February 21, 2018

Book Review: Letters in the Rain by Anubhav Shrivastava

Letters in the Rain
Author: Anubhav Shrivastava
Publisher: Rumor Books India
Rating: 3/5

Charm is the ability to insult people without offending them; nerdiness the reverse.
― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

If you were a studious child during your ‘spring’, you would have gone through the emotional turmoil of being called various names. Each one of use passes through that stage where we receive our quota of appreciation and are yet blamed or mocked by others. Life is a funny concept. And even funnier are the people who live it.

‘Letters in the Rain’ is a tale that talks about the life of a nerd, more appropriately- a weirdo, who cherishes the buffet of knowledge. With negligible social skills, Aman, the protagonist, is like a fish out of water when it comes to making friends or initiating a small talk. A cog in the machine, Aman is meticulous yet an outcast. Girls find him repulsive because of his over-studious nature. He is resolute but still lacks confidence when it comes to making an acquaintance. One-third of the story builds up the character of Aman and his only friend- his Diary. Though the author (s) has tried to branch out and make the story interesting, the clichéd love story between Aman and Kiara, an ebullient and precocious classmate, fails to pass muster.

The story has nothing new to offer yet the exemplary vocabulary and the fluid narration style makes the book readable. The simple language and the straight-forward storyline are banal yet it is made interesting with appropriate character development. Nevertheless, ‘Rumor Books’ doesn’t fail to impress with fine-tooth comb editing.

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February 15, 2018

Poems By Bean Bakers

Poetry is the balm to one’s soul. Robert Frost has rightly explained that poetry is when the emotions have found thoughts and the thoughts have found words. Laced with profound metaphors and off the wall similes, ‘Poems by Bean Bakers’ is a sincere attempt by Half Baked Beans to throw light on the effort and creativity of the members of the HBB community.

With poems based on love, humour, craving and dank, the anthology presents a potpourri of emotions that can elicit pain as well as pleasure. Edited by the very talented Megha Rao, this book has provided a platform to all the poets to get the feelings out of their system. It is worth a try because:

· The poems have been short-listed after much brainstorming
·       The efforts of all the poets deserve attention
·  The book is available at a discounted price of 25 INR only for a limited period
·       It is well-edited and a quick read
·       My poem is also a part of the book
·       Did I say that it is available at a discounted price of 25 INR only for a limited period?

Brace yourselves for a journey through the turmoil, euphoria, farce and dark side of the human nature. Buy this book soon and don’t forget to review it. Trust me, your review matters to us!

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February 13, 2018

Book Review: Just Friends? by Sumrit Sahi

Just Friends?
Author: Sumrit Sahi
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 2/5

There comes a point in our lives when we find the other half of the puzzle in form of our best friend, our life partner or our soul sister/brother. But isn’t this a clichéd belief? We have watched and loved many movies based on the same concept and it pains my heart to realize that the Indian Literature is headed the blind alleyway with stories based on the same old idea. ‘Just Friends?’ is old wine offered in a new bottle. The sour taste of the story and the feeble plot sends the taste (read ‘reading’) buds on a detour.

Love is unconditional; love is sublime. It is difficult to understand when one is struck with the cupid’s arrow and by the time one realizes, it is mostly too late. But this happens in the cloud-cuckoo land. In the real world, the rat race doesn’t permit one to love and explore the feeling. It fades with time. And that is where the books offering whimsical stories win our heart. But Just Friends fails to pass the muster.

The mushy love tale of best friends first came to light when ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ was released. And with that, the trend of such stories crept in. However, ‘Just Friends’ simply fails to impress owing to poor narrative and the lack of strong storyline. The story traces the lives of four people- Aryan, Boza, Tanie and Sumer. With the bountiful use of full stops (pauses), the hurdles in reading seem never-ending.

The story begins with Aryan falling in love with Ishita and thus, ignoring the feelings of Boza, his best friend. Amidst aggravating monologues and confounding conversation Aryan and Ishita break up and Boza, ignoring how Aryan had pushed her feelings in the corner, tries her best to cheer her best friend. The second parallel story is that of Tanie, who is in love with Rehaan, and Sumer, who is forcibly continuing his inequitable love. Both Tanie and Sumer suffer from heartbreak. It is not rocket science to predict what happens next. The author has connected both the stories and has offered an unrestricted climax.

It comes as a disappointment when a nationally acclaimed writer pens down something as frivolous as this piece of literature. With almost nothing to ponder upon and absence of freshly brewed content, this story is a setback. Nevertheless, Rupa doesn’t fail to impress with fine-tooth comb editing.

Apparently, it is the need of the hour for all the aspiring authors to think out of the box and write on something other than college romance before the genre becomes redundant. They should realize that writing book is an art and not compulsion. How bluntly they mention in acknowledgement that they are grateful to the readers for making them rich! Is this what all it takes to inscribe your thoughts on a piece of paper?

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Book Review: Curried Cultures by Krishnendu Ray,‎ Tulasi Srinivas

Author: Krishnendu Ray, Tulasi Srinivas
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Rating: 3/5

Food is our necessity and our desire. It is that integral part of our lives without which our survival is inconceivable. Over the years, the concept of ‘food’ has changed drastically. With what was called staples of a particular region, people have now become more receptive to foods of different origins. Accordingly, the taste buds have evolved too; they can now bear the taste of continental cuisine along with Thai, Mexican, Asian and Indian. Though the western countries have a diverse potpourri of mouth-watering delicacies, the Asian continent has always had an upper hand over them owing to the inherent culture and the culture transferred to our land during globalization.

An aperitive guide on how the food has evolved over the years, ‘Curried Cultures’ offers an insightful perception of the change in the colour, texture, and taste of Indian food. There is no doubt when one says that the Indian food is the most appetizing and the most influencing food in the world. The love and attention a dish gets in the South Asian land are anytime more than the thought given to the people. The book explores how Indian food has changed with globalization. There are numerous essays that elicit the impact of commercialization and how the recipes have made their way to foreign lands.

The author (s) prowess in presenting the content after much research is worth appreciation. The language is simple but there are certain terms that might take time to be comprehended. For the ones who do not have much idea about globalization, this book might surprise you with the information it has in store.

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Book Review: No Mud No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh

No Mud No Lotus
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
Publisher: Parallax Press
Rating: 3.5/5

If a problem can be solved, there is nothing to worry about. If it can’t be solved, then worrying is useless.’

‘No Mud, No Lotus’ is a self-help book that helps the readers understand the essence of life. Just like how the Lotus survives in the austere conditions and rises from beneath the mud and transforms into the purest form, similarly, our body is a gift from God and to help it heal and reach close to heaven, is our primary obligation.

John Keats had said in one of his most famous poems ‘The Human Seasons’ that the human mind passes through four stages of development which are similar to the seasons. During our summer (youth), we are bound to ruminate or brainstorm on the past experiences and the urge to change what has already happened takes its toll on our mind. Only when we are able to channelize our thoughts, we are enlightened and are closer to heaven. ‘No Mud, No Lotus’ inspires and propels the mind to quell the thoughts that hinder its development.

With words that are not only potent but also true, the narrative doesn’t leave any stone unturned in guiding towards holistic healing. The master Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, explains how the perspective of the past experiences haunt us and we happen to destroy our present at the past’s beck and call. He explains how an experience can be moulded into a lesson and that, in turn, helps in dropping the baggage to where it belongs.

A short read, this book is a must-have.
Best Wishes to the author!

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Book Review: Pawan by Sorabh Pant

Author: Sorabh Pant
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3.5/5

It is rightly said that our talent is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift back to God. ‘Pawan’ is an intelligent and witty literary feat. It narrates the story of an accountant cum God-sent protector- Pawan, who is disorganized, derelict and deliberately obtuse to his powers. Accountant in the morning before the mortal flesh, Pawan (or Arjun Singh) is a demigod at night before the immortal existence. His fuddy-duddy nature presents him as an oddity but he seems complacent and happy. The story explores his journey of self-discovery and realization. Mistake me not, for this is not an inspirational story. The prowess of the author to give words to his creative imagination is worth appreciation.

Read the complete review here.

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