Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Book Review #99 : A Cage of Desires

Title - A Cage of Desires
Author - Shuchi Singh Kalra
Genre – Fiction (Erotic)
Publisher - Penguin
ISBN – 978-0143441625

Finally, a book that talks about women, their desires and dreams! It is such a refreshing read. It focuses on an aspect of the Indian culture that so many people choose to ignore. Women are not puppets to be tossed around, but deserve to be treated with respect. The story is a manifestation of how the men use women for their own lust. It felt so real and not fictional, with a strong message that if women are taken for granted, they will not spare anyone and you can’t escape its consequences.

COVER- The cover of the book is lit!

TITLE - It suggests the book must be based on physical desires but it turns out to be a sensitive, riveting and engrossing story, elegantly presented.

THEME OF THE BOOK – It portrays the mundane, middle class life of the protagonist Renu, who, is reckoned as a liability on the society. She also has to deal with acute loneliness despite having a family with two beautiful children and a shrewd husband. Their marriage misses the spark of romance and she often feels the lack of emotional and physical understanding. To make her life more miserable and unnecssary, there is an old father-in-law, who keeps a sarcastic vigil on her and treats her like a machine. She craves for: love, freedom, companionship, and physical satisfaction.

REVIEW - It was really interesting to read each and every page with utmost care as it brought out untold emotions which was overflowing from Renu. But, she had another face. Despite being a mother of two, a typical housewife, she was never given the place or freedom she always had yearned for in her life by her spouse. Her journey from a lost homemaker to a liberated, strong, and independent woman is nothing short of inspiring. How she finds solace in fulfilling her physical desires in secrecy and in doing so she explores the hidden desires of her heart is satisfying to read.

The book is a heady mix of love, sex, lust, greed, betrayal, drama, revenge and secrets… a middle-aged Indian woman openly expressing her desires, needs, wants and dreams.

Story is perfectly paced, and speeds up as the story unfolds. The writing style is very beautiful, poignant. Though there are some intense intimate and erotic scenes, they are placed subtly. Shuchi has a strong grasp of her writing - there is no cheesiness in the erotic parts and the story flows flawlessly.

The raw emotions and the portrayal of Renu's inner turmoils have been beautifully depicted in the book. This book is empowering, while still touching upon the taboo subject of a woman’s sexuality in our Indian society. Renu's philosophies will clutch on to your heart. She shows us what a determined woman with unwavering spirit can really do in life by breaking the stereotypical norms.

VERDICT - Shuchi Singh Kalra writes on bold subjects, that raise a lot of questions on our society. This book too does. Totally recommended! 
The book has certain expressions which seriously made me screenshot them & share on my social media! Check my Instagram and Twitter!

Rating – 5/5 
AUTHOR - Shuchi Singh Kalra is the Amazon bestselling author of two novels - Done with Men and I'm Big. So What!? Her short stories have appeared in Love across Borders, Stories for Your Valentine and NAW Anthology 2013. In her freelancing career of over a decade, Shuchi has written for major print and online publications such asFemina, Good Housekeeping, Hotelier International, Huffington Post, and Home Review, among others. She has also been listed among the top women authors to follow on Twitter.

You can purchase A Cage of Desires by Shuchi Singh Kalra here.

Sunday, 27 May 2018


As a young adult, you wonder why anyone would want to go back to being a kid. You can make your own choices, have independence, etc. But then there are plenty of occasions, as you proceed through this adulthood, when all you wish is to go back to a time with zero responsibilities. Adulting has its benefits and pains. Recently, I have been experiencing the frustrating reality checks that life is so good at giving us. I thought, why not write about it? Let me know below in the comments below, if anyone of you is experiencing the same!

Few of my reasons, why I feel “Adulting” is OVERRATED!
  • Having to take responsibility for everything you do – good or horrible. At home, at work, in life. It was so easy when you could just blame your mistakes on being a kid. Now, there is just a lot expected of you.
  • Everyone kind of expects you to be in a relationship but my love life is non-existent and it get’s harder and harder to find a proper guy. Disney completely lied about love. I swear. My Facebook timeline is full of people getting engaged, married, having children. Meanwhile, I’m living back home, and just really love to dwell in self-pity, on certain days.
  • Paying random, multiplying bills and really having to take care of your money. Or when you realize how much you're actually making after those taxes are slashed off your salary.
  • When you go to a networking event because every real adult in your life is like “YOU MUST NETWORK and meet NEW people!!”
  • When you try to convince potential employers that you're qualified for a job, even though you’re enough talented.
  • When you have to figure out how to make friends in the "real world". Because everyone wants to connect to you to get something out from you. Zaalim duniya!
  • When your life achievements aren't exactly how you pictured them back in school. I remember, being a topper throughout in school and college, I had almost believed that these marks are going to guarantee me an amazing life ahead. I was so wrong.
  • You constantly have to figure out your life and where to go next. Most of the time, it feels impossible.
  • Your’re expected to act your age which is pretty much the most boring thing ever. Because I am childish. Quite.
  • Making doctor’s appointments and taking care of your health, getting mental “Exercise” reminders.
  • Getting your own place is so expensive.
  • Having to listen to things like “your clock is ticking.” Seriously, mind your own damn business, aunty.
  • That feeling of panic you get, when you see all the great things other people your age have achieved, and you start questioning all your life decisions.
  • You realize that school didn’t really prepare you for anything real.
  • You get judged for everything you do.
  • That “damnit, my parents were right, after all” kind of feeling.
  • You get a lot more noise sensitive. And, earphones come to your rescue!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Book Review #98 : I Owed You One

Publisher: LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 978-9386191281
Format: Paperback
Pages: 258 pages

Book Blurb:
Dev Khanna has a perfect life with his loving wife Radhika and son Neel in Melbourne, Australia. But there is something from his past that keeps gnawing him, an open wound that is a reminder of a debt. His present is very flourishing and future promising but what happens when the past comes knocking? As the skeletons begin to tumble one after other from the cupboard it is now threatening his present.

Join Dev on a journey that spans across the tall skylines of Melbourne, the royal Dilwalo ki Dilli to the dingy streets of Moradabad as he battles love, religion, politics and fear questioning his own beliefs at every step. Will he be able to make peace with his past and save his future? Will humanity lose this battle against everything else?

About the Author:
Dr. Madhu Vajpayee- the writer is born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture the enigma of life in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several medical papers and chapters in books, she started her journey in the literary world. Seeking Redemption was her first fiction book which is now followed by I Owed You One.

Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a faculty at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires. When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and traveling.

The cover of the book is also very striking and suits the title and blurb flawlessly. 

I Owed You One by Madhu Vajpayee has a well thought plot and beautifully united to form an extraordinary read. The story has every emotion known to the human race. The language used in the book is simple which makes it easy to understand and connect. Also, the author had made sure that her readers stay hooked page by page till the end.

One thing that I liked the most about this book is that it is very natural and the story is not solely based on love. It displays other interesting life events of the protagonist too, which will add spice to your reading. I Owed You One has to be the most realistic fiction that I read this month.

The central character of the novel is Dev Khanna, a chemical engineer based out of Australia. Dev is happily married to his wife Radhika and has an adorable son named Neel. He is very well to do and his life is progressing at a steady pace when suddenly he receives a mysterious letter from his hometown in India. What is inside the letter and how this small piece of paper changes so many lives is what is answered in the novel I Owed You One. The letter results in a series events of self-realization which form the crux of the story.

Relationships and how we handle them decide our happiness in the future.  Growing up in one such dysfunctional family, where Dev’s parents are not close to each other and where he often feels neglected by his father, when he grows up into a man, it leaves an adverse effect on him.

I Owed You One is a fascinating read and sends a very important message that irrespective of the amount of wealth a person owns, he cannot buy true happiness!

Madhu has chosen a male character and she narrates from his POV. From the beginning, it never felt that the character was a male character and if you somehow skip on the author’s name, I doubt you’ll be able to know that is a woman. Entering into a man’s head and thinking like him and expressing his behaviours and emotions is commendable.

This book is a medley of drama, mystery, suspense, thriller with a tad bit of love and friendship. It explores the family relationships and shows how important it is to bond with your children and how it can affect your children when you’re not emotionally involved with him/her.

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 because when you are exploring such familial bonds, you have to dig down deeper. Dev’s emotions have been very well expressed. I could feel his pain, his angst, his anger, his embarrassments; each and every of his emotions. 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 shifting of the scenes has been carried out well. The difference in the scenes could be easily understood and they didn’t get mixed up. Also, the switching between past and present is managed well in the book. Often times, it gets confusing when the story runs parallely in the past and the present, but here, the author has managed to do it really well. 

The author conveys the beautiful message of humanity and peaceful coexistence. The story is well-written and has its high and low points, just like the stirring ups and downs of Dev. The climax of the story is well-crafted and the intense build-up of the story with its entire emotional quotient and grooving twists and turns makes it even more exceptional.

A couple of spelling errors in the book, showing that the editor did not give a good read. It could have been avoided with better proofreading.

VERDICT : I Owed You One is the story of promises and commitments, of triumphs and defeat, and of holding on and letting go. It is a contemporary take on modern family relationships and the challenges that a family can face if it stands united against adversities.

Overall, I Owed You One By Madhu Vajpayee is an exemplary read and I would like to recommend it to everyone.

RATING:  4.5/5