Book Review : Jao Pakhi

jao pakhiIf you have read any of my reviews on Bangla books, you might be aware that Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is one of my favourite authors. My admiration and awe for his writing cannot be described by just ‘favourite’. The author’s USP is his characterisation – you’d be amazed to get into their psyche peeling off layers from apparently mundane characters. They are people around us, but each with a different story to convey through their eyes or words. Have you ever read an entire novel on dialogues, without a single paragraph of narration? I’ve been learning not only the nuances of fine writing, but more about life in general from this octogenarian author’s works. There’s rarely been a story where he has failed to impress me as a reader.

Jao Pakhi (Fly away, Birdie) is one of the more tender stories with lesser shock value from its characters. It’s the story of a young man named Somen. He’s a rookie just out of college with his dreams still shaping up. His father, a man ruled by his ideals, lives in a village building his own hut and growing his own crops. His mother, however, didn’t leave the city as she raised her two sons and a daughter, married them off and still lives with her family. She wants Somen to begin working and establishing himself in the world like his elder brother Ranen. She wants their father to hand them his money from a policy that is going to mature soon.

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Book Review : Secretly Yours

secretly yoursBlurb View:

Everyone has secrets . . . but is hers the most shocking? Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Sahil has always blamed himself for his parents’ death. He has little interest in life until he meets the enigmatic Anya in a chance encounter during the Shimla fest. Soon he falls head over heels in love with her, but Anya doesn’t reciprocate his feelings.
An accident leaves him in a coma and when he wakes up he makes a startling discovery-he can read minds! Now he can find out what goes on in Anya’s mind and maybe, just maybe, make her fall in love with him. But is Anya all she seems? Or is she hiding something?
Deliciously plotted, full of morbid secrets and startling revelations, Secretly Yours will make you question what you see and who you trust.

Review:

Secretly Yours is a romantic thriller with other elements as well. The first attraction of the book is surely the cover. Wonderfully designed, it is sure to catch the eye and that’s one of the reasons I picked this one. The blurb promises a love story and the book starts off on such a note. We meet Sahil, a teenager plagued with more problems in life than teenagers should ideally have. He’s an orphan and is blamed by his grandmother for his parents’ death. You bet that’s way too much to be handled by a young boy. He takes refute in alcohol and bruising himself. His passion for music, however, keeps him alive. And then he meets a pair of eyes that entice him as well as baffle him. As luck would have it, Anya enters his life and everything turns topsy-turvy.

What happens next? Sahil meets an accident, loses his grandmother and gains Anya. Or does he? Anya has a bagful of secrets that get uncovered over the second half of the book. I can’t give away her secrets as spoilers and hence, you have pick up the book.

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Book Review : That Woman You See

Image Courtesy: Amazon

Image Courtesy: Amazon

Blurb View:

The book attempts to explore the heart and mind of the modern Indian woman; who is tired of suppressing her true nature, dreams and desires (in the largely patriarchal society) and wishes to express herself and do her own thing even at the cost of appearing odd and unconventional in front of her family and society at large. The flavour of each story is different. And the author has experimented with narrative style and form. The themes in the book include: humour, pathos, love, infidelity, arranged marriage, colour bias, hope and joy. Giving it a whole new twist, the collection ends with a poem titled – ‘That woman you see,’ which is also the title of the book and gives out a brief description of the collection.

Review: 

Women-centric books are flavour of the season, with March hosting International Women’s Day on 8th. Keeping aside the debate on futility of celebrating womanhood annually and not everyday, let’s just concentrate on this book. It is a themed one, an anthology of nine stories, each about a strong woman. They are symbols of love, courage, strength and everything that we overlook in a woman we see around. The protagonists of this book are not superwomen, but those entrapped in each of us. Sujata Parashar is an exceptional woman and a writer who has always presented stories that touch our hearts. This is another such attempt by her.

Each story has a different flavour, a different perspective, but all of them united into the common theme of womanhood and its celebration. Written in simple, lucid language and quite engaging plots, each of them has their own appeal. But, of course there are ones better than the others. I particularly liked a few and would mention them here.

Ganga: She Who Is Pure – The book begins with this one, and it’s a strong yet subtle story. Ganga has a past and an equally difficult present life of a call girl. Her pride and the haplessness of the male protagonist are contrast to each other and create a painful story. It is well written, though slightly distraught at places.

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Memories In March

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Memories are best served cold. They are created while you’re young, so you can carry them inside your head till it is alive. As you grow old, day by day, it’s time to ruminate on the memories, warm them up and have them served apiece within a mundane daily routine. There are some that don’t taste the same after days or years, and then there are others that sizzle up with time and fill your senses with longing for loved ones.

Watching young ones in the family grow up is a beautiful process that enriches one and makes for endless memories. I’ve had the scope to witness my young sister-in-laws (SIL) transit from school to college and transform into beautiful ladies from cranky teenagers. For a large part though, we’ve been living in radically different cities and corresponding through occasional phone calls, text messages and holidays. The moments spent there would be hurried and sporadic, in a frenzy over a few days to soak away the minutes slowly into our togetherness. We’d catch a movie, hop off to lunches, meet at their places, our place and any other relatives nearby, sneak away time for a chat on the terrace while mothers and aunts carried on their chitter-chatter. Each holiday would remain a collage of these moments, with images popping up in our minds months later, causing roars of laughter on either side over a call.

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Book Review : Milan

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Blurb View:

From the author of The Accidental Wife, Simi K. Rao!
When a daughter turns marriageable age, what should a responsible father do?

Easy–wed her to the most suitable boy who comes knocking on their door.

Jai Bharadwaj, Mili’s father and owner of The Serenity Tea Estate in the idyllic Nilgiris would’ve probably liked to do the same, but being who he was, he had to ask her first.

But what would Mili say?

Review:

Indian weddings are like chocolate, you can’t get enough of them. But then, they need to be sold in really good wrappers for you to even consider them. Milan being ‘A Wedding Story’, had expectations raised to give us a good peek at a grand Indian wedding. The author is already writing a series on Arranged Marriage and this novella is probably an offspring of the same.

Firstly, the cover is gorgeous. It kind of glowed on my reading device and looked dazzling, much like an Indian wedding. The book started with a lot of promise giving the readers a glimpse of beautiful Connoor and into Mili’s life. Mili is an aspiring musician who wants to make something big out of her life. Just then, comes a marriage proposal from someone she considered a dork in school. He’s Ahaan and her parents as well the entire town is enthralled by him.

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Book Review : Fade Into Red

Blurb View:

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Ayra always wanted to be an Art Historian. She saw herself flitting between galleries, talking Michelangelo and Dali with glamorous ease. At twenty–nine, life has decided to make her an underpaid investment banker juggling an eccentric family, a fading career and a long–distance relationship that is becoming a light-year one. On a monsoon day in June, she is suddenly sent packing from Mumbai to Tuscany to buy a vineyard for a star client. What should have been a four day trip turns into a two week treasure hunt that finds her in the middle of midnight wine deals, dodgy vintners, rolling Tuscan hills, a soap opera family and one playboy millionaire who is looking to taste more than just the wine. Towards the end she finds that the road to true happiness is almost as elusive as that perfect glass of Chianti.

Review:

Being a wine lover not only helps you gulp down good wine, in my case it helped pick up a good book. A book isn’t much different from good wine, both help in rousing your senses to finer capacities. The blurb attracted me to the mystic land of vineyards, vintners, Chianti and all romanticism that is Italian.

Just like wine lovers swear by Chianti, book lovers swear by good language. Even before the plot and situations, Reshma K Barshikar’s words caught my attention. Free flowing, smooth and rich like a good wine. Scooping up much of her own experiences of touring Italy, Reshma has put up a beautiful backdrop for her protagonist Ayra. I’m glad that she broke away the myth of investment bankers being boring and losers (as portrayed in all Bolly flicks). Ayra is pretty, intelligent, smart and she wanted to be an Art Historian. Now we all know why people crave to do something and end up doing something else instead. Ayra is engaged to her fiancé Kartik. The idiosyncrasies and ambiance of a Chennai household is depicted wonderfully by the author.

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Back to the Future

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

He was waiting very patiently at the new terminal of Kolkata Airport. Though he looked patient, he was trembling from inside. It’s been ten years he saw her. And when he had, they were only in high school. Together. Now that’s a term unfamiliar to him since long. He’s been single, committed, married, divorced, complicated and much more in all these years.

He knew she always loved him. ‘Always’ though, began when they were entering their teens. Lectures in classroom were interrupted by tiny scribbles passed via friends. He enjoyed the attention, liked her eagerness to sit beside him in Mathematics class, was glad to help her with Economics problems. But, he didn’t love her. Not like the way she did. Crossing the eternal friend vs lover hurdle, they never had a relationship as such.

Much water passed under the bridge, she went away to study. Hurt, perhaps. In fact, he was certain she felt hurt. He went on in life, got married. She kept tabs on him from a distance. She still loved him. Why, that she failed to understand yet. Men came and went away from her, but none were like him. She remembered the way he looked in high school, sporting a light stubble, pretending to be all mature and grown up. She liked him that way too.

Things have changed now. She heard from friends that he was divorced. She wanted to see him again. Not ‘see him’ seriously, just see him once, the way friends do. She had applied for a job in Kolkata and got it too. Now came the chance to see him. And he agreed too. Who knew he still remembered her, considered her a friend.

She landed. As he had anticipated, she looked beautiful. She was, anyway. He wondered why he never fell in love with her while others did. His heart was fluttering. Is that something only to happen with women? She arrived at the lounge. Her eyes took a few moments to locate him. He still sported a stubble, no, a beard in fact.

She noticed that he looked tired. And a little old, exhausted, heckled. She decided to ask him to shave, and get rid of not only the beard, but the past. The same bitter past that had aged him beyond his years.

They might get together. They mightn’t. But she’d make sure he steps out of the past and lives. Again.

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This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette

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