"THE ART OF SEDUCTION" : Robert Greene

In this book, Greene looks at seduction as a power play devoid of emotions, referring to the person being seduced as "the victim". While this may sound repulsive to a more romantic mind, the key is to understand that seduction is all about "power" and not "love". If you get that straight then this book will prove to be an excellent read.

Greene systematically enumerates the different types of personalities of an individual and analyses how those traits contribute to the process of seduction which he breaks down into several steps. While there is nothing novel in the contents of the book - anyone who's had a brush with the opposite sex knows all the standard practices of "showering compliments", "weaving a mysterious atmosphere around oneself" and stuff - it is really helpful to gather all the thoughts and expertise into a ordered form.

Moreover, there are times when we, as the seduced, are blinded by the seducer's calculated actions. This book offers those of us a wonderful reality check. Citations from history, quotations from classical literature (Ovid etc. ) on the subject and parallels drawn with the way politicians and celebrities seduce the public, provide additional value to this book.

While this is no "Learn to be a Don Juan in ten days", it is an intricate exploration of seduction as an art, the seducer as the performer who puts together a magical act for the both himself and the seduced.



This is one wild book that leads you on a thrilling adventure through the annals of Christian history as a cryptologist (Sophie Neveu) and a famed symbologist (Robert Langdon) set out to solve the mystery of the murder of Sophie's grandfather, a curator at the Louvre, and end up chasing the secret behind the Holy Grail.

The book is rife with puzzles and snippets of western history wherein the dark areas have been filled in with a vivid imagination (and some thorough research too, though I guess there is not much proof for many of the issues raised either ways ). The tone of the book is a bit childish however, like one of them "famous five" mysteries, but the story carries you on with such force that you take notice of the imperfections only in afterthought.

Of course it's difficult to maintain a balance between historical discourses and a thrilling mystery, and Dan Brown has done a wonderful job of it. The reader is led into dark alleys of Christian history from where he can start off his own exploration; in fact there is a book released lately which discusses on the issues raised by "The Da Vinci Code" and in Europe, tourists are explicitly asking to be shown around the places mentioned in the book!

As for the story, it is no doubt a page-turner but it does let you down at the end with an awkward conclusion. Even the final puzzle at the climax, which one expected to be the toughest, turns out to be a sitter and the reader solves it even before the protagonists. While that might give some a childlike pleasure it did irritate me to find the protagonists fighting it out for such an obvious solution. The characterisation is weak too (but then as I said it is difficult to balance things when you are creating a potpourri of history, murder and romance) and the chemistry between Sophie and Langdon, although holding much promise, has been ill-developed.

All in all, a wonderful read, this book does open up our minds to new queries regarding Jesus Christ and The Holy Grail, besides of course being a thrilling murder mystery.

suman datta


All cute things come in small packages. And so does this book with a cute introductory style title and a school calendar / diary like layout.

In the entire book, the author Fynn talks about the impact a small girl called Anna made on his life. He narrates to us Anna's observations and perceptions about real life. Just to get a glimpse of the thought process of the six year old Anna, the opening statement in the book goes like this:
" the difference from a person and an angel is easy. Most of an angel is in the inside and most of a person is on the outside."

Anna shows us how we can relate to God with each and every action of ours. Put in other words, she feels that God wants all of us to live our lives like Him. Her tiny mind tries to figure out answers for "squillions" of questions like "Does Mister God truly love us ?" , "Where is Mister God in us ?" . Her thought on the harmony underlying the diverse things in the universe goes like this :
"...All diverse things must have something in common. Some common factor, unnoticed and unattended to. ..... Things have shadows; .....If you held the shadow perpendicular to the screen, and then all shadows become straigh lines. The fact that all these straight lines were of different lengths was something else you didn't want.... Simply make all the straight lines cast shadows and there you are. What all these diverse things had in common,....,was the shadow of a shadow of a shadow, which was a dot ."
To Anna that dot represents God because you cannot reduce it further and it reflects the ends of an infinite series of dimensions.

Putting forth such thoughts and questions she brings about a major transition in author (and also in the reader). The book doesn't throw at us any hard-to-digest philosophy on life, God and religion. All the talk in the book is from a six year old's mouth. So you can imagine how simple her thoughts would be. Go ahead, devour it(as Anna would put it).

priya varadan som

Veer-Zaara music: Late Madan Mohan lyrics: Javed Akhtar

This is an album that has engendered high expectations because of several reasons... (apart from the strange title of the movie!)

First, "Veer-Zaara" is a Yash Chopra film(statistics give us every reason to expect good music!)...and secondly(most importantly!) the film uses the unutilised compositions of the late Madan Mohan,the legend.

"Wouldn't Madan Mohan's tunes be a misfit in today's scenario ?" was the doubt that lingered on my otherwise trusting mind(guess I could be pardoned for my misgivings!) but all doubts got dispelled once i heard the music;its indubitably a great homage to a great legend!

SIDE A(****)


'Tere liye'

This one's a classic which doesn't impress much on first hearing but gradually grows on you.

'Yeh hawa'

The most beautiful part of this song is the commentary By Yash Chopra.Sadly though, it is the only nice thing about this song.

'Main yahan hoon'

The song with interludes of the Punjabi folk 'Laung Gavacha'is undoubtedly the best number and Udit Narayan does full justice to its rendition.

'Hum to bhai jaise hain'

passable!Lata's voice ,for once ,doesn't suit the song.

'Aisa Des hai mera'


'Aaye tere dar pe'

sufi stuff.

'Yeh hum aa gaye hain kahan'

exceptional music!the majesty of Madan Mohan's tunes goes straight to your heart.

'Lodhi aaye ve'

typical punjabi folk.

'Do Pal'

Javed Akhtar has done a commendable job and so has Sonu Nigam.The lyrics are easily the best amongst those penned in recent times.

Side B caters to the tastes of those specifically interested in folk songs and sufi stuff while side A will appeal to just anyone!in all the album offers a nice diversion from the techno and bhangra beats that dominate today's music scene. The juxtaposition of the traditional and modern style of music is the USP of this album which proves to be another welcome addition to the previous "Yash Chopra" classics.

nishant garg

"THE ALCHEMIST" : Paulo Coelho

If there's only one book you will ever read in your life, make this it. Featured in The BBC Big Read Top 100 ,the book's back cover declares "Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever.The Alchemist is such a book.", and there can be no two opinions about it.

Incidentally, I had lent out my first copy of the book to the teenaged messenger-boy at my office, and two days later he simply vanished! Unfortunate though it was, for I had to get myself another copy, I like to believe that he went in pursuit of his dreams; for Brazilian author Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist traces the curious adventures of a shepherd boy as he travels from his homeland in Spain to distant Egypt in search of a treasure that appears in his dreams.On the way he comes across numerous difficulties and temptations but moves on undeterred to fulfill his dreams.This simple fable which reads like a bedtime story on the surface hides within itself a gem of a thought: "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it".

The book makes for a pleasant read that transports you from the stifling maze of everyday life to a world of dreams where you are awakened to your heart's dormant desires and instills in you the courage to make those dreams come true. I still dig into this book now and then,each time discovering a new facet to the simple tale and find it to be a constant source of inspiration and strength.

- sumandatta

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