Thursday, April 30, 2015

Equilibrium by Paras Joshi (Book Review- 3.5*/5) !!!

      Generally when 21 year old writes novel in India, you just don't even want to touch it because you know it would be nothing more than a love story or a college campus tale. But what Paras Joshi have done with Equilibrium is something that should set a big example for all the authors out there. At 21, he has attempted something that the authors between 40-55 age group have started attempting in India. After Amish's trilogy series, many authors have got inspired by it and anyone who had interest in history, mythology and philosophy started attempting the same in three parts. Though I am yet to hear any updates of the 2nd book of all such writers. I hope Paras announces the one soon before this story wipes out of our mind.    

          Paras have written this one by mixing history, mythology, fantasy and science fiction though history has been created by his fictional mind here. It is one of the most toughest plot I have read till date. It isn't easy to write. But I am happy that Paras have tried to explore the area which is difficult and challenged himself as a writer. The book starts with a very wonderful pace and it keeps going till the last page without stopping or slowing down even for 5 pages in between. One or the new thing keeps getting introduced regularly which hooks you to the story. The names that he have used like Avaasya, Tamisra, Gurujanas, Saatvika, Jalayu etc gives a feel of the genre in which he has scribbled this story in. The sentence-formation and wonderful narration makes you imagine everything and that's almost a success to the author's work.

            There are few drawbacks too. I didn't feel quite connected with any of the character because of the super speed in which this story moves ahead. Also, because the author keeps describing new plot every now and then, it becomes hard for you to remember each one of them as even the names used are difficult and new. The anti-climax isn't the one that makes you feel that a great tale is about to end and even the climax isn't fully captivating. It isn't bad but less than what I had imagined while reading the same initially. Also, all the trilogies are based on the same concept of good vs evil which have become quite predictable. But still, this book is a worth-go and at the age of 21, Paras have done wonders with his work. I would ask everyone to read this book if this is their favorite genre. I give this book 3.5* out of 5.



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

World's Best Boyfriend by Durjoy Datta (Book Review-3.5*/5) !!!

      Durjoy Datta is back with his 11th fiction book and he is still busy in launching it in all the cities of India. I am glad to have read it even before people must have actually received it. "World's Best Boyfriend" is the name of his newest flick and to my surprise, it's his thickest book with 288 pages. The title of the book is quite cheesy and I wasn't expecting much out of it and therefore, I am not quite disappointed with this tale. I am at least happy that Durjoy is trying such stories from which he kept himself away for first 6 books. I am also liking the fact that he is writing solo books rather than with a co-author as he used to do initially. 

          Durjoy Datta's new book tells us a story about a girl Aranya who has a disease named vitiligo since birth because of which her parents always hated her and never a moment came in life when they treated her nicely. Her brother was always considered more superior to her even when she was very studious and always scored in top ranks. She meets a boy named Dhruv who is disturbed because his parents have separated as his mother leaves home with his school principal. This leads Dhruv to be very rough and unemotional all his life. Somehow, both-Aranya and Dhruv falls in love in school. After getting caught, they are separated and they only meet after couple of years to hate each other as much as possible. They try almost everything to ruin each other's peace but is the hatred only thing that they share between each other? Hatred for someone comes only when you consider them someone important in your mind. That's the plot on which World's Best Boyfriend is based upon.

           The language of Durjoy Datta remains the same- quite urban and cool. He has stopped writing sex but begun writing "Fucks" in his book like its just another word in English without which the sentence couldn't be completed. The way he has characterized each of his protagonists is worth applauding like always. It isn't easy to base a book on a victim of a disease about whom we don't even give a second thought in our life. And then carrying it so appropriately whenever discussed about it is another greatness in his writing. But I felt that the story is quite stretched in few chapters where it could have been easily ended in a page or two keeping the impact intact. Description of each emotion for almost 20-25 sentences have only led in thickness of this book but doesn't make you feel anything stronger than you felt after reading the first sentence itself. Because of this, when you are done reading the climax, the predictability even after 288 pages of tale disappoints you.

      There are wonderful moments in the book. How both the characters lie in front of their school committee immediately after getting caught. How Aranya's father comes in college after getting complaint about her after many years. How Aranya becomes the star of the college. How Raghuvir and Aranya starts conversing and falling in love. Such few scenes have been wonderfully written. Also, the humour between the lines by Durjoy is unavoidable and that's something which holds you for 7-8 hours in which you can easily complete reading this one. I liked the anti-climax where both Dhruv and Aranya are wanting to tell how they love each other but couldn't express because of their egos and historical record of hating each other and competing in almost every thing. 

          But still, the book carries many flaws and it's the biggest turn-off. Before Durjoy could have actually started to tell about a girl's whole life story on being a victim to a disease, he just stops discussing about it and the thing is forgotten somewhere. It comes only in few sentences where Dhruv calls her ugly repeatedly otherwise no discussion about the disease part and her current fight against it is spotted. Similarly, her father takes away her phone and how and when she gets it back is another sub-plot which Durjoy doesn't care to include in the book. Apart from all these drawbacks, the best and interesting part of this book is character of Sanchit. That keeps you alive and fresh. I give this 3.5 stars out of 5. Little better than Half Girlfriend. Haha! Yes! Now waiting for Durjoy Datta's 12th book. 



Monday, April 27, 2015

Kunjan Singh: "The day my novel hit the market it was the same day she got married" (Interview) !!!

Kunjan Singh is a 2nd time author with his new book "Weekend Monks". I got a chance to ask him about his writing journey. Let's see what he said.

1. Hello Kunjan, when did it first occur to you that you should scribble something and convert it into a novel?

Do you remember the dialogue of Rockstar “ wo sidaaton wala pyaar jab tak nah ho koi dil se kuch nai kar sakta” it was rightly said.
I used to love  a girl long back and one day she told me what unique I  had in me that she could  say her  mom about me other than painting, cartooning or sketching .  I was not a dude, neither was blessed with looks like Tom Cruise , nor was having a surname of Ambani or Mallya, I mean to say was having just a meager salary so I thought why not to use my skills of writing which I had sharpened by editing my college magazines . So In order to prove to her that after atleast the novel she could say to her mom about me I penned down my first novel but trust me , real life is much different than reel life. The day my novel hit the market it was the same day she got married. I was just a normal middle class guy nor Maddy of RHTDM that Rina would close her eyes and come back to me or  neither I was Manu of Tanu weds Manu that Tanu would change her decision last minute and come back to me.
But what so ever I turned to an author.

2. How has been life after your first book released? 

Professional life had no change. But the feeling of a fan pinging at 1 am in the night to write something for good of society or the feeling of some one from remote corner of India requesting for the second novel is priceless . Every Dipiste  of Delhi Public School feels proud of me , Every Maniplaite  of Manipal university community could connect to my story .

3. Tell us something about your latest book- Weekend Monks?

Weekend Monks … 
Every weekend the monk inside  comes out &  speak their heart out. This is story of every common Indian. I am sure with one of the 3 Characters everyone can connect well. After all we all have lost something in life but the real spirit of life is not in giving up but just living it despite having the deep pain inside . 
Also this novel was written after a lot of interaction with the common Indian people.
120 pages does not scare an Indian who does not even dare to read looking at the thickness of the novel.  Now the reading habit of readers is , they prefer to read while travelling in a  flight , or train or bus and that time they prefer a light read so its exclusively  for them.
The simple English used is with a special intention that majority of India can read  after all no one likes to turn to pages of dictionary while reading but they are forced to do that while reading a novel.  Weekend monks is for Indians and it’s for masses.  I want to reach to maximum Indians because after all it’s their  story. I am sure be it Kunjan who lost his love, Andy who lost his mom & came back to India  or Phatak who could not become an IAS is story of all the Indians & they speak their Heart out on weekend after becoming a monk

4. How did such an unusual title come in your mind?

I work in a corporate house. Full week we work and it’s the week end when we get out and the monk inside us gets alive and speaks his heart out, so the Weeek end Monks

5. What makes you write your personal experiences every time you think of writing a book?

This is a fiction , written from core of my heart & I had written with a feeling that every Indian can correlate to one of the three characters in the novel as we all go through one of those experiences , which we hide deep in our heart. So if you feel it’s my autobiography I feel honoured that my imganation is so powerful that my readers can belive it to be truth.
In a nut shell would say thank s for the compliment.

6. As a reader, which writers do you prefer reading from India?

I read long back , if you want to be a writer you must leave reading fictions so that your writing does not get affected and I do follow that.
Chetan Bhagat 5 point some one , 2 states & Amish Tripathi  I have read .But trust me the best I was yet to read as I am yet to write it.

7. How hard/easy is publishing in India for first-time writers?

Not at all easy. It’s easy to write but hard to find a publisher. The way one has to loosen one’s pocket or just remain at mercy of publishers  and despite huge investments all at their plight is not a great feeling what an struggling author has to go through.

8. What is your 3rd book based upon?

         Let’s wait for it. But I can promise something with which entire India can connect.

9. Why don’t we see you actively promoting your book through social networking accounts?

     Ha ha ha… I am trying from my end. But after all this is what every author has to go through .

10. Any words for your fans who have picked your latest novel?

I am sure you will love it. I have written with heart story of all Indians and the slimness of the novel would lure you.
Don’t give up In life. Life is about living and succeeding . There is a pain in all of us. Speak your heart out every weekend by becoming the monk.
I work in a corporate house , I write for my passion for my readers, I write for India & am sure every Indian should not give up their passion and become a monk at least on every week end.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Manish Kumar: "I survived many near-fatal accidents" (Interview) !!!

Manish Kumar has been a Combat Pilot with the Indian Air Force where he was awarded the Chief of Air Staff Commendation for devotion to duty. He has years of experience as a Leader and thousands of hours as a helicopter pilot, preferring to fly rescue missions where his intuition not only helped him locate and save pilots and survivors but also averted near fatal crashes, saving men and aircraft. These incidents made him look for the greater meaning of life. Let's see what he tells us more about himself in this interview.

1. Hello sir, how has been your experience as an author since you have released your first book?

       The experience has been very rewarding.  Writing a book is like delivering a baby.      The first time when you hold the book it feels you have held your newborn and then you see it crawling and walking on its legs. More than that the respect and authority you enjoy an author is enormous. 
2. Tell us something about your latest- “Be Your Own Pilot” to our readers.

The book is the story of a small-town boy who has not seen a plane on the ground or even the inside of an airport but he dreams of becoming a pilot. He surmounts various difficulties and obstacles to achieve his dream. He not only goes on to become a pilot but motivates others to follow their dreams.
The book shows that once we realize the unlimited power and potential dormant in our souls, we leave the mundane life. We take the reins of life from the autopilot called fate into our hands and guide it the way we wish. Also, it is possible for us to live a rich and deeply satisfying life when we align our goals with the universal good.

3. How did you plan to write a book of this kind by relating the events with a fresher learning to fly plane?

The time when I was learning to fly a plane was the most crucial period of my life. In Air Force if you do not learn to fly a plane in 13 hours of flying  you are grounded. It means, you can never fly a plane in Air Force again.  I was lucky to have instructors who not only taught me flying but embedded the lessons of life which has served me till date.
I intended to write the book for all freshers because that is the time when they face maximum apposition and tend to give up. The book shows how to keep your dreams alive even when all your hopes are crumbling down.
4. How has your tenure in Indian Air Force helped you in building the plot of this book?

During my tenure in the Indian Air Force I survived many near-fatal accidents. I and my crew were lucky to come alive out of these situations. These incidents made me delve deep into the meaning and purpose of life. I realized that my Life’s purpose was to show people way to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Hence, I wrote the book. 

5. Tell us about your venture- I Inspire. What is it about?

“i Inspire” is the motto of my company “Inspire Human Potential Development Pvt Ltd” which aims to “Exceed Your Potential.” We conduct motivational lectures, Life-style management workshops and Outdoor Trainings.  We have various camps where we conduct Rock Climbing, Trekking, White-water rafting, Para gliding along with Leadership capsules.  We also plan to open Centres of Inspired Living and create Life Coaches.

6. What are you thinking to write next?

I am in between two books.  “Souls: United at Last” is a true story about two people who remember their  previous births and meet in this birth after being separated for almost 40 years. The second book “ The Fall Guy”  has taken characters of Mahabharta and Ramayana and fitted them in modern context.

7. Don’t you believe that your book deserved better publisher and better coverage?

I have got a good publisher. At least, I have one after my manuscript got rejected from the so called better publisher. As far as the coverage is concerned I have always believed in word of mouth publicity. The good thing about the book is most of my readers after reading the book, buy 5-10 copies to gift it to their friends and loved ones. A Director of a school bought 300 copies for his school. Another Chief IT Officer of a US based company gifted 70 copies to his team.  I have taken a vow that I will not spend any money  on PR or Ads and let the  merit of the book speak for itself.

8. Are we going to see a sequel to BE YOUR OWN PILOT with Arnab as main protagonist? 

There will be sequel  for sure  with Arnab as protagonist. I am waiting for the book to gain a self-sustaining momentum when I can shift my focus from promoting the book to writing the new ones. If all goes well we may have a movie on BE YOUR OWN PILOT next year.

9. Any word for the readers who have picked up BE YOUR OWN PILOT?

First of all a big thank you.  Choosing my book shows that you want to achieve something in life.  Read the book carefully a few times. There are lot of secrets and hidden gems in there, as the book is the crux of 20 years of my research on how to be successful. Practice IVR regularly and you will find all your dreams coming true. And when you are successful, share your knowledge with others  and inspire them to be successful.

Be Your Own Pilot by Manish Kumar (Book Review-3.9*/5)!!!

    For a long time I have seen the updates related to this book named "Be Your Own Pilot" but I always thought that it would be kind of repetitive autobiographical incidents in the life of a man related to army or navy as the book is written by Retired Sqn. Leader Manish Kumar. I always thought that its a pure fiction story based on his own life but after reading this book which is based on the lines of Robin Sharma's The Monk who sold his Ferrari, I can say that it's a book which you should definitely read if you love reading self-help and motivational books. With the simplicity and spirit in which it's written, it makes your journey of reading even more inspiring and eye-opening.
            Manish Kumar ensures that each and every word that he wants to convey reaches exactly in the same meaning to his readers. Therefore, the language used by him is very easy even when he tries to make us understand the nuances of flying a plane. I liked how he successfully related our lives with that of riding a plane. He tries to teach us basic rules which can make us better, confident, successful, leader and happy by describing how he grew into a leader from a learner in just 12 years. Manish Kumar should write more such books and assure that there is enough motivation in our youths. Not many Indian writers manage to write a book which is motivational but still interesting. Manish Kumar have definitely won his seat here.

           Be Your Own Pilot teaches us about how to not let ourself ruled by heavy challenges and impossible situations. It tells us that it's in our hand how we want to ride our life by using our common sense, intuition, sixth sense, by valuing time and being humble. It tells us to possess many such traits which we do not in ego and overconfidence. I liked how author began his story and tells about the insult he has to undergo because of which he even decides to quit the job of pilot. Later on, I liked how he takes us in back story where he tells how he got committed to a girl and even managed to go at our home to ask for her hand from her father. But I am disappointed as author didn't take the protagonist back to the girl for marriage. :-) Nevertheless, there's no difference in the quality reading that the book offers. Definitely, a light read but with heavy messages. Recommended!



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weekend Monks by Kunjan Singh (Book Review)!!!

         I haven't read Kunjan Singh's 1st book "RNo. 0478" but incidentally, I picked up "Weekend Monks" which is his 2nd and latest attempt. It's kind of a novella as its very small in size and ends in 120 pages. The cover page of the book is interesting which urges you to pick it up. The book is a very light read which you can read while traveling or over an evening in parts while having your tea. Singh have written it with a different purpose all together. It isn't a story but just a conversation between three friends who met one night for having drinks together. It starts with the same and ends with the same with conversation on no particular topic; just sharing of bad experiences of each one of them. 


           Author have kept it quite autobiographical because of which you won't find any kind of fiction element in any of the pages. Language used is very easy and narration is kept in proper flow without confusing reader a bit. The writing style of author depicts that he basically writes for his friends and near by as he inspires from people around him and adds very little fiction to the same. 

          The characterization is nicely done because of which you will find yourself getting connected with each character. Coming to the drawbacks: I was disappointed as the book didn't turn out to be a story. Andy's dialogue "Come out of her" said to Kunjan gets repeated so often that it pisses the reader. In the end pages, I was expecting some surprise which didn't come through and the book ends abruptly. I wish if author reads more fiction books so that he develops a story next time and comes up with a book that's targeted towards masses. Summarily, a very light read. People interested in such stuffs can pick it up. 



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra (Book Review-4.25*/5)!!!

  I am just done reading Rishi Vohra's 2nd novel "HiFi in Bollywood". Unfortunately, I missed on the first one which was also a hit among masses who love reading urban stories. "HiFi in Bollywood"- the title suggests that it would be the same stuff that people write to narrate how actors sleep together to get better offers, how politics happen between stars, how movies become hits and finally the award is won and the actor senses maturity in the end. But fortunately and surprisingly, this book isn't about any of this. It describes how a boy who is been sent to Berkeley by his father to earn a degree in finance still dreams of becoming a director in Bollywood. Finally he skips his studies and moves to Mumbai without telling his father and starts struggling in Bollywood. 

         This novel is about aspiration and the amount of hurdle one goes through in a city like Mumbai which looks systematic from far away but is too messy when you actually start dealing with it. The book is also about the tensed father-son relationship which is quite common in India where parents decide almost everything for the child till his marriage at the time of his birth itself. The child has no option of choosing any damn decision for himself. The book is very well written by Rishi Vohra in a language that you'll love reading it as fast as possible to know what's next. Rishi knows how to write a page-turner and it's quite evident from this attempt of his. He surely knows how to become favorite among the pulp fiction lovers. I am surely going to have his first book in my hands as soon as possible. I loved the way he build each and every character in the book even without wasting much time in describing their background and situation. That shows the amount of talent the author has.

          Story-wise, this book has a wonderful plot which will surely surprise you at times. Specially in second half and in pre-climax sections. I liked how Rishi Vohra have written certain things about the city without fearing anyone. There are few very well written scenes in the book. Specially the first day of Rayhan on a film set where the whole scenario of how an actor wants to sleep with an actress is narrated. Another great scene is when Rayhan is himself asked to direct the movie and he enters the set. Another great scene is when Rayhan's father is discussed drinking with his friends for the very first time. Such scenes definitely urges you to read more from this author for his brilliance which is quite evident in this book. The character of Peter will remain in my mind for a long time for how he changes his personality once Anil enters the plot. Haha! In all, I give this book 4.25* and will definitely recommend it to all.



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Akshay Chitre: "Feminine mind is very interesting and straightforward" (Interview)!!!

 Akshay Chitre is one of the dynamic personalities who have achieved tremendous success at a very young age of 25. He is already running a successful restaurant in Mumbai city along with it, he has also managed to write a story that is earning everyone's appreciation. Let us know how he manages to be a multi-tasker. 

Hello Akshay! How has been your life since release of your debut novel? 

Firstly I would thank you for considering me worthy enough to be on your portal with so many successful authors. I feel delighted and humble to be a part of this creative community, hope they welcome me with open arms and warm hearts.
Life has definitely changed, people's perspective towards me has changed too and I am getting considerable good amount of affection & respect from family & friends as I tried to do something that no one in my close circle has done.

What changes are you experiencing in society’s approach towards you? 
Did you always want to write a book since school or a thought suddenly took over your mind and the book happened?

The thought of writing never occurred to me honestly, after seeing my friends and myself go through a series of unsuccessful relationships. We used to swear off women (though admittedly, temporarily) and laugh them off stating they are complicated and they don’t know what they want in life, or from their relationships. Even if it would have been the fault of the man in the relationship, we passed on the blame to women, conveniently stating that they are really difficult to communicate with but are they really THAT difficult to communicate with? After hearing the constant chiding, a thought came into my mind. If I had been a women would I have behaved differently, would I be as carefree and boyish as I am now? I don’t think so.

I could not let go of this thought. So, I then programmed my brain to start thinking like a woman to get inside their psyche. I started behaving differently in my mind, making me realize that what a woman wants is totally different from what men think she wants. There is so much social pressure on her that it makes her get drawn towards stuff that she is supposed to want and not what she really wants. As men, we feel women are obsessed with money, hanging out with the rich guys, chasing social positions, obsessed with keeping up appearances but thinking like a woman,  it made me realize all this was an illusion.  This is not what they truly want but it is what they are supposed to want and due to the pressure of getting what they are supposed to want, they try frantically to reach out for it. Thus the thought of writing occurred and I made it into reality.

Tell us something about your first book- URBAN LOVE?

Urban Love is a woman centric book with three female protagonist having radically different perspective on life and relationships. It's an interesting take through the minds of women in Urban Cities as they are on the lookout for love.

How hard was it to write in a girl’s voice and along with it, explaining the personal trauma of other two girls also? 

Personally writing as a female protagonist I felt the ideas of cross thinking might actually change society making me  write through the  heart of women very easily, feminine mind is very interesting and straightforward, it's the society outlook on females that makes them behave in a complex manner.

Do you think people not from urban and metro cities will accept your book as it’s purely based in a city like Mumbai which has quite a modern approach as also visible in your book?

Mumbai has always lead the nation, people want to know what's happening in Mumbai, though this book has a modern outlook on love and relationships which is evident in metros, I don't see anything wrong with the smaller tier cities will object to it, in fact I feel it's very liberating and a delightful read for all, they take away for smaller tier cities would definitely be that world is changing and thus be yourself and don't ever doubt your ability, we make the society, it should not make us, thus a good reads for all of us which the youth can relate easily.

How has been your experience with Notion Press till now?

Notion Press is being very kind with me, nourting and supporting me all throughout.

How easy or hard it is for you to run a restaurant and also write books at this young age of 25?

To be honest, restaurants has long working hours, it's very tedious & monotonous business, I wrote the entire first draft of story on my mobile phone at restaurant, it was not easy but I was adamant to complete the book and present my thoughts vis a story to the Indian audience.

What is the next story you are working upon?

Till now no thought has come to me but definitely I would love to write another story, just waiting for a good though.

Any words for your fans who have picked Urban Love and played a part in your success?

I would love to thank all those you picked up a copy of the book and found it worthwhile to spend their money and time on a new author, thanks for your support and I wish they spread the word about Urban Love to their friends and family.

The Notebook of Romance by Gargi Sarkhel Bagchi (Book Review- 2.5*/5)!!!

      After reading an intense anthology by Gargi Publication, I went on to read a light and romantic anthology named "The Notebook of Romance..." published by the same publication house. This anthology has been compiled by Harshita Srivastava whose latest full-fledged novel, Bad Romance, is one of my favorite novels this year. And the stories are edited by Gargi Sarkhel Bagchi about whom I do not know anything as of now. This anthology is the 3rd part in the series of Moonlit Matinee which publishes short stories. The cover page is quite wonderful considering the theme of the novel. It's enough to catch a reader's eye.      

             The stories are written in a very easy and understandable English which will be the key for its selling in market. The writers are vivid and of different age groups which gives different perspective to the stories. Some stories are very passionate while few are mediocre in fashion while some are purely a rewrite-kind of stuff. Few stories have amazing characters and situations which will remain in your mind once the book completes. For the readers of age-group 15-22, this book will work for sure as that's the age when you newly dive into this sea called love and thus every story will let you connect with this amazing feeling. 

            Unfortunately, there is nothing very new in the book. All the stories are of similar fashion as we have kept on reading in all the anthologies that are getting published since last 3 years. After Crumpled Voices, I was expecting something new from The Notebook of Romance but I didn't get it. Yes, it's a fine book to take with you while traveling as it's a light read which will make you smile many a times. But it does not have any such moments which can act as an USP to it. Also, I felt 25 stories are too much for an anthology based on one topic. I give the book an average 2.5* out of 5. I hope Gargi Publication think of some artistic topics to base their anthologies upon like they have already proven rather than publishing series of short love stories. We have had enough of it. 



Monday, April 6, 2015

Crumpled Voices by Pulkit Gupta/Ila Garg (Book Review-3.25*/5)!!!

      Since last 3 years, the number of anthologies that have published by both- small and big publishers have bored almost every reader who were interested in reading short stories. Almost 99% of them have been based on love and romance- a topic that has been grilled more than needed. Now, any synopsis that carries the word- LOVE irritates the reader and it's the first one to be rejected by him. In this phase of monotony, I got my hands on an anthology named "Crumpled Voices". It has the tagline "Shades of Suffering". The stories are compiled by the publisher, Pulkit Gupta, himself and edited by Ila Garg. The cover page of the book in itself is distinct and something that your eye will catch easily and it would become difficult to ignore it. Though I have one complain that why only woman is being shown and not all sorts of human who are facing crimes. 

         The novel consists of 23 short stories that signifies how badly our society treats few human being for no mistake committed by them. It is trying to tell us that there are crimes every where around us which we see, read and hear but never raise our opinion or voice against them. This novel in itself is a voice against all such crimes. The concept of the novel is in itself unique and yes, as said on the cover page, the need of the hour. I should compliment and applaud Pulkit Gupta for introducing this as no new publisher could have challenged to move out of the comfort-zone and publish something that's unheard in the market. Writing a full-fledged novel on such a topic is easy as you have time to portray the characters and situation but short stories should have depth to impress the readers.

         Coming to the stories, I would like to clear it that I am not mentioning any favorite stories in particular as I have stopped meriting few authors out of many because everyone is a reason because of which one anthology gets picked up in the market. Every story tries to signify a point in a very easy language which almost every one can understand. No story is written in a very literary language that is hard to understand. Few writers have written some stories that can surely terrify you imagining the condition of women, gays and poor in our country. It's sickening to even read some passages due to the condition that they describe. I am glad that an anthology is able to speak such stories as not many youngsters are into newspaper these days. 

           Talking about few drawbacks:- I felt that the stories became repetitive after a point of time. A feminist will surely love it but I felt that Pulkit should have compiled lesser stories but only the ones speaking on unique topics. Crimes against women is given more preference which I thought became biased as there are many more crimes which could have been easily a part of this book. Editing is almost 90% perfect if compared to the quality of editing we see these days. Kudos to Ila Garg. Hope she can better the rest 10% too. The long introduction of authors didn't work for me. A paragraph should have been enough. No one is interested in knowing much about author but about what they are speaking. It only added to the book's thickness. In all, I would give this good attempt 3.25* out of 5 from my side. 



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ashwati Menon: "I knew it was not a usual book" (Interview)!!!

 Ashwati Menon has proved it with her first full-fledged novel that she is not going to chose ordinary stories to create her reader-base. She is ready to face challenges by writing on topics that aren't easy to discuss about. Do read the interview to know how she manages to pick up such topics for her writings.

1. How has been life after releasing your first story- DRENCHED SOULS?

A:  It has been real fast. I was on the verge of completion of Scarred and that was the time when I contacted Gargi Publishers regarding the same. Then everything was decided and fixed and Scarred came into existence from a raw manuscript to a book.  It all happened – juggling book and office is real roller-coaster but enjoyable. Drenched Souls had my one story : Hale & Heartily, Yours Forever which even surprises me because Romance is just not my genre and Scarred for Life, Healed Forever is more inclined towards science.

2. Tell us something about your latest novel- Scarred for life, healed forever?

A:  Scarred for Life, Healed Forever is extraordinary story about an ordinary girl. There are various aspects of Medical Science in it. But the main point that I wish to get across is that one’s mind is the biggest enemy that one has.  There is no problem on the outside; it’s all inside and it’s the inner demons that you need to fight with. That is what the protagonist fights all the time. The struggle is all about controlling one’s mind, thoughts and actions and once you can do it – you are the happiest person.

3. How hard was it to finally decide to pen an unusual story like this? Didn’t you feel nervous or doubtful that readers won’t accept a story based on this plot?

A:  When I started writing Scarred, I knew it was not a usual book and I also knew it was not ordinary. I was nervous that I might not get enough backing with the theory I was working on.  That’s why a lot of research and discussions went into formulating what I was trying to create. Of course there were doubts whether people would accept or not but you can’t limit yourself due to these inhibitions.

4. Have you seen a real case in your life like Nishtha’s (protagonist)?

A: Oh Yes!  Not to the extreme end as in the book. That situation comes at a later stage. But yes, I know many people who have had such experiences and that gave me the confidence on the subject matter. I knew this was not just a fantasy tale I was weaving and the research and the live cases helped me to gain my confidence regarding the story.

5. How has been your association working with Gargi Publishers and Pulkit Gupta?

A:  Might I say Fantastic! Pulkit and the team at Gargi Publishers are professional and the work that they have done is exemplary.  Here is where I don’t have enough words but all I can say is that as an upcoming Publishing House, they are brilliant on what they are doing and Pulkit is a great human. The experience has been really good working with them.

6. How was your experience at World Book Fair?

A:  It was the first time that I ever attended New Delhi World Book Fair and I was really surprised that we do have people who really love to read and it’s a reader’s paradise. Every kind of book that is there to read is there in the World Book Fair and crowd from different countries too throng here. I am glad that I made it to the World Book Fair and I’m really happy that I could interact with people. Author’s Corner was amazing and gave a broader platform to meet new people and make new friends. 

7. Is being on Social Networking helping you get in touch with your readers and knowing their expectations from you?

A: Very much. I also came to know of many people who faced similar situations as in the book and I am super happy to know that they could relate to Nishtha’s story. Social Media definitely helped to get across to many readers and friends from the same fraternity. It was a real boon for interaction.

8. What is your next work based upon?

A:  Right now I am working on a story based on Honor Killing. It is a big problem that our society still faces and it’s an open secret. It is there in the society but nobody speaks of. I don’t know why again I picked a different theme but this one I am enjoying scripting down. Let us see how it turns out.

9. Any words for your readers who have picked both of your works?

A: Of course their opinion matters the most.  I really hope that they like the books and they get the flavour of difference. In Drenched Souls, it is ethereal love story and more child-like and Scarred for Life, Healed Forever is little serious, scientific and romantic – all clubbed in one. I would ask them to keep reading and have lots of books in life; they are the best friends you can have. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Urban Love by Akshay Chitre (Book Review- 3.5*/5)!!!

      In the straight 6 hours, I completed reading the debut book of Akshay Chitre named "Urban Love". It's 228-pages novel published by Notion Press. Considering the name and cover page, I wasn't expecting book to be any more than ordinary but now it seems as if the book has made this weekend of mine. It's that cheerful and delighting. The book is based in Mumbai and being a Mumbaikar myself, I enjoyed reading the story of 3 girls fighting with life, friendship, emotions and struggle right from the first page to last. All the characters made up by Akshay seems to be real and therefore, the connect with the story happens in the initial stage itself. That's where Akshay already wins his readers. Except the climax, you can relate with almost everything that's written in this book in the form of story.

           Urban Love is a beautiful story based on 3 girl friends. Though not all of them having their base in Mumbai but still they get friends with each other quite comfortably. Then one of them reveals a secret about her past which shocks other two. Later on, the same friend becomes one who keeps changing men for sex every night. Then, another friend knows about a boy liking her but still keeps urging for arranged marriage as she is scared she will disappoint her father if she goes against his concepts. And the main protagonist of this book falls in love and gets in a messed up situation as she was already dating someone since few weeks. What happens with them is what excites a reader to know and therefore this book turns out to be a perfect page turner.

          Akshay Chitre has used a wonderful language and narration to tell his story in the form of a full-fledged novel. Being a male and writing in voice of a girl and not only about that one girl but about other two also is one of the toughest job which he made very very easy to look in the eyes of reader. The way he began speaking the story in first few pages and how he took it to climax without making the plot look directionless is another good thing about this book. The characters that he used in the book- regulars, special appearances and even the cameos justified their role properly. Even the pace of the book never slows down at any point of time which keeps the story interesting throughout.

           Talking about drawbacks I would say that the only low point in the book comes when distance occurs between all three of them. The relationship between Meghna and Jay becomes boring after a point of time as nothing new happens and author keeps repeating the same scene again and again. Similarly, I didn't like the flashback parts written in italic as it is discussed more than required. Also, Vikram's sudden exit and no appearance until climax is another disappointment. Some cliche dialogues like "You made me fall in love with love" also turns off some times. Author tries to maintain a balance in climax by making it look realistic still dramatic but fails. I wished if Anusha's revelation to her father could have been written little more beautifully.  But summarily, the book is definitely a good read. The urban audience will definitely connect with it whereas small town guys might get drunk in shock of what happens in cities like Mumbai. Haha! The book ends with a perfect epilogue. It was 3.75* material in first half but the little drop in 2nd half brings it to 3.5* out of 5 from my side. You can surely grab it!



Thursday, April 2, 2015

That Man in the Mirror by Rajeev Ranjan (Book Review- 3.75*/5) !!!

       I am done reading "That Man in the Mirror" written by Rajeev Ranjan in a single sitting. This is his 3rd book and I am happy to say that I have read the first two books by him. The first one was rated 3.5 by me and the 2nd one, 2.5. I am feeling better claiming that his 3rd book is better than both his attempts and his best book till date. The synopsis itself represents that the book is an intense attempt and I wanted to see if author has justified the promise or not. But right from the first page to last, whatever emotion Rajeev wanted to depict reached perfectly to the readers. The language used by Rajeev is very easy-going and his command over English has just improved vastly since his last book. 

         The narration used for this story is perfect. I liked the author's approach of telling a story purely without inserting and sharing useless conversations every now and then. Every chapter begins with a philosophical tune which adds more substance in the story. I liked the way author questions us about certain situations that we face in our life and then goes on showing what the protagonist did against the given situation. There are times when you want to hit the protagonist for his decision but the way author narrates the whole thing asks you to believe in his decision even when you know its purely wrong. That's the greatness in the writing style of Rajeev Ranjan in this book.

           Book starts with mainly discussing about the mentally-challenged brother of the protagonist and what happens with him later on is one of the best part. Then the lust part comes in and I started doubting the book but the way author gives it a dynamic turn and makes it the base of the intense story that runs later on only makes you love the book more than before. Another great part is the discussion of Suman's life even when she does not play any direct part in protagonist's plot. It gives a mature quotient to the story. Every emotion and situation is described as if author has written his autobiography. You do not find any falseness anywhere. Everything is so real that you would want to meet the main characters.

            The pre-climax and climax is so well-handled that it raises the book to yet another level. In the end, when the book gets over, you will yourself go, stand in front of the mirror and cry like hell remembering all the hidden wrongs you did against your closed ones but never confessed. When I found myself in THAT MAN IN THE MIRROR after finishing the book, I felt so proud of the author that I have already started waiting for his next book. I give this one 3.75* out of 5. The few drawbacks are:- I found book 30-40 pages more lengthy. Author repeats the same sentences many a times to give a scene more intense which becomes boring sometimes. The repetitiveness is the biggest flaw in this book which also resulted in this book's thickness. That's all!



About Me

My photo
Book Reviewer | Movie Reviewer | Bibliophile | Business Analyst