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The Diary Of A Rolling Stone

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  “I was never a book reader, just how we have acquired taste, reading became an accidental hobby when I used to travel for almost an hour in Mumbai locals”

– Kaushal Mahesh Gupta

In the last “Chat n Coffee” session of the year 2016 we have with us one of the top book reviewers in Goodreads and an eminent book blogger Kaushal Mahesh Gupta whose blog Errors and Kaushal has been home to many books both from newbie and renowned authors.

Today he is going to share with us his journey and tips as a book reviewer.

  • Tell us about yourself
    book-review-blogger-kaushal-gupta
    Kaushal Mahesh Gupta

    I like to call myself a biodegradable human, who doesn’t believe in being pollution in some other human’s life. My bread & butter, when not on a diet, comes from being a digital marketing professional. I am an I.T graduate, like many others who followed the herd and like many others; I am a Cricket & Bollywood fan too.

  • What is your take on books/ movies/music? Any favorites?

I am of the opinion that every single book, every single movie and every single piece of music has something valuable that can add to our lives. They are not only a form of entertainment, but also a form of realization. A book can take you on a journey that you may never be able to be a part in your entire life. A movie can make you love and live the characters on screen, understand them and the humans, I never leave my logic and brain behind while watching a movie. Music, what do I tell! In my viewpoint they are best pill against a headache. It would be difficult to name only a few favourites, but biographies and autobiographies are my favourite in books, “Anurag Kashyap” is one of my favourite genres and I like every form of music, but I am trying to understand EDM.

  • Given a chance what one thing would you like to change in your life?

Nothing. If I would have had anything different in my life, maybe I would not have been answering this set of questions here. Whatever happens, happens for good. It’s only one life that we have, so we should live it the way it comes, unless one believes in reincarnation.

  • You have been reviewing books. What kind of books you usually love to read?

Yes, I am reviewing books actively for more than a year now, but I think I write more about the book instead of being a tough critic and getting into the nitty-gritty of the story. I prefer to read non-fiction, autobiographies and mythological fiction. Also, if you have a look at Errors And Kaushal, my book review blog, you will notice that I have read a lot of debut Indian authors and that’s because we should promote their work unlike popular authors who get backed by the publishing house in their marketing and advertisement efforts.

  • Indian book bloggers have made a very important presence in the publishing industry. Did you always wanted to be one of them?

    Yes, the book review bloggers are making the presence felt now and that’s all because of the ease of creating a blog/website and then reaching out to the blog readers. No, I never wanted to be a book blogger, it happened by chance when I first wrote about my experience of reading Raghu Ram’s debut Book, Raghu picked that up and shared with his followers and this kind of got me excited.

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P.S:  I was never a book reader, just how we have acquired taste, reading became an accidental hobby when I used to travel for almost an hour in Mumbai locals, and I had nothing to do.

  • What was your feeling when you were first approached by an author or publisher as a book reviewer?

When I was first approached by an author, I had written only about two books on my blog. I was amazed at this incident of being asked to write about a book by the author and also excited to receive the book directly from the author.

  • As a book reviewer, what are the things that you consider while writing a review ?

I personally believe that no story is a bad story, and should be read for a perspective on living the characters and their lives. I look at the overall attempt of the writer in keeping me engaged with the story at some level or the other. It is all about the narration and the choice of words for me, and if the book is with minimum predictability than the author has won the reader in me.

  • What is your opinion on rating a book on a scale of five?

Ideally, the book should not be rated because for us it’s just another book, but for the author it was almost everything. Today, with the kind of book review mechanism and portals that have come up, the ratings have become an integral part of the review system. I rate them only when it is mandatory on platforms like Goodreads or Amazon, but I don’t rate a book on my book review blog, Errors And Kaushal.

  • Reviewing a book is a very critical task since it helps a reader to decide whether to read the particular book or not. Many book lovers are nowadays turning into book reviewers. What message would you like to give them?

Yes, it’s a very critical task because it is almost the make or break for the book. My message to fellow book bloggers would be, “We should appreciate the story and writing more than the author or publication house it comes from as there are many self published authors who are writing great stuff but are away from the readers world because they don’t have enough marketing or advertising budgets. If possible, do help them in creating awareness about their debut books.”

  • With so many books publishing every day, what do you expect from an author or a publisher regarding reviewing books?

I expect them to be more organized and when I say more organized, what I mean is that they should handpick book bloggers who write more often about the genre of their book. They should be open to honest reviews and should not ask for a positive review right away, because the book goes out to the book blogger for free. Remember a book blogger also puts in equal efforts to read the book and then write about it so no unjust expectations like the review should be made live within 3 days, no negative comment, mandatory post on Amazon, etc… As most of the book bloggers themselves understand the importance of a review on Goodreads and E-Com sites.

  • And now in the end, how can the readers and others contact you.

I am just a tweet away; I can be reached at @gupta_kaushal. I am active on all social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads. The readers can connect with me via my Book Review Blog, Errors And Kaushal at guptakaushal.in.

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I am very happy to welcome Mrs. Iyenger to my newly added chat session. Throughout her life, the sweet old lady, had only books and TV as her companion. Today she shares with us some moments of her life.

Tell us something about yourself: Mrs. Iyenger

My name is Lakshmi Iyenger. I am 75 years old mother, grandmother, sister and a wife. I hail from a Tambrah family in Chennai. Being the eldest of my siblings, seven sisters and six brothers I have seen life at its best. I was born in 1940 in a small town in Jharkhand where my father worked in the Indian Railways. After travelling in various places we eventually settled in Bilaspur where I met my husband. About my marriage? We have spent fifty beautiful years together until last year when he parted with us for his heavenly abode. Ours was a love marriage. My husband belongs to a well to do family in Chennai. He ran off from his house to do something of his own. He travelled almost all the corners of the country but could not find anything suitable. Finally, when he was in Kolkata, he met one of my brothers who suggested him to write a letter to my father regarding job. My father had never written letter to anyone before. But fate has it that he answered this young man’s letter. Not only did my father get him a job in Indian Railways he also allowed the young man to stay in our house as a paying guest. We all were almost same age and I would always fight with him or call him names. But he wouldn’t mind. One day I went to pluck flowers in our backyard for puja. He was already waiting for me with a packet of sweet in his hand. He proposed to me. At first I could not understand while he waited for my answer eagerly with the packet of sweet still open in his hand. I started crying. Tears were rolling down my cheeks smearing my kajal. He got nervous and popped the sweet into my mouth saying, “Ok don’t marry but at least eat the mithai”.

We didn’t talk for several days. He went back to Chennai shortly after that and persuaded his family to send marriage proposal to my father. His brother-in-law was against the alliance as we were a big family and I being the eldest, had my sibling’s responsibility on my shoulders which will eventually land up in my better half’s kitty. There was a big no- no from his sister’s side. But somehowOur 50th Aniversary he persuaded them to agree on the alliance. When my parents came to know about it they too tried to convince me but I was dead against marriage. Not because I disliked him but because I did not want to burden him with my family troubles. I had seen my father working very hard. He was the only earning member and there were so many mouths to feed. However, even with so much consideration I could not stay put for very long and finally gave my consent. We got married in 1964 and spent fifty long years together, parenting four daughters and two sons. Today I feel proud to see my children settled in their life married to partner of their choice.

How would you describe your better half?

My husband passed away in 2014. He was 75. I miss him but no qualms. He took care of everything for me, even the smallest. You see he did most of the talking at home while I was the listener. I loved keeping to myself but surprisingly he would always know what’s going on in my head. Books and TV had been my best friend for years. He always ensured that I never had a problem with that. I love reading Tamil books but you hardly get them in this part of the country. But he would always order some for me at that time. Mind it there was no internet at that time.

Any turning point in your life?

Tuning point? Definitely not? Not after he proposed me. But I want to share this experience with you. One day I made Lal Bhaji (red spinach) and served my husband at lunch. He liked it so much that he handed a one hundred rupee note. Till date I could not figure out what was so special about the dish because it was the simplest dish that I had ever cooked.

Given a chance, what would you love to change in your life?

I have lived my life to the fullest. I have nothing to wish for. I have everything. However, I would like to live with my daughter till my last breath. You see my eldest daughter didn’t marry. She had selected a partner but my husband had objection. Today, even after two decades, both of them are unmarried and very good friends. I wish my husband had shown some leniency towards their relationship. Whereas my son didn’t wait to take our approval for his marriage and they make a wonderful couple. I wish my daughter tie the knot now but I know she won’t.

Any message you would like to give to the youngsters?

Of course. Life has changed so much since I can remember now. Today’s generation is very powerful and can make a big difference in any field. I only wish that they use it wisely. Every family has their own code of conduct and it is by default that a girl after marriage finds it very easy to follow the rules of her parent’s house. There is nothing wrong in it but it usually cause rift in a joint family. I wish every family understand this rather than say anything to the daughter-in-law. This will give the newlywed a space to grow and will bind the family better.

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