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Reviews and Feedbacks on Knocked Up – Part 3

Hello Friends,

After I finished with the final draft I approched few people from different backgrounds and age category. I wanted to know how people felt about my story and my writing style and does my story appeak to them in totality. So I gave away few sample chapters to these chosen group to read and to get their reaction. I am presenting herewith the reaction I got from that group;

“Malgudi Days meets 3 Idiots …. ha ha ha…Loved it!!!” Rupal Shah, Student

“This is a book for everyone…all age groups…I could literally imagine every situation as I have gone through such similar ones myself when I was young…Shaiju Mathew made me go nostalgic…Good book” Robert Pinto, ex-Principal.

“Love, Dosti etc… should have been the title of the book instead of Knocked Up… A book that really makes you value your friends…:) and makes you believe in the power of love” Rachit Seth, Entreprenuer.

“Knocked Up made me nostalgic… 3 cheers to Shaiju Mathew” R. Dinakaran, Manager – Bank of India.

“SIMBLY OUTSTANDING!!!” Rajesh Gupta, Student.

“The story has songs, dream sequences, humor, friendship, love etc… Knocked Up is an experience as it took me down the cinematic lane as it forced me to close my eyes and envision those moments in my mind… I think the language is so sweet and simple you can literally feel as if the book is being played in front of your eyes like a movie…Awesome is the first word that came into my mind” Rajiv Tandan, Aspiring Movie Maker.

“I was told that KNOCKED UP is a three part series… the first part was so engrossing I am eagerly waiting for the other two parts asap… Mr. Mathew has a good way of narrating a story” Robin Mathew, Student.

“Once this book hits the stands it will be a hurricane… too good to believe… fantastic writing skills, comedy is situational and funny… Characters are real and u dont get lost in the narrative… Chetan Bhagat will have heavy competition in the coming days” Ritesh Deshpande, Accountant.

“Pyar mein kabhi kabhi aisa ho jata hai…choti si baat ka fasana ban jaata hai… thats what I keep on singing whenever I think of the chapter where Sid had to severe ties with Becky becoz of a small misunderstanding… The dog chase chapter was hillarious to the hilt and the chapter where Prateik goes for singing lessons…OUTSTANDING!!! I am in love with each and every character of the book… YEH DIL MANGE MORE!!! Sirji kab doosri book chapoge?” Divakar Yadav, Student.

“Does people like Becky and Sid still exist in this world where reality programs like Emotional Atyachar and Splitsvilla are shown…where people doubt if true love exists… Shaiju Mathew through KNOCKED UP tries to revive the faith in love in a non-romantic girl like me… even I want a love story like Sid and Becky’s and a lover like Sid…” Bijal Shah, Student.

“Total filmy… someone should make a movie out of this book… Total BLOCKBUSTER content… Good work from Shaiju Mathew” Rohit Raghav, Jingle Artist.

“I am in love with Rupa and Prateik they are the most hillarious couple I have ever come across in any novel so far in my life….Keep it Up Shaiju” Sachin Hingorani, Student.

“Shaiju Mathew’s style of writing is very simple and could be easily understood by any person…basically the story is very simple and uncomplicated and the situations are identifiable…Loved it” Sushma.P, Call Center Exec.

These were few comments I got recently… I am waiting for more after the book releases in a grand way in India on 18th September 2010….

Fantastic Feedback received for KNOCKED UP

Friends, I would like to share this particular email I received from a person who eats, drinks, sleeps & lives on books. Someone who really understands stories and its potential, someone who can not only judge a book by its cover but also by its content. The review/ feedback he gave about Knocked Up is very special to me because he is a dear friend, guide and mentor to me and his opinion always matters. He is Mr. Vasant Kamat – CEO, Dolphin Publications, Mumbai. Here are excrepts from the email he wrote to me personally after reading my book.

Hi Shaiju,

I finished reading the book. It was one of the most hilarious book I read in a long time. Reminded me of Sue Townsend’s Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. The best part is that one doesn’t need to willingly suspend disbelief to enjoy this book, because everything in it is perfectly believable. Some of the scenes are hilariously original and had me in splits. And the simplicity of the narrative is very refreshing.

A simple endearing story till the last scene/chapter. I consider Sid’s hitting back at Mrs. Fernandez’s ‘raping my daughter” ranting as one of the best crafted scenes. I am sure this book will ‘Rock’ once it hits the market.

Wishing you all the luck…

Thanks & Regards,

Vasant Kamat
Dolphin Publications Pvt Ltd.

I will be posting more reviews and feedback from more readers as soon as possible as my mailbox is already flooded with so many mails. However, I am very touched and also encouraged to give my best in my future books too.

Thank you everyone for all your love and support.

KNOCKED UP: Few Reader Reviews on my first book

KNOCKED UP, my first baby that got released in a limited edition in UAE. It was an experiment to test reader reactions and also to raise funds for a charity.

Distributed by RICH BULL Marketing, it was only given to the members and patrons of the company by invitation and also to few people who showed interest in the book after they got to know about it from their friends.
Rich Bull Marketing had done extensive promotions and sent out invites to their client network. Initially they thought of releasing 100 premium copies but the kind of response they got motivated them to put up another 400 copies on sale and all the 500 copies were ‘sold out’ within a week and they are still getting more orders from prospective buyers who got to know about ‘Knocked Up’ through their friends – word of mouth publicity worked for us.

Here are few comments I got from the readers which I wanted to share here;
“It reminded me of my childhood days” Minal Salarpuria – Housewife

“It reminded me of Malgudi Days in a modern time period” Praveen Tyagi – Talent Manager

“I am not a book reading types… but when I got the first hand opportunity to read ‘KNOCKED UP’ the premium version I was tempted to read. The cover first caught my imagination and then the chapter names… the synopsis etc… Once I started reading I got involved in the story and I must say it was something of an experience which took… me back to my teenage days and the fun and masti I used to do with my friends back home… All the instances in the book made me laugh and I couldnt leave the book aside as the curiosity to find out what happens next made me finish the entire book in 4hours flat… GOOD WORK…SHAIJU MATHEW ‘U ROCK BOY’… I loved ‘KNOCKED UP’ and would wait for your next book eagerly…. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED….” Mohit Malukani – Finance Analyst

“Simply BRILLIANT…The characters were so believable and the one that took my interest was of Prateik and his girlfriend Rupa they both are funny and cute at the same time… I could sense the gradual growth of the characters from immature teenagers to responsible youngsters…especially Sid & Swati… Swati’s transformation from a tomboy to a delicate lady type is noteworthy…. Becky the heroine is smart, sexy and lovable…shez every boy’s dream gal… I am waiting for the next in this 3 part series…” Simi B. John – Physiotherapist

“Knocked Up!!! really Knocked me Out…. hehehe… awesome comedy, simple language and believable situations…I Like, I Like” Brian Reynolds – Investment Banker

“I loved it but I felt that the ending should have been slightly different…but overall I loved it” John Mathew – Sr. Accountant

“Chetan Bhagat has got competition here…After a long time some interesting, light hearted book has released that will be a bestseller in the coming days…Good Work Shaiju” Vinod Lalwani – Book Distributor

“We need more authors like Shaiju and need more such books like Knocked Up in the market and most of the books present in the market are written by few jobless IIM & IIT students describing their life in such colleges which common man like me are bored and least interested in…Chetan Bhagat already did that with 5 point someone…we dont need more CB clones… However, Knocked Up by Shaiju Mathew takes you on a different tangent… A simple, funny, lovable story of six friends…” Darshan Jhunjhunwala – Student

Thank you guys for your valuable feedback and comments… there are few more emails which I am reading right now. I will upload them shortly…

I would also like to answer all my friends and fans who keep on asking me when ‘Knocked Up’ will release in India and why it is taking so much time… To tell you frankly book publishing is a very meticulous and time consuming job. Moreover, there are so many situations and problems that are not in one’s control. I will definitely write my tryst with the publishing industry very soon so that upcoming self publishers and authors can take some help and guidance from y experiences….Till then I am keeping my fingers crossed for the India release which is happening this month….

Employee’s don’t leave Companies, they leave Managers

I once heard someone saying in a motivational session that ‘Employees don’t leave companies but they simply leave Managers.’ I didn’t understand this phrase as I had just stepped into my first job and I had never experienced the politics and management tactics present in an organization.

The training period went fine and I was the topper in my batch. People in the company always smiled, HR staff always said that the company was the best place to work and they took great care of their employees. Managers and Senior Managers repeatedly said that the company is an equal opportunity company and they have a open door policy, so incase you have any issues or problems you can always drop in and discuss your issues.

I was all charged up and hit the floor. We were told our SLA’s (Service Level Agreement) which simply meant the performance metrics on the basis of which I would be evaluated in the company appraisals. The Appraisals were the deciding factor for our promotions, bonuses and our increments. I understood every metric and put my best into my performance. In the the half yearly appraisals I was in the top 10 list and I got my bonus and also few incentives. Now my target was to grow in the company.

As per the rules I would be eligible for promotions once I complete nine months in my present role and if I was in the top 25% on the stack rank (decided by the performance metrics). I put in my entire self into my performance and built a sky castle about how I would be promoted after the nine months. However, when the time arrived for me to apply for the promotions I was told by my Manager that I shouldn’t apply as I was not eligible. I went back to him and showed the rules and also my stacks but I was sent back. Instead of me another person from our team was chosen for the promotion interview and the biggest surprise was that he was an under performer and was not even eligible for the promotion.

I was upset and wanted to voice out my concerns but didn’t know how? Then suddenly I remembered our induction day presentation that was presented to us by the HR staff and also the assurances we got from our Senior Managers about the open door policy and how I should approach them for finding a resolution in similar situations.

I went to my Area Manager and told him about my concern. My Area Manager heard me out and told me that he will speak to my Manager, which he did and later I had an extensive meeting with my Manager where he vent out his frustration on me. I was demotivated and was forced to loose focus on my work and my growth. It started affecting my work and I couldn’t do much. I was told by one of my colleagues to approach our HR Generalist and voice out my concern. I went and met my HRG who in turn arranged a joint meeting to resolve the issue with my Manager.

In the meeting it was decided that my team would be changed as I was not comfortable working with my Manager. I was put into a team which didn’t require the kind of expertise and my liking. I was given a shift that was one of the worst – graveyard shift. I was burdened with more work. I was not enjoying my work in that department. I went back to my Area Manager and told him how I was not happy with the new team. I felt I was indirectly punished for raising my concerns to the seniors.

My Area Manager said he will look into the matter and he didn’t do anything. Being dissatisfied with the entire matter I approached our Process Head and raised my concern. Now the entire thing was a ego tussle between the Area Manager, my ex-Manager and me. In all this drama my performance was affected as I was not able to concentrate on my work and the entire mental trauma was making me more frustrated. I was told by my Area Manager that I was not concentrating on my work and my stats were screwed up so anyways I couldn’t apply for the next IJP interviews.

I was totally demotivated. I felt I had chosen the wrong company and the company didn’t care for me. To teach a lesson to the managers I decided to quit the company and join another. I attended interviews and in few days time I got a job in another prestigious brand. I thought now my problems were over and I will begin a new chapter here and grow in the company. Alas, my delusion was broken again. Soon I realised that companies changed, managers changed but the situations were still similar…

I left 5 companies in the last 10 years not because the companies I worked were bad but the people who managed us were bad. Names changed, positions changed but the situations and the politics were always the same….Don’t know when such things will come to an end…..!!!

Review: We R Family

I have been an ardent fan of Chris Columbus’s 1998 superhit English movie ‘Stepmom’ starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. I would have watched the movie more than 30 times and still like to catch up whenever the movie is shown on television. When Karan Johar announced that he is going to remake ‘Stepmom’ in Hindi, I was very curious to find out the outcome. I wanted to see how Kajol and Kareena would have potrayed the same role that Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts had already immortalized in the history of world cinema. My wait ended when I got to watch the movie today.

Karan Johar alongwith Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan has always spelt success and the hindi version of ‘Stepmom’ i.e. ‘We R Family’ starring Kajol, Kareena and Arjun Rampal was something to look forward to. Although KJo was not the director and it was newbie Siddharth Malhotra who has been an assistant to KJo on several projects. Surprisingly I was impressed with whatever I saw.

‘We R Family’ has its own positives and flaws as it is normally seen whenever an English movie is remade into Hindi. The restrainted and flawless performances of Susan and Julia is replaced by the over dramatic and loud acting of Kajol and Kareena (so synonimous of Hindi movies). The premise is the same as the original with little alterations done to suit the tastes of our Hindi movie audiences.

Maya [Kajol] is the perfect mother. Her life revolves around her three children, Aleya [Aanchal Munjal], Ankush [Nominath Ginsberg] and Anjali [Diya Sonecha]. Despite being divorced from her husband Aman [Arjun Rampal], Maya has ensured that everything runs smoothly in her house, under her watch, and that they continue to remain a happy family unit.

When Aman introduces his girlfriend, Shreya [Kareena Kapoor], a career-oriented woman, the situation takes an unexpected turn. However, Maya is diagnosed with a terminal illness and circumstances bring the two women under the same roof. Can two mothers make a home?

With a plot like this, you expect ‘We R Family’ to be an out-and-out serious outing. However, the film has its serious moments, but the director ensures that it doesn’t come across as a gloomy and serious fare. In fact, the generous dose of light moments in the narrative keeps the drama fluid. There’s an inherent sensitivity that the director brings in, which keeps you involved for most parts.

On the flip side, the film tends to stagnate in the middle of the second hour. One expects the story to move forward, but there’s not much movement here. Thankfully, the film picks up wonderfully towards the penultimate reels.

Kajol as usual is first rate while Kareena is able to match up to the towering presence of Kajol. After Rock On, Housefull and Raajneeti we see another brilliant act by Arjun Rampal. The three children are aptly cast and perform well.

The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is a big let down especially because Dharma Productions is always associated with chartbuster music and all their movies since KJo took over the reins has always been ‘Musical Blockbusters’ from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to the recent I Hate Luv Storys.

Mohanan’s cinematography, Niranjan Iyer’s dialogues and Raju Singh’s background music is first rate. Director Siddharth Malhotra shows promise as he has handled the dramatic scenes between Kajol and Kareena brilliantly.

This movie will appeal to the female audiences who in turn will bring their spouses and children to watch the movie with them ensuring good returns for the movie. On the whole I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND the movie to everyone….

Stories that inspired me…

When I was a kid I was first introduced to books by my elder brother. The first book I ever read was ‘Famous Five Series’ written by Enid Blyton. Once I started reading my first book I couldn’t stop myself from reading more of the series and once I exhausted them I went onto other stories and books written by Enid Blyton.

When I grew a year older I got hooked onto detective series like ‘Hardy Boys’, ‘Nancy Drew’, ‘The Secret Seven’ etc. Mysteries were more interesting according to me and untill I finished the entire book at one go I couldn’t sleep.

At every stage of my life my likes in books changed. Once I got into college I got hooked to English Classics like the books written by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, The Bronte Sisters, William Thackrey, Thomas Hardy etc…

Jane Austen opened me to a totally new world where every story of hers were a slice from her life. ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Emma’,’Persuasion’,’Northager Abbey’,’Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Mansfield Park’ showed the bonding that she shared with her siblings and her family.

In Indian writers Rabindranath Tagore and Ruskin Bond had a huge influence on me. Every story they wrote were simple and were even simpler to understand and imagine (I always tend to imagine the story in my head after every chapter I have read). Chetan Bhagat was another contemprory writer who brought back the book readers to the book shops with his stories inspired mostly from his life.

When I started writing my own books I always took inspiration from my life and from my surroundings. KNOCKED UP my debut novel is another case in point where I took heavy inspirations from my teenage days. It didn’t take me long to write the book as I already had it in my head and I was just waiting to put it on paper.

My relationship with books that was established by my brother still continues to be and I think when I die I still will have a book in my hand…. So happy reading 🙂 Books are indeed your best friend….