Sunday, 6 May 2018

Book Review : I Owed You One

Publisher: LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 978-9386191281
Format: Paperback
Pages: 258 pages

Book Blurb:
Dev Khanna has a perfect life with his loving wife Radhika and son Neel in Melbourne, Australia. But there is something from his past that keeps gnawing him, an open wound that is a reminder of a debt. His present is very flourishing and future promising but what happens when the past comes knocking? As the skeletons begin to tumble one after other from the cupboard it is now threatening his present.

Join Dev on a journey that spans across the tall skylines of Melbourne, the royal Dilwalo ki Dilli to the dingy streets of Moradabad as he battles love, religion, politics and fear questioning his own beliefs at every step. Will he be able to make peace with his past and save his future? Will humanity lose this battle against everything else?

About the Author:
Dr. Madhu Vajpayee- the writer is born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture the enigma of life in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several medical papers and chapters in books, she started her journey in the literary world. Seeking Redemption was her first fiction book which is now followed by I Owed You One.

Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a faculty at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires. When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and traveling.

The cover of the book is also very striking and suits the title and blurb flawlessly. 

I Owed You One by Madhu Vajpayee has a well thought plot and beautifully united to form an extraordinary read. The story has every emotion known to the human race. The language used in the book is simple which makes it easy to understand and connect. Also, the author had made sure that her readers stay hooked page by page till the end.

One thing that I liked the most about this book is that it is very natural and the story is not solely based on love. It displays other interesting life events of the protagonist too, which will add spice to your reading. I Owed You One has to be the most realistic fiction that I read this month.

The central character of the novel is Dev Khanna, a chemical engineer based out of Australia. Dev is happily married to his wife Radhika and has an adorable son named Neel. He is very well to do and his life is progressing at a steady pace when suddenly he receives a mysterious letter from his hometown in India. What is inside the letter and how this small piece of paper changes so many lives is what is answered in the novel I Owed You One. The letter results in a series events of self-realization which form the crux of the story.

Relationships and how we handle them decide our happiness in the future.  Growing up in one such dysfunctional family, where Dev’s parents are not close to each other and where he often feels neglected by his father, when he grows up into a man, it leaves an adverse effect on him.

I Owed You One is a fascinating read and sends a very important message that irrespective of the amount of wealth a person owns, he cannot buy true happiness!

Madhu has chosen a male character and she narrates from his POV. From the beginning, it never felt that the character was a male character and if you somehow skip on the author’s name, I doubt you’ll be able to know that is a woman. Entering into a man’s head and thinking like him and expressing his behaviours and emotions is commendable.

This book is a medley of drama, mystery, suspense, thriller with a tad bit of love and friendship. It explores the family relationships and shows how important it is to bond with your children and how it can affect your children when you’re not emotionally involved with him/her.

The best part of this book are the characters. I would definitely say that it is a character-driven plot because they have been portrayed with such finesse and the author has managed to put all the nitty-gritty details. The book is definitely emotional because when you are exploring such familial bonds, you have to dig down deeper. Dev’s emotions have been very well expressed. I could feel his pain, his angst, his anger, his embarrassments; each and every of his emotions. The supporting characters have also been portrayed well. Each character plays a vital role in shaping the story. Removal of one, will make the story look incomplete. 

The shifting of the scenes has been carried out well. The difference in the scenes could be easily understood and they didn’t get mixed up. Also, the switching between past and present is managed well in the book. Often times, it gets confusing when the story runs parallely in the past and the present, but here, the author has managed to do it really well. 

The author conveys the beautiful message of humanity and peaceful coexistence. The story is well-written and has its high and low points, just like the stirring ups and downs of Dev. The climax of the story is well-crafted and the intense build-up of the story with its entire emotional quotient and grooving twists and turns makes it even more exceptional.

A couple of spelling errors in the book, showing that the editor did not give a good read. It could have been avoided with better proofreading.

VERDICT : I Owed You One is the story of promises and commitments, of triumphs and defeat, and of holding on and letting go. It is a contemporary take on modern family relationships and the challenges that a family can face if it stands united against adversities.

Overall, I Owed You One By Madhu Vajpayee is an exemplary read and I would like to recommend it to everyone.

RATING:  4.5/5

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Dark Side Of Love

Love is beautiful and pure. But just like the moon, it has its own phases: the bright and the dark. 

The dark side?
  1. You bare your soul to that person. Tell him/her all your secrets, show them all your sides, bring out the child in you. You lower your guards and make yourself vulnerable to that one person.
  2. You invest so much time and energy in planning your future together, come up with nicknames, cute words and build your happy world.
  3. You forget your self respect, your self esteem and your own importance simply because the other person is important to you too.
  4. Numbers blocked. Facebook profile blocked. WhatsApp blocked. What about your memories? How does one block them?
  5. Cant eat. Cant sleep. Cant study.
  6. You cannot believe it's over when you recall all those promises that were made to you. A part of you will always tell you that maybe all of this is a dream. Only it isn't.
  7. You are emotionally handicapped and romantically paralyzed for an indefinite period of time. You cannot trust anyone again. Love scares you for a while. You build walls of iron around you.
  8. It doesn't fade away when you want it to. The more you try to forget what happened, the more you will get reminded of it.
  9. The constant dilemma- Should I move on or should I hold on?
  10. Wet pillows. Wet bedsheet. Wet notebooks. Some people cant even cry.
  11. Basically, you have to die in order to move on.
  12. You start to fear falling in love again.
And let me tell you, the quantity of youth succumbing to these negatives is huge. Only a few, who get mature or sensible enough to understand, respect and move on, flourish. But why such negatives win over the positives of being in love? Remember, to remember the good :)

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Book Review: Demons In My Mind

Title: Demons in My Mind 
Author: Aashish Gupta 
Genre: Fiction 
Publisher: Kalamos 
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 224 

COVER : I loved the simplicity of the cover, not too much in display but surely appealing. It’s the kind of cover that would make readers like me to pick the book only for the cover.

BLURB : The blurb is informative, just what provides a clear insight regarding the content of the book, not too revealing, just the perfect amount of information.

FONT : Its a fat book with a well spaced font, which is a big yay for me. Though the number of pages are 224, the well spaced font is that what led to the increase in the number; the book is easy to read.

The book is written in a simple yet captivating language, it holds in itself some beautiful pieces of poetry which flaunt the author’s fine storytelling skills.

This a novel which has every potential to cut through the humongous number of desi authors flooding the market with cheesy, chick-flick stuff. It’s a good, intellectual read which challenges the reader and brings forth some very relevant questions in quite an entertaining way. 

The book deals with heavy questions of criminal psychology and how a criminal should be treated in a society. This book is divided into various sub plots, all woven intricately, so together, it can provide enough suspense to the reader.

“Demons in My Mind” tries to make us understand human emotions in a better manner, emotions like anger, anguish, pride, hatred, etc. through three major stories entwined with the plot surrounding Dakshesh. 

The protagonist, Dakshesh is shown to be at the last stage of cancer nearing a painful death. To be relieved of this malady, this pain, he asks his comrades to take him to three powerful mystics who seem to be the only ray of hope for an escape from this end. The story seems to be going on a spiritual turn just when the twists are brought in, and these three are shown to be in real hardened criminals. They narrate their stories to Dakshesh and how they came to a fork in the road in their lives on meeting Alia, a homeless girl, when they made the decision to leave their dark pasts behind and move to a better path.

It is these three monks who narrate their own stories, and from their own experiences, show us a side of humanity that majority of us have never been acquainted with.

The author manages to highlight very important factors that bring a person to such a path. You see the happiness, the fame, the satisfaction, all ruined when the demons reign. The author, dedicates his work to those similar to him, to those who have demons in their minds.

It consists all elements that most of us readers seek in a book. Surprise, thrill, emotional touches, and a kick to our minds in the end. This book is full of them. From early chapters till last page, this book continued to amaze me. 

NEGATIVES : The book is just perfect. But, there are some spelling errors, typos and the story can get a bit confusing if you’re not paying close attention. I would suggest to take breaks while you’re reading this book.

VERDICT : The plots are dark and quite unbelievable at times, all suggesting that heinous crimes are nothing but a harvest of the uncontrolled minds. Coming from an Indian debut author, I congratulate the author for achieving a feat most debut Indian authors fail miserably at. His extensive vocabulary and the imagination fuels suspense scene after scene.

Overall, this book is a great read, which entertains and sometimes sends chills to your spine. A great work by debut author and I strongly recommend this book to every thriller lover. 

RATING - 4.8/5

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Book Review : The Accident on the A35

Author Name: Graeme Macrae Burnet
Book Title: The Accident on the A35
ISBN:  9781925603057
Year of Publication: 2017
Publisher: BEE Books

The Accident on the A35 is, according to the preface, the translation of an unpublished Brunet manuscript, released after his mother’s death.
The book centres around detective George Gorski and the small, seemingly dead end town of Saint Louis in which he lives. When the book opens, Gorski’s wife has left him and he is called to the scene of a car accident on a nearby road. The scene appears to be an open and shut case but there are some odd details and Gorski allows himself to be charmed by the dead man’s widow into investigating further. At the same time, the dead man’s son Raymond, after finding an address in his father’s drawer of a house in a nearby town, is also both investigating and trying to grow up.
The Accident on the A35 is written in the mould of a classic French crime novel, it is intensely focussed on the characters of Gorski and Raymond and is less about the solution to the crime, if indeed there is one, than the impact that the events surrounding the death have on them. Gorski gets caught up with an unsolved crime in a nearby town and Lambert, the shonky detective running the case. Raymond finds himself shoplifting and becoming obsessed with a girl called Delph who lives in the block of apartments that he has been watching.
Crafting a crime novel that is more about the effects of a crime and its investigation and resolution than a crime itself. But this device does provide another, potentially deeper layer to the text and the end notes invite the reader to consider how autobiographical the fiction is in relation to the life of Raymond Brunet.

It’s slow, atmospheric, often surprising, with a denouement which is beautifully under-played. One should also say it is daring, for it is rash to venture into the territory of a master-novelist. I found it enjoyable, a very nice piece of craftsmanship, and hope that Burnet may yet discover other unpublished novels by the hitherto obscure Raymond Brunet.

What’s impressive about Burnet’s new novel is the way in which even though both of his main characters – Gorski and Raymond – are pushed to extremes, tested almost to destruction, their interior lives remain credible throughout. Mad, or blurred with drink, or both, but definitely credible. Which takes some doing.
VERDICT - This book reads like a lavishly detailed, psychologically accurate, intelligent, well-plotted, unsimple Simenon. To be honest this one started out slow, but once I got into it, boy was I rewarded! I think it took me awhile to get used to the writing, but in saying that, the clever writing was lovely, just a different style to what I've been used to. Graeme Macrae Burnet truly has a style all of his own. An enjoyable and quick read. I  really rate Graeme Macrae Burnet as a very clever contributor to the development of the literary detective genre. He’s inspired and inspiring to read.
Rating - 4.5/5

Power Of Thoughts - 5 Ways To A Good Day!

We go to sleep each night and wake up in the morning to a new day with new opportunities - a day filled with the power and freedom to choose. The minute we wake up, we can choose to get out of bed and make the most of our day or press the snooze button, roll over, pull the blankets over our head, and feel dread about the day ahead. This is nobody's choice but ours. Generally, the way we start our day influences how we feel for the rest of the day.

5 ways in which I start my day off on a positive note:

1. When you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to check-in (go within). Take a few deep breathes and find something that you're grateful for (your children, partner, your health, the warm bed you are in, nature outside your window). Take this time to be thankful for all that you have in your life instead of wasting your energy on thinking about what you don't have.

2. Instead of pouncing straight out of bed, spend 5 to 10 minutes (or however long it takes) meditating. Simply observe your breath. Breathe in for a count of 4 to 5, allowing your belly and chest to expand, and breathe out also for a count of 4 to 5 allowing everything to drop away. Notice how your breath enters your body, notice how your breath leaves your body, and notice the little pause between each breath. This will allow you to create a sense of peace within and it will also help get you into a good head space before your feet touch the ground.

3. Take a few moments while in the shower and/or while eating breakfast just to be present. Feel the water on your skin, taste the different flavours in your food. It feels good and it's an amazing way to consciously set your energy and intention towards your day.

4. Before breakfast have large glass of water with half a lemon squeezed into it and you may even like to add some ginger. This will assist with digestion and is effective in body cleansing and detoxification - it will help get things moving. Follow this with a nutritious breakfast to kick-start your metabolism and fuel your body to face the day ahead. You have just had maybe ten to twelve hours of fasting - your body needs sustenance and is ready to be refuelled, so skipping breakfast is a big no, no!

5. Get clear about your intentions for the day. For example you can intend to have a productive day. You can intend to have quality time with your family and friends with no distractions. You can intend to have a fun and brilliant day. You can intend to have a calm and peaceful day. You can intend to learn something new or be helpful to someone. Whatever it is just be clear about what it is you want your day to be. In order to create, manifest, and attract it, you must first align your heart, mind, and spirit with your intention. In other words, you truly need to feel it!

Many people don't understand the power of thoughts, because they live every day on autopilot, doing most things out of habit, and therefore they create their reality unconsciously, as if they’re wearing a blindfold. But whether we’re aware of it or not, we create our reality with our thoughts and behaviour - and this means we have the power to choose to be a conscious, mindful creator and change our reality to what we really want it to be. Remember, you choose your thoughts, you choose your behavior, you choose the outcome. And every choice you make determines how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Now, let me ask you this: How do you start your day? Is it with gratification and happiness—or doom and gloom? A day is easily ruined if started by holding onto negativity and resentment. So when you wake tomorrow, ask yourself, do I want to think and act like I did yesterday, or do I choose to be a new me today?