Book Review : Ten Shades Of Life

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb view:

In times when anthologies dwell on prosaic romantic accounts, Fablery presents Ten Shades of Life. From a nail-biting thriller to a spine-chilling ghost story, an exquisite romance to an ingenious fantasy, an adventurous science-fiction to mirthful and remarkable experiences of salaried men, stories of heroes and philosophies of life – it attends to the preferences of all readers.

When anthologies contain stories of one genre, after reading a couple of stories they get predictable and fail to keep a reader’s interest until the end, but a multi-genre book has something to offer to everyone and many things to one reader. 

The writing styles of all the writers whose stories are included in this book are grand and the plots so engaging that they will force you to read another page and one another before you finally close the book. The stories will take you on a roller coaster between reality and fiction.

Review:

I had picked up this book with huge expectations as the stories were award-winners at the Fablery Contest 2012. Hoping to dig into ten fabulous stories, I had to keep reading for more than half the book to find an interesting one. A multi-genre anthology can be a collectors’ item if the correct pieces of gems are picked, arrayed and glued together correctly. This one went wrong with the first few stories. Another instance of bad editing? Yes. Repetitive words in a sentence, which is the worst example of editing, can be found in this book. If you want to show them as an exhibit in an editing course, go ahead. And call me a grammar Nazi, for all I care.

Since this is an anthology, it deserves individual critique for all the stories. Here:

1. The Incarnadines – Too descriptive a story. I wished the author had concentrated on the plot instead of the narration. There are a few loopholes in the plot. It gives you an impression of a casually written, loose story. Not impressive at all.

2. Red and Gold – Perfectly brought out flavour of the era being written. Quite lucid writing from Monika Pant, I liked her choice of words, using Urdu terms as sweet raisins in a well cooked Pulao. The editor should have been really careful, there are two instances of repetitive words in a sentence in this story.

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Author Interview : Sid Bahri

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Meet one of the most impressive debuts in Indian English Literature of 2013 – Sid Bahri’s ‘The Homing Pigeons’.

Brief Blurb:

In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.

When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it…

The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

Now that almost all of you have read the book, it is time to celebrate its success with the prolific author Sid Bahri. First things, read my review here, followed by the interview.

                                                                  ————————

Conversation:

Photo Courtesy: Facebook

Photo Courtesy: Facebook

1. Congratulations on the overwhelming success of The Homing Pigeons. Did you expect such huge response for your debut venture?

Thank you, Priyanka. The ride for The Homing Pigeons has been fairly bumpy. It was written by night while I was working a day job. When all those nights of labor ran into rejections, I was almost beginning to lose confidence. Yet, most people who’ve read it have liked it.
I’d be lying if I said that I expected the book to be a dud but I wasn’t expecting this overwhelming response either. All in all, it’s a good start that I hope to build on.

2. Aditya and Radhika belong to a new breed of protagonists, much unlike the ideal hero and heroine. What made you break the formula and sketch characters most people would not dream falling in love with?

You are right when you say that Aditya and Radhika aren’t perfect protagonists. You can’t blame me for not creating perfectly relatable characters though.
My intention was to create characters that live amongst us. They come from middle class backgrounds. They are faced with dilemmas and they choose the path that they felt was right. It doesn’t mean that the path they chose was the morally correct path but for them, at those critical junctures, it felt right.

I’m not sure if they aren’t lovable people though. I’ll use the lines from my next novel to elucidate that point

“Structurally, a moth and a butterfly are the same. They both have wings and I hear that they come from the same family. It’s just that one is beautiful, has spots and stripes and the other is plain and ordinary. Yet, in our minds we love one and abhor the other.
We’re all flawed like the moth. It’s just that some of us have money, beauty or fame to color our wings. It’s taken me a while to realize that moths are also beautiful.”

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She Works in Beauty

This post is written for thAs Beautiful As Your Work contest at Women’s Web in association with Tanishq. Watch the Mia video for more information. 

There are women all around us, and then, there are women who inspire us. I will not write about myself or any urbane woman who is erudite enough to make herself and her work beautiful. I feel it would be injustice if I don’t write about the most hard working woman I have seen till now. No, she is not my mother, but my maid or ‘domestic help’ as she would be called these days. I have been witness to her strength, both physical and mental, for the past seven months now.

When we arrived at this apartment in a new city earlier this year, I was looking for a maid. She knocked on the door one fine morning and appointed herself. We got introduced to each other – she said she’s married, has two kids, lives somewhat nearby, has a mobile phone and drives a scooter to work. I was impressed at the advancement of women in Maharashtra, their hard work and determination to save money and buy their own vehicles. She started working and I observed her in awe, as she works nearly twelve hours each day at about seven-eight households. She cooks, cleans, washes, babysits and massages old women in various families. We keep discussing her strength and dedication to work as she doesn’t waste a single moment at work. Always clean and neatly dressed, she comes prepared with a smile and some chit-chat for everyone she meets.

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Book Review : A Maverick Heart: Between love and life

Image Source: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

Resonance –  We often use the term, “frequency matching” in our daily life to define compatibility. Our frequency does not match, we do not get along? We are not in sync? We are not on the same page etc? When people of similar frequencies (wavelengths or within the same range) come together – output is not a simple sum of individual work, but exponential. In science we term this phenomenon as resonance. Output at this stage is beyond any logical limit. Three young kids, with different family backgrounds and outlook meet during their graduation days at IIT-Bombay campus and become close friends. Although, individually they are in sync, but the same is not true for their interaction with the world. How will their relation withstand the conflict of family and society pressure? How do their character shape out, as they traverse from an educational environment through the corporate world to the realm of the social-political world? Inspired by the real events across the globe from the last decade, Ravindra Shukla brings you the characters based story – struggle and triumphs of a young generation and their relevance in the current socio-eco-political era.

Review:

Both the cover and blurb of the book seemed quite uninteresting at the first glimpse. I wish the publishers had paid a little more attention in composing the blurb, as it plays a very important role in attracting readers. The book is targeted towards young readers, mostly in or aiming to be in IITs or similar institutes. I consider it as a poor blend of ‘Rang De Basanti‘ and ‘Five Point Someone.’ The book is themed on a set of moralities and messages to the young. However, it is another editorial disaster.

This book is about three main protagonists – Rahul, Neerav and Richita who are entwined by fate. They are burdened with issues pertaining to their families, careers, values and other norms. The first half is laden with various incidents of college life overdone with sermons on a plethora of topics. The dialogues are way too many, curt, dry and interlaced with complete sentences in Hindi. The book is printed with double spacing between the lines to increase in volume, a whopping and boring 383 pages. The climax is drab and predictable.

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Sister Of My Heart



This post is written for the Soul sisters contest by Women’s Web and Zivame – (http://www.womensweb.in/articles/soul-sisters-friendship-day-contest/)

I hadn’t heard about soul sisters until I actually found one. I had best friend(s) till then, and some of them still retain that status. They came from various walks of life and burst onto mine with something unique to offer. I was contented with best friends and I did not differentiate them by gender. Then came the inevitable part of growing up, too much of it actually. I had completed a quarter century of years on this planet, was not too happy about it, didn’t know much how to arrange the shelves of my messed up life, when – I met this girl on the Internet.

No, it was not as shady as a chat room ‘Hi, ASL?’ introduction. We had gone past the era of ASLs and entered the era of swatiscrapbooks. My best friend was working in India at that time and I was a student in a foreign university. Distance mattered and we were rarely connected. I had made new friends in a new country, but there was something still missing. After a few months, one of my new friends decided to introduce me to his best friend. He felt that two girls who were quite alike each other must be acquainted and took up the task. Thus, I met Swati. Over scrapbook conversations. Since that was very much a public domain, we exchanged mail ids and started talking. She’s barely older to me by a year or two and had just started working in Calcutta. I don’t know what clicked us instantly, probably the fact that both of us were loners. We chatted for hours, the timezone difference not being a hindrance as she worked on her projects at night while I would be in lab. I guess sore hearts connect easily to each other for mutual healing and the same happened to us. Both of us were going through very rough patches in life, badly bruised by friends and other people, probably seeking solace in better friendship.

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Author Interview : Adi

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Have you read India’s first Tantric thriller ‘Tantra‘ yet? If you haven’t, go grab a copy NOW. Read it, come back, and read my review here

Brief Blurb:

Anu is a leather wearing, no-nonsense professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York City. But when her enemies murder the one person she truly cared about, all she wants is vengeance. The only clue points to New Delhi, so Anu puts in for a job transfer…

… At first, it seems Anu’s biggest challenge will be evading the nice boys her aunt wants her to marry. But when children start disappearing, she discovers forces older and darker than anything she’s faced before. All of Delhi is in danger, especially the sexy stranger who sets Anu’s pulse racing.

If you have read the book already, and biing nails for a sequel – here’s something better to read in the meanwhile – an exclusive interview with Adi, the author of Tantra. 

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Conversation:

 

    1. To begin with, heartiest congratulations for Tantra! You seem to have struck the right chord with the tagline ‘India’s first Tantric thriller.’

I was hoping I would strike some sort of chord! When the book came out I was shocked at the absolute lack of fiction involving Tantra despite how well it is ingrained into our society. I think a lot of people might have been put off by the vampire bit in it though, even though the book is absolutely about tantra, and the vampires are there just for the ride.

  1. I would love to know how it all began. What made you think of having a female superhero as the protagonist?

Adi (Image Courtesy: Facebook)

Adi (Image Courtesy: Facebook)

Years ago in college I wrote a short story about an old jaded vampire hunter who eventually took in a protégé. When I finished that story, I found myself more interested in exploring the life and tale of the protégé, Anu Aggarwal, than the mentor himself. I have always had amazing and strong female role models my entire life. Starting with my mother and grandmother, and extending to my aunts, friends and my teachers. I guess there was not one moment where I decided I wanted to write a female superhero. But as I did I realized how amazing it was, and how much it was needed. Most young girls today do not have strong female models who they can relate to. While women are doing incredible things in this country from politics to business, most of them are not young, and are not facing the problems of the young in daily life. I guess what also attracted me was the notion of a young woman in India which poses its own unique and wonderful contradictions just wanting to be explored. India needs a few female superheros and I was happy to be able to write one.

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