Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good LifeThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Self-help books never worked for me so far. It always ends up giving me a temporary high and I, as a person, tend to move on to other things pretty quickly. So I do not know where to label this book. As of now, I am pretty high on it and think whatever written absolutely makes sense. It has given me a completely new perspective to ponder and the last chapter was illuminating, to say the least. Having said that, I believe, help should come from within. Any outside motivation may or can act as a trigger or like a road sign to show the way forward. But to raise yourself from any adversity, it is our willpower that all it takes. The book may or may not help you. But you can definitely help yourself. I think the book says the same thing. I enjoyed reading the book and it has lent me a hand in the process of overcoming my emotional barricades. I would go for three stars.

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Review: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural HistoryThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting book, which tells you in a no-nonsense way how insignificant we are in the earth’s history still how we possess demonic powers to alter the course of evolution. It leaves you with an eerie warning that we could be both the dinosaurs and meteoroid in the next extinction event. The book ends with a spine-chilling image of a ‘Frozen Zoo’ of extinct species. Everyone who wants to know about the Climate change and the human interference over the Life on Earth must read this book to get an elaborated view.
Wjem the USA decided to come out of Paris Climate Accord, I was really surprised to see some comments on social media, saying ‘Climate change is a hoax’. The more we progress, the more tunneled our vision has become. The book says it all, to know the truth, you just have to observe around you and you can see the change. I would go with four stars for the book,

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Review: The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure

The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic AdventureThe Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure by Caroline Paul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably I am the least qualified person to read this book of adventures. Mostly I read about adventures on books and live it vicariously. Well, for me that’s adventurous enough. But this is one book which I recommend for my daughter to read right away after she turns teen. I would like her to be an adventurous one. The author of the book has given an impressive ted talk and if you hear it along with it, it would be an add on. Loved the book and needless to say I scored a zero on the Gutsy meter.

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Charlie

When I watched Charlie for the first time in 2015, I was impressed with the movie for the wrong reasons. The usual charming DQ, the ever effervescent Parvathy and a subject that connects with almost every one, I liked the movie for these reasons. Never thought I would be writing a review for the movie almost two years later. Better late than never.

After watching the movie again the other day, the first thing I did was to read about the story writer Unni R, the master craftsman. The essence of Charlie lies in the script. Very rarely I loved a movie so much that I even dug into the script writer’s Wikipedia. The uniqueness of Charlie is its superb superimposing with Jesus Christ’s life. When Tessa searches for Charlie, she gets to hear stories of him and his almost godlike character from his apostles. Queen Mary, Fisher man, the shepherd, Wine, the ‘unceremonious’ death of Charlie at the age 33, the blind person Das, associations list is endless.

At the same time, the movie has all the masala of a new generation movie. Light and insidious comedy, the larger-than-life righteousness of the hero and off-the-wall heroine , mixed with a play of colors make it a delight to watch. To top it all, it has stroked the inane wanderlust enshrouded in everyone. Thats the master stroke and with that I have utterly fallen for this flick.

Review: From Science to God: A Physicist’s Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness

From Science to God: A Physicist's Journey into the Mystery of ConsciousnessFrom Science to God: A Physicist’s Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness by Peter Russell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a path-breaking book for me. The initial chapters are a pure gem and it gave me a completely new perspective towards everything. When we say ‘life as we see it’, you never know how limited that ‘seeing’ is. Linking science to God is not easy, especially when those are considered as opposite poles by current world view. Peter Russell’s transition is almost seamless. I would stress on the word ‘almost’ because the chapters on consciousness to God were mainly based on Author’s own experiences with meditation and his journey to east. There weren’t enough on those topics to convince me to go along with the author’s views. I will go with a four for this one. This may not be a go-to book for those who seek the ultimate meaning of life and everything, but the book can point towards the right direction.

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Review: Freakonomics

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

10 years back someone gifted me Freakonomics and ever since this had been on my TBR list. I read it, may be a chapter or so, 5 years back but never finished the whole book. So now when I read it, I realize that the 10 years younger ‘me’ would have read it and assimilated it in a different way than the now ‘me’. With age, the way you see book changes. The younger ‘me’ would have given a rating of 3 saying most of the things lacked relevance in my life and the now ‘me’ appreciate the gem of the book for what it is and is gonna give a rating of 5

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The Hunger Games

As we grow up, we realize the horizons of our mind are smaller than we imagined. The things we can know, understand and believe are much less in number than the ones which we are supposed to blindly trust. We never grow up and become a know-it-all as we thought as a child. The heap of cognition keeps getting smaller while the dubiety stacks up like a mountain.One of such riddle is the ever-intensifying confusion between Mythology and Religion. The famous lines makes the perfect sense here

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep

Faith and wit have been fighting an eternal war inside human minds for a long time now. The mind numbing conviction of faith bestowed upon us by our ancestors and the nerve-wracking realization that it all may turn out to be a myth, the battle seems to be never ending. As the wheel of time turns, the latter seems to be getting momentum and it’s clinching grasp forces to the conclusion that the world might be running randomly without any meaning or purpose. A series of Random accidents making continuum called life as we know it!

“Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.” – Annie Reed (Sleepless in Seattle)

But who can contradict the God himself?

“There is no coincidence, and nothing happens ‘by accident.’  Each event and adventure is called to your Self by your Self in order that you might create and experience Who You Really Are.  All that is required is to know this. For you are the creator of your own reality, and life can show up in no other way for you than the way in which you think it will.” – Conversations with God, An Uncommon Dialogue by Neal Walsch

Maybe, Mythology and my faith do not necessarily come under the same umbrella. While there is a lot to deliberate on the superhuman aspects of Gods(be it any God! Did Krishna actually kill all those asuras as a kid? Did Jesus actually walk on water?), the spiritual prowess of any deity is undeniable. The material existence of any God is questionable and can be critically examined from an agnostic point of view. But spiritually speaking, all these Gods exist and they are the basic energy that scruples our very own thought process which in turn webs the society ‘s conscience and it is all very powerful and personal. to an individual, yet it affects all. That collective conscience, that faith,  is what runs the world. Still, Myth and faith have been woven in us so intricately that separating them would be spoiling our own very soul.  Faith is stronger when they have a solid Mythology foundation and Mythologies are more trustable when we associate our faith with it.

Recently I heard a very interesting concept about Hunger Games at Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva from Indian Hindu Mythology. Lord Shiva is a deity of immense power who should not be meddled with.His ‘Ardhanarishvara’ concept is an esteemed one from Indian mythology, just like the Ying-Yang from Chinese philosophy. Here goes the abstract.

Ardhanarishvara

In the picture, the mount of Devi Parvathy is a Lion and that of Lord Shiva is Nandhi, depicted as a bull. Both are connected directly in the food chain, yet they stay together and calm without any hungriness. The devotion of Shiva means the end of that hunger, the hunger for power, the hunger for money and the hunger for all the other material things in the world. Shiva means denouncing the material world and desiring the ethereal planes of spirit. Same is the case of mounts of Subramanya and Ganesha, sons of Shiva. One has a peacock and the other one has a rodent as their respective mounts. To link and complete this food chain, Shiva carries a Snake around his neck. The family union at Mount Kailash would have been a bit chaotic, if not for the abstinence of the mounts. Yet they remain, free from all Hunger Games.

Even a small thing from Indian Mythology has so much to ponder. I wouldn’t dare discredit it as a mere coincidence. When you think about it, each and every deity of Hindu mythology has many such intriguing and interlinked stories that you really wonder if it can really be the creation of a human at all. The reality, myth, and imagination linked with unadulterated beliefs of many make our mythology, a thing to be admired. Indian mythology is of magnificent and unparalleled complexity. But once you associate it with our faith, it takes another level of existence and veneration.

An agnostic and a believer is present in every human’s personality. The believer always looks for the way out of any kind of confrontation.Normally it goes like this ‘It does not matter if God exists or not. His teachings, the parables of his life and the overall goodness he spreads, aren’t these things we should be focusing and assimilating on rather than reasoning out the existence or the nonexistence of God’. Though quite a tangent to the existential question, the agnostic part of the brain murmurs rebelliously, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to know the source of the food we are eating?’ As if we really know the origin of all the food I eat, the other parts retorts. The bickering continues perennially. Eventually, as a person evolves and depending on his situations, one side gets stronger dominating the other one, still, the other part exists.

The conflict is of the innate inquisitiveness of the brain to know the Hows, Whens, Wheres and Whys of the things and the inherent fear of our mind finding himself haphazard in the world, which never reaches anywhere near a conclusion. Maybe in some, It eventually leads to the slow eroding of faith. The loss of faith is nothing less than an internal inferno. You never survive those catastrophic seismic shifts without any damage. It is essential to have your own angels and demons than burn in an eternal hell of forlornness so balancing the conflict is important. Personally, the superficial currents keep drifting me away from casting anchor, and so far I never found the gratification of knowing the truth from anywhere nor have the bliss of complete belief. Hope I get better with age and win my own hunger game.