Tuesday, March 7, 2017 8 Comments

Books I Love - Do You Reread Books?




'My Favourite Book' - these simple 3 words have very broad meaning. If you are an avid reader, you can't name just one or two, not even three books as your favourites. Different books affect you differently. Sometimes, three completely different books can evoke similar emotions.

Reading books is the fastest way to travel to different places, lives, without actually going anywhere. I think reading is one of the greatest forms of love. It keeps you happy. It diminishes your worries (for the time being). And, it has the capability to keep you awake all night.

There are many books I have loved (especially when I experimented with the genres) . But, I believe that apart from neat writing (of course) good books are those which keep you engaged throughout. You may close the book for some time, but it must have the hook that pulls you the moment you are free. While reading that book you don't care about your favourite TV show or social media. You don't want to sleep without finishing the book. The characters stay with you for a long time. And, most importantly, a book that you can read again!

No matter how much I like the book, I (usually) don't re-read any book. Usually because there are four books that I have read twice - just after finishing the first time! My first book that I re-read was Swami by Saratchandra, my all time favourite (Modified by Mannu Bhandari). It's a quick read, a simple yet beautiful take on love, marriage and family.

Alampanah is one of my favourite romances. A very popular serial 'Farmaan' was based on this novel. I regret watching that serial after reading the book. It badly affects my imagination. I don't watch the movie if I have read the book and vice-versa.

Then, it's Shukra Grah Par Dhawa by Prof. Diwakar that I had found in our mini library. It's a science fiction about an Indian scientist and his adventurous trip to Shukra Grah (Planet Venus) where he encounters a mad scientist. I read it first as a teenager. I re-read it after my marriage and loved again!

And, This Matter of Marriage by Debbie Macomber (one of my favourite authors. I love her delightful love stories).

Last year, I read a book Love Virtually. I couldn't believe I enjoyed reading emails - just emails! I was quick to order the sequel - Every Seventh Wave, and enjoyed that too. I feel I can re-read these books someday.

Have you read any of these? Do you re-read books? Share your absolute favourites!

Written this post for Blog Chatter (Prompt - Books I Love)




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Saturday, March 4, 2017 0 Comments

Book Review: Zoon by Selina Sen





Na pooch ehd-e ulfat, ek khwaab pareshan tha
Do not ask of the time of love, it was a bewildering dream

Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Set in the Kashmir valley, Zoon by Selina Sen (Westland Books) is a long journey of film making. It's also about love (two love stories both set in Kashmir but in different era), loss and betrayal.

Joya Banerjee gets an opportunity to work with Shantanu Rai, a reputed filmmaker who is planning his dream movie, Zoon that's based on a 16th century Kashmiri poet and musician, Habba Khatoon. With the progress of Zoon, Joya's relationship with Rashid, a Kashmiri Historian (who is also working on the project) progresses too, slowly and passionately.

A shocking incident brings the shooting to a halt. Brimming with guilt and a deep sense of loss, Joya returns to the valley after 10 years, to complete the movie, Zoon. How would she manage to create the same effect after 10 long years? Would she be able to complete the film despite the adverse working conditions in the valley? And, what about Rashid and their lost love?

Read this book to know the answers.

Humko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin
Dil ko khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayal achha hai

Zoon has an intriguing plot. Who wouldn't want to read two different love stories rolled into one with a mesmerizing backdrop of Kashmir? But, this book lacks the passion and beauty that are required for such a story line. 

The first part of the book is painfully slow and dull. It reads more factual than fictional and imaginative. Overall, it seems like 'the making of Zoon'. It takes more than 160 pages to happen something shocking and significant (Had it not been for review, I would have left this book unfinished). No doubt, after that incident, the book picks up the pace and turns really interesting and gripping (So, the patience was fruitful).

Still, there's something amiss about the storytelling and the setting even though the language is good. The situations and characters are underdeveloped. There's no spark between Joya and Rashid. There's no expression of their feeling. The title character, Zoon aka Habba Khatoon hasn't got any exposure. I wanted to know more about her. I liked the character of Rashid but again this one is a half-baked character. Joya is the main protagonist, but she fails to mark any impression. Nothing concrete reflects from her personality. 

Also, the story covers the time-frame of 1989-1999, but the timeline is confusing. I really liked the starting chapter, maybe prologue of the book. The valley and its life are very well described in the second half. Poems by Habba Khatoon are nice but not sparkling. I did not like the cover. I mean why would anyone design such a boring cover for this intense story set in Kashmir valley? 

I picked this book with a lot of expectations, so for me, this was a disappointing read. You may pick this book if you are looking for a different plot, you like History and intense reads.





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Monday, February 20, 2017 5 Comments

Revisiting Memory Lane





Cursed by misfortune, 
Crushed by desolation
Clutched by the void within
I seek out a path to walk down memory lane
The familiar sunshine of smiles,
Bouquet of joy greet me
Oh, the whiff of bliss and solace!
Missed opportunities and zest clustered
A bunch of follies
Josh me
Laden with nostalgic emotions
Memories reach my eyes, 
Gleaming
Just like dewdrops in the sunshine


Through the blurred vision, I see a girl sitting under a tree. Her long skirt sprawled around the stone she is sitting on, her curls fluttering in the gentle breeze. She is my (much) younger, brighter, happier and care-free version. How happy I feel to see her! She looks at me and smiles brightly, the smile reaching her twinkling eyes. Golden sunshine filtering through the tree branches makes her face radiant. Then, she frowns. 'Why are you crying?' she asks innocently. Oh! I forgot I was crying. I shrug.

'Does crying change anything? Does it solve any problem?' she asks, I am surprised at her wisdom. But, you see, I am her older version, more experienced and wiser.

'No. But, crying gives you two important things. Some solace and strength. Tears rejuvenate your soul,' I say with a teacher-like look.

She doesn't understand this fact, and I am glad.

'Okay, can you pass me some happiness?' I ask.

'No. How can I? They're mine. You've had your share of happiness. But, you are supposed to create new forms of happiness. Haven't you created any?'

Her question feels like teasing. How wise she sounds. 'Can I have some wisdom?' I ask recalling the bunch of missed opportunities and follies.

'Oh yes!' She picks up a pebble and throws in the river nearby, the expanse so familiar.

'Why? Haven't I had my share of wisdom too?'

She rises to her feet, curling her lower lip. 'Maybe, but you can still take it. You have earned that out of your experiences, haven't you?'

Oh yes! Happiness is ephemeral, keeps changing, but wisdom - it remains with you. It keeps growing with your experiences, choices, mistakes. You just need to pay attention, and learn.

I open my mouth to say something, but vision starts blurring making her slim figure sway. I am back to the reality. But, I haven't returned empty handed. This revisit was a gentle reminder. The momentary happiness. New enthusiasm. And yes, I have to create my new share of happiness! I smile. Do I look like her?


Sharing with Blog Chatter (Prompt - Down the Memory Lane)
                      Poets United












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Thursday, February 9, 2017 23 Comments

Warm Memories





With every wave comes
A gush of warm memories 
Carved like names on rocks.

Fragrant emotions 
Wash over me, I smile
Like a crimson dusk

Screaming solitude 
Lingering sadness, I weap
Like a dewy dawn


Sharing with: Daily Post (Solitude) 
                   Haiku My Heart 
             Poets United 


P.S.: Wanted to say something about my first book, We Will Meet Again...The ebook version will be free for Kindle readers on this Valentine's Day. So, if you enjoy reading delightful romance with relatable characters and situations, my book can be a enjoyable read for you. Please download and read. I'll be waiting for your feedback. It's very important for a new author. Thank you for visiting! :)




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Saturday, February 4, 2017 3 Comments

Book Review: My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik



'Your failures can never weigh as much as the burden of your regrets.' : My Father is a Hero 

I really liked this quotation. How true is this!

The story of My Father is a Hero  (Srishti Publishers) by Nishant Kaushik is based on  'Father-Daughter' relationship where a single father, Vaibhav, is willing to go to any lengths for his daughter's (Nisha) happiness.

That's all.

The first thing you notice in a book is its cover, and the cover of this book is very boring. So boring that I didn't want to read this book initially. But, so many good reviews prompted me to sign up for a review copy.

Now, about the story - the story of My Father is a Hero is very plain and predictable, without any twists and turns. It takes 55-60 pages to happen something that you may care about. However, last part of the book is interesting. 

Writing/narration is okay, but characterization is vague. Except Vaibhav and Nisha, not a single character leaves a mark. In my opinion, the character of Nisha's mother who seldom appears in Vaibhav's or Nisha's thoughts, deserved more space in the story.

Vaibhav is a good father indeed. I liked the way he handles her daughter so patiently. The author has described his restlessness and worries well. But, Nisha's character is very annoying. She 'never' behaves like a ten year old kid. I needed to remind myself that Nisha is a kid, not a grown up girl. She goes to salons and restaurants (even in Australia she goes to a place by herself without telling her father), and her 'single' father (who drops and picks her from school every single day) doesn't know. There's a certain scene/incident in the book that somewhat angered me. I don't know if ten year olds nurture/bother about such feelings that has been shown in the book.

Descriptions are inappropriate, sometimes. Like, an anxious father who has been summoned to the school (for a serious issue), visits the principal's chamber, and the way he notices another visitor's, a woman, attire (maybe it's from FabIndia, he thinks), her pumps, her accessories, handbag's brand etc. was a little odd. Maybe, it's just me, but I'm not sure if anyone would notice someone so minutely when they're nervous/worried.

Overall, for  me, it was an average read. If you are looking for a quick and easy read or a travel partner, you may take this book as an option.


I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.



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Thursday, February 2, 2017 6 Comments

Best Movies I Watched In 2016

There was a time when I was a big television buff. I could just watch TV all day. Not anymore, thankfully. I have realized that it's additive, robs your time and makes you lazy. But I do watch selected movies (And current season of Indian Idol. I really like this team of Judges. Wonderful singers - Khuda Baksh is my favourite. Feels like old times).

As a writer, I believe that good movies are fruitful. The dialogue delivery, expressions, the way characters react. They stir your imagination and generate new ideas. When it comes to movies, Star Movies Select is my favourite.

I watched some really good movies last year. So, here it goes -


The Descendants




It's a touching family drama. This movie tells the poignant story of Matt King (George Clooney), who suddenly finds himself in a very difficult situation. It depicts his struggle as a father, his dilemma as a husband. George Clooney has played the character of an emotionally drained husband and father brilliantly. He looks so natural. Shailene Woodley who plays his spoilt daughter performed well, looks good.

The end of this movie is very satisfying, and I loved the last scene. Fulfilling.


The Hundred-Foot Journey




It's a romantic/family drama that involves cuisines of two different countries and cultures, and a sweet love story. This movie features Om Puri, Juhi Chawla and several other Indian artists. It's a nice story of an Indian chef and his journey (and struggle) while he and his family try to settle in France, and decides to open an Indian restaurant across the street from a very popular French restaurant.

It's a must watch for those who enjoy books/movies that involve food/travel. And, the younger female lead, Charlotte Le Bon, is so beautiful!

Lucy




Scarlett Johansson is now one of my favourite actresses. Her performance, as the title character, in this science fiction/action movie is brilliant! She plays a woman who gains psychokinetic abilities (and starts to behave strangely) after a rare drug is absorbed into her blood. The end of this movie is particularly exciting and thrilling.


Orphan




This movie was kind of googly. A bizarre story-line with some unexpected twists.
An innocent little girl who is an orphan has been adopted by a loving family. I thought it would be a touching family drama but whoa! What an intriguing/gripping psychological thriller it was!


A Walk in the Clouds





It's a delightful love story/family drama. Ten minutes, and I realized that Govinda-Urmila starrer Kunwaara was an idiotic version of this lovely film. I really liked the way the title 'A Walk in the Clouds' has been used in a dialogue. The locations are beautiful.

Amendment:

Adam



This is the story of Adam who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and his unique relationship with Beth, his neighbour who is a storyteller.

I don't know what to say more. I just liked this movie a lot.

Date Night





I forgot about this one but I really enjoyed watching this movie that I caught running accidentally. Date Night is a comedy/action movie, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. I find Steve Carell very funny.
To break the monotony of their married life, Phil (Steve Carell) decides to take his wife (Tina Fey) to a trendy restaurant for a date, and they get caught up in a criminal case due to mistaken identity.

This one-night-story was a fun watch!

Have you watched any of these? What was your favourite movies that you watched last year? Do share.


Sharing with Shanaya Tales' Chatty Blogs





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Tuesday, January 31, 2017 0 Comments

Book Review: Dilli Darbaar by Satya Vyas








'उस रोज़ दो घटनाएं हुई थीं। दिन में मोहल्ले वालों ने शुक्ला जी की टीवी पर रामायण देखा और रात में महाभारत हो गया.'

सत्य व्यास रचित  'दिल्ली दरबार' की कहानी कुछ ऐसे शुरू होती है, और पूरी किताब में आपको कई ऐसी या इससे भी बेहतर पंच लाइने मिल जाएंगी जो आपको मुस्कुराने पर मजबूर देंगी। 

दिल्ली दरबार कहानी है हद से ज्यादा लापरवाह, दिलफेंक आशिक, और चालाक - कुल मिलाकर सर्व अवगुण संपन्न राहुल मिश्र की। ये कहानी है प्यार और दोस्ती की, और हर उस बात की जो एक माध्यम वर्गीय/छोटे शहर के युवाओं से सम्बंधित होती है। 

और कथावाचक है उनके  परम मित्र (और मेरे पसंदीदा पात्र), मोहित जो अपने मित्र से बिलकुल विपरीत स्वाभाव के हैं फिर भी उनका साथ किसी भी परिस्थिति में नहीं छोड़ते। कहानी कहाँ से शुरू की जाये ये समझ नहीं आने के कारण मोहित कहानी शुरू करते है राहुल मिश्र की तुड़ाई से। 

'इसकी शिकायत करते करते प्रिंसिपल रिटायर हो गया। इतनी बार शिकायत आयी है कि इसके कॉलेज में इससे ज्यादा अटेंडेंस तो मेरा होगा।' ये कहना है राहुल के पिताजी का। 

रांची की बेपरवाह ज़िन्दगी को त्याग कर राहुल मिश्र और मोहित पहुचते है... सही पकडे हैं...दिल्ली। पढाई, जिसमे राहुल मिश्र की कोई रूचि नहीं है, छोड़कर वो रुख करते है लड़कियों का, जिसमे उनकी अत्यधिक रूचि है। और फिर शुरू होती है ज़िन्दगी की असल आपाधापी। राहुल मिश्र कैसे-कैसे और कहाँ-कहाँ फसेंगे (फसेंगे ये तो तय है) और स्वाभिक रूप से अपने परम मित्र को फसाएँगे? क्या उन्हें एहसास होगा की संभल जाने में ही भलाई है? क्या उन्हें कभी सच्चा प्यार होगा?

'प्रेम के कारण नहीं होते; परिणाम होते है पर प्रेम में परिणाम की चिंता तबतक नहीं होती जबतक देर न हो जाए।'

ये जानने के लिए आपको पढ़ना होगा दिल्ली दरबार। और अगर आप थ्री इडियट्स या फुकरे जैसी फिल्में पसंद करते हैं (हांलाकि इस किताब की कहानी बिलकुल अलग है) और अगर आप उत्तर भारत से आते हैं, तो आपको ये किताब निश्चिततौर पर पसंद आएगी। मैंने प्रदेश का जिक्र इसलिए किया है किया है क्योंकि इस किताब  के संवादों में प्रादेशिक असर है। बिहार/झारखंड/यूपी की भाषा में 'खांटी बिहारी' संवाद हैं। मगर यही बात आपको गुदगुदा सकती है अगर आप इस प्रदेश से आते हैं।  

ऐसा नहीं कह सकते की कहानी अलग है, मगर उसका प्रस्तुतीकरण अच्छा है। लेखन हल्का-फुल्का और मज़ेदार हैं। कहानी की गति अच्छी है और कई घटनाएं ऐसी हैं जो आपको हँसायेंगी। सभी पात्र/घटनाओं का अपना महत्व है। कहानी का अंत संतोषजनक है हालांकि ये कहानी कोई सन्देश देती नज़र नहीं आती। 

चूँकि इस किताब में कई अंग्रेजी संवाद है, इसलिए  -  I'd like to conclude the review in my usual way. I really enjoyed reading this book. For me, it was a funny, witty and entertaining read!

I received this book from the publisher (Westland Books) for an honest review.



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