Tuesday, February 22, 2022

SITA’S KITCHEN by Raghav Khanna (Book Review: 3.75*/5) !!!


6th Book of 2022


Well, February has turned out to be a good reading month for me. I just completed reading 5th book of the month named “Sita’s Kitchen” written by Raghav Khanna. The 220-pages book published by Rupa Publication is the story of passion, perseverance, improvement, dreams, challenge and self-realization. Initially, I had thought that the book would be just a normal storyline of a girl who loves cooking will be traveling all the way to London to achieve success and rejoice the same. There would be some challenges here and there but not more than that. After reading the book, I must say that Raghav’s writing style amazes you where even a simple scene is described in a way as if something very crucial in the plot is happening.


Right from the start of the story when Arun starts insisting Sita to leave the Indian mountain and move to London with him and work for his popular hotel, you start imagining the locale and the characters talking among themselves. The way each and everything about mountains is discussed makes you feel you are a part of it or you would want to apply leaves to be there immediately. Such is the magic of briefing author has done regularly pages after pages. Even when the story moves to London, the foreign land and the power of snow and cold is described exactly as it is – I can say with the confidence because of what I have heard from my friends who have travelled there for on-site projects.


Sita’s character is so beautifully groomed that she turns out to be the soul of the story. You just want to know about her more deeply and author just keeps on justifying your needs by regularly pushing from her external description to her food’s description – then moving on to her attitude towards everyone and finally the decisions she takes which defines her inner character. I liked how she was defined with so much of love and purity that as a reader, you don’t want anything to go wrong with her and when things go haywire, not only Sita but I am sure every reader suffers reading about how she is treated in London initially and how things go wrong for her. Apart from Sita’s character, author has also described all other characters intriguingly such as of Arun, Ben, Khan Chacha, Gabby, Alice and others.


The way story talks about the opportunities and the risks involved in the same will make you discover a lot about the kind of decisions you have taken in your past. The way Sita continuously messes in a new place will make you connect with how silly mistakes you ended up committing in your first few days of your new job. The support of Khan Chacha will make you remember that great colleague who always stood by you and made you learn things which has made you whatever you are today. The passion and yet the humane side of Arun will make you understand what a good leadership is. Ben’s journey in the story will teach you about humility, being a good person and helping out others as much as you can.


The book talks mainly about the cooking industry and I must tell you- I was quite doubtful about how words will make me imagine food and dishes and relate with the whole process of cooking etc. which book speaks about. Khanna has done a fantastic job with this part. He seamlessly describes both- the Italian as well as the fusion dishes of Indian and Italian so perfectly that you can imagine what is going on behind-the-scenes in the restaurant as well as you can smell the food through the book. Haha! Yes, that’s the power of his writing. He has done complete justice in the way he discusses the challenge of running a restaurant and how introducing a new menu can make or break an already popular eating spot. The way I have easily learnt the names of few Italian dishes talks about author’s magic in translating the whole cooking process in words.


Talking about the drawbacks – I felt that book was quite slow in the first half. You want to know what will happen with Sita but story really progresses slowly making you impatient. The book had lots of potential of also speaking philosophy and also embedding a little spiritual aspect in the cooking process but author keeps it more on the commercial side. I believe the book’s name might confuse any reader as they might feel the book speaks of recipes due to the word “Kitchen” in the title. Author could have named it differently.


Overall, the book is a short and beautiful light read. I give it 3.75* out of 5. Read to live a life in mountains, snows, London, restaurants by sitting in your balcony and enjoying the flavors of the food through the book.







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