Tag Archives: Friendship

Book Review of “The Other Side of the Table” by Madhumita Mukherjee

The Other Side of the Table
By
Madhumita Mukerjee

The other side of the table

The other side of the table

When the book arrived, I was overtly excited to begin reading, given its soothing cover page and quite an appealing format (letters).

The book format quite unusual for a debut writer – in the form of letters, exchanged between two friends – Abhimanyu and Uma.

Spanning almost a decade, the letters reflect the friendship (and eventually the love) shared by the two protagonists. Uma is about 10 years younger to Abhi and is studying medicine in Calcutta, while Abhi is a practicing surgeon in London.

The ten years of their lives, captured through the letters exchanged, make for decent read. With each letter exchanged, you peep a bit deeper in to their lives and discover more about their personalities and surroundings. Their experiences, their joys, their sorrows, the challenge faced, the hurdles overcome, the dreams cherished and the ambitions brewed.

The format definitely is new and gripping but the language got me a little disinterested.

Given the fact that I can’t get myself to put a book down once I begin reading, saw me struggle through certain portions.

There were places where the language was overtly sweet, as if Abhi was trying to “impress” Uma. I personally do not like “sweet talk” or as you say “buttering-up”- for as far as I know, no one in the real world indulges in such verbose as used in the letters. No wonder I was immensely turned off to the extent of wondering if such people do still exist (and if they do, please steer clear of me!)

I agree that the premise of the story, though ordinary, does have a grip. I appreciate the fact that the author did not use medical terminology extensively at the risk of losing her readers. And the emotions, quite relatable, bring you closer to the protagonists.

Overall, it is a decent story of love, loss, friendship, overcoming difficulties and taking a stride in life to bring out the real you.

The story could have been more gripping, personally, had there been less of “jibber-jabber”.

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Book Review of “The Fallen Love” by Rashmi Singh

The Fallen Love

By Rashmi Singh

The word love has such a mixed connotation. And bringing its nuances is Rashmi Singh’s latest fictional novel- The Fallen Love.

It spans the love that the main protagonist Rohan feels – for his mom, his first crush Shilpi, then Radhika and towards the end Madhuri. His fate makes him experience the pain of losing people he loves the most, or so he feels. So when it comes to Madhuri, Rohan pledges to strive for it and make it last…forever.

The story moves back-n-forth in time detailing Rohan’s present affluent status and his highly underprivileged background, during his growing up years. The dramatic and horrendous circumstances that bestow misery and grief are well highlighted by the author. And so are the sensually arousing love scenes, described quite finely without a hint of sleaze and disgust.

Life isn’t as simple as we want it. And it shouldn’t be. Without trying moments of misery and depression how are we to enjoy the happiness and joy of success and prosperity and love, of course!
The story shows many facets of the human nature- greed, friendship, relationships, compassion, benevolence…all tied by the thread of love.

I would suggest you pick it up and give it a read. The story has twists that will make you sit up and take note of the adversities Rohan faces and the trials he undergoes and how he realizes that love doesn’t come easy- and that giving up is not the way to go. Fighting for the one you love shows courage and real strength and dedication.

The author has put in a new perspective. The story shows growth for the author and her writing skills. The language used in this one shows a bold face of the modern contemporary youth. It makes you ponder on a lot many aspects, only to then realize – it is all but a story.
An enjoyable read.

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Book Review of “Prey by the Ganges” by Hemant Kumar

Prey By The Ganges

By Hemant Kumar

A gripping tale of friendship, resistance, endurance, power, corruption, and the courage to beat it all, Prey By The Ganges is the debut attempt of Hemant Kumar. And what a debut!

This clearly is among the most captivating books I’ve read in a long time.

Set around the Independence era, the book offers a very real and earthy image of India (esp. Bihar) back then.

This book certainly has it all. From a very invigorating book cover, to the heart-felt and wondrous acknowledgement that got me hooked to the author’s narrative skill, to the story of course.

The taut and gripping plot makes this book “unputdownable”! So, the story opens with the gruesome death of Ravi, Vaidya Shambhu Nanadan’s best friend (in fact the only friend) near the banks of the holy Ganges. Shambhu, accompanied by a very loyal and trust-worthy servant Hariya see Ravi brutally beaten by dacoits. Ravi breathes his last in Shambu’s lap.

The story traces their backgrounds and the reason of Ravi, Shambhu and Hariya being near the river on a full-moon night. Shambhu sets out to complete Ravi’s initial set plan, and to seek answers from the murderer and yes, to avenge the death of his friend. You witness the story of the feudal lords – the two brothers – Thakur Gajanan Singh of Narainpur and Thakur Suraj Singh of Janak Ganj, who thrive on power and lust and emotions that rule the head not the heart; the glamorous thakurain catching the fancy of most men; the mystery of the diamond…and oh so much more!

I do not plan on giving out any details. It is for you to pick up and read and find out. With its language so rich and lucid that it makes you read without a break; a plot so thick that it engulfs you in its depth; suspense and thrill so mesmerizing that keep you at the edge of your seat as you turn the pages; and the characters so real that one could almost see them around you; the book delivers the satisfaction (of reading a thriller) to the tee!

It was a pleasure reading this book. And I, for one, look forward to the sequel.

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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)

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Book Review of “Growing Up In Pandupur” by Adithi and Chatura Rao

Growing Up In Pandupur

by Adithi and Chatura Rao

Though this book is essentially for kids, I’d recommend everyone to read it.

The issues addressed herein are so real and touching.

Growing up in Pandupur is a collection of 13 short stories for kids. Now, Pandupur is a fictitious township in South India. It is a figment of the authors’ imagination. And truly a brilliant imagination.

The book opens with the map of Pandupur, situated near the River Dhun.

The township has the essential necessities: a railway station, a bustling marketplace, couple of schools, some residential colonies (societies); parks, playgrounds, an orphanage; the river Dhun and of course the Dhun river dam project. So essentially engineers working on the dam project have made Pandupur their residence, with their families. And all stories connect most of the residents of that town.

The book opens with a beautiful song dedicated to the river Dhun. Creative and lyrical, the authors capture your heart already with the very first page.

Actually, the cover page of the book is so darn colorful that it catches the eye and fancy of all. The two days that I had the book on my work desk, all my colleagues walking around made sure they picked it up. It is that inviting! They all appreciated the illustration and loved whatever part they read randomly. (*Cheers Priya Kuriyan!)

Some of them have already requested me to lend them the book, while others have already bought it from Landmark. This actually shows how appealing the book is!

Coming back to the stories, all of them are beautifully penned.

The first story –“Polka-dotted Party” is about Raghav’s birthday party that he ends up celebrating at the orphanage. And why so? Well, that is for you to read and enjoy.

In “Goblins”, we see naughty Tejas reign his kingdom of fantasy world as Hobgob Supreme, enslaving other mortals. A very cute story about growing up and sibling love.

Moving on to “Changing Chintamani”, we see how little Chintamani’s life changes as he takes up football coaching during his summer vacations.

“The House Painted Blue” sees three musketeers Thangi Timmayya and her friends, the twins, Situ and Gitu, trying to solve a a funny mystery.

“Mallipoo, Free” shows how love bonds humans and animals.

“Nisha” is the story of a small girl who faces child abuse. The way the story is put actually makes it more relevant to today’s age, and how children can and should distinguish between a good touch and a bad touch.

“About Grandfathers and Trees” is a tender story about a grandfather’s demise.

“Sister Song” portrays sibling love. “For Preet” is a coming of age story, showing how girls mature faster and boys…remain boys! This one I absolutely loved!

“A Boat in the Rain” captures the heart of a young boy and the grief/anger he carries with him.

“Evenings in 201” connects Brigadier Ahmed and Rohan in quite an unexpected way.

“Warm-fuzzy” is an absolute poignant story about children and how they actually see each other.

The last story, “The River Came Home”, deals with development issues and how it affects some people, but the moral is that nothing remains forever. We have to accept the changes and draw strength from our past to move on to a better future.

Through Pandupurs’ children, Adithi and Chatura Rao weave a web of stories–life lessons in growing up: laughter and tears, insecurities, small unkindnesses and surprising friendships, stories that will resonate in the hearts and minds of children everywhere.

No fancy gizmo talk or fantasy world magic fluttering around. Everyday tales of growing up that appeals and resonates with children (and young adults) of all ages.

The setting is ideal and the imagery drawn in the readers mind is so real that you can visualize every story as you read it.

The book truly has it all – the beauty of Pandupur; the innocence of the children around; real issues that need attention; awareness towards certain topics that children refrain from talking about; topics that grown-ups do not discuss or tell kids about; all subjects woven to perfection!

The stories remain with you forever. Reading about Pandupur, I really wish to make a pit-stop at Pandavpur (a town near Mysore that inspired the authors) to capture the images in my heart.

The authors, Adithi and Chatura Rao craft such beautiful stories, bringing to life the ordinary experiences in such a marvelous way that opens your eyes and mind to a lot many things that go unnoticed. Especially for children. It teaches a lot about friendship, sibling love, growing up. The narrative is smooth and flawless.

This one is definitely a MUST HAVE/MUST READ book!

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Book Review of “Reality Bites” by Anurag anand

Reality Bites

By Anurag Anand

Reality Bites is a pleasant read. The story is about Atul’s hostel life and all that he faces/experiences as a hostelite.

It opens with Atul’s first day at engineering college and moves a bit into flashback revealing his hostel life in junior college.

Atul moves from Hissar to Delhi to be a part of a prestigious school (junior college) so that he can seek admission to a good engineering college after that. All this because of his dad, who wanted Atul to be either a mechanical or an electronics engineer to make the family proud. Yes, we all have faced such situations at some point or another – giving into the demands of our folks, who think we would do well in certain school/college just because someone else suggested the place, or some kid who happened to score a place in top notch engineering college having passed out from a certain school/college.

His first acquaintance, Alok, is a senior hostelite and he introduces Atul to Swati, Anirban and Bobby.
But the arrival of Atul’s room-mate Santosh (Senti) sets ground for new friendship.

Atul goes through the ups and downs of hostel and college life- making friends for life (Senti and Bengali), falling in love with the beautiful Ayesha Kapoor, spending wooping amounts on a weekend with her, indulging in frivolous passionate activity in an abandoned building near the squash court, getting his heart broken, getting into a mess, being saved by Swati, and the likes.

All the incidents in Atul’s life will bring in a smile as you read them. The narration is breezy and quite captivating. The author has a way with words.

Although, I didn’t quite get the “not so innocent” part of the love story. Was going away to Agra and staying in a hotel the “not so innocent” part? Or was Senti’s love story the “not so innocent” one? Yeah, Senti too falls in love with a girl elder to him and how he gets out of it makes for a hilarious read.

Sprinkled with humor, and garnished with some wisdom and maturity later, the story takes a peep in to the world of young adults…freshly in college – worrying about falling in and out of love, and fretting over exams and differences with friends…the cute stuff we, workaholics, have left far behind.

Quite an enjoyable read, as you lay in bed tucked in your warm blanket, with the continuous drizzle dropping the temperatures by the minute. Don’t forget the hot coffee mug by your side.

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Book Review of “Jab Se You Have Loved Me” By S R Saha


The book titled “Jab se You have Loved Me” by S R Saha is quite silly I must say.

The backdrop of IIT Madras will remind you of the umpteen other novels based on college campus love and drama.

Atin, the protagonist is a student of IIT Madras. He is a mediocre student and ends up selling cheap Chinese gadgets (after graduating) for a living, in Kolkatta.

He falls in love with a pretty dame named Ujani, a graduate in Bio-Sciences, who ends up working as an airhostess.

Atin’s gang comprises Luv, Iqbal, Russell Raj, and Rumia. Luv starts off to be a CA but ends up working for a stock broker. Iqbal is a Philosophy graduate but now runs a shop. Russel Raj has a Ph.D from an American University but is unemployed. Rumia is a fine electrical engineer but her sad childhood haunts her.

How their life shapes up is supposed to be one story. But I hardly found it.

There seems no concrete flow. It reads like certain humorous incidents penned together to make the readers laugh at some odd places. That too looks forced and lame at places.

The timeline is a major problem with the author I feel. At one point he mentions that Caller IDs were new gadgets in the Indian market and at another point he reveals that Obama is the US President. Dude! What is going on?!?

There’s major confusion. How does he get the new offer letter? How did the riots suddenly happen? And in the three days of him being unconscious, his aunt has already re-married and Luv kinda goes missing. WOW! That’s fast.

Oh, and this hero manages to convince the Americans to use water instead of toilet paper. Yeah sure! Something that hasn’t happened in like a thousand years, our hero does it in one meeting!

There are quite many popular brands mentioned in the book. And I see no logical point to those. I mean really! It is quite filmy and flimsy.

Overall, the incidents are worth reading only for the bit of laughter they bring in. No real story. No real plot. (And by real I don’t mean- real life- I mean no good stuff happening here.)

Btw- bad quality paper and sad cover design too.

Though I got it for a reasonable price, it hurt to spend money on “this”.

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