If there would be a reason for my smile throughout this weekend then I would wholeheartedly give this credit to Shantanu Naidu. I heard his book, ‘I Came Upon A Lighthouse’ and it gave me many reasons to smile and understand the purity of holding relationships strong. A memoir that focuses more on the events and memories than the people’s existence and achievement. Through his book, Naidu writes his life that reflects to his readers as a source of positivity and inspiration. His play of words brings out the awe-inspiring individuals lives impactful. While I was listening I felt, I was hearing of someone’s growth, someone who is acknowledging life, someone who was trying to make a mark in the world and of their journey as a whole by looking up to someone and working with him. I have always believed that writing about animals needs sensitivity and emotional connection and I became firm towards this perspective throughout this book. From initiating ‘Motopaws’ to taking care of the author’s pet this book also has a point for being so charming and delicate. I have always pondered about the thought of how the conversations must proceed when you are personally related to a person of a drastic age and experience gap. This book is a pool of emotions and one could feel the weightage of connection the individuals have experienced. The book gives us friendly and thrilling insights into the legendary Mr Tata that digs deeper into the unknown traits and interests of the legend. The interactions that the two individuals made were friendly and heartwarming trespassing the initial formal conversations. The readers get to know Mr Tata through the eyes of Naidu which is indeed etched with love and respect for each other’s works. We as readers come across Mr Tata as a soft-spoken, generous, kind-hearted man sharing a mutual love for animals like the author himself. This is a colourfully represented book that conceives mentorship and friendship on the same boat with dependent maturity and faith.
An entertaining rom-com that never leaves ale moment. A typical love story of a couple, Ved and Akira who met as strangers in an outburst of angry circumstances but fell in love and made each other realize that they were a match made in heaven. When I initially started the book, I was scared of the pages I had to complete. I somehow comprehended the end. The length of the book shivered me a bit but because of its interesting cover and book title, I had to give it a second chance. After all, who would like to miss out on a ride of emotions by flipping just the pages of a book? Did I say before that reading this book would give you the essence of how amazing and joyous Punjabi families are to be general? You would just fall in love with Ved’s family and extended family the minute to get introduced to them. I could feel the love of grandmothers, the annoyance of cousins, the mischief of a little sister and a wholesome amount of warmth. I love storytelling. It’s all that we expect from a north Indian family narration. If you read this book, remember there’s a package of action, drama and romance waiting for you. As I said, though 358 pages on Kindle was tough but I’m happy with the way the book gradually took a clifftop rise in terms of narration. The characters dominate the book and I’m glad to read a book that gave equal importance to the side characters apart from protagonists. The author’s simple words can make to feel stupid, laugh out loud in pin-drop silence and makes you feel want to be loved and if you’re in a long-distance with your lover, surely you would miss the person. This book makes you experience emotions like a parallel line- they cry, you cry. They laugh- you laugh harder. Several Hindi Punjabi exchanges give fluidity to comprehend. I loved the fact that Ved’s parents understood Akira just like their daughter. They accepted and in some parts embraced the flaws she carried. They were kind enough to acknowledge the emotional baggage that Akira was caring. Despite all the family drama with his parents and sister back in Mumbai, Ved learnt to love and respect and adapt with his lover from his parents. Though there were little editing errors here and there, I would love to recommend it with all my heart.
In India, a ‘good news ‘which means the arrival of a baby doesn’t always spread the same amount of joy to our strict judgmental society. When someone conceives at the right time and age with a happily married life, it’s a sign of joy but when a woman decides to go out of the way to become a single mother she faces the criticism and is basically ‘badnaam-ed’ by society.
The Terrible Horrible Very Bad Good News by Meghna Pant takes us through the life of Ladoo, who decides to conceive through IVF and how her life becomes chaotic by the stereotypic thoughts and judgements that add on to her ‘divorcee and pregnant’ stigma. She is felt like a sinner for choosing to be a single mother.
I heard this book on Audible narrated by Riddhi Dave and this book has all the feel good laughter therapy moments that a reader could crave for after a heavy or disappointing read. I laughed my way out like no one’s watching while listening to the book. This book is written and narrated with a typical Indian flavor.
There’s drama, emotions, laughter and sarcastic commentary that would keep its readers excited with no scopes of regret.
Meghna Pant does an appreciable work to bring out a stereotypic stigma like motherhood and pregnancy with such humour and seriousness all balanced and punched at the right moment.
Since it was my first experience with an audiobook and I wished to hear something easy to comprehend, I loved the narration of this book. The characters and plot entered my head as easily as a Bollywood film. I loved Riddhi Dave’s oration that made me feel every single sentence placing me in the characters’ shoes.
The spine of the book is although heavy but the author graces her readers with some light senses too in between which are smooth and heartfelt, for example, like the parts where Ladddo needs to take a firm decision on being a single mother and Tamara, her sister supports her immensely. I also felt a hard pang in my heart when the mother of the protagonist wasn’t accepting her daughter’s pregnancy obviously because so the social gossip spread around. These were the parts I could connect. Also, I loved every bit of the humour.
The author, Meghna Pant’s book is of course a page-turner and never loses its true detailing and objective. The author is creative and her visionary shows in every single chapter of the book.
This book, ‘A Teaspoon Of Stars’ is a beauty just like the star studded sky. This book, like it’s creator, Chandrama Deshmukh believes that if you are a night lover it’s because of objects which make it so precise. ‘A Teaspoon of Stars’ is a poetry collection that become home to your tired heart. It is just a as homely as your evening coffee. Chandrama is courageous and flamboyant to keep her pen ordinary and raw. The poems are flawed by the haunts of realities and midnight thoughts. But still, as you read these poems you would understand that there are certain things you can not stop from letting it go away from you. Chandrama beautifies world with her art of acceptance. She talks time and again to appreciate little thoughts and emotion making it naturally celebrated, whether mellow or cheerful. These poems are believers of nightfall, moon and stars. Chandrama’s work is like visiting a whole new world of filled with optimism, goodness of humanity and respect for all emotions. She creates a world where no human would feel left alone , segregated with respect to a specific emotions. Author gives little detailing to every poem which deepens the meaning of her words. Being a poet mysrlf, I always tend to find connections between words and the heart. Poetries should be as fluid and honest as a child’s heart , easily registered in reader’s minds. I always try to see and try to recieve those messages that are never opened acknowledged in my brain and this book did an overwhelming justice to all such cravings. Every poem, has a personal connect that weaves magic. A magic, that we all need and search in words, stories , nature or soulmates. A perfect night read for all the restless minds.
‘‘Nothing. Something. Everything. We woke up one day –on different days.- and realized we’re each other’s past. ’’
There are books that you don’t like to end, the kind of books that are so simple that it gives you a sense of peace reading them. ‘Paper Moon’ is one such warm read. A book, I won’t forget. The magic of the words hit differently. A pleasure and a reader’s delight. Munir executes fineness. She narrates the situation with details that made me in awe of her writing. I haven’t really read Jhumpa Lahiri’s work, but whatever I gained through her brilliant works, I won’t be wrong if I compared Munir’s writings with the living literary legend.
The details precisely show the real scenario of books and bookshop. The characters are represented in wonders. These characters spark a new real meaning to the book. Fiza’s story has a lot of excitement and experience from her life.
‘PaperMoon’, is in parts inspired by the author’s personal life experience. Perhaps, this adds wholesomeness and unconditional warmth to the book. ‘PaperMoon’ is like an endless journey on the road, where you get to see and acknowledge different people, their perspectives. Munir’s fluidity and simplicity steals the show. It vibes for a perfect 90s feel good- books, romance, Jazz music, references about classics and Bombay posh vibrancy that would really urge you to explore the city through these blessed pages.
There’s a restlessness and subtle attachment you get when you’re with this book. This book is a grounded stunner. Fiza’s journey is a beautiful transition- from handling disturbed family relationships maturely to becoming an owner of a bookshop from scratch, this protagonist has won my heart with her independent, charming personality. At these uncertain and worrisome times, ‘PaperMoon’ comes to a rescue to take us back to the 2000s and flood with happy feelings. Munir is highly successful in what she wanted to portray with this proud creation. This book is an art of sheer brilliance and honest dedication.
Brahmakamal : Love Story of a Devdasi is a story set in the 11th century that tells the story of Nitya and Prabhas. Nitya is a beautiful girl, inquisitive and chirpy, born to a Rudraganika, her mother, Kaveri. Whereas, Piranhas is naughty, obedient and a temple musician. Nitya beauty and grace was much talked about. Prabhas for all these significant qualities falls in love with Nitya. Hell breaks and the innocent love faces a reality check as the Kaveri gets to know about this love development. The protagonists stand strong for their love but are criticized by the social norms, custom and rules. A heavenly couple with their enchanting chemistry passes tests of the social norms, barriers and hypocrisy. A fairytale, woven with bittersweet scenarios alongside the sweetness of liberal love. The writing style is fluid with little more detailing than expected. The language of storytelling is appreciable and the book would surely drift your imagination in the 11th century. The book highlights societal degrees amongst the system, merchants. The book has drama, love and social aspects that build the story creatively. The Author writes these scenarios with grace and sprouts out the right essence in those sentences. The writing style is imaginative and descriptive. The storytelling is very precise as if the author had lived through those olden times. It’s very creative of the author to create a love story of a Devdasi in the times of young adult romances that I guess would win hearts.
It gives you anecdotes about the brand imaging from the professionals in the industry. It gives you small stories from the author’s life that would better your understanding.
Please introduce yourself to our readers! Hey, I’m Diya Asrani, a personal branding coach, artist, trainer, speaker and founder of Design Your Presence™. I started my training and coaching career in 2011, when I quit Textile Designing and realised that I want to help people build their presence and become confident in what they do. Even with the fear of public speaking, I took the leap of faith and soon became a well-known trainer and speaker at many known companies while I also continued working on becoming a powerful presenter in the industry. Through my experience in working with many clients, I realised that there was one common challenge that most people face – building a presence that attracts clients towards them. In my quest for learning, growing and nurturing my clients, I got landed two lucrative jobs one after the other starting from 2014, that helped me dive deep into the concept of building a brand presence. That’s when I understood that it’s the way we express ourselves authentically, that brings out the true essence of our own presence. That got me excited and I started diving deeper into the concept of Personal Branding – A mix of one’s image and personality, along with the willingness to share their knowledge while being of service to others.
When did you start writing? I started writing this book in 2019.
How did you segregate the valuable information written in your book to the vast information that the internet provides? Well, I believe that we learn from many sources. But the 2 most valuable sources of information are 1. Our experiences and 2. The people we connect with. I enjoyed merging my stories, my strong coaching skills along with insightful interviews that I did with successful coaches in the industry wherein the valuable information is untouchable and makes the reader literally learn on the go. Every single chapter in the book has a takeaway that makes the reader want to take action.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to become an author and write a book? Ever since I started my own business in 2017, I always felt that I should write a book someday. It was always a dream to be an Author but I didn’t really take it up until end of 2019 when I started realising that as a trainer and coach, I need to share my story and let people know the importance of their own presence in the industry. Things got more intense after the pandemic hit India in 2020 and this gave me the opportunity to take time off from my routine and actually make this dream come true.
Could you please present an insight of your book? Design Your PERSONAL BRAND Presence is a book that every entrepreneur, service professional or knowledge giver should read. I have approached it in a simple and personalized way to drive the concept of Personal Branding with a combination of my own stories, coachable steps to take and also insightful interview snippets from India’s leading coaches. This book is a guiding light for readers who are seeking to learn, apply and understand the concept of building one’s presence. The book solves the problem of how to market one’s own presence that attracts clients towards them.
Tell us about your first published book journey. The journey has been quite a ride. A magical one to be honest. When I started writing this book, I was just all over the place! Initially it was quite an exciting experience to summarize so many stories, concepts and ideas together to make it a tool that works for readers. But then once I realised that there is a process behind writing a book and it should be done one step at a time, I gradually started enjoying writing it. Thoughts would just flow, and I would put myself in my reader’s shoes and read the chapters again and again till I was convinced that it would actually help them. The most memorable part of building the story of this book was my interviews with some of the best leaders in the industry. I had a chance to connect with people like Siddharth Rajsekar, Puja Puneet and Rajiv Talreja – all fabulous leaders in their respective industries. This got me to add another perspective to each chapter. At first the book looked like a simple, straight forward script on branding. But once I connected the dots and matched my story, the actions and the interviews together, everything started looking more and more promising. While writing this book I learned a lot about myself as well because as a coach, your job is to be of service to people. But once you pen down your thoughts, you realise that more than just serving people, it is YOU as the brand.
Do you read books? If yes, than which genre of books you admire the most? Yes, I love non-fiction books which are related to Business, branding and self-development.
Who’s your favourite author? There are many. But my current favourite is Seth Godin! Absolutely love how he writes.
Who’s your constant support throughout your writing journey and do you look up to someone? My constant support has been my parents and husband.
Why did you feel it necessary to write this book or was it just to help youth readers who might be interested in brand imaging and entrepreneurship? Apart from sharing the concept of Personal Branding, I felt it was necessary to write this book so that people know that any dream can be accomplished if you make it happen. The reason why this book is important is because it will make readers take action on the way.
Do you think creating a mark of own presence is still a tedious process as it was for the then beginners like yourself? Well to be honest, it’s not a tedious process when you learn to keep it simple and follow someone who has been successful at building their own presence. The reason why beginner entrepreneurs find it hard is because they aren’t willing to invest in learning further and they focus on what’s not important. Everyone starts from point zero. Only when they move forward can they reach point 10!
Who’s your favourite author and writer on any writing platform? Apart from Seth Godin, I also love how Marie Forleo writes her content. I also love her book “Everything Is Figureoutable”
When you were writing the book did you notice any points around your professional field that had evolved through the years or any such piece of knowledge that come to use in today’s time of pandemic? Yes, while I was researching there were a few evident points that made me dive deeper into my topic :
Building an online brand presence is important for your business’s growth
Earlier the company brand was more important. But now people connect with person who owns the company first, then the company itself.
The need to stand out in the industry has become the no. 1 priority for my entrepreneurs because competition is increasing specially online.
Your personal brand is a mix of you and your story. People prefer listening to a story that’s relatable, rather than just another piece of information overload.
According to you, How much importance does book promotions hold? It is important to promote a book so that it reaches larger audience. Nowadays everyone wants to author a book and become the authority in their niche. A book is used as a tool to attract leads while also a way to express the author’s point of view in that particular topic.
How do you manage your personal and professional life along with your writing passion? Oh I love it! I enjoy creating content, sharing value, building my community while living a freedom-based lifestyle. I feel its important to create harmony between my professional and personal life for my own well being. I make sure my day starts with a morning routine of “me time” – Yoga, Meditation, gratitude and reading. When it comes to my professional life, I follow the 4 day work week to strike that balance between my personal and professional life. As an entrepreneur sometimes it is tough to strike a balance, specially when most of us are working from home, but once we know our boundaries, it is a beautiful feeling of balance that comes naturally without trying too hard.
What’s your thought about reading ? How does reading impact your life? Reading is an amazing habit if one wants to be a continuous learner. It makes you wiser, more well-versed and also opens your mind to new ideas and concepts effortlessly. I believe that it’s always good to hear other people’s perspectives and the best way to do so is to read what they write. Reading also stimulates your creative juices and that’s one of the reasons why I have built the habit.
What are your future plans? Are there new surprises stored for our readers? They say don’t share your plans before they crystalise. I believe I’m a constant work in progress and that makes me a bag full of surprises! So, follow me on social media and you can be a part of my world of surprises
Lastly, would you like to share something to our readers? Definitely. I would like to say one thing – If you have a mission to help many people, start now. Always remember that somebody, somewhere needs your help and I know you have it in you to make a difference.
Here is a book that makes me believe that I’m not wrong if I say food could be one’s foundation for strengthening relationships – family , marriage or otherwise. This book is a proof for the saying, “One can never forget their roots” I would deflect from the fact that I’m more of every part of India rather than a Bengali. But I always craved to bring the Bangali within me. This feeling was long forlorn and dusted in the pile of “one day… “ dreams. As a child, it never mattered to me, what I was or how much I was intertwined through the distinct variation of cultures. I must admit, maturity and understanding grows with age. I have slowly started to spread my hands to catch upon the uncaught layers of my existence. I’m slowly trying to make firm interactions with my fondest memories in the land, with its people and culture through various means. And, oh god the more I indulge in being a bangali the more I slip into the rich silky textures of warmth, familiarity and homeliness.
With this feeling kept in mind, I picked up ‘Those Delicious Letters’ by Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta during the time of Poila Boishakh, Noboborsho as I was sure it couldn’t get more Bangali than this. Perhaps I was eyeing on this gorgeous book for a long time and I couldn’t really resist buying it one fine day. Those Delicious Letters is a warm read with the same sweet feeling of homecoming and surrounded by love, care and good food originated from the home land. You feel a tinge of longing to see your grandmother, have a moment with her as you read the book. Here letters of love and recipes are delivered from a grandmother, wrongly addressed to Shubha. Didan, is our typical grandmother loving , caring, concerned and nurturing her children till her last breath. Didan’s letters are filled with stories and snippets from her life and the raw love of Dadu and herself. But for Shubha, the protagonist, its all wrong and mistaken. She feels like she hasn’t lived her life. Shubha has a pretty offbeat life- not the worst but not the best life she imagines. She has to handle beautiful teens girls, Piyu and Riya as her daughters. But Shubha isn’t the Bangali bou we imagine, she can’t cook, pretty modern, trying to live a good life in the US. These letters bring in freshness in Shubha’s life. She feels nostalgic and parallely a pang of past memories and the city carries. Shubha ‘s life is fragranced with the smell of rustic Bengali ingredients and she finds herself passionate for the art of cooking. Later, Shubha feels grateful for the letters. Amidst the struggles in her publishing house, Shubha finds solace in Didan’s letters and slowly we sense a changed Shubha. A story that warms your heart and respites your inner native longing. Must read!
Death is the biggest truth and perhaps the only thing we gradually accept without ifs and buts. Everything changes one’s personality in little ways, but death has a profound impact. The ones who accept the death of their loved ones go through immense intensity of grief that remains etched for a long time. Loss is one of the sheer masterpieces by Shanghvi’s that enlightens us with darkness of the grievances and a thorough passage to deal with the heavy trite fact. It feeds you with remarkable antidotes of truth and thoughts. Loss is retrospective.
Loss is a record of not just sadness or grief but a personal antidote of remembrance, memories that the author shared with his parents and pet. This book, Loss, carries love and nostalgia. It swims through memories, pain and an infectious visionary of Shanghvi’s words and perspectives. Somewhere in your heart, you would feel as if your memories of losses have rekindled together and beats against your heart making you weak. There are direct and indirect losses I suffered and the expression of pain can’t be penned. Till date when I think about these losses they become more personal and unimaginably healing at some point of time. I heard the news of my grandmother’s after I came back from my physics exam. I felt a persuading heart ache and imagery of grandmother’s last sights haunted me. People always want to remember a person with all good deeds and good memories but with my grandmother I never had a bad memory. The only reason I love nights is because I have memories of a persistent session of conversations of stories- fictional or real. She would tell me about my mother, her family and this only grew tremendous respect for grandmother. I started to look up to her like a figure of inspiration. Grandmother was always a friend, mentor and confidante to be precise. Most of my virtues are attached with the intimate discussions we never failed to hold. She was a potpourri of energy.
The other losses were the demise of teacher and professor. These were sudden with no time to react and conceive the truth so bitter it still lingers upon profound and precise. Though with little interactions, my brain wouldn’t really acknowledge.
Loss is a learning where each word and line encounters new meaning of grief and Shanghvi’s prolific language sees no end to the same. It’s therapeutic to understand oneself- their growth of maturity to seep in the uncertainty of death and sprout them into a new start of life.
Loss as Shanghvi unveils is like Titanic floats towards destruction but then the captain witnesses a faint light that rather keeps it afloat, alive with an assurance of normalcy in the tides. Loss is a request to save the moments lively at the present rather than lamenting for not living present at the right time perhaps, past and death are ahead of time and impossible to control.
How often have you thought of building your own brand?
From childhood, we are asked about “what you want to become when you grow up?” this question is so prevalent and we remain in a dilemma of what to drop and which one to proceed. But if we go back to our growing up days, we were hit by numerous passions. But we gradually chose ‘the one’ passion that our hearts are totally passionate about. But have you tried combining your profession and passion? This combination of ‘profession+passion’ is delight to ever person. I have tried to combine my passion and profession but all my three passion don’t really go with my profession( at least I think so!)
Diya Asrani ‘s ‘Design Your Personal Brand Presence’ brings to you an easy and necessary approach that step wise guides you towards building your brand. The author tries to help the new entrepreneurs indulging in the true incidences throughout the building of her now established career take. This book is divided into chapters, rather goal points that you would have to read, follow and get inspired. These chapters are stepping stones for you to process your entire entrepreneur career. Diya makes this book your go to guide by incorporating personal stories related to her youth and childhood. This book journals how the author herself who is a corporate trainer, speaker and entrepreneur discovered her passion and polished the same to become professional. She shares candid moments of nostalgia of her parents and how they helped to build a perspective she’s caring till date. There are ample scopes of learning lessons as she unapologetically shares her flaws and mistakes. She constantly evaluates her life story with the insight of personal branding tips and tricks in a very effective and understandable manner.
This book, as the author has consistent flow of ‘Interview Diaries’ from the big names in this business. These big names like-Puja Puneet, Siddharth Rajsekar and Rajiv Talreja that not only present you a firm outlook of the bigger world but also happen to be the core mentors in author’s life as well. That implies, we as readers or knowledge takers get the benefit of having a crisp and clear vision of the journey through their extremely polished visionary.
The language or rather the explanation is great and simplified. This book almost feels like we, the readers are taking a face-to-face session from the author. Yes, it is that lucid and comprehendible in its own way. That’s the core beauty of this book. ‘Design Your Personal Brand ’ is your friendly guide to lead you towards success.
If you need any guidance regarding personal branding an entrepreneurship read this. If you want to start self help books, here is this book waiting for you. Mentoring build with real life lessons, read this!