Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Poetry Called You

Three words are too hollow for a silent poetry called "you".
Light, darkness, everything, you.
Arms can be home too, I realized.

Making love can be soulful too. Like poetry.
The swipes of the tongues, striking with so much of love.
Carnivals can be kisses too.

Those beautiful moments,
Interspersed with muffled words escaping through locked lips!
Resting on your shoulders,
I have my own ways of showing I own you.

To meet you, I could have waited for eons,
Having found a balance with each other,
As we walk the tightrope of life together.

Rock me gently with your chest movements,
Air rushing in and out of your lungs will be my lullaby, forever!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Book Review: False Ceilings

Publisher: LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd
Publication Year: 2016
Genre:  Fiction
ISBN: 978-9382536895
Pages: 256

False Ceilings is the debut novel of Author Amit Sharma. I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

I have always liked stories that are spread into different generations especially those that revolve around human relationships and emotions. The La(o)st Rights which I reviewed very recently was one of them too. The book has the capability to hook the reader from the very beginning.

The very first look at the cover gives the reader an inclination that they are going to read something that is interesting and complex.  The beautiful compilation of the cover left me mesmerized and wondering as to what the story would be about. And as I stared turning the pages, I knew that it was going to be a winner.

False Ceilings is a family saga and story of generations inheriting a secret. The story ranges through a vast period starting from pre Independent India and expanding to the futuristic modern era. There are many characters and the author has done a wonderful job in defining and developing each one. They are very much relatable, flawed and do not seem made up.

The language is simple and easy to read. The book is recommended to those who love mature stories that have some depth.  This is a book you would not find many first-time writers writing.

The book takes us through the tale of Shakuntala, a young girl, who has a dreamlike life despite some adversities in the beautiful town of pre-Independence Dalhousie when life changes completely due to a turn of events. The book takes you on a journey through her life and times, her children, grandchildren and beyond. The novel explores India of 1920s and spans to a period in the future till 2050. The tale moves ahead as India undergoes her own period of churning and evolution. The book is an epic tale about a dysfunctional family, as real as it can get and a family secret that binds them and destroys them. There are parts of the book that stun you with the accuracy with which he has got under the skin of the women’s emotions, expectations, their angst and their struggles. The silly tiffs that spiral into larger issues. The daily struggles and the lack of equation between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in turn poisoning the lives of many others.

Amit has researched his facts extensively. The story cleverly jumps between fast forwards and flashbacks non linearly. The story spans more than a century, a time which was very eventful in India’s history straddling India’s struggle for independence to freedom, partition, dislocation of people and events beyond right through the wars, 84 riots, Mumbai blasts and so on. He has carefully woven the doom and gloom of the events as they cast their shadow on the life of this one family. His description of Delhi in the pre-independence era to the post-independence era is something that is worth a mention. It is not everyday that you read of how contrasting the two Delhis are. Even the simple and steady lives in the hills of Dalhousie are beautifully described and the characters from the various eras connected to it in some way or the other. A lot of history goes into this writing and I admire the efforts of the author in weaving them seamlessly within the plot.

Amit's prose flows naturally, soothing at times and troubling at others as he gets under the skin of emotions and issues we normally like to sweep under the carpet. He also leaves clever questions along the way that will make you uncomfortable, will make you pause and look for their answers within. Questions we all can relate to.

For a first-time writer to attempt writing of this scale is commendable. The sheer number of characters and events is mind boggling. He has brought out the dysfunctional family beautifully. I think that is how most families are under the gloss and shine. He has chosen a different style of storytelling wherein he has divided all the characters as if they were the piece of a puzzle and jumbled them up, telling each ones story one by one in a random order.

For me, there are two things that stand out about the book. One is the non - linear narrative that the author very skillfully employs and the other is his stark exploration of the human psyche. 

False Ceilings is a very intense book. It makes you realize that life itself is nothing but a weird combination of circumstances, missed chances, grabbed opportunities and those almost anguished thoughts of ‘What If ?’ False Ceilings has a secret not to be missed.

Negatives: The book would have done with better proofreading. There are many grammatical errors and typos in the last few pages that distract and take away from the beauty of the storytelling.

Overall it is a good story made beautiful and mysterious by a well-crafted strategic writing.

Rating: 4 on 5

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Nano Fiction 46 : The Pink Lehanga

I began to imagine her in the bridal look, I wondered how happy she will be when she is totally dressed up in the bridal attire, with jewels shining all along her neck, palms and forehead, her long straight hair with a maang tika in the middle and some gold thread running all along the length of her hair.

I continued to imagine her with her hair tied tightly and a single strand falling on her face from time to time, her eyes with mascara and eyeliner, which makes them appear darker and more beautiful, and was in total contrast with her fair skin. Her lips with blood red lipstick and gloss, which she bites from time to time, whenever she is nervous and her hands decorated with mehendi, which were meant to be applied for me to show my love… Her arms covered with pink glass bangles, which jingle, as and when she moves to settle her hair and to wipe off even the tiny drop of sweat that appears on her face.

But the best part was her cute nose, which will have a small, but cute nose ring, which I had bought for her to wear on our wedding day. Everything that I was thinking about would make her look like a real angel. And then I imagined her moving slowly towards the stage with her eyes searching for me…wearing that pink lehanga!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Book Review : Silent Realities

Author: Ranjan Kaul 
Price: Rs 350/- 
Pages: 214

Blurb: A cluster of 10 stories tilting between the real and unreal, with myriad characters in an ever changing multilayered society. The range captures the frailties, moods and impulses of human behavior.

Silent Realities is a set of short stories with every page packed with suspense. Very ordinary people and events that one comes across in life are transformed into tales that touch you. The characters come alive and Ranjan Kaul captures the emotions of people with such clarity that one can feel the touch of pain or joy as it comes along. 

The author has a fine eye for detail and uses it to create an atmosphere for its locations. He sharply brings into perspective the images that are blurred to our everyday lives as we choose to coast along in our own world! There is a mixture of conflicting feelings as we await each story to end while simultaneously secretly wishing that it would continue.

The book is a non-stop read. The language is overall east to understand, clean and refined. I loved the stories of – the insecure lover and the little girl who helps her mother steal. These stories speak to you and are so relateable.

This is a great book, brilliant on every score. The stories can be read in any order. Each story is a gem.

3 stories impressed me the most, namely - The Slap, The Nest and Touch. They keep the readers hooked. I personally loved the stories The Slap and Touch which had an unhurried pace as they concentrated on the growing up phase of teens & adults and their complex interactions.

The only thing I disliked is – since the author describes everything too much in detail, there is an over description of few things, that could have been avoided.

I do hope that Author Ranjan has more stories to tell in days to come. Overall, this one is a decent and an enjoyable read. This book leaves a lingering aura.

Rating - 4.5/5

P.S:  I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Book Review: 03:02

Author : Mainak Dhar
Publisher : Westland
Number of Pages : 350
Publishing Year : 2016
Edition : Paperback
Price : 295

Apart from a creative name and amazing plot, the cover of the book is also very creatively designed and it looks very unique.

This book titled "03:02" written by Mainak Dhar and published by Westland Publishers, surprised me and made me curious as it was something about 03.02 am, the city of Mumbai suddenly going black with no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. I just wanted to know more!

As I began reading, I was impressed with the way the story began. Eventually, the reader gets to know that a big terrorist group has invaded the city with all its forces. And then there is the protagonist who helps the people and when he comes to know about the terrorist group, fights it. The power of positivity and managing things with little resources is highlighted.

The narration of the author is action packed and fast paced. 03:02 is a book full of surprises. It is all about effortless narration. The plot is fresh, and a lot of time has been invested in research. Even the vocabulary is simple which helps you to keep reading in a good speed with a flow. He has written things with so much ease, that you feel that everything is real and is happening around you. The characters and their backgrounds are nicely developed. A special treat for all the Mumbaites is the Mumbai setting.

The first 80 pages aren't much captivating and it could have been cut short. But the climax makes up for it. The way it ends leaves you with a wide smile, it is so inspiring. There is hardly a dull moment in the entire novel, and once hooked you can be assured of sailing through right till the end.

The book forces you to think about the unanswered question “What will happen if everything goes down one day?” with no technology, can we survive?

03:02 is a different type of war story - yet gripping. An ordinary person thrown into an extraordinary circumstance, like acts of terror, and how he copes with it and leads others with leadership and conviction, makes an interesting read.

A well crafted story with powerful characters. Perfectly executed.  Impeccable character portrayal. It will bring out the patriot in you.

I recommend  the book to all the thriller lovers. Mainak Dhar proves that Indian authors can pull off thrillers with close knit storyline and action sequences with ease and conviction!

Rating - 4.5/5

P.S: I won this review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.