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?

Flowers, Spring & BigBouquet

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
— Robin Williams

Spring is here again! The season of new beginnings. Fresh buds blooming, animals awakening from hibernation and the earth coming to life again. The temperature is rising slowly. At some places the slight winter chill still refusing to leave the night air. This is the season of flowers. The earth is turning green again before the Summer hits us. Spring is the season of colors as well in India. 12th March we are going to celebrate Holi, the festival of colors. Humans of India surely took inspiration from the nature.

bangaloreinspring

Spring also reminds me of my childhood in Kolkata. Every year during March we would have our annual exams. We would eagerly count days for the last exam to finish and then we would be free birds playing in our garden whole day. The White Lily would spread its enchanting fragrance every evening and I would smell and tell myself how lucky I was to have a garden full of flowers. Because I knew not everyone was that fortunate.

In our garden we had White Lily, Marigolds, Pinwheelflower, Four o’clock flower (Mirabilis jalapa), White Rangoon Creeper, Rose, Land Lotus, Hibiscus, Night-flowering Jasmine to name a few. We never needed to buy any flowers. But that was past. While we still have the garden in Kolkata, I live in Bangalore now and having a garden here is merely a dream. Balcony gardens can’t beat the actual garden ever. Even if we wish to gift someone or wish someone to gift us flowers we need to go to the local florists. The fragrance of freshly bloomed flowers is one of the things I miss so much.

nightfloweringjasmine

With our busy schedules these days we hardly can spend much time at the florists and buy the perfect bouquet for our loved ones or for ourselves. Some shops are at such a busy road that even standing there for few minutes is a pain. That’s where online e-commerce sites come to our rescue. Even then most of the sites have limited combinations of bouquets and no tool for customizing our own choices. BigBouquet (www.bigbouquet.in) gives us such options. The first ever and only site which allows their customer to choose the flowers, number of flowers, greens, fillers and packaging.

bigbouquetwomenday

 

Give it a try this coming women’s day. Tell the women in your family that they are special. Or just buy flowers for your home anyway. BigBouquet ties up with local vendors who don’t have access to the online market. With the current situation after demonetization and our economy changing from cash-based to cashless these local vendors are one of the victims. Even though BigBouquet started its operations last Spring, the role it is playing to help the local florists’ businesses is more relevant now.

Celebrate the season with flowers, friends and loved ones.

HUMAN I SEE : 4 : The Cab Driver

‘A’ has a habit of talking to the drivers whenever we take a ride anywhere. He just can’t sit idle having a stranger within his radius of 10 meters. I join him sometimes if the person is really interesting. Meeting new people is one of the main purposes of travelling after all. Last year we were going to Chennai from Bangalore to attend a family function and we took a cab to reach airport. I don’t remember the driver’s name anymore but I remember him and his words vividly. From the first moment he struck as a very nice person. Offered us bottled water and wifi password for free. It was hot summer day. We didn’t need the wifi password.

We started chatting as usual. The JNU topic was still fresh. Kanhaiya Kumar was out on bail and rest were still in jail. Automatically our discussion shifted to the topic of the recent trend of labeling people as anti-national and sending them to Pakistan. It is amazing how words of wisdom come from strangest people and places. I will try to quote and translate his words as I remember.

“These politicians and their supporters now want us to hate everyone who is not Indian. Specially if they are Pakistanis. But tell me madam why should I hate a person I don’t even know or have seen him? They are also someone’s sons and daughters. They also work whole day like me to feed their family. Tell me sir, does a Chinese mother love less? When they die at war do their families grieve less? What if I was born in China or Pakistan? These things are not in our hands, right?”

At this point I felt sudden rush of emotions that someone so different from me feels exactly the way I feel. While those days I was discovering lack of empathy and compassion is the new definition of patriotism which disturbed me and made me worried so much, I was overjoyed meeting a stranger who has both the qualities in right amount.

He went on telling more.

“Regarding our own countrymen and fellow citizens, did you ever notice how do they keep the 5 rs pen locked with a chain at the counters of Banks? They (the authority) don’t even trust us with a 5 rs pen and we talk about enemies! We don’t need any enemies. We are even beating our own children at colleges. If they become successful in starting a riot anytime soon people like us will die or protect each other. They will take the first flight abroad to run away. Probably all of their children are already abroad studying or working or they don’t have any family to worry about that is why they don’t care.”

There were more discussions till we reached airport but these two points he made stirred me most. All these fresh incidences of violence and outrage at Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia University reminded me of him.

Book Review :: My Father Is A Hero by Nishant Kaushik

415iklnzsl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Book: My Father Is A Hero
Author: Nishant Kaushik

Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Release: 15th January 2016
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Buy from Amazon

The novel My Father is a Hero is based on father – daughter relationship. Vaibhav is a single parent and Nisha is his 10 yrs old daughter. The book is an easy and quick read. Vaibhav is a caring and sensitive father and goes to any length to fulfill his daughter’s dreams and happiness. Making sacrifices at personal level to accommodate his daughter’s needs is his daily routine.

Nisha is a brilliant girl and a class topper with a talent of becoming a famous singer in future who already won inter-class singing contest for three years in a row. She idolizes the famous singer, songwriter, and actress Rihanna. Father-Daughter duo’s lives were apparently settled and somewhat happy along with the struggles just like any normal family until the day of Nisha’s 11th birthday and something changes Nisha for worse. To bring her back to normal life Vaibhav plans something which is simply craziest for a person like him. With already so much financial burden he goes out of his way to fulfill Nisha’s biggest dream.

Now my take on the story.
The good part of the story is how Vaibhav treats his daughter with compassion and sensitivity. Never losing patience with a child even though he is so much stressed and frustrated with his professional life and colleagues is a great trait. Being a single parent is a challenge itself. He plays his part as a parent very well and yet there is a generation gap which is very normal. The way he prioritizes his daughter and the daughter is so well aware of his sacrifices leaves a good feeling about Father-Daughter relationship.

Nisha and her friends never sound like 10 years. Generally to be a sixth grader one needs to be atleast 12 years old. As much as I know International schools provide lunch and snacks to their students so Vaibhav and Nisha eating lunch together or Vaibhab preparing for lunch everyday or giving her lunch money felt a bit odd. No school allows their students to get inside school with colored hairs. The story is too simple and very much predictable apart from the trip planned at the end. And the last part is just far-fetched and dramatic in my opinion.

The cover also looks too simple and plain. Being a graphic designer myself I am very critical about book covers. Hope they change the cover in their next editions.

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

Book Review :: Someone to Love by Ruchita Misra

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Author: Ruchita Misra
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: January 2017
Genre: Fiction / Romance
Rating: 3/5

Buy from Amazon

‘Someone To Love’ is my first novel I read by this author. The author switches us smoothly from past to present and keep us engaged successfully through the story. The story is about Koyal and Atharv, the childhood soulmates, one mature and calm  and the other one short-tempered whenever someone else tries to come between them or says anything bad about the other. They have a strange connection too. Whenever Koyal is in distress Atharv knows it even if they are miles apart. One must be very fortunate to have a connection at such level with someone. But their luck don’t last. Someone else comes between them and everything changes. Miscommunication, misunderstanding, hatred, broken trust and unspoken words change their course of lives.

Some lessons from the story are :

  1. No relationship should be taken for granted and when in love express it loud and clear. Subtlety is fine but that can cost us a lot of regret when it comes to loving someone.
  2. Don’t make your career choices based on your love life or loved one. True love is going to remain by your side without making you sacrifices.
  3. When you are disappointed with someone or feel betrayed confront the person in question.
  4. Never get married out of hatred as you might never get a second chance.

The part which I liked about this novel is the way it showed the struggle of a victim of domestic violence. To quote the author “From the outside, looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside, looking out, you can never explain it.” Lack of education, financial independence, emotional strength, self-confidence and support-system are the reasons why so many women suffers life long. But if someone is determined to overcome all the odds there is nothing and no one can stop them.

The second point which I liked is that I had to go back to the ‘Prologue’ page few times as the suspense uncovered and I realized I got it wrong at the beginning. This was an interesting way of telling the story I must say. You need to read it to know it.

I must confess that I found the second part of the story so much predictable and reminded me of some bollywood movies. Was expecting better turns of events. There are some technical glitches too regarding the ages of the protagonists. If 10 years is the count from the time they drifted apart to the time they reintroduced to each other then they should be aged around 31/32, not 38/39. To become a neurosurgeon it takes 14 years or longer. So all the math doesn’t quite add up. Hope these will be corrected in next edition.

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

About the Author
Ruchita Misra is a three-time gold medalist from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi and the author of the bestselling books Second Chance at Love, The (In)eligible Bachelors, for which she was awarded the Awadh Samman in 2012 and Can This Be Love?. She works in London and blogs at smilethesmile.blogspot.com

Crossroads

The late afternoon breeze is caressing the tips of the grasses grown all over our lawn. Nobody took care of it anymore. Earlier it was a nice garden with full of trees of different kind of fruits and plants of flowers like lily, marigold, rose, zinnia, carnation etc.. My favorite white lilies would spread its sweet and pleasant perfume every evening. Now it is only weeds and grass. The grasses are looking like gold streaks reflecting the sunlight. I always loved this time of the day. After a sultry hot afternoon it is such a bliss outside. When we were much younger we played in the playground opposite to our house at this hour everyday. We couldn’t wait for the sun to mellow down. We played till it was not dark enough to stop.

The playgrounds remain empty these days. No one plays anymore. The boundary walls around our house are in ruins and the remaining parts remind me of yellow decaying teeth of an old person. Dark green moss covered the most parts of the houses in our neighborhood. Trees and plants reclaimed their spaces on this side of the earth.

I am watching some flitting yellow and white butterflies above the wild-sage (Lantana Camara) bushes from our porch. Nani (grandmother) is sitting on her  chair nearby. We don’t speak much ever since the war got over, specially about the war. Many of the inhabitants left the town right after the war reached our town. Now it is very quiet here. I like this solitude very much. The chirping of different birds makes me feel intoxicated with tranquility. Human left, nature took over. But I miss my friends. I haven’t seen them for years.

I was about to sit down on the stairs when I heard some giggling and rattling of bicycles. Two girls about my age passed by our lawn and entered Khalet chacha’s plot. If not for the ruins of the walls no one can really tell these are properties of two different families who even followed different religions. That was same for this entire neighborhood. No one could ever tell who belongs to which religion if they didn’t know them personally.

I felt I knew one of the girls who is wearing a bottle green skirt. The other one is wearing a white frock with floral print. They both looked like foreigners with brunette hair. Even though they looked like nice girls I didn’t like them intruding. Sinister ideas crept up in my mind. After the war I discovered I have acquired the power to be invisible whenever I wanted to. I made up my mind and approached the girls slowly. I know if I am not careful they can hear my footsteps and see the trails on the grass.

Before I could cross the decrepit boundary walls they suddenly started running towards my direction playfully leaving their cycles behind. That made it easier for me. They can’t see me for sure. I just want to scare them and have some fun.

I grabbed some pebbles and started throwing at them one by one without hurting anyone. I was being careful about that. Both of them were startled and looked around. But they couldn’t see anyone, of course. As they turned back and started going back to their cycles I threw some more pebbles. They landed in front of  them. They turned towards me now and looked visibly alarmed.

The girl in green skirt who seemed familiar pointed towards me at the grass and said : “Hey look, something is there. Do you see the grass is flattened by some pressure there? How weird!” The girl in floral frock looked nervous and replied : “Let’s go back. Whatever it is, is not very friendly.”

I tried to stay very still. Even though they can’t see me they could still see the grass. That made me uncomfortable . The one with green skirt said again : “I can sense someone there.” And then shouted : “Who are you? Why are you throwing stones at us?”

I held my breath and tried not to move. This made me feel unsatisfied. They were supposed to feel scared and run away. What fun is there otherwise! I again tried to remember very hard where did see this girl before. Soon I realized they are going back to their cycles again. I thought that making some noise might frighten them. So I started jumping and running behind them. The grass has grown to knee length. So all the jumping and running created a lot of chaos. That did the work. The girl in floral frock started running dragging her friend along with her. It felt ecstatic. I ran after them feeling more enthusiastic.

The girls ran fast and reached Khelat chacha’s house which has only two walls of a L-shaped corridor left. Rest of the house had collapsed. Both the ends of the corridor were open. They entered from the nearest one. I followed them. Soon they reached the corner and turned left to the passage and ran faster towards the other end. I stopped at the middle to laugh to my heart’s content. It was so hilarious. These girls will never come back here for sure.

But was I wrong?! Suddenly I saw the girl in green skirt came running from the end we entered. Her right hand was stretched in front and before I could understand what was going on her hand touched mine. She grabbed my arm with both of her hands and won’t let me go. She started screaming : “I told you someone is here.” Her friend also came after. Now it was my turn to feel scared. I tried to free myself from her grip but in vain. She seemed very strong. Failing to do so I seized her throat. She seized mine. While we both were choking we looked at each other. I was no more invisible to her or her friend. The other girl stood there without taking any part in it.

As her beautiful white face turned pale some memories came rushing back to me. I remembered her now. She was lying next to me after 3 suicide bombers attacked the town’s book fair killing hundreds 10 years back. I even vaguely remembered being inside some book stall browsing some books beside her before the blast. Very few were lucky enough to survive that deadly explosion. I realized now we girls were not among those lucky ones.