Saturday, 31 May 2014

Minds @ Work 2: a review

Minds @ work! Well yes, minds are surely at work. An anthology of handpicked poetry from 25different authors all over the country makes it all the more special. Coming to the book-

Shalini Katyal- showing life as it is, the poetess have done total justice to the poems. ‘Melting desires’ is my favorite from the lot.

Sandhita Agarwal- talking of love, betrayal etc; one would have to read the poetess’s poems. Each poem has a heart touching tale to tell. ‘The dark passenger’ being my favorite.

Ila Garg- ‘I lose it all’ being the best of all he poems written by the poetess, I am particularly fond of the issues the poetess brings forth. A feeling of sadness covers all the poems.

Barkha Parikh- The first poem by the poetess was on a serious note, nice try by the writer. But then the poetess turned to write chubby poems which were quite cute. ‘Truly, madly, deeply chocoholic’ was one I loved.

Sanhita Baruah- mentioning specifically one poem from the collection by the poetess seems out of context because I loved all the poems. The feelings the poems give is something I can’t even explain in words.

Dr.Rajdeep Kosade- The main thing I liked about the poet is the unique names he gives to his writings, making them stand apart in the crowd. ‘Wrist cutter’ being my favorite.

Neelam Chandra Saxena- the poems written by the poetess is a reader’s delight. ‘Much beyond that’ and ‘my dear pup’ being my favorite two, I loved the way she injects life in her poems through her writing.

Nikhil Chandwani- being a poem lover, I love rhythmic poetry. The poet has provided me something that I love leaving me mesmerized. ‘At this instant of time’ is my most favorite.

Yaseen Anwer- the only reaction I can give after reading the poet is that his writings are a masterpiece. ‘Nothing ends nothing stays’ and ‘mourning’ are two great poems I have read till date. Their effect stays for a long time after reading it.

Waseem A Malla- Love; a difficult thing to express and more difficult to explain. The poet in his poems has described love so beautifully that I couldn’t help but read all at a stretch. ‘It is: a ghazal’ being the most loved by me.

Lovita J.R. Morang- the poetess surely knows how to articulate certain words for certain places. ‘Abbot of Abattoir’ being my favorite, I would’ve loved all if certain things were written in a simple way.

Aman Jakhar- as soon as I read the first poem by the poet ‘she is no prostitute’, I loved the style. It keeps the reader’s attention and plays with their mind. ‘Wait’ is one more favorite of mine.

Sadia Khan- the poetess’s writing style kept me whining for more after reading the few pieces by her. I loved the way she described giving the poem a life-like touch. ‘Night traveler’ being the first and the best.

Rokhan Kachalia- romance taken to a whole new level is what I can say while describing the poet. ‘Knot of love’ makes butterflies dancing all around you and makes you read it again. The perfect usage of words makes it even better.

Nehali Lalwani- written in a variety of topics and feelings, the poetess has done her best in what she has written. ‘I bet’ being my favorite, I would love to read more from her.

Lt. Col. Ankita Shrivastava- wonderful choice of titles, I loved the way the poetess has inked her feelings. ‘A perfect evening’ being my favorite, I got immersed in every word she wrote.

Soham Majumdar- ‘words which means more than just words’ being my favorite because the poet has proved the same. With his poems he has proved that words are much more than words.

Prateek Singh- the best part of the poems by the poet is the description of life in a very simple yet, enchanting way. ‘The treader of a lonesome path’ being my favorite.

Renu Sethi- the only word I am supposed to use right now after reading the poetess’s poems is incredible. Picking up one best from the lot is tough. Will just say that if one wants to read heart-touching simple words, this is the poetess to read.

Janaki Nagaraj- Perfect description of feelings, living it up to the mark. The poetess has done her best in enriching her poems. ‘Enigma’ being my favorite.

Vijayeta Tirkey Kataria- in just two poems she has been able to describe love and life to the fullest. ‘One life to live’ being my favorite, I want to read more from the poetess.

Meghant Parmar- life, love, soul; three very interesting subjects to write upon. The poet has done full justice to the three. ‘Alone and aloof’ being my favorite.

Surbhi Thukral- ‘my fate’ and ‘a promise’ being my favorite, I loved the way the poetess have described everything. Perfect usage of words makes the reader feel for the poem.

Shweta Kesari- Every poem showing one different flavor, the poetess surely captures hearts. ‘Some lost days’ is my favorite from the lot.

Anjali Khurana- a perfect ending to the anthology. The after effects of the poems stay with as I say ‘this too shall pass’

The finest poems chosen together and sewed into one beautiful book, minds @ work 2 will always have a special part in my heart as one of the best poetry anthology I have read! But there are a few things I felt about the anthology. A bit compact version of the anthology would've taken it to a different level. Only for this one hitch, I would rate it 4 out of 5.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Vigil and other stories by Gita V. Reddy: a review

When I took my first glance at the cover the first thought that crossed my mind was about the designer. Gita V. Reddy, the authoress herself had designed the cover. Knowing which, I know that the book surely would be a painting in words.

According to the back cover - Delusions has Rohit, an actor par excellence, slipping into different characters even when he is not supposed to be acting. Devika, his fiercely loving wife, finds an unorthodox way to draw him out of his delusions. In The Square, three successful painters hold an impromptu contest with their friend, who is unknown and a recluse. The result is expected or is it? The Vigil is about Naina, a young expectant mother, who is also a very busy professional. She makes all arrangements for the birth of her child but finds she has missed out on something very vital. Is it too late to make amends? A Lifetime is about the choices Tara makes when she falls in love under the ominous shadow of honour killing. Can she live with her choice? Fifteen stories, myriad emotions, diverse characters, milieus, situations make The Vigil and other stories a compelling read.

15 stories, each one telling a different tale of emotions, makes this book a must read. Skillfully written, edited, it is a treat to read.

The stories speak out a lot about life tales which we generally don’t write about. Social issues; things that go about in our everyday lives but we don’t open up is what the book is about.

The Vigil, talks about Naina. This story talks about how one person, in today's world gets busy with their career so much that they aren't able to make out time or rather aren't able to understand the smallest happiness awarded to them. The question of how is answered in the story.

I loved the way the authoress has tried to put in artistic views with most of her stories. The Gift being one such. Through her stories she has very well made the readers understand what art is and what happens when art and love collides with each other.

The story Time and Space also shows us how we devote so much time in work, burdening our relatives with our household chores not understanding their problem. And what happens when someone breaks free.

Open court tells us what a woman has to face and how, whatever she does, everyone makes her 'guilty'. The feelings are very well portrayed in the story.

Sita's lives tells us about the life of Sita and of all those women who have a fate like sita. Who are so strong themselves but fate has nothing to offer them other than sufferings and weakness always to be blamed for.

The life and Death of Shiva is the written account of how, after being an orphan the relatives tend to pressurise a child so much that a life loving guy choses death over life.

Mr.Krishnan was one story which has shown the dedication one has for his work. No matter what happens, the man fights till his last breath. I felt that the story was a bit exaggerated at a few places which not needed.

A dangerous end being one such story which, among so many other stories, seemed unnecessary to add in the book, mainly because its length and also because its meaning wasn't portrayed well.

Alive being another 'addition' to the book. Though the story has shown the life and adversities of a begger, the story seemed too short as compared to the others.

The square, on one hand it has shown what art is all about, on the other hand it has shown incomplete. The readers might feel that the story has been ended in an abrupt way.

A lifetime, about honour killing is a brave attempt by the writer; but again it seems abrupt at a few places and unnecessarily stretched at a few points.

Reflection shows how a persons life can be benefitted from the life story of another person. While the story takes its turns, emotions were less in the story,

The seeker is the story of belief and non-belief. A bit exaggerated but an enlightening read all in all.

Dreams can tell talk about the life of Laya, a woman, her sufferings and then about a tough decision. A very intelligent end to the book by the authoress.

Every story is one of a kind, painted in a very wonderful way. Such are the sentiments of the stories that the readers want to read the stories again and again.

Apart from the fact, that most of the above mentioned stories have exaggerated/incomplete feelings, the book is a nice one time read for any reader!

Waiting for many more to come from the writer, would rate the book 3 out of 5.

PS- This book review is a part of the Reader’s Cosmos Book Review Program!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti: a review

If taken a pen or pencil to sit and mark the best parts of the book, then maybe the whole book has to be highlighted. The book remains with the reader for a long time even after the completion of the book! The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti is the most stunning debut book I have ever read.

On the back cover- Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ahmed Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs and belongings. But more importantly, the people fear losing each other. On Ahmed’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed begins and inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss, and discovers a new hope for the future. The Almond Tree humanizes a culture and brings characters from a distant land to life.

A mesmerizing, mind blowing tale! Well, I do not know what to write about the book. It has left me flabbergasted. A tale which would drive the readers to think about the human courage, an eye-opener book I must say!

This is maybe the first book for which I am not getting any words to describe. The Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the ruthless side has been showed in the novel. This is one book which would remain with me as the most treasured debut book of this decade!

The wonderful narrating, description style of the authoress makes this book one unputdownable book for the years to come. The way the authoress has written this book makes all the readers visualize every element of it.

The after effect remains with the readers so much that they can’t even start a new book for a long time! A must-read for readers of all age groups. For now, I would like to give this book a 5 out of 5 or even more if there were desperately waiting for many more from the writer!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Seeing The Girl by Anuradha Vijayakrishnan: a review

A wonderful art work by K Madhusudhan, Seeing the girl by Anuradha Vijayakrishnan truly deserves to be long listed for the 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize. The colors of orange and black portrays the book to be a very bold attempt by the writer, increasing the urge to read the book.

On the back cover- Seeing the girl is the story of three women who live inside one another’s lives- dangerously. Janaki is poised to enter into a conventional ‘arranged marriage’ when unanticipated events break out. A marriage takes place; a daughter is exiled from the sanctuary of her home while the other struggles to build a life. Then someone dies, caught in the vindictive shadow play of life and secrets that must stay buried. Janaki narrates this dark and intricate story, pausing to let Amma and Leela too interweave their versions of the truth. Yet the story never ends; the survivors are merely tired victims who must outlive every fatal tragedy.

After reading the blurb, I didn't quite know what to expect from the book, but once I started to read the book, I can proudly say that I was so engrossed in Janaki’s world that I completely lost track of the world around me.

The lives of Janaki, Leela, Amma all woven into each other’s so wonderfully that it’s hard to move into any other or even think about anything other than their lives. The sides of the same truth from all their point of views is engaging to read.

While the book grabs speed, you feel strangely connected with the characters. Written in a very lucid language all throughout, the narrating style surely grabs the readers’ attention from Page 1 to the end!

The book makes you cry, laugh, indifferent all at the same time! The book grabs any reader so much that even after finishing the whole book you feel incomplete! For this superb book of interwoven lives, I give it 5 on 5!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Sita's Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu: a review

The language of Desire, the language of every girl, of lust, of love, of want, of need, of passion; yes Sita’s Curse by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is something all women can look forward to read.

According to the back cover- Somewhere, behind closed doors, in her solitary world; somewhere, under the sheets with an indifferent lover; somewhere, is a woman who will not be denied… Trapped for fifteen years in the stranglehold of a dead marriage and soulless household domesticity, the beautiful, full-bodied and passionate Meera Patel depends on her memories and her flights of fancy to soothe the aches that wrack her body; to quieten an unquenchable need. Until one cataclysmic day in Mumbai, when she finally breaks free… bold, brazen and defiant, Sita’s curse looks at the hypocrisy of Indian Society and tells the compelling story of a middleclass Indian house-wife’s urgent need for love, respect, acceptance- and sexual fulfillment.

The torture at home, the feeling of desire, and the want for breaking free; yes the book is all about a fate of a woman. A woman’s need for love, the longing for sex! I salute the authoress for such a wonderful and bold attempt.

I liked the way the author has etched the character of Mrs.Meera Patel, the main protagonist, on behalf of all the woman of our society who long to break free, who are trapped in a bad phase of life.
All the male characters of the book, starting from Karthik to Yosuf is so relatable that any reader could feel attracted to them. The narrating style of the author is very eye-grabbing.

For me, the only drawback of the book is that the book seems a bit exaggerating and ‘too much’ revealing at parts. The writer could’ve also added a bit more ‘masala’ to the book making it more passionate to read!

I love the brave attempt by an Indian authoress for writing a book in this genre, looking forward to read more such works, I would like to give the book 4.25 out of 5 and yes ‘na hanyate hanyamane sorire’ go on all the women of the world, fly away… fly now.. forever!!

PS- This book review is under the Reader’s cosmos book review programme!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Keeping the Promises by Dhruv Gajjar: a review

Dhruv Gajjar’s Keeping the Promises is one book about which I can talk a lot at a stretch! And I also second Bhavya Kaushik (The Other side of the bed fame) in his review on the book which complements the book to be ‘intriguing, poignant and hauntingly beautiful. A heart wrenching tale which shouldn’t be missed’

On the back cover- WORDS are mightier than anything else in this world. Sometimes they serve as liaisons between two distinct hearts, and sometimes they shatter two people irreparably apart. But when they are woven into promises and hopes, they give rise to something that lasts forever. They change lives. I had almost lost myself, when she brought me back to life- with her promises. She was dying with a dreadful tumour, but she had the authority to pull those last strings that brought me back to her. She was gradually dying, and every night before going to sleep- she would take a portion of my heart, my soul and my words. She would take a promise from me every night that made me who I’m today. She gave me a new life. One of those promises was to compile this novel that took me to an eventful journey in which I discovered several people, like me, who too were keeping her promises. What were those amusing, surprising and horrendous promises that they all kept? Who else other than I were bound to her promises? Would she be able to redefine love and sacrifice with her plans? Can grief completely redefine who you are? Can a broken heart be healed? Can you fall in love with the same person all over again? Can you live and die, both at the same time? Be a part of my story, about a girl, who- through her promises, changed the lives of the people she loved, including mine. This is my journey. This is the window of my past, and the view to my future. It is yours now!

To begin with, trust me I have no idea this is fiction or a real life story. Because after reading this story, I badly wish I were a part of the characters mentioned in it. Pure is the only word that is coming out of my heart when I think of the book now.

I am not being biased or something, but as I sit here and talk about this book I have tears; not in my eyes but in my heart. Tears of both happiness and sadness! I guess, these lines are enough for me to describe what I felt about the book.

The story line is beyond commenting. However, since my work here is to review, I would rate it for the writing. On a personal font, I loved the way the writer has written three stories in one! The characterizations, the situations; yes the book is mesmerizing.

The book talks about family, love, friendship breakups, and sacrifices everything rolled into one. The book has the capability of making any reader smile and cry at the same time. The only hitch about the story I felt was that a part of it looked common.

However, a few mistakes here and there can make the readers a bit disappointed when they read the book. At one point in the book the readers can guess what will happen next and I guess the writer could’ve improvised that a bit! But, keeping everything apart, rating it a 4 out of 5, I would like to ask for a promise from all my readers, ‘please read this book’

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Love You Too* Conditions Apply by Syed Faisal: a review

Wonderful lines to describe ‘lovers’, well I am talking about debutant author Syed Faisal’s book Love you too* conditions apply! Yes, I had the same reaction as you all when I first read the title of the book. The cover manages to disclose at least the characters of the book and yes, let me warn you, the book kept me mesmerized.

On the back cover- Imaan Siddique, lands in Mumbai with the lowest notes in life and vengeance against system, social structure and professional attitude of the country and against love too. He is on an ultimatum in his office, his girlfriend has dumped him, his father has lost his post in an election in his town and he has to take care of his brother’s future and education. The vengeance inside his heart turns him a blind runner behind success and makes him to break laws. But he has to cross the barrier of his path, Nikita Modvani, a beauty as well as a talented human resource in Mumbai struggling with her cruel past seeking happiness in her present. With this constructive talent but maneuver planning he turns her to be a pawn of his success and they start to live in present, in a Live-in relationship. The combination of success and happiness constructs a boundary wall between them and the real world, the real India, between their present and their future, but then how aged this wall will be? How effectively will the combination of success and happiness work? What will happen when this wall cracks? Love you too* conditions apply is a tribute to all Indian lovers whose love stories become victim of certain tangible and intangible conditions in our country.

To start with, the blurb! For a blurb I thought it to be a bit lengthy and maybe it gave out a bit too much for the book and thus, after reading the blurb I was kind of blank. I didn't know how to react and kind of guessed it and so left it to the writer to surprise me in the book.

When I started reading it, ‘wow’, that’s the only word that came out from my mouth. The writer’s awesome description and narrating style kept me hooked to the book till the end. I was left turning the pages and actually was waiting for the end to know what happens.

For me, the cherry on the cake was the narrating style of the writer. The way, the writer had intermingled his real and fictional life is commendable. The story leaves any reader with a smile throughout the book.

Coming to think of it, the facts stated in the book were so correct that you could do nothing but agree to the author. I personally loved the tell-tale way of the book! It was worth praising when the author has tried to question the system.

The characters, Imaan, Sabina and Nikita were very much just like us and every one could actually relate to the situations they were in leading us to go deep inside the book. For lovers, yes, this book is something they should read! And something they should learn from Imaan :P

For me, the biggest downfall of the book is the editing. There were evident editing errors and that surely disturbs the flow of reading at some parts of the book. For me, the book is interesting and a very nice read but the errors mar the feel! Nonetheless, the end and the storyline leave a lasting impression on the reader! It’s 3.5 out of 5, hoping to read more from this interesting writer!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Burning Sapphires by Suresh K Goswami: a review

A story of its kind, a story that speaks for itself! Yes, this is how I would like to term Suresh K Goswami’s book Burning Sapphires! A book of excellence it is.

The story of the terror ridden valley of Kashmir, the story of a head strong woman, Shehzadi Ghulab Sahib is what this book is about. This book also shows the strength a woman can have to survive all the adversities and move ahead in life selflessly.

Yes, Ghulab didn’t do anything for herself; she did everything for the people around her. The book teaches us how to be strong and serve humanity. The way the writer has narrated the story is commendable. The thought put behind this story is worth appreciating.

The cover could’ve been a bit more attractive but the storyline makes us forget the flaws of the cover. The book is also in an easy to read font which soothes the eye and makes the reading flawless.

The descriptions of the various characters and places have been done in a very good way giving rise to the expectations of the reader and I am sure the book fulfills all the expectations all the way.

It had a few grammatical errors but they are worth ignoring! All in all, this book is one great read giving the readers a great insight on the terror ridden valleys of Kashmir and I would like to rate the book a 4 out of 5.

Friday, 9 May 2014

'I am definitely a small fish in this ocean, I hope I learn to swim' says Sowmya Aji in a tete-a-tete with Vanya's Notebook

A passionate and a head strong woman who loves to read, watch cricket and take care of her 3year old kiddo apart from being an assistant editor in Bangalore Mirror, this is Sowmya Aji’s way of living! A book in Oxford Top 10 list for quite some time, she is here to make a mark! ‘Delirium’ an interesting, nail biting read is surely ready to give the readers goose bumps! So, let’s see what Sowmya has to say about herself and of course…. Delirium ….

Vanya’s Notebook- Sowmya Aji! Well, you have a very interesting and uncommon name. If not anything then I am sure readers would be attracted to your name. Talking about names, your book ‘Delirium’ is a very unique name in itself. What were your thoughts when you chose the name for your book? How much success, according to you does a name give to a novel?

Sowmya—I find it very difficult to name my books or my short stories. Somehow, it’s very difficult to come up with intelligent ones like The Monk who sold his Ferrari or even something simple like The Three Mistakes of my life. I was just trying to capture the state of mind all my characters are in, except for the minor ones and felt that they were all in the state of Delirium which means not really conscious of what they are doing or a state of nervous excitement. The name is really important and initially my publisher HarperCollins was not very convinced that Delirium was the right name. But as my commissioning editor Neelini Sarkar put it, it kind of ‘grew on all of us’. I hope it catches the attention of the reader.

Vanya’s Notebook- Why all of a sudden this idea of a romantic thriller?

Sowmya—It’s been in the works for a while. In fact, I got the idea in 1998 and started to write. I wanted to set it around the 1996 India-Pakistan Match in Bangalore, which is what the book opens with. That match, which bowler Venkatesh Prasad turned around for India after Amir Sohail insulted him, is part of every cricket lover’s memory and history. I just did a ‘what if’… as in what if a TV reporter falls in love with a cricketer? What if there is a cricket scandal on the scale of the match fixing one at the same time? And from them, the book evolved.

Vanya’s Notebook- Your book has a character, the main male protagonist Avinash Katagi as a vice-captain of Indian cricket team who is quite a charmer as far as I have read! Was the character, his charm specifically, in any case similar to our Vice captain? Virat Kohli I mean!

Sowmya—Ha ha! When I wrote the book—completed in 2004—Virat Kohli was probably still in school! It’s not based on any actual person, its imagination! And while we are at it, Kohli is aggressive not charming, surely! J

Vanya’s Notebook- As far as I know, you write mostly about politics culture and all, cricket not being in your genre; how much research did your book need?

Sowmya—I am a cricket fan, used to be a fanatical fan. So I would read avidly and also had to interact with cricketers a bit and cover them during my TV days in 1996-2000. The way the TV industry functions is authentic for those days, and all the actions are set around 1996. I had to research a lot to ensure we didn’t get anything wrong technically and otherwise those days. For example- mobile phones had just made an appearance and were too costly to use. My cricketer hero had to own the hottest car in those days which was a Pajero... All that!! Cricket is not something I cover for work, but I do keep track of it always J and yes, I did speak of some cricketers of those days for background, but informally. The book is set in 1996 and all actions including cricket is authentic for that period.

Vanya’s Notebook- The second main character, Anjana, of your book is a Journalist just like you! Do you have any connection with Anjana? I mean, how much of you is Anjana or how much of Anjana are you?

Sowmya—I have tried to make Anju as distinct from me as possible, but she does share several of my traits. She loves coffee, hates to wake up too early in the mornings and things like that. The voice all through is also mine, and my friends tell me it’s very much like talking to me, to read the book. But the choices she makes, her actions and decisions in this book are very different from what I would do in the same situation. It’s imaginary and that’s why it’s fun! Incidentally, Anju is the main character, she is the narrator and the whole book is from her point of view. Avinash Katagi is the second main character.

Vanya’s Notebook- What is writing for you? And what if you meet someone like Avinash to woo you in real life?

Sowmya—Writing is probably my escape valve. And no, I don’t think I would like Avinash Katagi in real life, except for some of his traits like reading poetry.

Vanya’s Notebook- and the novel- Delirium are two sides of the same coin! One from Avinash’s point of view and the other from Anjana’s; which part was more interesting to write? Which was the most relatable to you?
Sowmya—I have enjoyed writing both. I hope Delirium becomes successful enough for me to turn Avinash’s blog into a full-fledged sequel J Anjana was easier as it’s a woman and a fellow journalist. AK I had to explore a bit more and research a bit more. I found it very interesting to try and think like a man J I hope I’ve succeeded…

Vanya’s Notebook- Has Avinash’s blog been a part of your marketing strategy? And what are your other marketing strategies?

Sowmya—I have been working on facebook and Twitter. My hero, cricketer Avinash Katagi has a FB page where he responds to questions, comments on on-going cricket matches, spouts some poetry of his own and so on.. There is also another page for Anjana Narendra, my heroine, the TV journalist. she will also answer questions and talk about the book and about AK, besides there, I have a page for the book itself, Delirium by Sowmya Aji, where all details of the book, the reviews and updates are posted. I am also planning to post a few sample pages there. There is also a twitter handle @AvinashKatagi, where Avinash comments and chats; I am hoping to do a Twitter chat with readers and interested book lovers at some point. I also have a personal handle @kolminchu

Vanya’s Notebook- When every second person is writing a book a few talented people at times loose the market and fail to get what they deserve! In such a market condition, how tough was it in getting a publisher?

Sowmya— It was incredibly tough, I finished the book and went to Delhi with two manuscripts (I have another unpublished novel ready in a different genre) and did the rounds of all the publishers. Nothing came of it I don’t think they even looked at it. Sometime in 2012 I accidentally met Neelini Sarkar of HarperCollins and asked her if she would take a look at the manuscript. She agreed and when she did, she said she had finished the book in one go! That has been the standard response to whoever has read the book. So, Neelini took it up and Harper Collins put it into the market on Dec31, 2013 and did a launch here in Bangalore at the Oxford Bookstore on Feb28. NDTV star reporter Maya Sharma and Former India and Ranji cricketer Vijay Bharadwaj released the book.

Vanya’s Notebook- And after everything you got Harper Collins! Yes, a big name it is! How was it working with them?

Sowmya—The experience of working with a major publishing house was interesting. I was not aware of how much work they handled on a day-to-day basis and it gave me an insight into how big the Indian Publishing industry has become. I am definitely a very small fish in this ocean, and I hope I learn to swim!

Vanya’s Notebook- Now that your book is out (finally) and hitting the stands; of course getting such a good response, reviews are pouring in, your book is in huge demand(top 10 in oxford), how are you feeling?

Sowmya—Feels great, I am so happy that so many people feel it’s an easy read and a page-turner, which have been the most common responses that I have got. I am glad that what I wrote has been received so well. I enjoyed writing it and am simply thrilled that so many people have enjoyed reading it J People are also telling me it will make a great film. I hope so and am keeping my fingers crossed.
“Did it go as your expectations?”
“I am still hoping that it will do better, but am happy with what has come in Delirium’s way so far” J

Vanya’s Notebook- What is Sowmya Aji in real life? Describe her in a few words! I mean, your hobbies, what you like to do etc!

Sowmya—I spend most of my time reading and day dreaming… most of my ME time, that is. I am mostly busy with being mom to my 3year old and my job as an assistant editor at Bangalore Mirror. My friends, however are Absolem, Elizabeth Bennett, Hamlet, Gimli, Katniss Everdeen and Dangny Taggarat.. J My passion is cricket and I still follow it as much as possible. I used to play in my college days. My other hobbies are films, theaters, music, dance and knitting J
“What about your next?”
“I have a novel already completed, called The Wall. It is an adult fantasy, with mythological, historical, social and political plot-lines, for which I am looking for a publisher. I am also working on another mass market novel like Delirium, which I have tentatively titled Cinders. And I am hoping to write the delirium sequel from AK’s point of viewJ

Vanya’s Notebook- Words for your readers and Vanya’s Notebook!

Sowmya—Writing is a very lonely professional despite all the friends in the head. Feels great to reach out to readers through your blog, which is itself very diverse and interesting. I saw short stories, poems—including by you—and I think it’s a great way to celebrate the joy of writing. Am very happy to have had this chat with you and with your readers J it made me think about what I have done so far, and what I intend to do. It’s the nice part of the lonely life J

You can get the book from:

Monday, 5 May 2014

End of story? by Arjun Shekhar: a review

A television and the interesting title of the book along with a simple bold black background is what you notice in Arjun Shekhar’s recent book End of Story? Well, the question mark in the end of the title very well keeps the reader wanting to read the book as soon as they set their eyes on it.

According to the back cover- Shukrat Ali, a newsanchor at Khulasa, the ‘tabloid’ current affairs channel, is out of job. TV channels across the country have closed down as a consequence of a Supreme Court ban on electronic advertising. An inquiry is on regarding the emergence of sinister new form of ads the media has dubbed ‘propagandas’, which uses compelling subliminal messages to subtly rewire people’s minds and influence their actions. Even as Shukrat grapples with the question: ‘How does an anchor move on?’ he is summoned to testify in the trial concerning the killing of his ex-boss, Satya Saachi Sengupta, the mysterious and towering figure in his  life, whose connections with this insidious mind manipulation scheme can no longer be denied. Being a key witness present at the scene of the crime, Shukrat must prepare to bare all before the court and tread carefully lest his testimony boomerangs on him.

The story, in the beginning seems just like a testimony, a practice of what the protagonist, Shukrat has to say in the court about his ex-boss’s death the day he is summoned. The testimony includes the happenings that lead to the death of Satya Saachi Sengupta and all the revelations.

The wonderful style the whole script is written gives a feeling of secrecy throughout the book which plays the main catalyst in the people’s minds to read through the pages word by word and eagerly wait for the end, gripping every event.

There were places in the book where to relate to certain incidents, the readers might also flip the pages backwards to ensure they haven’t missed anything and the readers are sure to be left wide eyes and open mouthed with every revelation.

My favourite character throughout the book was Shukrat’s daughter, Quayamat mostly referred to as Q in the book, mainly because I could relate to that 12 year old kid playing a very important role in the whole book.

I would actually congratulate the author for thinking such a wonderful and interesting concept and presenting it in such a way. The end is something every reader awaits for and which leaves the reader thinking “Oh My God!” for a very long time and that is, according to me, a job well done by the writer.
Apart from the ‘n’ number of positivity’s about the book, at some parts; I felt the book was a bit stretched as it gave out a bit of unnecessary information. Nonetheless, I loved every part of the book. Waiting for more to come from the writer, I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Open Letter to HT City by Rahul Kapoor

Original Article Link


Hi Sonal,


I am very impressed by your article "Mujhe Meri GF se bachao" in today's HT City and trust me you have hit the nail with it. Infact, I am impressed to an extent that I decided to take out time from my busy schedule and give you a genuine feedback of your writing.

Although, after reading your article I am sure you must be thinking right now that, "Oh really you are talking as if you are doing a favour to me by writing a feedback and troubling my inbox, as if I really care" but I would still go ahead and give you a genuine review.

Firstly, I feel happy about the fact that after this guy Rishabh jammed your inbox several times, you actually acknowledged him (when ignoring was an option) and thought about him. Somewhere down the line you also felt bad for him and made serious and very genuine efforts to simplify his life by writing this article but trust me, I just hope that his gf and her friends are not readers of HT City otherwise his situation would only become worse after this article of yours. You could have respected his call of hiding his identity and by the way the one extra letter that you have added in his name would only work if his gf is extremely extremely dumb and trust me girls are not that dumb! Infact, they intentionally try to be dumb sometimes just to appear cuter and that is perfectly fine in this manipulative world but this should tell you that they are smart and not dumb. So I just keep my fingers crossed for poor Rishabh now.

Now we will come to you article and after reading it thoroughly, I have realised that you have a very good understanding of life and believe me if guys would follow all the five points which you have mentioned in your article then their life would become very simple. Infact, if someone really really follows all the five points then he might even end up becoming the Prime Minister of this country one day. I hope you understand what I mean!

So in short, it is an honest attempt from your end to help out guys but you have only told them a way to simplify and better their lives. However, your article has only analysed life and not a relationship. So we will go through all your points one by one-

1.) STOP APOLOGISING: Guys should stop apologising to their girl for no reason. I completely agree with your point but the problem is that in a relationship, sometimes a partner likes apologising to the other. It is their own complex way of expressing their love and care for the other. It could be the guy or the girl. They kind of enjoy it and keep doing it and this makes their relationship strong. You may find no sense in it and neither do I, but those in love would understand what I mean.

Let me move to your second point and make it a little more clear to you.

2.) DON'T INDULGE TANTRUMS: Trust me and guys please raise your hands on this, guys like carrying the tantrums of their girls to an extent you can't even imagine. This "I am not talking to you”; thing has not only happened to your friends, it actually happens with a lot of guys and girls who are dating each other. They enjoy it. I will give you an example: Suppose, a BF calls her GF fat in a notorious way with a cunning smile on his face, then she really knows it and knows that he is just skillfully cuddling her and that he did not mean it and she is not that idiot to pick up a fight with him on that but she still would say "Oh really, then I am not talking to you, bye bye"  and then he will pamper her in every way possible and it will make no meaning for you but it would mean a lot for those in a relationship. That is their own complex way of expressing love and care again.

So I would sum up your first two points like this:

Although apologising and pampering a girl is wrong and I completely agree with you on that but guys do enjoy this and it makes their relationships strong and affectionate. It is very simple having alcohol and smoking is wrong but people still do it because they enjoy it so that part can't be helped. A small quote is coming to my mind here and I will say it for you. "The Biggest addiction for a human being is another human being"

Point number three

3.) Understand the Gender Bender

Nothing in this world could have made more sense than this point of yours. You said, all girls are pretty messed up in the head most of the times and I completely agree with you on this. Infact, most of the guys know this and even the girls know this too but please understand that with the kind of feminine wave which is going on in the country right now, you are extremely free to think like this but you really can't say it or write it in a newspaper. I just hope that you don't have to apologize for these remarks and don't get into any trouble for this because I understand that your intentions and points were not wrong and you were only trying to specify some natural inherent traits of girls but I am very happy that you also added these emotional swings and messy in the head things are actually the traits which make them so endearing and lovable to their partners and therefore in this point you have not only understood life but have also understood love and relationships so full marks to you for that.

Note* I have nothing against the feminine wave which is on the rise in our nation right now. Girls feel disgusted, frustrated and suppressed by the kind of incidents that take place in our country and it is a natural phenomenon who is suppressed shall rise one day. I feel disgusted by the fact that girls in our country are ill treated and I want this to end as much as any daughter of India would want it to end.

Point number four

4.) TALK IT OUT: A very good point you have made, whether it is life or relationships being quiet is not a solution. Communication gaps always hurt a relationship, so avoid them it is much better to talk it out and then to love or leave gracefully instead of sticking with uncertainty in your life. Talking it out might get good results for some and bad for others but yes it is the only solution. Full marks to you again on this point.

Last Point

5.) Love or Leave: I so much wish that people who are in a relationship would understand and follow this in their life but they don't and that is what gives birth to some extraordinary love stories. Like Hitler marrying his gf in the last few hours of his life. If she would have left him far before so there would be no love saga as such. There are many other examples in which couples actually can't follows this love or leave story and they are all around us. You know them and I know them too so anybody who wants to make his life simple would follow this suggestion of Love or Leave but those who are in love would not even understand it.

So it is all said and done now. I might share this on my FB profile also as an open letter to you based on the fact that how much time I actually have right now. The only question which is popping in your head right now is that "Is this damn guy single or in a relationship?" Well, I am a single guy that is why I could write this letter to you otherwise I would have been sipping coffee with my gf somewhere right now. (Although, I don't like coffee but it hardly matters if my gf would like it).

A little about me:

My name is Rahul Kapoor. A 23 year old guy. I work for an NGO called 'Amitasha' which gives free education to underprivileged children till class 12th. It is a very satisfying work. Please feel free to contact me and contribute to my NGO in any form if you like. I am also author of a romantic fiction novel called 'Scientist Sister Sleeping Brother'. You can buy it from any online bookstore or a bookstore near you.

You can reply if you feel like although I won't expect one and yes I do write a lot myself and I know that no matter how the feedback is whether positive or negative it is always welcomed by a writer. This is the most interesting and genuine feedback you will ever get in your life.

Take Care !!!


Rahul Kapoor