Monday, 24 October 2016

One Indian Girl- Chetan Bhagat

No matter how much I despise Chetan Bhagat's last few works, it never stops me from reading him. Quite frankly, I always want to know what is behind those covers this time, always anticipating the magic of Five Point Someone and 2 States to ooze out of the book.

‘Feminism’ has become quite a loosely thrown word in recent times and people seem to have a definition of their own at times. With such prevailing precarious definitions and scenarios related to feminism, making it the base for a story is quite commendable. But, was the effort commendable enough and did it appeal is what we discover here.

The protagonist of the story is a female- Radhika Mehta. She shows enough audacity to state about herself- ‘I am not a very likeable character’. Reading something like this at a first instant makes you think of the reasons that would make her unlovable. The story starts with a wedding scene and Radhika’s wandering mind not accepting to face the reality of it. When we read through her character, we come to know of her as someone who does not believe in gender un-equality. And seeping through the cracks of her wedding panorama, in flashbacks we discover her as a nerd, a scholar, a performer at her firm, a female who wants to fall and remain in love and a feminist. That doesn’t sound so un-likeable, right? So, what is it that makes the book dip down yet again for Chetan Bhagat?

Born into a Punjabi family and hearing the nudging comments related to the patriarchal society, Radhika excels throughout her academic and professional life, until the so-called male dominant self-esteem reality dawns on her when her less- earning boyfriend leaves her saying she can never become a homely wife or a mother, when actually what a man cannot handle is his bruised ego of his girlfriend earning more than him. She fights her monsters over this and with a change of location lands up in the arms of a male who yet another time exclaims that he doesn’t see her as a ‘maternal’ figure. But does this waiver her ability and make her doubt herself or think that being ambitious could be a sin? No, it doesn’t. Does it shake up her confidence of having a successful career and a family at the same time? No, it doesn’t. Then why in the second half of the book, with the return of her exes do we seem to find her fluttery with her decisions, find her evaluating her options and that too with the men who once stood pointing a finger at her, so much so that she even disregards the one sane man who she is about to marry, burdened with her feminism facade. Her saying ‘no’ doesn’t sound promising enough until last few pages. When you hear the word feminist, apart from the sturdy definition it holds, for me it also conveys having a strong mind and non-wobbly belief about yourself. And it is this same definition that the protagonist is found negating time and again in the book. The attention seeking phenomena from both men each time throughout the book signify her dire need to be needed. And it has been written in such a generalized manner, that it might not even hold good for a lot of females who believe in a strong stature of womanhood. So yes, for me these traits did make the protagonist not-likeable. The ‘mini-me’ as Radhika says, or the conversations which she has in her head make up for most of the entertainment and a lot of times make sense too.

Before I start ranting more on the lows of the book, I have to admit and appreciate Bhagat’s writing flair. It is something which can hide major flaws sometimes- it is light, humorous, keeps you entertained and simply flows. And, by now, even he knows this too. The writing of the novel is the only thing which will keep you hooked till the end- the puns, the humor, the colloquial dialogues make it readable. As far as the plot is concerned, it is just like watching a bollywood movie, or reading the screenplay for it.

The fact that people remotely relate to what he writes works out for him. The stereotypical Punjabi wedding scenes, a loud mother and a puppet daddy are what we have read before. The newness starts fading soon once you dive in the book. One Indian Girl could have been much more than what has been written-  it could have been more about the suave, the potency and the wit an Indian woman carries to workplace, at home and socially, irrespective of the stereotypes- rather than tagging it with the word called 'Feminism' and heralding her as an icon even before the book released- that just increased the expectations from the character to behave in a more perfect way.

I‘d say- read it at your own risk. My mom finished the book some days back and the disheartened look on her face said it all. Our continuous disappointment from his works will never make us stop reading Chetan Bhagat, but it would be good to see him explode a bomb with his next one.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Books Fall open, and You fall in- Your To-Be-Read (TBR) pile with Flip-a-leaf: #StockitUP

Fall is officially here, so what is that one thing you like about this season? Is it the snuggly sweaters you get to wear, or sipping on your warm drinks or just being home cuddled up with your book and watching the pretty colors outside your window? Oh sounds so dramatic!:) Well, my favorite would be the latter. After all, when has cuddling up with a book ever been bad? I am sure readers would have definitely prepared their TBR pile by now to accompany them with their hot cup of cocoa. If you are still hunting for 'that' one book, Flip-a-leaf is here to help you build your stack.

The Time traveler’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This is my personal recommendation as I look forward to reading it soon too. It is a romance and a Science fiction story about Henry and Clare and how Henry time travels because of his genetic disorder and how Clare copes up with his non-existence and the never ending wait which comes with it. I am sure it will offer a great twisting turn of events as there is always something enthralling about love stories which are slightly irregular than the one which are passé.

Selection Day by Aravind Adiga: If cricket and reading interest you, there can be no better combination than Selection Day. It is a story about two boys Manju and Radha who are coached by their father Mohan, a chutney seller on the streets of Mumbai. Enveloped with prowess of cricket and their constantly pushy father the story moves ahead with the boys' shifting fortunes alongside the game.The author is known to combine the glitter and the gleam, equality and unequality existing in the society with much finesse.With Aravind Adiga’s raw writing and humor sprinkled punches it is surely going to keep you hooked. 

One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat: It is this time of the year when we wait to read India’s beloved author. The author speaks of his new one as being a “Feminism” oriented novel; seeing the world through a female’s eyes. It will be interesting to know how the author has managed to put this vision down on paper. The excerpt from the book which released last month was quite a rage on twitter, showing how expectantly people wait for his books to come out. So, there’s still time, pre-order your copy now and it will reach you just in time, near its release date.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: Who doesn’t like a racy thriller with spikes of adventure?! Well, this book will be the most preferable and sought after novel when we know the movie will be out soon. For avid readers, the debate of movie vs. book is never ending, and The Girl on the train is going to amp it up further more. Pounce on it so you have your brownie points ready for the discussion.

Harry Potter and the cursed child: It is never too late for a Harry Potter book. Read it to your kid or cuddle yourself up reading it; it is something which both the parents and the kids enjoy reading. Although there were mixed reviews about this edition, and it left many fans disappointed; no reason is ever enough to stop a Potter devotee from reading this enchanting novel.

For the love of 'Love’: The book stores are never devoid of this genre of books. Our romance fanatic readers are in for a treat all through the year for the racks always have a Nora Robert seller or a Danielle Steel seller up for grabs. You are sure to find something that will make your heart skip a beat and click your mind too.

I hope you will find something from these picks which will suffice your interests and keep you occupied for the lovely season coming ahead. Though I always say, there are no seasons to read something which you have longed to for a long time now, but being blessed with such natural change of colors around, why not celebrate this fall with some amazing leaflets, and make it a ritual so all it leaves you with are amazing bookish memories.

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Calling, Unleash your true self – Priya Kumar

When I first received the mail from Priya Kumar's office, I was skeptical about accepting the prospect to review this book. The last I remember something of this genre impressing me was Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, and since then I have stayed away from the karmic theme. But given my recent interests and connections to the same, I wanted to give this a try, and hence accepted the opportunity to review this book. A special shout out to Priya Kumar’s team to have shipped this for me all the way from India to US.

Knowing the author is also a motivational speaker, I was in no doubt about what I was going to dive into with ‘The Calling’. It appeals to me when the teachings about life, karma, destiny and omens are conveyed through a story; the reasons being – they stop getting monotonous, it gives the feeling of some elderly person (like our Grandma) narrating a story to us just like in our childhood and we get to absorb them better. And this is exactly what I found underneath the covers of this book.

The Calling is the story of Arjun whose personal and professional life on-goings have left him disturbed and stranded in the middle of nowhere. At this juncture, he meets with an accident while he is on a work trip to Manali. The accident, though terrible, proves to be a boon and leads him ahead on a journey of insight and repentance. How many of us realize our wrong doings and are penitent or introspect ourselves until self-realization dawns? I presume very few, because most of the time we are busy seeking materialistic pleasures of life or avoiding introspection,till a point comes when it’s too late and we have already lost the most precious possessions in life. Arjun, on the other hand, gains his wisdom right on time to differentiate between superficial happiness and what is worth making sacrifices in life for. Hence, the book describes the latter fluently.

Initially, I wondered why the book was named The Calling. The meaning comes out loud and clear as you progress through the book, in a very lay man term I would describe it as a wakeup call to pause and think about how your life is moving, what you want from it and whether or not you are on the correct path to achieve it. It's quite relatable to the paragraph in the book where the author talks about running, running away, running from and running into. Arjun is shown some omens in the form of his tests given by the sadhus which help him apprehend where he was going wrong all this while. I personally believe in omens, so that was quite a high point for me in the story.

The story primarily revolves around two characters- Arjun and his transporter in the mountains, Chandu. Seeing the traits of Arjun’s character, many a times we might feel like we are looking in the mirror, the approach with which he starts his journey is just like an ordinary person's, his answers to the three intermittently appearing sadhu are the one's which we would have thought of at the very first instant; moving ahead our learning becomes to dig down deeper and change our thought process, prodding us to think at a spiritual level. I developed a special fondness for Chandu’s character. His portrayal of a naïve transporter in the mountains and an eighteen year old wisdom imparted person lures you. The mountain scenarios described panoramically reminded me of home- India and my nostalgic trip up north amidst the narrow roads and high icy peaks.

Like I said earlier, my recent bond with the Karmic way of life tempted me to read the book and I feel content having done that.It refreshed my memories of the sayings I learnt in my childhood like 'As you sow, so shall you reap', and how true they are. The viewpoint of good seeds and bad seeds impressed me. It is not easy to write on such a topic keeping the readers engaged the whole time they are reading the book; the chances of them flipping out are quite high. But Priya Kumar does a very fine job at keeping her readers hooked. A tad bit of credit also goes to some humorous punches which spike up the content a notch higher. Re-iterating, subject lines such as these, told with a story are captivating. And so is ‘The Calling’.What it is- fluent, intriguing, and thoughtful; also might connect to you if you do not read it superficially. What it is not-some self help book lying in your shelf unread after you have just purchased it.

Books of this genre seldom impress me, the one that did long time back and has been a favorite since then is The Alchemist. I wouldn’t want to compare the two downright as it would be unfair to the latter. But yes, I would recommend this inspiring novel and hope that it can create an insight of its own on the mind of readers.

The Calling.. calls you to read it!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Me before You- Jojo Moyes

As I have mentioned in many of my previous posts, I am not a romantic. As such, I started reading this book 'Me before You', which I knew of as one from the romantic genre, with a distant mood. But after completing it, my outlook towards the book changed. It is not only about romance or falling in love; rather it speaks volumes about life too. My viewpoint seldom remained confined to looking at it as a romantic novel; I would rather put it as a perfect combination of matured love and living your life to the fullest and what it's worth for.

The backdrop of the story is a man and a woman put together under odd circumstances, which might make falling in love look impossible at the outset.  A 27 year old woman lands up at the doors of a rich family as a caretaker of their son, Will Trayner. Louisa Clark is in dire need of the job and she doesn’t have a choice but to accept the job for the money which her family needs as she is the sole earner. Her first meeting with Will is a cold one, with exchange of hardly any words, or rather, sharp words for a first meeting. Will Trayner is a handsome man and young enough to be on a wheelchair and a C5/6 Quadriplegic. Her first few days with Will are uncanny with less talking until one day she finally hits it off with her 'Clark' nature of being blatantly true and speaking facts. That instance marks the breaking of the ice and what starts ahead is a relationship of understanding, care and cordial rapport between the two. Will’s character comes across as calm, bossy (towards Louisa Clark), with a fondness towards satirical humor and tongue-in-cheek remarks. The latter trait comes mostly because of his muted irritation towards being trapped in a chair. Louisa, on the other hand, paints an effigy of a next door woman, caring with a bizarre dressing sense, sometimes blatant but clueless about what she wants from her life. This thought bothers Will a lot, as for someone who had lived life to the fullest, how could the worth of just wasting it with time be agreeable. Therefore he constantly pushes Louisa to try out the things she always wanted to do and analyze life more with the intention of squeezing the maximum out of it. The story takes an interesting turn when Louisa discovers the secret Will’s family is living with and she is devastated to know what Will wants from his life, and more so because his family is supporting him with his sinful decision. She puts her heart in her work as a caretaker and tries every possible measure to change Will’s mind and make him realize that this is not the end of his story. There is and always will be a life beyond the Wheelchair. But does Will comply to this kind of life? Can Louisa change his mind? As the rendezvous of events pass along, Louisa falls in love with Will for the person he is. The dominance which once irritated her, now dawns on her as his right. But is her love enough or rather strong enough to stop the crime she is now an accomplice in?

I said earlier that I looked at it as something more than a romantic novel, yes, because apart from showing a matured love angle, it also shows the restraints of a young man in a wheel chair who used to be quite the active and adventurous type before his accident. His irritant nature, sarcastic remarks revealing his stuck position and the change in attitude towards life all sound very reasonable for a normal person. In due course, the change in nature after Louisa walks in his life is also something pleasurable to read. It only shows how in life the correct people bring back the charm that you once thought you lost. However, the changes, Louisa, her love and the good times spent together cannot alter the man’s decision which he has already taken, of how he sees his life ahead. The love story is matured, and goes on to show how you can perfectly fall in love with a person who is at an imperfect stage of his life, and also how difficult it is to lose such a love, especially knowing nothing is in your hands to stop the massacre from happening.

The story is neatly framed, cleverly excusing the unnecessary details. The characters apart from the protagonists have been portrayed brilliantly. I have to give special credit to the way in which the camaraderie between Louisa and Will has been elaborated. She understands that more than being stuck in the chair, what bothers Will is the sympathy he attracts from people, and that is one thing we see her avoiding in the whole book. I call it a matured love story, because rather than dealing with mushiness it’s all about understanding between the two, things said with less words, and I think that qualifies as a grown-up love. In scenarios like these, it’s the perceptive nature of the two which brings out the best. I was almost choked when I reached the end, though I had anticipated it quite early in the book, given the portrayal of Will’s persona. The insight and the imagination of a person to go through something like what Will Trayner did made my heart heavy.

I would suggest this book to everyone; it is an eye opener to the fact that we live a beautiful life. Grabbing the opportunities which come by and sharing our life with our loved ones means a lot. Squeezing out the maximum from it should be the aim. We are not in the chair Will was in, it is our close-mindedness which makes us feel trapped in the same way. So, let go and live on.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Work, Life & the Balance in Between- Tomson Robert

How many of us actually love the jobs that we do? Do we love them because of the perks they offer, the money, or because of the work that is actually aligned with the role? Does it occur to you sometimes to runaway and start something of your own which you are passionate about? Such questions have often set me thinking, and so I wonder whether they bother others too, even those who have plush jobs, like an elite role in a big investment firm or a MNC. Thus I was really sure about doing this book review when I first saw the book up on the WritersMelon website. It is on something which I relate to very closely.

Work, Life and the Balance in between talks about and answers very common questions relating to our everyday lives at work, the questions which sometimes pop-up in our head while making a mind-numbing report or the thoughts which our mind processes while seeing our peers at work. The fact that it comes from the man himself; Tomson Robert, who has juggled a lot in his professional and personal life because of work , trying to strike the right balance makes it more relevant for every associate hammering their brains in front of a computer. The book is in the form of short stories. Now, the thing I love about a book with short stories is, you never get bored of reading it and you need not maintain a typical sync to read it; it is to be enjoyed as the stories come. Let’s say, it is a very non-pressurized form of reading a book.

Coming back to the stories, all the aforementioned material connects like dots to give you a meaningful story, each with a message as it concludes. Like always, I have a few favorites this time too. To be or not to be an Entrepreneur impressed me in terms of its implication towards the enthusiastic thinking of an individual who aspires to become an entrepreneur. We often know that we want to do a certain business, but we forget to pay heed to all the ground work, logistics and research it needs for the stability to establish itself in the market. I could totally relate to this one the most; as I am going through a similar turmoil myself, and so it felt like looking into the mirror. I liked Midnight conversation with Santa because it talked about happiness- how many of us in these times really do understand the meaning of that word? Materialistic life, social network and endless working hours have changed the true meaning of what 'being happy' means. Considering the fact that this story places itself right at the end of the list, somehow it gives a gist of the whole book. The Not so Social Network and Limited by Dimensions were inadequate to some extent. The Not so Social Network spoke about how the social media and the venomous network rules our lives these days but I really wish it could have talked more about how a balance can be sought between real life and Facebook life, because that’s where we forget to draw our drapes. And, Limited by Dimensions seemed vaguely distant from the topic.

Tomson Robert, the author has tried to address almost all the issues and questions which one thinks about when they first set their foot in the corporate world. It is a very tedious task to convey big things- a strong message, humorous writing and a crisp conclusion- through a short story, which I think has been done commendably for some stories, but I would have loved to see the same for all of them. It is a leaflet which can be read by everyone, easy and at leisure. You never know when, while reading this, it might spark the answer to your long worried notion!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Serious Men – Manu Joseph

I was keen to read this one, as it is the author’s first and as a first he gained quite an enormous amount of praise for his writing and the book. And yes, what a first! I did find some intelligent writing in there!

The story is about two men, Arvind Acharya, a scientist at the Indian institute of technology and Research and Ayyan Mani, a common man who is a clerk from a dalit section and works for Arvind Acharya.  It has always bothered him how, the society is always in favor of Brahmins, and be it a workplace or a social community. It is always on his mind- how these Brahmins can be embarrassed, insulted or shown as downgraded people who are given so much undue importance on the basis of their caste though it should only be one’s skill and talent that must make a man progress the race called life, and therefore he and his pranks never stop, somehow giving him a momentary satisfaction. In one such prank, he goes way to ahead and involves his son Aditya, showcasing him as a genius with a fire to prove – what a sweeper’s grandson and a clerk’s son can achieve being from a lower section of the society. In the parallel world, Arvind Acharya is a much hated scientist at his workplace and is noted for his arrogance and a non-supporter of any random theory when it comes to physics and science; more often than not everything in his life boils down to his concepts revolving around science and physics. A group of scientists who have made Arvind a victim relating to his bad mouthed words and insult are in search of a moment to ruin his image and take revenge and they do find one. The plan works for them and Arvind loses his pride, position and stature in Indian Institute of Research center, when only one man comes to his rescue, Ayyan Mani. Why does Ayyan Mani help Arvind? Is there a personal agenda in doing so? Is Aditya really a genius that Ayyan claims him to be? How are Ayyan’s and Arvind’s life interwined? Has Ayyan really made peace with the Brahmin society? So many questions, but the book answers them all. The interesting thing to note is how these answers unfold to the reader. Manu Joseph does not give it to you outright, as a reader he makes you travel through slow paced plot, and every phase making sense and connecting to the link ahead. It is a very well framed story.
Now, why I say that it has some intelligent writing is because it covers all the aspects of a good book, a cleverly crafted work of humor, puns (not overloading it on the story), Ayyan’s emotions and grievance on cast, reservations, society of Brahmins and the politics which overrides all this. To add up, the love of a matured man Arvind Acharya, for the woman, for physics, his work, his theories and what he dreams to accomplish out of them have been shown aptly. And, moreover no character or no part of the protagonist’s life has been given undue importance; it is there because it needs to be there. It is a well balanced book, plot or story with no overdose of any particular element. The other character’s move in an out of the plot at correct times and nothing seems out of place.

The writer has done a very impressive job as his first. In a long time I read something which was mature, deftly crafted in terms of literature and covered some important societal aspects which we as citizens of this country usually ponder over. A thumbs up to this one, and eagerly waiting for the author’s next.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

I am not a Romance frantic when it comes to reading genres, or so I may say- going with the classics is what I always believed in. Gone with the wind, Pride and Prejudice, works of Nicholas Sparks and the like have been my all time favorites. The only reason I picked up Eleanor and Park was because on the top it had a note from John Green, and that itched me to pick the book. Also, it was an experimental reading of what Young Adult genre sprinkled with adolescent romance is like.

This love story starts very typically with the boy not liking the girl at first glance until they are friends and fall in love. Eleanor has been portrayed as a very ordinary chubby girl dressed weirdly which screams for attention and being the new girl in the school she falls prey to a lot of pranks and jokes. She knows the only best thing to do is to ignore them. In the school bus, she manages to take the seat besides Park, who is an Asian guy always reading with his headphones on. They break the silence between them by starting to talk about music and comics, and this starts the drift of liking-ness towards each other. The little mushy moments between Eleanor and Park will remind you of when you were young and in love. Holding hands for the first time, gazing at each other, secretly stealing glances, the whole blush story- everything is captured like it happens to two people falling in love for the first time.

Apart from the love notes going on between Eleanor and Park, a stark difference has also been shown in the family life of the two, somehow that intrigued me more. While Park’s is a very liberal family, Eleanor encounters day-to-day problems with her difficult step-dad, however the only thing that tries to give her strength each day to ignore it is Park’s love and support. With a terse environment prevailing in Eleanor’s family at all times, she feels that telling about Park to even her mom will complicate things as her step-dad is always on a roll to spare no moment of insulting or abusing Eleanor. A day comes when she decides to surpass all of this and runs away from her home. What makes her take this step, knowing she might lose Park? Is their love strong enough to survive the withers Eleanor’s eloping has caused? I really liked the part where Eleanor makes a run for her life; it shows her strong will and courage to take the correct step for her future.

The high notes for me in the book were character description of both Eleanor and Park, the conversion of thoughts going on in their mind and finally the aspect which has been highlighted through this short love story that however imperfect you might be you will always find the perfect person in your life who will love you like you have everything and nothing to lose. Also, the support, guidance and environment provided by our parents in our teens, can really make or break one’s life; and like I said Eleanor’s and Park’s family define the difference finely in the book.

It’s a good pick for leisure reading, also, the author has gained numerous praises for her Young Adult books, one of them also being Fangirl. So, yes the author is worth a try.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Looking for Alaska- John Green

How often do you take book recommendations seriously? Well, I do every time! And when it comes from people, whom I look up to, I really can’t ignore it. Looking for Alaska was a recommendation from a person I dearly adore. I couldn’t have missed reading it. It was John Green's first novel; the journey of his writing through his first is quite interesting. I must say, Looking for Alaska is very good, for a first. No wonder it got John Green praises and accolades!

My first thoughts when I completed this book were - how I am I going to put the most difficult emotions into a string of words?! The emotion called Forgiveness. Love. Friendship. Mind you, this was like a marathon reading. I would only keep the book down when my eyes refused to read any more. It has a captivating story, and the flow keeps you totally interested and engaged.

As the name of the book says, it is a story about Alaska but more so, about a boy named Miles and the changes he and his life encounters when he joins Culver Creek high school and befriends Colonel, Takumi, Lara and of course, Alaska. They are a bunch of people smoking their worries out. What attracts him the most is Alaska and her irrational behavior. There is a line which describes her very beautifully.

“If people were rain, I was drizzle, and she was a hurricane.” - Looking for Alaska

Let’s get into character diving first. Miles has been shown as a very submissive (by choice!) bloke who knows the last words of famous people and is in search of his Great Perhaps. Because of his previous bitter experiences at school, he refrains from making friends and has become used to having no one around him. Thus he is elated when he finds a couple of people in Culver Creek who, unlike others, seem to like him. On the other hand, Alaska is the complete opposite of what Miles is. The whole school knows her, the students are wary of her pranks, the Principal’s first doubts are always on her- she is quite a famous person in Culver Creek. Though she appears to be an extrovert, no one knows what goes on in her mind, her mood swings take people by surprise and she has never let anyone come close and peep in her life. Miles gets attracted towards her, he feels she is a mystery and he wants to know her better. Along the way, over jokes and time spent together he falls in love; only she doesn’t know. Colonel is like the cool guy with a heart and is a best friend and roommate to Miles. Takumi and Lara are also the part of the Gang. Unaware themselves, they become so close to each other, it takes only a major event for them to realize about their friendship. What is that event which shakes the soul out of Alaska’s friends? Does Alaska get out of her 'Labyrinth' or put others in it? What makes Miles feel so guilty about him?
The story is very intriguing and the pace of events is good. I can't reveal much about the plot, it would be crime; but the moment you wonder “What’s next?” there is a turn in the episode. Thus, it is unexpected and keeps you hooked. It is beautifully written- passion, humor, love, thrill, literature- there is everything in it. I really liked the thought-provoking storyline. At first sight, it might look like a story of college students and two people falling in love, but there is something more to it. It speaks about Forgiveness and sometimes how necessary it is to forgive yourself and others. It is also the answer to one of the questions Alaska frequently refers in the book- How do you get out of the Labyrinth of suffering?

I read this book when I was myself going through a personal event. We dig so much in to facts like whose fault was it, shall I be guilty or what could I have done to avoid it, looking for such answers only makes our life un-restful. The only way to move ahead is to Forgive and Let Go.

I read the book on Kindle. But, now I want it up on my book shelf too. It deserves to be there.

Highly recommended! Do read!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Adivasi Will not Dance- Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

On my visit to the Walking BookFair a fortnight back, I picked out this beauty for sheerly one reason- its name- 'The Adivasi will not Dance'. It is an inquisitive title, which makes utmost sense after you read the book.

The book comprises of stories inspired from a tribe called Santhals, the stories speak about their plight, traditions, lifestyle and strength. The author has used these stories as a platform to propagate the Santhal tribe and let masses know how it is always the downcast that is trampled upon, and why it is always their sacrifice which reaps benefits to the upper classes. While I speak of it as a direct and serious issue, the stories convey more than that. They are light to read, very interestingly written, and when you drift towards the end, you get the message crisp and clear, and I bet if you can’t relate the title to every story you read. He has put them together in an enlightening way, such that it brings a very new and different outlook towards writing and reading and the reason that the stories feel proper is because they come from the man himself- Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Pakaur, Santhal Pargana, and a deserving recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, 2015.

While there is no single character which is a favorite here, there are definitely stories which have intrigued me, and after completing them I just felt like I wanted more. To start with, 'They Eat Meat' showcased the scenario which happens in most communities. The meat eating people are considered 'not pure enough' and so to survive in this community the meat loving people have to give up on their food traditions altogether. I liked this story because it showed two aspects of the society we live in- the diversity on the grounds of food and traditions and the integrity on the conditions of security of our own people. As we move ahead, the stories focus the Santhal women clan. They have been portrayed as an epitome of strength and suffering together. Written in a very raw demeanor are the conditions and situations these Santhal women face and continue to survive. 'November is the month of migrations' begins the start of the struggle for a Santhali female. With a very impactful writing, it just leaves heaviness in your heart. Then there is- 'Eating with the Enemy' which shows how there are times when you forget all the animosity between and sit together for the meal, just for the sake of it, sacrificing your soul. 'Blue Baby' and 'Baso-Jhi' carry high emotional quotient. My most favorite ones came right at the end- 'Merely a whore' and 'The Adivasi will not dance'. While the former shows that for a Santhali woman who is also a prostitute, 'love' does not exist in the dictionary of life, the latter truly explains the title. Why would an adivasi dance to the beats, when he is at the stake of losing his land? And the upper classes, the zamindars want them to dance on the same land they are going to rip them off. Be it a Santhal woman, a child, a little girl or a man- for the society that we live in; they have been shown as downcast people devoid of respect and treated like one. And, therefore the title stands ruefully right and explanatory.

“We are like Toys- someone presses our 'ON' Button, or turns a key in our backsides. And we Santhals start beating rhythms on our Tamak and Tumdak, or blowing tunes on our Tiriyo while someone snatches away our dancing grounds.” - The Adivasi Will not Dance

It is not only the stories which impress, but also the writing style. In a very long time, I don’t think I have come across a book so wonderfully bounded. Bounded by words so good, they tug at your heart. Very earthy at places, expressing shallowness, rawness and a sense of emotion which doesn’t let a tear drop from your eye but will bruise your heart. It is that good!
Must, Must Read!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Liebster Award

The Liebster Award is an award for bloggers. It helps to discover new blogs and to build a sense of community in the blogging world!

Thank you Bookmyopia for nominating me!

Here are the rules:

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.  Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.  Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award.  Let the bloggers know you nominated them. Give them 11 questions of your own.

Questions and My replies:

  • Any item from a book you would like to have as a souvenir? V's Mask from V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  • Favorite bookish gift you have received so far/or would like to be surprised with in the future? The jute bag I got as a pre-order gift with the book- Go Set a Watchman
  • Favorite book friendship? Scout, Dill and Jem from - To Kill a Mocking Bird
  • Beaches or mountains? Beaches all the way
  • A book/series that is underrated? There is never an underrated book as per me. Only Overrated. ;)
  • Favorite reading spot? My cozy chair under my bookshelf (The new one is supposed to come soon) or lying on bed wrapped up in my comforter.
  • An author you would love to interview for your blog? Oh.. I have a list! I wish I culd speak to Harper Lee, it would be like fantasy come true. Gillian Flynn, Khaled Hosseini and Anuja Chauhan to name a few. But obviously that's not the end of the list. :)
  • Your preferred social media for blog promotion? Majorly Twitter, I like taking pictures so Instagram too, and then there's always a little of facebook. :)
  • Top 3 reasons for a book to go into your DNF pile? For me there's only one reason when it goes to that pile, a very genuine obstruction which broke the sync of reading it.
  • One thing (can be anything, for example: genre, diverse characters, narrative style etc) that you feel is underrepresented and would like to see more of? Over the time, the narrative style has shown immense changes, all good and creative one's, but what I feel is underrepresented is always the literary content of the book. It does not necessarily mean using a very high level English or tough words which would complicate the sentences, but it is more about being simple and yet poised while writing. It's a turn on for me when the literary content is a bit theatrical, articulate, creative and has variations. Because, that is the time the book totally grips you.
  • Longest book you have read? I did feel Eat Pray Love was the longest I read (#punintended), it was so dragging and didn't feel like it would finish soon.

  • Nominees:

    101 Books

    My Life in Books

    Wanton Ruminating

    Books to curl up with blog

    The Book Geek

    The Book Binders Daughter

    Reviewing Shelf

    The Readers Cosmos

    Kindle and Me

    Books Life and More

    The Book Lovers Review

    My Questions for you:
    • Your Favorite character from a book you would like to play/or be?
    • 4 books from your to-be-read list?
    • Your recently finished book? What did you like the most in it?
    • Favorite Sequel/Book Series you would want to cover on your blog?
    • 2 Book Review bloggers you follow and why?
    • Paper or Kindle/Ipad?
    • Your fondest memory about reading books as a child? and also a favorite book/novel as a kid?
    • Which was the best book you got as a gift from someone?
    • The book which bored you till death?
    • Your ideal way of a book vacation/ reading vacation?
    • Which is the "must read" book according to you- the one you would want everyone to read?

    Wednesday, 27 January 2016

    I Do! Do I ? – Ruchita Mishra

    Browsing Amazon for my daily dose of books, I came across this novel by a new Indian author, the reviews looked pretty okay, many said the humor quotient worked well, and that's when I decided to buy this one. I have an affinity towards great humor. Anuja Chauhan tops my list of Indian Authors currently, so I felt like checking out this one as well,wondering whether it would rise up the rungs or stay low.

    Before I start pouring out my review, I want to make a note for my fellow readers; this book is NOT for you if you are looking for a story, a flawless write-up, and meaningful content. This book IS for you if you are dearly attracted to the repetitive romcom flavor shown in movies, both Bollywood and Hollywood.

    The story is about Kasturi and her gang, Purva-her two year long boyfriend, Anu and Ameya aka Peetaji. Kasturi, or Kas is overwhelmed to an extent of nervousness when a sudden engagement is announced by Purva's family. Although they are together since 2 years, yet Kasturi doubtfully dwindles the ring on her finger, feeling unsure about the wedding. Her nights are horrified by dreams of Rajeev, her old love. She starts drawing comparisons between the two men. Will she call off her wedding? Does she still love Rajeev who cheated on her? When you can't get too much love out of these three characters, there pop in two more- Anu and Peetaji, their relationship is facing the wrath of Anu's IAS parents, who think an MBA graduate working boy isn't suitable for their theatrical daughter. And so starts the love saga of tears, smiles with tears, angry tears and some more tears of happy endings.

    I felt there is no newness in the book, the story- its predictable and the scenes are boring. The author has tried to portray Kasturi as "just another girl" who runs through the confusions when its time to make big decisions like marriage, or pouring out a fleet of tears for her friends but also a very confused one, and deliberately trying to get into troubles in office and with her mother-in-law.  Kas reminds me of Lindsay Lohan in the movie Just my Luck running into troublesome situations all the time. Only that was better!!Every time Kas, sputters something out of her mouth like tea, coffee or even water there's an alarming turn to the story which fizzes out yet again. The writing style per say is not mature and has lot of repeat notes. While the name of the book attracts you to read it, the content disappoints.I wish there was something more creative to represent under this title showcasing the author's imagination. I will surely give it to her for humor though, abrupt and natural.

    I wanted to read the In(eligible) Bachelors also but I might give a second thought now before picking it up.
    Disclaimer - To be read at your own risk!

    Sunday, 24 January 2016

    My Walk to the "Walking BookFair"

    What can be more ecstatic than book shopping? Well, for booklovers that is one thing that excites them the most. Also, the other thing that makes you feel delighted is meeting other book lovers, book keepers and new authors who have stepped up in this world of book writing.

    I couldn’t ask for a better Sunday! I follow my favorite book café – Pagdandi on social media everywhere, and just browsing through my instagram on a lazy Saturday afternoon I see this picture of a street van infront of Pagdandi selling books, lots of them. And there I was the next day, laying my hands on the books, making my Sunday evening blissful, and thinking about a lovely reading week ahead. I ended up buying three!!

    I met Akshaya Satabdi, and spoke to her about this unique idea of travelling 10,000kms in 90 days interacting with book lovers and readers all around India. The associations name is- Walking BookFairs, they conduct these kinds of tours and support budding writers, giving them a platform to showcase their work and also get to know the reader crowd. Walking BookFair is based out of Bhubaneshwar, and is currently on a tour with their van filled with books for 3 months. Talking about new writers and authors, I also met Pankaj Sekhsaria, whose debut novel - ‘The Last Wave’ has released just recently. While some of the papers have marked it as a commendable debut, I look forward to reading and reviewing it sometime soon over Flip-a-leaf too.

    What is really appreciable; is the idea, sounds so unique yet is simply about books and the people who get attracted to them like magnets, and what more fun than watching the enthusiasm in a reader and spotting readers of every age groups searching for “the” book they want to buy.

    Wishing Walking BookFairs All the luck for the awesome work that they are doing. Hope to see them soon in Pune again!


    Goa- A new revelation. All credits to this dainty place- Literati Bookshop Café   The ceiling-high bookshelves I was in Goa last m...