Friday, 26 February 2016

Book Review #56 — She: Ekla Cholo Re

Authors: Dr. Shayan Haq; Santosh Avvannavar
Publisher: Hoffen; 1 edition (2015)
Paperback: 58 pages

Our behavioural traits are dictated by the society. Every person has to be a male or a female to live with peace in the society. But, about the people who can’t be classified as either a 'he' or 'she'? Society ignores them, and trans-genders have been the victims of the irrationalities of the society since eternity.

The authors have done a commendable job in picking a unique plot with a bold and controversial topic that is supported by a wonderful story.

She: Ekla Cholo Re is a story of one such person, Kusum. The only way Kusum can belong to our society is if she denies her own existence. Otherwise, she has to walk alone in this over-crowded world which considers her a taboo.

She: Ekla Cholo Re begins with Professor Raj, who finishes his class, and goes for a long drive. He meets Kusum and gives her a lift. As their journey progresses Kusum opens up to the sympathetic stranger, and reveals her story.

A female, born in a male body, Kusum has difficulty following the behavioural dictates of the society. She strives to understand herself while her family tries to mould her to society’s expectations. Against her family’s wishes, she follows her heart with dire consequences.

The plot is tightly woven with lovely poems, which blend with the narrative. The book is a quick read, but it lingers with the reader for a long long time. It depicts how much we so called ‘normal people’ are insensitive to the plight of those we don’t consider 'normal'.

Kusum is an extremely likeable, courageous character. Since, Kusum tells her story to Raj, their conversation in the car forms the crux of the story. The simple and lucid language is easy to follow. There are a few grammatical errors, and typos though.

The design of the title is interesting; the 'S' in SHE appears inverted, signifying the gender issue of Kusum and the image of Howrah bridge is embedded within SHE, symbolically representing the Bengali origin of the theme song, 'Ekla Cholo Re'.

The tag-line of the novelette - "a story meant to motivate all and sundry irrespective of their circumstances", perfectly holds true. Kusum’s courage to stand up for herself, and her determination to continue her path even after being abandoned will surely inspire everyone.

Kudos to the authors for writing Kusum’s story and bravely and vividly portraying the picture of a person caught up in a dilemma. Some stories need to be told, and read so that our society rises above some social stigmas.

This book deserves appreciation because it completely engrosses you with quick and focussed narration rather than setting the scene or irrelevant character structure. A touching love story, subtly wound around Kusum's internal conflicts and the book emphatically reiterates the fact that 'transgenders' are normal people too of great self-respect and admiration.

To those of us who have never come in close association with the life of a transsexual, Kusum's story shall give a new understanding of a unique kind of human emotion. And I recommend readers to spread this genuine social message far and wide.

As it is said “Good things come in small packages”, 'She: Ekla Cholo Re' very aptly justifies it! It’s a sweet and a very short story with the pungent message that says, 'Never give up and move on even if you are alone. Don’t live the way, the society expects you to.'  

Highly recommended for those who are looking for a good yet thought provoking book. Overall, this is a book to remember. I admire the way the authors have packed so much in just 58 pages!

Rating - 4.8/5

P.S: A review copy was provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Nano Fiction 25 : The Moon

I love the moon. Isn't it too beautiful? And of late, it seems too beautiful and soothing to me! I spend a minimum of 10 minutes by my window side admiring it and reflecting on life.

Silky Loneliness, 
Consumes Me With Tenderness.

The Moon spills its silver,
Reflects both light and darkness,
The night captures my soul.
The moon is weeping
And so am I..

I wonder if life is always fair? I wonder how many people who want to be together are apart and how many who do not stand each other are together. Sometimes, destiny plays a dirty game. All we are allowed to do is stand still, wait and bear the drama unfold. I wish we got some answers when we needed them the most. 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Nano Fiction 24 : YOLO

I saw Neerja today. NEERJA is a story worth telling, this is Sonam Kapoor's best performance to date! She proves her mettle as an actor.

The USP of Neerja is its realism and low-key tone. Everything unfolding on screen feels like something that must surely have happened off screen. It is the seeming lack of effort to build up melodrama that makes this such an intense, suspenseful and emotionally consuming viewing experience.

So, so proud of Neerja Bhanot for her never-ending commitment, kindness towards the passengers and for her extra-ordinary courage.

Emotional, inspiring, teary and flawless - Neerja is a MUST WATCH!

Despite everything, what struck me, after I saw it- was that life is short.

Live each day like it is your last. Buy that dress/lipstick you have set your eyes on, say that 'one' sorry you wish you had said, make that 'one' phone call which you think can make things right for you, confess your love for that someone, apologize if you have let down your parents or anyone for that matter - because nobody has seen tomorrow. It may happen that either you or that someone may not live tomorrow. So take that chance, and create magic in your life.

What if you're talking to that person for the last time? Maybe you are saying a final bye when you drop them off the bus stop, maybe they will never come home back - so hug them tight and never let people you love walk away, because you may realize it later - that you are nothing without them. It will never be the same with anyone else but them. But it may be too late to rectify things then. So do it TODAY. NOW is the time to set things right and make them fall in place.

Not always money will make you happy. Do what makes you happy from within and bring that smile on your face, even when you're tired.

I believe in the mantra - You Only Live Once (YOLO). Life is too short for hatred. Love more, hate less. With this message, I am signing off, for I have a hectic week ahead. Keep smiling, love life, it will love you back! 

Friday, 19 February 2016

Book Review #55 : My Dream Man

Title: My Dream Man
Author: Aditi Bose
Pages: 203
Price: Rs. 200/-
Publisher: Authors' Ink Publications

I am impressed by the choice of Aditi's words, the humour and their combination which drive the reader forward to this book. However, I didn’t much like the cover. It is quite misleading. It hints at it being an erotica which the book isn't.

The story is about an ambitious yet a struggling writer, wanting all the success out of her words. The struggle of a writer and the inner conflicts are well illustrated.

I like the subject the book considers -  the age disparity between a couple. The characters are quite realistic. The characters are depicted clearly and adding quotes of famous writers with chapter names is something I found refreshing. Aditi describes everything so vibrantly that you can picture even the minutest detail in your mind! 

The plot is realistic and uncomplicated which makes it a great read.

The flow is quite swift and language is easy to comprehend, free flowing, easy, chatty and witty. It is a good and light-hearted read that I enjoyed in spite of everything. Aditi has a flair for writing. A chick lit through and through, I’m sure the book will find many readers.

'My Dream Man' soon had me chuckling and nodding in agreement. This book is a sort of autobiography of a young intelligent girl who wants to be a writer. She talks to her readers, meanders around, comments on diverse subjects that occupy the mind of someone like her, from food cravings to boring lectures; from drooling over men to writers block; from intrusive parents to interfering relatives. This builds a rapport with the reader.

This also works as a guide to wannabe writers like me, and the pitfalls that come in the way, like copying styles we think may sell, and pressures from the agent to write in a certain way.

Aditi Bose has managed to push you deep into Ajopa’s skin- and yes you journey with her from being a bubbly teenager to a mellow adult woman.

The climax was very rushed. The ending, though clich├ęd, had a surprising element to it that I really enjoyed. The epilogue was unnecessary. The first 20 pages were too dragging. A couple of sub plots could have been avoided as they purely seemed to be fillers.

There were also a lot of grammatical errors in the book. A better editor could have made the book much better. The font and page quality of the book seemed amateurish too.

My Dream Man is a fun one-day, decent read for when you're in the mood for something light-hearted and relaxing. 

P.S: This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by Read Out Loud in association with b00k r3vi3w Tours

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

For The Love Of Urdu ~ #1

I am really fond of Urdu language and that kind of justifies my liking for Pakistani dramas.

I think Urdu really deserves a lot more love and acceptance. It is one language that lends itself to so many genres and art forms and should be brought to the public consciousness in a better way. This language lends so much depth to the words we want to convey and thereby it adds a lot to our existence.

I find people speaking Urdu, so much more adorable and attractive than those who don't! This language is too exotic, according to me.

When a fellow blogger friend suggested to watch, 'Dil-E-Muztar', I immediately went on to YouTube and there, it all started. Today, I finished watching the entire drama. And I must say, after watching Pakistani dramas, I ALWAYS learn a lot about life. They are so realistic! I have watched 5-6 of them, and each has taught me very important lessons of life.

And for the love of Urdu, I had to share this dialogue from 'Dil-E-Muztar'. (See the imagery) It has deep meanings hidden and I love the way it explains a lot about life.

Each one of us is broken, in one way or the other; yet every morning we get up and live our day. Each passing day, makes us stronger and some things never leave us, yet, we just learn how to gracefully hide them behind our smiling faces. And that is what I learnt about life - It never stops for anyone, it goes on.

Few shayari lines, I love from the title track of this show: (of course, I had to see the translation to get its complete meaning!)

"Dil-e-muztar ko samjhaya bahut hai,
Magar is dil ne tadpaya bahut hai,

Qayamat hai yeh tark-e-arzoo bhi,
Mujhe aksar wo yaad aaya bahut hai,

Magar is dil ne tadpaya bahut hai,
Dil-e-muztar ko samjhaya bahut hai,

Tabassum bhi , Haya bhi , Berukhi bhi,
Ye andaze sitam, bhaya bahut hai,

Rahi hasti ke is jalte safar main,
Tumhari yaad ka saya bahut hai,

Dil-e-muztar ko samjhaya bahut hai,
Magar is dil ne tadpaya bahut hai..."

Saturday, 13 February 2016


Even in the 21st century, we, women are surrounded by stereotypes we are somehow not able to get rid of, yet. It’s high time to break these stereotypes. 

Not just experience, but even statistics say the same. Take a look at some of the startling figures that the Nihar Naturals #IAmCapable survey conducted by Nielsen India reveals:

a. 69% of men agree that their judgement of women is based on their looks.

b. 64% of women agree that the judgments passed on them have affected their ability to reach their true potential.

c. 70%of women agree that majority of judgments on women are from family members or friends rather than strangers.

d. 72% of women agree that working women face more judgments on their looks or their clothes than housewives.

Women get judged, misused for various things and I am going to list a few of them down. I concluded to include these points in my post because of what I have observed around and a few instances that I personally experienced.

A) Our abilities: We may look thin and graceful, yet we are strong to carry our own luggage. And we always do not learn to cook, because we wish to get married. We learn things to become capable to take care of our own selves. We women are tough creatures, strong fighters and great multi-taskers.

B) Money: Some men feel women are just behind their money. But hey, not all are same. Some are focusing to marry rich husbands like you, while some are striving to become rich wives!

C) A man's ego: A man's ego is more fragile than a woman's heart. Some men just get almost handicapped if you hurt their ego by speaking the right thing; and they are so talented, they make you feel guilty for it too. They play blame games and make the woman weak.

How to overcome: Never let a man break you emotionally or mentally. A weak man can never sweep you off your feet because he simply doesn't possess the strength to lift your spirit.

D) Dowry: Girls you do not have to 'buy' a man to call yourself 'married'. Wait for the right person. And even if you do not get one, you are your own hero, always! Say no to the stereotypical custom of Dowry.

E) The race to reach the so called ‘enviable’ status of men in society: We need to come out of that 'son-preference-attitude'. The benchmarks of stereotypical paradigms which often drill the clause, "Women marching  ahead, in tandem with Men" or "Aajkal auratein mardon se kandhey se kandha  milakar chal rahi hain!" Such comparisons and success parameters for women actually reveal the dark underbelly of patriarchy, in a sugar coated pill, wherein a woman has to reach the so called ‘enviable’ status of men in society. I say why to match shoulders with men, when women are their own heroes!

F) Every outfit you wear will be judged: If you wear short clothes, probably you're a slut. If you wear salwar kameez, you're a behenji.

Rape is not about you. It is the power that man has misused. It has nothing to do with you staying out late, but the mindset of men. Babies get raped, elderly women too. They leave no one. DESPERATION leads to rape.

Every girl has a right to dress up as she wishes.  So don't place it on the length of her clothes. We often blame it on the western culture?  Which western culture? The same that has given us IVF, birth control techniques, or electricity and bulbs?

Even if you leave a scantily dressed lady minister at night on the road, nothing will happen to her. Because the consequences of such acts done to a minister are known. But when it comes to normal girls, the rapists know, they can get away with it easily. So it is not lack of clothes on a girl’s body, but lack of consequences. The laws of this country are not so apt and stringent.

How to overcome: The power of the harasser, the abuser, the rapist depends all on the silence of women. Simply a law cannot change the society. It is a battle. While we express our outrage, it is extremely important to empower women and exert pressure on the law enforcers to do their duty and the guilty be booked for exemplary punishment for their heinous deed. And maybe punished publicly or even chemical castration!

We need to teach our daughters to know the difference between a man who flatters her, compliments her and the man who spends money on her, who invests in her, the difference between a man who views her as a property and a man who views her properly, a man who lusts after her and a man who loves her, a man who believes she is a gift to him. And most importantly, we need to teach our sons to be that kind of a man!

G) Undervaluing yourself and being dominated: Most of the relationship problems arise when we undervalue ourselves and consider the wrong kind of attention to be right. Maybe because it feeds our ego or it validates our fear of not being good enough.

Some men revel in egotism and dominate their partners. If they don't feel their partners are good enough and not valuable enough, why are they with them? They are equally stupid for making such choices.

If you don't believe you are worthy, no one else will, girls. Don’t let your fears and insecurities override your self-respect. Believe that you matter.

H) Matrimonial ads - typical stereotypes: To write something, you as a writer have to risk making a fool of yourself.

So this point might just be offending to the weak hearted men. So read at your own risk. Do not blame me later!

I am going to talk about the matrimonial ads seen in newspapers and matrimonial sites placed by men. I am going to mock them.

Let me list down a sample ad - 

Want an exceptionally beautiful, slim, tall bride.

What do you mean by beautiful, fair!? Beauty dear men, is in the eye of beholder. It can be different for different people, depends on how you gauge it. Some people rate it by external appearances, some by brains, some by both, and some just see the connect they make with the person.

Slim? Rather ask for a mentally strong woman. Her being slim or fat will be of no use when you are fighting day to day issues life throws at you! 

Tall? How's her height going to benefit you!?

You are only allowed to change my surname, address and my viewpoint about other men. Just the other day, I spoke about this to my friend and her parents. They will surely be happy I brought up this point strongly on my blog. Men stop judging women on looks. She has more to her.


How to overcome people who put you down and doubt your abilities is by doing what they say you cannot do! Look up and be proud of yourself. Never doubt your own capabilities. Life is all about taking risks. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you learn.

When we marry, we leave behind so many things and go to a new place to have a new share of responsibilities and duties, and there we only crave for people to understand that fact and offer mental support. But many people get satisfaction in harassing their daughter in laws or wives.

But dear women, don't let anybody love you less than you love yourself. Don't let people judge you by your appearances or faults, rather than your achievements. Let your feet follow your heart!

You have to be your own savior and education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear to reach your full potential. And always pray. Take a minute or two, to thank God for showering blessings on you, remember someone craves for all what you got already. So be grateful.  Always be optimistic; negativity around you is not an option.

Men, society and everyone who ever will try to bring me down, please know - I am capable, capable of doing almost everything you think I am not! So keep your garbage of negativity miles away from me and every other strong woman, who otherwise can give it right back to you.

P.S: “I’m breaking stereotypes based on appearance by sharing my experience for the #IAmCapable activity at BlogAdda in association with Nihar Naturals.”

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Book Review #54 : Logically Stupid, That’s Love

Sometimes, I feel really lucky to be a book lover and getting author signed copies from authors themselves to review their work. I feel so privileged and blessed.

I started reading this book and after a few pages, I got so engrossed that I could actually visualize the characters in front of my eyes. This book is dedicated to our generation which never values anything that comes easy. This book has too many ingredients that can make it a bestseller.

I loved the way Shikha has put elements like romance, thrill, and so much more in this book. I fell in love with the characters. As the story develops, the characters get intense, and you have more reasons to believe why the book is titled so. Special mention for the book jacket that fits so apt with the entire theme!

Language used is very simple and crisp. Every chapter has a twist that adds to the plot. Shikha leaves the readers asking for more. Also, I can safely say like Shikha's previous book, this too can be converted to a motion picture, as it has all the correct ingredients!

The two things that l liked the most about her characters were that they were very close to real and they keep you hooked. Because as readers we do not adore perfection in characters, flawed characters appeal us more!

Delhi, Goa, Amritsar- story travels through 3 cities giving you the local flavors. Also to mention, the conversation of the middle-class families is an icing on the cake.

Shikha is an incredible story-teller and that passion of hers shines through her words. This read is for those who love witty romances. The book addresses the common issue faced by today's generation, Career or Love? Hence the connectivity with the characters is instant as a reader. After her first book, Shikha has again touched the right chord with her readers.

Shikha is a witty writer who is somehow always successful in dodging sugar-coated romance and emphasizing on fun quotient consistently, and yet her book never fails to glow on emotions.

Shikha is one author to watch-out for.  No dull moment, full of turns and twists, LSTL is an entertaining read with a profound message to the generation. It is a love story to cherish and read this Valentine season. Warm your hearts with a different yet everyday tale, a fun story which will impress today’s young romantic-comedy lovers.

Rating - 4.8/5

P.S: The book was sent to me by author, Shikha Kumar in exchange of an honest review.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Nano Fiction 23 : Forgiveness

Don't you curse him? Aren't you angry with him for abandoning you all of a sudden?

She replied, "Slowly, he wrote me; out of his story, but I don't curse him. Weak people curse those who have wronged them. I am strong. I forgave someone who wasn't sorry for what he did, and with time I have learnt to accept an apology I never received."

             ****                     ****               ****                ****            ****            ****

Relationships in the age I live in, die due to ego, pride and an improper attitude towards each other. I wish, people remembered that no one in the history has ever choked to death from swallowing their pride. If you realize you are wrong, it's never too late to admit. Never admitting your fault - totally murders your relationship.

I read a quote somewhere - "Saath chodne walo ko toh ek bahana chahiye, warna nibhane wale toh maut ke darwaze tak saath nahi chodte."

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it. If someone has wronged you and moved on, forgive them anyway. Do not give them a rent-free space in your mind and heart.

We cannot expect the other person to love us the same way we do to them. Each one is programmed to love differently.

Sometimes letting go is better than holding on. It does a little less damage, I have realized.

I wrote a little poem in Hindi, one night, when sleep failed to reach me and thoughts poured..quite well!

Kisi ko maaf kar dena,
Hai kitna bada hunar!

Na kar uski chah jo hai kho gaya,
Na dho bojh toote rishton ka...

Na ho woh azaad,
Na tu,
Jab tak karo na ek dusre ko tum maaf.

Apno ko toh sabhi maaf kar dete hai,
Gair ko maaf kar,
Tab banega tu bada aey insaan, 
Apne khoon ko maaf karna,
Hota hai aasaan,
Hai na badappan usme koi,
Dusron ko bhi insaan samjh,
Kare jo maaf,
Woh kehlayega bada...

Maaf karne se hota nahi koi chota,
Buss hota hai mann halka...
Har galat kiya, jayega bhool,
Khilenge khushi ke phool.

Na de apne dimag aur dil me bewajah jagah usse,
Na paal malaal,
Karde maaf,
Ho jayega tu aazaad,
Maafi mein hai taakat badi!