Victoria and Abdul by Shrabani Basu : A Review

Victoria and Abdul sheds light on a forgotten historical Indian figure who rose on his own merits in the Court of the British Queen ; and was wiped out from the blackboard of history; only to be dug out decades later by Shrabani Basu.

The Queen was experiencing the flavours of the East like never before. She was, after all, Empress of India, Kaiser-e-Hind or Mallika -e- Hindustan. . . . . Her passage to India was only just beginning.

This historical novel describes the relationship between the Queen and Abdul Karim, her Indian confidante. Interestingly, the text books have always shown the British invasion in a negative light; while never once trying to discover the Queen’s strange relationship with her Indian servant, who later became her Munshi or teacher- a position of high repute and regard given to any Indian , in the Victorian era.

Victoria and Abdul is a story of friendship, respect, honour, defence, envy, humiliation and suspicion. Every shade of human emotions can be seen in this never-before-heard-of relationship of the Munshi with the Queen and other members of the Queen’s Household. When Abdul Karim, a young man of 23 was sent to England to be the Queen’s attendant, little did anyone know that he was destined to be her closest confidante instead.

The novel’s flow is based on research and facts. Never have I ever seen such beautiful writing emerging out of the re-arrangement and compilation of facts. Throughout the 266 pages, Basu, has made sure to appeal to the human emotions through her words and vivid imagery while portraying a true situation.

It is often said that the mighty and powerful positions are the most lonely ones. Such seems true for the elderly Queen who lost her beloved almost four decades ago and was disturbed by the nuances of her children and extended family. Thus she finds solace in befriending Abdul and consulting him in most matters and decisions. The Queen was also at a loss due to her inability to visit India and thus made Abdul, her doorway to the Orient. Bound by determination she even started learning Hindustaani/ Urdu and completed thirteen journals . she considered Abdul a.k.a. Munshi, almost like her son and her constant persistence gave him important positions in her Court, theatre tableaux, among the elites of the World, land grants in Agra and other prominent positions to his family back home; at times going against the wishes of her Household and family.

Original photographs of the Queen and her Munshi Courtesy: http://bit.ly/2ythV8l

However, a vast proportion of the novel also consists of the conspiracy theories the Queen’s Court and Household plotted against Abdul, so that he can be lowered in the eyes of the Queen.  In fact the whole Munshi business had become stressful and tiring to such an extent that people called it the ‘Munshimania’. Was it racism at play? Was it discrimination? Was it the inferiority complex regarding individual status in the Household via-a-vis the Munshi; that drove the Household to hate and conspire against him? Most members had their own opinion and from their point of view was not wholly incorrect.

What touched me the most was the disgraceful behaviour the Munshi was subjected to, after the Queen’s death and his family after his own demise. The Queens’s Household on orders from Prince Edward raided all the cottages and houses – in the UK and in India- and burnt all forms of correspondence that existed between the Queen and her beloved Munshi. In fact, with time, all evidences of this individual were buried deep and the man himself who strode among royalty lay in a five feet grave in an isolated and forgotten graveyard since the 1909- his popularity lost in the gravels of time only to be uncovered by Shrabani Basu years later.

A fact that struck me the most , was that the narration was majorly from the point of view of the Queen and her household. Compared to it, the Munshi’s own thoughts did not find a prominent space in the narration. But again, since the novel is based on facts a benefit of doubt can be given to the author for focusing on a point of view based on research and evidences. Though it seems very clear from the journal entries by the  Munshi regarding his relationship towards the Queen, but a little more opinion on the Household and his relations with the other Indian servants , through his eyes would have been great.

Nevertheless, I would recommend all to read this beautiful novel to discover a lost Indian pride and live  this wonderful relationship between the Queen and Abdul through its pages.

Victoria and Abdul : The Movie

Photo Courtesy: flickeringmyth.com

Today, Victoria and Abdul has been adopted into a major motion picture starring Judie Dench and Ali Fazal in the lead roles and directed by Stephen Frears. It was released on the 15th of September, 2017. Personally, the movie was good but it failed to establish the essence of the relationship between Victoria and Abdul. Due to time constraints, only incidents of the book could be adapted ; but that lead to an epidermal establishment of the relationship. The seriousness of the storyline was beautifully laced with comic situations providing the audience the much-needed respite. Both Dench and Fazal delivered remarkable performances. Though I do not rate movies but I would like to give Victoria and Abdul a 6.5-7/10 and would recommend you to watch it.

Image Courtesy: Google

*Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of Victoria and Abdul from BloomsburyIndia in exchange of an honest review.

The Colours of Passion by Sourabh Mukherjee

Sourabh Mukherjee, in his book, The Colours of Passion has sported quite a unputdownable read with numerous plots and sub-plots taking you on a roller coaster ride. A high-profile rape and murder in Kolkata turns the eye-balls of the who’s who of the elite society to the headlines and also under suspicion. The City’s young and rich entrepreneur, Manav Chauhan, gets married to the diva of the film industry, Hiya Sen; and within days of this much awaited marriage Hiya is brutally raped and murdered. The question is WHY and WHO?

It is a known fact that the more famous one becomes, the more enemies one builds. But it is also difficult to gauge the intentions of the closest friends, who leave no stones unturned to hide in their snake skins and fake genuine concerns. An important and inevitable aspect of the celebrities is the deep and dark secrets which are often masked by evergreen smiles and hidden from the lime lights.

ACP Agni Mitra, known for his accurate abilities to deduce conclusions in high-profile cases, has been assigned to investigate the murder. A chain of events following Hiya’s murder and a string of suspects make him travel through slums and shanties to the posh city malls, talking and interrogating a long list of suspects, each of whom had a genuine reason and motive to remove Hiya out-of-the-way. Agni Mitra sure does stands out as the super cop of the novel. His eagle eyes pay great attention to details as minute as mannerisms and behavioural changes. His stern, to-the-point demeanour helps him solve his cases through intellectual deduction based on acquired evidences.

Mukherjee weaves in some very relatable characters into the novel. An actress engulfed by the horrors of her losing fame and age, an entrepreneur coming from a conservative family that relies on human bonding for expansion of business, a cop tormented by memories of his own horrors, a struggling alcoholic model trying to rise up the ladder of fame- each of these characters and their personalities are well perceived and described in the novel. It is interesting to see how the varying personalities meet and react to each other in the heated situation.

The Colours of Passion makes one realise that beyond the blinding flash lights, deafening fan screams and a façade of enthusiasm and smiles; every soul is lonely and fights an internal turmoil every day to find solace away from the demons of fame. Celebrities often work for days without breaks and try to run away from the crowd to find their ‘me-time’. It also makes us wonder if immense stardom makes the celebrities take on more burden on themselves than they can actually cope up with. This burden of expectations fills up their hearts and swells up their eyes – often resulting into drastic actions taken by them. The question that arises in this context is ‘How much is too much? ‘ .

Last but not the least; I would commend the author for drawing the attention of the readers to a very serious social issue. It is an issue which is  prevalent in contemporary times. Unfortunately, no matter how liberal we proclaim the world to be; at some point the mind-set is still that of an overtly conservative individual. Such restricted liberalism often chokes certain individuals who are seen as ‘unconventional’ in the society. But then my question is, what is conventional and who decides it?

If you like this review, then do let me know in the comments below or give a shout out on Twitter and Instagram .

*Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of the book by @Writersmelon in exchange of an honest review.

Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi

Blowfish in the literal meaning of the term has two connotations -one from the technological field and the other from the Animalia kingdom. It is a symmetric key block cipher designed in 1993. It is used to provide a good encryption rate in software’s by keeping in mind various parameters involved. Similarly, the protagonist Mukund in Siddharth Tripathi’s Blowfish is a complex encryption of various parameters. Some parameters are in his hands while others are hopelessly out of his control. A re-arrangement of these factors would have pushed him towards attaining a peaceful and enlightened life; but his life is far from being so. Blowfish also refers to a fish, commonly eaten as an exotic delicacy in Japan. A blowfish usually bloats itself by inhaling excess air or gulping down excess water, when it feels threatened. Mukund can be visualised as a blowfish but instead of bloating himself as a defence mechanism his adventures tend to bloat his problems as an offence mechanism to the people surrounding him.

Tripathi’s characters are very relatable in contemporary society. Mukund , though a calm and composed fellow finds himself in the middle of not-s0-calm-and-composed situations ever so often. Having come from a broken family his relationship is strained vis-à-vis his father. He takes a courageous decision in order to pursue his dream of making a mark in the world. Chaddha, Mukund’s flatmate, is an overtly happy-go-lucky guy. One cannot expect a moment’s peace with him being around. He is an erratic decision maker, moody; and suffers from a strange condition of being desperate-to-fall-in-love-with –women-with-big-boobs. Mukund’s friend Sampu whose wife is expecting is an undecided, unprepared yet helpfully loyal fellow who is stuck in between his wife’s mood swings during pregnancy and his friends turmoil filled adventurous lives.

Blowfish also has a parallel track of BumBum, the trusted house help of Mukund and Chaddha. He falls in love with a married woman whose husband had deserted her. This love-struck, honest, caring and liberal lovebirds finds himself in various unwanted situations for he had dared to love beyond the set societal norms. Suman , a bright girl working in Hong Kong is equally confused with the way her life is proceeding and in the heat of the moment comes back to her parents in Gurgaon. She befriends Mukund and they become ‘good friends’. Harpal, the society secretary where Mukund and Chaddha reside, is in a constant tug of war with the boys. However, it is only after realising the layers of sadness underneath the stern-faced man, that one can decipher his actions and justify them.

Certain relevant themes have been brought out by Tripathi through the book. Today, the life of a corporate employee has become very programmed. It seems that they have a set time –table without any respite from their daily chores. In fact, it can often be visualized as a claustrophobic environment from where employees like Mukund are dying to break free and invest their time in something new. An underlying theme which recurs quite a few times, but its repercussions are prominently felt many times in the novel is that of desertion during old age. Harpal the secretary of Mukund’s society behaves rather rashly with him because he sees in him a reflection of his only son who had settled in another country and hardly ever had time for his father. Mukund’s narration of his strained relationship with his father worries Harpal and he decides to teach the young lad a lesson. In fact, today with most of the youth moving out of their hometown, their old parents are actually leading a secluded and lonely life all by themselves.

Thus Tripathi’s contemporary storytelling methods used in Blowfish is definitely a treat to read. Especially with his witty and comical use of the language which almost makes the reader visualise the scenes in front of them. The best part of the novel is that the characters are very relatable and so are their decisions, well maybe Chaddha can be unpredictable sometimes, but that is the essence of his character!

The book would be soon available at your nearest bookstores or can be purchased online through Bloomsbury. Happy Reading!

 

6 Reasons to Read: Letters from a Father To His Daughter

Before reading Letters from a Father to His Daughter you need to realise the fact that it was written for a ten-year old Indira Gandhi by her father Jawaharlal Nehru. Hence, it should be read adhering to the time, age and purpose, for which it was originally written for. Nevertheless, Letter from a Father to his daughter is still relevant in contemporary times. There are a few instances which made me love this compilation, although the content is known, since I am no longer ten-years old. (I won’t tell you how old I am though!)

#1 The Idea of Letter Writing

Today we have almost forgotten the idea of writing a letter. We have adapted to typing SMS’es , WhatsApp messages and e-mails. But letter writing was an art and it was personal as well. The emotion that can be attached on receiving a hand-written letter from your loved ones is surely missing on receiving an email or SMS, however well-written it might be. It is rather difficult to express your exact thoughts with minimalistic words through a letter. It is often said that an individual who has mastered the art of letter writing can write just about anything. I remember how elated I was when I received hand-written letters from my grand-mother and aunt while studying abroad. I still have them preserved somewhere in my cupboard.

#2 Educative

Would you not have wanted to complete your science, social science and history syllabus through beautiful illustrative letters? The content of the letters are far more progressive for a child of ten-years. It not only outlines the evolution of mankind but also highlights virtues and values that need to be taught to a child. In fact, it gets difficult to make children understand the point without stating perfect examples. The same formula was applied by Nehru ages ago to tell the truth and instil good virtues in his daughter through these letters.

#3 Adheres to the then societal standards

Nehru brilliantly interspersed the evolution of society and man with societal norms and inconsistencies of a newly independent India. Comments like, “people do not realise even now, that fighting and killing each other are about the most stupid things that people can do. It does good to nobody”; or “If two men fight in the streets the policemen separate them. . . . But how much sillier and more foolish it is for great countries to fight each other and kill thousands and millions. “; tell us that Nehru was making Indira aware of the situation. Were the seeds of becoming a great leader being sown through these simple letters?

#4 Ignites Curiosity in Children

Letters from a Father to his Daughter ignites curiosity in the minds of a child through its narrations. Each letter can generate numerous questions and at times it might be difficult to satiate the minds of the children with your answers. While reading I realised that this can be a great contemporary children’s resource to tell them about the history of mankind. Given the fact that they are letters with word restrictions, you can always add onto the material with relevant facts, stories and illustrations. Should you think of using this as a resource for your child, be prepared for a bombardment of questions.

#5 Reflects a father’s love for his daughter

This is not a mere compilation of letters; it is a compilation of words and pages that reciprocate a father’s love. Nehru had been a political leader but he had never forgotten his duties as a father. Known to the world as ‘Chacha Nehru’ his birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day. Each letter can be seen as conversations that a father wanted to have with his child. But due to physical distances between them, these conversations have been spelt out on paper.

#6 Cover Different Topics

The letters cover interesting topics. From the origins of life to the early civilizations; from Chinese and Egyptian customs to the great Indian Epics- there is a vast reservoir of knowledge that ca be imparted to a child who is merely a decade old.

Letters from a Father to his daughter had for a long time been kept under wraps by the Gandhi family, till they decided to compile it and publish it for the children of the world. I personally liked the compilation and the simple and clear language of the letters. It is easy enough to make a child understand. In fact, this can be a good choice for a bed time read and to unleash the imaginative power of your child.

I picked up my copy from Booktique, Kolkata, but it is available in all leading bookstores near you. Alternately, you might even want to order it online through Flipkart, Snapdeal or Amazon.

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Darkness There But Something More

What had I just experienced? Was it a mere hallucination? An illusion or just a figment of my fertile imagination? – Page 133, Darkness There But Something More. . . An individual is groomed to be self-sufficient and confident from a very young age. But there are times, when the bridges of confidence rustle under the burden of the unknown and an individual is surrounded by the clouds of self-doubt.  The esoteric is a mysterious realm, that is ever researched on and always spoken about; but only those who have felt it closely can be one step closer to the truth of this omnipresent enigma.

Darkness There But Something More, is an anthology of thirty stories written by thirty different authors and co-edited by Lopamudra Banerjee and Dr Santosh Bakaya. It deals with the territory of the unknown and the unseen through thirty short stories. Being a collection of stories, I would of course have my favourites to choose from. Hence, I would list down my favourite stories.

#books #coffee #biscuits #bookstagramindia #bookstagram #books

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The White Man’s Bungalow by Dr Sunil Sharma

The undead often make old houses and garden their home. This in turn earns the place the commonly used epithet, haunted house. This story speaks about one such house engulfed in stories and rumours from every perspective possible. It is only when a Journalist enters the house in the pretext of researching it for a story, do the readers find out the ultimate truth.

Two things attracted me the most towards this story- the description of the ‘haunted house’ and the fact that a Journalist uncovers the truth. Being a trained journalist myself, I do wonder at times, if some story somewhere would give me an opportunity for an otherworldly encounter, as well. Sadly, I don’t see that happening too soon!

The Last Trick by Shabir Ahmed Mir

A magician wants to practice a newly configured trick. However, he faces one issue. Thus, he wakes up his next room neighbour in the hotel and rehearses for his latest show. Looks pretty normal right? It is only the story that you have to read to find out what went wrong and where.

The story begins with a beautiful quotation by Christopher Priest from The Prestige. Apart from the story itself, that quote won my heart. Also, this short story had been awarded the First Prize at the Ghost Story Contest hosted by Learning and Creativity E-zine.

The Peepal Tree by Ramendra Kumar

A group of young girls are celebrating a friend’s birthday party. Things go wrong when animosities between girls are expressed through dire consequences.

The Peepal Tree deals with an important social subject- bullying. No one can fathom when and how can pent-up anger within the victim, transform into such deadly vengeance. Supernatural or not supernatural, bullying is definitely a subject that one needs to pay attention to and seek professional help if need be. I would also mention that this story had earned a Special Mention in the Ghost Story Contest by the Learning and Creativity E-zine.

#newbook #bookstagramindia #bookstagram #bookishfeatures #bookdefotos New review coming up on www.subhadrikasen.com

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All Out and Over by Cathy Sydlo Wilkes

All Out and Over is a story which is narrated by a marmoset depicting the plight of many circus animals and their afterlife.

What I liked the most was that, not every ghost story needs to be scary with visions of blood dripping fanged vampires and crooked nosed witches. Some can be heart-warming as well. This is one such story, where trapped creatures narrate their story and cross over to their ultimate destination.

The Reunion by Sarmita Dey (Ghosh)  

A tale of love lost so suddenly; and yet patiently awaiting a chance to meet the lost love in some other realm, in some other life, is rarely written by an author.

Not all love stories end well. But the most important lesson of life is to let go. There are things beyond our control, and in those times, one should submit to His will.

But for a crisper editing, the book would have been devoid of flaws. Nevertheless, Darkness There But Something More is a read that I would recommend if you like to read about the esoteric. It is definitely the kind of light reads that you would want to carry with yourself to your vacations. It is available for online purchase through Flipkart and Amazon.

Let the Night Sing: A Whirlpool of Art and Emotions

Should I walk through this maze of reluctance?
Should I paint my hands and feet in mud,
Learning to fall in bones, sphincter and grace?
The water whispers seductively.
Between us, a zebra-crossing of blood and blossoming,
Of sacrilege and promiscuity.

– Lopamudra Banerjee

Poetry is both an art and science of expressing oneself. Poetry is like the gentle breeze which blows past your face; making you experience moments of relief, on a hot summer’s noon. Poetry is the like the beautiful calm on the sea or the light ripples that are formed when that calmness is disturbed. Poetry is that one overarching form of expression, which has the power to express anything in this world. Hence, US-based Poet, Writer, Translator and Editor, Lopamudra Banerjee uses Poetry to express herself in her latest book of poems – Let the Night Sing which was launched at The Doodle Room, Kolkata last month.

The book launch was organised and initiated by PR, Events Manager ,Poet and Artist, Sufia Khatoon. The book launch saw an amalgamation of art forms and literature throughout the evening. The event opened with the inauguration of a painting and poetry exhibition based on the theme Let the Night Sing which was followed by a panel discussion, the panellists to which were welcomed by Lopamudra.

‘Womanhood and its exploration in Contemporary Indian English Poetry’ was the theme for the panel discussion. The eminent panellists were Dr Sanjukta Dasgupta, (Professor, Department of English, University of Calcutta), Dr Santosh Bakaya, (Academician, Poet and Author of ‘Ballad of Bapu’ and ‘Flights from My Terrace’) and Lopamudra Banerjee. The topic was initiated and moderated by Sufia. The panellists briefed the audience on the effect of poetry in contemporary life- the influence it has on the choices that we make.

After finally unveiling the book, it was impossible that in a poetic atmosphere, there would be no reading from the book. Thus, Lopamudra, Sufia and Dr Bakaya read out from the newly launched book which was synchronised with beautiful melodies by the musicians.

A Musical Performance in Progress
Photo Courtesy: Sufia Khatoon

The evening then progressed onto an art and poetry exhibition presented by the Rhythms Divine Poetry Group. Musicians Pavlu Banerjee, Kolkata Music Dairy band, Akash DasGupta and Sahil Sarkar enthralled the audience with their mesmerizing music and made sure that everyone joined in. This was followed by a performance poetry which was presented by poets Sufia Khatoon, Amit Shankar Saha, Anindita Bose, Subhajit Sanyal, Aiman Abdullah, Arjun, Tanya Sengupta, and Aparajita Dutta on the theme Let the Night Sing.

Lopamudra Banerjee
Photo Courtesy: Sufia Khatoon

Let the Night Sing is a collection of 70 poems which highlights on the theme – a journey to womanhood. Its stunning book cover has been designed by Sufia Khatoon. The poems are in a continuous linkage with each other; each one taking the poet one step closer to experiencing womanhood. It is a unique blend of experiences celebrating sometimes a child woman and at times a woman trying to put her life back together from its broken pieces. These myriad hues of life put together in a few pages evoke an emotional journey in the reader’s mind- a journey that every reader willingly undertakes through the poets thoughts and verses.

The evening was a memorable one with a blend of poetry, discussions, music, performances and art. The event saw not only the launching of Let the Night Sing but the evening actually sang and progressed into a beautiful night. One that would be etched in everyone’s memories for a long time. Whenever one would pick up a copy of the book, one would praise it for being the whirlpool of artistic influences at the same place, on one July evening in Kolkata.

 

Before We Visit The Goddess

Before We Visit The Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni  spans through the lives of three generations depicting their personalities, actions, decisions and mistakes. The narrative shifts from the naive yet determined village girl Sabitri; to her daughter Bela who takes impulsive decisions blinded by the love of her life; to her daughter Tara, who after witnessing strained relationships between her parents sets out to discover the world on her own. Set across a timeline of around ten decades across continents and three generations, Divakaruni highlights how with changing time, every relationship changes in an individual’s life. Simple emotions and societal acceptance grows by accepting newer terms and making the society liberal in its own way.

Sabitri comes to Kolkata from a small village in order to pursue her education. She was funded by one of the wealthiest ladies of the town. However, she enters the scope of forbidden love for which she is vanquished and left all alone to settle down in a new life. Bela, on the other hand had bigger dreams. But in the process of achieving them, dreams became bigger than relationships to her. Thus, Bela reflects on the compromises that an individual makes in order to put their foot forward for an imagined utopian destiny. Tara is brought up in the United States, thus instilling in her an unwavering ability to carve out her own life; learning from her mistakes and moving forward with it.

Before We Visit The Goddess explore three very different relationships that exist between a mother and a daughter. While a mother dies awaiting the return of her daughter; another regrets decisions taken years ago and laments the strained relationship with her daughter.  The three leading ladies have an immense sense of loss of relationships in their lives. However, each one tries to cope up with it in their own way. Thus, Divakaruni tries to fit in the idea of changing relationships with time and a sense of loneliness through her beautifully worded novel, Before We Visit the Goddess.

Personally, I would like to add that though this is a good novel on its own; considering her past works like ‘The Palace of Illusions’ or even ‘One Amazing Thing’, this is not her best novel. The abrupt jumps between years and a shift between the first person narratives through each chapter at times confuse the reader. There are instances when, as a reader I would have liked to know a little more about a character but no further details are provided about him or her. Few lines now and then talk of hidden truths, but they are not expressed very clearly for the reader. Lastly, the novel ends on an open-ended note. As a reader, probably I would expect a definite end. Open ended sequences do work well for some novels, but however for this one I found it as a mismatch.

Nevertheless, I would recommend you all to read the book once as a stand-alone book and to not compare it with any of her previous literary works. Before We Visit The Goddess is available on Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and at your nearest bookstores.

If you have not read it yet, grab your copy now!

Mosaic Vision : A Review

Nestled within the colourful pages of Mosaic Vision, lies an anthology of poems written by Poet, Editor, Writer and Blogger Vaijayantee Bhattacharya. Her maiden book, Mosaic Vision was launched at the Oxford Bookstore Kolkata on the 23rd July, 2017.

Having spent a significant time of her life in Kolkata and Delhi, she now resides in Bahrain with her husband and son. Her poems are inspired thus of not only philosophical thoughts but also of the culture and traditions of three very different destinations. One would also find reflections of the different shades of human moods through the poems. This only goes on to highlight the versatility of the subjects the poet is capable of penning down.

Talking for myself, all thirty -seven poems were a pleasure to read. Each of them are interspersed with beautiful photographs which not only aids the presentation of the book but also breaks the monotony of mere words. However three poems stood out very distinctly for me as I could relate to them a lot.

The Mahalaya Morning. . . .

Though preparations for the Durga Puja begins months in advance, Mahalaya signifies that the festival is knocking on your doorstep. The sound of Dhakis, the pandals on the verge of completion, the last-minute bargains for new clothes and the smell of incense and shiuli flowers fill the air. Having been deprived of this scene for the past two years, The Mahalaya Morning touched a personal chord in my heart.

Yah Devi Sarvabhuteshu

Filled the morning air

With nostalgia

If You Saw Me in Heaven. . . .

Very beautifully worded, ‘If You Saw Me in Heaven’ poses many questions that might be in the minds of every individual with regard to their time in Heaven. Would Heaven be as calm a place like the way the term is often used; would it be a place where old strife’s be forgotten and one can start anew? Though these questions remain unanswerable at present; the boldness of penning down what reflects the thoughts of many is indeed commendable.

If You saw me in heaven

Amidst nameless souls in a crowd

Would you shy away or look at me

Would you look diffident or proud?

Lost . . . .

‘Outwardly I was everything a well brought up girl should be , Inside I was screaming’ – these lines from the Titanic struck me when I read out the poem ‘Lost’ . Everyday we camouflage our deepest sorrows , our darkest fears and our anxieties with the help of a smile. But behind this mask lies a broken and hurt soul- broken but brave still to hold  on to the miseries of the world without a flicker on the face.

You may never know

But she is lost

In an invisible maze of life

With impenetrable walls around her-

You cannot see but she is trapped-

She knows not how to break through them

And cries invisible tears

Disguised as smiles on her face.

Vaijayantee Bhattacharya with Mosaic Vision
Photo: Abhizit Dutta

Robert Frost had said, ” Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” This holds  true when you read the poems  by Vaijayantee. Each poem stems from a very basic thought. The simplicity used to express  some of the most complex thoughts and situations is bound to leave you mesmerised. If you are a lover of literature, a person with poetic instincts, or an artistic soul ; then Mosaic Vision is bound to leave a profound impact on you.

Mosaic Vision is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition. It would soon be available in all leading bookstores near you.

 

5 Reasons to Read The Serpent’s Revenge

The Last time I ventured to  the Starmarks in Quest Mall, I came across The Serpent’s Revenge by Sudha Murthy. I have recently started reading her books, and am in awe of her writing . Thus, this was a book that I had to pick up. It took me only two days to complete it . And Yes! I loved it. I loved it for more than one reason. Hence, here are 5 reasons why I liked the book and I am sure you would too, upon reading it.

  1. Its MAHABHARAT Time! 

If you are a Mahabharata freak like me, then this is the book to add to your collections. with over two dozens of stories, especially curated from the Great Epic, The Serpent’s Revenge brings to you an unseen and hidden version of this tale.

        2. The Tales are short and crisp.

Each story is hardly five pages long. The stories cover a wide range of themes like love, betrayal, sacrifice, courage, gratitude, intelligence and others. Beautifully put down, each story summarizes an important part of the biggest epic of India. Not only do the stories catch your attention , but it also leaves you with a food for thought.

      3. It Deals with the AFTERMATH of the War too. 

For most novels written on the Mahabharata, you do not find references on the aftermath, barring a few. But , The Serpent’s Revenge pays equal attention to both before and after the war. In fact, it is on a closer look at the names of the chapter, that you would find the book named after a chapter which takes place generations after the war.

      4. Beautiful Illustrations to Watch out for. 

No matter how much you say that a book helps in creating an image of the situation in your mind’s eye; a little illustrations can actually do a lot of good. Hence, Murthy’s illustrator Priyankar Gupta takes care of this aspect. Some incredibly detailed illustrations follow every tale in this book. Not only does it depict the situation but also hints on symbolism. At times, the illustration alone tells you about the scene and the tale. Indeed the saying- ‘A Picture is worth a thousand words ‘ is true!

#serpentsrevenge #bookreview #illustrations #blogpost coming up soon.

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      5. Your perfect On-The-Go Book Buddy

Comprising of short stories nestled between a hundred and eighty-two pages, The Serpent’s Revenge has surely been designed for those lazy days when you grab a book and a cup of coffee; or for those long unending journeys where it serves as your best companion.

The Serpent’s Revenge is available in all the leading bookstores near you. It can also be purchased online through Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. If you have read this book , do let me know if you have liked it and why? If you have not , well then you know where to find it , if you want to read it sometime later on.

 

The Last Song of Dusk: A Review

The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi is an exuberant tale of life and love. What might seem as a personification of the word melancholy through the novel; actually teaches us the harshest truth of life- that it is not always like the cherry on the cake.  The novel is an amalgamation of the various shades of human personalities- from the grey shades of mankind to those of love, lust, bold, innocence, loss and grief- everything finds a space in this novel.

Each character in The Last Song of Dusk is as important as the other. From Anuradha who is the ideal wife, daughter-in-law and mother ; to Vardhamaan who is the best example of a devoted husband. Nandini on the other hand is the mirror that reflects the horrific side of the society- a reality which many consciously choose to ignore, many include in their daily gossips and some find it to be outright loathsome. Even strange as it may sound, Dariya Mahal, the beautiful House by the Sea too has a character and feelings of its own. This made me wonder if my house too has feelings, understands everything but can do nothing apart from silently gazing at my plight.

As you go deeper in the pages of the novel, you would realize how the superficial faces of the people start peeling away. It reveals their lonely, melancholic, broken -yet-living souls. In fact, for me it draws parallel to a time I spent on foreign lands. True to the world, I was smiling but by the evening twilight I had discovered the silence reigning deep down in the hearts of every person.

The Last Song of Dusk is also a beautiful painting, painted on a lonely canvas. It depicts the loss of a dear one; the estranged relationship between a once loving couple; the beautiful friendship between the living and the withering souls. It defines beyond boundaries, a mother’s love for her child. It brings to us the struggles of a vagabond, rejected by the society and yet claiming to fight back until she is remembered by all. It strongly portrays the societal pressures faced by those who go against the norms of the society. But, above all the novel redefines the word ‘love’ for its readers through the eyes of its characters. Love is not only an emotion which draws people closer. At times, it escalates distances between couples; it touches one’s heart for a brief moment only to part again. Love is eternal, glorious, painful, persistent but it does touch everyone in this lifetime; no matter for how brief a period. The language used by the author creates a  vivid artistic imagery in the minds of the readers, one that would be etched on for a long time.

The Last Song of Dusk is available in all major bookstores or you can purchase it from Flipkart, Amazon or Snapdeal. I would highly recommend this book to all my readers. To end this post, I will leave you all with a quote.

Although I know little about art, my instincts suggest that perhaps all art is love in some avatar. It longing and rejection. Its first flower and its finale. – The Last Song of Dusk, Chapter 37,  Page 236.