04 March 2017

Cinderella falls in 'love in the pink city'

The book and the author, from reading Cinderella and Anna Karenina to the love in the pink city, this 19 year old shares her love for reading and the writing... 


First book I remember reading...

When I was born, my mother’s best friend who had shifted abroad had sent Walt Disney’s Little Golden book, which was a set of 6 stories. I was too young to remember it but my mother says it was the book Cinderella out of those six books. 


My Favorite Author...


I love Ayn Rand’s fictions because of her originality. O.Henry is another favorite author because I love the surprise endings of his stories. Lately, I’ve discovered Haruki Murakami and loved his writing style. 


My Favorite Book...


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and We The Living by Ayn Rand have been my favorites; I cannot really select one because I love both of them. I’ve believed that books choose its readers and that’s what happened with Anna Karenina  because I just happened to read it and ended up liking it more than I could imagine. We The Living was a book that both my parents loved, so I was always curious to find out why and co-incidentally my best friend gifted it to me on my birthday. 


The Personal Library at home...


At my home we have two mini libraries, one is what my parents have and the second one is my own. When I look at my bookshelf I find that the books I have aren’t necessarily my favorite ones but I feel an emotional connection towards them. Often there’s a memory associated with the book. Some of them are gifts from people and I treasure it as their memory, some of them are expensive books for which I saved up my pocket money, some of them are old and worn out probably picked up from the local ‘raddiwala’ because I simply must have it, some are my favorite authors who I look up to when I’m feeling dull, while some others are old books that I overgrew but couldn’t part with because they remind me of my childhood. I cherish all my old books and still have the first book I ever read in my library. 


The idea and the book...


I’ve always found it easier to write rather than speak about my feelings or about things that bothered me. So, I started writing many random things like poetry and short paragraphs and eventually short stories. When I showed a few of it to my close friends and family they suggested that I should make these short stories into a detailed full-length novel. I elaborated my short stories more and it turned out to become my draft. It wasn’t really an idea that suddenly struck me, it was more of a process that happened gradually. 


About the Author: Gautami Shankar

 Gautami Shankar is a 19-year-old student currently pursuing her Bachelors in History at K.C. College. She has written a variety of things ranging from micro fiction to academic papers. She likes to write screenplays as well and is a member of FWA (Film Writers Association). She is also a regular writer on Wattpad, where she first started writing this book at the age of 15. Apart from writing, Gautami loves to read classics and is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer. She lives in Mumbai with her parents and her dog Akira. You can tweet her on @GautamiShankar and follow her on Wattpad @Gautami_Shankar.  


About the Book: Love in the Pink City

Stella Lawrence is a classic workaholic- she is the head of one of the top business consulting firms in New York, she spends long hours in her company of her projects, and she looks every minute of it. But being a workaholic has its own difficulties- she has no time for family or friends, and she definitely has no time for love, especially since she had her heart broken in the worst way possible. Little that she knew that her life was going to go through a complete transformation when a project brings her to Jaipur to work with the royal family, no less.


Prince Raghav Singh Rathore is a tall, dark and handsome – with a clash of brooding intensity and disarming charm. He finally has a chance to prove himself worthy of his family’s legacy and he had to hire the best of the business – Stella Lawrence – for things to be absolutely perfect. However, someone is determined to sabotage Prince Raghav’s plans, and in the process the royal family as well. Amidst family politics, betrayal, blackmail, and conspiracies, Stella and Raghav are about to find out that love finds one in the unluckiest of places indeed.  


The legend of Lakshmi Prasad


Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Funny, sharp and moving Twinkle Khanna shifts from her celebrity status and page 3 background to talk about real issues and real people across country. I admire her writing which picks up real stories of people who are making change where it matters. I hope her writing goes places. In her simple English and sassy style she remarks on the taboos and stereotypes that exist in today's world. 

The short stories are short and sweet but they leave you with a warm feeling of goodness. There is so much that we can do from the comfort of our homes. We can treat our help staff better, we can stop criticising and putting other people in boxes of knowing English and faking accents, we can stop assuming that marriage and children is the only purpose women exist, and we can stop shying away from women hygiene issues which plagues million women in our own country. We can start the change which we wish in others. 

In her own words, some education and some humour - 

Job, where people try to do as little as they can for as long as they can.

Women empowerment, where improving a woman's economics status improves her entire family's condition. 

Education, being uneducated does not mean you are an idiot. idiots think that because something is complicated, it is superior, whereas an intelligent man takes a complicated thing and makes it simple. 

Women have been looking for a cape and have been handed an apron for centuries. 

Hot Tea Across India

Tea is to body, what love is to soul! 

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I generally don't read non fiction or travelogues, although I do write latter. But this one was particularly enjoyable with its easy language and relatable stories. The author Rishad Saam Mehta is a serial road tripper and shares his experiences with tea, travels, trips and tips. The anecdotes are funny in a way only a traveler can understand, simple experiences which become memories forever. There are no big nirvana peaks but small moments of laughter and life. 

In fact it reminded me of all our road trips. The stories laced around cuppas of tea. If you are a traveler and that too on road and in India then tea is an essential part of your journey. The road side tea stalls are like pit stops for rejuvenating, relaxing, refuelling and relating. You can capture the essence of the area from the kind of tea served across the country. 

Indian tea has many forms and this book is pure joy for a true brown tea lover - the heavy milk tea in North, more liquid and thin black tea of west, kulhad of Kolkata, filter coffee styled tea of South, honey and saffron tea of Kashmir. 

You can not survive a road trip if not for tea. And if you can get the essential accompaniments like PARLE G, or jam cookies, or toasted bread butter, you are set for a heavenly journey. 

Frankly the generous spread of tea stalls in every corner of the country makes sure you never go hungry or without help. There is always a hot cup of tea waiting for you! 

28 January 2017

The Thing Around Your Neck


Book: The Thing around your neck
Author: Adichie
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Adichie never fails to awe you with her writing, with its deep understanding of various shades of its characters and various layers of its stories. Each story is a gem and takes  the readers experience to a different level. From the ancient poor to nouveau rich, from religious paradox in a society to immigrant experiences in US of A, from having a cheating husband to being a mistress, from getting a basic life to making it to writers club, the stories show life from various view points and each is real and alive. 

There are so many stories which strike a chord with you. Like the immigrant experience when same English transforms in a different country - a lift becomes an elevator, biscuits become cookies, saying phone is busy instead of engaged, having tea without milk or sugar, or having pizza as your favourite food. 

Finally, I personally treasure this book as a book lover. Adichie treats you to a list of African authors to be read. 
The title story called 'The Thing around you neck' names: 
- Okot pBitek's poetry
- Amos Tutuola
Nawal el Saadawi

'The Jumping Monkey Hill' short story is about budding African authors assembling for a workshop for Lipton African writers prize so it's bound to be a field day for African literature discussing the beauty of their writing styles with 
- Damnudzo Marecheta as astonishing 
- Alon Paton as patronising 
- Isak Dinesan as unforgivable 
- Achebe as sublime and 
- Conrad 

Being a connoisseur of Indian fiction, Adichie's short stories make me feel that Nigeria is no different from India, and the immigrant experience is no different from a NRI. Adichie does what a Jhumpa Lahiri or Chitra Banerjee do for us. They show the tough lives of poor people at home who come to America to be rich but instead live a lonely yet stable life. Is anyone truly happy! Is happiness a person or a place! Aren't we all searching for answers? 

Sleeping on Jupiter


Book: Sleeping on Jupiter
Author: Anuradha Roy
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"Already too many snatched of other people's lives were stored inside her, the built up sediments from which bits and pieces floated up at times, into her dreams."

Anuradha Roy writes another surreal story set in a small town with a bunch of characters wrapped in their own little parallel stories intertwining and separating yet moving in circles. The thing about Anuradha is that she captures the mundaneness of life in such beautiful words that one feel that this story needs to be held for sometime before you let it go and be there in the world with other stories. 

The title 'Sleeping on Jupiter' is ironical, given that all of them are in their own worlds in such a small world. Some are trapped in past, some are facing identity crisis, some are damaged and some are just going by life safely, while the shadows of their memories chase them everywhere. The plot starts some 13 years back with the leading lady Nomi back to Jarmuli in search of someone or something, and her story gets distributaries with strangers she meets on her journey who start their own tales from there on before merging into one into the ocean. 

The beauty of Anuradha's writing comes from the experience of the sounds, the smells and the visions which bring the nostalgia alive. Reader can experience the music of sea waves from afar, the music of temple bells, the smell of fish and garbage dumped on the beaches, the  noise and clamour of a small temple town in India by the sea, the fragrance of flowers, the spicy fish in open frying stalls and the bliss of earthy tea with condiments served in a terracotta cup. And an author is worth it's pen if it can fuel your imagination and transport you in to the book! Thanks to Anuradha, her writing does this every time! 


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