Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Muslim Bride

I began to imagine my sister in the bridal look, I wondered how happy she will be when she is totally dressed up in the bridal attire, with jewels shining all along her neck, palms and forehead, her long straight hair with a maangtika in the middle and some gold thread running all along the length of her hair.

I continued to imagine her with her hair tied tightly and a single strand falling on her face from time to time, her eyes with mascara and eyeliner, which makes them appear darker and more beautiful, and was in total contrast with her fair skin. Her lips with blood red lipstick and gloss, which she bites from time to time, whenever she is nervous and her hands decorated with mehendi… Her arms covered with red, golden glass bangles, which jingle, as and when she moves to settle her hair and to wipe off even the tiny drop of sweat that appears on her face.

Everything makes her look like a real angel. And then I imagined her moving slowly towards the stage with her nervous, shy eyes…wearing that red lehanga with her groom!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Book Review #66 : Silent Realities

Author: Ranjan Kaul 
Price: Rs 350/- 
Pages: 214

Blurb: A cluster of 10 stories tilting between the real and unreal, with myriad characters in an ever changing multilayered society. The range captures the frailties, moods and impulses of human behavior.

Silent Realities is a set of short stories with every page packed with suspense. Very ordinary people and events that one comes across in life are transformed into tales that touch you. The characters come alive and Ranjan Kaul captures the emotions of people with such clarity that one can feel the touch of pain or joy as it comes along. 

The author has a fine eye for detail and uses it to create an atmosphere for its locations. He sharply brings into perspective the images that are blurred to our everyday lives as we choose to coast along in our own world! There is a mixture of conflicting feelings as we await each story to end while simultaneously secretly wishing that it would continue.

The book is a non-stop read. The language is overall east to understand, clean and refined. I loved the stories of – the insecure lover and the little girl who helps her mother steal. These stories speak to you and are so relateable.

This is a great book, brilliant on every score. The stories can be read in any order. Each story is a gem.

3 stories impressed me the most, namely - The Slap, The Nest and Touch. They keep the readers hooked. I personally loved the stories The Slap and Touch which had an unhurried pace as they concentrated on the growing up phase of teens & adults and their complex interactions.

The only thing I disliked is – since the author describes everything too much in detail, there is an over description of few things, that could have been avoided.

I do hope that Author Ranjan has more stories to tell in days to come. Overall, this one is a decent and an enjoyable read. This book leaves a lingering aura.

Rating - 4.5/5

P.S:  I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Book Review #65 : 03:02

Author : Mainak Dhar
Publisher : Westland
Number of Pages : 350
Publishing Year : 2016
Edition : Paperback
Price : 295

Apart from a creative name and amazing plot, the cover of the book is also very creatively designed and it looks very unique.

This book titled "03:02" written by Mainak Dhar and published by Westland Publishers, surprised me and made me curious as it was something about 03.02 am, the city of Mumbai suddenly going black with no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. I just wanted to know more!

As I began reading, I was impressed with the way the story began. Eventually, the reader gets to know that a big terrorist group has invaded the city with all its forces. And then there is the protagonist who helps the people and when he comes to know about the terrorist group, fights it. The power of positivity and managing things with little resources is highlighted.

The narration of the author is action packed and fast paced. 03:02 is a book full of surprises. It is all about effortless narration. The plot is fresh, and a lot of time has been invested in research. Even the vocabulary is simple which helps you to keep reading in a good speed with a flow. He has written things with so much ease, that you feel that everything is real and is happening around you. The characters and their backgrounds are nicely developed. A special treat for all the Mumbaites is the Mumbai setting.

The first 80 pages aren't much captivating and it could have been cut short. But the climax makes up for it. The way it ends leaves you with a wide smile, it is so inspiring. There is hardly a dull moment in the entire novel, and once hooked you can be assured of sailing through right till the end.

The book forces you to think about the unanswered question “What will happen if everything goes down one day?” with no technology, can we survive?

03:02 is a different type of war story - yet gripping. An ordinary person thrown into an extraordinary circumstance, like acts of terror, and how he copes with it and leads others with leadership and conviction, makes an interesting read.

A well crafted story with powerful characters. Perfectly executed.  Impeccable character portrayal. It will bring out the patriot in you.

I recommend  the book to all the thriller lovers. Mainak Dhar proves that Indian authors can pull off thrillers with close knit storyline and action sequences with ease and conviction!

Rating - 4.5/5

P.S: I won this review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Book Review #64 : The Calling – Unleash Your True Self

Author: Priya Kumar
Publisher: Books That Inspire
Pages: 166

After reading The Calling, I realize Priya Kumar's true calibre and I feel so fortunate to be knowing her now. Few weeks back, her team messaged me on Twitter, to know if I would review her book. Immediately I went on to find and read more about her.  And I was amazed, how I didn't yet know about such an amazing woman, who inspires and motivates so many people out there.

The book arrived in my mail along with a letter and gift packed so meticulously! The gift was a cup with the book's theme, and with message written on the first page of the book as well. I love personalization, it impresses me and all this further packed me with a lot of enthusiasm to go forward with the book.

This book is an inspirational and motivational piece of fiction. A story that most of us working professionals, living the fast life, chasing our work goals with the only aim of earning and climbing the career ladder; will relate to. It’s a story of a man, Arjun who is given a reality check and understands what and how his life took a wrong turn and how to rectify the mistakes that are made.

You would really find your calling, if you go past the first few pages of this book. You’d never really regret reading it till the end. It is a gem. But, if you are going to give this book a miss, either you are already on the right path in your life or you’re just ignorant of something that holds the true power to unleash your inner self.

In the fast pace of city life, in the race of conquering everything and trying to make everything perfect – whether it’s family or work or something else, we forget basic ethics, morality and well can even forget who we were or what we wanted to achieve in the first place. The Calling is a book that will make you think about a lot of things in your own life.

The Protagonist's encounter with the sage gives out knowledge you would want to seep deep  into your psyche. Yes, the book does that to you.

The book is filled with a lot of wisdom. Everyone would find something for them in it. You’d surely feel the mountains calling out to you. The characters are so neatly presented that they never deviate from the essence of the plot. And there were some quotes which I super liked– making me ponder about life before continuing to read.

Overall, The Calling – Unleash Your True Self is a book which is on the lines of The Alchemist and The Secret. Some books are meant to be chewed and swallowed. This motivational book by Priya Kumar is one such!

Highly recommended book for all those who love motivational books that can really open your eyes and provide you with rich insights. This book is about something all of us need to be reminded of, I won’t reveal much but as I said, it’s a reality check we all need. This book can change your life and guide you towards your calling in life as it has in my life.

Thank you for creating The Calling, Priya.

Rating: 4.8/5

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Book Review #63 : The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

Author: Priyonkar Dasgupta  
Publisher: Thought Balloon Books

Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction/ Adventure

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur is a beautiful story about childhood, friendship, courage and the magic of adventure & innocence.  This beautiful story immortalizes summer time. And undoubtedly it is the children who enjoy the summer’s the most, for they have a month long vacation to explore, indulge and invite trouble! Also who can forget the great bonding time with cousins during vacations?

The novel is thought provoking and portrays the world, situations and circumstances through a child’s point of view.  Mystery, a child’s perspective of situation and the world are well woven.

I would like to comment on the cover of the book. The cover of the book gave me a very happy go lucky feel that extends to being a horror story too. Just like any comic book cover, we read in the childhood!  

The story is set in a small sleepy town of Rajpur, not very far from Kolkata.  I liked the setting of the book – the town Rajpur has just the perfect combination of amusement and mystery to keep the readers hooked on right till the end. The characters Shoumik and Shoumo are brothers who land up in Rajpur at their Cousin Joy’s place and thus the story unfolds. They spend their time chasing mysteries and weird rumors of tantrics and ghosts. And in their quest for adventure they find themselves in the middle of something far more frightening, unlawful and gruesome.

The writing style is easy and has a natural flow, the events are well narrated and characters well structured. The novel has a breezy feel to it and it’s primarily due to the writing style. The author successfully manages to take the reader through a fun filled adventurous childhood ride. The characters are nice with most of them being the typical notorious boys with a kind of notoriety most of us can associate with our childhood. We find a lyrical note in it where the imageries and metaphors are beautifully used.

The escapades and misadventures were fun to read and I especially enjoyed the parts which involved the tantric and the haunted dilapidated factory. The ghost angle makes the story and the plotline very interesting. What truly amazed me was the author’s ability to make the story feel so real. The climax was absolutely brilliant and unpredictable. It was finally like the icing on the cake.

This novel reminded me of all the good times spent in vacations and schools lazing around, indulging all sense whether it is food, friends or adventure. A journey back to sleepy afternoons where adults were not privy to children's worlds of make believe and wonderful motivations. An attempt to lead, an attempt to make friends, to be curious.

What I liked & disliked -

- What strikes the chord of the 90's kid mostly is the notable lack of gadgets encumbering our lives now. It helped us look at people's faces instead of screens. Nostalgic for sure.

- Great use of language, but more often the author has used very long sentences which may not go well with the readers. It acted as a speed blocker for me. Many sentences need to be fragmented.

- Amidst, minor punctuation errors, the story is one that helps you reminiscence the jazz of childhood.

- Incredible description of every place they visit and each person they meet. However, the book could have been 30 odd pages shorter if the pace of the narrative had been tightened a bit.

- Editing is above average, but some words have been used needlessly. They could have been skipped. Like 'Cousin Joy' each time instead of just Joy.

- Another issue I had with the book was the font size as it was a bit too small for my liking.

VERDICT: People of all the ages would love to read the story, so go grab the book and be a part of these young children’s voyage through it all! Kudos to the author for transporting me to the best phase my life. Thank you!

Rating: 4/5

P.S: I won this review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.