Book Review: Lean In to Relationships by Rishabh Jhol

Okay. So what happens when you pick up a book thinking it is a romance and find out it is an autobiographical travelogue instead. You keep reading trying in vain to search for the story which is finally just one chapter tucked somewhere inside another story in the book, If it could be called a story at all. It is more an episode in the life of the writer.

Every chapter introduces new characters, and you get a wonderful tour of the USA along with countries like Jordan and Peru.

The book reads more like an “Eat Pray Love” except that the Pray has been replaced by “travel”.

If you stop looking for the romance or the story, what you do find is a very nice turn of phrase, and some really deep observations and introspection.  There are passages in the book, that make you want to copy them down in a note book for future reference or just because they are so well said.

Like this one, “Heartbreak is never about two hearts. It is about that one single heart seeking validation. It is that one heart that needs acknowledgment from outside— of being welcomed in the Universe, of feeling included, of being reassured about existence.”

Or the reason why friends do not keep in touch over the years, “After all, meeting old friends isn’t urgent; it cannot be a higher priority to, well, say doing a long overdue laundry.”

So once you read the book like an autobiographical journey of self discovery, and ignore the grammatical mistakes that come from literally translating from one’s mother tongue, the book is pretty good.

Print Length: 143 pages
Language: English
ASIN: B0749CLW5G
Format: Kindle Edition

 

 

Doubt has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth-century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.Madeeha works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is intrigued and charmed by her and falls deeply in love. But the world political climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he find his truth?

Fear doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. It is a tender love story that triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation for a deep lasting future relationship – a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.
Truly inspirational builds upon the basis of not second guessing everything, and taking risks instead of regretting not taking them. A must-read for anyone. 5 Stars. – Bill McManus, Author, and creator of the Storytime Pup

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR


At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one-room hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.
It was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn’t have electricity that day. I couldn’t study or sleep properly. One of the watershed moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter installed at home. I knew we couldn’t afford an inverter. But my dad was always convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education.
Despite an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values more – Finance. Later, I got into one of the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in 2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad’s salary at the time.
When I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents, great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life. I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was the safe thing to do.
Following year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7 year old relationship and of my 5 year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can fail at what you don’t want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take a chance at what you truly want.
Next year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than myself.
I started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital. I primarily did topical research for MPs for their debates in the parliament and on TV shows.
Along with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling as well. I solo travelled to all seven wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in the US. I have also written and published three fiction novels.

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Book Review: Pishacha by Neil D’silva

This is the first book by Neil D’silva that I have read. It’s been a really long time since I have read a horror story. But everyone in the book club was talking about it and I decided it was high time I expanded my reading experiences.

The beginning of the book got me hooked. I was like, okay, I really want to know what is going to happen. The romantic in me loved the idea of a love through the centuries specially when one is a demon and the other human.

Would he succeed? Would he win her? What about the man she is in love with? Why have they been separated? As I was reading, the questions kept playing in my mind.

I must admit I got a bit impatient with the pace of the book initially. I wanted it to go faster. I wanted answers to all my questions. And then suddenly the pace picked up and I couldn’t put it down.

The book was good no doubt, though there were a few grammatical errors scattered through it. It could have been edited a bit more carefully.

But all in all I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading his other book, “Maya’s New Husband”.

Here is the my amazon associate link if you would like to buy the book

 

Book Review: Snowbound by Olivier Lafont

 


SNOWBOUND
by
Olivier Lafont
 
My Review:
“Christmas is dying.

The last Santa Claus had triplets who each inherited a portion of his father’s power, and that split is now tearing apart the soul of Christmas.”

That’s how the blurb of the book starts. I was intrigued. Three possible Santa Clauses? It certainly looked interesting. And the book absolutely lives up to the promise.

Olivier Lafont’s book is fast paced, yet I had to read it slowly, because I did not want to miss any of the action packed adventures of Adam and Zach as they try to save Christmas.

Lafont has an amazing way of telling a story and instead of Snowbound the title should have been spell bound. His way of describing things and people made the writer in me bow down in awe.

Can you imagine a creature like this?

“The constantly flowing face, forty feet high, swelled and dipped like a shifting waterfall, and a harmonious cacophony of sounds emerged from within it. It had the muted roar of the deep ocean trenches, interlaced with the longing calls of whales, the playful squeals of darling dolphins, the focussed silence of sharks, the percussion of a million million clam shells opening and closing in rhythm. It was the music of the Mediterranean sea condensed into the singular voice of this blue-gray monster.”

The book is also laced with pearls of wisdom as the boys find themselves as they figure out what needs to be done.

Things like this will resonate with every reader I am sure:

“He didn’t explore it further, because he feared he would find the logical loopholes and convince himself that bravery was really only a fancy synonym for socially admired insanity.”
“What happens happens. If we make mistakes, we try to correct them. That’s all there is to it. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes you may or may not make, yes?”
The timing of the book couldn’t be better. With Christmas a few months away, it will make a great gift for pre and young teenagers.

Do pick up a copy and become part of the quest to find the true Santa.

 

 
 
Blurb
Christmas is dying. 
 
The last Santa Claus had triplets who each inherited a portion of his father’s power, and that split is now tearing apart the soul of Christmas. 
 
Niccolo Vecchio, the eldest, has fortified the North Pole into a citadel of ice and metal. 
 
Santini, the middle brother, is in hiding somewhere in the Mediterranean. 
 
The youngest brother, Niccolo Piccolo, is raising legions to reclaim his inheritance. 
 
Two of the triplets will have to renounce their claim in the next forty-eight hours, or this Christmas will be the last one ever. 
 
And it’s up to Adam, underachieving teenager sub-ordinaire, and his brand new jock bully Zach to make that happen…
 
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About the author

 

 

Olivier Lafont is a French author, screenplay writer, and actor living in Paris. 
His novel ‘Warrior’ was published by Penguin Random House, and was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. He has just released his new contemporary romance novel ‘Sweet Revenge’ exclusively on Kindle. ‘Purgatory: The Gun of God’ is a fantasy novelette published in South Africa. 
Lafont has written a number of feature film scripts before. The first film he wrote opened at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to win seven awards at film festivals worldwide. 
As an actor Lafont has acted in Hollywood and Indian films, in TV serials, and in over 80 television commercials. He acted in ‘3 Idiots’, one of India’s all-time blockbuster hits, the critically-acclaimed ‘Guzaarish’, and the Lifetime film ‘Baby Sellers’, amongst other films. 
Lafont graduated with two degrees in acting and writing from Colgate University, USA, with academic distinction. 

 


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MEDIA MENTIONS
Deccan Chronicle
Indian Express

 

Khaleej Times: Enid Parker
AWARDS
Warrior’ shortlisted for Tibor Jones South Asia Prize

 

‘Hari Om’ feature film winner of seven prizes in international film festivals

 

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Book Review: Jugnu by Ruchi Singh

jugnu cover

I barely registered the rain or the fact that my dog had come and settled on the bed besides me as I read the book. I was lost in Kasauli. Ruchi Singh has a wonderful way of describing places that is more poetic than prose. I could see the mountains and the sun shining through the trees. I could smell the fresh air. As I said I was lost in the book from the first page itself.

The characters are portrayed brilliantly. I half expected them to come right out of the pages and talk to me. Not just Zayd and Ashima but all the supporting characters as well. Each one of them exhibits a plethora of emotions that you can relate to and empathise with.

Ashima is a single mom… no, she is a single daughter in law, a single bhabhi as well, and the sole bread earner. Her weariness, her loneliness, the conventions that bind and hold her back, Her helpless acceptance of her responsibilities , her anguish of not knowing the fate of her husband who is missing in action in the Kargil war, the endless waiting, the flickering of hope against hope, are  what make Jugnu a book that is a class apart.

Zayd, having faced death in all its gruesomeness at an early age, is mature beyond his years. He fights with his demons and forges his own identity. Out on parole all he wants is peace but finds someone who steals his heart instead.

Ruchi has brought out the discrimination faced by Muslims in India in the book, but she deals with it in a very matter of fact manner. She doesn’t make a hue and cry about it. I liked the fact that she doesn’t get preachy yet brings home her point.

I think this one definitely deserves 5 stars.

For a lovely read in the rains, pick it up from amazon here.

Book review : 150 brilliant ways to keep young minds fit and fine by Neera Maini Srivastav

book 150I really liked the concept of this book which is “to offer an integrated holistic approach” of wellness to teenagers. It covers all the three aspects of body mind and spirit. Each tip or ideas is covered in just a paragraph or two so it is not heavy reading for a generation that communicates through digital short cuts.

A lot of Neera’s ideas are really good. She talks about sex in a very matter of fact way and encourages responsible healthy relationships. She also offers affirmations at the end of each section.

The two things that struck a discordant note were that some of the ideas were repeated a couple of times. She has said the same thing in different ways.

Also the book is supposed to be for teens yet the illustrations show middle aged to old people.

But overall a good handbook for teens in today’s world.

You can pick up a copy here using the amazon affiliate link.

Book Review: Grow up Messy! by Paromita Goswami

pic messy

Paromita Goswami’s book, “Grow up, Messy!”is about a precocious five year old, Misry.

Misry is a little moppet who captures your heart with her jest for life and falling into trouble.

The book is set not in the world of today’s kids but at a time when owning a television was a huge event; a time when it was safe for a five year old girl to roam around the village by herself. It brought back all the memories of a childhood spent decades ago.

However, though the book is meant for kids, there are parts especially where the parents talk to each other which are too grown up for a 5 or 6 year old kid to understand.

You can pick up the book using my Amazon affiliate link here.

Book Review : Just Me, The Sink And The Pot by Sudesna Ghosh.

 

I must admit the title intrigued me, as did the buzz I had heard about the book. And the book did not fail to deliver what it promised. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it.

Would I classify it as fiction or non- fiction? It links both worlds and I felt my heart crying a little bit as I read about Pamela’s experiences as a fat girl.

The world is cruel and all the more to those who cannot stand up for themselves. Pamela has learnt very early in life, that ‘fat” girls cannot do a lot of things. They cannot expect to get heart shaped candy on Valentine’s day even in kindergarten. They cannot hope that the object of their crush would even notice them romantically. They cannot hope to be the star in school plays.

When not only classmates but also family join in to ridicule her, Pamela withdraws into a world of her own where she talks to her toys and looks to them for emotional support. She rarely talks to people but her fertile imagination produces all sorts of scenes where she is loved rather than ridiculed.

The only thing I found a little odd was that if she was so obviously overweight and had social and emotional issues, why didn’t her parents do something about it? Why did they wait for so many years before thinking of going to a counsellor? Why could they have not worked with her on her diet and other issues? In the end she is glad because she finally has a family that cares about her talent. Why could she not have a family that simply cared about her?

It just drives home the point that a lot of parents just close their eyes to the issues faced by their kids. They are too scared to tackle their kids head on. They don’t want to admit that their kids have a problem. They can’t accept the fact that their kid might need help. If only we as parents accept our kids with all their flaws and give them unconditional love, will our kids find the strength to face anything that the world throws at them. They won’t need to withdraw into a make-believe world where toys talk to them and give them advice on how to live their lives even at 18.

 

 
JUST ME, THE SINK & THE POT
by
Sudesna Ghosh
 
Blurb
 
Meet Pamela, an overweight girl who’s looking back at her school days. From longing for a Valentine to dealing with a sibling who hates her, Pamela has a lot to deal with. She even has a special bunch of friends at home who she can turn to – but they aren’t the kind of friends you’d expect. Life sucks when you’re fat. Can Pamela ever be happy?
Read an excerpt of the book here…

 
One day a classmate asked me, “Where is your lunch?” I told her that I had already had it and went back to my fake laughter and smiles. The others chatted and laughed while they ate from their tiffin boxes. Some brought samosas or ice cream from outside the gate. My hunger pangs got worse as I saw all the food and smelt the delicious odours around me.
 
The ice cream cart was run by a sweet old man who knew me since I’d started school. He would ask me some days, “Child, you don’t want your favourite orange stick?” I would say no thank you and smile before running away from him and his cart. One day he seemed to be desperate to make me have an ice cream. “Child! Come here and have an ice cream. You don’t have to pay me,” he called out. I smiled, turned around and went to hide in an empty classroom. Two minutes later, I shrieked; the old man had found me. He was carrying a dripping ice cream for me. I started laughing. Then I started running away from him. The old man started running after me!

 

My classmates were shocked. The sports teacher was happy to see me run for the first time – I had never run before because fat moves when you run. Everybody would laugh. The lunch break ended with me accepting the mostly melted orange stick from the kind ice cream man. We were too tired to talk about the whole event. But it did make me a bit popular that year, with the school Yearbook including the story and a picture of me running away from a 6 feet tall man holding an ice cream.

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About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sudesna (Sue) Ghosh is a writer based in Kolkata. She was born in the United States and moved to India when she was 9. After completing high school there, she went back to the US for her higher education at the University of Rochester. She has also penned What Would I Tell Her @ 13 and News Now, along with several short stories. When Sudesna isn’t writing, she tries to do her bit for animal welfare.

 

                  

 

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