Category: Book reviews

This is a sub-category under literature that shall cover book reviews.

At the book launch of ‘Buried Seeds’ by Chef Vikas Khanna

I love watching Masterchef India so could not resist this invitation

Chef Vikas Khanna is an award-winning Michelin Starred Indian Chef, restaurateur, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and judge of Master Chef India. Buried Seeds is a timeless story of struggle, passion, willpower, failure, and rise. It recreates his childhood, finding comfort in his grandmother’s kitchen and follows the journey of an immigrant enduring overwhelming obstacle and pain in achieving his dreams.

Prof. Dr. Y. G. Tharakan, First Guru of Chef Vikas Khanna & Current Dean, (Le Cordon Bleu School of Hospitality, GD Goenka University said, “A recipe has no soul, you must bring the soul to the recipe, Chef Vikas Khanna has strived hard to learn this art of giving soul to his recipes.”

Chef Vikas Khanna with a fan at the book launch
Chef Vikas Khanna at the book launch

Chef Vikas Khanna launched his biography “Buried Seeds” at GD Goenka University

“The book is all about my journey from Punjab where I grew up, my years in Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), Manipal University, where I studied to become a Chef, and thereafter, all ups and downs, I have been through to become what I’m today. My life has been like a seed which had to be buried to grow in to a tree” and so the title of the book.” said Vikas.

You may like to watch this video

Christmas Cake Mixing Ceremony

In order to commemorate the visit of Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna, Le Cordon Bleu School of Hospitality GD Goenka University organized a Christmas cake mixing ceremony. An interesting array of fruits, nuts, and spices with bottles of Wine, Rum, Whisky, and Brandy were arranged in the pattern of the university emblem. The Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, and Deans along with Chef Vikas Khanna initiated the ritualistic process of mixing fruits in festivities style followed world over as a harbinger of good tidings and happiness.

Book Review- Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod

Book review -Nilesh Rathod

Your client must go to jail tonight, the judge said, as he picked up his pen to formalise the pronouncement cancelling Atul’s bail.

Atul’s heart skipped a beat, the blood rushing about in anguish as he sank down on his chair, discredited and shamed.

Atul hadn’t been as prepared for this; so when reality struck, it did so with a paralyzing force.

The above are opening lines of ‘Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod. These opening lines lure us into the novel as we want to know about Atul, the protagonist. As readers, we have the following questions in our minds: –

  • Who is Atul?
  • Why has he been convicted?
  • What crime has he been convicted of?
  • Why has the judge been so strict in not granting him bail?

The titleDestiny of Shattered Dreams is apt and justified as it is here that we see the dreams of a Man being shattered and know how does it feel. So, as we proceed to read the novel further, the questions are answered as well the mystery unfolds.

Story– Atul Malhotra, 35 years, Chairman of the board and founder CEO of Transmech Telecom Limited (TTL). He was in judicial custody on charges of corrupting government officers, violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act [FEMA] and other economic offenses.

Atul Malhotra’s ambition, passion, and raw courage help him realize his dreams. He is a quick learner and adapts to any new situation. Power, aspirations, betrayal and drama is what all the story is about. It gives out messages of righteousness while entertaining you.

Atul found his solace in Qazi Sahib’s couplets while in jail. Qazi Saheb or Akram Qazi was the legal brain behind the business. He often came up with such beautiful lines or couplets. He was a poet, musician, and romanticist, a multi-faceted personality. The following quote is appropriate to the situation and worth mentioning:

Time is a messiah, every sorrow it shall contain,

But time it is and time it shall take,

But who will heal my wounds till then?

Just so will continue sorrow’s shackle all life,

Sometimes the pain it shall bluster,

At other times, pain it shall heal.

For how long will the distraught cloud contain itself?

Bellowing, bellowing, it shall set the firmament on fire,

Afore bursting it too will set fire to the same desire.

What do you call destiny, this I do not know?

Transforming, altering forms it too shall my extant relish.

Something like the spark did leap, I thought that now at least it will absorb me,

Fire, fire all the way but how shall it give cinders

before destiny’s decree.

The above lines are very apt and beautifully expressed. The author, Nilesh Rathod who is debutant novelist is praiseworthy.

Genre– The genre of the book is Contemporary Fiction and covers many sides of life. It is about the rise and fall of Atul Malhotra in business. Contemporary fiction is usually focussed on giving people a glimpse into some part of daily experience showing them what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes. In contemporary fiction, the writer focuses on making everything as realistic as possible. The author hopes that the experience of reading a story will give the reader a better understanding of these issues than he would otherwise obtain from non-fiction account which deals with the same kind of subject matter that would potentially help the person develop more sympathy or better understanding.

Style– The pace of the novel is fast and tells a tale of this brilliant young man’s meteoric rise at business. The author has used simple, clear and lucid language. The fast pace of the novel keeps you engaged till the last page. It is nothing short of being a Bollywood movie. It is well-written with poise and with conscious efforts.

Book cover of Destiny of shattered dreams
Image courtesy – Goodreads

The book cover is very apt and suits the title ‘Destiny of Shattered Dreams’.  It has been designed by Mugdha Sadhwani. It grabs the reader’s attention with a broken line running right through the centre of the cover page. It is a brilliant red and blue cover.

Author Nilesh Rathod
Image courtesy- The Hindu

About the authorNilesh Rathod is a business person, writer, and poet. Co-founder of Ensemble Infrastructure India Limited, Nilesh’s current company employs over 2000 people. Destiny of Shattered Dreams is his debutant novel. He is currently working on his second novel. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Preeti and sons Shloak and Parv.

Book trailer– This book has a book trailer which has been directed by Jay Bhansali, Music Composer: Amaal Mallik and Script & Voiceover: Nilesh Rathod. It is an amazing concept, narration, and music.

So, all I can say grab your copy today.  🙂

A review of Nature’s Gift to Humanity

Mary Rensberry

Nature’s Gift to Humanity: Fowl Art II is a collection of prose by Mary Rensberry. She truly feels that in seeking the truth we define ourselves. And in finding the truth we discover ourselves. The following are some lovely quotes from her book

In seeking the truth, we define ourselves.

In finding the truth we discover ourselves.


Observe reactions and behaviours

Living in nature with full conscience

Is living with and in God.


Sometimes making that last leap of faith brings home the prize.



Sitting amongst nature is the best remedy of most ills.


In sea of confusion, find something positive in which to focus on. Pretty soon, that confusion will subside.


Life starts with a thought, an impulse.

There are images of fowl art with each quote in this book. She has photographed 100’s of pigeon poop pictures and has quite a collection. In 2010, her first book was published entitled, Fowl Art, and was followed by another one like it in 2015, called Nature’s Gift to Humanity, a collection of prose. She has made a mark on the world just as her bird friends have for centuries upon centuries. She is a ‘Pooptologist‘.

 There many more interesting and inspiring quotes in this book.

Mary Rensberry
Mary Rensberry

About the author– Mary Rensberry has also penned 3 books including Fowl Art, Listen, and Wake

e has been a co-author of several children’s books: It’s Black and White (Quick Turtles Rule), The Quick Turtles Go to School, Wake’s Day, and Wake Helps. Enjoy her books and you’ll learn something along the way like she did.

You could also follow her on

Golden Oriole

Harmony ARJNH6 (Image source)

A beautiful, coloured bird with striking yellow and jet black plumage and fully black wings was perched on the tree outside my window sill. It had camouflaged so effectively amongst the leaves that it is hard to spot. It has this song that alerts everyone around and can be heard over considerable distances.

The female of the species has dull-looking slightly greener colour. They have dark red eyes and a fairly thick, pink beak that is curved downwards at the end. It is a migratory bird and is mainly found throughout Europe and Western Asia. It is scientifically known as Oriolus kundoo and commonly known as Golden Oriole.

ARJNH6 Oriolus oriolus Golden oriole male sitting on a twig Alamy (Image source)
ARJNH6 Oriolus oriolus Golden oriole male sitting on a twig Alamy
(Image source)

The Golden Oriole, as most oriole watchers who study the bird, will surely agree, is the most frustrating, intelligent, beautiful, characterful, acrobatic, brave, diverse, successful and exciting arboreal passerine there is.

A poem on Gold Oriole

A traditional children’s poem from Holland has been translated by Rob Bijlsma:

Going up the country,

Looking for the oriole

Summer has arrived again,

When calling starts this songster.

Dudeljo resounds his song

Dudeljo resounds his song

Dudeljo and nothing more.

He lives in oakwood dense

Clad in golden dress.

Sparks our hearts with happiness,

When yodeling his shawm.

Dudeljo resounds his song

Dudeljo and nothing more.

Golden Oriole’s diet and prey

It eats the most diverse range of invertebrates, from minuscule beetles to large bush crickets, locusts, large hairy caterpillars and worms. They also pluck fruits of the branches.

A number of the prey items on which orioles feed have pest status, making the oriole a welcome bird in many situations.

Indian Golden Oriole

Golden Oriole’s distribution and habitat

Golden Oriole is found across the Palearctic region, from Western Europe to Siberia, in much of Africa, and in Asia from India through Southwest Asia to China and Japan. They are scattered throughout the Philippines, Indonesia and into the Northern Australia and down the east coast. The main four species in addition to Eurasian Golden Oriole are Indian Golden Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Slender-billed Oriole and Black-naped Oriole.

The Golden Oriole (Poyser Monographs)by Mason, Paul Allsop, Jake has amazing illustrations and photos of Golden Oriole. The cover photo is also good. The book is an interesting read about the Golden Oriole. There are specific chapters dedicated to their habitat in Britain, Europe and North Africa, habitats in other parts of the breeding range, the special case of Kazakhstan.

The authors are the Secretary and Chairman of the Golden Oriole group. They are at the forefront of the successful battle to save the orioles’ last breeding area, Lakenheath in Suffolk, from deforestation. Chapter 2 is specifically dedicated to this, The story of Lakenheath and the Golden Oriole Group.

In the later chapters, there is a great detail of the biology of this beautiful species, their breeding biology, feeding ecology, evolution, migration and conservation.

The Golden Oriole is an absolute must for a bird watcher as the author’s expertise provides you with all the information you could want.

Image source: Independent

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