BOOK REVIEW :: Unns – The Captivation

Book: Unns – The Captivation51DZKNa+wbL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_
Author: Sapan Saxena

Publisher: Inspire India Publishers
Release: March 18th 2016
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Unns, the 2nd stage of love, the stage of infatuation and captivation often makes us fool. In Urdu, there are seven stages of love. Hub (stage of attraction), Unns (stage of infatuation), Ishq (stage of actually falling in love), Aqeedat (stage of respect), Ibadat (stage of worship), Junoon (stage of obsession), and Maut (stage of death). I think I have lived all the first four stages of love and after reading this novel I am really glad that I have never reached any of the last three stages.

Atharva Rathod and Meher Qasim paid high prices at different stages of their lives for love. They were once high-school sweethearts. Meher being the ambitious one and obedient daughter of her parents, ended the relationship even before they could realize at which stage of the love they were. Heartbroken Atharva tried to move on for next 15 years and became a successful senior agent of RAW, the primary foreign intelligence agency of India. 15 years later they met again in Germany while Atharva was leading an important mission and Atharva’s life turned upside down. Was it a coincidence or planned?

They met again after 12 years, this time in the suburbs of Belmont. While they faced each other again, they had to face their own demons, emotions, and weaknesses for the finality. What happens at the end readers should find out. I recommend it for young adults.

Frankly speaking, I was never so confused about deciding whether I really liked or disliked a novel before. I liked the plot, the characters, and the narration. But still, there were a lot of things I didn’t like at all. The story could have been a brilliant thriller but fails miserably. Following are the points which ruined my experience of reading a good book.

  1. Text needs lots of editing. The grammar mistakes are really annoying.
  2. It was really difficult to keep track of the abrupt transitions between past, present and different time periods in the same chapters.
  3. A trained RAW agent can’t be such careless or naive to give access to his laptop which contains such secret and crucial information of the country’s security to anyone else.
  4. What Atharva was trying to find out for months, was found by others within few hours after the mission fails. That is absurd.
  5. It was actually Dev’s idea to involve Meher in the mission. But he never takes the responsibility when the mission fails. Why?

The book cover, binding, and paper quality are really good.

“I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.”

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I am More Indian Than You Think

I come from a suburb of Kolkata which has a population that followed all kinds of religions possible in India. We even have people belonged to different tribes as neighbors. An outsider can’t differentiate between houses of different religious person, we live in such a way. Inter-caste and inter-religion marriage is very common in our area and nobody thinks it as more than a small gossip. But we all speak Bengali so the harmony was nothing extraordinary in my opinion.

I started playing chess when I was 11 years old. To be honest I was quite late compared to other chess players I know. I was a shy and introvert girl at that time. I still am. But that exposure into the world as a sportsman changed my life. During my first year I came to know the players speaking different but familiar languages and coming from different parts of West Bengal. I made friends for the first time with the boys and girls of different ages other than those I knew since my childhood. The horizon of my mind just started to get bigger.

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Within a year I got selected for national level age group tournaments. My first ever national tournament was held in Thrissur in Kerala. That was the longest train journey I have ever made at that age. It took us 3 days to reach there. I struck up an acquaintance with a lady in train who spoke fluent Bengali but told me her mother tongue was Telugu. I was amazed. Co-incidentally the journey covered the 31st December and 1st January. I was woken up by some people running around shouting and wishing each other “Happy new year!”. Such a unique and happy way to start the year.

My experience was same at the tournament as well. Till then I only read in books that our country’s political motto is “Unity in diversity” and I experienced just that after reaching the venue. So many girls from every corner of India came to participate in that tournament, held in a small village called Peechi. Some came with their families, just like me. The families made friends with each other with their broken English while we girls played against each other. Many knew each other from earlier tournaments. Every evening after our tournament rounds and before our practice sessions we played together in the hilly ground or went to see the beautiful reservoir & dam nearby. The tournament was hosted in a church. We all shared dormitories and had so much fun together. The village had only a small hut which served rice, sambar, and omelette for lunch and dinner. The only small stationery shop available there had a pay phone from where we made calls to home.

I made best of friends over the years from every corner of India. We grew up together literally. We met each other at tournaments every few months held in different corners of India. I participated in tournaments held in places I never imagined existed. I traveled extensively. And from that time I became a bohemian at heart forever. I felt proud being an Indian. I don’t think any other country has as many differences as we Indians have yet so connected to each other. During International tournaments I even made acquaintances with people coming from different countries.

We, chess players played against each other but never hated any. After every match we discussed and helped each other to analyze the games and find wrong moves we made. We wrote letters to each other for years pouring our hearts out.  I am still in touch with many. We never bothered about religions, regions or financial status. We shared rooms, meals, heartbreaks, failures and success with each other as if we were families. We loved and accepted each other just the way we were. We even tried to learn each other’s languages. We never laughed at each other’s accented and broken languages as we taught each other or at our poor scores in the tournament. More than anything we exchanged our different cultures and values.

I tasted different authentic regional foods (sometime even home-made foods) as I traveled to different parts of India since very young age. With that exposure I have developed a tongue which can survive with any kind of tasty food available around me without feeling homesick. From Chhole Batore to Dosa, from Fish Curry to Misal Pav, from Momos to Haleem, from Lucknow Biryani to Hyderabadi Biryani, from Rajma to Malabar Chicken, I am all game. That same exposure made me understand and love people even if they are not Bengali or Indian. I have become a global citizen yet an Indian at heart.

Today India has more than 40 Grand Masters and many International Masters. India has produced exceptional players over the years and many more in the making. Even though I don’t play anymore I still feel so proud of being a chess player. It is not a team game yet there is no rivalry. It is this Indian-ness that helped me succeeding in my career as a Graphic Designer, as a designer must understand every client’s taste and need is different. I shifted to Bangalore 10 years back and never felt away from home. I am #MoreIndianThanYouThink it is possible.

Knowing people with different mother tongues made me a language-lover. So I started learning German as well. Two years back I met an elderly German couple, Moni and Klaus on a trip in Coorg, Karnataka and we are still in touch through e-mails. As I spoke to them in German they said they felt at home. Before parting Moni gifted me her magazine as that was the only possible option she had. I still treasure that one.

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Lufthansa’s new TVC caught my attention. It is celebrating India’s growing global influence. In this ad the mouth watering food they are serving made me think how delighted Moni and Klaus would be when they make their next trip to India as they always travel by Lufthansa. And I hope I can visit them soon.

This post is written as a part of the contest #MoreIndianThanYouThink in association with Indiblogger and Lufthansa.

BOOK REVIEW :: Think with me by ‘Saharasri’ Subrata Roy Sahara

41jrob0wDqL._AC_UL320_SR212,320_Book: Think with Me
Author: ‘Saharasri’ Subrata Roy Sahara

Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Release: 10 November 2016
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Buy from Amazon

Think with Me – Fundamentals for making our country ideal” is Subrata Roy‘s second book of the “Thoughts from Tihar” trilogy. The book is divided into 5 topics – Electoral System & Leadership, Population, Education System, Media, and Religion. The writer elaborated on the problems we Indians are facing at present and tried to give some solutions for those problems in this book.

I agreed on the points writer raised on Electoral System and Leadership. A narrow minded person can never make a good leader. And our current electoral system helps flourish corruption and corrupted people. He repeatedly mentions about the five categories of emotional sphere, “I“, “My“, “We“, “We All“, and “Us“. He even offered to guide the system if the authority (ever) agrees to implement the solutions he suggested.

I found his opinion on poor population is outright insensitive where he mentioned poor people are responsible for the degeneration of merits and qualifications of India’s entire population. We all know for a fact that lavish upbringing doesn’t ensure someone’s intelligence or make him a good human being. Same way being poor doesn’t mean they can’t be a skilled professional or a good human being or have the emotional sphere of “Us”. No one can deny that our country always depended on efforts and hard works of our poor population. We had great leaders, writers, poets, players, artists, activists, businessmen who belonged to poor families. Most of our security personnel come from poor background and that doesn’t stop them from being brave or skilled fighters. I would like if the writer reconsiders his view on this topic.

The chapter on our Education System is well thought and his solutions are interesting. I will leave it for the readers to find out.

Where I completely agreed with the writer was the chapter of Media. The role of the media houses on nation building is huge. But our media is doing just the opposite these days. He suggested which actions should be taken to stop irresponsible journalism. In my opinion they could be really effective if applied.

Religion has an unavoidable impact on human lives. Our country’s political motto is “Unity in Diversity”. To maintain that, we all need to put extra efforts and keep a peaceful approach to solve the problems sometimes arise due to communal tensions. Otherwise a civil war or riot can break out and destroy our country anytime.

This is the first and only book from the trilogy I have read. It takes longer time for me to read a non-fiction as I give more time to understand the writer’s perspective. One needs to keep in mind that this book contains writer’s own opinion. The solutions he offered not all of them are practical and agreeable. But overall it is a good read.

“I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.”

When It Rained Here

The wind started thrashing the window panes suddenly in the evening and I knew it would rain. I opened the window of my bed room and sat on the bed in dark. The silvery threads of lighting were flashing at the distance in the sky. The cloud started rumbling. Bangalore is no more pleasant during summer like it used to be. Earlier we used to show off the ever-pleasant weather of Bangalore, the city of gardens. So a rain like this is a reason for a joy after a hot summer day.

Even though our apartment building is far from the main road, the adjacent lanes have a good number of vehicles flowing through all day. Soon it started raining and the cool breeze started coming in my direction. People started running around, disoriented yet happy. Some of the balcony doors opened and people stood there for a while enjoying the rain. I remembered it’s been a while I took time out to watch the real life around me. Many memories were piling up in my mind. Thought about the paper boats and puddles in our garden. I can never get enough of rain.

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[Royalty free picture taken from internet and edited in Photoshop]

Bikers were hurrying towards their destinations as they were not prepared for this. Few pedestrians were struggling to hold on to their umbrellas. Cars, autos and trackers were occasionally clogging the 4 lane junction. The shop owner across the road was watching the rain with an amused expression. One tall guy changed his direction suddenly as it was being difficult for him to manage his umbrella and remain dry. Raindrops on black telephone cables were glistening like diamonds.

Away from all these a lone dog was trying to keep himself dry under a tree. I know this dog. The dispirited dog was all soaked within few minutes. The front gate of the house next to him was closed. He walked away somewhere to find a better place.

The lady from one balcony in 3rd floor of a building across ours went inside leaving the door open. I noticed the only big tree in our area moving violently, as if it was dancing with impish glee. The dog came back again to his old spot but didn’t feel comfortable. He looked at the boundary wall of the house for a while and then decided to leave again. This time to a different direction.

I closed the window, knowing it won’t rain for long as everything was still so visible. I didn’t want to witness the moment when it stops.

 

BOOK REVIEW :: A Walk in the Rain by Udai Yadla

Book: A Walk in the Rain31849927
Author: Udai Yadla

Publisher: Kyron Publications
Release: 2016
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Buy from Amazon

Sunny was a timid, lonely boy before Sandy came into his life. Sandy changed Sunny’s lonely friendless, gloomy life into a bright sunshine. Two innocent 5th standard classmates soon became inseparable and found love and solace in each other. After few years Sandy disappeared from his life without a trace. Sunny had endured a lot of grief in his life but losing Sandy was the worst of them all. He never healed and went back to his solitude and grew up to be an extremely introvert and misogynist. His heart was connected to Sandy’s with the “thread of love”.

Sunny was still deeply in love with Sandy when his only friend Imran planned to give a surprise birthday gift to him. Imran wanted Sunny to forget Sandy and start a new life. That night Sunny met Saloni and his life changed again. They instantly started hating each other. Sunny hated Saloni for being a prostitute. Saloni hated him for being a rude and insensitive person. That night Imran was brutally murdered by a pimp named Hari while trying to save Sunny from a mob. Saloni was the only hope for Sunny to find Hari and take the revenge. In exchange of money Saloni agreed to help Sunny and they set for a dangerous journey. Was Sunny walking into a trap laid by Saloni? Did they overcome their hatreds and become friends or they turned out to be enemies? Would Sunny be able to fall in love again? What happens to them finally is up to the reader to find out.

The book talks about a very serious issue. Our mindset and social conditioning makes us hate and judge prostitutes irrespective of their reasons to choose such profession. We hardly ever question or judge the customers or the society these prostitutes serve, willingly or unwillingly. The story shows us why and how women are forced to accept such degrading life. Some of them are yet very much able to retain their self-respect and grace.

The characteristics of Sunny reminded me of a girl from my class in college. She would keep to all by herself and hardly talk to anyone. She would look uninterested in everything around her. She wouldn’t make any friends. I even heard she once tried to commit suicide. Fortunately Sunny never did so. Sandy’s memory kept him somewhat happy and alive.

The action scenes seemed very much like a Bollywood movie but I must say they were the added spices for me. Even though there are many grammatical mistakes and some sentences sounded really odd, I found the story rather interesting. This was Udai Yadla’s first book so I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect. The style of narration is good. It is a light read actually. I finished it in one sitting.

Rain plays a very important role in this story. I myself love rain so much. So does Sandy and Sunny. The descriptions of them playing in the rain reminded me of my childhood. After finishing the story the cover makes lot of sense now.
 

“I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.”

BOOK REVIEW :: Finding Juliet by Toffee

Finding Juliet- coverBook: Finding Juliet
Author: Toffee

Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Release: 14th December 2016
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Buy from Amazon

Our Romeo, Arjun, in his roller coaster journey of finding the love of his life, learns the most valuable lesson : Mind-game is the most favorite game of adults. To escape from becoming the victim of love one needs to know the rules of mind games. The story reminded me of those days when I and my friends were learning our lessons in hard ways. The days of confusions, whether to show more love or to hide, whether to open up and share or to stay distant, the heart breaks, the sleepless nights, tears and then finally moving on. We all had our share of pain.

Arjun is a clueless (about love) boy who believes in true love and waits for the cupid to do the magic at the right time though he doesn’t understand women or girls at all. He stereotypes girls in his mind at every step of his life. Then he falls in love, not once but thrice, following every rule of love available in the rule book of losers (we all felt like that at some point of our lives). After rejection he even tries his best to remain friends with them. But eventually he loses all of them. Filmy, yes. But very much relatable.

Even after all these ups and downs he manages to score good marks and gets enviable job. Already lost trust in love Arjun had to face a horrible and tragic incident which changes the course of his life. Anyone else would have lost hope in life and become mentally unstable after that but fortunately he has a very special friend who supports him in every phase of failures and heartbreaks without ever judging him. Anjali, his childhood friend, doesn’t even blink before rushing to help him or to be by his side.

Then he meets Krish, the loveguru, and gets a crash course on women, love, lust and  life. He turns into a Casanova to the point of loathing himself. But still couldn’t find the peace of his mind. Then finally he realizes what does he want from his life. As every film ends, the story of our Romeo also ends with a happy note and he finds his love.

The book is suitable for young adults who loves erotica. The narration is too informal and tries to tell us about a lot of things in very short time. I couldn’t feel emotionally attached to any of the characters. Most of the characters are one dimensional and failed to catch my attention.

The cover is catchy. I liked it.

PS. : I have one question which is still puzzling me.
1. How was Arjun rescued from his flat in Hyderabad you-know-when (can’t give spoiler)?

PPS.: The stereotypes about girls in every page made me feel so annoyed that I have actually counted them consciously and it was 42 times!

‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

Fact and fiction

This was my task.

Fact and fiction

Trying to write both fact and fiction can help you realise the relationship between the two.
Write a paragraph (50 to 100 words) containing one fact and three fictitious elements. You can write about yourself, about your interests, about history – about anything you like.
Then try the reverse – write a paragraph containing three facts and one fictitious element.

 

And I have come up with this.

1 Fiction, 3 Fact : Ravi was in his final year of engineering, living in a different city while I already started working and still lived in our native place. He was my childhood friend. One night during our regular chat session over yahoo messenger he told me he was going to see the sunrise at the sea beach nearby with his friends whom I didn’t know. He didn’t reply the next night but next day I got a call from an unknown number telling me he drowned and if I suspected anyone.

1 Fact, 3 Fiction : That giant truck from the opposite direction was overtaking the other one at the same time when we turned at the blind bend of the road. It was too late to avoid the clash. Before I lost my consciousness, drenched in my own blood, I saw both the truck ran away. No one else was there to help me on the highway at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Why don’t you try too and write in the comment section of this post?