Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance PDF Summary

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance PDFFinding one’s life goal is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even though we want clear directions, that doesn’t always pan out as one might have hoped.

This book speaks about a long and meaningful journey which laid the groundwork for fundamental alteration.

Let’s go through the key takeaways!

Who Should Read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”? And Why?

During the reading session of this 20th-century classic, we were on the verge of backing down the whole time. The reason was obvious – not knowing what picture succeeds the previous one.

To some extent, we loved the excitement and anticipation, and that’s why we recommend “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” to all knowledge-thirty seekers.

Robert M. PirsigRobert M. Pirsig Biography

Robert M. Pirsig was indeed a philosophical icon of the 20th century.

He passed away on April 24th, 2017, at the age of 88 and left a legacy of written texts, which will remain a source of inspiration for new generations.

Plot

They key leitmotif throughout this 1974 novel, is the long motorcycle trip whose symbolic essence gave birth to ideas about the new way of life. So, instead of parsing sentence-by-sentence, one should advocate for confluence between Western and Eastern civilization to sympathize with Robert’s message.

The central premise tackles the rather superficial lifestyle, which can be improved through a series of reforms.

The narrative is in the first person, and it widely encompasses the trip scheme while reminiscing about the narrator’s past which abounds with interesting encounters.

The storyline commences with Chris revving up his motorcycle engine alongside John Sutherland and Sylvia (his wife). They are headed toward the Dakotas, and the weather turns bad. Dark clouds emerge above their heads and herald a rainstorm.

The narrator recalls a trip to Canada which resulted in a heavy rainstorm. He and Chris end up soaking wet because they forgot to dig a trench to support their tent. The bad motorcycle condition was just icing on the cake for them, and it only aggravated the problem even further.

What could have happened on that perilous journey – they wonder? He nails down this story in order to stay sharp if things go south once again. In the meantime, John says that they’ve veered off course, and need to adjust their route.  

The crew takes a quick break at Hague to refuel and ask for directions. What shocks them the most is the fact that “Bismarck and Mobridge” are nowhere nearby. Even their existence is called into question. John believes that heading south to Mobridge might be their best chance. They take some time off to think and weigh their options at Herried.

Upon reaching Mobridge, they cross the river and go inland. The Narrator notices a shift in John’s perception of life, as it becomes more into line with the objective reality rather than embracing false imagery painted by the creative mind.

This mind-switch is even labeled as the Chautauqua point.

They make headway in their long journey, as they move toward Bowman during a sweltering heat wave whereas the crew comes across an old stockman. The narrator shows glimpses of adoration for this man’s conduct and embraces some tips on how to tame the mind.

The Phaedrus’ knife becomes the central hypothesis in this process as the narrator leans on the analogy of sorting the sand into piles in order to exemplify the analytical urges of the mind.

The Narrator’s objective hangs in the balance as a realization struck like a bolt of lightning. Too much analyzing can hasten your demise, and drain the life out of you. As they traverse the Marmarth region, they wind up at Montana.

The Phaedrus story emerges again, as the Narrator pinpoints that he lost his mind, and in order to get an aerial perspective of his life, one must put itself in its shoes. However, that’s easier said than done.

In Chapter 8, the narrator leads into a beautiful description of their mission in Miles City. It’s early in the morning, and they can’t seem to get enough rest due to the restless strives in the past few days.

The Narrator turns over to repairing its motorcycle and associates the scrutinization of the spark plugs with some religious deity.

The need for materials and precise equipment evokes a reaction from the narrator. This instrumental hierarchy reminds him of everyday concepts and how complex systems consist of these small elements and inject fire into the systematic way of thinking.

Upon fixing the motorcycle, he ponders about Phaedrus’ insights lodged into his photographic memory which was partly the reason for his demise. The Narrator keeps the ball rolling by highlighting the schools in which Phaedrus instilled a sense of organization.

Next day, the narrator is awakened by the morning breeze that sparks them to continue their voyage south through Yellowstone Park. They devise a route which will help them to reach Bozeman by crossing the fields of the Red Lodge.

The Narrator keeps the excitement in the air by sharing more of Phaedrus military career, and his daily encounters in Korea. The pursuit of truth and independence helped him to establish liberty, but at what cost?

As they approach Bozeman, the Narrator senses the tension in the air, fueled by inner turbulence. Their timidity doesn’t go unnoticed, as they ponder about turning back. Phaedrus’ mindset is still the subject of their discussions as they discuss the political impasse present in his days on campus.

During those times, Phaedrus conveyed mind-blowing words regarding the disparity between professors being labeled as employees and protectors of the truth. His igniting speech has stretched to various circles but didn’t circumvent the problem.

His behavior receives positive critics, but the impulsive fanaticism in terms of expression jeopardized the broad picture. The narrator takes a step further by attributing the lack of faith to anxiety and low self-esteem.  

In the next chapter, the narrator puts him and Chris in the spotlight. They hit the road with an intention in mind to climb the mountains near the DeWeese. On the voyage, they ruminate on the spiritual connection with nature while remaining acutely aware of their surroundings.

Phaedrus is once again at the center of their thoughts, as they puzzle over his concept of quality.

They stumble upon two phases, which were brought to life by Phaedrus.

  • Phase 1: No definition of Quality and lot of flexibility
  • Phase 2: Rigid definition – impairing his thinking potential and destroying his life.

By drilling deep into Phase 1, the narrator bumps into the methodology of teaching which consists of genuine engagement and flexibility. Whereas the second Phase brings about contumacy as a way of perception which conflicts the receptive cognitive abilities of the students.

Next chapter opens up with thoughts regarding the statements and analysis conducted by Phaedrus. The narrator explains the process by providing a psychological overlook of Phaedrus’ tendencies. If you don’t define something, you are giving it a wide berth to crop up in different shapes and forms.

Chris’ indifference regarding the hike, adds to the Narrator’s outrage. Upon restraining himself, the narrator pays close heed to Phaedrus recent insightful revolution according to which Realism can justify Quality.

This finding led Phaedrus into believing that Quality is the only obstacle standing in the way of pure rationality. The attributes you give to Quality are meaningless in terms of getting the hang of the world to the maximum extent.

The narrator dreams of being in a white-painted room and facing his family members who are disposed on the other corner of the same room. He is disturbed by this nightmare, and upon awakening, Chris tells him that he had been “vocal” all night long.

He is worried that this scenario could lead him astray. Meanwhile, he is on the fence regarding the possibility of Chris dreaming, and him going nuts. Despite all the polemics, the narrator decides to forge ahead with the hike while overlooking the plan for rehydration.

In an effort to rejuvenate spiritually, he unwittingly starts the discussion about Quality. Phaedrus was the latest to succumb to this impulse which was a one-way ticket to disaster. While descending the mountain, they decide to take a breather and get some snack.

Chris, however, becomes increasingly aware of the Narrator’s paranoia and even proposes that he should be the one carrying the heavy load. As they mull over the metaphysical aspects of thinking, they come across a thick bush and are compelled to make their way through it.

The narrator elaborates on the exact correlation between Quality and Religion, and that a possible confluence could be the essence of “good.” While at it, he argues that value-free science has no place in the modern understanding of philosophy.

Upon descending from the mountains, they settle down at Bozeman and spend a night in a hotel.

As the storyline heathens up, the Narrator enters the depths of technological artifacts and make remarks on the basis for laying out these claims. In his opinion, the artifacts are not subjected to the proper Quality evaluation process.

To prove his point, the Narrator enlightens us by explaining the inseparable connection between technology and art. He finds it challenging to impugn the effectiveness of modern technology while advocating for Quality technology, like the wall in Korea.

The degradation that occurs is due to the existence and legacy of value-free thinking. Following after this discussion is their arrival in White Bird. They come to the conclusion that following the Salmon River would be their best option, regardless of the heavy traffic.

They set foot in Riggins, and are compelled to traverse the forest in an effort to reach Dew Meadows. The narrator is consistent in its intention to expose the value-free issue while trying to interpret the dream he had some time ago.

Chris however, takes some time off to write a letter to his mom. It seems like Chris is no longer brimming with excitement, and anxiety slowly starts to take over. Upon arriving at Dayville, they brush against the owner of the station, who helps them find some decent place to spend the night.

They indulge in a friendly and profound conversation.

At this point, he has little choice but to disclose the Phaedrus’ story to the full extent. This process entails interpretation of Greek Philosophy and their methods of scrutinizing the ideas. Prior to going too deep into this topic, they decide to take a quick break and head over to La Pine for a meal.

The next morning, Chris is awakened to help with the chores while the Narrator embarks on a quest to locate a chain guard.

His efforts don’t bear fruit, as he heads back home and enjoys a meal accompanied by Chris. They decide to try their luck elsewhere, as they mark California as their next destination.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Epilogue

The last three chapters are filled with ambivalence. As they have a meal, a sense of discomfort permeates the air, and on the way over to Chicago, they stumble upon the Platonic dialogue of Phaedrus.

In the meantime, Phaedrus gets a motivational boost to continue with unraveling its baffling mysteries. Also, this makes him feel invincible and dominant to the degree that he believes a solution to the metaphysical puzzle is nearby.

They are headed toward San Francisco on a rainy and cloudy day. The narrator exerts himself to find a motel and finally manages to locate one. This ultimately triggers the last discourse.

From a philosophical standpoint, the Narrator realizes that it’s not easy to integrate technology with humanistic elements in pursuit of the perfect lifestyle.

The plot comes to an end, as the narrator understands that Chris craves for Phaedrus and his theories.

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“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance PDF Quotes”

The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands and then work outward from there. Click To Tweet When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called a Religion. Click To Tweet You look at where you're going and where you are, and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been, and a pattern seems to emerge. Click To Tweet Not if you have the right attitudes. It's having the right attitudes that’s hard. Click To Tweet If someone's ungrateful and you tell him he's ungrateful, okay, you've called him a name. You haven't solved anything. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This is not an easy-going book, and you to be at your very best to understand the core message contained in it.

But don’t let this discourage you from taking the fast-track to insightful breakthroughs.

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Life Is What You Make It PDF Summary

Life Is What You Make It PDF SummaryA Story of Love, Hope and How Determination Can Overcome Even Destiny

By now, Preeti Shenoy is a literary superstar of the highest order.

But just seven years ago, she was merely a bestselling author of a single collection of thirty-five real-life incidents, titled 34 Bubblegums and Candies.

And then, in 2011, she published her debut novel:

Life Is What You Make It.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Who Should Read “Life Is What You Make It”? And Why?

If you are a fan of Chetan Bhagat – and especially his novel told from the perspective of a female protagonist, One Indian Girlthen you’ll find plenty of things to like in this book.

However, we feel that we need to warn you that this is not a light read. Despite its ending, Life Is What You Make It is far from a filmy Hollywood romance in which the flight of the butterflies is interrupted merely for a few seconds because of a slight quarrel.

Oh, no!

The main protagonist here is not exactly appealing, and the reason for this is a severe ailment: bipolar disorder. The book captures well both the highs of euphoria and the depths of despair that come with this mental malady, as well as the serious difficulties someone suffering from bipolar disorder may face in life.

But also, Shenoy’s novel doesn’t fail to portray the other side of the coin and also reveal the struggles faced by people whose friends and loved ones suffer from this debilitating disease.

So, if you are one of them or know someone who has these kinds of problems, then Life Is What You Make It should be one of the first books on your next month’s reading list.

Preeti Shenoy Biography

Preeti ShenoyPreeti Shenoy is an Indian blogger and bestselling author.

Described as “one of India’s most popular authors,” and “the only woman in the highest-selling league,” Preeti Shenoy debuted in 2008 with 34 Bubblegums and Candies, a humorous collection of short real-life incidents.

Life Is What You Make It came out three years later and received wide critical and popular acclaim in India. Ever since then, Shenoy has managed to write and publish at least one book every year.

In 2012 she published two novels: Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake and The Secret Wish List. The One You Cannot Have was released in 2013, followed by It Happens for a Reason in the last month of 2014.

Love, Kisses and All Things Warm and Why We Love the Way We Do both came out in 2015, and another bestseller, It’s All in the Planet’s, the following year. A Hundred Little Flames was the only book published by Shenoy in 2017.

In April 2018, Shenoy published Love a Little Stronger, in which she revisited her first book, 34 Bubblegums and Candies.

Merely two months ago, in September 2018, Shenoy published her last book so far, titled Rule Breaker.

She has been consistently ranked among the 100 most influential Indian celebrities for the past half a decade.

Plot

Life Is What You Make It is mostly set in Kerala in the 1990s.

The story opens in a mental institution where the protagonist of the novel, Ankita Sharma, is apparently brought to unwillingly by her parents.

She is 21, good-looking and smart, and yet she is there among many people with listless looks and lethargic bodies.

“I am not like you,” she wants to scream. “I won elections in my college. I used to be the Secretary of the Arts Association. I was doing my management from a fine business school. I am not like you all.”

But, unfortunately, she is – just a first-time patient at the National Mental Health Institute.

So, how did she get there?

When her number finally comes up, and the doctor starts asking her question, we, the readers, slowly but surely start uncovering the answer to this question.

The flashback starts with two letters exchanged between the protagonist and Vaibhav, a childhood friend of hers.

We learn that Vaibhav has managed to get into the Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi, and that Ankita is not allowed to do the same by her conservative parents, despite her excellent grades.

The reason for it is, of course, the gender of Ankita – and nothing more. So, expectedly for a girl living in Kerala in 1989, she enters St. Agnes College for Girls.

However, she misses Vaibhav who, as we learn from the letters exchanged between the two, was a little more than a friend to her.

They say that distance is sometimes capable of sharpening love, but they also say that it is a make-or-break test for it.

In the case of Ankita, it seems to be both.

At first, it works in favor of Vaibhav whose letters Ankita eagerly awaits – they are not just the highlight of her college life, but basically the only thing she looks forward to.

However, as the days pass, Ankita starts fitting in at St. Agnes.

Not only she is a great student, acing her tests and excelling in her extracurricular activities, she is also an all-rounder adored by absolutely everybody. In fact, she is soon elected to be the Arts Club Secretary, and, even sooner, makes a lot of friends.

One of them, Sanjana, introduces her to Abhishek, a stout boy good at playing guitar and great at public speaking. We also learn that he has “a roundish face that sported slight stubble,” that he wears glasses and that he is “friendly and jovial.”

And he’s also quite smooth – if not a little corny – with the icebreakers, since the second thing he says to Ankita as he is shaking her hand is: “So what do you do, apart from being so pretty?”

And that’s code for “Vaibhav, who?”

But that’s also something a student at St. Agnes would expect from someone coming from Mahaveer College, for the simple reason that “even the best-looking girl at Mahaveer, could not match up to an average looking girl at Agnes.”

After being left alone with Abhi by her classmates following a cultural event, Ankita is surprised to find out that she has enjoyed every second of her time with her new acquaintance.

She is even more surprised when Abhi drops the “I love you” bombshell: “I fell in love with you the moment I saw you,” he says. “I have never felt like this about anyone before, trust me. I am crazy about you. Honestly. And I have never done anything like this before in my life. This confessing feelings and all, is just not me, but with you I really cannot hold back anymore.”

As if he held back at all!

Ankita rejects his advances by telling him that she has a boyfriend, but Abhi is persistent. He sends her a letter and, before too long, Ankita visits him at his place.

Finally, “during the mother of all cultural festivals, the Mahatma Gandhi University Youth Festival,” Abhi and Ankita kiss.

They start going out, and everything in Ankita’s life is looking picture book perfect. Except, you know: as her feelings for Abhi start growing, her love for Vaibhab slowly stars fading away:

Vaibhav and I were still in touch but not with the intensity as earlier. I think it was more out of a sense of duty that he called rather than anything else. I had not even noticed that his calls had trickled as I was so absorbed in Abhi and the other things that were going on in my life. I think the love I had for him was replaced by a kind of fond affection. Honestly, it did not matter to me anymore whether he called or not. It seemed as though Abhi and I had been through so much together and somewhere along the way, Vaibhav had been left far behind.

Years pass and Ankita is obsessed with a new agenda: getting into one of the top institutes in the country offering an MBA program. She gets an interview call from four of them, one of which is the most well-known one located in Bombay!

Coincidentally, Ankita’s father is promoted in his company at about this time, and this promotion means that all of Ankita’s family will be moving to Bombay.

It also means that her relationship with Abhishek is nearing its end.

“Even if my folks were not moving to Bombay,” Ankita says to Abhi, “we would still have parted as I would have chosen to do it in Bombay.”

“Pride has gone to your head,” replies Abhi, whom Ankita describes ominously as “an emotional fool.”

They break up acrimoniously, and the very next day Abhi’s body is found; it is discovered that he drowned due to an excessive amount of alcohol in his body. And that it may have been a suicide. Only Ankita knows that this is undoubtedly related to her.

She tells her best friend Suvi, and with her help, she calls Abhi’s grandfather.

“I know he loved you,” he tells her, even though he hides this information from the police. “I don’t know what happened between you two, but I have only one thing to say. You are young, you are pretty. Please remember molle, sneham mathram puchikaruthu. No matter from where it comes.”

The closest translation that Ankita is able to come up with of these beautiful words in Malayam is “never belittle love.”

These wise words open a piercing hole inside Ankita’s body.

And even though in Bombay she is doing what she does best – winning the hearts of many and acing all of her exams (whilst writing poems and making notes for everybody until late  in the evening) – she is also, slowly but surely (and also, unwittingly) falling down this hole.

To make matters worse, her parents discover the love letters she had been exchanging with Vaibhav and Abhi. They burn them and scold her severely for them. Unsurprisingly, very soon, the darkness gets the better of Ankita: depressed and miserable, she tries to slit her wrists.

And she doesn’t stop at her first suicide attempt: the second time it is her father who saves her.

And that’s the reason why Ankita is admitted to a mental hospital at the beginning of the novel.

Life Is What You Make It Epilogue

So, back in the present, Ankita is talking to Dr. Madhusudan who diagnoses her with bipolar disorder. He explains to her that what she went through is common and that there are two sides to it: a euphoric one and a despairing one.

The ray of hope?

Well, as Dr. Madhusudan explains to Ankita, it is a disorder closely associated with creativity – something Ankita does excel at.

“This condition is unique,” he goes on:

Many famous historical figures and artists have had this. Yet they have led a full life and contributed so much to the society and world at large. See, you have a gift. People with bipolar disorder are very, very sensitive. Much more than ordinary people. They are able to experience emotions in a very deep and intense way. It gives them a very different perspective of the world. It is not that they lose touch with reality. But the feelings of extreme intensity are manifested in creating things. They pour their emotions into either writing or art or whatever field they have chosen.

After several months, Ankita is able to recover from her depression. And even though bipolar disorder is not an ailment that can be effectively cured, she is certainly capable of managing it.

Or, in other words, to become the “Master of her Fate” as both the last chapter of the book and the poem quoted in the dedication claim.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, that poem is none other than “Invictus.”

Also, if you want to know what happened to Ankita in the long run – well, let’s just say that she was just fine. The epilogue states that she went on to gain six more academic degrees and that, along the way, she met and married a kind, sensitive man.

The end.

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“Life Is What You Make It PDF Summary Quotes”

Never to belittle love, no matter where it came from and to be a little humbler, nicer and kinder with my words and actions. Click To Tweet Some say that you gravitate instinctively towards people you can relate to and then gradually over the months a bond develops. Click To Tweet There are no buts and no ifs in life. Life is what you make it. Click To Tweet Spending time in a mental health Institution makes you a hundredfold more sensitive towards others than you were earlier. You learn to value emotions. You learn to look out for others. Click To Tweet The book is not just about bipolar disorder. It is a story of courage, determination and growing up. It is also about how life can take a totally different path from what is planned, and yet how one can make a success out of it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Ten books later, Life Is What You Make It is still Preeti Shenoy’s best book.

Powerful and poignant, the novel was the bestseller of 2011 in India, and its fame and status have merely increased since then.

You don’t have to do a lot to realize what all the fuss was about.

You just need to read it.

 

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Indian Art and Culture PDF Summary

Indian Art and Culture PDF SummaryFOR CIVIL SERVICES PRELIMINARY AND MAIN EXAMINATIONS

As much as we want to solicit views from Indians, regarding the nature of their culture – it’s tough to form a picture based on the opinions of a small fraction of the people.

To counter this downside, we read a book that contains historical data and allows us to depict the remarkable trajectory of Indian cultural progress.

Let’s roll!

Who Should Read “Indian Art and Culture”? And Why?

When you think of spirituality, wisdom, and prudence – the first thing that enters your mind is the Eastern philosophy. Whereas India can be portrayed as a tough nut to crack.

Indian Art and Culture” nails down all the things one might be looking when planning to delve into India’s cultural heritage. It’s a book that presumably fits both foreigners and domestic knowledge seekers.

“Indian Art and Culture PDF Summary”

India’s Architecture and Paintings

The central premise of this comprehensive book targets and throws light upon this India’s memorable and historical curve. It has all the earmarks of an evergreen collection of facts that will illuminate the upcoming generations.

The rise and fall of great empires, Indian defiance and the foreign understanding of the cultural dogma is just one tiny fraction of what you can find in here. It signifies the assemblage of different cultural fractions, lifestyles, viewpoints, and their integration with one nation.

The architectural elements pull roots from a long and painful history, intertwined with the artistic craftiness and excellence. You can bear witness to numerous evidence that discloses India’s contribution to art and painting, since ancient times.

Archaeologists have dug up indisputable evidence regarding India’s role in artistry and finesse of different kinds. The clues can also be found on wall paintings traced through the ancient and medieval times.

It seems like the early form of life in India was engaged in various leisure activities and a symbolic expression of one’s mind.

When the Europeans put their foot on Indian soil, the art was subtly transformed and absorbed a more Westerner style. Experimentation with different styles, colors, and outlook enriched the upcoming Indian artists whose accolades speak for themselves.

First and foremost, one mustn’t overlook the wall masterpieces which are also known by the name of Murals. India’s most valuable cultural jewels origin from ancient times – ranging between 10th century BC to 10th century AD.

You can locate these paintings and works of art at several sacred locations in India.

If you are keen to explore the wonders of these аrt pieces then you ought to visit some of the following places in India:

Ajanta, Armamalai Cave, Ravan Chhaya Rock shelter, Bagh caves, Sittanavasal caves, Kailasanatha temple in Ellora, and others.

Indian Handicrafts, Music, and Theatre

Handcrafting literally stands for goods that are forged and crafted for everyday use by using one’s bare hands. Different regions in India exercise this craftsmanship based on their folkloric and traditional values nurtured throughout the course of history.

This amalgamation of unique elements which manifests the artistic mastery adds that final touch. The most potent tool at their disposal was and always will be their “creativity.” The decorative facets are indeed icing on the cake due to its transformative stimulus.

Indians don’t perceive this artistry as a profession or a way to make a living but as the very embodiment of their culture. In an effort to preserve their heritage, they refrain from using modern technology for the creation of these handicrafts.

This not only accentuates the India-ness of the “product” sort of speak but also speak of one’s identity.

Those of you that are not appraised of the types of handicrafts in India, here you have it:

  • Glassware
  • On Cloth
  • Ivory Crafting
  • Terracotta Crafts
  • Clay & Pottery Work
  • Bronze Crafts
  • Leather Products
  • Wooden Work

One can agree that music is the remedy for a broken heart and the soul of a culture. It’s something every society shares and nurtures. India as one of the oldest forms of civilization and societal structure, has undoubtedly been the driving factor to this cultural epidemic.

Narada Muni, for example, is thought to be the primary source of musical expression in the world. His motives puncture through cultural indoctrinations and permeate the real essence of life – something later introduced as Naada Brahma.

When it comes to instruments, we find it hard to classify the creation based on regions or states. However, it’s noted that the seven-holed flute and Ravanahatha, origin from the remnants of Indus Valley Civilization.

The first signs of music are apparently in correlation with the Vedic times.

The musical progress throughout ages is due to the various enacted plays which stimulated people to thrive in this kind of amusement. One type of music called Sangama particularly stands out, which was expressed through chanting and other forms of excitement.

Even the poems were driven by a strong narrative known as the Jatigan.

Before one decides to explore the depths of Indian music, it’s of immense importance to look into the anatomy of Indian classical acoustic sounds. The backbone of this music is symbolically linked to three types: Raga, Tala, and Swara.

When one scatters the shores of Indian culture, it must take a sneak peek into the theatrical architecture. On the negative side, it’s not as straightforward as one might think to enumerate sociological patterns that have shaped the society.

However, the Theater is one of those assets that encompasses various forms of cultural fluency with regards to the regional culture. One cannot go without music, recitation, and acting as the main pillars of running a theatrical show.

The Sanskrit term ‘nataka’ emanates from ‘nata’ which stands for a dancer. Rupaka, Drishyakvya, and Preksakavya were also put into motion to mark out the boundaries of drama. In ancient India, you might have come across two unique types:

  • Lokadharmi: The everyday activities which depicted the life of ordinary people.
  • Natyadharmi: Narrative and stylish connotation expressed through symbolism.  

India shows off with a rich cultural heritage linked to the folk theatre covering all parts of the nation. The traditional components expressed through artistry showcase the plight, beliefs, hopes, and social elements of the people – including their lifestyle.

Indian folk theatre can be categorized in an array of different ways, but the most common is as follows:

  • Ritual Theatre
  • Theatres of Entertainment
  • Theatres of South India

India’s Puppetry, Circus and Cultural Heritage

Generally speaking, puppetry is embedded in India’s entertaining culture. It was and still is a way of amusement that is brought to us in different forms with regards to the regional culture.

As you probably know, a master controls the movement of the puppet in order to create a breathtaking moment of sarcasm, cynicism, or to share some good old-fashioned joke.

The low cost for enacting the play gave serious impetus for the new artists to continue their work. Correspondingly, this allowed them to express their thoughts in the most indigenous way possible.

If you ask local Indians, they will only confirm that puppetry is part of their tradition. But bear in mind, that India is a large country, and the performance in one area, may be entirely different from the display in a different one.

This disparity occurs due to the different tendencies and proclivity. Given that the excavation sites at Harappa and Mohenjodaro exposed puppets with sockets attached, we finally have our proof that puppetry in India was a form of art.

If you plan on going deep, you’ll stumble upon different categorization of puppetry, but one is generally more prevalent:

  • String Puppets
  • Shadow Puppets
  • Glove Puppets
  • Road Puppets

While we are running through the subject of entertainment, it would be ignorant not to mention the Great Indian circus. Vishnupant Chatre merits all the praises as the founder and skilled equestrian. Under the guiding hand of Raja of Kurduwadi, he thrived and lived high on the hog.

With all due respect to Indian Circus companies, they failed to surpass the Europeans ones in prowess and performance. Nonetheless, they remained a considerable factor in India’s entertaining sphere up until the 1990s. Let’s pay tribute to them:

  • Three Ring Circus
  • Great Royal Circus
  • Great Royal Circus
  • Gemini Circus
  • Jumbo Circus

Indian Languages, Literature & Philosophy

Language as a term has seen some twists and turns regarding its most accurate meaning. As far as India is concerned, it’s in everyone’s best interest to leave a bit of openness due to the complexity of India’s ethnicity.  

A verbal and non-verbal expression that accounts various forms of speech and facilitates the communication among people can be labeled as “language.”

We can’t say for certain when was the first language created, but by observing the animals and their way of communication, one can assume that we used mimics to illustrate a point.

  • A language family has its roots buried in history before anything was recorded and is officially an ancestor to modern ones.
  • Dialect stands for a slight deviation from the official language spoken in a local region.

According to Indian linguistic, the languages in India fall under several notable sub-groups:

  • Indo-Aryan Group of Languages
  • Dravidian Language
  • Sino-Tibetan Group
  • Negroid
  • Austric
  • Others

Due to this diversity, knowledge text translation is indeed a problem in today’s Indian education. Most of the top resources remain untranslated, which makes them inaccessible for the commoners. Nowadays, efforts are made to scale up the dissemination of expertise through NTM.

The National Translation Mission is full-time engaged in “decoding” the academic and intellectual texts in 20+ Indian languages. The content is only available in English, which makes it hard for a vast majority of Indians to be able to explore the depths of it.

In the 18th century, the revolution started with the launch of print technology, but it escalated in a positive way in the digital age.

When it comes to philosophy, India has a long history of theorists, spiritual gurus, deep thinkers, to name a few.

In this endeavor, some differences emerge between various philosophical outlooks of life and nature of existence. It would be ignorant to single out one major school that has deserves to be placed on the pedestal.

A point often overlooked is that all schools assent with one another in terms of complying with the four-step process that will help a person reach its spiritual peak:

  • Artha
  • Dharma
  • Kama
  • Moksha

Yogis also have a place in our classification here. The Yoga school is comprised of two separate entities. One of which is meditation and the other physical application; to help the practitioner to attain a state of peace.

If you are interested in hearing a thing or two regarding the physical aspect, then you also need to know about one’s ability to perform the exercises in different postures – labeled as asanas. While the breathing techniques bear the name of pranayama.

According to Buddhist philosophy, which differs from the one presented by the Vedas – one cannot find shelter and harmony until it discards the mind notions. Triggered by this thought, the Buddha roamed around India in pursuit of blissfulness and nirvana.

Upon attaining enlightenment, the Buddha shared four noble truths for tackling the endless strives of the reckless mind.

  • Suffering
  • Desire – the ultimate trigger of suffering.
  • The destruction of primitive urges will relieve you of all the pain and sorrow.
  • Skid towards liberation and freedom.

Religions in India

Spirituality as a sacred element in every culture has seen many deviations in terms of lifting the spirits and maintain social order over the years. It’s main purpose hinges on one’s group ability to get together and ask for blissfulness. Here are India’s most prominent ones:

  • Hinduism – At the most fundamental level, Hinduism embraces and simplifies the veiled principles from Vedic religious tenets.
  • Buddhism – Buddhism emphasizes the life-encounters of Siddhartha Gautama also known as the Buddha (the awakened one).
  • Jainism – The word ‘Jain’ is stems from Jina or Jaina which in layman’s terms connotes “Conqueror or Conquering”.
  • Islam – The word Islam stands for one’s full submission to the almighty God.
  • Christianity – The basic motive for the stretch of Christianity is the belief in one God, as the source and substance to everything that exists.
  • Sikhism – The history of Sikhism is weaved around the life of Guru Nanak and his endeavors.
  • Zoroastrianism – It is a monotheistic religion whose teachings revolve around the existence of one God, known as Ahura Mazda.
  • Judaism – The Jews have faith in Yahweh who was firstly introduced by Abraham.

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“Indian Art and Culture Quotes”

India is a geographically diverse nation and that diversity is also reflected in the Indian culture. Each state of this country has its own form of music that is the basis of their cultural affirmation. Click To Tweet Thus, we see that from the pre-historic times, art and architecture has found a unique expression in the life and leisure of the people of India. Click To Tweet Music is the soul of any culture and India has had a long tradition of musical ingenuity. Click To Tweet Buddhahood via the bodhisattva path, a state wherein one remains in the cycle of rebirth to help other beings to reach awakening. Click To Tweet Each community has their own festivals and holy days but that does not stop other religious groups from enjoying these festive days. India is a secular country and holidays are declared for a number of festivals belonging to different… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In all honesty, we tried to bring India’s art and culture closer to you, but it would take a significantly more effort to understand the big picture.

Don’t confine yourself to this summary, and fear not to inquire into the mysteriousness of the Indian lifestyle.

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Word Power Made Easy PDF Summary

Word Power Made Easy PDF SummaryThe Complete Handbook for Building a Superior Vocabulary

Want to find out what “circumlocution” and “perspicacious” mean?

And want to be sure to never forget their meanings.

Then Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy is the book you’ve been looking for.

Who Should Read “Word Power Made Easy”? And Why?

As it states under its subtitle, Norman Lewis’ Word Power Made Easy offers a simple step-by-step method aimed at increasing your knowledge and mastery of the English language.

So, if that’s your goal – this is a book you don’t want to miss.

About Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis was an American grammarian and lexicographer, one of the leading authorities on English-language skills.

During his life he published many books on language-related topics, some of which – such as Roget’s New Pocket Thesaurus in Dictionary Form and 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary – are perennial bestsellers.

Word Power Made Easy was first published in 1949 and has gone through several editions since then.

“Word Power Made Easy PDF Summary”

How do you read – let alone -summarize – a book the first sentence of which is: “Don’t read this book”?

Well, the truth is, you can’t: just like Norman Lewis advises in the second sentence, the only thing you can do with a book such as Word Power Made Easy is to work with it, to “talk aloud to it, talk back to it,” to “use your voice, not just your eyes and mind.”

Because:

Learning, real learning, goes on only through active participation.

So why would we even bother summarizing Word Power Made Easy?

Well, because we’ve had many people asking us what’s the deal with this book and should they get a copy of it.

And because we really want to tell them that this is one of those books you’ll never get tired of, a book which, just like A Dictionary, you’ll never regret buying – since it will certainly come in handy to you at least from time to time.

And here’s our overview of its content, which, we are aware, doesn’t do this book – by the way, rife with very helpful quizzes, tests, and progress checks – enough justice.

Part One: Getting Off to a Good Start

1. How to Test Your Present Vocabulary

First thing’s first:

Now, why would you care about your vocabulary?

Lewis answers this question straight away by pointing out that there exists ample evidence in favor of a close relationship between vocabulary and success. Put that in the form of a simple equation: more words = more money.

And how many words do you currently know?

Look no further for the answer to this question. The first chapter of Lewis’ book is basically a string of tests aimed at helping you discover whether your current vocabulary is “below average, average, above average, excellent, or superior in range, verbal speed, and responsiveness.”

Let’s just say that we don’t want to share our score with you.

2. How to Start Building Your Vocabulary

Have you ever heard of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis?

If not, it states that language determines your thoughts; in other words, a Russian actually distinguishes more shades of the blue than an American only because there are more words for the nuances in the Russian language.

So, what does that tell you about the necessity of learning new words?

Even though the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is perhaps an exaggeration, its’s undeniable that building your vocabulary will enrich your thinking.

Why?

Because words are pictures of things, and because the more things you can name, the clearer you see – and can communicate – the world.

3. How to Talk About Personality Types

In chapter three, you’ll be able to learn numerous words “that describe all kinds and sorts of people, including terms for self-interest, reactions to the world, attitudes to others, skill and awkwardness, marital states, hatred of man, of woman, and of marriage.”

Through great examples, you’ll be able to pick up the difference between an egoist and an egotist, to learn what an ambivert is and that “misogamist” is also a word.

Lewis caps off the three sections of this chapter with the joyful revelation that, through them, you’ve probably already learned more words than you would have in a single year.

And we’re merely at the beginning.

4. How to Talk About Doctors

Have you ever noticed yourself skipping through the boring hospital talk in every second House episode?

Well, here’s your chance to act smart in front of your friends!

In chapter four you’ll learn many words related to both childhood diseases and skeletal deformities, heart and skin ailments, as well as disorders of the nerves and the mind.

5. How to Talk About Various Practitioners

This is the chapter in which you’ll be able to enrichen your vocabulary with some words such as “orthodontist” and “optometrist,” “podiatrist” and “gerontologist.” Also, here you’ll get acquainted with many related words and start becoming more and more conscious of how words work.

6. How to Talk About Science and Scientists

Here you’ll learn the names of some of the more important explorers of knowledge – i.e., the names (and meanings: always meanings) of many different scientific disciplines: “an anthropologist,” “a geologist,” “an entomologist,” “a semanticist,” “a sociologist,” etc. As always, Lewis adds a section in which he explains the etymology of these internationalisms, as well as many tests for self-assessment.

7. How to Talk About Liars and Lying

Not all people who lie are the same. Some of them are consummate liars, while others are congenital liars; the egregious liars are a story for themselves; and the glib liars are capable of distorting facts as effortlessly as saying their names.

8. How to Check Your Progress: Comprehensive Test

Each of the three parts of Lewis’ book ends with a 120-item comprehensive test. Don’t skip this one!

Part Two: Gaining Increased Momentum

9. How to Talk About Actions

Part two moves from nouns to other parts of speech. And chapter nine opens with a bunch of verbs which “accurately describe important human activities.” Learn what “disparaging,” “equivocating,” “militating,” and “obviating” means through examples and funny comments. Of course, all the related words and their etymologies are once again there for your pleasure.

10. How to Talk About Various Speech Habits

These are words “that explore in depth all degrees and kinds of talk and silence.” So, if you want to learn what “taciturn” or “garrulous” means and you don’t want to sound “inarticulate” and “banal” the next time you’re out with your friends – this is the chapter to work with.

11. How to Insult Your Enemies

Everybody is capable of insulting other people, but not everybody is a Shakespeare of insults (by the way, Shakespeare was, indeed, a Shakespeare of insults: look it up). So, here’s your chance to tell your enemies exactly what you think of them, be they sycophants or dilettantes, lechers or kleptomaniacs.

12. How to Flatter Your Friends

On a more positive side, there are also numerous words in the dictionary you can use to flatter your friends. They’re great, true, but some of them are certainly “ingenious,” while others are “magnanimous;” yet a third one may be “perspicacious” – which is why you’d go to him or her to gain some insight into your problems!

13. How to Check Your Progress: Comprehensive Test II

One more 120-item self-assessment test – this time for Part II.

Part Three: Finishing with a Feeling of Complete Success

14. How to Talk About Common Phenomena and Occurrences

The world is full of number of things, claimed once Robert Louis Stevenson, and it’s great when you have the words to name at least some of them. This chapter introduces you to the concepts of “ephemerality” and “cacophony,” while also teaching you what “parsimonious” and “opulent” mean.

15. How to Talk About What Goes On

Sometimes, when you’re not only completely exhausted but also frustrated, you’re, in fact, “enervated.” Other times, when you can’t reach a decision and you are constantly changing your mind, you’re probably “vacillating.” Learn more of the similar here.

16. How to Talk About a Variety of Personal Characteristics

This chapter will teach you some “adjectives that describe insincere humility, dissatisfaction, snobbery, courtesy to women, financial embarrassment, sadness, etc.” So this is where to look for if you want to learn the meaning of words such as “impecunious,” “obstreperous,” and “innocuous.”

17. How to Check Your Progress: Comprehensive Test III

We don’t have to explain to you what you’ll find in this chapter now, do we?

18. How to Check Your Standing as an Amateur Etymologist

Most of the chapters in Lewis’ book start with teaser questions; this chapter reveals the answer to them.

Key Lessons from “Word Power Made Easy”

1.      You Are an Amateur at Learning New Words – at Least Compared to Your Child
2.      Words Are So Powerful That They Can Radically Change Your Worldview
3.      To Get New Ideas – Get New Books

You Are an Amateur at Learning New Words – at Least Compared to Your Child

Norman Lewis starts is book with one rather insulting statement: “Once—as a child—you were an expert, an accomplished virtuoso, at learning new words. Today, by comparison, you are a rank and bumbling amateur.”

However, as he explains further on, this is nothing more but a simple fact!

You see, children are capable of learning at a rate of a several hundred new words per year since the age of four and many of them will acquire recognition vocabularies of about twenty thousand words by the age of ten!

You, on the other hand, should be happy if you increase your vocabulary by as much as fifty words a year – and that is, only if you’re one of the more skillful learners.

Words Are So Powerful That They Can Radically Change Your Worldview

“Increasing your vocabulary does not mean merely learning the definitions of large numbers of obscure words,” writes Lewis, “it does not mean memorizing scores of unrelated terms.” It means something far more – becoming a better, newer you.

Or in the words of Lewis,

[Increasing your vocabulary means] becoming acquainted with the multitudinous and fascinating phenomena of human existence for which words are, obviously, only the verbal descriptions. Increasing your vocabulary—properly, intelligently, and systematically—means treating yourself to an all-round, liberal education. And surely you cannot deny that such an experience will change you intellectually—will have a discernible effect on your methods of thinking—on your store of information—on your ability to express your ideas—on your understanding of human problems.

To Get New Ideas – Get New Books

Think of it this way: many of the words you know now have been invented at some point in time by certain poets, philosophers, scientists, thinkers.

Before Freud, nobody could say “Oedipus’ complex” or “superego;” and yet, nowadays, so many people in the world know what they mean.

The point is that words structure the universe into comprehensible patterns of meaning; and that acquiring new words always means acquiring new ideas as well.

So, if you want to learn new words, in addition to reading books such as Word Power Made Easy, you can also try reading new books of any type – but never dumbed-down versions of them. Old words bring nothing new with them; but new words – bring whole universes.

And this all reminds us of a great Michael Blumenthal poem called “Inventors” in which the poet talks about the miraculous power of newly invented words. This is the beautiful final stanza – which we felt that we needed to quote in full:

Just think of it—
your tongue rolling over the first pharmacopeia
like a new lover, the shuddering thrill of it,
the way the air parts in front of your mouth, widening
the world in its constant uncertainty. Go on.
Let your mind wander. Imagine being the first to say:
I love you, oregano, onomatopoeia.

Just imagine it.

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“Word Power Made Easy Quotes”

Words are the instruments by means of which men and women grasp the thoughts of others and with which they do much of their own thinking. They are the tools of thought. Click To Tweet If a student has a superior vocabulary… it will probably follow that he will do better work academically. Click To Tweet Educational research has discovered that your I.Q. is intimately related to your vocabulary. Click To Tweet No matter what your age, you can go on learning efficiently, or start learning once again if perhaps you have stopped. Click To Tweet Successful people have superior vocabularies. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Norman Lewis Word Power Made Easy offers an alternative way to learn new words; it is also a better way to learn them since the book rightfully supposes that words can only be absorbed properly if placed in certain context and that’s the way the book introduces most of them.

So, you want to become a word-wizard?

Here’s a great place to start!

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Why I Am a Hindu PDF Summary

Why I Am a Hindu PDF SummaryFor most people, religion is an inherited prophecy and a cultural element that is passed from generation to generation.

For others, it’s a deep connection with the ultimate source or one’s inner beingness.

The author tries to unveil the real essence of Hinduism and tackle the impurities!

Dive right in!

Who Should Read “Why I Am a Hindu”? And Why?

Indian mysteriousness has always been quite a thorn for European invaders, who wanted to label Indians one way or the other. They quickly discovered that cultural diversity and mysticism is widespread, which goes against the conventional classification of a group.

With that being said “Why I am a Hindu” recounts some historical events and personal dogma that shaped the author’s understanding of Hinduism.

Actually, we believe this book is an excellent addition not just for Hindus, but for all others who want to explore the depths of this enigmatic belief system.

About Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor is a distinguished Indian personality, politician and an international diplomat who is currently designated as a member of the Lok Sabha.

He is the author of a dozen books, which mostly relate to India’s ups and downs throughout the course of history.

“Why I Am a Hindu PDF Summary”

Shashi Tharoor, as an acclaimed author and renowned politician, starts by explaining the two key reasons for writing this book:

  • To explore the virtues, aspects, and dispute points in Hinduism
  • To share grave concerns regarding the vicious forms of Hinduism that rose to the surface in the 1980s.  

His viewpoints regarding Hinduism fall under practicality; which means that he only exposes the virtues and facets that apply to the broader audience. Nonetheless, Shashi takes the safe side by explaining that his book doesn’t cover the entire scope of Hinduism.

He reflects only on those Hindu-aspects he finds appealing and meaningful. Bear in mind that if you disagree with the ideas presented by the author, you should stick to your path and follow your soul.

The book is divided into three sections

  • Part 1: My Hinduism
  • Part 2: Political Hinduism
  • Part 3: Taking Back Hinduism

Before taking the fast track to explain Hinduism without omission, one might wonder about the Hindu origins? Who invented this term actually?

In many European languages including French – the word “Indian” is on the same wavelength as “Hindu.” As it turns out, the word Hindu refers to people living beyond the River Sindhu – modern day Pakistan.

Truthfully, Indian Language had no place for “Hindu” until Europeans brought it up. It was used to define the society they’ve laid eyes upon on their conquest of India, which the people later embraced it.

Shashi Tharoor shares his two main reasons for being Hindu:  

  • Cultural – He feels immensely proud of Indian history.
  • Real Intellectual Understanding – As a person who has studied other religions, he believes that Hinduism is best suited for him.

The main driving force of being a Hindu is that Hinduism, unlike other religions, doesn’t profess false claims to gain popularity.

After all, having insights about a faith which allows you to stretch your imagination, without being subjected to hostile treatment is a great relief. This also means that a Hindu couldn’t be a heretic.

Without adhering to strict rules, you are more than welcome to apply your thoughts to anything. Indians are taught to be respectful towards others – it’s the very heart of diversity. Deviation from the original path is encouraged, and you can rightfully choose means to take you there.

Mahatma Gandhi, himself praised this form of integration and assimilation. There’s no worship policy, no thought-police; but a flexible system lacking rigid principles.

Since God represents the Alpha & Omega and is ever-present; this universal truth is commonly referred to as Nirguna.  It’s an abstract element without attached qualities, shapes, and other features. With this in mind, the Vedas tend to use the pronoun “kasmai” (who?) that depicts the inconceivable God.

According to Shashi, people need visualization or something that can be worshiped. Apparently, the nirguna Brahman was not enough, even though this is the heart of Hinduism. This impelled the worshipers to conceptualize a form which can be recognized as Ishvara or Bhagavan.

The monotheistic faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam don’t have a divine source equivalent to Brahman. In layman’s terms – the Hindu’s Ishvara is the closest these religions can get regarding their knowledge of the universal power.

From the outset, Hinduism spontaneously absorbed other tribal religions and forms. In this endeavor, it embraced the doctrine of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, while acting tolerantly towards his followers with regards to their belief system.

The same thing happened to Buddhism. Hindus turned the table around by attempting to assimilate Buddhism while referring to the Buddha as the reincarnation of Vishnu.

As you can see, Hindus, unlike its counterparts have no monopoly over a path one should take in order to get to the truth.

The tenets of practical Hinduism revolve around agnostic teachings that can bring you one step closer to realization. With regards to one’s cultural environment, place of birth, social conditions, a path will be formed.

No monopoly over the truth, and freedom to exercise your rational or agnostic belief. The path to salvation is not predetermined by the group or higher religious authority like a priest. It lies within the heart of the person; whose actions define its religious conviction.  

Westerners and Indian Scholars believe that Hinduism is the only religion worldwide which doesn’t discard the invisible portrait of “God” introduced by other faiths. This very attribute depicts Hindus as henotheists; a group of believers which doesn’t underestimate other religious doctrines.

Even the British who spent quite some time in India failed to understand the core of the Indian culture. In an effort to comprehend Hinduism they created their own divisions.

Politics and Hindutva

According to the author, secularism has divided India and added to a moral deficiency. Comparatively, it stirred up religious extremism which undermines years of cultural evolution.

The secular project itself was brought to its knees due to this prevailing doctrine that threatens to tear it down.

From another standpoint, one can also pay heed to secularism through its terminological implications and realize its connection with dharma-nirpekshata. Introducing dharma on a national level is critical, but that mustn’t be done at the expense of the pluralist structure in India.

From its early days, India has been the center for multiformity and the existence of opposites. For a person to latch onto this insurmountable bulwark of truth, it must accept the magnitude of diversities which permeates all over the world.

Most of the Indians, not to mention Westerners, fail to recognize the real meaning of Hindutva. The author zooms in on this outspread concept in order to have a glimpse into its substance.

Savarkar invented or created “Hindutva” to showcase the virtues, qualities, and opportunities for living life as a Hindu. In addition, it’s good to know that this notion embodies the cultural, religious and national ideals.

In layman’s terms: A person who practices Hinduism, accepts India as his/her motherland (matrbhumi) and defends the holy land of his/her ancestors (pitrbhumi) can be “branded” a Hindu.

Evidently, not all things were easily distinguishable.

Hindutva and Hinduism still cannot find common grounds on a handful of topics, and many misinterpretations have risen to the surface as a consequence of this stalemate. The trove of Indian antique and mystique treasure is not on the same wavelength as Hindutva, to say the least.

The identity of India-ness struggles to incorporate the Hindutva element into its core message. A topic that raises a lot of eyebrows and instigates a personal and political debate.

If we take into consideration the King-subordinate aspect, we might conclude the ruler can hold the reins according to his raj dharma. This constitutional way of governance, mustn’t be underlined by the king himself, but by the unattached humanitarian rishis.

Indeed, some Indians reckon that the Indian Constitution was made on a whim. The creation process wasn’t not fueled by dharma and nobility, and it seems like the Indian Constitution is a brainchild of Britain.

The concept of dharma omits from its essential elements.  

Shashi Tharoor finds it incredibly hard to agree with the follower-base of Hindutva. He strongly disagrees with the atrocities committed in the name of Hinduism and openly confronts them.  

For precisely the same reason he asserts that liberalism as a political ideology is intertwined with Hinduism, to some extent. It advocates for freedom of thought, open-mindedness and that’s why he considers himself to be one.

In this book, he also points out Obama’s recent talk about cultural tolerance, according to which, Indians must live by as they did for centuries.

Key Lessons from “Why I Am a Hindu”

1.      Religious Diversity is a Powerful Weapon
2.      Total Disregard for Thought-Police
3.      Liberalism and Strength

Religious Diversity is a Powerful Weapon

Economically, India lacks behind its Western counterparts, but when it comes to psychology and tolerance – it was and still is years ahead of its own time.

From the ancient scripts to modern-day interpretations of life, we can see that Indians have immense broadness in their way of perception.

Hinduism incorporates various forms and allows its believers to seek salvation in the way they deem fit.

Total Disregard for Thought-Police

Unlike most other faiths and doctrines, Hinduism prompts you to be yourself; and you’ll rarely be pestered about your religious convictions.

It’s a mental and philosophical luxury that should be exploited to the maximum extent.

Liberalism and Strength

Indian national identity is not easy definable as it is with most other countries. The main reason for this disputed point is the different understanding of being “Hindu” and “Indian.”.

We leave you be the judge of this ambiguous outlook.

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“Why I Am a Hindu Quotes”

We tend to reduce everyone else to the limits of our own mental universe and begin privileging our own ethics, morality, sense of duty and even our sense of utility. All religious conflicts arose from this propensity to judge others. Click To Tweet Hinduism professes no false certitudes. Its capacity to express wonder at Creation and simultaneously skepticism about the omniscience of the Creator are unique to Hinduism. Click To Tweet The soul continues from life-cycle to life-cycle, hopping from body to body as a caterpillar climbs onto a blade of grass and jumps to a new one. Click To Tweet Be good so that you are reborn in a better situation in your next life than in the present one; if you are good, you may reappear as a king or a sage, whereas if you are bad, you might come back as an invalid or a mosquito. Click To Tweet The Vedas teach that the soul is divine, only held in the bondage of matter; perfection will be reached when this bond will burst and the word, they use for it is, therefore, mukti—freedom, freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In all honesty, we didn’t have much knowledge regarding Hinduism prior to reading this book. It opened our eyes to the drawbacks of other religions and made us aware of the strongest features that describe Hinduism.

We find it highly informational and philosophical even. A remarkable assemblage of quotes, thoughts, and insights!

You should definitely pass through its key takeaways.

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All the Light We Cannot See Summary

All the Light We Cannot See SummaryReady for a tearjerker you can read while riding the subway?

How about a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel?

Believe it or not, we’re talking about one book:

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.

Who Should Read “All the Light We Cannot See”? And Why?

If you are interested in the Second World War, here’s one book which covers the more personal aspects of it, both from the perspective of a French girl and a German boy.

Also, if you want a profoundly tender story which talks about the things which connect us even in the time of war in beautiful, symbolic language – then look no further.

Anthony Doerr Biography

Anthony DoerrAnthony Doerr is an American author, writer of two novels, two short story collections and a memoir.

He debuted with The Shell Collector, a collection of short stories set mostly in Africa and New Zealand. Both his first novel, About Grace, and his memoir, Four Seasons in Rome, were well received, but neither brought him nationwide acclaim.

Doerr’s second short story collection, Memory Wall, won him a few prizes, but it was his second novel, All the Light We Cannot See, which brought him to the fore as a major writer, receiving both critical and popular acclaim.

Plot

When Anthony Doerr was writing All the Light We Cannot See, he was consciously writing a book for the 21st century!

Knowing full well that, in this day and age, nobody has the time and energy to read long fiction works such as War and Peace or Anna Karenina – or even half-fiction such as The Gulag Archipelagohe opted to write All the Light We Cannot See in hundreds and hundreds of concise chapters.

You know, the ones you can read on your break or while riding the subway; we guarantee you that that’s where you’ll read most of All the Light We Cannot See if you decide to.

However, the fact that you’ll always yearn for at least one more chapter doesn’t mean that this is a straightforward story.

For one, it’s not told in a chronological manner, with the chapters continually jumping back and forth across time. It’s also told through two different perspectives which makes the reading even more complicated. But, also – even more entertaining as well. In fact, it’s fascinating to think that Doerr managed to write such a readable and unputdownable book when you take into account its narrative intricacies and experimental subtleties!

So, bravo, Doerr!

And we apologize sincerely for simplifying your great novel for the purpose of this summary.; but, unfortunately, that’s the only way one can write a 2000-word summary of a book such as this; and we do it out of respect and admiration.

So, let’s go!

1934–1940: Marie-Laure’s Childhood Before the War

In 1934, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, one of the two main characters of this novel, is the 6-year-old daughter of Daniel LeBlanc, a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris.

She has a great childhood and an even better relationship with her father. However, she starts losing her eyesight and goes blind before her seventh birthday.

Daniel adapts to this and starts teaching Marie-Laure Braille and buying her beautiful books such as Jules Verne’s adventure novels Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He also makes her – for each of her subsequent birthdays – small wooden puzzle-boxes which require a sequence of actions to be opened and which hide a small gift inside.

Marie-Laure likes them very much and becomes especially adept at solving them. She also becomes adept at finding her way around Paris without even leaving her room. And that’s because Daniel makes for her detailed wooden models of the city so that she can memorize Paris by touch. Of course, when he is not working, he also spends hours teaching her to navigate herself around the actual city.

And when he is working at the Museum, Daniel is the guardian of a mystical blue diamond with red flames at its center. As Marie-Laure learns during one visit of her father at the Museum, this diamond – called the “Sea of Flames” – is rumored to be cursed:

The curse was this: the keeper of the stone would live forever, but so long as he kept it, misfortunes would fall on all those he loved one after another in unending rain[…] But if the keeper threw the diamond into the sea, thereby delivering it to its rightful recipient, the goddess would lift the curse.

1934–1940: Werner’s Childhood Before the War

Meanwhile, in Germany, Werner Pfennig is an 8-year-old boy (two years older than Marie-Laure) who lives at an orphanage with his sister Jutta in the coal-mining town of Zollverein.

Most of the grown-ups here work in the mines, so you can’t blame Werner for fearing that he will end up there too as soon as he turns fifteen.

Even though he obviously deserves much more: not only he knows how to speak French (taught by the head of the orphanage, Frau Elena), but he is also particularly interested in the sciences.

One day, he and his sister Jutta find a broken short-wave radio behind the orphanage. Somehow, Werner manages to repair it and tune in to a nearby broadcast. These are the first words – symbolically powerful – he hears:

Open your eyes, concludes the man, and see what you can with them before they close forever, and then a piano comes on, playing a lonely song that sounds to Werner like a golden boat traveling a dark river, a progression of harmonies that transfigures Zollverein: the houses turned to mist, the mines filled in, the smokestacks fallen, an ancient sea spilling through the streets, and the air streaming with possibility.

It’s a regular broadcast from France on science and all related matters, aimed at younger listeners. So, it’s like Werner stumbled upon a hidden treasure!

He uses his knowledge to repair the radio of a certain Herr Siedler, a powerful Party official, who expresses his gratitude by recommending Werner to the National Institute, a prestigious Nazi school. Needless to say, Werner passes his exams.

Finally, he can let off some steam: he can now be sure that he will not work in the mines.

1940: The Invasion of France: Marie-Laure in Saint-Malo

But then, at the end of 1939, the war erupts.

Just a year later, the Germans invade Paris, and Daniel and Marie-Laure have no option but to flee from Paris. They go to Saint-Malo where Marie-Laure’s great-uncle Etienne LeBlanc lives.

Daniel has another reason to flee.

Unbeknownst to Marie-Laure, he is tasked with guarding the Sea of Flames diamond. Or, at least one of the three exact copies of it, made as a diversion.

All of them have been handed to four different guardians, none of which knows whether he as the original in his possession. So, even though three of the gems are worthless fakes, all four protectors are sent to different parts of France and advised to keep them with their lives.

Daniel hides his Sea of Flames in a small wooden “puzzle-box” replica of the house they’re living in which fits perfectly in the model of Saint-Malo placed at the foot of Marie-Laure’s bed so that she can learn this town by touch as well.

In time she does. But by that time, she spends all of her time at home. The good part: this means that Marie-Laure gets to know her great-uncle better, for he doesn’t leave the house as well.

And she learns that even though a reclusive and an eccentric (probably because of a PTSD from World War I), Etienne is also a very likable man who knows a lot about science.

And get this!

His deceased brother Henri – i.e., Marie-Laure’s grandfather – knew just as much. And the two used to broadcast science shows from a secret radio room in the attic of the house.

Yup: that’s who Werner learned his science stuff from!

1940–1944: Werner at the National Institute

Speak of the devil.

Werner is acing his classes at the National Institute, which, of course, means that he’s slowly but surely turning into a Nazi. However, there’s always something more in him, something which resists a total transformation:

Werner is succeeding. He is being loyal. He is being what everybody agrees is good. And yet every time he wakes and buttons his tunic, he feels he is betraying something.

In fact, it is this feeling of “betraying something” which will get Werner expelled from the National Institute.

At first, his capabilities win him the favor of his physics professor Dr. Hauptmann with whom he spends a lot of time designing a radar system. However, when his friend Frederick refuses to torture a prisoner and is savagely beaten for this, Werner (who, by the way, agrees) asks Dr. Hauptmann to leave the school to deal with the trauma.

OK, says Hauptmann, you can leave it.

By going to the army, that is.

1940–1944:The French Resistance

One day, Daniel LeBlanc informs Marie-Laure that he needs to leave immediately but will be back soon. Months pass, and this doesn’t happen; it’s become evident that Daniel has been arrested by the Germans who had noticed him measuring distances and drawing buildings in Saint-Malo.

You’ve read our summary pretty carefully, and you know the reason why he would do such a thing; but the Nazis haven’t, and they suppose that he’s a spy.

In Daniel’s absence, Marie-Laure grows even closer with Etienne and longtime housekeeper Madame Manec.

And Madame Manec is not an ordinary maid: she, along with other local elderly women, does whatever she can to undermine the Nazis in a myriad of small ways. Unfortunately, after some time, she grows ill and dies.

It’s time for Etienne and Marie-Laure to do something in her honor.

And they do!

Marie-Laure goes to the bakery store every day and collects notes from the Underground hidden in the loaves of bread, which afterward Etienne broadcasts from the restarted radio.

In the meantime, Marie-Laure receives a key to a secret hiding place (a grotto in the city wall, at the skirts of the sea) from an old man named Harold Bazin.

1944: Everybody’s in Saint-Malo

In the army, Werner continues doing what he does best: using his radio skills to track down enemy broadcasters (mostly in Russia). However, since his discoveries lead directly to the murders of the secret broadcasters – and, in one case, an innocent little girl – he’s starting to feel less and less at ease with his job.

At the same time, he’s haunted by memories of his childhood, when radio broadcasting seemed to him a way of bridging the gap between people (he was learning about the world in French) and when science was all about the wonder and the beauty of this world; and not about its ugliness and death.

By chance, at around this time Werner – together with a large soldier named Frank Volkheimer – is ordered to find and destroy a secret radio station broadcasting Resistance messages from Saint-Malo.

He traces the network to Etienne’s house; and then he realizes that it’s the same radio station from where the beloved broadcasts of his childhood had been emitted.

After a second of hesitation, he decides to leave the broadcast to continue.

Meanwhile, Saint-Malo is visited by another colorful figure: a Nazi gemologist and official by the name of Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel.

His job?

To track down the Sea of Flames diamond.

He has already found the other three gems and realized that they were fakes; now, he’s in Saint-Malo to acquire the last one, the actual jewel.

And he has an even stronger reason to do it, in addition to this being his official task.

Namely, though he doesn’t fully believe the story behind the diamond, he is struggling with a malignant tumor; so, at least he wishes to be true: he’s secretly hoping that the Sea of Flames may save his life.

August 7, 1944: The Allied Bombing of Saint-Malo

Few days before August 7, 1944, American airplanes drop pamphlets informing the French citizens of Saint-Malo to leave the town.

Since, by this time, Etienne has been sent to jail for being a resistance fighter, Marie-Laure is alone in the house, and the message doesn’t reach her.

She is in the house when the Allied forces begin the bombing of Saint-Malo.

Werner is also there, hiding with Frank Volkheimer in a cellar beneath a hotel. From there, he is able to listen to the radio program from Marie-Laure’s house.

And there’s still such a thing, since Marie-Laure makes her own broadcasts, reading pages from her favorite book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

However, von Rumpel has discovered Marie-Laure’s hiding-place in the meantime and believes that she must know where the diamond could be. In fact, it is his suspicion that leads Marie-Laure to a revelation: she discovers the diamond in the puzzle-box replica of Etienne’s house in the model-city of Saint-Malo!

Von Rumpel searches through the house in vain – he finds neither the diamond nor Marie-Laure. Afraid that he’s after her, Marie-Laure says during the radio broadcast that a man in her house is trying to kill her.

This animates Werner who uses a bomb to find a way out of the cellar. He rushes to the house of Marie-Laure where he arrives at the very last moment. He manages to kill von Rumpel and introduces himself to Marie-Laure, only to realize that she is blind.

Werner leads Marie-Laure to safety and, even though he spends just a brief time with her, he feels a strong and profound connection with her.

Marie-Laure feels the same, so she decides to tell Werner everything about the Sea of Flames, giving him the key to Harold Bazin’s grotto, where she eventually hides the diamond.

All the Light We Cannot See Epilogue

Marie-Laure and Werner spend some time together, and Werner manages to send Marie-Laure away into safety. However, very soon, he is arrested by American soldiers and sent to a disarmament center where he becomes ill. In a feverish delirium, he Inadvertently steps on a landmine and is instantly killed.

Marie-Laure, meanwhile, is reunited with the freed Etienne, with whom she moves back to Paris; they remain very close for the next decade, at the end of which Etienne peacefully dies.

Many years later – sometime around 1975 – Werner’s sister Jutta (now married with a boy named Max) receives a model house from Frank Volkheimer, Werner’s war buddy.

Jutta finds in it a key and information which leads her to France and Marie-Laure, now a respected specialist in mollusks and whelks with a daughter.

It seems that the last thing Werner had with him before he died was the gift from Marie-Laure.

The story fasts forward to 2014, and the 86-year-old Marie-Laure. Walking down the streets of Paris with her grandson Michel, she wonders about all the important people in her life who have now become spirits: Manec, Etienne, and, above all, her father.

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“All the Light We Cannot See Summary Quotes”

Don’t you want to be alive before you die? Click To Tweet Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever. Click To Tweet All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready? Click To Tweet We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs. Click To Tweet You know the greatest lesson of history? It's that history is whatever the victors say it is. That's the lesson. Whoever wins, that's who decides the history. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

All the Light We Cannot See won both the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

For a reason: it’s an exquisitely written and captivating novel, an emotionally charged read which is bound to bring tears on your face quite a few times.

And not many novels lauded by modern critics can do that, can’t they?

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One Indian Girl PDF Summary

One Indian Girl PDF SummaryChetan Bhagat is back at it again.

And this time he’s writing from the perspective of a girl.

One Indian Girl.

Who Should Read “One Indian Girl”? And Why?

One Indian Girl is dedicated “to all Indian girls, especially the ones who dare to dream and live life on their own terms.”

And these are the women who should read this enticing Bhagat novel.

Chetan Bhagat Biography

Chetan BhagatChetan Bhagat is an Indian writer, motivational speaker, and screenwriter, “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history.”

One of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” according to Time magazine, Bhagat has so far published ten books, eight of which are bestselling novels, almost each of them adapted for the big screen.

Find out more at http://www.chetanbhagat.com/

Plot

One Indian Girl is the story of Radhika Mehta, a vice president in the Distressed Debt Group at Goldman Sachs in London. She… but then again, let us allow her to introduce herself – as well as the main premise of the book:

Hi, I am Radhika Mehta and I am getting married this week. I am twenty-seven years old. I grew up in Delhi. I now work in London, at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. I am a vice president in the Distressed Debt Group. Thank you for reading my story. However, let me warn you. You may not like me too much. One, I make a lot of money. Two, I have an opinion on everything. Three, I’ve had sex. Now if I was a guy you would be okay with all of this. But since I am a girl these three things don’t really make me too likable, do they?

Well, Radhika, they probably would have made you at least somewhat likable in the US or most of the countries in the Western hemisphere.

In India, however, feminism and premarital sex are frowned upon.

So, to see if you are likable or not, we’ll have to fill out the details.

A good place to note that most of Radhika’s story is told in three extended flashbacks framed between a prologue and a tentative epilogue.

Let’s see what we can make out of them.

Prologue

It’s 3 in the morning, and Radhika Mehta is tossing and turning in her bed for at least the last two hours. She is about to get married in no less than fifteen hours.

“We have over 200 guests in the hotel,” she informs us, “here to attend my grand destination wedding in Goa. I brought them here. Everyone is excited. After all, it is the first destination wedding in the Mehta family.”

However, the only thing on Radhika’s mind is how to get out of some undisclosed mess, because, as she tells us, she is in a situation where she doesn’t have the slightest clue what exactly is going on.

It’s quite simple, though – which doesn’t mean that the solution for the chaos is as straightforward.

Namely, Radhika is about to get married to Brijesh Gulati, an intelligent and caring person who works at Facebook in San Francisco and for whom Radhika has some fond feelings.

Well, what’s the problem, you ask?

To start with, it’s Debashish “Debu” Sen who has just messaged her – after more than three years! – a heartfelt apology ribboned with an expression of love: “For the past few months I have been thinking of you constantly. Only had the courage to text you now. I made the biggest mistake. I didn’t value you. I love you.”

And if that isn’t enough, Debu has landed in Goa and wants to speak with her. Finally, they arrange a meeting.

Radhika is furious and starts insulting him for coming to India and infiltrating the bhajan ceremony at the wedding reception. “Don’t you remember the days in New York?” Debu asks her later. “We had issues, yes, but how can you forget all the happy memories?”

“No, Debu, I have forgotten nothing,” replies Radhika with a soft voice.

New York: Four Years Earlier

And we move across the globe to New York, where the bulk of the book is happening.

Also, we move back in time.

Apparently, Radhika Mehta is “a bit of a nerd.” She and her sister, Aditi – just a year older than her – went to school together in Delhi at Springdales, Pusa Road.

As she later found out, her parents had hoped that she would be a boy. And most probably they tried making Radhika and Aditi a brother on two more occasions – but their mother aborted twice because in both cases they would have gotten a third sister.

Unfortunately, not that of a rare occurrence in Indian families.

Radhika’s intelligence and work discipline eventually got her to Goldman Sachs, New York, where one evening, her batchmate from IIMA, Avinash, introduces her to the Debu, the so-called “dreamer-philosopher” of the group.

However, for a dreamer philosopher – with a beard and an uncombed hair – Debu has a pretty mundane job, working for an advertising agency on Madison Avenue, BBDO.

Apparently, the most creative thing he could find.

Anyway, Radhika learns that he is just one batch senior to her and holds a master’s degree from the very same school.

Also, that he is not only handsome, but also smart and intelligent. And that she really wants him. Like, really, really wants him.

Of course that’s a euphemistic cue for Radhika’s first sexual experience, which leads to a revelatory moment: “Why don’t people do this all the time?” Radhika thinks to herself while Debus is pleasuring her. “Wow, why didn’t anyone tell me sex feels so damn good?”

Radhika and Debu start dating and eventually even living together. Unfortunately, not everything is going smooth and well, mostly because of Radhika’s hectic working schedule.

Things turn from bad to worse when Radhika decides that she wants to plan a future together with Debu and starts implicitly pressuring him into marriage.

And they escalate after Radhika gets a bonus of 150,000 dollars (70-lakh rupees), which, in itself, is twice Debu’s salary. Could she go on living with someone who earns so little? Especially when he is not that happy with Radhika’s achievements, reacting to her bonus with the underwhelming “these banks!”

In fact, Debu seems even less interested in going out with Radhika. He would rather have a simple housewife for a partner, than a strong, independent woman who earns so much than him and is never around.

They separate, and the separation gets Radhika into thinking whether she was right to prioritize her job to Debu.

So, she tries to amends.

A month after the separation, after having a few glasses of wine, she decides to quit her job: “No deal or company or job was worth it. I only enjoyed all this when I had Debu. I needed love.”

She goes instantly to Tiffany and buys a wedding ring worth 2,000 dollars.

Then, she heads off to Brooklyn Heights, where Debu has in the meantime moved back into with his old roommates. She finds the keys of the apartment under the potted plant outside the flat and enters Debu’s room.

She wants to “give him a complete surprise [coming] with news of a resignation, a bouquet of roses and a ring.” Instead, she is the one who ends up surprised:

I gently opened the door. I just wanted to slip into bed with him. A tiny bedside lamp was switched on. It took me a second to process what I saw: Debu and a white girl lay there naked, intertwined with one another. I couldn’t breathe. In hindsight, I realize I should have shut the door and dashed out. Instead, I froze.

Hong Kong: Two Years Earlier

So, it’s time for a transfer to the Goldman Sachs offices in Hong Kong.

“A compact, brightly lit and buzzing” city of seven million inhabitants, Hong Kong overwhelms Radhika upon arrival “with its insomnia and beehive activity.”

However, what really leaves her without words is her boss, Neel Gupta, who, though 20 years older than her, is incredibly smart and charming. In fact, at forty-five, he is already a senior partner at Goldman Sachs!

The thing is Neel Gupta is also pretty smitten with Radhika especially after she manages to land a big deal at the Philippines.

His feelings grow deeper and become pretty apparent when he sends her 26 roses for her 26th birthday. And in the 26th chapter of the book, at the beaches of the Pangulasian Island Resort at the Philippines, just after the deal-closing celebration dinner soaked in quite a few drinks, this happens:

We looked at each other and smiled. I don’t know why, call it girl intuition or whatever, I felt like something was going to happen. I could have moved away. But I didn’t. Maybe because I wanted it to happen. He leaned forward. He placed his lips on mine. They felt as warm and gentle as the water on my ankles. I closed my eyes. My hands moved halfway to stop him but lost the resolve to do so as the kiss felt amazing. He kissed me long and deep as dozens of waves broke and touched the soles of my feet. He lifted his arm to draw me closer. Neel Gupta, partner, two decades older and my boss’s boss, held me tight and kissed me. This was not supposed to feel good. But never had a kiss felt this good. I didn’t protest. Maybe I should have. But when something feels so right it is hard to do so. I placed my palm on his face. The face I had seen every day for so many months, but never touched. I felt connected to him. I felt like the entire island existed only for this one reason, our kiss.

And you know what happens next. If you’re wondering how does this experience compares to Debu, don’t: “this was a completely new level of sensation and pleasure,” informs us Radhika. “If Debu was French fries, this was a gourmet six-course meal. If Debu was beer, this was champagne. If Debu was a boat, this was a luxury cruise.”

Unfortunately, there’s a problem lurking beneath all of this – you know, other than that of having sex with your boss who is twice your age.

You’ve guessed it:

Neel Gupta is married with kids.

But this doesn’t stop Radhika and Neel taking a few more business trips together and using each of them to the max – if you know what we mean.

It would take Radhika a year before realizing that Neel is not the man for her. The sudden revelation occurs to her during a discussion about motherhood.

When she says that she wants to have children and be a good mother, Neel laughs off “this mundane stuff” and tells her that she is getting carried away. “I never thought of you as the maternal type,” he tells her. “I don’t know if you were even meant to be a mother.”

A few days later, a letter of resignation signed by Radhika Mehta reaches Neel.

“Leave me if you have to,” says Neel to her. “Don’t quit the firm… You can take a transfer to another office. New York. London. Wherever.’

Well, “wherever” and “New York” are not going to work for Radhika: she is obviously running out of places due to her “relationship wrecks.”

So, London it is!

London: One Year Earlier

While Radhika is working in London, her mother discovers WhatsApp.

And you know what that means: constant bugging. And if you are an Indian, there’s one more thing coming you’ve probably already guessed: shaadi.com, the most famous matrimonial online service for Indians.

One day, Radhika succumbs to the pressure and decides to look through some profiles on the website – through her own profile set by none other than her mother.

She eventually connects with the Brijesh Gulati from the Prologue. They go out once, Radhika’s family likes him, and, well, you know where this all leads to: Radhika sighs a “yes.” “Maybe not an ‘oh my God wow’ type yes, but at least ‘there’s no reason to say no’ kind of yes.”

And that’s how we get back to the present and the $150,000-wedding at the Marriott Hotel in Goa.

One Indian Girl Epilogue

We left you there with Debu apologizing and begging Radhika to come back to him.

Complicated already, sure, but, wait, it gets even more complicated: Neel also contacts Radhika out of the blue and, out of the bluer (is that even an expression?) he too shows up at her wedding in Goa!

Apparently, he regrets leaving Radhika as well and to prove this, he has brought his divorce papers with him.

“My beautiful Indian princess,” he says to her after a brief explanation, “rather I should say smart, analytically sound and extremely beautiful Indian princess, will you marry me?”

Still wondering what kind of mess Radhika was talking about in the Prologue?

Her decision?

To quote a film we really like – this one – “in chess, it’s called Zugzwang. When the only viable move – is not to move.”

And Radhika decides not to.

She calls both Debu and Neel the morning before the wedding and at 5:28 AM, at a coffee shop, she relates to them her feelings:

I am not coming with you, or with you. There are fundamental things about both of you that won’t change. Debu, you say you will be supportive, but the fact that you couldn’t handle even a bit of my success means it’s an intrinsic part of you. You can’t change that. And I plan to be a lot more successful than what you saw. So, sorry, no […] And Neel, you are amazing, no doubt. The chartered plane, tempting, of course. Now with the divorce and everything I know you love me too. But you know what, you love only half of me. My other half is Kusum, the woman you left. You want a party girl. Someone young, who allows you to cling on to your youth. The same youth you work so hard in the gym for. Well, I won’t be this young girl forever. I don’t know what Neel Gupta will do with me then. He likes Radhika, his young vice president, but will he like Radhika, the diaper-changing wife and mom?

Just two minutes after this, as Neel and Debu leave, Brijesh enters the coffee shop. And Radhika – boy, she’s on a roll! – tells him that she wants to cancel the wedding as well.

For the next few months, Radhika travels around the world to find out what she really likes. Eventually, she contacts Brijesh while on a route to San Francisco.

The two meet for a coffee and reconnect.

“Brijesh, would you like to come to the Arijit Singh concert with me?” Radhika asks.

He says yes.

And then they start laughing.

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“One Indian Girl PDF Summary Quotes”

Women lie about their feelings all the time. It’s amazing how easily it comes to us. Click To Tweet If it is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Click To Tweet Some people are good at making decisions. I am not one of them. Click To Tweet This is how we girls are. At times we want to be wanted, even when we deny it. Click To Tweet If God hired an architect to design heaven, this was how it would be done. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

One Indian Girl is a romantic comedy with both chick-lit and feminist undertones, which reads as if originally written to be instantly adapted for the big screen. In fact, we predict that very soon it will be (as all of Bhagat books have been).

We mean, four cities, three men, one independent woman, first sexual experience, a passionate love affair with an older man, an arranged marriage gone haywire, lots and lots of humor – this is obviously a book which checks all the boxes!

The best part: it’s not dull for a second!

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Ignited Minds PDF Summary

Ignited Minds PDF SummaryThose of you that don’t know – this book has received wide acclaim mostly due to its exclusiveness. The author exerted himself in the effort to convey a message of sheer importance.

By creating a spark inside the hearts and minds of people, it instigated a change that India ought to follow.

Without further ado, let’s see what is the fuss all about!

Who Should Read “Ignited Minds”? And Why?

Even Abdul clearly states that this book is mostly written for the young and brilliant minds of Indian society.

In other words, “Ignited Minds” revolves around the topic of transforming India’s mentality by inciting the blossoming youth to take action.

We’ll see what will happen in years to follow.

A. P. J. Abdul KalamAbout A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

P. J. Abdul Kalam needs no introduction anywhere in India, and pretty much the rest of the world. He was designated as India’s President from 2002 to 2007 and was hailed for his contribution in physics and aerospace engineering.

While giving a lecture, Kalam died at the age of 83. He left a legacy of valuable insights for Indians to follow, and as a result, he was buried with full state honors.

“Ignited Minds PDF Summary”

In the Preface, the author addresses the young Indian population, and it urges them to ignite India with their creativeness. Without question, India, as a developing country, has unlimited potential in terms of resources, education, business, energy, you name it.

Abdul Kalam pondered about India’s recent decisions as a nation. What needs to be revolutionized, added, removed, achieved? It’s a long-term process that has to be addressed as soon as possible. According to him, it is the attitude in Indians which hinders the prospect of prosperity.

The book ruminates on a lot of topics but starts with the most important one – peace of mind. Without it, no country can soar to new heights, and as a result, stagnation will prevail.

The Dream and the Leader

The author recalls the thoughts swarming in its head after the helicopter crash. On 30th September 2001 – Kalam and the crew in that chopper looked death right into its eyes when the helicopter’s engines shut down in mid-air, and they started losing altitude, which resulted in a crash.

Miraculously, no one was injured, but they all started seeing the truth of this existence with different eyes. The doctors prescribed a tranquilizer to calm him down so that he could rest.

A strange dream followed.

One particular thought filled him with dread and confusion – Why is the human race so prone to violence? Then, he dreamed about five characters (Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Emperor Asoka, Abraham Lincoln, and Caliph Omar) who he so deeply admired. This dream engrossed him, made him aware of the reality.

These personalities were the answer to this puzzle, all living in different times but exerting a great influence on the upcoming generations.

It was perhaps the missing link to the fulfillment of its longings. Education in India became the battleground for this endeavor.

It became crystal clear to him that by integrating spirituality with education, one can achieve full satisfaction. Without one of these elements, a person can’t cope with the reality of today. Such strides will undoubtedly improve the wellbeing of a nation and add to world peace.

Kalam wholeheartedly argues that there is nothing wrong with having a desire for material things. Although a life with minimal possessions can help you grow inwardly, you mustn’t discard the effects of merging spirituality with the outer world.

One cannot do without the other, and due to this correlation – you must integrate both because nature doesn’t endorse half measures.

India’s wealth, in particular, is not reflected in the resource-rich areas, nor powerful tycoons but by the development of a smarter generation. Who are the role models for the Indian youth, who will act as a leader of the ignited minds?

Throughout life, we can’t help but be subjected to various treatments. In this process, one absorbs the knowledge of different figures, skilled or excelling at different things. When a child matures and strives to gain self-sufficiency – it patterns its life path after a role model.

Not emulating its trajectory, but building its own road based on the “dimensions” which are proven to be effective. It’s a great metaphor that will illuminate the upcoming generations regarding the real wealth of a nation!

Visionary Individuals and Saints

How many times have you been encouraged never to stop dreaming? It’s critical for a person who puts an accent on growth to hear this encouragement over and over again! – Kalam, apparently, thinks alike.

As an illustration of this unquenchable thirst, the author puts Einstein in the limelight.

He was so impressed by the compass and the movement of the needles, that he spent countless hours trying to understand why and who controlled their motion.

What was it made of, how can you stop it from spinning, etc.? These were few of the questions that propelled the young genius into exploring and looking at the depths of everything.

Dyer also adds to this lecture by pointing out that desire or urge incentivizes the Universe to bring those items/facts/opportunities/changes closer to you.

It’s science, not some faded theory!

One other example is India’s battle for independence. It’s entirely false to think that Mahatma Gandhi launched an unprecedented struggle for sovereignty. Indians embarked on this journey officially from 1857. It took them 90 years to achieve this, but it happened because the nation was united.

No one can deny the fact that India still struggles to maintain a stable economy, and a large portion of Indians live below the poverty line. However, it is moving forward, and that’s precisely why Kalam places the emphasis on the young folks.

India was able to withstand the storming hordes of colonialism and preserve its identity. The invaders tried to break India from within and incite divisions, but they faced stiff resistance throughout their reign.

Nonetheless, the effects of imperialism have taken a toll on India’s development.

In the process, India slumped to a lower position in the global arena, and it faces a brick wall when trying to rejuvenate its structure. The new generation now must revamp the fragile architecture of India while drawing strength from its roots depicted through spirituality and ancient wisdom.

Technology is not the spiritual adversary, but a guiding hand which can facilitate this transition. People with vision want to tackle the sociological impasse by scrutinizing the effects of inherent strengths. Indeed, India that needs to be brought into line with the 21st-century thought.

True Patriotism and Real Knowledge

Well, when you are invaded multiple times in the past 3000 years, you ought to learn how to defend yourself. That’s the message Abdul Kalam tried to convey while teaching at Alma University. Nehru spoke against the Nuclear Arms Race and pointed out that India should remain neutral in terms of developing nuclear capabilities.

Nonetheless, the author with regards to current circumstances indicates that two of India’s neighbors are armed with ballistic missiles, and that’s a force to be reckoned with.

The question is – Why did India never launched an onslaught against the nearby nations with whom they share their borders? Were the kings too afraid and pathetic or perhaps India is the core of diversity and always has been? You get the idea! Indians are tolerant people, but that attitude was used against them for centuries!

With more than 10,000 Nuclear Warheads in their arsenal, both the US and the Russian Federation dictate the terms in the Security Council of the United Nations. It stands to reason that without a proper defensive mechanism, India will never be able to play a significant role in worldly events.

When it comes to the belief system, Abdul Kalam was fortunate enough to learn the key elements of religions that are widespread on Indian soil. He arrived at a conclusion that all of them accentuate the importance of spiritual well-being.

The greatest adversary in India are not religious differences, but the people seeking divisions. It is those whose ideology differs from the heart of India, and they try to expand their interests by advocating for a cultural massacre.

In the process, the sense of unity crumbles underneath the never-ending desire for domination. It weakens the mission of the nation, and make it more prone to conflicts and recession not just in terms of economy.

This ultimately incites disappointed and a full-scale dejection. To avert this possible catastrophe, which is a direct consequence of selfish intentions; the youth must look beyond their noses and adjust its viewpoints.

In all honesty, a one billion people nation is tough to govern, especially when you have all the cultural and historical patterns engraved deep in the societal structure.

The best way to address the current impasse is by adapting the implementation program regarding the mission-mode – Kalam regularly concentrated on. The national and human resources are yet to be utilized by focusing on the policies enforced!

The Power of Goals

Maharishi Patanjali once said:

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world.

No one can break your spirit if you are driven by sincere motives that further incentivize you to handle the obstacles down the road.

The same thing applies to historical events that shaped India’s mindset.

Perhaps, there is not a country in the modern world that can match India’s history, culture, and all the facets that go with it. It’s needless to say that ancient India had a significant role in the rise of civilization by sharing its insights into human evolution and social well-being.

Yes, there were hard times that most Indians wish they never happened, but let’s draw positives from the past in efforts to rebuild the future.

The spirit of eager and proud Indians will never be crushed, and that’s the new generation Abdul Kalam is trying to bring to the surface. He exerted himself to portray them as real heroes who should care for prosperity stretching beyond their agendas.

Key Lessons from “Ignited Minds”

1.      Growth doesn’t happen overnight
2.      Attitude is key
3.      Governing doesn’t mean ruling

Growth doesn’t happen overnight

We hate to say it, but this is not a lottery. It’s a long and exhausting process that should help India to stabilize its key aspects and convert into a global Superpower.  

The young generation ought to lay the groundwork for this endeavor.

Attitude is key

Perhaps, Kalam didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but his core message revolves around India’s character.

He voiced grave concerns in terms of the nation’s determination in achieving strategic and personal goals.

We sincerely hope that – Indian Youth will deal with this issue, once and for all.

Governing doesn’t mean ruling

Indians are tired of ruling elites; ranging from the Mughal Empire to European Colonization. They simply don’t like to be ruled but guided and led by true reformers!

It’s a big difference, because in doing so – the country should safeguard their interests and care for their well-being.

Not many rulers did that in the past, to say the least!

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“Ignited Minds Quotes”

I realized then that if something is at stake, the human mind gets ignited and working capacity gets enhanced manifold. Click To Tweet Thinking is the capital; Enterprise is the way, Hard Work is the solution. Click To Tweet Change is crucial. It brings new thought; new thought leads to innovative actions. Click To Tweet Behind the parents stands the school, and behind the teacher the home. Click To Tweet If parents and teachers show the required dedication to shape the lives of the young, India would get a new life. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

As we said previously, this book is an excellent addition for all those ignited minds who want to bring about change in Indian society.

We found it highly amusing and immensely valuable due to its on the point narrative.

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The Laws of Human Nature PDF Summary

The Laws of Human Nature PDF SummaryGreene’s books undoubtedly exert a lot of influence on many people. He covers everything you need to know in order to detach from your emotions and remain vigilant.

Everybody expects nothing less than a pure brilliance from him.

The information is gleaned from 20th-century philanthropists, medieval reformers, ancient philosophers, personal experience and more.

Stay tuned to get a sneak peek into the author’s message.

Who Should Read “The Laws of Human Nature”? And Why?

Unlike most of the other self-help and psychological books, this one cover topics that seemingly elicit interest from the masses.

It gives us the lowdown on how to behave in mitigating and hostile circumstances, how to discern insults and how to act.

In other words, we find it highly inspirational and insightful, therefore, it’s safe to say that “The Laws of Human Nature” is prescribed for the wider audience.

Robert GreeneAbout Robert Greene

Although Robert Greene has faced some unwanted criticism regarding the message he endeavors to convey, his books continue to fill in the bestselling lists!

The author of five international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and Mastery – strikes again.

“The Laws of Human Nature PDF Summary”

Decluttering your mind seems like a hard work, which in fact, is. However, not having the best mindset in your pocket can backfire on you, and leave you on the brink of emotional destruction. If you are still on the fence, we’ll help you to pick up the pace.

The author merely wants to expose these destructive patterns and put you in full control over your decisions. It’s about time we put a lid on this constant chatter of thoughts and form judgments based solely on merit and rationality.

Generally speaking, a dearth of humility in the process, will hinder this evolution. Be open to various methods, and subdue your instinct to jump into conclusions. One can easily make mistakes, but that mustn’t be the cause of deep dejection.

In addition, let’s take a closer look at these life-altering Laws of Human Nature:

The Law of Irrationality

The first law denotes our emotional attachment to the decision making. Instead of perceiving the world through the lens of rationality, we lean toward emotions as a way of interpreting the extent of the problem or opportunity.

Unfortunately, this is one of those things that we can’t inherit or adopt. It’s a mindset that must be cultivated to tackle the urges to react and favor a more rational attitude.

The Law of Narcissism

To some degree, we all have engraved the narcissist traits within us – some more profound than others. Anyway, to lower people’s resistance when introducing your agenda, you ought to redirect that self-appreciation outwardly.

On top of that, pay heed to narcissists who are either passive or active aggressors and want to drag you into their endless drama. Beware of their hidden intentions and envy.

The Law of Role-playing

You don’t need anyone telling you that people love to wear masks, one for each occasion – metaphorically speaking. Nonetheless, they often reveal their true intentions through various non-verbal cues such as facial expression, body posture, nervous gestures, etc.

By being able to spot these signs of insecurity, you’ll able to outmaneuver and be one step ahead of them at all times. It’s an opportunity one must not take for granted, to say the least.

The Law of Compulsive Behavior

Honestly, people’s character is tricky to understand. It is often the real pillar of the rinse and repeat process. To put it differently, people tend to sing same old song throughout their lives.

You should bear this in mind, and grow fond of individuals who show signs of strength and courage. Being aware of your negative patterns will help you keep toxic people at a distance. If you don’t comply, this law will get the better of you.

The Law of Covetousness

It’s strange but true that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. A philosophical illustration that shows why humans bend over backward to obtain something slipping from their grasp. You can use this momentum to create a mysterious aura around your presence and leverage that position.

It’s a great way to become an intellectual lodestar and earn some respect. People love to explore the unknown, and playing by those rules could give you the upper hand.

The Law of Shortsightedness

The idea of maintaining long-term vision is too much for most people. They are lured by recent trends, opinions, and backlashes. These people who can’t see beyond their nose, often fall under the shortsighted category.

Keep your distance and associate with individuals whose goals are governed by a long-term perspective. They rarely become victims to some brinkmanship and prefer calmness over reaction.

The Law of Defensiveness

It’s needless to say that over time people take up a defensive stance, and react fiercely when someone advocates for change. If you want to ease off their resistance, you must urge them to alter their viewpoints but not by offending them.

If you want to take gigantic strides towards achieving your goals, one must strive for creativeness. Explain your noble intentions, and make them feel like they are in control of their opinions and patterns.

The Law of Self-sabotage

Whatever you feel, you radiate. By confining solely to negativity and fear, all the people with whom you share as much as a word will sense the habitual skepticism. Such an attitude will lower your chances of success, and make you more vulnerable.

It starts to sound a bit like a cliché, but a positive attitude is the only bridge standing between you and success. Cultivating such a mindset will help you to get the best out of everything, and see opportunities where others see a trap.

The Law of Repression

People are not who they pretend to be. It’s in their nature to try and conceal the darkness that prevails in their heart. Before you embark on a journey to observe the overall ignorance, one must become acutely aware of its shady urges.

By consolidating your enigmatic side into your personality, you’ll get to a vantage point from where you can act as an observer. This action ultimately has a pivotal role in your efforts to draw people to you.

The Law of Envy

The social construct of today endorses the struggle for position, status, and achievement. This, however, often stipulates a dose of stubbornness, which could be the fundamental basis for deep envy. Some individuals only wish to emulate the success of others, but not all of them.

Stay on full alert for unwanted attention and try to avert a potential conflict. Comparing yourself with others will only lower your self-worth and jeopardize your position in the societal circle.

Remember, actions speak louder than words!

The Law of Grandiosity

By all means, humans have a tendency to ponder about a lot of things. This includes our perpetual lust for success associated with the elevation to higher societal status. Nonetheless, most of the time these thoughts take the shape of grandiosity – a far cry from the actual truth.

We strive to gain superiority, and in the process, we lose contact with reality. As a result, we form irrational judgments and confine solely to fictional limits. Your attitude toward success must be brought into line with your overall contribution and the value you bring to other people.

The Law of Gender Rigidity

Truthfully, it’s not as straightforward as using a magic wand to subdue all masculine and feminine qualities. You have to work on your urges, and understand how this affects your thinking mechanism, and make you predictable and rigid in day-to-day encounters.

By eradicating these signs of masculine and feminine energy, you’ll introduce an authentic version of yourself to the world. You’ll no longer be obliged to act in a specific manner based on the features imposed on you.

In other words, resisting the temptation to play gender roles will put you on the fast track to success.

The Law of Aimlessness

In the digital age, people have to outdo themselves on an occasional basis in order to deal with the temporary disappointments and setbacks in life. On top of that, we fail to acknowledge the fact that a sequence of defeats is merely the end result of lacking direction.

Our judgment and decision are formed to fill in the short-term quote, leaving us exposed to potential threats that may hamper our chances for success. We know ourselves better than anyone, and we ought to use this knowledge to eradicate this sense of aimlessness.

The Law of Conformity

People want to give the impression of confident and self-sufficient individuals, but that’s rarely the case. We tend to pattern our choices after the group’s strides and inclinations. This social construct makes us adjust our mindset, and imitate the mob.  

As much as we want to pull back from this group mood, our lives are already infiltrated to the point of no return. In doing so, we end up deprived of our uniqueness followed by an impaired thinking mechanism.

The Law of Fickleness

When you absorb the role of a leader, prepare yourself for special treatment. Each mistake you make will be recognized as a chance for someone else to step up and take your crown. If you withstand these attacks, you’ll tackle all suspicions and maintain your status.

The best tool for such an endeavor is the authority. A wielder of legitimate power must help people to see him/her as the rightful leader. Proficient leaders practice this craft from early on because they are aware of its side-effects.

The Law of Aggression

The world needs your energy, and people feel disposed to try every trick in the book to get the better of you. They try to fulfill their longings by outmaneuvering different persons and assert their superiority on them.

Dealing with this group takes a bit of expertise and composure. If you remain only the observer of these aggressive moves, you’ll be able to stand your ground when things get out of hand.

Passive aggressors can be spotted from a mile away if you know the array of cues which correlate with their behavior. Aggressive energy is by no means bad! If you know how to channelize it, it will help you to remain bound and determined regardless of the temporary setbacks.

The Law of Generational Myopia

The generation gap is not a myth, because each new generation creates its own separate values and agendas. It forms the behavior of its members and compels them to exert a powerful influence on the world.

The problem is that yet again we are doing this at the cost of our innateness. We are restricting ourselves, without casting a shred of doubt on these concepts.

Make strides toward uniqueness, not mediocrity! Leave the generational narrowmindedness aside!

The Law of Death Denial

Death smiles at us all, and that’s the truth. Being aware of the unpredictability and shortness of this existence is truly a powerful tool one can embrace. It will help you to create a sense of urgency that will fuel your day-to-day activities.

Training your mind to think and act in a similar manner is undoubtedly a great way to achieve results much quicker. Don’t be obsessed with overshadowing others; just remain keenly aware of the mortality as an integral part of life.

Key Lessons from “The Laws of Human Nature”

1.      Tackle the narrow-minded aspects
2.      Use persuasion only as a last resort
3.      Define your goals

Tackle the narrow-minded aspects

It’s not easy to shift your mindset when certain concepts are so deeply rooted in your heart. All whining aside, it’s a process of utmost significance.

By expanding your horizons, you’ll surely prosper more than you ever thought possible.

Use persuasion only as a last resort

Despite what others have taught you, the number of people who love pushy persuaders and influencers can be counted on one’s fingers.

You have to respect one’s opinion before you decide to submit yours. Don’t act as if you know everything!

Define your goals

Although we try to refrain ourselves from sharing cliché tips, this one is based purely on merit. How can you reach your destination without knowing your bearings?

It’s a simple process that allows you to move with confidence and withstand potential threats.

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“The Laws of Human Nature Quotes”

Our continual connection to social media makes us prone to new forms of viral emotional effects. These are not media designed for calm reflection. Click To Tweet To this day, we humans remain highly susceptible to the moods and emotions of those around us, compelling all kinds of behavior on our part—unconsciously imitating others, wanting what they have, getting swept up in viral feelings of… Click To Tweet Your task as a student of human nature is to transform yourself into a master decoder of envy. Click To Tweet Do not be afraid to exaggerate the role of willpower. It is an exaggeration with a purpose. It leads to a positive self-fulfilling dynamic, and that is all you care about. Click To Tweet In developing your skills in this arena, you must learn to distinguish between the fake and the genuine smile. In trying to hide our negative feelings, we most often resort to the fake smile, because it is easy and people generally do not… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Now we see why Robert Green is hailed as one of the best authors of its own time.

His methods are always authentic and most importantly practical, which means – they are applicable in real life.

We must give this one, a Thumbs Up and 10/10 score. We really felt like it reflects the everyday struggle of an average Joe.

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Chasing the Scream PDF Summary

Chasing the Scream PDF SummaryThe First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

There’s a high chance that everything you know about addiction is wrong.

Why?

Because you have been methodically brainwashed by the so-called War on Drugs.

Chasing the Scream is here to settle the score.

Who Should Read “Chasing the Scream”? And Why?

If you want to find out more about how the War on Drugs started and who, in fact, was behind it, then there are not many books better than Chasing the Scream.

If you don’t have the time, then do yourself a favor and at least watch Hari’s TED Talk.

It will definitely change how you think.

About Johann Hari

Johann HariJohann Hari is a Swiss-born writer and journalist.

A regular columnist for The Independent, he was deemed one of Britain’s most influential leftists before two high-profile scandals in 2011 severely marred his reputation.

First, it was discovered that he had plagiarized some of his sources, and then that he used different accounts to vandalize the Wikipedia articles of some of his criticizers.

However, Hari’s books published since then – Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections – have been widely praised and debated.

 “Chasing the Scream PDF Summary”

Chasing the Scream was published in January 2015, exactly one century after the quiet commencement of the War on Drugs.

Now, War on Drugs – just like War on Poverty or War on Terrorism – is such a universally accepted war that it’s difficult to think what could be wrong with it.

In fact, it almost sounds like something nobody should have anything against. However, Johann Hari was a bit skeptical about that. And if we’ve learned one thing summarizing books here, it’s undoubtedly that it’s always good to be skeptical about things that people accept without thinking twice.

And Johann Hari wanted to think things many times over; in fact, he wrote Chasing the Scream because he didn’t think he could think of a satisfying answer to some quite interesting and vital questions:

Why did the drug war start, and why does it continue? Why can some people use drugs without any problems, while others can’t? What really causes addiction? What happens if you choose a radically different policy?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions either – and, believe us, chances are you don’t – then read ahead!

You’ll be shocked by some of the answers.

“Many of our most basic assumptions about this subject are wrong,” notes Hari. “Drugs are not what we think they are. Drug addiction is not what we have been told it is. The drug war is not what our politicians have sold it as for one hundred years and counting.”

Harry Jacob Anslinger

Remember that marvelously comical scene from Dr. Strangelove when General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) tries to convince Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) that water fluoridation is a Communist plot devised to sap Americans from their bodily fluids?

Well, believe it or not, the war on drugs seems to have started in a somewhat similar manner.

Just a century ago, people regularly drank cocaine-infused Coca-Cola and bought medicines which incorporated drugs such as heroin. Hell, you could even buy a tin of heroin from a department store if you were a high-society lady!

However, on December 17, 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was approved in the United States, the first drug controlling regulation in the world. Even though the act made prescribing drugs for the treatment of addiction illegal, it was still legal to distribute cocaine if you were a registered seller well into the 1930s.

And then Harry Anslinger happened to the world.

The guy – a staunch supporter of criminalization and prohibition of drugs – was the first commissioner of the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics. And he held that position for more than three decades, from August 12, 1930, to May 1962!

Now, Harry seems to have hated a lot both drugs and communists.

And he was so obsessed with them that sometime between the two world wars he made a startling connection which at the start must have been evident to him and to nobody else in the world.

Namely, that communists were smuggling drugs in the United States so as to make Americans addicts and undermine the strength of the United States.

OK, Harry!

We dig ya.

And apparently, that’s precisely what every country in the world said after Anslinger made his case before the UN in the 1950s.

Only without the sarcasm.

The War on Racial Minorities

But why was Anslinger so interested in suppressing drugs? Did he care so much about the American people?

Of course he did.

Only in his mind, the phrase “American people” seems to have had somewhat limited meaning, encompassing everybody but the African-Americans, the Hispanics, the Chinese, the communists, etc.

What we’re trying to tell you is not that the man who banned drugs was a racist; it is that he banned drugs because he was a racist.

In other words, he used drugs as an excuse to put many entirely innocent people – mostly African-Americans – in jail for, say, smoking marijuana.

Here’s how scientific were Anslinger’s claims about drugs:

1. “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
2. “Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy.”
3. “The increase [in drug addiction] is practically one hundred percent among Negro people.”

Think today is in any way different?

Think again:

“More than 50 percent of Americans have breached the drug laws,” remarks Hari. “Where a law is that widely broken, you can’t possibly enforce it against every lawbreaker. The legal system would collapse under the weight of it. So, you go after the people who are least able to resist, to argue back, to appeal—the poorest and most disliked groups. In the United States, they are black and Hispanic people, with a smattering of poor whites.”

The Birth of the Modern Junkie

Have you ever thought about how the junkies of pre-war US looked like?

Probably not.

And even if you did, almost certainly you can’t picture them in any way different from the ones living in your street. Namely, small-time thieves who regularly prostitute themselves for money and who are unable to function in any way whatsoever.

However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Before the Harrison Act and Anslinger’s all too personal war, drugs were cheap enough to allow many drug addicts to live quite normal lives.

However, once drugs were criminalized, their prices went up, and the living standard of drug addicts went severely down.

In fact, the word “junkie” itself may originate from this time (the 1920s) either because early addicts collected and sold scrap metal (junk) to pay for their addiction or because they bought narcotics which suddenly people started referring to as “junk” (not earlier than 1925).

The irony is rather staggering:

It was the War on Drugs which (practically out of nothing) created its enemy: criminal drug gangs; not the other way around.

The War on Drugs Today

In Ghettoside – an excellent book – Jill Leovy points out that “gangs are a consequence of lawlessness, not a cause.”

Well, as we explained above, the exact same thing seems to have happened with drug gangs.

Interestingly enough, it is still happening.

You see, drug dealing is a pretty lucrative, which also means a pretty risky, business. In other words, whether you’re cultivating, transporting or selling some drug, you’re pretty vulnerable to attacks at all stages of production and distribution.

However, if someone steals your drug from you, you can’t complain to the police about it, can you?

So, the lack of government laws – the lawlessness – incites you to implement some laws of your own. In other words, even if you want to merely transport cocaine and do nothing more, there’s a high chance that you’ll be unable to earn money from it unless you have a gun.

Or, better yet, a gang.

And the more gangs they are, the violence between them is more brutal; it is, after all, their only way to solve their problems; anything different means they will all go to prison.

And arresting drug dealers doesn’t help with violence reduction either; on the contrary, stats show that it aggravates things.

Why?

Because it creates a power vacuum.

And someone will almost certainly try to exploit it.

The Solution: Decriminalization

No, Hari is not talking merely about decriminalization of possession; he is talking about decriminalization and legalization of drugs altogether.

Here are some of the benefits we should expect if such a thing ever happens.

Humanization of Addicts

This is probably the most important benefit of them all: the humanization of addicts.

Even though these are human beings with serious problems (read more in the Key Lessons section), according to our present laws, these are criminals.

It is obvious that people who cause pain need discipline; but people in pain need a helping hand.

That’s why the governments of several European countries (Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany) have decided to set up supervised injection sites (SIS). These are centers where addicts can go and have their daily fix in sanitary conditions.

And in 2001, the Portuguese government decriminalized possession of any type of drug up to ten days; interestingly, it was the only European country to report a decline in drug use in the years which followed.

The Reduction of Drug-Related Crimes

As we explained above, legalization of drugs will, in turn, make stealing drugs a crime. This will have an enormously positive effect on the amount of violence among drug-related gangs. Put simply, you don’t need guns to protect yourself when you can call the police to protect you.

Furthermore, legalizing drugs should put in question their very existence. After all, when pharmacies and stores are able to sell drugs, their prices will suddenly go down.

Economic Rewards

Speaking of money, legalizing drugs should be enormously beneficial for the government as well.

Johann Hari has calculated that it should not only save the government about $40 billion dollars (usually spent on arresting and jailing dealers), but it should also earn it at least as much via taxes.

All in all, that’s more than $80 million dollars on a yearly basis!

Key Lessons from “Chasing the Scream”

1.      The War on Drugs Was a Pet Project of an American Racist
2      “The Opposite of Addiction Isn’t Sobriety – It’s Connection.”
3.      Drug Decriminalization and Legalization May Solve a Lot of Problems

The War on Drugs Was a Pet Project of an American Racist

Drugs weren’t illegal before the First World War.

In fact, they weren’t illegal in the sense they are today even during the decade after it.

But, then, Harry J. Anslinger became the first chief of the US Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. And he started an all-out attack War on Drugs.

In fact, he criminalized drugs so that he can settle some scores with the people he hated: African-Americans and communists.

And then he convinced the world to do the same.

“The Opposite of Addiction Isn’t Sobriety – It’s Connection.”

Have you ever wondered why people whose injuries are so severe that their pain must be alleviated with opiates don’t become addicts even if given loads of diamorphine for weeks?

An interesting experiment with rats may explain why.

Namely, if you put a rat in a cage with two bottles – one filled with water, and the other filled with water and heroin – there’s a high chance that the rat will only drink from the heroin-laced bottle until it dies.

However, as Canadian psychologist Bruce Alexander realized in the 1970s, if you make that cage a healthy environment (a sort of a Disneyland for rats) and the rat is not alone, then this doesn’t happen.

Hari’s conclusion:

It isn’t the drug that causes the harmful behavior—it’s the environment. An isolated rat will almost always become a junkie. A rat with a good life almost never will, no matter how many drugs you make available to him. As Bruce put it: he was realizing that addiction isn’t a disease. Addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you—it’s the cage you live in.

Drug Decriminalization and Legalization May Solve a Lot of Problems

Above everything else, the decriminalization and legalization of drugs could help transform drug addicts from criminals in need of discipline into human beings in need of a helping hand.

But, in addition, legalizing drugs should also reduce drug-related crimes and earn the government billions of dollars!

So why are we still in a war when everybody should benefit from the peace offer?

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“Chasing the Scream PDF Summary Quotes”

The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection. Click To Tweet It is a natural human instinct to turn our fears into symbols, and destroy the symbols, in the hope that it will destroy the fear. It is a logic that keeps recurring throughout human history, from the Crusades to the witch hunts to the… Click To Tweet It took me a while to see that the contrast between the racism directed at Billie and the compassion offered to addicted white stars like Judy Garland was not some weird misfiring of the drug war—it was part of the point. Click To Tweet Problem drug use is a symptom, not a cause, of personal and social maladjustment. Click To Tweet Wouldn’t it be better to spend our money on rescuing kids before they become addicts than on jailing them after we have failed? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Johann Hari’s career may have been marked by difficult-to-explain plagiarizing and sockpuppeting scandals in the past, but he arguably makes amends with Chasing the Scream.

It is, undoubtedly, the high point of his career.

The book is so great that Noam Chomsky called it “wonderful,” Bill Maher “terrific,” Naomi Klein “thrilling” and Stephen Fry “screamingly addictive.”

And do visit its site: it contains recordings of all the interviews inside the book just in case you’re wondering if some of them are plagiarized. (Kudos to rationalwiki.org.)

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