Saturday, 20 October 2018

Book Review #111 : Dystopia

Title: Dystopia
Author: Manoj V Jain
Publisher: The Write Place
Genre: Fiction 
Pages: 146



Manoj V Jain’s Dystopia is the story of five school friends who reconnect after decades and attempt to resolve why a dear friend killed herself at eighteen. 

The book is set in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai and is centred on a single night at one of the friends’ house. Regular flashbacks take you to different points in time giving the narrative some perspective.

Jain has divided the story into two parts- Shambala, the idealistic and dreamy world of adolescence and Dystopia, the dark and angst ridden reality. As with any murder plot, the end is a shocker and takes you by surprise. The reason for Anandita’s death is the final piece of the puzzle, but yet the story somehow feels unsatisfying. 

Dystopia is nothing but a reflection of what we as adults might have gone through as kids, how our life shapes depending upon how over protective our parents were or careless with our up bringing; how we behaved with others as we grew up and vice versa. 

Most of us are the results of our childhood. Dystopia is a good read for those grappling with childhood pains, growing up, teenage angst, role identities and parenting but one should be careful that the book does not end up being a trigger to past problems.

The writing is good but fails to interest because of the incessant transition from reality to flashback. A topic gets initiated and even before its culmination, it is monotonously interrupted by the spirit of dystopia. The scenes hence become over-stretched and uninteresting.

‘Dystopia ’once again brings to the fore Author Manoj V Jain’s skill at making a mundane topic truly interesting and engaging. I admire how skilfully the author has his reader engaged in the topic.

If you are a parent, this might turn on an internal debate with your subconscious mind for the good or the bad but beware, that the message this novella wants to spread, must be taken seriously. ‘Dystopia’ is an eye-opener. Thought provoking, and one that can leave adults especially those that force their will on their children, feeling guilty, ‘Dystopia’ reveals the damage over protectiveness can have on the young mind. This in turn translates into the child becoming an introvert or hesitating from revealing secrets that are meant only for parents’ ears. 

VERDICT: The book one of the best on parenting, is a must read for all parents especially those with young kids.

Rating -4/5

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Book Review #110 : Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways To A Lasting Relationship



I have gone through Shubha’s Ramayana series books as well. And all books are amazing with great life lessons. In this book, the author concludes the life lessons amazingly and as readers, we are glued till the end!

There are 6 stories from the shastras namely ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, ‘The Golden Letter’, ‘A Silent Voice’, ‘The Other Before Oneself’, ‘The Woman Who Chose’ and ‘A Condition About Conditions’, but Shubha has presented them in a very practical and simple way. I was completely surprised by the depth of love, in all the stories.

Forgiveness is key is the main theme of ‘The Wheel of Fortune’ which narrates the story of Nala and Damayanti. Tolerate first and forgive next is the first key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Rukmini expresses her love to Krishna in ‘The Golden Letter’ as she explores that expressing love is crucial in a relationship. Appreciative expressions of love are the second key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Trust is foundation of all relationships. In ‘A Silent Voice’, Shakuntala first starts learning to trust herself, her inner voice and then later on trusting Dushyanta, her lover and husband. Trust in others begins by trusting oneself first, inner voice second and life itself, third. Trust is the important key to make a relationship strong.

In ‘The Other Before Oneself’, the author narrates the love story of Udayana and Vasavadatta as well as Lohajanga and Rupinika who build their relationships based on quality time spent in each other’s company. Spending quality and quantity time is the fourth key to make a relationship last for a lifetime.

Savitri’s determination to stay with Satyavan is retold in the story ‘The Woman Who Chose’. The determination to stay together actually increases the overall levels of happiness and contentment in a human being. Savitri was resolute not to let go of the relationship even in the face of death itself.

As the name suggests ‘A Condition About Conditions’ is about the conditions that have positive or negative impact on the relationships. A positive condition is the last half-key to make a relationship last for a lifetime. The stories of Shantanu’s relationship with Ganga and Satyavati and Pururava’s love for Urvashi talk about how negative conditions complicate relationships from the beginning and strangulate them in the end. Whereas Draupadi’s marriage with the five Pandavas lasted a lifetime.

Life lessons of love, anger, lust, intelligence, etc all emotions are taken through and is quite implementable in day to day life. This is a genuine book with genuine content. 

Each quote and lesson given in the book touches the heart, with narration that keeps you hooked. These are my favourite quotes from the book-

"The commitment to be grateful in a relationship is the commitment that keeps a relationship”

“When you look down upon someone, they appear ugly. When you look up at someone, they appear beautiful. But when you look straight at someone, they appear the way they are.”

“Filthy roads are better than filthy minds; at least their filth is visible.”

"Small drops of water when collected fill up a water tank. Similarly, when efforts are made to fulfil small desires, it fills up the love tank"

"Just as the smile of the crescent moon against the backdrop of utter darkness is most beautiful, the smile on the face of a person who is surrounded by unlimited troubles is most attractive.”

I've received much deeper and broader understanding on the way how relationships should be dealt with. Here in this book, it's not just about two people in love per se, but how we can improve every relation in general.

Theory with practical lessons plus implementation of things and guidance by author himself. It is a guide to having fulfilling relationships and transforming the way we look at them, that will be useful for generations to come.  

Perfect Love – 5.5 Ways to A Lasting Relationship is a treasure trove of scriptural wisdom for the modern age. I appreciate the efforts taken by the author in studying, writing and presenting the book in such a beautiful way! For all those who wish to improve their relationship with their partner it is must read book! :) Highly recommended.

Rating - 5/5

Author : Shubha Vilas is a TEDx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. He has delivered more than 4000 lectures on application of scriptural wisdom in day-to-day life. Curious to know more about him, then visit his website – www.shubhavilas.com.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Loving The Right Person




Love is a big thing.  It is equal parts exciting, rewarding, and scary. But, anyone who’s experienced it knows it’s the best feeling ever.

Loving the right person can bring about so many changes in you and your life.
1. THEY’RE THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY
No matter how good or bad the day is going, that someone has a way of making it better. There’s something quite magical about our loved one in that their mere presence makes us feel more at peace.  
2. You heal
When you're loved the way you want to be loved, all your baggage starts to make sense and that's when you start letting go of everything negative you've been holding on to. That's because when you find the right person, you'll be accepted in your truest sense, gaining back that confidence you lost somewhere along the way.

3. YOU WILL LOVE YOURSELF A LOT MORE THAN YOU DID

Stronger relationship teaches us the value of self worth. That's because the person you're with will make you realise how important you are as an individual, not just to them, but as a whole. You will feel valued and free. The love will feel like it lifts you up, helping you to experience more out of life.

4. THEIR PAIN IS YOURS
That’s right: the whole thing about owning your pain goes out the window the moment you fall in love. We can’t honestly hold onto something if someone else refuses to let go. Love and pain are inseparable. And it’s the most beautiful (albeit, heart-wrenching) type of pain, too.
5. YOU’RE PROTECTIVE
We innately protect the people we care for. You feel safe with them, too.
6. YOU THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE/ LONG TERM GOALS
A lot of consideration is given to the days ahead. Maybe it’s having a lovely home, starting a family, or bettering yourself when the time comes to settle down.
7. YOU WANT TO BE A BETTER PERSON
This is the life-changing power of love.
8. YOU’RE BEST FRIENDS
When you’re in love with the right person, it feels a lot like returning to the simpler days of life. You might be dealing with the pressures of work, school, and conflicting responsibilities. But you genuinely enjoy each other’s company, you tell each other everything, and you have the unshakable knowledge that if something goes wrong for one of you, the two of you will face it together. You’re at each other’s side through laughter and tears, and you take comfort from each other. You’re not afraid to be silly, and you’re not afraid to be weak. You like each other’s quirks, and there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for each other.
People fall in love for all sorts of reasons. Deep levels of trust take time to develop, but with the right person it all finds a perfect balance.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Book Review #109 : Invisible Ties

Author: Nadya A.R.
Title: Invisible Ties
Year of publication: 2017
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Number of pages: 265



This is a story of a girl finding herself, accepting herself and loving herself. This is a story of self-love and self-respect. 

Nadya A.R.’s Invisible Ties traces the journey of Noor Kamal as she goes from being a meek, overprotected girl growing up in Pakistan to becoming a self-realised woman, married and on equal terms with her husband in Singapore.

Nadya A.R. certainly deserves credit for the research and details presented in the novel. At first, Invisible Ties comes across as a fairly ordinary story but that’s only until the plot takes off. Or maybe the story is ordinary but has been told in such a manner that it makes for an extraordinary read.

The book is about Noor and her journey across multiple cultures. Ordinary situations sometimes transform seemingly average people into unlikely heroes and it is only in taking control of our lives that we discover ourselves.

Invisible Ties is a story about love, loss, relationships that evolve and bonds that are tested. The interplay of emotions and relationships is something that stands out in this book. The characters emotions are explored in detail, their trials and tribulations and compromises make for a fascinating read. Perhaps, its good that this story has been kept ordinary and hasn’t resorted to unnecessary grandeur. The simplicity is what makes it unique. The different stages of Noor's life have been beautifully encapsulated.

From the first couple of chapters, I was left confused. Many things were happening, and I couldn’t decode them. It was all going over my head. However, once the story moved to the past that was set in Pakistan, things settled a bit, and I could make sense of what was happening. I think the part set in Pakistan is the strongest part of the story.

Some of the stuff is repetitive but if you can overlook it, it makes for an overall good read. The author has good command over language and holds the plot fairly well.

VERDICT : Overall, ‘Invisible Ties’ is a brilliant story that offers genuine moments of heartache and throws light on the harsh realities of life. It projects various themes and leaves the last page for the readers to contemplate.

Rating - 4.5/5 

P.S: I received a mail from a company named ‘Keemiya Creatives’, asking me to review this book. I read the blurb, which seemed intriguing, and I accepted their offer, in exchange of an honest review.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Book Review #108 : Heart Quake




Author: Ishita Deshmukh
Publisher: Lifi Publications


Ishita penned this novel in her school days when she was asked to write with ‘love’ and ‘calamity’ as themes. With just a few months past the Bhuj earthquake, she chose her work to revolve around it.
Heart Quake revolves around the emotional crisis undergone by two lovers at the time of the Bhuj earthquake that shook Gujarat in 2001, which is a theme that is rarely taken up.

The book is an emotional journey for readers and the strong characters pull through the emotional ebb and flow perfectly. The female protagonist, Sonal, is a strong modern day woman. Tejas, a fatalist who is languid by nature, falls for his former lover, Sonal. The story traces their quest to find true love amidst crisis. They are the victims of the Bhuj earthquake and their defenselessness leads them to find a companion for life.

The story traces their love story, which had begun earlier. Plus, there is also Dilip’s factor, who is Sonal’s to-be fiancĂ©. Dilip who was her friend for all these years, when Tejas was not to be seen, was looking forward to being Sonal’s husband. And there are other bad causes at work, henchmen in terrible times too. The wrong agents at work are trying to make money from the entire situation.

The best part of this book are the characters. I would definitely say that it is a character-driven plot because they have been portrayed with such finesse and the author has managed to put all the nitty-gritty details. The book is definitely emotional. The supporting characters have also been portrayed well. Each character plays a vital role in shaping the story. Removal of one, will make the story look incomplete. The best people of this lot include Sonal’s mother, Chitra who calmly guides her daughter, into the next phase of her life. As does Dilip, who stays in love with Sonal through the whole story.

In the city of Bhuj, after the entire shock, amidst all the chaos and dread, there was also an overflow of emotions in the book - love, friendship, and a whole bunch of confusion, hope in the time of disaster, which is a ray of sunshine.

This is one of the books which leaves an impact on you with simple yet elegant way of explaining emotions that aren't easily understood by many. I would recommend this book to those who would like to read realistic life stories filled with highs and lows.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of book from the author in return for my honest review.

Rating: 4/5