Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Award for Blogging...

I keep returning. But Au Revoir still holds. :) Just couldn’t resist the temptation of coming back.

I received the Liebster Award from Privy Trifles recently. So this post is to acknowledge it and pass it on. This one's my second award. 1st Award

I don’t know how I found her blog at first. A vivid memory tells me I was searching something about Paulo Coelho and/or Life in a Metro, and a few lucky wrong clicks landed me in http://www.privytrifles.in/. I have been so thankful for the chance discovery ever since.

Some of her questions and my answers:

1.                  What is writing to you?
A gift. A therapy for mental peace. It feels empowering to know that my thoughts make sense. I take pride in it.
2.                 Why Blogging?
For the need of a personal space which I can call my own- my personal safe haven, and a platform in the eyes of the world.

3.                 What does your blog mean to you?
It means a lot- I’m very possessive and protective about it, I cherish and treasure it with all my heart.
4.                 If given a choice what would you like to change about LIFE right now?
Nothing really. I like my life as it is. My past has made me the person I am, my present feels infinite. :)

5.                 Say something to someone you have always wanted to. ( Can be in a code without any names)
I am a bit selfish, in my own right, even if you think I’m not and I can’t be.

6.                 Meaning of life to you in one word.
Infinite. :) ( I've been taking ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ seriously and believing every word of those beautiful quotes and one-liners.)

7.                 One lesson that life has taught you that you want everyone to know.
You can’t force anyone to understand you, if they can’t, then they just can’t. But you shouldn’t stop empathising with them- if not for anything else, then just to realise every day that you are more priveledged.
8.                 One song that describes you perfectly.
                        A few are there, umm, still thinking the right one....

9.                 How would you like to be remembered?
A person who knows her mind, who’s not fake. Someone who’s flawed but still people can draw inspiration from. Read more about it- in the paragraphs here.
10.             Words for me.
Your blog is one of the best things that I discovered in blogosphere, that makes you one of my favorite virtual contacts. J I used to wonder at first- how can someone write words that inspiring every day? How can she conjure up emotions so touching and moving in every post? And very much like you, I love the written word- it inspires me and stays with me for long. And as you wrote recently about a sense of belonging- I feel I belong there, in The Memoirs of Me.

I would like to tag the following blogger friends and pass on the award to them.

My questions to the tagged bloggers:

1.       How has blogging affected or changed your life?
2.      Whom do you draw inspiration from?
3.      Suggest one of your favorite books and why it is close to your heart.
4.      Which era, or culture or country would you like to belong and why?
5.      Do you think being anonymous has its advantages? Why?
6.      If you would want to have a pseudoname(pen name), what would it be?
7.      What would be the title of the story of your life?
8.      Make a confession.
9.      Describe yourself in three words.
10.  Mention a wish from your wishlist.
11.   A few words for me and my blog. Gracias! Merci!

Do leave the link here friends. I’m so eager to read your answers… :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Au Revoir

Lupita Nyong’O said in her acceptance speech at the 86th Academy Awards, “No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

Among the hundred or more dreams that I have, I want to find The Dream that is worth chasing right Now.

I want to set my priorities right.

I want to be able to have my own unbiased opinion in every field, every topic of argument, and every aspect of life.

I want to gather that much of knowledge and wisdom and experience, so that I can be confident of what I speak, and be an individual who knows her mind, who knows her decisions and is unapologetic about it.

Somewhere down the line, I’ve realized that I’m not blogging for myself anymore- I’m blogging for fame and success. So this is the right time to stop, stand and stare; do a bit of pondering.

That’s why I want to take a break from blogging. A short one. It’s my second home, my mind’s palace, so rest assured- I’ll come back to it. And when I return, I’ll blog because it makes me happy, not because I want success.

I’ll return when I can write true and honest, once again; and can view that as a success in itself.

I’ll return when those feelings, emotions and ideas that once bubbled inside me are back and when no other method of expressing or voicing it out, works.

Till then, Au Revoir…

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Anti-Social Network by Piyush Jha

the antisocial network by piyush jha

The Book Blurb:

From the bestselling author of Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer, comes the third riveting installment in the Mumbaistan crime-thriller series.

When college students across Mumbai are murdered one after another in gruesome ways, Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch is called in. As Virkar investigates, he stumbles upon a ruthless gang of young, tech-savvy miscreants who use social networking sites and the Internet for blackmail and sextortion. But how are the two cases linked? And who is the mastermind behind these killings?

As the case grows murkier, the computer-challenged Virkar finds himself greatly out of his depth, chasing a killer who always seems to be one step ahead, and a group that soon trains its sights on him. He must race against time to unmask the gang and to find the murderer before his reputation is ruined forever.

Thick with suspense and layered with grit, Anti-Social Network brings to you Inspector Virkar’s toughest case yet.

My Review:

It starts like a chor-police run and chase in the backdrop of psychotic series of murders, but grows to something more involving cyber crime, identity theft, drug addicts where certain informants, a hacker and a psychologist (counsellor) help the Inspector to solve the puzzle.

Even though I haven’t read the first two books in the series, I quite enjoyed reading this one. All the books are standalone books, except a single character, Inspector Virkar, who appears as the protagonist in all of them. He is a witty, irreplaceable central character of the novel. Like a Dan Brown book wouldn't be as much a thriller without Robert Langdon; and a C.I.D show would be a flop without ACP Pradyumn; the world of Mumbaistan wouldn’t be fun without Inspector Virkar. I loved some of his Hindi punch lines and Marathi ‘muhawre’s.

The best part about the book is that you won’t lose interest. The chapters are short, you are spared from lengthy descriptions, and the last paragraph of every chapter ensures you turn the page to the next. It does justice to the genre of crime thriller. Among the characters I liked Usman teacher, his network of ‘khabri’s who gave precious nuggets of information to the Inspector. Drug addict, computer genius Richard was another attention grabbing character. I liked the way the mystery and plot took us through so many locales in Mumbai- the busy Bora bazaars, dark by-lanes, nightclubs, the Willingdon college, the Marine drive, cafes and restaurants, dingy apartments under constructions, ghost towns, Jain temples -almost every unknown nook and corner of Mumbai, which we non residents do not have the slightest idea about. But some of the plot-lines, and character details gave the feeling ‘read that somewhere’ and ‘seen that somewhere’. I can’t say there was much uniqueness in the story. I could easily guess the final part of the mystery.

Priced at 195 INR, this 195 page book from Rupa Publications is good for a one time read. It would definitely provide a thrilling experience during a long boring train journey. My rating for this Indian thriller would be 3.5 out of 5.

I would like to thank The Tales Pensieve, for giving me the privilege of becoming a part of the Book Review Programme.


About the Author:

Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of the bestselling novels in Mumbaistan series. A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country’s largest brands, and then to write and direct feature films. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikander. He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The White Tiger- The Man Booker Prize Winner 2008

by aravind adiga

The book jacket reads:

 Meet Balram Halwai, the ‘White Tiger’: servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, and murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells his story. Born in a village in the dark heart of India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coal and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape- of breaking away from the banks of Mother Ganga, into whose murky depths have seeped the remains of a hundred generations. 

His big chance comes when a rich village landlord hires him as a chauffeur for his son, daughter-in-law, and their two Pomeranian dogs. From behind the wheel of a Honda, Balram first sees Delhi. The city is a revelation. Amid the cockroaches and call-centres, the 36,000,004 gods, the slums, the shopping malls and the crippling traffic jams, Balram’s re-education begins. Caught between his instinct to be a loyal son and servant, and his desire to better himself, he learns of a new morality at the heart of a new India. As the other servants flick through the pages of Murder Weekly, Balram begins to see how the Tiger might escape his cage. For surely any successful man must spill a little blood on his way to the top? The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram’s journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable. 
My Review:
Balram is a likable character even though he goes from being the protagonist to the antagonist, or rather, an entrepreneur, as he likes to call himself. He is very natural. He is afraid of the black fort, but goes to the edge of the pond every time, to test whether he can overcome the fear. He is jealous of Ram Prasad, the servant no.1, who played badminton with Pinky Madam, and drove the Honda while he had to be satisfied with Maruti Sujuki. He rebels against his granny, yet loves her. He understands integrity and goodness isn’t all that’s needed to make it big in life. He honors, adores and obeys Mr.Ashok, yet murders him in the end, to gain back his freedom and escape from the ‘rooster coup’. This novel, winner of the Man Booker Prize-2008, is a literary fiction. 
Read the complete review in Half Baked Voices.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: Love across borders


Stories of love, connection, and friendship that transcend the physical divide .

Compiled by Naheed Hassan and Sabahat Muhammad, the book contains tales of love, connections, and relationships across the Indian –pakistan border. Every story tugs at the heartstrings in one way or the other, and aims at reviving the days of that shared past, shared history and shared territory. The stories by the Indireads authors, aim for a better tomorrow bringing about a conscious effort to empathize with emotions and sensibilities of people on both sides of the great divide, and understand sentiments beyond the borders. Words here are aimed to create that vision, bring about a change- in both perceptions and perspectives.

One Stupid Commment’ by Shuchi Kalra and Sabahat Muhammad takes on a journey with Aryan and Jahaan in their world of post nuclear disaster. As a peace negotiation of their respective tribes goes on, fate has them abandoned in a desert with no way to return. They learn to trust each other, ignoring the fact that their tribes have been enemies over a century. But, will peace finally prevail?
Anjum’ by Andy Paula is a very warm tale about Vandana’s friendship with Anjum, and how Anjum by her simplicity and good nature broadens Vandana’s perspective of things, brings her out of her preset notions, and opens her up to be able to accept help from others and give in return. From ‘gupshups’ over ‘chai’ to parting for years together, to finally reuniting with their larger-than-before happy families, this is one must read tale on friendship, and is one of my favorite in the collection.
Dressed to Kill’ by Parul Tyagi takes us through the experience of two brides-to-be from either side of the border. When they try their dream wedding dresses, the custom made lehengas; the anticipation and excitement is the same for both, which goes on to be sheer joy for one and heartbreak for the other.
Best Friends Forever’ by Naheed Hassan and Shweta Ganesh Kumar narrates about a love of friends across the borders who lost contact with each other owing to family, transfers, and lack of proper means of communication. When Tara finds her once best friend Saira in Facebook, she is thrilled, but after exchanging some messages she realizes that things had changed. Separated by distances and so many other things, were they still the friends that they used to be? Or had time and fate affected it?
Read the complete review at Half Baked Voices.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nature And Light

Nature and Light

A Guest Post by Natasha Borah Khan:
I have been born and brought up in Assam, a northeastern state in India. I have grown up amidst greenery, fresh air and lots of natural light. These are the luxuries in the modern world which I had the privilege to take for granted. I had never thought that one day I would pine for these.

I have grown up in typical Assam-type homes. An Assam-type house is a ground-floor house with slanting roofs (to tackle heavy rainfall), lots of windows and ventilators (each window has a ventilator above it). The house is flooded with natural light and fresh air throughout the day and electric lights are switched on only after sunset. Every morning we would wake up with the feeling of sunlight filling the room, instead of relying on the alarm clock all the time. We did not have to check the watch every time to know the time. Just a look outside the window would be enough to judge the time.

Now I stay in Delhi with my husband and family. The windows in our home open into the shaft or the staircase. Opening them means letting in all kind of smells from the washrooms in the building. The only space enjoying the natural light is the balcony. At least we are fortunate to have one. There is dust everywhere. Wipe out a thick layer of dust on the cabinet and after a couple of hours, there would a fresh layer again as if it had never left. Dust also settles inside the wardrobes of the bedrooms. I don’t understand how. Like most city homes, ours is a closed box too. We wake up to darkness, to the noise of the alarms on our cell-phones. Electric lights have to be used throughout the day. When inside a room, you cannot phantom whether it is day or night. When inside you don’t know whether it is sunny, cloudy, windy or a rainy day. The only greenery outside is a couple of trees nearby and my pot plants, just like our neighbours. The only birds you see are sparrows, pigeons and crows.

Natural light and fresh air today have become coveted items in metropolitan cities. The other day I was amused seeing an advertisement of a residential project in a major Indian city. It was marketing its apartments as having lots of natural light.  I had a silent laugh thinking who could have imagined that natural light would one day become an USP for selling a house in India.

Presently I am in my maternal home in Assam. I am on a visit for a couple of weeks. Here, we have a sprawling garden with lots of plants and trees and a pond. All day long, you can hear and see numerous species of birds. I am once again blissfully waking up to the call of natural light in the mornings. As I write now, sitting on a bed by the window, I can see the rain. I can watch the rain through the open window and breathe in the earthy smells. I can hear the pitter patter on the tin roof and feel the cool breeze. It feels so wonderful.  While I am here, I am savouring the clean air, the luminous rooms, the nature, the greenery and the freshness. After a few days I shall be back in the nation’s capital, back to my natural light and fresh air deprived life. And then I shall yearn for this nature and its light.
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Natasha Borah Khan
Natasha Borah Khan is a fellow blogger friend, the common string that ties us is blogging and the love of books. Her blog is a familiar place for me. I connect easily with her writings, reviews and musings. I'm just so happy to have her guest post for my blog. Here she writes about her love for her native land, where she spent days of childhood. Makes me reminisce my days of past...
She blogs at: