On Books & Reviews

Simply unputdownable

Leila: A NovelLeila: A Novel by Prayaag Akbar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sensitive, warm, fuzzy, scary, painful. The entire book is a roller coaster of emotions. If you read it over days, you would want to immediately go back and start again lest you missed something in the beginning which was telling of the end.

An emotional journey of a mother searching for her daughter in a dystopian world which seems so close to reality that it’s almost disturbing. Shalini, the main protagonist of the book, takes us back and forth in a crumbling world where freedom to love, marry and live life on your terms is looked down upon. Where in the name of culture and tradition families are torn apart and live in fear of being torn apart. The entire fabric of society seems so fragile in this world that you tiptoe into the next page fearing that your ‘democratic’ world isn’t suddenly destroyed.

At times you feel is this where your country is eventually headed to with all that is going on in terms of moral policing or do you think better sense will prevail. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a world where Shalini, Laila and Riz can’t be together, but you need to read the book to find out more.

All in all, it’s a must read and I promise you it’s not disappointing.

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On Books & Reviews

If there was one phrase to describe this book, it has to be heart-wrenching!

Fate BallFate Ball by Adam W. Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book which began as a simple college love story turns into something so intense that it kept me up all night wanting to know more. If you look at it from a different perspepctive, the book is about the life of an addict and her struggle to break out. She fails miserably and so do the people around her trying to help.

A sense of helplessness, guilt and inability to do anything but wait and watch is what keeps you on your toes. A light read despite being based on a serious plot, the book is simply unputtdownable.

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On Books & Reviews

A Wrinkle in Time: Fun, imaginative and definitely worth a read

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is something about reading children’s books as an adult. You begin to wonder where did all those simple emotions of love, hate, anger, frustration go and when where they replaced by the grey ones, the doubt, the mistrust…

A sci-fi novel, A Wrinkle in Time, is fun, imaginative and very relaxing to read when you are shrouded with work. The concepts shared by the author is timeless and is definitely a must-read given the current world we live in. The explanation of the concept of equality is so beautifully simplified that you feel that why do we as adult complicate every basic notion.

If you are in the mood for something different, pick up this book and you won’t be disappointed.

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On Books & Reviews

Lanka’s Princess: Not so memorable after all

Lanka's PrincessLanka’s Princess by Kavita Kané

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My review may be biased as I prefer the Mahabharat epic to the Ramayana of which she is a part. I found her characterisation uniteresting and unrelenting when compared to a Menaka in Menaka’s Choice or an Urvi in Karana’s Wife. But like I said it could be my bias towards the epic; the reason why I’m yet to read Sita’s Sister.

Surpankha or Meenakshi reminded you of someone who is beyond reason and needed a moment of catharisis to even consider a different viewpoint. It reminds you of a lot of the younger generation today who think the world is out to get them and fail to even consider or notice that the people who care are only looking out for them. As such this fast-paced book will appeal to certain lot of people but failed to leave me behind with something.

Worth a read if you are looking for a different point of view for the known epic.

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On Books & Reviews

Reviewing The Trouble with Women

Seven tight stories. Each equally haunting. Deftly written by Meghna Pant, The Trouble with Women is a must read for who like their stories slightly dark and real. Meghna takes very obvious situations which women in India can usually relate to and portrays them with a removed eye.

You can almost feel the character’s anger, pain, guilt or stress as may the case be. You feel frustrated at Bilal for the way he treats his wife and daughters, you get Zoze for his heartlessness, you are anxious about what will happen if Nikhil finds out and if Sahil’s sister actually goes ahead with what’s going on in her head. You are pained by what Sexy puts herself through to feel liberated and angry at Paalan’s father for the way he treated his mother and definitely you feel sorry, really sorry, for that young girl who has to use her femininity to rise the corporate ladder despite her talent. 

The trouble with woman actually is we think and feel too much and this short collection of stories makes you go through a myriad of emotions in a short span of few days. Each story is way too heavy to read one after the other. And you need that time to think, argue and calm your mind before reading the next one. The book is available on the Juggernaut app and is conveniently priced.

Contrary to perception that nothing can replace a physical book, reading on the app is pretty user friendly with the only irritant being the scroll. If a message or an email needs to be answered while reading, it’s a task to switch without losing your line. Other than that, all is well.

Do scroll through the book and let me know what you felt about it in the comments below.

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Fiction

Walk through the park

Nikki and  Anshuman walked solemnly across the park, clutching each other’s hands. Afraid if they loosened their grip they would lose each other too.  Near the exit, on a green bench sat an old woman knitting a small, red sweater.

Nikki didn’t realise it at first but the trickle of tears on her hand made her realise that he was silently sobbing at the sight. Two months ago they were planning to bring their first born to the park everyday. Now they just walked around here hoping to recapture those happy moments. She saw him crying and wanted to just hug him and cry to. But she remained stoic. Hoping her calm composure would help Anshuman remain  strong.

Anshuman always knew his wife was the tough one. She could take whatever blow and see the positive in it and make him believe life was all hunky dory. But it was not. He missed hearing the heartbeat of his child. The child he buried just two hours after she was born. A still born they said. He missed seeing the kicking feet. He missed every bit of it. The old woman made him think of his mother who received the news when she was midway knitting a sweater for his child. His child who just left him too early. Nikki tugged at his hand to move on , he wiped his tears with the other hand and walked on. Knowing this was just the beginning to a long and painful end.

The old woman was furtively knitting the sweater. Her grandchild was only a few months away and at this speed she would not be able to gift him the red sweater. It was a tradition in her family that the eldest gifts the youngest a handwoven sweater. She would have just loved to buy it off Macy’s or something but that was just cheating. So, she usually got out in the afternoons and spent the better half of dusk knitting at the park bench. Enough light which also helped her old bones. Looking up at her this day’s of work she held the sweater against the light to see if the stitches were all in a straight line. Satisfied with her day’s work she stuffed the unfinished sweater in her bag and headed home.

At the exit she saw this young couple arguing. She was a bit taken aback. Wasn’t this the same couple who were clutching each other’s hand in the park and that man there was even crying. What’s with these new age couples she thought and walked on.

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Fiction

One evening

Nikki held his hand and let him out of the car.

There is nothing to feel sad about dusk. Nothing is going to end today. We are going for the evening walk I promised you and that’s final.

She loved it when she could have her way him him. Towering over him outside the way he did at work.

Slowly they walked to the gardens. She knew that place. She had been there before. It was beautiful during dusk and she wanted him to see that beauty. As they walked the leafy path her eyes crossed the unkept lawns and the broken pathway. The only thing the municipal actually repaired was the path near the lake, she told him. That path was laid with perfectly rounded cobbled stones and black, light bollards  lined it on the inside facing the lake. It reminded you of Central London or something.

On the opposite side of the cobbled path were blue iron benches. Lovers had already taken their spot to enjoy the evening. The sky had turned orange and the water reflected the same.  The walked on for a while looking at the health freaks strut up and down as if that one walk will help them achieve their goal of losing x kilos. They laughed at the odd balls, the women in sarees and the men in pyjamas. They eavesdropped on mother-in-laws bitching about their daughter-in-laws. They heard married lovers speak about their spouses. They heard about the big plunge one stock took that trading day and lots of inane things which didn’t matter. What mattered was that sun was setting and he was happy.

The birds were cackling all around, returning to their homes as the sun went down. He loved bird watching. He was fascinated with the way they built their nests on trees and that they remained unharmed even in the harshest of weathers. There were enough and more species to look out for. But they were no ornithologists, they didn’t even know the name of the species. All that mattered was the setting was perfect, the birds, the breeze, the trees and the setting sun. Just like she wanted, just so tranquillising as if casting a happiness spell.

She was just happy to spend that alone time and hoping it would lead to something later… They found a spot after wandering along for a while and plonked themselves on the benches. They just stared out at the lake and the sun setting the big tree in the centre of the lake. Looks like a mangrove with its tentacle-like roots swamping all around. You can occasionally see a kingfisher stick his head out from under one of those roots. But today she was just waiting for a the first sign of darkness to fall over them. She just wanted to hold his trembling hand and show him that all is ok. She just wanted to kiss him in the cacophony of birds to forget all the apprehensions he has about sunsets. Evenings are never bad she thought, they were the most romantic time of the day. How could anyone possibly get upset during that phase.

And then he said something she could not understand. Nikki was to be busy watching the sun set that she forgot he was sitting by his side. She blanked out and he wanted to leave. He couldn’t take it anymore. The sounds, the warmth were to much for him and she couldn’t do anything to pacify him. She held him close and he kissed her slightly and all he said was let’s take the action elsewhere. She could do nothing but comply and nothing she ever said later could make him take another evening walk with her.

She still thinks what happened that evening. But guess there are some things best left unexplored, undisturbed.

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