Few gems from the book:
About the Hindi she learnt from her teacher who scoffed at the use of street language: When I thought I was asking a taxi driver to take me somewhere I was really saying, ‘Kind sir, would thou mind perhaps taking me on a journey to this shop and I would be offering you recompense of this many rupees to do so, thank you frightfully humbly.’ And I have been greeting filthy naked street urchins with, ‘Excuse me, o soul one, but I’m dreadfully sorry, I don’t appear to have any change, my most humble of apologies.’
These lines beautifully capture her thoughts on religion: “I realise I don’t have to be a Christian who follows the church, or a Buddhist nun in robes, or a convert to Judaism or Islam or Sikhism. I can be a believer in something bigger than what I can touch. I can make a leap of faith to a higher power in a way that’s appropriate to my culture but not be imprisoned by it.”
She says about her trip to Pakistan:
“I feel like I’ve travelled between two divorced parents who are trying to outdo each other.”
About war against Afghanistan This war has shattered my Great Australian Dream – the fantasy that I could be part of the world community with all its benefits but isolated enough to be safe and separate from its violence and brutality.”
And finally, her thoughts on India towards the end: ”India’s organised chaos has exuberance and optimism, a pride and a strong celebration of life. I truly love it. There’s no place like this home.”
It is an interesting book; and people who love to read about India, or Non Fiction in general or travel stories in particular will love it.
I am a complete Cover Page person. I have to like the cover page to give book a chance, otherwise no matter how good the content, I don’t venture in....moreI am a complete Cover Page person. I have to like the cover page to give book a chance, otherwise no matter how good the content, I don’t venture in. It is just the way I am.
I saw this book around, and decided to check out a few reviews before reading it. It looked interesting and now I am glad I read it.
At 216 pages, it is quite a fast read. I finished it in a couple of hours in my limited reading time.
The story is about Ira Bhat, a no-nonsense, passionate copywriter in one of the best advertising agencies in the country, J. McCarthy. The book revolves around her busy work-life and therefore, almost the lack of a social or personal life. Her friends at work, Aditi and Sameer, keep the environment lively with their leg-pulling and easy banter. The book essentially deals with how Ira negotiates her life through tight deadlines, demanding boss, office politics, rumour mills, idiosyncrasies of clients and an insecure ex while also finding romance amid the craziness.
The book provides a lot of insights into the workings of an advertising agency. My first job was at FCB Ulka, so I instantly connected with whatever the author had to say. In fact, it was quite nostalgic. I was in Client Servicing*, by the way.
There were quite a lot of footnotes. It aimed at providing clarity to someone who isn’t familiar with the advertising jargons, and does so with wit and humor. I really enjoyed the footnotes. They are in fact the funniest aspect of the book.
The thing is it is not a masterpiece. You would not miss a thing if you do not read it, but if you do, you will have fun, and you would know much about the workings of an ad agency in the process.
Sample few lines from the book: *Postmen, peacemakers, punching bags – client servicing executives are seen as all this and more. Part of their job is to brief the creative team about what the client wants and present to the client what the creative team will design to deliver. In their dedication to this cause, they often face loss of face, limb and self-respect, at the hands of demanding clients and uncooperative creative teams. It is a thankless job that requires a special skill set – a high threshold of pain, a high tolerance for personal humiliation, but contrary to industry perception, not necessarily, not necessarily a low IQ score.
‘Who do you think you’re Kidding?’ happened to me at the right time. I am a mother to an 18 month old toddler and almost-obsessed about creating right...more‘Who do you think you’re Kidding?’ happened to me at the right time. I am a mother to an 18 month old toddler and almost-obsessed about creating right environment and providing enough opportunities to our son. Learning, education, parenting techniques, discipline, etc., are the buzz words that rule my thoughts and rock my world these days. Every parent would agree that parenting in this day and age is far more challenging than it was for the previous generation.
I am a book person. When I seek knowledge beyond the scope of Google, I pick up a book. I feel there is a dearth of good parenting books in India. There are several books from foreign authors but we need books that address issues and concerns specific to our country.
In ‘Who do you think you’re Kidding?’, the author, Lina Ashar, enunciates several concerns and challenges of new age parenting and offers solutions from her experience as an educationist and a mother. Children today have to deal with excess of everything – exposure to various media, information, competition, consumerism, to name a few. They need support and guidance from their parents to deal with them. And for that, parents themselves need to break out of their traditional approach to parenting and move with the times.
Here are a few takeaways from the book: The kids of today are being bombarded with information through TV, Internet, Radio or Outdoor. There is no getting away. With technology influencing every facet of life and education, a child cannot live in a vacuum. It is imperative to teach children to use technology with prudence and responsibility. It is important to develop a child’s self-esteem, which in turn depends on the kind of messages they receive from others about themselves, especially parents. Intense competition is taking over the joys of childhood. Children should not be made to bear the burden of their parents’ unfulfilled ambitions. They should be allowed to choose their own path with support and encouragement. A parent or teacher should incorporate a child’s interest area to make learning interesting and fun. Whatever be our parenting styles, we should be aware / conscious about its implications on our child. Role of a father or a mother in the life of a son or / and a daughter; and how we as a father or a mother can improve our relationship with our child. The book also cautions about the pitfalls of gender stereotyping. Understanding the differences in raising a son vis-à-vis raising a daughter equips you in helping them realise their potential and encouraging them to try different things. It is not the same as gender stereotyping.
Many more such issues as challenges of early years, the beginning of learning, left brain vs. right brain, transition years (tweens and teens), exam anxiety, career choices, etc, etc. have been packed into 300 pages.
This paragraph (quoted from the book) best defines what the author attempts to achieve:
"Increasing levels of competition, reducing paradigms of space and time, evolving sources of information and entertainment, changing moral, social, and religious values is leaving us with an unknown future. The dilemma that every parent and teacher faces today – ‘How do I use the tools I have to prepare children for a future that I don’t know anything about? How do I prepare them to resolve issues that have not yet risen? What is parenting in this age of digital revolution and globalization?' These are the questions I seek to answer in this book."
There are no hi-fi fundas or tangential jargons in this easy-to-read book. Every parent will find resonance of their concerns in this book. The book is peppered with witty yet relevant illustrations to support the points, and very relatable examples.
A few words of wisdom from the author (quoted from the book): “The advice I give parents is to keep opening windows of opportunities for their children – sport, musical instruments, theatre, dance, everything – and allowing them to decide what they like and want to pursue.”
It is certainly a must-read book for new age parents!
Here’s an interview of the author which will give you more perspective on the book.
When I first read about this book, I was instantly drawn to it. Distinguished people writing letters to their daughters; the concept appealed to me de...moreWhen I first read about this book, I was instantly drawn to it. Distinguished people writing letters to their daughters; the concept appealed to me dearly. It held a lot of potential to learn and be inspired. I was also curious about what lessons or advice these high achievers would pass on to their daughters.
The book lived up to its promise.
I loved the cover page instantly. It has a warm appeal to it. Foreword is by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. It is inspiring to read her write about her unconventional choice of career, encouraged by her father, and struggle during the initial years as a lady brewer in a man’s world.
Notes by Deepika Padukone and Nandita Das to their respective famous dads, on the insides of the cover, are heartwarming.
The book is quite well-organized. The writers have been featured in the alphabetical order of their names. Each letter is preceded by a note about the person writing the letter, which beautifully sets the mood for the letter and helps the reader relate to the letter in a better way. Each letter is a reflection of the letter writer’s own journey through life, his learnings and values that he or she holds close.
Ajay Piramal, Amit Chandra, Capt. Gopinath, Chanda Kochhar, Deep Anand, Ganesh Natarajan, Jatin Das,, Kishore Biyani, K.V. Kamath, Mallika Sarabhai, Narayana Murthy, Pradeep Bhargava, Prakash Padukone, P.P. Chhabria, Renuka Ramnath, Sanjeev Kapoor, Shaheen Mistri and Zia Modi make the 18 personalities who have contributed in this book to pass on the legacy of learnings, values, beliefs and wisdom, not only to their own daughters but to inspire all the Indian women at large.
Chanda Kochhar thinks adaptability is a great quality to possess, while Captain Gopinath demonstrates by his own life to reinvent oneself constantly; Amit Chandra highlights the power of wealth and how not to get carried away with it, while Kishore Biyani stresses on the importance of people, relationships and human behavior; Mallika Sarabhai advises her daughter to be fearless about what she can do while Shaheen Mistri crafts a beautiful poem for her daughters about empathy and equality – there are several such gems in the book.
Though each letter is a lesson in life-skills, my personal favorites are letters by Captain Gopinath and Kishore Biyani. I was pleasantly surprised at the modern outlook of Mr Biyani when he is perceived as rooted in traditions. He came across as a very open-minded individual who held both his daughters in high esteem for their capabilities. Captain Gopinath’s ability to rise from the ashes every time as a phoenix comes across very clearly. The way he reinvents himself constantly is exemplary for everyone.
What stands out is that each one of them is rooted in their past, stress on the importance of giving back to the society, the need to be there for the family, and shower love and respect on their daughters as independent and capable individuals.
It is easy to get intimidated by these stalwarts for their lofty achievements but when they write to their daughters, one gets to know their real, warm personalities and concerns of an ordinary parent.