Monthly Archives: January 2013

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!

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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.

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