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Sunday, 10 January 2016

IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE: Beautiful Illustrations with Spiritual Theme (Rating: 4.15/5)

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Day: 1204

Blog post: 125th

Book Review: 9th

First Book Review in the New Year 2015


I am back with one more book review. Yes! I read IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE by Amisha Sethi. Before writing my review, I would like to thank my friend Tushti Bhatia from Author Paradise for gifting me such a NICE book.

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©Book cover of It Doesn't Hurt To Be Nice

BOOK COVER

Front cover of IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE is attractive. Use of different colors in title attract readers' attention. Smiley for alphabet O' in DOESN'T makes happier. It feels that a paper duck has just freed from hands of an unknown girl. Paper duck seems flying with a thread of love in a mouth. Two paper boats look there. Title It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Nice carries subtitle 'Rediscover Life/ Spirituality, served with a Pinch of Salt and Humour' but the subtitle is not mentioned in the book. Background scene on the back cover is also catchy. A girl's image while running backward holding her dress towards camels in the desert seems like a scene of any Bollywood movie. Overall Pinaki De  has designed a perfect cover for the book published by Srishti Publishers. 

ABOUT THE NICE AUTHOR

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Author Amisha Sethi (Source: ©Goodreads)

Amisha Sethi is an executive scholar from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago, and holds an MBA degree in Marketing from Amity Business School. She was awarded the "Young women rising star" at World Women Leadership Congress 2014 and has won numerous awards and recognition in her corporate life. Along with holding top notch positions in leading companies in the past thirteen years, she has also done extensive research in ancient scriptures. In this book, she uses certain hilarious, dramatic and enthralling experiences of a young girl to understand the ultimate purpose of life – to be a better human with each passing day.

BLURB OF THE BOOK

Kiara is a dynamic, thirty-something girl who has reached great heightsprofessionally, and is the apple of the eye for almost everyone who knows her. But she never took any short cuts to become happier, wiser, healthier and more compassionate.

She had to find rays of hope where the dark tunnel seemed unending, and identify shade in life's burning path. She found little pearls of wisdom in chasing her dreams, in spreading laughter, in learning from scriptures and philosophers, and even at one point in almost ending her life.

More than Kiara's story and the wisdom she achieves through the various dramatic and hilarious experiences, this book is a motion picture with you in the lead role. You as the ‘hero' who can beat the most stubborn of villains – most of which lie deep within us… our fear, unkindness, selfish interests, negative thoughts and jealousy. You as the ‘heroine' who is sharp and witty in talking, selfless and caring in love, and charming and beautiful inside out, like none other (perhaps a 2.0 version of you).

Walk with Kiara to find a better you, because It Doesn't Hurt to be Nice.

INTERESTING FEATURES

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Visual representation from the 1903 edition of the Mahabharata

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The demon Mahisasura destroyed by the Hindu supreme lords, Ancient sculptures at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

The Story is narrated into 10 chapters and every new chapter is directed by a cartoon with an idea about next chapter. The picture of paper duck looks in the beginning of each chapter. Many chapters start with a spiritual quote or a thought. Symbol of heart (Lve) in a box as a prefix to quotes catches attention. Pictures are also printed for the reference of few scenes from Hindu mythology.

SETTING

It Doesn't Hurt To Be Nice is based on different themes like spiritual, psychological, philosophical and thriller. The story of the book is set in past tense. 

Locations: Story runs around different location like Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Chennai in India; Indonesia, Singapore, Pakistan, Chicago and Los Angeles (USA) and Canada. Description of Jakarta Airport Indonesia and Universal Studios Singapore are scribbled in detail so the reader feels like a live experience. Swat Valley in Pakistan is described in brief, but wonderfully.

Language and Writing Style: Authoress uses the style of diary writing to denote particular period. She doesn't use complicated language so one can understand the story in an easy way. Spiritual words, sentences,thoughts and quotes are printed in italic fonts so one can find those easily. She mentions so many mantras, phrases, proverbs, figures of speech and quotations for the reference. I found a unique feature in her writing style. She uses both Devnagri and Singlish (Sanskrit and English) fonts along with the meaning of Mantras from Hindu mythology. I liked this experiment by the authoress Amisha Sethi and wish this experiment would be followed in English literature by other authors too who refer regional language in their books.

CHARACTERS:

Authoress Amisha Sethi sketches over 34 characters in the book. Kiara and Ram are main characters in the plot. I found 14 major characters and 16 minor characters among those 34, and other 2 characters are spiritual. Authoress introduces each character individually.

MAIN CHARACTERS

  1. Kiara Seth: Authoress describes Kiara as the main character of the story. So obviously, readers get to know the story through Kiara's eyes. Her character's name Kiara sounds like a foreigner.
  2. Ram: Ram is the second main character in the story. Authoress portrays his character as a good looking guy, Kiara's classmate, boyfriend and the husband.

MAJOR CHARACTERS

  1. Mr. Thakral: He is the father of Kiara.
  2. Kiara's Mom: She is a native of Gujarat.
  3. Ram's Mom: Authoress portrays the character of Ram's mom as a conservative woman who doesn't like a sister-in-law in a role of a working woman. Her character represents the real conservative mother-in-laws living in the society.
  4. Kiara's Dadi (grandmother): Authoress portrays her character as a caring grandmother and grand-grandmother.
  5. Ana: She is a young cousin of Kiara.
  6. Nirvaan: He is the son of Kiara and Ram.
  7. Rajan Singh Sodhi: The then HR Head in Kiara's office
  8. Shalini: Authoress sketches her character as an ex- colleague of Kiara who is 36 years old corporate diva.
  9. Sandy: He is an ex-colleague of Kiara and a colleague of Shalini.
  10. Samay: Authoress portrays her character as a young 30 years old retail marketer.
  11. Jasbinder: He works as the Senior Communicator Marketer in the advertising company where Kiara works.
  12. Agastaya: India CEO at Kiara's company.
  13. SK: Authoress portrays her character as the most popular young actor in Bollywood. SK is the short form of his name SanbirKapoor!! No! I didn't misspell!! It's Sanbir (anyway what did you think?) No he isn't who you thought but he seems like a replica of the actor who just appeared in your mind after reading the name.
  14. Muslim woman: Authoress portrays her character as a helping tourist from Swat Valley, Pakistan.

MINOR CHARACTERS:

  1. Rohan: a chocolate boy in Kiara's college
  2. Sid: Kiara's friend
  3. Ajay: Typical guy in Delhi University
  4. Divya (Diva): Kiara and Ram's classmate
  5. Adi: Ram's friend
  6. Basanti: Sandy's supposed to be wife
  7. Heena: Kiara's friend
  8. Rajat: Heena's boyfriend
  9. Fei Zim: 30 years old Chinese woman
  10. Nilesh: Nirvaan's classmate

There are few more minor characters like Reshma, Simmi, Ronik, Devina, Gauri and Noori.

SPIRITUAL CHARACTERS:

  1. Nachiketa: Young character in Katha Upanishad.
  2. Yama: God of Death. Authoress gives his reference from Katha Upanishad.

PLOT:

The story and plot of the book 'It Doesn't Hurt To Be Nice' by Amisha Sethi is narrated into 10 chapters. In the first chapter titled ‘Oh God!' Kiara sarcastically comments on nicknames and she remarks about embarrassment boys and girls have to face because of childish nicknames in their younghood. She gives short but important information and meaning of Gayatri Mantra and it's origin. She explains that how kids are taught to fear to the god by their family and appeals in her quote "Dothings not because of a fear of God or any kind of pressure, but to grow the fruits of love, trust and truth."

Second chapter ‘Give Unconditionally' is about the importance of selfless donation. Authoress' research on food and realistic figures of malnutrition are really horrible and make sensitive readers worried. Kiara appeals for selfless donation- "The $240 billion net income of the world's hundred richest billionaires would have ended poverty four times over, according to the Oxfam report released in 2013. Imagine: just a hundred people can eradicate extreme poverty from the world and feed the billions of hungry people on the planet. Forget the billions… Can you attempt to feed just one person every day or week or month or even a year selflessly? One who is truly in need?" She explains food donation as "The spiritual teachings of the ancient Upanishads consider the giving of food as the most honorable donation."

Authoress defines trust as "Trust is the basis of any relationship that one might have with animate and inanimate beings on this planet."and "Trust is the foundation for peace, growth and evolution. The biggest enemy of trust is deceit and diffidence." in the third chapter Trust, Trust and Trust.

The fourth chapter ‘Fear Nothing' is bit longer. Authoress gives a glimpse of an arrange marriage fixing process. She writes about the problems in working women's life that how they have to face their duties for the family and obstacles in maintaining the balance between house and office. She indirectly criticizes TV series. A bittersweet conversation between Ram and Kiara in their husband and wife relationship is really enjoyable to read. Authoress fabulously compares incidents in Kiara's life with a cricket match. Authoress describes the philosophy of death through the character of Yama "The ignorant run after sensory pleasures and fall into the cycle of numerous births and deaths; but the wise, knowing that the self, the soul is deathless, try to attain the lord of love within themselves and become one with him. The supreme one is beyond name, fame and form. It has no beginnings and no ends. Beyond time and space, it's immortal. Those who achieve self are forever free from death. When the body dies, the self does not die."

I am sure that you won't control yourself from laughing out loud while reading the conversation between Heena and Kiara about CH3CH2OH. Authoress gives all boyfriends (lovers) a message not to demean girlfriends in the next chapter ‘The Art of Detachment’. The title of the sixth chapter ‘Kindness is Your Character; Don't Lose It' is meaningful itself. The genre of the book suddenly turns into a thriller when Nirvaanbecomes missing in chapter seven. The scene becomes more interesting after entry of a Muslim woman. Author gracefully tries to change the negative image of Muslims into positive in readers' mind, and she became successful in what she wanted to convey by connecting Hindu and Muslim in one bond in an incident takes place abroad. She writes- "When God created this world, I am sure he never thought that his most intelligent life forms would divide it into segments based on caste, creed, colour, religion, names, nationalities, districts, designations and the like." "The biggest religion on this planet is love." A bittersweet conversation between Kiara and her mom is also enjoyable. And yes, the title of this chapter ‘Never Stop Thanking' is also noteworthy. Authoress explains 3 DAs (Damyatta, Datta and Dayadhavam) from Brihadranyaka Upanishad in the next chapter ‘DA, DA and DA'. Authoress informs about biophoton emission with reference. She explains a philosophy of fullness from Bridaranyaka Upanishad with easy examples and she elegantly connects the spiritual philosophy of fullness with the biological theory of DNA in the second last chapter ‘The Light Within You'. She suggests her readers get control over thought by spiritual powers in the last chapter ‘Master Your Thoughts'. In the end, the book is concluded with the poem ‘As I Promised God'.

Nice QUOTES

Authoress' study, knowledge, reading so many authors can be seen from so many quotations. It seems that she would have referred so many scriptures from not only Hinduism but from Buddhism too. So the book conveys a message to respect every religion.

  1. "You are what your deep driving desire is, As your desires, so are your thoughts, As your thoughts, so is your will, As your will, so are your deeds, And as your deeds, so is your destiny."– Vedanta
  2. "Respect food, give food, the body is made of food… Food and the body exist to serve the ‘self'. Don't waste food, water and fire… fire and water exist to serve the self. Grow more food; the earth can deliver food in abundance. Earth and space exist to serve the self. Refuse not food to the hungry, for when you feed the hungry, you serve the Lord." – Taittiriya Upanishad
  3. "The marg of satya (the path of truth) and faith (an undiluted reverence for the Supreme Being) is the way to achieve and create everything which exists and will exist on this planet."
  4. "Every experience, good or bad, is to make you realize that ‘trust in self' and ‘others' is the foundation of a pure mind and heart."
  5. "You had nothing when you were born and will take nothing back with you when you die. Just live life with the purpose of fearing nothing and loving everything that nature has to offer. After all, there is a bit of you in everything you see around you. Our own bodies are made up of approximately seventy percent water. Ancient Indian sages believed that from water came plants, and from plants came all living creatures and the basic germ of humanity."
  6. "Biochemistry tells us that human beings are composed of different types of large molecules: proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. These molecules are held together by intermolecular forces. Imagine what would happen if all of these molecules start to fight with each other? I wonder if our body would hold out even for a day. Similarly, we human beings are held together by a spiritual force: the force of love, compassion and light. How can we survive together if we don't appreciate the very being next to us?"
  7. "Free yourself from the fear of me, the fear of seeing me in intergalactic form! I am in every form both material and living, only a still mind with peace at heart can attain me, Those whose minds are fixed in me in total faith, He who hates none, he who has no envy or ego, He who is kind, full of love, graceful, compassionate, Stays the same in happiness and sadness, He who is forbearing, masters his thoughts, Unattached to fear and anxiety is dear to me, Those who are dear to, reach me." – Lord Krishna inspires Arjuna
  8. "The ones who break trust or are insecure, no matter how much they earn or gain in a short horizon, can never be a true yogi." –The Bhagavad Gita
  9. "You came empty handed and will depart empty handed. There is nothing that you truly own in this world. What is yours today will belong to somebody else tomorrow, and the day after to somebody else. There is simply nothing that you are going to take with you. The pure self which is inside you, is absolutely complete, and the one who realizes the self, realizes the love of the Lord. Fear not what is not real, never was and never will be. What is real, always was, and cannot be destroyed. There is neither in this world nor in the world beyond, happiness for the one who fears." – TheBhagavad Gita
  10. "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills." – Gautam Buddha (the enlightened sage who was the leader and founder of Buddhism (583 BC))
  11. "Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely." – Gautam Buddha
  12. "When words are both true and kind, they can change the world." – Gautam Buddha
  13. "Three Golden rules of life, Who is helping you, don't forget them, Who is loving you, don't hate them, Who is trusting you, don't cheat them…"
  14. "If things are going your way, it is good. But if they are not, relax because it's going God's way."
  15. "A true leader never claims but distributes success."
  16. "Fear is much like a false verification that appears to be real. The biggest fear for humans is the idea of losing what they have, or what they perceive in their minds as their ‘own'. Fear is like fog, that can impede your vision without prior notice. Today, most human beings fear almost everything in their lives. We are scared of losing our jobs, status, power, love, money, house, property, girlfriends, youth… the list is endless. Whereas, in reality, there is nothing that you ‘own' in this world; simply nothing and thus, there is no reason to fear the loss of it."
  17. "Fear is nothing but a figment of our imagination; we fear that something might happen, not something that has happened in the past or is happening right now. You are here in the present moment but your mind is in the future scaring the daylights out of you. This is one of the reasons for all the anxieties, restlessness and corrosion in our relationship. If you fear nothing, you can achieve almost everything."
  18. "The biggest gift you get from God is a bad time, because that teaches you in the real sense what is good in your life."
  19. "One of the best ways to become detached is to forgive and forget."
  20. "Evil is nothing but an absence of kindness."
  21. "In this so-called corporate jungle, there have to be people planting seeds of trust, help, team work and above all, kindness. And that can only happen when you are not inhibited by mindless insecurities."
  22. "The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed." – Mahatma Gandhi
  23. "Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." -Rao-Tizer(4th century BC)
  24. "What lies behind us/ And what lies before us/ Are tiny matters compared to/ What lies within us." –Ralph Waldo Emerson (an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the Transcendentalist Movement in the mid-19th century.)

Hurting DRAWBACKS:

  1. Weak proofreading: punctuation marks are missing in some lines.
  2. No use of italic fonts to highlight Hindi words and improper use of italic fonts.
  3. Use of names of several brands like AdidasNokia and Blackberry, and the names of living celebrities Bappi Da and Angelina Jolie.
  4. Use of short forms like c'mon for come on and ASAP for as soon as possible. Using short forms is against ethics of literature in any language.
  5. The book Price Rs. 175 is expensive a bit but it's OK for this book because of its genre.

REVIEWER'S NOTES:

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©Rajesh D. Hajare

It Doesn't Hurt To Be Nice is the fabulous book authored by Amisha Sethi. The book It Doesn't Hurt To Be Nice is a perfect entertainer with an interesting plot which doesn't let you put down the book. I would recommend this book to every human being living on this planet who think that he or she is nice or want to be nice. So… are you NICE? Or would you like to be NICE? Then just go for it. Because IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE.

My RATING: I will give 4.15 out of 5 stars to this really nice book IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE.


BOOK IN BRIEF:

©Amisha & Smokey's Viral Video II It Doesn't Hurt To Be Nice (©Youtube)

  • Title: IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE
  • Text and Illustrations by AMISHA SETHI
  • Publisher: SRISHTI PUBLISHERS & DISTRIBUTORS
  • First published in 2015
  • Text Copyright: ©Amisha Sethi, 2015
  • Illustrations Copyright: © Amisha Sethi, 2015
  • Cover design by Pinaki De
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Printed and bound in India
  • ISBN- 978-93-82665-48-9
  • Price: Rs. 175
  • Pages: 144 (excluding cover)
  • Genre: FICTION
  • Rating: 4.15/5 Stars (**** | Nice)
  • Reviewed by: © Rajesh D. Hajare (RDH)

Notes:

  1. This is my honest analysis of the book IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE and your reviews may be different.
  2. The Review Copy of IT DOESN'T HURT TO BE NICE was sent to me by Tushti Bhatia (Author Paradise)
  3. This is not a paid review.
  4. Reviewer of this book is working as the President of Gondia District at Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Parishad, Pune.


Buy this nice book online at…

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©Amisha Sethi


Join the ‘Nice Gang':

  1. It Doesn't Hurt To Be NiceGoodreads (4.04/5)
  2. Amisha Sethi: Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website
  3. Srishti Publishers: Facebook | Twitter
  4. Tushti Bhatia: Facebook | Twitter
  5. Author Paradise: Facebook | Twitter
  6. RDH Sir: FB Profile | FB Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Reviews | +917588887401 (Whatsapp)

Reviews coming soon:

  1. KHEL - The Writings by Vishal Goswami (by 20 Jan)
  2. Hey Dad! Meet My Mom by Sandeep Sharma and Leepi Agrawal (by 28 Jan)

Now Reading: You Are The Best Wife by Ajay K. Pandey

Reading soon:

  1. Without You by Preethi Venugopala
  2. Heart of Bullets* by Nikhil Kushwaha
  3. #IAm16ICanRape by Kirtida Gautam
  4. KLASS

7 comments:

  1. Preethi Venugopala11 January 2016 at 09:49

    Wow...as usual a detailed review. Kudos to you for the amount of work you put behind each review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rajesh D Hajare RDH11 January 2016 at 10:13

    @Preethi Venugopala,
    Thanks ma'am!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You really put in loads of effort in your reviews, giving full focus on the book. Kudos, sir! Perhaps the most detailed reviews in the market. You'll soon be one of the better reviewers of the country.. All the best..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rajesh D Hajare RDH11 January 2016 at 13:06

    @Pankaj Giri,
    Awwww!! Your this comment made my day dear.... Thank you sir...!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey this is absolutely amazing review. The best effort so far. You have meticulously taken time to review my book....so so grateful to you. Thanks a million Rajesh. So glad to know you

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rajesh D Hajare RDH11 January 2016 at 13:10

    @Amisha Sethi,
    Thank you so much ma'am!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow!!! Excellent review Sir. ‘It doesn’t hurt to be nice’ by Amisha Sethi is a fabulous book indeed. I love reading this one. Great review to the very nice book. Your review is the best, anytime & all the time. 4.15 stars are exactly correct rating to this lovely novel. Pretty impressive work done Sir.

    ReplyDelete