Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Hello people, imagine a scenario... A new Michelin star restaurant has opened up in your city and you have been wanting to go there since quite some time. Finally, the grand day comes and you go there for a much-awaited dinner. But, lo behold, instead of enjoying a magnum opus culinary experience, you come back with a feeling of cheated out and being totally in the pits...The reason is very simple: you chose the wrong dishes!!
I am facing the same predicament this time. Orhan Pamuk is a name that needs no introduction in the literary world. He is an institution by himself and is a winner of the Nobel prize. He is often compared to the likes of Charles Dickens and other great literary legends. I am not exaggerating in my claim when I say that this was one author whom I really really wanted to read. I was super excited to finally get hold of an Orhan Pamuk book.
But my excitement did not even last the first 100pages!!!
Saying that I was feeling low, as a result, would be an understatement. Since the book is almost 720 pages, I was not willing to give up and was hoping that the story would pick up sometime soon...but somehow I just could not rebuild the excitement or the feeling of being able to relate to the characters of this novel and it was all downhill since then...
However, that's not to say that "The Museum of Innocence" is a bad book. Its an exceptional writing by Pamuk. He has written this book from his heart and as you go through it, you realize the awesome research put in by him to bring alive a certain era and its people, the society, the culture, and the way people conducted themselves during that period.
It is a simple story with beautiful insights into human psychology, human behavior and societal norms at large.
The central characters here are Kemal and Fusun, two people who are soulmates but are not able to spend their lives together owing to destiny. Pamuk tells us the story in Kemal's voice( first person's account) in a very moving manner making the reader experience the various ups and downs faced by these lovers in their lives. Kemal's love for Fusun makes him at times appear desperate, arrogant, rude, obsessive, spineless, and selfish. But one characteristic typical throughout the book was his love for Fusun, however flawed. His actions, his decisions were all centered around his one desire and that was to marry Fusun.
I could not for the most part of the story relate to the character of Kemal and his behavior. I found it very weird the way he used to collect things used by her, like cigarette stubs, her earrings, and so on. Initially, he would steal them when no one was watching and later deliberately, asking for them.
What was different (at least for me) in this story was the manner in which Orhan Pamuk comes at the end of the story as himself, an author who agrees to write a book on Kemal and Fusun's story from Kemal's point of view in his voice. It makes the story seem real and factual.
I have learned a few notable truths about me, the reader from this Orhan Pamuk book and they are:
  • In my role as a self-proclaimed voracious reader, I now lack in patience. To be able to keep my interest alive through almost 700pages was almost an ordeal.
Conclusion: I should check the number of pages and only then lay my hands on a book.
I must be sounding a lunatic who does not understand books at all but this was not always the case. In fact, one of my all-time favorite authors is Ayn Rand and we all know how thick her books are!!
  • I am not very high on reading long descriptions. Even when I was younger I would skip all sorts of descriptions and that habit is still there. This trait happens quite naturally, almost like second nature - skipping long descriptions!!
  • I should in the future ask fellow book lovers about their experiences about a particular author/ book and then dip my hands in it!!
( This is more of an advice to myself than a point of self-discovery)
  • The most important point is that I should first read the author's most popular books and then go on to read the lesser known ones. In this way, I will ( in an ideal situation) not be disillusioned or disheartened by the hype generated around a particular book.
Finally, I would like to say that everyone has their tastes and I am sure there are many who love this book. But this one just did not do it for me!!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


A New York girl, Amy meets a Missouri boy, Nick-both writers( one compiles quizzes in women's magazine and the other is a journalist) -they fall in love- get married- recession hits and they both lose their jobs- they decide and return to Missouri- marriage takes a bad turn- fights, and tantrums and blame games and silent treatment- fifth anniversary day- wife disappears under mysterious circumstances- husband looks pretty indifferent, relaxed and calm for someone whose wife is missing- obviously, fingers point in his direction with pieces of evidence being found out proving him to be the prime suspect- Nick, as expected denies all charges-says he is being framed.
But the big question is whether this is the true and full story...


We all know that just like every coin has two sides, so does a story, even if it is what the crime shows call an "open and shut" case.

Is Amy really missing or is she hiding somewhere or if she has been kidnapped??
Or is there something much more sinister?? Is there someone trying to frame Nick in his wife's disappearance??

This is the plot of the latest thriller by Gillian Flynn.

I started the book with an inherent skepticism of one, who has read many many books, thinking that I will be able to nail the story within 100pages and yes, I even assumed to have unearthed the real story by the time I hit the 49th page. But as I reached the 100th page I realized I was very very wrong and that I could never become a good sleuth aka Sherlock Homes or closer home, a Byomkesh Bakshi or a Karamchand:-):-):-)

This thriller is addictive and makes you want to finish the story fast so you can find the ultimate end( although not an easy task as its a 400+ pages book with a small font). But it is never boring or dull. Flynn has made it interesting with lots of monologues, dialogues, witty one-liners, lots of twists and turns, lots of interesting anecdotes, and detailed character analysis.

There are all the characters, typical in a thriller, present here too :
A missing sweet wife, a husband who is a prime suspect, a very supportive sister Go, supportive but slightly wary in-laws, neighbours who do not trust Nick at all, cops who play the good cop/bad cop, media trying to mileage the maximum TRP out of it, a couple of ex's and an omnipresent social media!!

At times I felt that Flynn was dragging the story and could have made it more crisp with a few more edits but the last 50-60 odd pages make it all up leaving me with just one expression, "Neat!! "

A good thriller that makes for an interesting read and at least to me was unputdownable. So I finished it really fast ignoring my precious sleep and my favorite Pakistani dramas!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

BOOK REVIEW : The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafaq

ESCAPIST: A term often used to describe me, as I am always with my head deep down in a book and that too mostly fiction. In my defense, I will quote my friend, another so-called Escapist. He said, " Because I read fiction  I am able to understand and grasp reality better because of my mind's duality to relate to both imagination and reality with equal ease!!". How I wish everyone felt the same and would never criticize me for my books.

I agree that my books help me to escape into another world altogether, but, the point is that it may not always be a paradise or a fantasy land where I take shelter. There are books which make you sit straight and push you to look deep inside you, to face your demons and even guide to slay them!!
Then there are some that question your beliefs and makes you step out of your comfort zone and face the bigger truth!!

Elif Shafaq's "The Bastard of Istanbul" is one such book and you too can get hold of this book by simply clicking on the given link: https://amzn.to/2RFPe1C

I happened to chance upon this book in a local bookshop and the synopsis was so intriguingthat I had to buy the book.

Shafaq has written a beautiful story about the complexities of the human nature in the backdrop of the mesmerizing city of Istanbul and it's history, which is, in turn, fascinating, fearsome, tragic, and heroic. A history that is very rich and vibrant yet tainted by the horrific Armenian Genocide in the year 1915 under the Ottoman regime( the Turkish government till date does not acknowledge it as genocide but terms it as a consequence of the civil unrest which claimed many lives, both on the Armenian side as well as the Turkish side).

This story revolves around the Kazanci family who has been living in Istanbul for many generations. Owing to a mysterious family curse, all the Kazanci men die in their early forties, so the Kazanci household is a house of women. Four generations of women live together under the same roof, with temperaments, religious affinity, nature and way of living, so different from one another, that it's almost a miracle to see them all living together in harmony, albeit unsynchronised and imperfect!! Asya, a young girl, 4th generation Kazanci woman, is a bag of contradictions, a rebel but with her heart in the right place. On the other hand is Armanoush, half Armenian and half American born and brought up in America but always finds herself on the threshold and feels that there is a link missing that stops her from being a part of either the American or the Armenian culture fully. She decided to go to Istanbul in search of that missing link and goes to stay with her far-away cousins, the Kazancis. The two girls meet, saddled with pre-conceived notions about each other's religion and community. However, over the days they get to understand each other's perspective, helping them to view the past in a new light, thus bringing the girls closer.

What I really liked about this book is the honest and nonjudgemental portrayal of a country and it's varied people. Shafaq has written on a subject close to her heart and has tried her best to keep the story as real as possible without taking sides or indulging in any blame-game pertaining to Turkey's turbulent past.

Another thing that really appealed to me is the beautiful description of Istanbul. I actually got to visualize its streets, the market, the beautiful houses, the weather, and the pungent whiff of the sea through Shafaq's passionate writing.

Shafaq has written in her acknowledgment( at the end of the book) that she was put on trial for " denigrating Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, because of some words were spoken by the Armenian characters in this novel. The charges were eventually dropped. I am in awe of such authors who stand for the truth and not hesitate to stand up against all odds for what they righteously believe in. May their tribe increase!!

Friday, 22 August 2014


Do you remember the movie LOVE LOVE LOVE starring Salman Khan and Revathi?? That movie had a scene where Revathi goes to watch a movie with her friends to a theatre ( those days theatre meant single screen movie halls) and she asks the torch-man at the entrance whether the movie has started and the fellow replies that the commercials are being aired right now. Immediately, she rushes in, saying that, commercials are the main attraction of the movie and she doesn't want to miss even a single commercial!!!!
Well, I was like that,growing up in the 80's and 90's. I used to love advertisements and would say aloud the dialogues or sing the jingle whole day long, which really annoyed my mom. We grew up watching commercials that spoke of the values, the mindset that was prevelant then,like respecting our elders or never answering back to our elders or listening to our elders- simple rules which were drilled into us.
Hmmm... Now the times have truly changed and the commercials reflect the change a tad too well.
I have lined up a couple of today's popular commercials for my personal dissection. Let's see whether you all agree with my assessment or not. So here we go:
Garnier Fructis Shampoo + Oil -
This commercial shows a mother asking her young daughter to apply oil on her hair. The girl, a typical teenager hates putting oil and in trying to avoid this issue locks herself in the bathroom and mimicks her mother, while the mother is shown standing outside the washroom nagging the girl. Then the ad people show that the girl has grown up and has long beautiful hair, all thanks to the new  Garnier shampoo which has oil in it and not because of the ordinary hair oil.
On the front of it, the commercial is pretty ok and a very average one too. But if you look closely you will find certain elements which are not in the correct light. What I found objectionable here is the part where the girl locks herself in the bathroom to avoid her nagging mother and mimicks her. I find it to be very rude and an ill-mannered gesture. The best part is if such ads are aired on prime viewing time, children are bound to pick up such gestures , thinking it's all very cool as the model does it too on the television.  I am fully aware that avoiding parents, not listening to them, ignoring them - are all common occurrences which do happen when children reach adolescence, but do we really want our children to learn all about it from watching commercials?????
Chocolate Horlicks -
This advertisement is filmed on children posing as some great historical figures, who hated milk because it was just plain old milk. But today's gen y children love milk as they have chocolate horlicks to add to their milk, which makes it all the more interesting.
This commercial is very annoying. Our so-called intelligent admen here, are trying to suggest that milk in itself is bad to taste and is just not fit to be drunk. But you can transform that same milk into a very delicious drink, if you add chocolate horlicks in it. Is it not portraying a completely wrong and biased view on our children. One very valid query- how do you know that Einstein or Alexander or Akbar did not like milk or that they never had plain milk??? Exaggerating the positive qualities of one's product is one thing but to lie outrighly and to make such baseless assumptions is completely unethical. Moreover not only is the content of this particular commercial very dumb, even it's jingle is very very irrritating.
Parle -G biscuits -
This advertisement shows a group of children playing in the compound in the evening, when a man driving a car asks them to guide him in parking his car. He tells them to warn him when the car is about to hit the wall and the children play a practical prank on him and shout out only when the car hits the wall.
I will not be exaggerating if I claim this advertisement to be one of the worst ever aired on television. How can you get away with a commercial which shows such obnoxious children who would rather laugh and make fun of a man,almost their father's age, instead of helping him. And how can the G which stands for Glucose become Genius. Is this biscuit brand claiming that one can only become a genius by eating their biscuits. One more thing, who defines "genius"????
Alpenliebe Spicy-
This commercial shows a woman asking for directions to a bunch of children and they show off their tattoos on the pretext of directing her and instead misguide her. She realises it in the end and instead of scolding them, joins them as she is very impressed by the cool tattoos and gets it done on her arm too.
Another stupid dumb advertisement with children acting too smart for their own good. Just Imagine this scenario in real life and then tell me would you be amused at such idiotic antics of the children or would you not loose your cool and scold them for wasting your time and having a good laugh at your expense. Now again imagine a second scenario where these children grow up and practice what they did in their childhood in their adulthood i.e playing pranks on others to while away the time. Is this what we want our children to ape from television commercials, which they will definitely copy, if not intentionally then unintentionally!!!!
These are a few commercials which totally disgust me, especially now that my girls are growing up, making me more aware of all that is wrong around us!!!
I am sure there must be many more such commercials which have slipped for my radar. So if you remember any such advertisement please share them with us here. I would love to hear from all of you what you think about this post. 

Monday, 18 August 2014


There are authors and there are AUTHORS, whom you have to read atleast once in your lifetime to feel those goosebumps up your arms, completely mesmerised by their story, their way of writing and are enthralled by the places such authors take you to, and that too by the sheer magic of their words. 
It must be very clear to you all by now that I am completely in awe of the great author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I got to know about Marquez only after the news of his death appeared in the Telegraph( our local newspaper ). There was a beautiful write-up about him and his various books. I was so impressed by the article that I decided to read atleast one of his books to find out if it is as good as the journalist claims it to be. It took me almost three months to get hold of this book and I have to say that I had to eat the humble pie as this book proved to be much much more than what the journalist had written about. 
Before I get carried away in my praises for the novel and it's author, let me tell you very quickly about its story. 
The story is set in a fictional 19th century South American port city. Fermina Daza is a young pretty girl, daughter of Lorenzo Daza, a mule driver, who is involved in many illegal tradings. Florentino Ariza, is the illegitimate son of Transito Ariza and Don Pius V Loayza. They fall in love with each other in their youth and exchange many love letters. The affair continues even after her father gets to know about it and she rebels. But suddenly one fine day,she realises that she does not love Florentino and that they are practically strangers,inspite of exchanging letters for more than two years. She moves ahead in life and marries a young, promising,highly qualified and respected doctor, Juvenal Urbino. They spend half a century together till a fateful day when Dr.Urbino dies while trying to save his pet parrot. Meanwhile, Ariza suffering from unrequited love, finds solace in the arms of a series of females, while claiming in his heart to be still waiting for his one true love, Fermina. The story takes an interesting turn when Florentino proposes to Fermina once again,after her husband passes away. Whether Fermina accepts his proposal at this juncture in their lives, is to be read and seriously people, I cannot play a spoilsport by disclosing the way this story ends. 
When I started this book I was under the impression that it is a sentimental story about the power of true love but gradually I realised that this story is much more and is just not one dimensional. Garcia Marquez himself had said in an interview on this book, "You have to be careful not to fall into my trap". 
This book is basically about the different types of love we experience in the course of a lifetime. Love need not always be the gooey-lovey feeling between a man and a woman and at the same time it need not be true and pure and an all encompassing feeling. In the case of married couples, most of the time, it is a feeling which is created or rather an illusion of this feeling is created, after spending decades with someone, as in the case of Juvenal Urbino and Fermina Daza. "It is incredible how one can be happy for so many years in the midst of so many squabbles, so many problems, damn it, and not really know if it was love or not", said Fermina to Florentino, when talking about her five decade long marriage to Urbino. Another kind of love spoken here is the love of a doting mother, Transito Ariza for her son, Florentino. We also see here the love of Lorenzo Daza for her daughter, Fermina, which was pure though selfish in its own way. Dr. Urbino had married Fermina not because he loved her, but because he liked her arrogance, her strength but he firmly believed that there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love, after they had kissed for the first time. Then we have Florentino Ariza - he claims that Fermina is his true love and is determined to earn status and lots of money to win Fermina back, even though she is happily married to Dr. Urbino, but at the same time he has a series of affairs with many a delighted woman. Infact, in his obsession for Fermina and his never satiating lust, he misses out on the true love of Leona Cassiani, who loved and cared for him dearly, though they never made love. Marquez has even shown Florentino having an affair with a young America Vicuña, a mere 14 year old girl whose family had entrusted her to Florentino as her guardian while she was sent to his town to study secondary education. An old man having an affair with a girl, good enough to be his grandchild was a very big put off for me and almost made me hate this character. 
Barring this disgusting section, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book . 
Infact I really found certain dialogues written by Marquez to be very interesting and true in its sense. 
One such dialogue is, " The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast", said by Dr. Urbino. 
Another of my favourites is, " It was not possible to live together in any other way, or love in any other way, and nothing in this world was more difficult than love." 
Another sample, Fermina said this, " The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror; the problem in married life is learning to overcome boredom."

Monday, 14 July 2014


Hello everyone, I have been bitten by a bug - the SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS bug. So I thought of using this platform to air my views on topics which are bothering me.
People, do not get confused with the title of the post. I am not asking you a question, it's just that this uniform thing has been going on in my mind since the last 10days and today I finally decided to share with you my anti-uniform thoughts.
In simple terms, wearing uniforms leads to uniformity, creates a feeling of belonging and oneness, especially among the students of a particular school. But frankly, I think it is a sham and nothing more than that. The degree of discrimination found in today's schools is phenomenal. The reasons for this strong observation are : 
  1. Discrimination starts at the very entrance of the school where we can see children getting out of cars to enter the school premises. One can find a plethora of cars, ranging from the Maruti to Nano to a Mercedes or a BMW, all engaged in a nameless competition. If nothing else, the young children learn the difference between a long car and a small car, and sometimes even insisting on a car similar to their friend's. I have the first-hand experience in this. Vamika was around five when she insisted on going to school in a long silver car just like the one her best friend's father had. We had a tough time making her understand her first lesson on money based discrimination. 
  2. Now if this is not enough, there is a major traffic problem as a result of these extra cars on the road every morning and afternoon. I pity the traffic police who have to face this on a daily basis. Not only do these cars create a catastrophic traffic situation every day, but they also add to the parking woes in the areas surrounding the school. 
  3. Corruption is an unwanted yet a "very much prevalent" outcome of traffic and parking problems created by these extra cars on the road. Trust the majority of the car drivers to pay extra to the parking attendants to allow double parking, who in turn pay the traffic police who turn a blind eye to the ongoing rampant mockery of the law. This is like a vicious circle which just does not seem to have a loophole.
  4. A very common sight outside the schools in our city is students holding placards and shouting "NO HORN" every morning, a part of the Noise Pollution awareness drive done by schools in order to sanitize the students as well as the parents about the alarming noise pollution. But frankly speaking, this is completely futile. The reason being simple: too many cars lead to traffic jams which in turn leads to traffic police stopping the cars for prolonged period at the various junctions near the school leading to delay in reaching the school on time which leads to the drivers honking consistently in trying to make way leading to utter and hopeless chaos every single school day.
  5. Then again we have the PTM or the parent-teacher meet where the so-called famous parents are gushed and fussed over and profusely thanked by the teachers and the administration staff for taking out time to visit the school. As if, the parents of other students are sitting idle at home and are not worth the gratitude and respect of the school authorities.
  6. Now comes the turn of birthdays. In spite of the school clearly stating that only chocolates are to be distributed in the class and that too not worth more than ₹10, there are children distributing chocolates worth up to almost ₹20 and then there are even instances, where gifts worth ₹100-₹150 are distributed in the class.
  7. Another point that comes to my mind while discussing this topic is the amazing range of stationery, accessories and other paraphernalia which students these days carry to school. The watches, the pencil boxes, tiffins, water-bottles, and school bags are all so divinely attractive that even I, at times get tempted and carried away. So how can I blame the children, if on seeing their peers bringing such awesome stuff insist their parents on buying them similar stuff irrespective of whether they can afford it or not? In relation to this point, I would say kudos to those school authorities who have introduced the rule under which all students have to buy all their stationery and accessories from the school itself.
  8. The last point that I think is worth mentioning here is that when we have children getting out of long cars or distributing expensive gifts on birthdays or whose parents are the so-called famous people of the city, this by itself prompts the teaching and the administrative staff of that particular school to treat them slightly different from the other regular students.
Now my question is whether this is just me going paranoid or feeling insecure about something very trivial or am I right in my concern about a matter which is clearly going out of our hands??? This is something which I am sure, all of us have been through, either directly or indirectly.
It would be all the more interesting if you all could write about your experiences or views on this topic and I would really love to be proven wrong. And if nothing else please share this page on facebook, your WhatsApp group or even tweet it... thanks!!!

Friday, 4 July 2014


I have had this book with me since the past three years but the excitement or shall I say thrill in holding a new book and reading it was just not there. Hence this book was lying in the book shelf gathering dust. Around two weeks back when I was desperately looking for something to read, I found this book and this time the two of us( the book and I ) connected from the word go and I really enjoyed this journey, with the author guiding me all along. 
Lisa Jewell has written a charming story of a young girl named Elizabeth and how her life changes when she leaves the quiet island of Guernsey( a small island on the English Channel off the coast of Normandy) and goes to live in Soho, London to hunt a mysterious lady named Clara Pickle who is a beneficiary in her grandmother's will.
It's a simple story written in a simple language which is easy to read and is a typical leisure read. 
But having said that I have to say that I really enjoyed this light read. With so many things happening in my life I was just not ready for any serious reading and this book met its purpose as I could totally unwind myself loosing in the story. 
The most interesting part of the storyline  is that it runs parallel in two eras. London, especially the Soho district of the 1920's and the present day. Though I detested history in school( please people, do not be shocked) I seriously enjoy reading about it when it comes beautifully packaged in the form of novels. I mean which child of the 80's would not hate history-it was so bland. But the novels are a different  cateogary all together. It talks about historical facts adding a healthy dose of fictional characters to talk about the past and making it easier for me to understand and enjoy. 
The story line has an nice twist towards the end making it a happy ending( I love books with happy ending - my belief that atleast someone, even if it's a fictional character has a happily ever after kind of ending!!! - dumb, u say, but, that's me)
But what really made me like this book was the mesmerising picture portrayed by Lisa of the Soho area in the 1920's. To be there at that time in the thick of events - must be simply amazing!! I could see myself wearing those beautiful clothes, getting my hair and face all made up going to attend those fun musical nights and hanging out with the "it" crowd in those exotic clubs. And the best part was to be an independent woman, on her own, earning and living the life of her dreams - picture perfect. Though the picture did get marred later but to enjoy those few months. Wow!!!
I will not call this book a must read but yes it can definitely be read once to enjoy the Soho of the 1920's and also to admire the dedication, time and interest spent by a young Elizabeth to find the mysterious Clara Pickle for her grandmother Arellete, and while on the trail, discover herself and the things that are important to her in the long run.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Three Most Scandalous Books read by Me : The Alchemy Of Desire by Tarun J Tejpal


The third and last book in my list of the three scandalous books which I have read.
On the front of it this book seemed to me pretty ordinary with the story revolving around a young married couple who truly love each other and how a chance finding of a trunk load of personal diaries  belonging to an English lady living in India prior to our independence, changes their lives forever.
But when you start reading the book you are taken by surprise by the explicit sexual content of the story. This was exactly my reaction on reading  such graphic scenes by an Indian author and that too from someone like Mr.Tejpal ( I am sure I must be sounding like a prude, but this was my first and honest reaction to the book!). I have definitely read books worse than this but this book was a bit of a shock for me as the sexual content made me a tad bit uncomfortable and I was not able to sync it with the story.
I have written a post about this book earlier and in it I have praised the story and Mr.Tejpal's way of writing. I have been and am still pretty impressed by the topics chosen by him and the way he has moulded his stories be It the Alchemy of Desire or The Valley of Masks to keep the reader engrossed in the story. He is undoubtedly a master storyteller but I was not comfortable with the way sex was used in the story. It seemed kind of forcefully added to the story and not being a part of the story.
I was once discussing this book with a cousin of mine and I told  him that even though I have read many scandalous books of many genres since I was a teenager but this book had the ability to stun me even now, when I thought I was mature enough to read any sexual content without it affecting me.
Overall it is an interesting read if one can get over the sexual content and enjoy the story of a young couple who though are financially very weak but are very happy to be with each other.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Three Most Scandalous Books read by Me : The Grey series by E.L.James

This is my second entry in the list of my three most scandalous books.
The Grey Series needs no introduction, rather I should say that it is one of the most over hyped books which was published in the last five years. This is one book which was preceded by it's sheer publicity and controversies even before it was released in India. I had read about it so much in the newspapers that the moment it was available in my city ,I went and brought all three.
I finished the  first book - Fifty Shades of Grey in two days flat, with almost two sleepless nights in tow. This was because this book was unputdownable. I am not saying that I loved the book but one really could not help but keep turning the pages to find how it all ends in the first part of the trilogy. The whole setup of a BDSM relationship in the form of a story and glorifying the act by saying that in psychiatrist's terminology BDSM relationship is not sadism or a mental disorder but is another way of having a consensual relationship is way out of my league. Hence I had this morbid pull for the book and I had to finish it fast.  The way the female character, Anastasia was introduced to this relationship by the central character Christian Grey was very shocking and the Red Room with its sexual toys was just unpalatable for me. It felt very demeaning to me as a woman and I was utterly confused as to why would a sensible woman even try such a thing.
When Anastasia walks out of Christian's life in the end of part one, I immediately started the second part- Fifty Shades Darker to see how the story moves ahead. But this time since I was more knowledgeable and knew what to expect, I skipped certain parts and moved ahead with the main story and similarly read the last part too- Fifty Shades Freed.
There is one thing which I realised after reading the entire series is that whatever people say, a book will not sell if it lacks a proper story, irrespective of all the sexual content you put in. This theory applies in the Grey Series too.
This is a story of a young girl who finds the love of her life, but, instead of being a white knight in a shining armour, Christian is a normal man who has his flaws and a terrible past which makes him very fearful of love and commitment. It is a tale of two young people who endeavour to fight and slay their personal  demons to spend their lives with each other, happily ever after.
I am not justifying the book or defending the heavy sexual content, all I am saying is that if we try and read the book and look at it beyond all explicit content, this story can be like any other lovestory, full of ups and downs, misunderstandings, ego clashes but a happily ever after in the end.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Three Most Scandalous Books read by Me : Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann

This was the first dirty or rather should I say trash in fiction which I read and that too when I was just 15 years old. I know that girls far younger than what I was, read trash these days but this was way back in the mid nineties and I was growing up in a small town called Guwahati, where things were really simple and I had a very sheltered upbringing. So this book was a very big shock for me, in terms of the story, the sexual content and even the dialogues. And the best part was that I had stolen this book from the attic during the pre Diwali cleaning. Should I be ashamed of myself for stealing and reading such a book? Some might say yes, but I do not agree. I was very curious to read such a book and that's what I did, though, I did not enjoy it much. I was rather very shocked and shaken up on reading this book, as till then all I had read was Enid Blyton, P.G.Wodehouse and a few Nancy Drews here and there.
I was not comfortable about this whole incident and later I confessed my crime to my mom but she surprisingly took it very lightly. Hence, I have never felt any guilt about it.
Now let's talk about the story- the story is set in the seventies era and the central character is a young girl, January Wayne, daughter of a big-time Broadway producer. The entire story revolves around her and how she grows up in this misleading and confusing glamorous world. January is very very fond of her father but not in a daughterly manner, it is more of incest here.( This was shock no.1 for me). Then there is her stepmother who is having a roaring lesbian affair with a middle aged movie actress( shock no.2 for me). Scenes full of drug abuse and explicit sexual content was like "the cherry on the icing" in my shock intake. 
Now when I think of this book, all the content which shocked the innocent me seems very dated and boring. But at that time I was truly scandalised and firmly believed to have grown up with a full understanding of how the world operates, after reading this one dirty book. 
Once is Not Enough is a typical no brainer and I would not read it, now at this age, even if I had nothing else to do. I would rather watch trash then read trash.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Three Most Scandalous Books read by Me

This is a very interesting topic and I have been thinking of writing on this for quite sometime. Infact this idea popped in my mind while putting together the top ten favourite books list. I even discussed it with Sri ( my partner in all crazy things- be it reading trash or watching Pakistani serials on YouTube) and Sri being Sri loved the idea and gave me the go-ahead. So here I am with my latest list of the three most scandalous books I have read, till date.
I was a very boring, obedient and a  completely non adventurous child who enjoyed being in everyone's good books,  to the extent that I was probably the only girl in my batch who had not read a single mills and boon by the time I reached class 10, and only because I was very scared of my mom and did not want to be scolded by her. But having said that I would like to add here that though I had not read any trash till then but my curiosity for reading it was very high and this lead to my first brush with a dirty book.
I have read these three books at different junctures of my life and each has been quite an experience.
I am going to post one book each for the next three days and would really enjoy reading your comments on it.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


"Variety is the spice of life"- how often have we heard this saying, I am sure it's more often than can we count or remember. Though I totally agree with this saying but being a typical Taurean, I hate experimentation and am slow in adapting to any new change. This trait of mine comes to the forefront, especially when it comes to books I enjoy to read. My comfort zone is fiction, but, even in fiction,I stick to my known genres, namely, romance, drama etc with a factual book thrown in between. But I am forced to change and this is happening all due to my blog - my passion. I am now trying to read different types of books, albeit at my own comfortable pace.
Dance Dance Dance is my sincere attempt in reading a surreal metaphysical pulp fiction ( whatever that means!!)
Let us first talk about the storyline and the main characters of this book : the story is in first person and the narrator/main character is a middle aged ordinary man, who lives a very spartan life and is trying to make ends meet. He is in a constant search for something that will make him feel reconnected to this world/society and while on this search,he comes across many people, especially women of various age groups and has conflicting feelings for all of them. The story moves seamlessly from the present to the past and to the surreal world lying between reality and the dream world. There are many subplots to the main story which add to the feeling of surrealism and also take the reader away from the main story but Murakami does try and make all the loose ends meet in the end.
When I started this book I made a promise to myself that I would read this book slowly giving the story, time to sink unto me ,so that I could understand and relate to it better. But to be honest I could not keep up the promise for long. I tried to be a patient reader for the first 150 odd pages but after that I had had it. This was way too confusing for me. I just could not understand the connection of the surreal with the real everyday world. I found the narrative to be very vague and disconnected at some places and just could not keep up with the author and his fantasy land. Though, there were some parts which I really enjoyed reading especially the part when the narrator meets the clairvoyant Yuki, a 13 year old girl who is not looked after by either of her parent and is often left to her own defences. She is not only a psychic but is also extra ordinarily beautiful which makes her stand out of the crowd and as such she is never comfortable in the company of people.
I was starting to understand the story by the time I had finished almost 200 pages but again the story confounded me in the end and I was left thinking, "is that all?"
I am sure that I am not going to be adventurous in my choice of books, not in the near future at least and would recommend this book only to those, who enjoy reading surrealistic modern metaphysical fiction (again, whatever that means!!!)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014



This is my tenth entry in the list of my favourite top ten books. 
I love John Grisham, firstly because he writes the most amazing legal stories in a very simple and understandable format and secondly because I personally find him very good looking.
In my higher secondary school days, I would first check out his photograph on the last page of his every novel, before even reading the synopsis of the story.
The first book of his which I read was The Pelican Brief, when I was 16 years old, but at that time I did not understand the story at all and felt that it was written in some alien language. But in those days since all my cousins were reading John Grisham, in order to save my face, I continued reading his books. Slowly I got a hang of Grisham's style of writing and have become an ardent fan of his, since then.
Though I enjoyed reading all his books, my favourite is The Partner.
This is a story about a lawyer named Patrick Lanigan who masterminds his own death, steals $90 million from the law firm where he works, changes his name and goes off into hiding. The best part of the book is that even after getting caught, how he wiggles himself from the clutches of the law system to be a free man once again. The story has an interesting twist in the end but I cannot be a spoiler for all of you, who have not read the book.
What I love about this story, particularly, is the way  Patrick does all the meticulous planning, strategizing and how everything works out so smoothly in his favour in the end.
I found the story to be gripping, fast paced and clever.

Monday, 5 May 2014


This is my ninth entry in the list of my favourite top ten books. 
 Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler- do I need to write anything else in the favour of this epic historical romance novel.This book is the first and last novel published by Margaret Mitchell in her lifetime.It depicts the experiences of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in after the American Civil War.
 All the characters in this story are rich and lively, the descriptions are colorful and flourishing without taking away from the actual storyline.Moreover the complexities of the characters are amusing, frustrating and heartbreaking.One can be rest asssured that all our emotions will be visited while reading this book.
Scarlett and Rhett :these two strong characters and their chemistry, their egos, their love, their fights, their  attitude, their anger, their differences are a delight to be read, in the backdrop of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era. 
This is one book which I had to read more than once to understand the story, the complexities of the character and to fully understand what it was to be alive and struggling for mere survival in those war-torn times.
Though the plot at times feels to be dragging, but the overall story's impact is so powerful that one cannot help but love this epic novel.

Sunday, 4 May 2014


 This is my eight entry in the list of my favourite top ten books. Ayn Rand is too great an author and I am in no position to talk about her style of writing. One has to read her books to understand her ideologies, her way of thinking, her way of life.
 This book is written with Architecture as it's backdrop. Howard Roark is an architect who, inspite of being a brilliant architect is willing to live his life in obscurity rather than compromise on his principles and his vision. Roark is a man of integrety and open mindset, who refuses to bow down to the societal norms of tradition-worship and instead chooses a lifelong battle against the society to practice architecture as he seems correct. 
Howard Roark is my absolute favourite fictional male character. I just love everything about him- his love for Dominque, his dedication towards his work, his friendship with Gale Wynand, his relationship with Peter Keating.
Roark is Rand's embodiment of what she believes to be the ideal human spirit, and his struggle reflects Rand's personal belief that individualism trumps collectivism.
Though this list of my favourite books is not in any partcular order, but I have to admit that this book, The   Fountainhead, is my absolute all-time favourite book. The first time I read this book, I was 19 and even today, after so many years, if I am free and have a reading urge then this is the book which I read. I must have read this book endless times but the unique thing about this story is that everytime a new aspect of the story unfolds before me making the whole experience new, once again for me.

Saturday, 3 May 2014


This is my seventh entry in the list of my favourite top ten books. This one is also a romantic, mushy novel which I totally love. I was introduced to this beautiful novel by Farheen, a very very dear friend of mine. We were roommates in a paying guest accommodation in Bangalore, where I was studying for my B.com degree and Farheen was studying law. I finished this book in one day flat beacuse I just could not put it down. 
The story is about a married but lonely housewife who falls in love with a photographer visiting Madison County and has a short four day affair with him. The varied emotions that these two characters go through in the course of the story is very believable and touches my heart whenever I read this book. Though the  lady is genuinely in love with this nomadic photographer, yet she refuses to leave the town with him because of her duty and responsibility towards her husband and her children.
The scene where the photographer is leaving the town and the female's anguish and delimna in doing what is ethically and morally right, is very touching and always brings tears to my eyes. What a poignant love story!
Romantic novels have always attracted me and I am one of those females, who would definetely pick up a love story rather than a thriller or a murder mystery or a science fiction. Hence this one had to be added to my favourite list.

Friday, 2 May 2014


This is my sixth entry in the list of my favourite top ten books.
What do I write about this cult novel? This book is the mother of all love stories. I absolutely adore this book.The first time I read this novel, I was around 17years old and was not able to undertsand the depth of emotions present in this thin book. I again read this book around 5 years back, and I was totally moved by this tragic yet beautiful romantic story. 
 It is the tale of two college students whose love enables them to overcome the adversities they face in life. Oliver Barrett IV, a Harvard jock and heir to the Barrett fortune and legacy, and Jennifer Cavilleri, the quick-witted daughter of a Rhode Island baker.Though they come from two very different world, they are immediately attracted to each other and their love deepens.After graduation they get married against the wishes of Oliver's father who breaks away all the ties with his only son.Without the financial support of his father, Oliver and Jennifer have to struggle to pay for his degree from the Harvard Law College. As a result Jennifer has to forego her music career and take up the job of a teacher in a private school.
 The story of Jenny and Ollie is a story of two young people who come from two separate worlds and are joined together in the unlikeliest of ways.But inspite of all the hardships and differences, their love never diminishes, rather, it increases with each passing day, so much that they are able to understand what the other is feeling without the actual verbal expression.
 I have read this book endless times, yet even today, I cry profusely when Jennifer(Jenny) dies in the end and Oliver walks out in the cold outside the hospital, where his father meets him and says sorry. Upon which Oliver replies, "Love means never having to say you're sorry..." and breaks down in his father's arms.
This book is my solace whenever I am feeling low or sad. No wonder this book features in my top ten list of favourite books.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


This is my fifth entry in the list of my top ten favourite books. Yes, it is a mills and boon novel but I had to add it to my favourite list. My first mills and boon novel and that too by Lee Wilkinson. What a combination! Most of you, I believe, hate these books and refer to them as trash but I have to admit, I love my trash and reading theses books relaxes me. Mills and Boon books are simple, uncomplicated, easy to read love stories, making them a good time-pass.
This book is also no different. A rich boy meets a poor girl- they fall in love- misunderstandings crop up between the two lovebirds- they move away from each other- meet again after many years- the chemistry and passion is still smouldering beneath the tough exterior of these two people- misunderstandings get solved- they reunite- happy ending.
The female protagonist's name in this book is named, Perdita meaning "the lost lady". Hence, the title.And yes,I do love this name too, though it's slightly difficult to roll from the tongue!!
I am a staunch defender of this genre of books and hence by default this had to be part of my list of favourite books. 

Wednesday, 30 April 2014


This is the fourth book in my top ten list. Neither does this book nor does this author need any introduction. Jeffrey Archer is an institution in himself and his books are flawless and a sheer delight to be read. He is one of my favourite authors and I still enjoy reading his books. Of all his books, this one is very dear to me as this was my fisrt Archer novel and incidentally, this was his first novel too.
Harvey Metcalfe, over 40 years,is a corporate mogul who is an expert in shady deals. But this time by selling inflated oil stock, he has cheated the wrong men - Stephen Bradley, an American professor at University of Oxford, Dr Robin Oakley, a Harley Street physician, Jean-Pierre Lamanns, a French art dealer with a gallery in London, and James Brigsley, heir to an earldom. Each had invested their hard earned money to buy the stock of Matcalfe's company and suffered when it failed. Bradley learns of Metcalfe's participation in the fraud and organizes the other three to get their money back. They are to each come up with a plan to steal the money, which is rightly theirs, using Metcalfe's inetrests and weaknesses. The story ends very dramatically with these four men not only being able to get their money back but the price of their shares in Metcalfe's company also goes up, making their shares worth over a million. 
I must have read this book atleast a dozen odd times but the thrill, the excitement and the nerves is still the same while reading the book and thinking, "Will they or won't they?"
It is truly a page turner and a book which I had yet again read it in December, last year, when I had gone to Guwahati.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014


 This is another one of my favourite books. To many, Danielle Steel is a candy floss author who writes romantic novels, which are all too similar in their plot with lots of cliches and lacking substance. But to a young girl of 15-16years, her novels are very interesting , with their strong female characters who go through so many difficulties in their lives to finally attain happiness and live "happily ever after". 
I have gone through a phase, where I used to read only Danielle Steel. This was when I was studying in the Army School, Guwahati, in my 11th and 12th standard. Though I have not read her books in the past decade or so, I still vividly remember this book of hers'- ZOYA. The first thing that drew me to this book was the name Zoya. I really liked this name and had wanted to name my elder daughter Zoya, though that did not happen!
 As with all her novels, this novel also has a strong female central character, Zoya, who is a cousin of the Czar of Russia. She flees from Russia during the Russian Revolution with her grandmother and goes to Paris, where she joins a ballet company. Much against the wishes of her grandmother, she falls in love with an American and moves to New York with him. But her happiness is short lived as she endures great hardship during the Great Depression and the World War 2, wherein her husband dies and leaves her all alone. She again falls in love with a rich cloth merchant, who too later dies in an another war. The story ends with how Zoya lives her life through all her difficulties, with her head held high, on her own terms.
The historical setting and the detailed description of the Russian history, is what makes this book so interesting. Danielle Steel has done a fabulous job in seamlessly fitting the fictional characters in the actual historical events, thus making the story almost real and believable.
This is a book which given a chance I would read even today, if ,just to check whether it still has the same charm and whether it can still interest me, as it had done so many years ago.

Monday, 28 April 2014

MY TOP TEN FAVOURITE BOOKS : Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon

We all have had some incidents in our lives which have made us, what we are today. Similarly, certain books that we read during our formative years leave a profound mark on us.
My childhood was spent in the magical company of Enid Blyton, early teenage years with P.G.Wodehouse and after this came the best growing up years, spending hours reading books by Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer, Danielle Steel, Eric Segal, John Grisham and many more.
It was Papa, himself a voracious reader at one time, who made me buy my first adult novel, Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon, at the age of 16, after I had finished my 10th board exams.
The story centres around Jamie McGregor and his journey from being penniless to being the owner of diamond mines. The story then moves to the next McGregor generation, Kate, Jamie's daughter who pours her life into Kruger-Brent( her father's company) with passion, making it a global conglomerate. But this success comes with a very heavy price, as Kate by her shrewd manipulations tries to run her husband and later her children's lives, which alienates her from all her loved ones. The story ends on Kate's 90th birthday party where all her relatives are present and she still firmly believes that she acted in the best interest of all.
I am a Sheldon loyalist and I have read almost all his books, but this being my first Sidney, I like this story the best and is my top pick. Hence this book appears in my list of my favourite top 10 books.   


 Enid Blyton needs no introduction. Her name is synonymous with story books for young children. We have all grown up devouring her books, be it the Famous Five series or The Secret Seven or Malory Towers.
 I am particularly a tad too much fond of one of her series, which is MALORY  TOWERS.
So I start my list with MALORY TOWERS.  It is one of my favourite childhood series. The world of an all girls hostel, fun-loving girls, snooty girls,midnight feasts,cat fights, lacrosse games, endless pranks and the mouth watering food - fascinated me so much, that I insisted my parents send me to a hostel. Just remembering the story has got a smile on my face now. 
 The series follows the heroine Darrell Rivers from her first year at Malory Towers to when she leaves. The other significant characters include Sally Hope (Darrell's level-headed best friend), Felicity Rivers (Darrell's younger sister), Gwendoline Mary Lacey (the spoilt and snotty girl, who has been instructed by her mother to comb her beautiful golden hair a hundred times very night before going to bed!!!), Alicia Johns (sharp tongued, competitive, class joker and intelligent and who is the mastermind behind every prank played in school), Mary-Lou (small and timid, but very kind hearted), Irene (scatterbrained music genius), Belinda (scatterbrained artistic genius), Jean (shrewd and straightforward) and Wilhelmina 'Bill' (completely horse-mad). 
My favourite character in this series besides Darrell was Alicia. How I wished to be as wirtty, as intellegent, as happy-go-lucky as her. And the character whom I loved to hate was Gwendoline Mary. 
I have read this series umpteen times and given a chance, I would even today read it. How I love Enid Blyton and her amazing world of books. 

Friday, 25 April 2014


 A very dear friend of mine, Ketan, gave me this idea of writing about my favourite books for a blog post. At that time, I had very confidently told him that it would be a piece of cake. But as it always happens with me, here I am, made to eat the humble pie by my own laziness and sheer inability to finalise the list. After dilly dallying for almost a week, I finally decided that it's high time I write about my favourite books.

Though Babaji, my paternal grandfather used to read aloud a lot of comics to me, it was only when I reached 4th standard did I start reading story books. And for this I have to thank my childhood friend Shraddha Beria who introduced me to the fabulous world of Enid Blyton's books. The first book which I read was The Naughtiest Girl in School. I can even today remember the effect of utter amazement and mesmerisation the story had on me. I was completely hooked to this beautiful world of words and pages and fiction and visualisation. I am completely in awe of the great authors who weave such magical stories that they seem so real to me. And how can I not write about the smell of the crisp new pages of a book. I love to smell the book, when I first buy it before reading it. Hence,a bookshop is always my favourite place to be. 

But now I should come back to the main topic, which is a list of my favourite books. The list is in no particular order. But instead of disclosing it here, I plan to write about one book everyday, for the coming 10days. Hope you enjoy this journey with me. And I would love to hear from you all about your favourite books too. 

Monday, 14 April 2014


"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly,into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul" -  Joyce Carol Oates.
How aptly said. We have all experienced this feeling, this helplessness, not once, but several times in the hands of many a story-teller. My first brush with story telling and the amazing world of books was through Babaji, my paternal grandfather, who was a story teller par excellence. He made the whole experience interesting with his special sound effects and voice modulations. Undoubtedly, one of my very precious childhood memories. 
This book, Gardens Of Water caught my eye in Crossword(a bookstore in my city, Kolkata) where I had taken my two girls for their stationery shopping. It's bright yellow cover literally made me stop and pick it up and once I read it's synopsis, I had to buy it. Vamika, my older daughter made fun of me, saying that I can never leave a bookstore without buying a book or two. True but not something which embarrasses me. 
Let's talk shop now - Gardens Of Water by Alan Drew is a story set in Turkey and is about a Kurdish family who had to flee from their homeland and were now residing in the suburbs of Istanbul. Sanin, runs a grocery with his brother-in-law Ahmet, his wife Nilofer, manages the house and they have two children- Ismail, a young, happy, lively 9year old boy and Irem, a beautiful 15year old girl, who feels that her father only loves Ismail and she hates being cooped up in the house all day long working along with her mother. Sinan is working hard to provide for his family and at the same time is finding it very difficult to put a check on Irem's growing resentment and frustration on the restrictions imposed on her. To add to Sinan's problems is an American family who live in the same building as Sinan. Irem is attracted to Dylan, the young son of the American couple.  The delicate stability of this family is shattered away when a massive earthquake hits the area where Sinan is living with his family. In the wake of this natural disaster, Sinan looses his home and his livelihood, and is forced to take shelter in the temporary camp set up by the American missionaries working in that area. It is here in this camp, Sinan, who distrusts the Americans but is forced to accept their help, finds himself in situations, which are dangerous not only in the physical sense but also on ethical and moral grounds. Nilofer and Sinan find themselves very helpless in the face of such situations and are forced to take some very dangerous and frightening decisions which alter their lives forever. 
Turkey , it's culture, it's people, their religious sentiments, their ideologies, their belief - author Alan Drew has done a good job in depicting it all with the right amount of emotion. 
Whenever I read a book, there is always this one character with whom I can totally relate with. Here, it is Sinan, the father. The pride of a father for his children, the protective streak of a parent for his children, the helpless anger in the face of a rebelling child, the unconditional love for his children- these are emotions which as a mother I can totally empathise with. Though I cannot comment as to how I would ideally react to any of the situation Drew writes in his book, but , I can surely understand the angst, the love, the anger, the sense of ultimate betrayal which Sanin feels in the course of this story. At the same time, one can truly empathise with Irem and the reasons why she chose to rebel against her upbringing and her internal struggle, in doing something which is the opposite of all that she has been taught by her parents. Similarly I can feel the pain of Nilofer, an obedient, dutiful wife and mother who takes immense pride in being declared a good woman by the society and is completely broken when certain incidents occur, post the earthquake in the refugee camp, where they are forced to live on the charity of the missionaries. And then there is young Ismail, who though survives from the clutches of death, is not able to fully recover from the emotional and mental scars of the earthquake. 
This is a story which is written from the heart. It is not a brilliantly written book which will leave you with a feeling of awe but it is one of those books which will leave you feeling more human. This book will make you realise that though we humans, now belong to the modern civilised society, following societal rules, but , when nature unleashes her fury, then is the actual test of our civilised behaviour , in the face of survival being paramount in the minds of every individual. 
There is one line said by a character in this book to Sinan, which sums up my experience of this book. The line goes, " Our children are not ours. That's our mistake. We think they are. It seems so for a while - a few brief years - but they aren't. They never were. "