Tag Archives: relationships

Book Review of “A Bolt of Lightning” by Satyen Nabar

A Bolt of Lightning

By Satyen Nabar

This book arrived when I was in the middle of another book. It was pure curiosity that got me reading the first page. Before I knew it, I had breezed through the first 100 pages!

It wasn’t easy to read two books simultaneously. But I managed!

The plot overall is funny, engrossing, interesting, unique, relatable, with a fresh perspective.

I don’t think I could give a better plot summary than the one on the book: Shiva, 35, hotshot executive, recently divorced, disillusioned with his life and fed up of the rat race in the corporate world, topples completely over the edge after an unexpected tragic incident.
In a hilarious journey from the boardrooms of Bangalore to the hippies, face readers, casinos and rave parties on the verdant beaches of Goa, Shiva attempts to ‘escape from it all’ till his life suddenly changes in miraculous ways after an electrifying act of nature bestows him with an extraordinary gift. Anchored by the strong bond of friendship with his college mates, Sid and Adi, and propelled by love for Anita his estranged ex-wife, Shiva attempts to make the most of his incredible gift to unravel the secrets of life, death and happiness as the story races to its exhilarating conclusion in the exotic jungle valley of Arambol, Goa. And it is a “bolt of lightning” that somewhat sets things right in his life.

This story is a witty and contemporary take on a midlife crisis story with an unusual twist in the tale. It at once touches the heart and entertains while offering a fascinating new perspective of the world we inhabit.

The language is quite simple (mostly) but at places the author makes splendid sentences that make you smile, giggle, laugh, praise and feel jealous – all at once!
The realities of present day life – building work pressures, haphazard social and personal life, meaningless rat-race, need and desire for introspection, battle to make time for oneself and loved ones, depression, loneliness, and addictions that engulf us at the end of it all – interestingly portrayed and brilliantly connected.

The timeline (past and present) keeps you quite alert and awake. It keeps you hooked. it keeps you excited. The characters have been etched thoughtfully. Though I personally feel the author could’ve limited their description and habit- since they were bound to be understood / interpreted by the reader during the course of the story. Anyway, that’s just my perspective.

There is much more to the story, and its characters, apart from their emotions, actions, deeds, thoughts, and behaviour. A hidden message. The eternal quest. A gripping need to introspect right away. To live in the moment. To live for the day. To follow your heart. And to read more and more!

I would definitely recommend this book to all!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “The Sari Shop Widow” by Shobhan Bantwal

The Sari Shop Widow

By Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan

When the book reached me I wanted to start it at that very moment. There was something about the cover that caught my attention. From the time I turned the pages there was no stopping. At least for quite a bit of the 360-page book.

The main protagonist, Anjali Kapadia, an American-Indian, is a widow who runs her parents sari shop “Silk & Sapphires”. Their exquisite tasteful collection is devoured by most but with the rising competition and building recession, bankruptcy is round the corner for the Kapadia family. Strange how the folks running it don’t realize it until the last minute, and thus look to seek help.

To save their face and their shop, Anjali’s father calls his brother – Jeevan Kapadia, a rich/wealthy businessman from India. When he comes visiting to evaluate the business, he brings his business partner along – Rishi Shah – a complete charmer. With hidden motives none-the-less.

Though Anjali and her mother don’t trust this grey-eyed British Indian, there is something that draws Anjali to him all the more. An empowering attraction that captures her. But what she doesn’t know is a secret that unveils to shake-n-stir them all.

Though the plot of the book is fairly predictable (at least it was for me), the characters stand out with their unique personalities. The premise of the story has it all – love, culture, trust, hope, despair, sex, betrayal, courage, etc. The writing seemed quite effortless and flow- just right.

The characters have depth. Most readers are sure to find a connect with Anjali, or empathize with her.

Though glimpses of life in New Jersey, through Anjali’s story, seemed a bit predictable, the way Anjali has a fling with Rik, her “no-strings-attached” sexual escapades with him, her (fatal) attraction towards Rishi, her loyalty to her sari shop, her undying love for Vik (her late husband), her encounter with Rishi (and his girlfriend) – made the story quite interesting (for those who like chick-lit/romance genre).

The climax, yes, ended a bit abruptly. It could use a little more depth (just like the story overall).

The author brings out the colours (of culture and her characters) quite well. There’s drama, humour, emotions, love, and yes- a bit of senseless entertainment, all mixed well to make it a yummy “masala” read.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Interview with Judy Balan

 

As I walked in to the bookstore for the launch of Judy Balan’s debut novel, Two Fates: The Story of my Divorce, I was greeted with a sweet smile and a hint of a rollicking time!
I managed to get Judy’s time and attention before the launch and indulged in a candid interview.
On enquiring about the ideation of the story, she was quick to respond, “I happened to be in a store   and noticed Drink, Play, F@ck, the parody of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. The author of the    parody had managed to sell film rights to his book and I thought, “Wow! You can simply rip off a  best seller and do wonders!” I was reading Chetan Bhagat’s “Two States: The Story of my Marriage”,  and I thought of doing a parody of the book.
I went home, and posted this incident on my blog and asked my readers if they thought it was a good idea. And most of them reverted with a “yes”. Would you believe it only took me about less than three months to wrap up the book!” smiled the author. Continuing her part of the story, she said, “And it was a wonderful experience. I was surprised as to how quickly I even found publishers willing to launch my book. It truly felt like a Cinderella moment…”

So do we see glimpses of her life in this book? “No no! This is definitely not the story of my divorce,” Judy responded quickly. “In fact the only thing common between me and the character of Deepika is the job (as a copywriter).”
“Oh and the aunties of course! The ones who keep coming up to me or my parents enquiring about my age, and they seem to be obsessing about my marriage and my divorce more than my folks. It’s hilarious (now) but it is so true!”
Digging a bit in to her professional background I enquired about her decision to be a “full time parent”.
“Well, even after those five and a half years in the advertising agency as a copywriter I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t satisfied doing what I was doing. I was scared to quit initially as I did not know what I would do next. Quitting was not an option but when my divorce came through I knew I had to dedicate time to my girl. The ups and downs of divorce were terrible. I took up freelance writing and of course started blogging ardently.”
So how was life at home? “Very different. It was mundane, yes. It took me about a bit to adopt the sedentary lifestyle. There was a drastic change in momentum. But it gave me time to spend with my daughter and write. It was the best thing that happened to me.”
Ask her if she would plunge in to a marriage (or love) again and she chirps, “Why not! I’m a die-hard romantic. A million times bitten and still not shy sort of a person. Divorce hasn’t made me cynical. I’m the incurable optimistic who still writes letter to “the one”. If life gives me a chance to fall in love, I’d dive!”
As the focus shifted to her writing and her blog, she confessed “Blog writing gives you almost instant gratification. Your readers revert real quick. Writing a book, a fiction, needs commitment. It is hard work.”
For those who don’t know, Judy also writes scripts for plays. Her shyness prevents her from being on stage, but off-stage she seems to be the “queen of the written word”. “I would love to have a column someday, though my blog sometimes serves more like a column,” smiled Judy. “But writing an epic adventure series (like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series) is one thing I look forward to. I know it’s a long long way yet, and for now I will focus on light fiction about relationships and break-ups.”
Humor and comedy is one key ingredient Judy feels that she cannot do without in the books she reads and pens. “If you’ve read Two States, you’d get all the jokes in my book”, confessed the author sheepishly.
“I do love romantic comedies. Nothing can quite beat Erich Segal’s Love Story and Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult’s works. I also like reading books by Candace Bushnell and Marian Keyes and Elizabeth Gilbert.”
Getting to the juicy part of the conversation, we asked Judy to share an exclusive detail about her as a writer and she confessed, “My writing will always precede the love of my life. I think I devote more time to my writing than anything else.”
And Judy as a mother? She quickly said, “I’m forever obsessing over the fact that I’m not good enough. Trust me, all that art and craft and wonderful things parents do for their kids, I’m bad at all that.”


Over more smiles and jokes I enquired about her next book and she said, “It’s wonderful how I’ve already signed the deal for my next book. It is again a light fiction. But I can’t give out much on it. You’ll have to wait a bit!”
For sure we would look forward to her next book, since her first one has definitely got us hooked!
It’s true all good things definitely come in small packages. And this package is amongst the best!
I’m sure she captured more hearts and readers with her smile and her book that evening.

 

Grab a copy of her book before the stores run out of copies! You will definitely enjoy the read.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Launch Of “Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce”, By Judy Balan

Book Launch Of Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce, By Judy Balan

 

As I walked in to Landmark for the book launch and reading session of Judy Balan’s debut novel – Two Fates: The Story Of My Divorce, I looked around to see if I could spot her. Amidst the crowd she easily passed off as a kid…alright a teenager! Yes, you read me right. A teenager. A young, chirpy one (and I’m tempted to add bubbly too) at that. Her smile, definitely infectious…and her book – oh! So lovable!!!

 

The session had an equally excited young moderator interacting with Judy. Answering the volley of questions with ease, Judy let us on some fun facts too. “This is more of a parody on Two States: The Story Of My Marriage, by Chetan Bhagat,” she confessed. 

 

“Yes, I’m divorced but this is not my story at all. The story of my divorce would turn out like one of Stephen King’s novels!” she laughed.

 

Taking digs at the typical character traits of some of the South Indian aunties she has come across in real life, Judy spoke about her experience of penning the novel and how things somewhat fell in place within a short frame. “It feels like a Cinderella moment, honestly.”

 

Judy read out about a page or two from her book. And I believe no one spaced out. In fact, I am sure, people who heard her read out the passage must’ve run to get themselves a copy of the book. The staccato writing style, I noticed, is one major factor that brings alive the fun that the auhtor intends to present to her readers.

After the interactive bit, she signed a few copies for the eager audience and of course smiled for the shutterbugs. 

  

Thankfully I had enough time to interview her, which you all will read soon. But for now, let me confess, I had a great time at the launch interacting with this fun spirited cherub. And her book is a must read for everyone!

 

P.S – there is no compulsion in wrapping up the book within two hours, really. Though many have done it.

(*Pic of Judy Balan by Siddhesh Kabe)

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs/Interviews

Book Review of “Delayed Monsoon” by Chitralekha Paul

Delayed Monsoon

By Chitralekha Paul

You truly can never tell what’s going on in a woman’s heart or mind. At times, she’d be a wreck, and quite upbeat the very next. At times, she’d be emotionally too weak, and at times the strongest one you’d ever meet. At times, she won’t be able to put her thoughts in to words, and at times she’ll go on till eternity burst. At times, she’d need your shoulder, your touch and a smile she can trust, and at times she’ll walk away at the first mention of a hug. This is what I gathered out of Chitralekha’s debut novel, Delayed Monsoon that peeps in to the world of a lonely housewife who finds solace in the virtual world, and has reality nabbing her again.

The main protagonist, Abhilasha leads quite a lonely life. Her college-going daughter and her ever busy husband (Nikhil) have only a few moments to spare for her. She yearns for love, affection and a bit of attention. And she thus finds herself being drawn to the internet. She makes a few friends –spanning different age groups and professions. She learns to move on in life and not brood over things she has no control over, or can’t really do much about. She learns about the different types of relationships that really exist in today’s world- from the long term (ever-lasting) sorts to the fleeting and momentarily satisfactory ones. Her traditional thinking at times receives a set-back only to revive and understand the age we are living in.

The book also spans different generations. I felt like this book had some sensitive issues, handled with much maturity and wisdom. Her life from childhood to present, with certain convictions and ideologies, penned in utmost simplistic yet effective manner. It is more of an encapsulation of events in her life. From moving to different cities, to her experiences with people and life around her, to making friends over the internet to falling in love with Arvind, all the phases in her life are penned in detail. Feels like she undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts. She learns about the different choices an individual is usually faced with in life, and how each choice shapes his/her destiny. Soon her sensitive nature and emotional needs are understood and filled up by Arvind.

The end brings in a bit of a surprise element, as some would say. But I did feel it coming. The feelings of all characters depicted here are quite identifiable and relatable to. The story is something you’d feel you’ve read earlier or known somehow. There were places where the author seemed to be preaching about relationships. Something most of us today, wouldn’t really want to read/hear from someone else. Also, the sub-plots too got me a bit confused as to what the actual story is about. Abhilasha’s dreams, aspirations, confusions, desires and bonding did make up for a good read. And like someone rightly pointed out, it does not merely reflect a woman’s quest for love or attentions, but a quest for a direction to her life.

The writing is simple yet quite in-depth. But at places it lacked pace. Bits of it felt like reading a monologue or a personal blog. Though the insights are quite touchy and grave, the overall feel of the book died out because of its length.
Overall, a good one-time read. If you have lots of time.

(Review by Sanjana Kapoor)

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “OOPS! I fell in love! just by chance…” By Harsh Snehanshu

OOPS! ‘I fell in love! just by chance…

By Harsh Snehanshu

Well with almost every other student (from an engineering college, MBA college, or just about any college) writing a book/novel, it becomes very difficult for readers to make a wise choice. Reading, after all, isn’t like surfing the idiot box. Bad books leave a very bad after taste, in the brain.

Thankfully so, Harsh Snehanshu’s debut novel – Oops I fell in love – just by chance saved me the misery of shunning the work of “young Indian writers” yet again.

The book is more of a love story. A cute one.

A young chap from Indore, Kanav Bajaj gets admission at IIT Delhi to pursue engineering. A geek in some ways, his heart skips a beat when he first comes across Tanya, a gorgeous and smart Delhi girl. Opposites attract. And how!!!

How his life changes after falling in ‘love’ with this LSR girl is really cute and readable. (Wow! I’ve said “cute” twice already!! So unlike me.)

The story is quite humorous and the writing quite fresh.

The characters of Aryan, Anuj, Sameer, Tanya and of course Kanav are very diverse and unique. Readers will surely be able to connect with the protagonists and the situations. The use of local jargon, the mentions of technology and social media platforms makes this a very relatable read. Things that happen on campus can never be forgotten. From rising peer pressures to emotions to parental concerns to misunderstandings, the book captures it all beautifully.

It is a very simple tale of new/first love and things connected with it. But the writing style makes it quite entertaining and enjoyable.

7 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “Size Eight in a Size Zero World” By Meredith Cagen

Size Eight in a Size Zero World
Meredith Cagen

This one is not about fad diets. Thank God!

The story is essentially about Lindsay Chandler – a thirty-something New York lady – a working wife-and-mom of two. She seems to have the “picture perfect” sort of a life.

Lindsay is married to Grant, a high-profile divorce attorney who treats her like a subservient slave, ignores the children completely, is a bully, and basically, not-a-good husband/human being.

Lindsay isn’t like the other uptight Manhattan wives. She raises her two kids, Kristen and Jake, with good values and ensures quality upbringing. She has a day job; and she takes care of her house and does the cooking, cleaning herself. In spite of doing all that she considers her duty she receives no appreciation. And her work place is full of pin-thin blonds who are simply looking for rich men, to become trophy wives.

Her two other friends, on hearing about her pathetic relationship with her husband are on the lookout for someone nice for her. But one day as Lindsay steps into the elevator of her building, she bumps into her upstairs neighbor – a smart, successful, intelligent, charming man and they strike a good rapport. Over time, Lindsay falls for him. He appreciates her, compliments her, and seems genuinely interested in her. He even befriends her kids.

This liaison makes her question her life and relationship with her husband. She decides to re-invent herself and change her life.

Down the road, realizations hit her. She finds out about how the man only used her to walk up the corporate ladder. She feels betrayed and heartbroken towards the end, but all for a reason.

There are a lot of things we tend to take at face-value. But what lies underneath is an ugly truth. The truth about life, about people and how things actually are. Lindsay learns it the hard way. Her affair teaches her a lot about people and relationships. The book reflects the face of society today and is a pretty mature read. It comes with a message that we needn’t rely on others to prove our worth. We need to love our self and our life.
The book is uplifting, smart, funny and unpretentious.

The simple language and the slow pace initially bothered me. But soon I started caring for Lindsay. What wasn’t really appealing initially became quite interesting towards the middle. The book talks about relationships, love, infidelity. The characterization is very good and believable. I’m sure many a working women would relate to Lindsay’s character and feelings.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “South of Broad” By Pat Conroy

South of Broad

By Pat Conroy

I was “oh-so-excited” to read another creation of Pat Conroy, only to keep the book down with bigger disappointment.

The story is about a group of friends their heart-touching enduring bonds of friendship.

The story addresses a lot of issues of high concern – like racial and social divide in the community; problems in dysfunctional families; sexuality related issues; etc.

There’s a lot of melodrama, irony, absurdity, lots of unwanted twists with death, depression, suicide, rape giving it a bit of a soap opera feel rather than a beautiful story that was originally intended.

Conroy brings in elements of poetry to lift the spirit from the depths of misery and despair – if only he could incorporate better dialogue and setting, this book would’ve been a bigger success.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “Promises In Death” By J.D. Robb

Promises In Death

By J.D. Robb

 

This one scores as one of J.D. Robb’s really intense and well balanced work spun with a lot of emotions and meaningful interactions.

Detective Amaryllis Coltraine is murdered with her own weapon right in her building. What makes the case all the more special is that Coltraine isn’t just a cop, but Morris’s girlfriend. Clues lead to everyone who was close to and trusted by Coltraine.

Detective Eve is set to solve the mystery with additional pressures of having to disclose the death of Coltraine to Morris and also host Louise’s bridal shower.

The book features Eve’s evolution as a person – focusing on relationships, striking a balance between friends and profession and opening up to people.

Other highlights of the story include – Roarke and Eve’s ever evolving relationship; hilarious moments shared by friends during the bridal shower (and otherwise); and the touching and emotional moments that Morris undergoes.

A fantastic read for all Robb fans.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Book Review of “Love…A rather bad idea…all it gives is a lousy hangover” By Anirban Mukherjee

Love…A rather bad idea…all it gives is a lousy hangover

By Anirban Mukherjee

 

Yet another IITian’s well crafted verbose.

The title itself aims at giving you the crux of the whole story but after you read it, the wee bit of disparity lingers. You might get an impression that the book is more about love and the hangover that follows. But interestingly, there is more to it than just the “love”. It is a mélange of feelings and relationships. Friendship, politics, inter-personal relationships with hints of betrayal, deception, misunderstandings and the sorts.

Of course, humor prevails. The book is pretty much gripping. It is difficult to put it down until the very end. What I found most appealing were the titles for each chapter/section. Very well selected and apt.

The language is fervent but at the same time pretty casual. Typical guy behavior reflects in every line.

The character sketches are done fantastically. Be it the buddies- Samar, Skimpy, Pranav, Jiya, Natasha, Rohan, or their seniors Yadav, Tej etc.

The incidents and situations are absolutely relatable. Especially for hostelites. Anirban’s take on drugs, love, college politics, family, friends, the dean, the rat race, etc are a clean sweep!

This one is totally worth a read!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews