Surviving Stress: Discover the Awesome You by Vidhu Bhatnagar

“Stay positive and notice the miracles happening in your life on a daily basis.” – Vidhu Bhatnagar

This week’s read is Surviving Stress: Discover the Awesome You by Vidhu Bhatnagar.

Here is what I thought…

Blurb:


“Surviving Stress and Rediscover The Awesome You!” Whatever we do, Stress is an essential part of our lives and we just can’t wish it away…… we might as well learn to deal with it constructively. Stress in everyday life is a killer in itself and when we become parents, the stress multiplies. The first section in this book deals with my ways of surviving stress, balancing between work, patients, kids and home. When I became a parent I learnt patience and acceptance. I even had to unlearn many a tricks which I utilized for teaching my elder one, because they were just not correct for the younger one…. The whole parenting business is maddening with continuous dillemma of “how much is too much” and how less is too less’. The need to become a better person, a better parent has also been extremely strong, always. Thus, I learnt new lessons, identified my weaknesses and strengths and emerged as a ”New ME”. I realized how societal conditioning restricts our growth; how we need to identify our bonds so as to free ourselves and become our awesome self. Identifying the clutches of conditioning and then disentangling from them made me write about the second part in this book.This book is divided into two sections – the first section deals with the lessons I learnt regarding stress management and the second is devoted to learning about the societal conditioning and rediscovering our awesomeness. Hope you enjoy reading it. Vizmom!

Title:

What I like best about the title is how it encompasses the essence of the book in just a few words. Reading it gives an idea about what the book is all about – and that is that this is a self-help guide.

Title Rating – 4 / 5

Cover:

In my opinion, the cover could have been better. It is a little too plain for my liking and doesn’t really create an impact. Perhaps the author was going for an aura of peace or freedom – but the message just doesn’t convey.

Cover Rating – 1.5 / 5

Plot:

“Some choices are conscious efforts while others are divine interventions.” – Vidhu Bhatnagar

As the topic is related close to betterment of self, I expected a very serious style of writing that may or may not, at times, be difficult to understand. However, the writing style of the author is pretty simple and makes this book an easy read. Coming to the language, there are grammatical errors and sentence construction mistakes, without which the book would have been an even better read.

“Even as little as 30 minutes to yourself can do wonders for your rejuvenation and healing.” –  Vidhu Bhatnagar

While there are a lot of chapters (60+) in the book, only some of them seem to present a very fresh perspective into the topic. While most others are common, they still have been written from the author’s own unique point of view.

“So, have patience and exert loving kindness towards yourself because unlearning is a difficult task indeed…”  – Vidhu Bhatnagar

Overall, it is a good read that is both engaging and entertaining. If you are looking for something quick and satisfying, then this is the read for you.

Plot Rating – 3.5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The Style of Writing
  2. The Personal Quotes

I wanted…

  1. More Depth
  2. A Clear Cut Summary
  3. Less Grammatical Errors

Overall Rating: 3 / 5

Verdict: A One Time Read!

Order your copy from the link below:

Amazon India

How I survive Vizmom: A Guide to Everyday Living by Vidhu Bhatnagar

“Just because you have become a mother, does not mean that you stop living your life completely.” – Vidhu Bhatnagar

This week’s read is How I Survive Vizmom: A Guide to Everdayday Living by Vidhu Bhatnagar.

Here is what I thought…

Blurb:

This book handles the complex subject of a working mother’s various resources and techniques of handling her stress of working as a busy doctor, along with the responsibility of giving good upbringing to her children, sometimes with support and sometimes without, and striving to be a better person and a better parent all the time. The working mother is an anesthesiologist who deals with peri-operative management of operations and also works in critical care and this nature of her work makes her a devout believer of goodness, life and happiness (she witnesses so many people struggling for them). It is also a book about her own journey towards self discovery and she wishes to share all her knowledge so as to help everyone understand the meaning of Positivism and Power of Prayers. This book initially commenced as a blog; the continual support of her audience prompted her to initiate it into the world as her creation.

Title:

The title is to the point and very general in nature. I would have preferred a more descriptive and catchy title. In my opinion, a bit of wordplay would definitely have made the title catchier.

Title Rating – 2 / 5

Cover:

The cover is very mesmerizing to look at. It has a philosophical and soothing feeling to it, which suits the genre of the book perfectly. The colours are mellow and soothing. Definitely makes any reader want to pick the book up. I loved the cover.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

Plot:

“Some choices are conscious efforts while others are divine interventions.” – Vidhu Bhatnagar

As I started reading the book, I realized that the author had put a lot of thought into her own life experiences. It is well thought out and definitely has a lot of effort put into it. The anecdotes and stories from which the lessons are drawn are very inspiring.

“To visualize the picture in entirety we need to dive into the sea of self discovery.” –  Vidhu Bhatnagar

The language is simple to understand. It is written with a first person narrative which makes it easy for the readers to connect, especially when it is a book about self-help. However, I wish that the sentences were a bit less complicated and were broken down to maintain the flow.

“The inner courage gives us the strength to stay true to ourselves…”  – Vidhu Bhatnagar

Overall, it is a good read that has quite a bit to offer to every reader. The well defined and distributed chapters make this book easy and engaging.

Plot Rating – 4 / 5

I loved…

  1. The Beginning
  2. The One Liners

I wanted…

  1. More General Situations
  2. Less Complex Sentences
  3. A Clearly Defined Ending

Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5

Verdict: A Lot to Learn from the Book!

Order your copy from the link below:

Amazon India

Book Review: Distress to De-Stress by Vikas Kakwani

“Right from our childhood, we try to do things that would get us approval, admiration and appreciation.” – Vikas Kakwani

This week’s read is Distress to De-Stress by Vikas Kakwani, an engaging self-help book about managing stress that is definitely worth a read.

Here is what I thought…

Blurb

“I KNOW YOU HAVE STRESS.”

How do I know?

Simple. Because, you are alive. Also, you have picked up this book.

Wars, famine and plague were the prime causes of human misery in the centuries gone by. Over the last couple of decades, we have been able to ward off diseases, income levels and life expectancy have increased, and the world has seen its most peaceful time ever. But, instead of being happy and joyful we are stressed – a lot. Why did that happen? The change over the last few years had been rapid, and none of us were ready for it. We embraced everything that the changing world threw at us without realizing the deep impact it had caused. It is time to pause, reflect and take action before stress becomes the plague of this century.

Why is stress becoming the cause of misery and ailments in this era?

What is stress exactly, and what are its major causes?

How does social networking in the virtual world create stress?

How can one manage stress to mitigate its effect?

All these questions and many more get answered in this book that helps you identify your causes of distress and help you de-stress.

Title:

What I like most about the title is how it encompasses the entire genre and them of the book with just three words. It is simple, catchy and is definitely something that can make any reader pick up the book. Full points on the title.

Title Rating – 5 / 5

Cover:

The cover has a great colour scheme and is very simplistic in its approach. It has a tinge of satirical look to it, almost as though the author wants to show that a self-help theme can be engaging and interesting too. I found it cute and attractive. 

Cover Rating – 4 / 5

Plot:

“Since most relationships are based on who controls the other, it bestows stress all over.” – Vikas Kakwani

Within the first few pages of the book, I realized that this was not going to be like any other reference material to learn how to manage stress. It was blunt to the point, extremely straight-forward and, in places, quite hilarious too. This blend of humour into a topic such as this is fascinating.

“Our problem is that most of us think that we know everything.” –  Vikas Kakwani

The language is fluent and simple to understand. The first person narration makes it easy to connect to the author. Every reader will find something that he relates to from this book. The examples and scenarios have been blended beautifully within the novel.

“Love is always a two-way street. You love your food, and it loves you back”  – Vikas Kakwani

Overall, it is a highly enjoyable read that just flows beautifully from start to finish. You will definitely have learnt quite a few things the moment you finish this book.

Plot Rating – 4.5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The Narrative
  2. The Scenarios
  3. The Ending

I wanted…

  1. More one-liners
  2. A Better Blurb

Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Do Pick it Up!

Order your copy from the link below:

Amazon India

A Bruised Smile – My Bullying Experience

This is the story of a little girl with big, bright eyes and a genuine smile. I once caught this little girl in the washroom, sitting on an overturned bucket inside a cubicle. Her uniform clung to her knees as she wept silently for hours, trying not to be heard. But as the last school bell rang, she jumped up and wiped away her tears. In her eyes, there wasn’t just happiness to be going home. There was relief. That little girl brings tears to my eyes even today. Because, that little girl was me.

It is the victim’s silence that fuels the perpetrator.

For all these years, I kept a secret confined to the deepest part of my soul. I was bullied. So, why am I speaking up now? Because I can finally accept that this happened to me. Because, though I may never be able to move away from it, I can hopefully move on. Because I realized that it is the victim’s silence that fuels the perpetrator.

It first started when I was five years old. My being left-handed provoked my teachers enough to beat me up. I remember being terrified to use my own hand, trying hard to pretend that I was ambidextrous and this memory still has the power to send chills down my spine. I was damaged at that age despite my mother’s constant support. I tried so desperately to believe her when she told me that I was perfect just the way I was. But the trauma could not be erased.

Fast forward by three years. On my first day in a new school, when I was walking towards my classroom, I saw a few books and a lot of stationery strewn across the corridor. In a corner, a lunch box lay open with the food inside it emptied. With horror in my eyes, I instantly realized that these things belonged to me. As I quickly knelt to pick it all up, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment, I heard laughter. There were two things I learnt that day. One, I was the perfect target. Two, this would keep happening.

Over the course of the next couple of months, I retreated further and further into my shell. The bullies found innovative ways to make me feel worthless. My nicknames started with ‘ugly’, ‘dark’ and ‘transgender’, gradually progressing to ’Ms. 20,000 kilograms’ and ‘Ms. Elephant’. Nearly every single night, my tear soaked pillows reminded me of my misery. I would spend hours in the dark staring at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep for the fear of choking in my own nightmares. I contemplated suicide repeatedly but the worst part was not knowing what I did to deserve such hatred. At the age of nine, I could not understand that this was not my fault.

Just when I felt like I had reached my threshold, with the name calling and the damage of my  personal belongings, the abuse turned physical. Once, I was invited to play with the ‘popular’ kids during recess and that day, I fell in the sand, scraping my knees. I brushed it off as clumsiness when my worried mother asked me how it happened. The next day, I fell again and this time, bled from my elbows. A dangerous pattern started, where I got bruised repeatedly, multiple times per week. But I didn’t care because all those nights, my pillow remained dry. That had to mean I was happy, right? A little blood couldn’t stop me from happiness, could it?

I realized that in my eagerness to feel accepted, I had let myself be used.

But this euphoria was short lived. Because, one day, it dawned upon me that I wasn’t falling. I was being pushed. It happened again, and this time, I heard the children laughing as I lay face front on the sand. They were laughing all those other times too, but in my blind hope, I hadn’t heard them. I realized that in my eagerness to feel accepted, I had let myself be used.

As the weeks advanced, they would find new ways to torment me. Inquisitive eyes measured my developing body and lewd comments were passed to my face. Bets were placed on the colour of my intimate clothing and my skirt was pulled up to decide the winner. Though I was very young, the humiliation I faced was unimaginable. However, I never once let them see my tears.

But one day, when a fellow classmate put his hand up my skirt, I just mentally collapsed. I fell into severe depression and blamed myself for everything that happened to me. I struggled with insomnia, suffered with poor eating habits and withdrew from everyone. This was when I turned to writing for solace because I was unable to express my emotions verbally. I would weave stories of friendship, love and companionship, but mostly, my stories centered the one thing I craved the most. Acceptance.

For others to accept me, I had to accept myself first.

Still, despite all the self-hatred I possessed, I managed to survive and because I did, somewhere along the way, a miracle happened. I call this miracle ‘self-realization’. I finally understood that for others to accept me, I had to accept myself first. I needed to come out of my shell and conquer my insecurities. Thus began my transformation and my healing process. But trust me when I say that it was possibly the hardest thing I have ever done till today. I took to writing seriously, focused on my academics and started making friends. I pushed myself to test my limits. There came a day when I finally wasn’t just accepted, but was looked up to. It gave me a sense of achievement, but more than that, it made me gain my own perspective. You see, if I had succumbed to that pressure back then, I wouldn’t be here today. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. I can finally see that light now and my euphoria today is only intensified by my bitter experiences yesterday.

I may be damaged, but I will never be broken.

I know now that happiness needs to come from within. I know now that nobody has the power to decide for me excepting for myself. I know now that I am not worthless, that I am not weak and that I am not incapable. But when I was a child, I didn’t. I’m choosing my battles, conquering my fears and taking steps – one at a time. But some scars last forever, and I am okay with that.

Bullying can cause lasting damage. I still have extreme trust issues, I still can’t express my feelings and I still struggle to sleep peacefully at night. I may be damaged, but I will never be broken.

A lot of people see my success. But I see the years of pain it took to get to where I am today. Given a choice, I would have preferred to have my childhood instead of it being ripped away from me through the years. When people exclaim that my maturity spans beyond my age, their compliment causes me pain. Because that wasn’t a choice I got to make. But I made it through and if I can, then you can too.

To those of you who can relate, know that you have nothing to be ashamed of. You have no reason to hide. Loving yourself is the primary solution. But seek betterment only because you want to. I battled with severe inferiority complex which came from foolish comparisons and now I know that there is no such thing as ‘inferior’ or ‘superior’. There is just you. And you are perfect exactly the way you are.

To those who have hurt others in the past…verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually…I have only one question for you. How does it make your life better? Try walking in your victim’s shoes and you will see how damaging it is to suffer for no fault of your own. Your happiness should come from another’s smile, not tears. Your sense of power should come from protection, not destruction. Your popularity should come from respect, not fear. But mostly, a solution to your insecurities should come from within yourself and not from feeding off of another’s sense of inferiority.

There is nothing wrong with being different.

Lastly, to the parents and the teachers. Behind every happy child, there is you. Please pay attention to early signs of your child’s distress or aggression. Silence speaks louder than words. Counsel your child to find out if he is bullying or is being bullied. But most importantly, do not discriminate. Be it two children in your house or forty children in your classroom, demonstrate equality. Let them all know that they are unique and that there is nothing wrong with being different. My mother, who was, is and will always be my support system, is the reason I am standing proud today. Love and guidance can do wonders. Be that person who changes another’s life.

It wasn’t easy for me to relive those memories that I kept repressed for so many years. But I hope that something good comes out of it. Because you took the time to read my story, I ask only one thing of you. If you feel that this message could be of use to someone, then please help it reach that person…

And as always, I am here for you.