Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Manto, Selected Stories - Translated by Aatish Taseer


About the author
Saadat Hasan Manto, the most widely read and the most controversial short-story writer in Urdu, was born on 11 May 1912 at Sambrala in Punjab's Ludhiana District. In a writing career spanning over two decades he produced twenty-two collections of short stories, one novel, five collections of radio plays, three collections of essays, two collections of reminiscences and many scripts for films. He was tried for obscenity half a dozen times, thrice before and thrice after independence. Not always was he acquitted. Some of Manto's greatest work was produced in the last seven years of his life, a time of great financial and emotional hardship for him. He died a few months short of his forty-third birthday, in January 1955, in Lahore.

Review

Taseer has given a beautiful introduction to this book, about how he got in touch with his Urdu heritage, learning to read and write the language and subsequently getting to appreciate world renowned works of literature written in this language.

The bonus factor was that the book contained Toba Tek Singh and The Dog of Tithwal. Apart from these, one will also find Ten Rupees, Blouse, Khol Do, Khalid Mian, My name is Radha, Ramkhilawan, Licence, The Mice of Shahdhaulah, For Freedom, and Smell.

I'd heard a lot about Toba Tek Singh and the story did live up to it. In one word, it was enchanting and for a long time, I was visualising the lunatics in the asylums, confused about which country they belonged too. Ten Rupees touches a chord where the protagonist, for her love of fast cars, is not hesitant in getting into prostitution.

While I spent a very peaceful Saturday reading all these stories, putting the book aside, once in a while, trying to imagine and build situations in my mind, I felt the acute need to learn Urdu. The translation portrayed the whole story very nicely, still, I felt that like in any translation, the original edition would have had more depth.

I won't say much about the rest of the stories, but I'd say, have a read instead!

My rating: 4/5

[This review was done for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Friday, September 28, 2012

What cartoons do your kids watch?

Today, I spent the afternoon watching cartoons on tv. 30 minutes each of Doreman and Shin-Chan, and two hours of good old Tom & Jerry classics.

I have grown up on Sesame Street, Duck Tales, Tale Spin, Tom & Jerry, Winnie the Pooh, and the other regular Disney cartoons. As a teenager, I saw the television flooded with Nickelodeon's cartoons like Rugrats etc. But now, the scene seems to have changed. While the kind of standard of cartoons have changed, what has remained constant , is the fact that kids still love cartoons!

Shin-Chan's antiques throughout the thirty minutes that I saw the show, concerned me a lot. I know for sure that almost all kids these days watch this show and mothers let them. Not a very welcome, sight.

Firstly, these cartoons are dubbed in Hindi. Most children get to hear and converse in Hindi at home and/ or in the neighbourhood. At a formative stage, it's equally important for the child's grasping power of English increases. Watching a show in English, trying to understand the words and then smoothly transitioning to the stage where the pronunciations are clear and come naturally, is important. This is not a must have, but in the formative stages of life, this does help a lot, I believe.

In most households, bringing a child up with discipline is the main focus. Then, these very children are allowed to watch shows like Shin-Chan where, a five year old say to his toddler sister, "Dekho Himavari, mummy hamare papa ke mehnat se kamaye hue paison ko kiss tarah uda rahi han."  Seriously? Your child will hear this, and not try to imitate? Of course, he will. Then, you will either laugh it off, thinking he is just a kid, and create a monster. Or, you'll punish him?

Why would you punish him? If he is allowed to watch the show, a child's mind will always follow by example! It's unfair if you scold him if he talks to you in a similar tone as Shin-Chan does to his mother! These cartoons have such an influence that I know a few mothers who even scold the way Shin-Chan's mother scolds him; in the very same tone!

What is happening? A few mothers have told me, they prefer these dubbed cartoons to Tom & Jerry, because the latter shows a lot of violence!

Oh really? You and I grew up on Tom & Jerry, how violent did we turn up to be? On the other hand, your 4-5yr olds are turning up to be indisciplined children who don't know how to speak. 

Today, I saw a scene where Shin-Chan goes to the loo early the morning, and comes out wearing only his short pyjama top and nothing below, with all of him, clearly visible. Don't we teach our kids to be properly dressed all the time. So, if their friend Shin-Chan can roam around without underwear and bottoms, wouldn't they think, they can too?

I would really want to know what mothers feel about this. I am not a mother, but I can definitely see that what your children watch growing up, is what will affect their characters. Either ration their tv watching time, or ration what they watch!

Are your children going from cute to misbehaved even before they turn 5?

Book Review: Illicit by Dibyendu Palit

Illicit
by Dibyendu Palit
Published in English translation by Penguin India, 2010


Of late a lot of Bengali literature is being translated to English. It's a boon particularly for the likes of me who can read Bengali, but haltingly, so cannot really enjoy the essence of the story, and, for those who cannot read in Bengali, of course. 

Dibyendu Palit's Illicit, translated to English by Arunava Sinha, originally published in 1989 as Aboidho. 


From the jacket
Ashim didn’t attract her anymore. She had not realized that she had lost interest in this wooden, mechanical and tedious relationship. Until she met Partha.

Eight years into her marriage to Ashim, responsible and conscientious to a fault, Jeena, an attractive housewife, finds herself drawn to Partha Mukherjee. Stolen glances and clandestine meetings lead to a weekend trip to Puri while Ashim is away on business. At Puri, however, after a night of passion turns violent, Jeena is besieged with doubts about her illicit relationship.

About the author
Novelist, short-story writer and poet Dibyendu Palit was born in 1939 in Bhagalpur, Bihar. Writing for over fifty years, Palit is renowned for his explorations of middle-class India. Among his honours are the Ananda Purashkar (1984), the Bankim Award (1990) and the Sahitya Akademi Award (1998). He lives in Kolkata.


Review
The way then plot takes shape, you might be led to think it's going the unconventional way, but in the end, Jeena regrets the affair with Partha and returns to her husband. It's not very clear if the story telling was lose originally, or it so happened during translation. I've read a couple of translations of Sankar's books, done by Sinha, and really loved them.

Characters were not very clear. Yes, Ashim was very busy with his career, but it was not made clear, as to why Jeena was not happy with him. Was it just his busy schedule or was it that she never got to love him?

Goof ups: 
1. The jacket refers to Partha as Mukherjee while he is Majumdar in the story.
2. Page 106, Second last para: Jeena is referred to as Gina.

My rating: 2.5/5



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dev Sahab.

My earliest memories of Dev Anand go back to a summer in the mid-80s. Maa and I'd gone to Kolkata during my summer vacations. My cousin's cousins had also come over. They were older. I was younger, youngest in the family. During the afternoons, my cousins and their cousins, will gather in one of the rooms, pull the curtains, make it all nice, cozy and as cold as possible in Kolkata summer, and chit-chat all afternoon. I too would be there, but seriously, teen talk was boring. Film-stars, music etc. No one discussed Noddy!

After a couple of days, I would just read in the afternoons or wander around the house. One day I heard a song coming from the room. I liked the melody, but I liked the lyrics more. 

Jo mil gaya usi ko muqaddar samajh liyaJo kho gaya main usko bhulata chala gaya ...

If I remember correctly, it was with this song that I started concentrating on lyrics of songs. I had just started reading sentences and book reading was turning into a hobby. Lyrics, apart from Mary Poppins' and Sound of Music's, also started having an impact on my mind. 

The next day, I heard the song again. I went inside the room and sat, the video was playing. I sat staring at the b/w tv, open mouthed, mesmerised. That was my first proper crush, after Big Ears

A few years later, still during the times of Doordarshan, when Sunday evenings meant Hindi films on tv, I caught a glimpse of the song Phoolon ka taaron ka. I was not allowed adult television till I reached my teens, this was at a family friend's place. I saw the song and then the film. I actually gulped in the film. I had always craved a sibling, a brother to be precise, but this was when the craving took shape. I would hum each and every word of the song in my mind and imagine and elder brother singing it for me. If I can confess, the craving still exists and the song is still played in my mind, over and over.

Then came adulthood. Love happened, so did heart breaks. Twice. The third time, I was not interested. But amongst other more viable reasons, was a song - Phoolon ke rang se. Silly reason, but the voice that song it for me, stole my heart and till date, it's used for every purpose from romance to lullaby, for me.

My ultimate favourite Dev Anand movie is Guide, yes, no surprises there. These lines still run through my mind now and then, 


Aaj Mai Kitani Aajadi Mehsoos Kar Raha Hoon!
Jism Jaise Maange Karna Bhool Gaya;
Man Tadpana - Tadpaana Bhool Gaya;
Jeevan Aaj Jaise Mutthi Me Hai !
Maut Jaise Ek Khel Hai!

So, what exactly am I trying to say here? Nothing specific, just remembering the times Dev Anand touched my life, and every time, it was through words. If you know how much I love words, you would also know how richly, he touched my life.

Happy Birthday, Dev Anand. I hope you are in a happy place, still romancing life and women.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Love Thy Stranger

Earlier this month, I was wishing a friend, R, on her birthday, when she said, "Dii, I am in that phase of life where people I have never met understand me better and I connect with them better. I don't understand how that works, and if it is right, but that's how it is and it makes me happy."


R is probably confused with the emotions going through her for complete strangers, but if you are a close part of my life, and you know how S and I met, you know how much I trust strangers, over people I already know! If you know me, you would also know, I have trust issues. 

So, I have trust issues, but I trust strangers! 

Nope, I am as sane as they come, probably saner than you are. 

I rely heavily on common sense, vibes and a very strong sixth sense. I believe in humanity too. And, I also believe in testing waters before jumping. But, what works for me, won't work for you. Of my closest friends, the last one I made from people I met was in junior college, when I was all of 15. Since then, none of the friends I made, made to a permanent place in my life. Does that say a lot about me, or about the people I met and befriended? Your take! :-)

Yes, the cyber space is unsafe. Very much so. It's easy to believe and get duped, when the only way you interact is via typed words. But I say, someone I have known all my life can dupe equally easily.

I fell in love with my husband when he was a stranger and after 6 years of knowing him and 3 years of being his wife, I can safely say he is the most secure branch of my life, almost as secure as my own parents. Samir and Abhishek, two friends I made more than a decade ago, are two of my closest friends. My real life best friends date back to almost two decades ago, and while they are irreplaceable, I haven't regretted being so close to Sam and Shake one bit!

Over the last 9 months, I made more such friends. About 15 odd. 1 ended up as family, the rest, very very close. These people have nothing to gain, and I have nothing to give them. But probably, we know each other better than a lot many people who've known us for years do. It's easier to discuss and share your sorrows, fears, and joys, when you know the other person is not judging you. The transition from being strangers to real life friends is different - here you know the real person before you are a part of their real lives. You understand them better.

It's when you love people who have nothing to give you and are asking for nothing in return, do you realise what love is. The feeling is so strong, it's not a joke. You miss each other everyday, and notice immediately when the other person is going through a phase.

Friendship is sweet. This is probably, the sweetest form of friendship.

Yes, it's advisable to go out, meet your real life friends, party, get laid and have fun ... but the level at which people who only talk to you connect, at times, people around you don't. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Classic Book Review: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was one of my very first introductions to children's classics, and is one of my favourite authors of all times. 

David Copperfield was one book, which had pained my young heart a lot.David is my favourite child too, I still envision him, coping with life. 

Summary

David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature’s great comic creations.



In David Copperfield—the novel he described as his “favorite child”—Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.


My review

I'd read about David, when I was 7. For a seven year old, the idea of a step-father is the most traumatic! I remember insisting on sleeping with my parents that night, fearing I might lose them. 

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

When you read these lines at the very beginning of a story, your anticipation increases manifolds, so did mine!


“I am a fond parent to every child of my fancy, and that no one can ever love that family as dearly as I love them. But, like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield,” voiced the great Dickens about his novel published as part of a series in the 1800s.
Every character, starting from David to his widowed mother Carla, nurse Peggoty, her brother Mr Peggoty, coachman Mr Barks, David's aunt Betsey Trotwood, step father Edward Murdstone and his wicked sister Jane, Wilkins Micawber, the Wickfields, Uriah Heep and a host of other people were so clearly and well defined that two decades later, I remember them just the same.

Edward Murdstone, David's step father was the main antagonist in the first half of the story, depicting the earlier years of the young man. In the second half, where David is a grown up, Uriah Heap who is first the secretary and then partner to Mr Wickfield, plays the main antagonist. Both characters were so evil, I would rank them amongst few of the best villians I've read.

One part of the story I still remember was when Peggoty had told David that she suspects Miss Murdstone sleeps with one eye open. David took it literally and tried doing so, and funnily, so did I! As a seven year old, I have lived life with David, grown up with him, cried for him and been happy for him. 

Before my mother introduced me to each classic, she would give me a brief about it, in her words, so that I had a fair idea of what was in store for me. I remember she had told me Dickens had based this book on his own life. Till date, I envision Dickens as David, and my heart cries for the little boy.

Books I Grew Up With

I happen to be very proud of my romance with books which started as soon as I could read full sentences, at 5. 

I have memories of being younger and unable to read, when both my parents would read out to me, not just at bed time but just for fun too. I learnt to read in my mother tongue Bangla, mostly out of persuasion of my nana-nani, but my gain was, I could read all my mother's childhood books as well! 

From the ages of 5 to about 12, while I literally fed on Enid Blyton's, Carolyne Keene's and Franklin W Dixon, mother also ensured I had a good dosage of classic literature as well. While Blyton, Keene and Dixon, gave my imagination the benefit of situations, the classics too me to different eras, introduced me to different life styles, people, behaviour, and a whole new avenue for my mind to wander in!

Some of my favourite classics which I had first read when I was under 10, and still do would be A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Count of Monte Cristo, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, David Copperfield, Hunchback of NotreDam, Jane Eyre, Gone With The Wind, Pride And Prejudice, Little Women, Treasure Island and Wuthering Heights.

Since I have been reviewing recent reads, I thought, why not review my all time favourite classics! Keep a watch for #BIGUW!

Book Review: The Affair by Lee Child

Author: Lee Child
Title: The Affair
Publisher: Bantam Press
Hardback: 427 pages
ISBN: 978-0-593-06570-9
On the Jacket
March 1997. A woman has her throat cut behind a bar in Carter Crossing, Mississippi. Just down the road is a big army base. Is the murderer a local guy - or is he a soldier?
Jack Reacher, still a major in the military police, is sent in undercover. The county sheriff is a former U.S. Marine - and a stunningly beautiful woman. Her investigation is going nowhere. Is the Pentagon stonewalling her? Or doesn't she really want to find the killer?
The adrenaline-pumping, high-voltage action in The Affair is set just six months before the opening of Killing Floor, and it marks a turning point in Reacher's career. If he does what the army wants, will he be able to live with himself? And if he doesn't, will the army be able to live with him? Is this his last case in uniform?
Review
An absolute must for all Reacher fans. 
In The Affair, Lee Child gives us an insight into Reacher's family background and his early influences. Unlike his other novels, Child does try to build a female character in The Affair while normally, in his other books, they are just Reacher's girls. What was new were the sex scenes, which were never there in the previous 15 books!

For someone who has read all the previous offerings, I finally understood why Reacher left the Army. The book takes us back to 1997. While Child's writing needs no reference, the story, told in first person is gripping and unputdownable. Reacher is tough and verile throughout, but when Elizabeth, he is tender. 

Even if you haven't read Child's previous offerings, read this book. Of course,  if you could read from the very beginning, nothing like it. But as a reader and lover of thrillers, you shouldn't miss out on this one!

My rating: 4/5

[This book was reviewed for Random HouseThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tears, Idle Tears

Last night was difficult.


I had not been sleeping well, on and off, for almost a month now. A lot of dreams, some nightmares, some senses of gains and some of losses, kept me tossing and turning all night, for weeks. 

For someone with an ego as big as mine, it's really difficult to discuss very private stuff with others, for the simple thought of, 'what would they think!'. If only I could drop this hesitation and talk about what is bothering me, life would be simpler for me. 

Nevertheless, I cope. 

© of the blog
The last few days had been emotionally challenging. A lot was said about me, a lot was insinuated, a lot were true and a lot weren't. What hurt the most was, people were ready to state the facts, while no one wanted to know the reasons behind them. Sad, when this comes from people who are supposed to be close to you.

Well anyway, I had thought I have shut it all but yesterday, it all came back as if the floodgates have been opened. What could I do about people's mindsets? Nothing! So cried. I cried a lot. I cried all day, till I fell asleep at 2am. In between, I ended up clinging to some close friends, scared the shit out of my poor husband by crying non-stop for hours; and some not so close friends told me in simple language that I was being a nuisance. The latter are the people I need to remember to chuck out of my life, soon.

Yet, that fact is that, after a month, I slept. I slept like a rock and woke up only to a bell ringing at 8am. Sitting up in bed, I was surprised. I tried to think back - any dreams, any nightmares? None. I was feeling rested and not tired any more. Maybe somewhere between crying and trying not to, coz it was really really distressing S, I'd stripped my mind off some of the things that were bothering me. I fell asleep with a heavy heart loaded with confused feelings, hugging the only constant person in my life right now, and woke up light headed and rested. This must be a good sign.

Or, is it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

Paperback,  485 pages
Published August 24th 2012 by Westland
ISBN 9381626685 (ISBN13: 9789381626689)

Summary

Five thousand years ago, there came to earth a magical being called Krishna, who brought about innumerable miracles for the good of mankind. Humanity despaired of its fate if the Blue God were to die but was reassured that he would return in a fresh avatar when needed in the eventual Dark Age—the Kaliyug.

In modern times, a poor little rich boy grows up believing that he is that final avatar.

Only, he is a serial killer.

In this heart-stopping tale, the arrival of a murderer who executes his gruesome and brilliantly thought-out schemes in the name of God is the first clue to a sinister conspiracy to expose an ancient secret—Krishna’s priceless legacy to mankind.

Review

I'd read Sanghi's Chanakya's Chant last summer and was pleasantly surprised! Not being a fan of present day Indian writings, the good language, the extent of research, the balance of different times in the plot, the characterisations, etc had left me speechless. The Rozabal Line was equally impressive. Obviously, I was looking forward to Sanghi's next, and here it was - The Krishna Key.

The best part about this book was that the author had clearly indicated which sections are fiction and which sections are researched facts. Stepping away from the apparently common style of writing and plots which most current authors are resorting to, Sanghi has developed his own. Dan Brown's influence is clearly visible, and Sanghi is rightfully known as the Dan Brown of India. The book feels a little slow towards the end, but the climax was not something I was expecting, it blew me! 

Facts and logic have been well infused in the plot, and that makes the story appealing. The first few pages make it a promising read with a murder taking place right at the beginning of the story. Having grown up watching mythological tele-serials like Mahabharata and Krishna, the book brought back many childhood memories. 

Through the story, Sanghi discusses that the lost cities of Dwarka and Atlantis are the same. He further discusses that nuclear weapons did exist back then, 5000 years ago! Moreover, the Aryan invasion is a myth and Mahabharata took place in 3067 B.C. Interesting points, aren't they? 

Like in Chanakya's Chant, here too, the story keeps moving between the past and the preset, and with utmost ease. The story revolves around a Delhi university professor who is believed to have murdered his childhood friend, and his journey across the country, to find the real killer. 


Historian Ravi Mohan Saini must breathlessly dash from the submerged remains of Dwarka and the mysterious lingam of Somnath to the icy heights of Mount Kailash, in a quest to discover the cryptic location of Krishna’s most prized possession. From the sand-washed ruins of Kalibangan to a Vrindavan temple destroyed by Aurangzeb, Saini must also delve into antiquity to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice.

Ashwin Sanghi brings you yet another exhaustively researched whopper of a plot, while providing an incredible alternative interpretation of the Vedic Age that will be relished by conspiracy buffs and thriller-addicts alike.

A little more character development would have been better. There is an indication of a romantic involvement, but it didn't really develop much. 

I have always been in love with Indian mythological stories, yet always wondered - are they for real? I mean we don't have any concrete proofs, do we? They could just be books written centuries ago! This book has led me to believe, Mahabharata did happen, and Krishna did exist!

I suggest, if you like thrillers, have a read. There is a lot of resemblance with Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown; like Sir Khan becoming Krishna.

My rating: 4/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades Darker by EL James

With Fifty Shades of Grey  ending with Anastasia and Christian's break-up, I was curious as to what happens next. I mean, there were two more books of the trilogy left!


With much anticipation, I began the book, to be only disappointed. Yes, easy read, simple language, blah blah, but is that all there was to be for 500 pages? Of course, I wasn't expecting a lot, to tell you the truth, but this was way less than expected. While part 1, still indicated a story, this was an out-and-out Mills&Boon from page 1 to the last.

After the break-up, Anastasia tried to pick up her life and joined her new job but she misses Christian a lot. No, she misses sex with Christian a lot. The get back together right at the beginning of the book and then we have the usual drama of jealous ex-girlfriend (submissive in Christian's case) and a lecherous boss who tried to get inside Anastasia's skirt. 

The ex-girlfriend(s) try to kill/harass Anastasia, while Christian has a close shave with life, thanks to Anastasia's ex-boss who had got fired because of Christian. Nevertheless, things settle down. The book ends with the ex-boss conspiring revenge against Christain and Anastasia with a promise that they will be married in the last week.

Personally, I found it bland, still I read it. I am a book-geek, I read everything. You take your call! :-)

My rating: 3/5


Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review: The Confession by John Grisham


Book: The Confession
Author: John Grisham
ISBN: 0099545829
ISBN-13: 9780099545828, 978-0099545828
Binding: Paperback
Publishing  Date: 2011
Publisher: Arrow
Number of Pages: 464
Language: English

Summary

The Confession, a legal thriller by John Grisham, is the story of an innocent man who finds himself on the death row after being wrongly convicted of a heinous crime.



My review

I have been reading Grisham since I'd been a teenager, and if I may say so, he is the only author who makes boring court room dramas, thrilling. So, when The Confession came my way, I was only too eager to read!



The plot was wafer thin and the suspense not very catchy. Having read most of Grisham's works, seriously, I found The Confession slow at some parts. The author has produced such masterpieces, that this failed to create the same mark, somewhere. Maybe, my expectations were too high. Individually, it's a good read, if you are a fan of thrillers.

Nevertheless, as a reader, I cannot deny that The Confession was a good read in simple, easy language and can be enjoyed by new readers as well. Character sketches were very vivid. Travis Boyette, a rapist and a murderer, as well as a convict who is about to die of brain tumour soon, won my interest within the first few pages. When as a reader, I got the know what seemed like the climax, I was actually wondering how the book will actually end. Normally, confession comes at the end of a story, here that's how it began. Can't deny, that there was too much detailing and it wasn't as good as Grisham's other books, but this was unputdownable, as well.

My rating: 3.5/5

[Review done for Random HouseThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: The Sense of Ending by Julian Barnes


Author(s)         Julian Barnes
Cover artist         Suzanne Dean
Publisher Jonathan Cape (UK)
Media type  Print (hardcover)
Pages 150[1]
ISBN 978-0-224-09415-3



The Sense of an Ending written by British author Julian Barnes, was published in 2011 and happens to be the author's eleventh novel written under his own name. Barnes also writes crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh. 

The Sense of an Ending is narrated by Tony Webster,a retired man. Webster recalls how he and his two other friends met Adrian Finn at school and they all vowed to remain friends for life. When the past catches up with Tony, he reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken. 


The novel begins with regular descriptions of how teenagers are, Tony and his friends, who them meet Adrian. Later, in the university, Tony meets his first real girlfriend, Veronica. This relationship changes Tony's relationship with Adrian which he later repents in old age. 

Tony is seen to reflect in the past, picking occurences and dissecting them. While doing so, he tries to figure out him place in the story.

In October 2011, The Sense of an Ending was awarded the Man Booker Prize. The following month it was nominated in the novels category at the Costa Book Awards. [Info taken from Wikipedia]

As a reader, I was left thinking and craving for more. As a story, for me, it's almost perfect. The journey across 150 odd pages, along with Tony, was like a walk along self-realisation and stumbling upon my own self.

My rating: 4/5

[Review done for Random HouseThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Love You.

Times when I see you hurting, 
Times when I want to reach out. 

Times when I shrink back in my shell, 
Times when I know you would want me to.

Times when I want to protect you, 
Times when I need your comfort.

Times when I want to get away from you, 
Times when I want to hold you tight.

Times when I wish I knew you more,
Times when I wish I never knew you.

Times when I want to know the real you,
Times when I want to know you as the child you were.

Times when I want to talk to you all day,
Times when I have no answers to your questions.

Times when I lie to you through my teeth,
Times when I lay down my emotions to you in a platter.

Times when I can't remember when I got to know you,
Times when I look back in time fondly.

Times when I wonder if you are for real,
Times when ...

Love you, A. You do me a world of good.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chronicles of a married life - I

This morning, while flipping channels, I halted on this segment showing Rishi Kapoor's and Neetu Singh's lives with each other, from dating to being married, to today. Of course, the cute couple that they are, I wanted to see it all.


What the segment spoke about, surprised me. A bit. Apparently, Rishi had stated that if Neetu put on any weight, he'll have extra marital affair(s). Wow! Not a surprise that she still remains so fit, and he, and old bag of flesh. What struck me was the man's audacity to stake such a claim. But then, why won't he? His woman took it lying down. Would things have been different had she retaliated back then? She did leave his home to live separately for almost a decade, in between!

We look at a married couple, see them looking happy at that very moment and assume their's is a happy marriage. We catch a couple at one weak moment, when their expressions show frustration, and we categorise them as unhappily married. I believe, I too must have been so judgemental, until I lived this life.

Unless the marriage involves cheating or abuse of any kind, believe me, they are all happy. And, unhappy. 

There was a time not so long ago, when having been unwell for a while, I had put on an insane amount of weight. At the moment, when I was at my worst, a 50+ neighbour uncle, had asked my husband, "Arranged marriage?" Rest of the family being around, started telling him how ours is a love marriage and how diverse our backgrounds and personalities are. I, sat there amused. All that went through my mind was, "This man is sure ours is an arranged marriage, because ... because of the way I look, and he is sure, S couldn't have fallen in love with me, but I got some fat dowry instead."

Amusing? Actually yes. What I look and how much I had put on, has been changing over the time, nearing normalcy. But, that man's mindset won't change. Not just him, unless the couple compliments each other in looks, we categorise them as forced to marry and obviously, not happy with each other.

See a couple with odd working hours, and they are immediately categorised as coping to keep the marriage apart. I know couples who've lived continents apart, the love and longing intact in their hearts, but society terming them as separated. 

Every marriage is a different story. What works for one can never work for the other person. Why? Because we all are different? Blend of two characters will spark various reactions. Being the woman, I would want to say that, a woman sacrifices the most. Yes, visibly, she does. She gives up the life she grew up in, lifestyle she was used to, moves away from friends and family, and, makes big-n-small sacrifices every day. But, it's really the man who makes bigger sacrifices. 

Why? Because, he wasn't brought up being told he has to compromise. Once in a marriage, a man who wants to make it work, a man who wants to see the smile on his wife's face always be, a man who wants to be the reason of a successful marriage, starts making changes in himself. Of course, he has to be hand held in the entire process, remember, this is all new to him. A man, however old and mature, will always be a child. But, as long as he is willing to see things from the right approach, all the wife needs to do is, guide him. That makes it easier for marriages to work. 

This morning I was talking to another married friend and we were sharing perspectives. This got me thinking, the world is full of misconceptions about married couples. I'l be writing more on this topic, from time to time, adding viewpoints of other couples, as well.

 - S

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