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

Monday, 13 August 2018

Book Review #107 : 'He's Just Not That Into You'



Authors: Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
ISBN: 978-0-689-87474-1

There are 16 chapters. Each of these chapters contains a brief description of the problem from Greg; two or three advice column-style questions from women, which Greg answers; a paragraph or two under the heading "It's so simple," which reinforces the chapter title; "Here's Why This One Is Hard," wherein Liz empathizes with reluctant readers and whines about how difficult her romantic life is; "This is What It Should Look Like," which discuss an ideal situation; and "Greg, I Get It," credited to a woman who finds the advice liberating.

Three items end each chapter: "If You Don't Believe Greg," which always has '20 out of 20' or '100% of polled men' giving advice that stands by the chapter's rule; a redundant "What You Should Have Learned in This Chapter" summary; and a trivial but occasionally giggle-worthy "Workbook" section.

You've probably told yourself all of this stuff before, but seeing it in writing really brings it home. I feel like this book has changed my entire perspective on dating.

If he is really that into you, you will know. There will be no doubting or questioning. This book just reaffirmed my inner voice that was telling me this kind of stuff but I always brushed aside in hopeless romantic style. But not anymore!

Move over diamonds, Greg Behrendt is a girl's new best friend. This book is hilarious and its humor will turn off any yearning for the man you thought was "into you" but not heard from in a while. (The book also gives women permission--and courage--to dump a man without feeling guilty.) The sad truth took a while to sink in that if a man really wants a particular woman, he'll move mountains to be with her.

It is not a bad message and maybe it is needed because as the authors say, there are too many women who put up with bad behavior from men. Women do need to believe that they deserve respectful behavior and should not fall for the many lies they are told. Indeed, women should not be so ready to lie to themselves about their relationships in the belief that they can't do any better. They need to respect themselves enough to insist on being loved well, because if they don't, then men won't respect them either. It is pretty crude psychology, but it makes sense.

He's Just Not That Into You is certainly not an academic treatise, so readers should take the advice at the level at which it is offered. The idea of the book is to get women to improve their relationships, not make final pronouncements about the nature of men and women.

This might be an uncomfortable book for both men and women to listen to, since it has high expectations of relationships. It has a light touch and is often funny. While the book often seems to have a very idealized view of romantic love and the perfectibility of relationships, relying on an old fashioned view of the differences between the sexes, it also fits in with one of the simplest and most obvious planks of feminism, that women should be treated with respect and kindness. We well know that it is often the people we get closest to that we hurt the most. 

He's Just Not That Into You will make its readers consider what their minimum requirements should be in the attitudes of a partner, and how much they should forgive the faults and mistakes of their lovers. So, surprisingly, it is a book that takes a strong moral stance. It is probably not a stance that its readers should adopt completely, but it is at least one worth keeping in mind. I sat with a highlighter pen to mark the important one-liners - the gems! ;)

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Dating & Relationship Insights From Mom!



It’s a delicate subject, but in my times of conflict, I have always turned to my mom for a second opinion as to whether I am is correct in my assumptions about a relationship or not. Without taking my side, she has always called spade a spade. Top 5 valuable lessons that I learned from her :

1. Respect him/her. Offer it while expecting it in return. Good relationships are forged more on how a couple handles the bad times than the good ones. Fight fair. Don’t get into name-calling, or fits of rage.

2. Never change for someone until you no longer recognize yourself. Falling deeply, madly in love should not get you “lost”. Change aspects of yourself only because YOU recognize where your flaws exist and YOU want to become a better person.

3. “Don’t marry for money. You’ll have nothing when it’s gone.” Prioritize love. The biggest lesson I learned from her is to prioritize love. Real love. To trust my heart and not force something to work just because it's a good story or he's 'perfect on paper.’

4. Never Settle. Since forever, my mom has taught me to never settle, to keep my standards as high as I want them, and that it's better to be alone than wishing you were alone!

5. Find the one who ‘supports’ you. 'Having it all' is impossible (or very, very difficult) without support. She attributes her success, work-life balance and happiness in large part to the fact that my dad has been an incredibly awesome, involved, and equal partner.

So, there you have it: Whether it's the little things or the big picture about life and love, a mother knows best.