Book Review : Kachher Manush

51EJsNCuFkL._SX400_BO1,204,203,200_It’s not everyday that I sit down to write about a Bangla book. There are a few that not only tug a few strings at the heart, but pull them hard enough to inflict pain. Kachher Manush (The Close One) by Suchitra Bhattacharya is an epic work in contemporary Bangla Literature. SB was an immensely popular writer over decades until she passed away untimely last year. Her stories have always been as close to our middle class reality as they could. She wrote almost solely about the average Bengali family, one you’d spot around you daily with all its problems, undercurrents of tension and occasional bursts of joy. Kachher Manush was written in the eighties, quite early in SB’s career and yet it portrays the mastery that she had in her craft. The writing waned later though, stories became repetitive, plots became a little mundane, but she produced occasional masterpieces like Kancher Dewal, Neel Ghurni, Dahan and Parobash. Among the good, bad and ugly ones, Kachher Manush is the one I love the most.

The opening pages are laced with hope and anticipation. Titir, a teenager in full bloom in the eighties Calcutta has just appeared for her Secondary examinations in school. She awaits her alcoholic father Aditya’s homecoming from a hospital. SB does a wonderful, rather wistful job in narrating the ambience around Titir as she waits for her mother Indrani to fetch Aditya home. She lives in a huge house, in a ‘joint family’ that we were so familiar to in the previous century. Titir’s family comprises of little islands, bound loosely together by her ailing grandfather. Her paternal uncle Sudip and his wife Runa have aptly named their son Atom, probably in apprehension that they would live as a nuclear family sometime in future. Aditya’s youngest brother Kandarpa is a wannabe actor who lives in horns of dilemma, tethering between right and wrong. SB describes these islands through the eyes of Titir’s elder brother Bappa, who admits being the smallest isthmus, waiting to sever his ties with the dysfunctional family soon by applying for a sailor’s job.

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Books and Music…Music and Books… by Biddu

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Are they country cousins or blood brothers linked by a certain commonality?

Music came to me from a very early age. It came from an ambition to make a career from what I loved. To make something of myself. Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones etc, they were the soundtrack of my youth and I wanted some of what they were having. It was glamourous and sexy, fun and ego boosting, being up there on stage. It was also a great way of meeting girls!

The idea of writing novels came to me much later, when I was older, slightly wiser and because I needed to do something apart from music which I had been doing since the age of 13. I was sitting on a beach in Spain having taken a break from music and gradually boredom set in. I was pretty healthy for my age, my brain cells were still working, so I was thinking of what I could do that would interest me. I did not have to be passionate about it, but interested surely. I was thinking of opening a restaurant or writing a novel. I knew nothing of running a restaurant and even less on writing books.

But ignorance is a great motivator, so while mulling over these two ideas and as the waves lapped the shore line, I realised the discipline in writing books was very similar to creating music. You spend hours on your computer which is linked to your keyboard and you spend all day working a melody. Some days the music you create sounds like a dog’s dinner, on other days it sounds pretty symphonic and hot. Working on a novel is also a lonely gig. You look at a blank page on your lap top and then hope the words flow in sentences that are eloquent, dramatic and make for an interesting narrative. You can write a few lines or a chapter in a day depending on the groove of your feeling. In music and in writing books, there’s no point waiting for inspiration or you could be waiting for Armageddon! You just get on with it.

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Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Biddu was born in India, where he started his career playing in a pop band whose influences lay in the classic repertoire of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Following his early success, he decided to hear West and move into the international music arena. He struck gold, signing the unknown Carl Douglas and producing “Kung Fu Fighting?” which went on to become a hit all over the world. He also wrote and produced hits for Tina Charles and soul legend Jimmy James.Around this time, Biddu became involved in Indian music: he composed the cult “Aap Jaise Koi” for the film Qurbani which set a new landmark for sales in India He followed this up with a pop album, Disco Deewane, with Nazia Hassan, which became the largest selling pop album in Asian history, and was the first Indian album to hit the charts in fourteen countries. In 1995, Biddu wrote and produced the three-million-selling album Made in India with the singer Alisha Chinai. To date, Biddu has sold over thirty-eight million records worldwide.

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Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Book Review : The Accidental Wife

TheAccidentalWife-ebook

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From the author of Inconvenient Relations Simi K Rao! If you enjoyed Inconvenient Relations, you’ll love The Accidental Wife, a new contemporary romance from Simi K. Rao. Some accidents are meant to happen… Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead? Scroll up to buy The Accidental Wife now to experience this contemporary romance with a multicultural twist.

Review:

Snow in New York, some love and hate romance, an intelligent Indian couple and a twist in the story. If you’re familiar with or like any of these, you’ll like the book too. Simi K. Rao seems to weave her novels effortlessly, if you follow her books closely. I’ve read her earlier one, and liked it much, which made me pick up this one with much anticipation.

Simi chooses her characters carefully – while Rihaan is a typical New Yorker, Naina is our strong urban feisty lady. When they meet, sparks fly and they fly to New York together after a series of incidents and mishaps. They are married accidentally but what transpires between them is beyond explanation. They debate whether it’s really love or only biology, as per Rihaan, the neurosurgeon. Naina has a past, is a teacher and clicks photos to bring about a change.  Continue reading

Book Review : An Incurable Insanity

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Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack. She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. “I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It’s probably a good thing to do anyway.” As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, “So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?” Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

Review: 

Just when I had thought I had enough of Romance novels in 2013, another one came to me as the first book to be reviewed in 2014. I don’t know if it is coincidence or serendipity that the more I wanted to run away from Romance genre, it keeps coming back to me to usher the new year together. I’m not sure which genre the others have put this book into, but when I read it to the entirety, I would definitely term is as a Romance novel.

Author Simi K. Rao had me into a little surprise when her first chapter introduced the protagonists as Punajbis. Now, I’m strictly not a racist/provincial here, but being a writer myself, I know that most authors stick to their comfort zone in their debut books. Simi has managed to inculcate the perfect Punjabi flavour to her protagonists. The story is a racy, passionate, fierce, often violent, and completely on-the-edge romance. It is that kind of romance which most people are afraid of since its a little too much to handle.

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