Friday, 16 November 2018

The Liberation of Sita by Volga

My Rating : 4 /5

It was strange how I stumbled upon this book. I just happened to read one part of it found it interesting so bought it and read the whole book in one go. Usually I refrain from reading epic-retelling as I get agitated with the whole new perspective. Anyway this was not exactly a retelling it was more of revisioning. Though the whole book revolves around Ramayana but each story here is completely author woven. The story is about What-if Sita had met and had a deep conversation with Surpanaka, Ahalya, Renuka and Urmila, who all, like her have suffered a lot in their lives with or with out their mistake. The main theme of each story was either feminism or dealt with patriarchal society that they lived in but somewhere in-between there was lot of philosophical undertone embedded to it. With each story the author was trying to tell her readers that women should be self reliant, should not depend on anyone for her happiness and detachment is the key. 
Having said that I did have some problem while reading few parts where Rama was painted as male chauvinist, which was hard for me to digest. And just when I started thinking the whole feminist perspective was going overboard the last part of the book saved me. The last part was written from Rama’s point of view, which said how from childhood he was entrusted to preserve Arya Dharma which in turn was also the cause of his personal loss and misery. 
The heart touching part of the story was when Rama says to Lakshmana that he wants to thank mother Kaikeyi for sending him to the forest for fourteen years where he could live each and every moment with Sita which probably wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, this was indeed a beautiful perspective. 
This was my first Telugu book translated in English and I am sure in its original language this book would have sounded more deep and intense but the good part of translation is that it would reach more audience. I also loved what the author Volga had to say about translations, she says “ ,but a mother is a mother anywhere. So when I see similarity between that mother and my mother I feel happy. When I realise that the feeling called ‘mother’ is the same all over that world, my happiness is doubled.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Pyjamas are Forgiving by Twinkle Khanna

My Rating : 2.5 /5

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Twinkle Khanna. I haven’t read her column or any of her other books but have watched many of her interviews and she is very good at it, so my expectation was too high when I started this. It started good, looked promising too, so I thought I would finish it in one sitting but soon it failed to hold my interest so I took way too much time to finish it than usual because nothing seemed interesting neither the story nor the characters.

Actually, there was no story at all the beginning didn’t seem like a beginning and the ending didn’t seem like an ending. And the characters especially the main protagonist Anshu was neither strong nor fierce I didn’t expect Twinkle Khanna’s protagonist to be this spineless. I didn’t understand why Anshu had even come to the Ayurvedic retreat in the first place, where all she did was repeat the same mistake which she had done in the past. There was no growth in Anshu's character and that was sad. I didn’t get the whole point of the book actually. This book could have been so much better but as it turned out it wasn't. Also, sadly I couldn’t enjoy Twinkle Khanna’s writing much either, the sarcasm, the witty lines were all over the places and it was very hard for me take this story or the any of the character seriously even though there were many serious issues that was touched. Anyway at least I did finish this book and I don’t regret reading it so that's a good thing.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Manto - The Movie

There are some movies you go watch for entertainment without giving much thought and there are movies for which you need preparation and which makes you think, ‘Manto’ was that kind of a movie. I came across Manto’s works first when I was doing MA literature. One of his pen sketch on Ismat Chugtai was prescribed for us. I actually had no intention of reading it but then when I started reading it I couldn’t stop, his writing was very casual and fun to read and somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I would read more of his works later but that ‘later’ never came. And then my second encounter with Manto’s work was when I had to teach one of his short story “Toba Tek Singh’ to my students. When I read the story I felt it was deep. Deeper than it appeared and that made me read more of his works. I was more than happy when I got to know that there was movie coming out on his life.
About the movie all I can say is that I loved everything about it be it the direction, the narration, the dialogues and the acting. I feel short of words if I go on and express what I feel for the movie. The direction made me live the movie in that era and for two hours I was literally transported to that time specially the first scene from the movie, the intellectual talks between Manto, Ismat, Safia and few others was so aesthetic to watch. The beauty of the narration was the amalgamation of Manto’s short story with his life story and each story was deeper than the other and fitted just perfectly. The helplessness of the character is so beautifully portrayed by Nawaz that I don’t have enough words to praise him, also each and every character in movie have just lived their part. The only complain I have about the movie is that it was too short and left me wanting more.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat by Perumal Murugan, N. Kalyan Raman (Translator)

My Rating : 5 /5

God this was deep!
What made me pick up this book was the cover (who wouldn’t fall for it?), the title and of course the author. I had already read and loved Perumal Murugan’s two other novels so I was kind of sure that I would love this one too and I did.
The beauty of his novels is that it would be about ordinary people and the day to day struggle they go through to meet ends and also the hardcore tradition they follow which is least known to us. To know people of that culture and tradition is quite fascinating.

Coming back to Poonachi as the titles says its a story about a black goat of course, but mind you it isn’t as easy a story as the title sounds. A book of about 170 pages can be read in a day or two but not these kinds. It’s not an easy read at least for me it wasn’t.

While reading I had to close the book several times just to ponder over few things the author said so casually between the lines. Also, sometimes I just wanted to gather myself to go ahead since the feeling of what would happen next was quite scary.

The whole book is allegoric in so many different ways. For one thing you can see this as a coming of age story of a black kid to a goat, here again the colour ’black’ is symbolic which symbolise ‘discrimination’ ‘the odd one out’. Since the black kid was also an orphan it was too heart wrenching to know how it was treated by the fellow goats. But do goats treat other orphan kids this badly? We sure have no idea about that but we humans do, right? Thats where it becomes allegoric again. At some point it also throws light on how humans take animals for granted how they exploit them for their own good. In so many ways the story of Poonachi also kind of symbolises life a woman.I can go on and on about the allegoric references from the book thats how deep this book was for me. A special thanks to the translator who translated this gem, otherwise I sure would’ve missed this powerful, poignant tale of Poonachi :')

Monday, 20 August 2018

Inkredia - Luwan of Brida by Sarang Mahajan

My Rating : 4 /5

I haven’t read much of a fantasy fiction as its not my preferred genre, wanted to try from a long time though. So, when I heard about this book and got to know that this was written by an Indian author I wanted to give it a try.  I was more than happy  to attempt to read this one since it was not another interpretation of our mythology but an original plot.

The story revolves around Luwan a 17 year old boy and his elder sister Meg. It starts with Luwan denying to pay any kind of tax to Lord Gruwak of Brida and now he wants to escape from that place before he gets killed. The plot is kept simple in the beginning but as it moves on it gets complicated especially once Luwan and Meg start their journey. They go though lots of hardships throughout and Luwan learns many things about himself and his parents on the way, including some of his hidden powers. The journey is full of challenges but Luwan and his sister gets lucky every time escaping them with the help of some supporting characters. It’s got everything a fantasy book requires I guess, action, adventure, emotion, lots of strange animals and scary and imaginary things and of course magic! It was strange in the beginning to imagine these stuffs since I am not used to it but I started liking it as the story moved on. The plus point of this book is that it’s fast paced and well written. The book never bored me nor did the language both were smooth, which I least expected. The twist in the end was great and unexpected.

I was hooked with story from start to the end. I have literally carried the book everywhere till I finished it. Author Sarang Mahajan’s imagination is really appreciable, since I haven’t read any fantasy book I have nothing to compare to so I really liked this one. Yeah, I wanted a better characterisation and background of the main protagonists which I didn’t find in this book but hope to find in the next. I am curious to know how Luwan and Meg survived in the new city they went to. That means I am looking forward to read the next book in the series. 

Thanks Gloryburg Publishing for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

#INKREDIA #SarangMahajan #INKREDIALuwanofBrida #Gloryburg #INKREDIAreview 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

July Wrap-Ups

This month was mind blowing! I've read around 6 books totally where in 2 were five stars and the rest were great too on the whole I have read great books and discovered great authors too.

  • Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
  • Ponniyin Selvan Book 1: Fresh Floods by Kalki 
  • Kulti by Mariana Zapata
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 
  • Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata
  • What I talk about when I talk about Running by Haruki Murakami

         Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong:  4/5

I think Goodbye, Vitamin was the right book and the right time, that’s why I ended up liking it so much. When 30 year old Ruth comes to her parents house where she grew up, she is hopeless about her life. A recent breakup has shattered her future dreams and on top of that there is her dad who is suffering from Alzheimer even her mother is acting strangely and her brother is not ready to come home. When her mother finally urges her to stay back with her to take care of her father Ruth agrees immediately, quits her job comes back. But she is shocked to find out the reality about her father. She is torn. I liked how Ruth helped her family specially her father even after knowing his flaws. At first it was hard for me to get into the book because of the format but later I got used to it. This is a poignant story which leaves bittersweet taste in the end.

          Kulti by Mariana Zapata: 4/5

This was my first book by Mariana Zapata and I have fallen in love with her books. But initially when i first started with this book i didn’t think i would be able to finish it and the reason for that was the number of pages (570!) that too a romance novel. The last romance book that i read with so many pages was from Judith McNaught and she is one of my favorite authors. Anyway, I convinced myself to give it a try and complete it and it turned out to be a great read! The characters’ just stayed with me even after days of completing it and I mulled over that novel so much that I had to pick up another Zapata novel. Kulti and Sal were great I loved them both but Sal I loved more because of how strong and honest she is. I may not re-read it again but I will surly think of these two and their story for a while now.

           Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur: 3.5/5

There are some prose which are poetry like but this book is more like prose than poetry. Nope, I am not complaining I loved this book very much and maybe I will keep re-reading few lines too. Her thoughts are bold and beautiful, real but it doesn’t seem like poetry though. It feels like random alluring thoughts and I like it.

 What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami: 4/5

I am not a person who is a fan of running but I love walking. Still I picked up this book after attending few 5k marathons as I wanted to know what my favourite author talks/thinks about running. He is a simple man who talks about his 26 mile(a full marathon) running as if no big deal. I liked the way he shared his failures and success as a runner. He never urges or forces his readers to run. He simply states that they should do only if they are willing to, no amount of force can change a person. I was blown away when he said he has never walked in a marathon not even a bit and I think that’s the greatest achievement of all. I love his ideology can be applied to anything. Oh I admire this author a LOT!

That's all for this month.

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

My Rating : 5 /5

I love epistolary novels and when i got to know Mariana Zapata had written one, I had to read it. The first book i read by this author is Kulti so by the time i had finished that book i had an idea about her writing style its more in detail, slow paced but with likable characters. So the pace never bothered me and I was so engrossed in this book that it had become hard for me to take a break from reading.
Aaron and Ruby were wonderful characters and very real too. Aaron was so sweet. Ruby, i know she was a bit meek and a cry baby but that didn’t bother me about her at all. I could see why she felt insecure all the time. There are people out there who feel insecure about themselves all the time even though everything is fine with them. Ruby, was one such real character and for these kinds all they want from their loved ones is one or two supporting words like “you are great and everything is fine”, for Ruby it was Aaron who did that and boosted up her confidence. Initially, it’s Ruby who starts writing letters to Aaron to help him cope-up with his military life where he is lonely and no one to talk to but as more letters were shared between them in the mid it was more like Aaron had somewhere started helping Ruby to cope up with her life and in the end its like both helped each other. Their letter exchanges were great to read, at times poignant.
 I think while reading this book i have felt almost all the emotion that i have - happy, sad, angry, teary (happy tears & sad tears), lump in the throat, every single emotion had passed by me. That’s why I Love this book.

The Liberation of Sita by Volga

My Rating : 4 /5 It was strange how I stumbled upon this book. I just happened to read one part of it found it interesting so bought it...