Book Review

Autobiography of a Sex Worker – A Book Review

‘Autobiography of a Sex Worker’ by Nalini Jameela translated by J. Devika is the autobiographical account of the famous sex worker in Kerala who chose to tell the world her share of hardships and incidents that led to her being a sex worker and various tales of her survival throughout the years in the sex trade. 
Nalini Jameela, who takes her name from both Hindu and Muslim traditions, worked as a child in the clay mines. She has been a wife,mother successful businesswoman and social activist-as well as a sex worker-at different stages in her life. This is Nalini Jameela’s story, told in her inimitably honest and down-to-earth style, of her search for dignity, empowerment and freedom on her own terms.

The book delves deep into the lives of sex workers, their predicaments, the people they meet it their ‘clients’, the various ‘husbands’ they share their lives with for a couple of years and the stigma of being in a profession that’s a taboo.

It takes great courage for a sex worker to come out and speak about these minute details openly and publish it in the form of a book, especially as lot of their secret ‘business’ locations, client structure, etc., has been revealed.

While reading the book, I almost felt that I am reading the life account of a refugee – so many were the places where Nalini had to go in the course of her life as a sex worker. People who offer mental and physical solace to others have no permanent place to stay and live at the mercy of local police officers and cooperators. Shyam Benegal’s ‘Mandi’ comes to mind at this point. Perhaps, the story of sex workers across the world is more or less the same.

Special thanks to translator J. Devika for bringing out the unapologetic voice of Nalini Jameela, so vividly in this version of the book (the original was written in Malayalam and sold 13000 copies). A revelation of a different sort, the book is both daring and rare in its approach – daring as it’s bringing out the real like incidents of a character who by the virtue of her erstwhile profession (she is now a social worker) is supposed to have kept a secret life; rare as the tonality of the entire book is not in any way seeking sympathy for the miserable state of sex workers. It rather looks at the world around in the eye, through its wonderfully matter-of-fact narrative and shows how life can be lived and won despite being in the sex trade.

What I liked:

Portions where she describes about the time when she brought up her daughter and chose ‘husbands’ for her sake, so that she is taken care of financially are emotionally surcharged. It is passages in a book like these that bring us to a point of unison, where all women are alike. A mother, no matter what is her profession, is a mother, end of the day. More taxing it is, when that mother is a sex worker also.

What could have been better:

Perhaps too many details have been shared about the places where she lived at various points of time. At times, it became a bit repetitive, but overall, the book is a good read.

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Book Review

A Time of Madness: A Memoir of Partition – Book Review

Book Title: A Time of Madness: A Memoir of Partition

Publication : Aleph

Author : Salman Rashid

Blurb : During the chaos of partition in 1947, something dreadful happened in the city of Jalandhar in Punjab. As a result of this, Salman Rashid’s family fled Jalandhar for Pakistan, the newly created country across the border. They were among the nearly two million people uprooted from their homes in the greatest transmigration in history. A time of madness tells the story of what he discovered with great poignancy and grace. It is a tale of unspeakable brutality but it is also a testament to the uniquely human traits of forgiveness, redemption and the resilience of the human spirit.

A well known travel writer, Salman Rashid, takes his much awaited ‘first’ trip to India, the country of his origin, in the bid to visit his ancestral home and meet people (if still alive) of whom he heard so much about, back home in Karachi. After several failed attempts at getting a Visa, when he finally got one, he finally takes off his journey with a ‘grainy photograph of a house on Railway Road in Jalandhar’. He described it thus.

“On the twentieth day of March 2008, I headed home for the first time in my life. I was fifty-six years and a month old. Walking east across the border at Wagah, I was on my way to the fulfilment of a family pietas of very long standing. I was going to a home I had never known; a home in a foreign land, a land that state propaganda wanted me to believe was enemy territory. But I knew it as a country where my ancestors had lived and died over countless generations. That was the home where the hearth kept the warmth of a fire first kindled by a matriarch many hundred years ago, nay, a few thousand years ago and which all of a sudden had been extinguished in a cataclysm in 1947.”

At 127 pages, it is a short read but one that makes you stop and process the amount of pain, grief and anger running through the lives of people across both sides of the Radcliffe line (that divides India and Pakistan). The initial chapters are about the author making way into the country of his origin and exploring villages of Solan and Ughi in Jalandhar in search if his ancestral home. Once he meets his people, some real revelations take place that would shock and surprise you. But that exactly is what partition was all about. It’s a personal journey that the author undertakes to better understand his own kith and keen and his roots.

What fascinated me was that the author being a Pakistani himself was quite critical of his own country and pointed out how Pakistan as a Nation State failed miserably post Partition. Vivid accounts of his family being murdered brutally have been narrated as the author discovers these details from the neighbors of the place which could have been his own had the ‘Great Divide’ not taken place.

Written in a fast paced style, the book at times becomes more of a political and socio-cultural commentary than a memoir.


With some chilling accounts of Partition, interesting comparisons drawn by the author between the two countries and a rather free-flow yet engaging style of writing, I would rate the book at 3.5 stars out of 5.


About the Author : Salman Rashid is Pakistan’s leading travel writer. The author of nine travel books, this is his first memoir.

Book Review

Yoddha the dynasty of Samudragupta – a Book review

Though historians have produced varied versions of the different dynasties that ruled our country, by far the Gupta period has been considered as the ‘Golden era’ of Indian History. Rajat Pillai, the author of “Yoddha the dynasty of Samudragupta” tries to retell a complex episode of that period in an interesting and realistic manner.

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The story begins at a time when Samudragupta, after his lifelong battles and huge territorial success, is an accomplished king. However, he is an exhausted man. He has just won a battle, has his trusted loyal friend Harisena by his side, but his heart aches for something else. He is the king and the most powerful man of ‘Aryavrat’. But there are other things in life that he wishes to enjoy now, after years of hardship and bloodshed which being a king, he had to endure.

Samudragupta for all these years has kept both his sons away from common knowledge. His elder son Ramagupta has been raised as a normal boy in the military camps and his younger son Chandragupta or ‘Chandra,’ as he was fondly called by his foster parents, was raised as a village boy unaware of his ancestry. Samrat Samudragupta battled death conspiracies keeping his enemies at bay for all these years. He doesn’t want his beloved sons to become a victim of hatred, like him. Hence, he had kept them away, far detached from his kingdom. But now its time to bring them back to the kingdom and declare his elder son as the crown king.

The storyline widens after this, as we come to know that a mysterious ‘source’ has deployed a secret spy to kill Samudragupta.

To read the full review, click here.

 

 

 

Book Review

Ikigai, the Japanese secret to a long and happy life – Book Review

First things First. Does the book actually give away the secrets to a happy and long life as is promised on the cover? Well yes, it does. And in doing so it goes on to describe more and more about this mysterious Japanese concept – “Ikigai”

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What is an “Ikigai”?

This Japanese concept, (pronounced Ick-ee-guy), which translates roughly as “the happiness of being busy doing that we like to do,” in a way explains the extraordinary longevity of the Japanese.

This book authored by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles illustrates the concept by studying the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Okinawa (an island in Japan), where there are 24.55 people over the age of 100 for every 100,000 inhabitants, far more than the global average.

 

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“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing” – Hector Garcia

 

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. Some people have found their ikigai, while others are still looking, though they carry it within them.
Our ikigai is hidden deep inside each of us and finding it requires a patient
search. According to those born on Okinawa, the island with the most
centenarians in the world, their ikigai is the reason they get up in the morning.

The book then goes on to explain this Japanese concept in more detail and how people in certain parts of the country following their ‘ikigai’ are happy, blessed with a long life.

The authors also mention about the “Blue Zones” or the geographic regions of the world where people live longest. He mentions five such places, where topping the list is Okinawa, the island in Japan that lives by the concept of ‘ikigai’ followed by: 2. Sardinia, Italy 3. Loma Linda, California 4. The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and 5. Ikaria, Greece. These people are mostly centenarians and have a number of interesting facts about them:

  • Many of these centenarians enjoy enviable levels of vitality and
    health that would be unthinkable for people of advanced age
    elsewhere.
  • Their blood tests reveal fewer free radicals (which are responsible for
    cellular aging), as a result of drinking tea and eating until their
    stomachs are only 80 percent full.
  • Women experience more moderate symptoms during menopause,
    and both men and women maintain higher levels of sexual hormones
    until much later in life.
  • The rate of dementia is well below the global average.

 

Though the author does give due credit to the diet (80% concept), ‘moai’ (the philosophy of community living), some moderate exercise and art of relaxing, the focus of this book remains searching and then nurturing one’s ‘ikigai’

Garcia and Miralles lays down pointers that might help us reach our ikigai. They write, “Follow those things you enjoy, and get away from or change those you dislike. Be led by your curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness. It doesn’t need to be a big thing: we might find meaning in being good parents or in helping our neighbours.” 

Victor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor says, “There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, your mission is to discover it.

I finished this book in 2 days flat (i.e. after office hours) as its a perfect page turner with numerous examples and case studies which adds value to it even more. I am sure it will be an amazing weekend read for you’all as well.

How many books make us pause for a moment and think deep? Well, this one does. After reading it, you are definitely bound to question yourself, “what is my ikigai?”. That, my friend is the purpose of this book.

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Book Review

21 Dimensions – a small milestone

My short story “Sushila” is one of the winners of the “Fiction writing competition” conducted by StoryMirror. 21 top stories have been now made into a compact ebook called ‘21 Dimensions‘. So, friends, Romans and countrymen, this marks my debut (albeit in a small way) in the world of books.

Sushila, the protagonist of this short story could be any of us. She is a wife, a mother, a regular woman out there. But what differentiates her from the rest is the journey she undergoes towards her ‘real’ calling in life after years of mundane domestication. It’s this amazing journey of her’s that would surely touch your hearts. ❤❤

There would also be 20 other equally interesting stories in this anthology for you, my readers to cherish and devour.

So do visit the link above (21 dimensions) and show some love to this endeavour by StoryMirror Books and to Sushila.. 😊😊

Book Review

Rasia, the dance of desire – A Book Review

‘Rasia – the dance of desire’ by Koral Dasgupta is a riveting story that is built around a beautifully choreographed dance show by the same name. Through Rasia, the author weaves through her characters an amazing tale that makes for a gripping read.

Storyline: 

Raj Shekhar Subramanian a renowned Bharatanatyam Dancer runs a dancing school – ‘Kala Mandir’. His wife Manasi, his first student and an excellent dancer herself is invested in his profession and every goal that he nurses to achieve, she is an embodiment of grace and artistic poise. The couple is made for each other, but something unprecedented happens all of a sudden. A dance show named ‘Manipur strotram’ performed by Kala Mandir students in Manhattan changed everything for the couple. An obsessed fan, Vatsala Pandit, enchanted and enamoured by Raj Shekhar after watching him perform with such perfection on stage, vows to ‘achieve’ him somehow. She is fierce, unabashed and plays the seductress who wants to hunt her target at any cost. She challenges that if Raj Shekhar teaches her Bharatanatyam, she would be the ‘best dancer’ of his troupe.

On the other hand, Manasi, Raj Shekhar’s wife is a total contrast to Vatsala. She follows her husband’s and trusts every decision of his. She executes his command without any questions.

As Raj Shekhar’s dream of opening a branch of Kala Mandir in New York materializes soon enough, Vatsala does become Raj Shekhar’s student and learns Bharatnatyam from him. And much to everyone’s dismay, she even makes her way into the troupe and perform on stage with her dream man, her ‘Dancer’.

Does Vatsala achieve what she sought all along? Does Raj Shekhar fall in love with Vatsala in the process of teaching her Bharatanatyam? How did Manasi perceive all of this and what stand did she take? Well, you have to read the book to find these answers.

 

What I liked:

  • Just like a classic dance drama, where the characters slowly unfold, reach their crescendo and eventually find their individual closures, drawing in the emotions of the audience, Dasgupta builds her three main characters around the artistic world of Bharatanatyam and takes her readers through this dance-infused emotional journey.
  • The excellent juxtaposition of mythology (the author seems to have quite a command there) and Bharat Natyam its consequent re-interpretation by the characters takes the book a few notches higher.
  • The beautiful language that fills the pages of this book. It is the tapestry of words that infuses artistic passion and pulls us into the ‘dance performance’ that’s being narrated, as if we are watching it before us, Live. Sample this:

        “As Kali symbolically merges into Shiva, his body language undergoes a fierce transformation from majestic to exuberant. The auditorium is frozen watching Shekhar shake his body stretching his hands outward, opening himself for Shakti to reside within his body and manifest as a part of him. With unpredictable movements conceived in tender intimacy and robust devotion, he delightfully expresses the possession of power and wisdom that should alight with the unison of Shiva and Kali”

A total page turner, this book of 238 pages published by Rupa Publications is a perfect weekend read. Go for it!

Book Review

By the River Pampa I stood – A Book Review

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{Blurb : The novel features a typical Syrian Christian family – its great history, its traditions, its joys and sorrows, its secrets…. The story spans over a century and gives an insight into the life of the Syrian Christians of Kerala, which is steeped in traditions dating back to the time of the apostles of Jesus. They are a breed of people who abide by age-old conventions and ancient laws and abhor changes. The caste feelings and feudal hierarchy prevalent in the first half of the twentieth century and to some extent to this day are analyzed carefully as we progress through the history. The plot of the story is a fictional one but the historical backdrop and descriptions of people, their customs and traditions, the feudal set up and the social discrimination are all original and have always remained a part and parcel of the social fabric of the community.}

I picked up this book authored by Geeta Abraham and published by Srishti Publishers & Distributors purely based on its title – By the River Pampa I stood. I found it really beautiful and was eager to find out the story behind it.

As the blurb says, the story revolves around this Syrian christian family from Kuttanad, Kerala and spans across a 100 years. The novel revolves around the Ponnumpurackal family that was headed by Mathen who held the family heritage and the 1900 year old Syrian way of life intact, sort of disintegrated slowly after him, has many unknown stories that Annamma, the narrator of the story and the great grand daughter of Mathen (from where the storyline of this family in the novel begins) reveals to us, the readers, as she herself finds them out over a period of time. However, it is the person that she is named after, her grand mother who forms the central character of the novel.

“A burning candle” , that’s what the author is reminded of as she thinks of her grand mother ‘Annamma’, who was always attired in her ‘mundu-chatta-kavani’- the traditional dress of the Syrian christian woman of Kerala. It is Annamma, whose life, quite an intriguing one at that at the onset of the novel, which stirs the readers to know more about her. The author describes her as “her golden hair created a halo around her face, a golden face. Like a candle with a golden flame.”

The story then talks about Annamma’s life, her love with a low caste pulaya boy, how she never married and took care of her sister’s children all through her life, the daughter of one of those children is the narrator of the novel. Annamma’s roller coaster life, her deep, dark secrets, (which only our author had access to) and the other secrets of this family will keep you hooked to the book till its last pages.
What I liked :

The beautiful way in which the rural kerala is described with its farms, its old world charm and the pristine locales makes you feel like visiting the “Golden House’, name of the family house in Kuttanad.

  • The endearing relationship between the author and her ‘Annammachi’, and the way in which she describes the bond throughout the various phases of her life will warm the cockles of your heart.
  • The narrative is simple and easy going with less jargons, which makes it an easy read

What Could have been:

  • By the end of the book, I wanted to know more Annammachi’s son and her husband, perhaps the ending was too hush-hush. It would have been better if the author had given a little more “life” to these two characters.

A book of 142 pages, “By the River Pampa I stood” makes for a cosy afternoon read, with characters who seem real and relatable and one that would completely transport you to a different world altogether.

Book Review

‘A Century is Not Enough’ By Sourav Ganguly – A Book Review:

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OK. First things first. Did Sourav talk about his tempestuous relationship with Greg Chappell? YES, extensively. Did he spill the beans on his rather unceremonious ouster from KKR? Well, partly yes.
{Blurb: Sourav Ganguly takes you through his life – from his difficult debut in Australia to the highs of the Lord’s century, from beating Pakistan on its home ground to the vindictiveness of Chappell – and looks at how to overcome life’s challenges to come out a winner. Time and time again.}

If anything, this book does complete justice to its title. For instance, it doesn’t talk about his much written and relished love affair with wife Dona (then girl friend) and how he eloped to get married to her etc. It also doesn’t mention anything about his non-cricketing life, like his days in School or escapades in St. Xavier’s College. This book precisely and only talks about his “roller coaster ride to success”.

But the book is more about the battle he fought in his mind than the battle that we all saw him fighting in the field. He says right at the preface, “in this book I hope to show you the real challenge in sport. A challenge which is worth taking. Always take the challenging path, you will be the winner.”

The book begins with the “announcing the end” of his career, where he describes the various events that slowly made him take this final call, the call to quit. I have written about this chapter here. The book progresses then to the grueling “testing” phase of this great cricketer trying to make his mark, so that the selectors take notice of this him. Noticed he was, however, it took a long time for him to actually ‘arrive’ in the cricketing centre stage. It’s common knowledge how Ganguly started his career in test cricket on 11th January, 1992 at the age of 19. In the second chapter “wilderness at down under” Ganguly tells you of his hide tide beginning, quite high tide as he was picked from Jamadoba, a place in Jharkhand to play the triangular series in Brisbane, in his own words he says, “it was a journey literally from the coalmines to the Indian dressing room” to the wait for 4 long years long years. Ganguly in the chapter “Maharaj you are in” tell us how it was after a long time that he finally got the news of his selection from a journalist friend, who called him up and said “Maharaj you are in”, yes those were the words.

He talks about his idols too who gave him lot of good advice and words of wisdom to battle it out in the mind, one of them being Desmond Haynes. He also writes in detail about how Imran Khan inspired him through his winning attitude too.

Then comes the chapter of the Lord’s. Well, all Dada fans know what a performance he had put in that series, he still has his name etched there in the Honours board. Sourav writes, “While we were returning to the pavilion at tea, Dravid, my partner, let me go first. While I was going past the members’ stand, they all stood up and clapped. When I was entering the dressing room, the entire team gave me a standing ovation. What a moment it was! After such a long wait, I could finally stretch my arms and say, international cricket, here I am.”

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An athlete’s life is made up of bitter sweet episode, so was Sourav’s. he went on to become the Indian captain, post Sachin opted out of it and brought in a new phase of Indian cricket that saw young cricketers, who were “fearless” on the field, something that he taught to practice tirelessly, they were also told to to give back to demoralizing sledges (mostly coming from the Aussies) and fear none on the 22 yards. Well, in his own words, “I was a firm believer in attitude. I always thought good attitude was infectious. Once I picked a player, I supported him all the way.”

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Sourav writes an entire chapter on what his fan relish till date, “waving the shirt at Lord’s“. Dada writes, “I have never lived down taking off my shirt in Lord’s in 2002. It was my way of giving back to Andrew Flintoff. After the series victory in Mumbai earlier that year, Flintoff had taken off his shirt to ridicule us. Our jousting continued through the Test series prior to NatWest. After winning the final in Lord’s, I thought I needed to have my say as well.

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Roller coaster that his life is, post 2006, his life took a drastic turn, which of his fans would remember pretty well. Sourav talks about the phase with great detail. He says, “history hasn’t recorded many instances of a winning captain being dropped so unceremoniously, that too after scoring a hundred in the last Test series.” He says, him being dropped out like that was “unthinkable, unbelievable, unforgivable.” He said that Chappell said all sort of things about him to the selectors and no matter how much well he played to prove himself, he was continuously being dropped from all major matches, to a point where he was reduced to be a waterman who served drinks to cricketers in Faisalabad, Pakistan where he was asked to come but didn’t get a chance to play. One can imagine the dark days that this man faced. Well, it’s only through calamities that a true hero emerges and Ganguly was no exception.

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He decided he would play and prove himself no matter what. He overcame those tough days by playing all the Ranji matches of the year that he was kept out, trained hard (he reduced 9 kilos without touching the bat) and prepared himself mentally to face the worst. He proved himself in subsequent matches and received accolades wherein people said they saw “Ganguly of the old”, etc.

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Dada’s last test match.

He ends the book by talking about his short stint in the IPL and how frivolous the whole IPL system is. That there were 4 captains for a series, players couldn’t be changed before 3 seasons and the owners were totally intolerant when it came to losses, they wanted quick results. All these were very different from what Ganguly has seen or played earlier. At the age of 39, he decided to call it quits, with grace and dignity.

This book of 296 pages is a sneak peek into the minds of one of the finest batmen in the cricketing world, who test match scores are just after Tendulkar’s. But Sourav doesn’t want you to remember the book for those records. He writes, “Dear reader, you must understand that in life nothing is guaranteed. You will never know what awaits you at the next crossing. When faced with rejection at work, our first reaction is invariably disappointment. But if there’s anything you should take away from this book, it is that you should not give up. Be patient. You have to wait for your turn, and when it comes, you must remain prepared.”

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Book Review

Staring at the Square Moon – A book review

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Though it’s highly recommended that a book should not be judged by its cover, I must confess that it is the cover and the queerness of the ‘title’ of this book, that intrigued me initially. Once I read the blurb, well, I knew I wanted to read the full thing for sure. I am talking about Atima Mankotia’s debut novel, Staring at the Square Moon published by Readomania.

The novel is an amalgamation of the lives of four girls (Nayantara, Mrinalini, Parul and Rekha), all coming from different socio-economic backgrounds, who spend their childhoods together, and as time catches up, though connected to each other through phone, messages, watsapp, get disoriented. However, the special bond that they had forged during their long summer vacations as children together and the many unadulterated fun they basked in, kept their lives hanging together, though by a wilting thread.

The story starts in the early 70’s and spanning four decades, it narrates the various incidents that made, break and mould these four girls into the women they are today (the story ends in the present times). As the blurb says, “Each one of them grapples with her past, sometimes thriving, sometimes floundering, always confronting and struggling with the aftermath and consequences of abuse that lurk just beneath the surface threatening to overwhelm and destroy their lives.”

Staring at the Square Moon talks about some very important and relevant issues that have eaten into the vitals if our society, in a very effortless and non-judgmental way. The storyline is cruelly realistic, yet not preachy in tone. Issues like “child abuse”, “marital rape”, “bad parenting” is narrated almost in a matter-of-fact manner and that’s the beauty of it all, it’s the real life story of the character and nothing more than that.

The stories of all the four protagonists are absolutely relatable, their fears, insecurities, achievements, fallacies and blunders are what all our lives are made up of. What’s most amazing is the way the author has woven the life journey of four women across four decades, not missing out on any of their significant life phases. We find them in all age groups in the book across the many chapters. There they are as lovelorn teenagers, as newly marrieds, as young mothers and then as middle aged ladies, grappling with some issue or the others that the society has thrown at them. It’s not easy to achieve this feat of narrating four simultaneous stories, keeping all of them inline, well the author has done it and how!
What I liked:

  • Whats App chapter: I absolutely adored the Watsapp chapter. An entire chapter is written in the form of a Watssapp conversation which is an absolute delight to read.
  • Unabashed desires: Atima brings to the surface the foremost message that each woman has the right to hold her own in this patriarchal set up, that there is nothing to be ashamed of in feeling what we are really feeling.
  • Language: the book has some beautifully written thought provoking lines by the talented author which resonates deep down. Sample this:

“Love is a great thing but it has to move forward and if left unattended long enough at any stage, it has a tendency to wear out before it runs out. Was their love losing its gloss?”
What I didn’t like:

Verbosity: Well, though the language is a highlight of the book, at times I felt it was a little too verbose. The author has used too much of ornate language where, I felt fewer words could have been used to drive the message.

Lengthy: Probably the book, a part from being a little verbose in its language, could have also been few pages short of what it is.

I would rate this book a neat 4 out of 5 stars for the emotions it was capable of evoking, for the ironies of life that it brings to light through its strong and convincing protagonists and for its extremely engaging narrative.

Book Review

Book review: Just Another Day by Pijusha Vir

Three relatable stories that make for a quick read on the go

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As an avid reader on Amazon’s kindle, I got instantly hooked on to this new title today that had a very attractive cover page. I quickly grabbed the eBook and finished reading it in one go. Pijusha Vir, debuts with this book and I must say, she has done a good job at that.

Just Another Day – things that can happen in a day, narrates three stories that happen in the span of a single day. Published by Readomania this book of only 35 pages makes for a quick read on the go.

The stories are written in a moderately racy style building up the momentum for the climax and ends on a deeper, twistier note. All the three stories are incidents that can well happen in our day to day lives yet has a drama to it that’s quite unpredictable by the reader, as the author herself says in her blurb, “Can life be that unpredictable as it unfolds in a span of 24 hours only? Is it really just another day?”

The first story ‘Writers Circle’ talks about a woman, also a writer, who finds herself in the midst of a police investigation. While others are worried about the interrogation, she is more worried about getting back to writing, as she hadn’t had the time to do so in the recent weeks. It is only in the end that we realize what had transpired the night before.

The second story “Happy Birthday, Saisha” narrates day-long turn of events that topples the ‘oh so good’ life of Saisha completely on her 25th birthday. This story however, is more than just that. It also highlights, the various hypocrisies in the society regarding women and the basic rights that they struggle for every day of their lives. Sample this brilliant paragraph, “I worked doubly hard. I worked more than I should have and got paid much less than what I deserved. I started working even at home. I’d be sick with fever or my body racked with period pains and I would be lying in bed, typing away furiously – emails, proposals, ideas, etc. … I could have taken an off. I was entitled to one. It was long due. I had been working for over a year. It was company policy. But it wasn’t company policy to treat men and women equal.”

The 3rd story is called “Elevator Tales” that deals with the deep attraction that a person feels for an a handsome young man as they keep meeting coincidentally in their elevator. The story keeps us hooked through the various emotions that this adolescent feels for the young guy, the ‘adonis’ as he is fondly referred to. It is only in the end that we come to know the realities of both these characters.

With simple flow of words and crisp narratives, this book of three short stories make for a quick afternoon read.