Friday, January 24, 2014

Book-Review: Boats on Land by Janice Pariat

Finished reading Boats on Land by Janice Pariat, winner of Young Writers Award from Sahitya Akademi.

Recently, I have started reading short stories and I'm enjoying it!

Boats on Land is a unique collection of 15 unusual short stories, set in the North East of India, mostly Shillong, that covers different and interesting themes.

Book cover is really nice.  Stories are gripping and oddly interesting.

But in some stories, while deeply engrossed, I was expecting a striking climax but they somehow disappointed me and ended abruptly without any substantial finish or you can say purpose. Like in "Echo Words" and "The Discovery of Flight", where a couple and a quite and reserved boy inexplicably disappear, respectively, I was expecting some surprising revelation  but I missed that. Similarly, "Secret Corridors" that tells the story of Natalie, who likes Iba, a smart girl in her class and tries to fit in her group, is an interesting read. It beautifully captures the details and innocence of school days, but the climax left me a bit perplexed or you can say I didn't get it.

My favourite stories are 'Pilgrimage' that captures the beauty of homecoming and reminiscing good memories. 'Laitlum' that describes the innocence and restricted life of a youngster who gets a chance to enjoy a joyful bike ride for the first time and cherishes it. 'Boats on Land' is about a very eccentric yet special bond of two stranger turned friends and a tingling pain of separation. I liked the Gothic touch of  'At Kut Madan'. And '19/87' in which a tailor, dorji, who calculates the dreams, and thus gets a companion in his lonely life.

Beautiful writing style of the author, and crisp narration are the highlight of the book, that create lovely imagery. Settings, embellished with natural beauty, of every story are so vivid that you will feel walking along them. Opening of a story is very important, and I liked the way every story opens in this book.

Overall, it was a lovely reading experience. I recommend this book to every book-lover. A must read for those who like reading short stories. I'm really looking forward to Ms. Janice Pariat's next book!

I received this book from "Random House India (Random Reads)" for an honest review.

Linking @ The Tales Pensive

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dreams and Desires

Heart radiates optimism
With the rise of 
Treasured dreams and desires
It envisions
A promising blissful tomorrow
Invisible to eyes...

Written for: Theme Thursday
                   Write Tribe

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Author's Interview: In conversation with Madhuri Banerjee


Today, I'm in conversation with Madhuri Banerjee, author of Three Bestselling Novels. She is now ready with her new novel "Advantage Love" (Rupa Publications) which is going to release soon.

You can pre-order "Advantage Love" here

First of all, a very warm welcome to my blog.

Thank you

Please share something about you with your fans. 

I’m a foodie. Even though I exercise every day I love good food and surrender to my palate. I love fashion as well but I’m not a slave to it. I enjoy helping people and always respond to my fans. But I get upset when people take advantage of me. I expect people who love me to buy my books. I’m disappointed when they don’t.

Why do you write? Was it a dream you've nurtured always?

 It’s the only passion I have that fulfills me. Writing really isn’t a dream. It’s a core value I have. Without it, I would be nothing and no one.

Your books are generally based on relationships. What’s your take on a healthy relationship in real life?

 A healthy relationship commands love, respect, and honesty. There is tremendous support by both partners for each other’s dreams and they share intrinsic values that keep them together.

You are doing a project on relationship powered by Revlon. Please share something about this project? 

It’s a new campaign that Revlon has started called CHOICES. Each month for the next one year they will have different topics pertaining to women and their choices. They started with Relationships as it was extremely important to women today. I’m chosen as their Key Opinion Leader on the subject. I’ve written 3 articles for them which are on my blog and had 2 Twitter chats with the hash tag #AskRevlon to discuss relationship issues. I’m honoured to be part of this international brand and this new campaign.

What “Advantage Love” is about? It sounds different from your other books. 

Advantage Love is about a woman who comes from small town India to join a reputed university in Delhi to make something of herself. However, she falls in love with a politician and her dreams get side tracked. After a heartbreak she begins to join the pieces of her life, when love re-enters along with an ex flame. Suddenly she needs to choose whom she wants to be with and where she wants to take her career. It’s a book for the youngsters in our country who are grappling with ideas of self identity, relationships and career choices. It has a lot of fun dialogues and spicy scenes! 

This sounds interesting! Would you like to share something about your future projects?

I’m working on a book called My Clingy Girlfriend. It’s a story from a male point of view about relationships. I’ve written it from a guy’s angle of how he’s stuck in a dead end job with a clingy girlfriend and how he changes both of them around in his life.

What do you think about:
 "Too much grammatical corrections & accuracy 
 And usage of tough, decorative and unusual words in writing?"
Do they enhance the beauty of writing or take away the essence of writing?

It depends on the type of book you’re writing and which genre. Grammar is most necessary. Spelling mistakes are a strict no-no in books. But the language can be different according to your target audience and the way you write.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Do follow any strict writing schedule? 

I get my inspiration from people around me. Listening is essential in a writer’s life. The more you soak in, the more your imagination flows.

I don’t follow a strict writing schedule but I find myself able to write better at night after my daughter falls asleep.

Any words of encouragement for aspiring writers who crave and struggle to get into the ‘published author world’?

Read as much as you can. Understand grammar and spelling. Write the novel out and invest in a good editor. Take their suggestions. Re-write. Only then, submit to a publisher. Chances are if it’s a unique idea, you’ve got an offer in the mail!

Nice & helpful tips for aspiring writers! Writing a book is a huge task but getting a suitable publisher is the toughest nut to crack. What’s your take? 

So true. I’ve made pitch after pitch that has got rejected. It just makes me work harder.

Your favourite Book – Author – Genre? 

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Does the genre ever matter if you love the novel?

You’re an active blogger. What’s your idea about blogging?

Blogging is my space where I can talk about things that are important to me. I can share my world with people on the internet. Money that a publisher is giving or critics who are judging my piece do not govern it. I post pictures, articles, reviews, tips and advice on relationships on my blog. It’s my direct access to people. I love blogging!

 It's an absolute pleasure to have you here! Thanks for your precious time. I wish you all the best for your future projects!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Praise and Award for Uff Ye Emotions 2!!

Uff Ye Emotions 2, has released last month. I'm so glad to be a part of this beautiful short story collection. And I'm so happy that the book is getting fabulous reviews!

If you like reading contemporary stories on Love and Relationships, you'll love Uff Ye Emotions 2. They are not just typical love stories but Uff Ye Emotions 2 deals with many other sweet and special bonds that we nurture and cherish in our lives. It's different, embellished with myriad of emotions!

Check out some links to see the reviews and get your copies if you haven't read it yet:

Thanks for such nice reviews!

I truly thank General Press, Mr. Vinit Bansal and entire Team Uff Ye Emotions for this!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book-Review: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Finished reading "We Need New Names" by NoViolet Bulawayo. It's her debut work and the book has been nominated for Man Booker Prize.

 A 10 year old girl, Darling and her friends with some weird names, like Bastard, Godknows etc, live in a place they call Paradise in Zimbabwe. They steal guavas and try to be fun, playing Find Bin Laden, and analyse their future in a difficult times, when paramilitary police have destroyed their home. Darling is still hopeful, as she has a aunt in America and she hopes to shift there for a better life.

Actually, it's children fiction, told from the point of view of Darling. You can feel the innocence in the narration. I liked the thoughtfulness of Darling and the way her innocent mind tries to analyse serious things. The story is serious and hopeful yet there's a soft sense of humour that I really liked in this book.

For a children/young adult fiction, there has to be innocence and lucidity in the narration, and the book qualifies in this arena.

There was no distinction between narration and dialogues and I found that disturbing. I think book cover is very plain and not apt for the story. It should have been more vibrant and colorful, with some cute pictures.

Overall, for me, it was a nice read!

I received this book from Random House India (Random Reads) for an unbiased review. Thank you!

My favourite off beat movies

This topic is actually interesting for me but I'm feeling confused while writing this post, as, I generally like watching offbeat movies. I really feel good how Indian Cinema has transformed and we get to see some really good, intelligent and different films. It's really difficult for me to shrink my favourites to just five! Still I'm trying:

The first one would be Namkeen, directed by Gulzar. The book is based on a story "Akal Basant" by Samaresh Basu. This film tells a very poignant story of three unmarried sisters, played by Sharmila Tagore, Shabana Azmi and Kiran Vairale, who live with their old mother Jugni, a former dancer in nautanki, played by Waheeda Rehman, whose husband leaves her in the lurch with three daughters. Gerulal, played by Sanjeev Kumar is their tenant who make them feel secure.

The film is about their struggle and how destiny robs their life. The film is very touching with a subtle touch of humour. It starts with sweet humour but as it progresses, it becomes intense and the end left me with goosebumps and the effect lingered on! 

Great film. Great performances! No wonder, it bagged so many awards, including a National Award!

Directorial debut of Aamir Khan is indeed something different! This film touched a very delicate subject so tenderly. This film tells the story of a dyslexic child, wonderfully played by Darsheel Safari, who tries to mask his difficulties behind mischief. 

The story moves interestingly and ends beautifully. I like how it manages to stir waves of emotion every time I watch it. It's a very smart take on modern day parenting. i love the song Maa....

Mr & Mrs Iyer, I think, is the mildest love story of Indian Cinema, and I liked it! The story revolves around a Tamilian Brahmin woman, who is travelling with her toddler and Muslim Bengali wildlife photographer. They share a moving and shattering journey together where they witness the brutal face of communal riots. 

The film is very touching. a particular scene is heart-wrenching! I liked the softness of emotions it carries. Wonderful performance by Konkana Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose.

The film received the National Award in the best film category.

I think Kahani is the most gripping and unusual suspense thriller! Vidya Balan splendidly played a pregnant woman, in search of her husband. The film is full of surprises! It's amazing to flow with the story as it unfolds many shocking twists. 

It has a unique story line, very well executed. Exceptional climax and a must see movie!

I never knew about this movie. I got a chance to see this movie, directed by Priyadarshan, accidentally and it came as a pleasant surprise. This film beautifully portrays the sweet bond of a brother and a sister, even in extreme hardship and adverse situations. 

I loved some really sweet, innocent and touching moments and incidents in this film. Children, Darsheel Safari and Ziyah Vastani, played their characters really well!

So, these are my favourites! I'm skipping many nice films in this category as this post is restricted to just five films. 

This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.

You can check the trailer of the film.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Promising Sunrise

In the darkness of
Fire of determination, ablaze
Ignites the flickering hope and courage
Working hard in this shimmer
A promising Sunrise!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Author's interview: In conversation with Michelle Cohen Corasanti

I can say that "The Almond Tree" was one of the best reads of 2013 for me. You can read my review HERE. It's such a poignant and inspirational book! 

Here, I'm in conversation with "Michelle Cohen Corasanti" author of The Almond Tree.

First of all, a very warm welcome to my blog.

Thank you so much.

I must congratulate you for such a vibrant debut in the writing world! Your book has been received wholeheartedly in India. How does it feel?

Amazing. I have been so fortunate to meet so many great people in India through my book.

Please share something about you with your fans (Including me!)

I had the story inside me for over a decade. It took that long for me to be ready to tell this story.It’s very personal. Much of my novel is based on first hand experiences that I had during the seven years I lived in Israel as well as things I learned during the almost decade in which I studied Middle Eastern studies in college.

The story of your book is so real, poignant, and kinda eye-opener. How did you come up with this idea?

I got the seed for the story when I was a student at Harvard and saw a Palestinian and an Israeli working together. During the seven years that I lived in Israel, I witnessed so much unnecessary suffering and darkness. I saw a glimmer of hope at Harvard. I wanted to focus on what could be and not just show what was.

There are several numerical and scientific details in the book. I was wondering, being a Masters in Arts, how did to manage it so well?

I used to speak Arabic very well. I helped translate for the Palestinian post-doc I met at Harvard his lectures from Arabic to English. My book isn’t based on his research, but I learned about the field through him. For my book, I researched what discoveries were expected over the next twenty years and that’s where I got the idea for what my protagonist discovers.

I actually know nothing about math and science so I had some students do the equations. There are actually 3 problems that are solved incorrectly. The Italian editor discovered them when he was translating the book.

Would you like to share something about your next project? I’m really curious!

I’m just finishing my next book. I’ve written the love story between Ahmed and Nora from Nora’s point of view. For Ahmed, his relationship with Nora was only a section of his book, but for Nora, it’s her whole book.

Wow, that would be interesting! Where do you get your inspiration from? Do follow any strict writing schedule?

The Kite Runner inspired me. I tend to write and research every spare second I have. I don’t practice law anymore so other than family obligations, I have a lot of spare time.

Do you believe that it’s difficult to find faults in your own writings?

No, I’m my harshest critic.

Any words of encouragement for aspiring writers who crave and struggle to get into the ‘published author world’?

The Almond Tree took seven years to write. It could have taken twenty. I wasn’t going to give up. Writing is about rewriting so never get discouraged and quit. I found taking writing classes to be very helpful and also reading like a writer.

Writing a book is a huge task but getting a suitable publisher is the toughest nut to crack. What’s your take?

When I wrote The Almond Tree, I looked for a publisher who published books on my subject. I think that was a mistake for me. Just like The Kite Runner isn’t only for people interested in Afghanistan, The Almond Tree isn’t for people just interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think it’s best to try and get a top publisher and work your way down. As I wasn’t a writer, I was unfamiliar with the publishing world. Distribution, connections and promotional budgets are very important.

Your favourite book – Author – Genre?

I love Khaled Hosseini’s books and the type of genre he writes. I would say his stories straddle a number of different genres.

What’s your idea about blogging?

I wish I had the time to blog. I actually started writing my new book as a blog, but then it kept flowing. I realized before I began to blog it in sections, that it could be a book.

It's an absolute pleasure to have you here! Thanks for your precious time. I wish you a wonderful and successful New Year!

You can interact with the author on Twitter

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My First Interview!

So, I've just finished my first interview! Thanks to Namrata, already published in anthologies like "25 Strokes of Kindness" and "Time's Lost Atlas".

You can read my Interview HERE.

Do visit her blog "Memoirs Of Me" & "Reviews & Musings" for beautiful stories, poems, thoughts, clicks, interviews and book reviews!!

Thank you Namrata! :)

Relieving Rain

Image Prompt @ The Mag

Cheery claps seem noise
As I wander on the streets
Seeking some solace

Heart cries in pain, still,
Eyes are dry, I yearn for those
Relieving rain

          Haiku My Heart