#BookReview The Book of Chocolate Saints by @jeetthayil

The book of chocolate saints

This was one of the most difficult books to read and review. Difficult because this is not an idyllic read, I tried reading it on the go, like my other reads, sometimes multitasking while listening to the radio but losing it once in a while, that’s when I realized my mind was wandering and also that this needed a lot more of time.

What I loved about the book is the language. Lucid, easy flowing and just so beautiful that I could actually picturize Bombay back in time. Literary fiction is my favourite genre and it is hard to come by a book which is so well written. Makes me think why an Indian writer of this calibre is not celebrated as much as they should. Jeet Thayil surely has set the standard so high and has become aspirational to all Indian authors. It is really shocking that this is the same author who was almost written off for his earlier outing.

To be honest this has not been an easy read, I had to read and reread portions and found my attention wavering but it is the writing that kept me coming back. I have not read (my shortcoming) about the modern poets of the 70s and 80s and it took some background reading to get the context at first but then it grew on me.

Lengthy commentary, this is a book about modern poets their struggle to be interpreted or seek relevance took commentary to a whole new level where one wonders where the lines between fact and fiction is blurred. For example there are mentions of Moraes, Dhasal and Kolatkar who are mentioned with their real names. On the other hand one keeps wondering if the character Dismas Bambai resembles the author himself. Maybe the author wanted to draw references to real people to ensure that the reader has some reference point.

This is never going to be an easy read. But if you are looking for a good read which challenges you in more ways than one, then surely pick this up. What a delightful read it was! More than anything it lead me to actually read up and gather a background, which opened newer avenues and I ended up knowing about these modern day poets much which I would have otherwise missed out.

Review is for Aleph Book Company but views are personal.

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in books


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#BookReview: Looking for the Rainbow by @RealRuskinBond

download (1)I am a Ruskin Bond fan, always have been and I recon I always will. It is one of those things I never outgrew from my childhood and so grateful for that. In fact it is only as an adult I managed to read a lot of Ruskin Bond’s writing which earlier I had limited access to. Having personally met him last October, my awe of him has increased manifolds. And that’s me all euphoric and nostalgic about all things regarding Ruskin and that’s the kind of effect his writing has on you.

Looking for a rainbow is a much loved book and much anticipated for more reasons than one. This book came out on his 83rd birthday, it is about one of his most loved part of his childhood and is one of those rare times you get a peak into his personal life. I felt moved to tears purely because I always believed Ruskin Bond’s childhood would have been really fun, free with experiences that could only fuel his imagination that got him to write so beautifully and vividly that it changed so many generations of reading. If Enid Blyton is my favourite children’s author Ruskin Bond is my all time favourite. I can still read him, my travel books always one Ruskin, because his stories are just what you need. idyllic, speaks about a stress free life which brings you closer to nature that you miss out in the humdrum of life.


Looking for a rainbow was an engaging read, I finished it under an hour and it was the best hour I spent. Ruskin takes us down his memory lane, he revisits his childhood and his time with his father. Like his stories, this part of his childhood is dotted with fun escapades, his exposure to Delhi, how his time with his father was about going to movies, his stamp collection and about being happy.

One of my key takeaways were that someday when I can, this is the childhood I’d love to give to my kids, because there is nothing more precious than the gift of time to loved ones, specially kids, because it is these experiences that shape your life.

Adult or a kid, this is one book you must read.

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Posted by on June 23, 2017 in books


#BookReview : The Struggle by Meher Bani



What happens when you are in love? Reason flies out of the window, someone the perfect harmony between heart and mind is surprisingly not in sync anymore. Of course there are those happy aspects when you think life has a new meaning, you are glowing. And once the initial euphoria and normalcy kicks in is when the actual humdrum of life truly starts.

This is a typical love story, only that it is analysed from the woman’s point of view. It gives you a perspective and tells you her side of things. Why is that important? Well women are known to be the ‘complicated’ one and this truly gives you an insight into how she perceives of the world! A classic case of the mind and heart being at war.

What I liked about the book was that it was easy to read and had a nice flow to it. For a first time writer that truly is a bonus. This is one of those books that you take on your vacation. Lighthearted, relatable and it makes you smile. We all have been there, had those conversations, faced those challenges; but it is the kind that makes you reminisce. If you are a teen, then it is truly the kind you would need to get past those initial relationships. I for one found this totally relatable.

Go pick up the book, for writers do need a little encouragement.


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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in books


#BookReview Devi, Diva or She-Devil by @sudhamenon2006

Devi-Diva-or-She-Devil-254x405Books become special to you for the way they touch you or your life. I came across Devi, Diva or She-Devil at a very appropriate time in my life. There I was struggling to understand my career and the course it was taking and the way I was precariously managing home and all the while feeling guilty and out of breath. This book if not for the good read that it was, gave me a perspective, which is what it set out in the first place.

Let me tell you a little about Sudha Menon, and I have to add this because I think I am tad bit partial to her (not without reason). I met her (my very first author interview) at a quaint like cafe called the Wishing Chair in Shahpurjat a few years back. What I love best about her work, is her meticulous research, deep understanding and sensitivity of dealing with issues, which she presents most beautifully. Hence my admiration for her is dated and this book is just another book that I hold dear to me.

Like someone who is sitting on a higher branch telling you how things are, to make you understand that sometimes it is okay to be you, even if you are imperfect; Sudha Menon gives you a much needed perspective. It does not really matter if you are just a home maker or a workaholic professional; this book will resonate with you.

Told through detailed accounts by sportsperson Mary Kom, actor Lilette Dubey, Farah Khan, and other prominent successful women from the corporate and business world. This is a book that will resonate with every woman out there trying to battle guilt and do what they truly love and answer their true calling. A comment that struck me long after I was done with the book was  a woman’s choice of a spouse or partner could possibly be the most important factor in deciding the direction in which her career heads”. – Leena Nair, Unilever. You are startled to realize it is true even in today’s day and age.

There were so many moments where I found relatable, for a newly married working professional, this book was literally like a handbook. While it showed you the way life is, it gave you alternatives, it calmed your fears and in the end empowered you to pursue what the heart desired.

Whattey read! This is going to be one book I will keep going back to, for comfort and courage.

A must read.

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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in books


#BookReview The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha:

I had my eyes on this book for a while now. The hook was obvious, it was about stories from Bengal by illustrious authors of all time and thanks to Aleph Book Company I had the book.


This book will always be a little special for me, there is a stench of nostalgia that is hard to miss. I reread stories which I had read in 10th standard in Bengali and I was reading it again after so many years. That is why I love all of Arunava Sinha’s translations. Be it Dozakhnama or this, the essense of the language is captured beautifully.

My favourite was Neela’s story in Jhor Brishti Bidyut. This short story is an amazing portrayal of our societal mindset with its biases and prejudices. Neela is iconic in more ways than one. Be it her ability to turn a personal tragedy to a more bearable situation or not hesitating to putting herself out there in a way to contribute to the family’s upbringing.

Of course a book of greatest short stories will have Tagore’s Kabuliwallah. Can’t get over the visuals that came to my mind as I read. These images were that of the protagonist’s father who is trying to put together his daughter’s wedding and then gives up his personal wish to empower another father just so that he could be home to be with his daughter after a long hiatus and much travesty.

What overwhelmed me the most about the book was the fact that I got an opportunity to read those famous short stories which I had only heard about but never had the time to pick it up and read it in Bengali. Be it Bibhutibhushan’s Einstein And Indubala, or  Post-mortem by Sunil Gangopadhyay. In Post mortem, we see how the much loved Kolkata tram is a witness to  a real-life incident that resulted in tragedy —an elderly gentleman boarded a ‘ladies’ special’ tram by mistake, this was when he was mocked and made fun of and he in nervous trepidation jumped off the running tram and was killed.

Pick this book up to own a piece of rich heritage what Kolkata has to offer, the very best of it. Since it is in English and with superb translation by Arunava it is a treat to read for all those who have only heard of the vast Bengali literature but haven’t had the opportunity before. But importantly pick it up because these stories will engage you, so much that it is unputdownable!

Review is forAleph Book Company but views are personal.

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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in books


#BookReview : The Sialkot Saga by @ashwinsanghi

download (1)Nothing like the previous books that Ashwin Sanghi has written Sialkot Saga is a partition story, takes you back in time. The book revolves around two people who are bound together by an ancient secret which is rooted in Pakistan (Sialkot) Having extensively read partition literature in my college years this truly was an engaging read, it lacked the in depth detailing but then this is a very different kind of literature and for a work of fiction coming from one of the most celebrated Indian writers, this truly was a fun read.

The book opens with the partition of India in 1947 where a train enters Amritsar, it carries with it tell tale signs of blood & gore, reeling under the shock of history that was just being made. The track did not show any signs of survivors but the station constable chanced upon a lone survivor: a boy, and hides him to safety.

This is not the first time the land has seen bloodshed of this intensity. In 250 BC, in Pataliputra, King Ashoka’s after having satiated his thirst for power, is disillusioned having witnessed the bloodbath that he had unleashed. He creates a society of nine men who were entrusted to guard a secret, which is to be passed on to the right person when the time comes.

Years on, two young boys, one in Mumbai and one in Kolkata, grow up to share similar course in life: successful, smart and rich and each has secrets that they must guard. Unaware by them, both are a part of the bigger secret that binds their life together, secret that was formulated years back.

This has been one of those easy reads, engaging to say the least. A lil editing would surely have helped but if you overlook that it is one book you will enjoy reading!

Thumbs up from me!


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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in books


#BookReview My Gita by @devduttmyth




Devdutt Pattanaik is a facinating storyteller and that is why each and every release of his is launched amidst great excitement and fanfare. One of the reasons of liking him is because he very lucidly explains these lil notions tucked in the remotest part of history, shrouded by myth, sometimes by mithya without a propaganda.

Once in a while a book comes along which makes you come out of your hibernation, overcoming your writers block and how! My Gita has been a treat to read. I’ve always attempted to read Gita in its original grandeur but felt my interest wavering but with his smooth storytelling, Devdutt has managed to hold the interest and inform and educate us like always.

What works for this book is that it is not a verse by verse of chapter wise translation. Instead it encapsulates the theme in a easily comprehensive manner which is engaging to read. The part where Krishna advises Arjuna has been kept untouched which truly kept with the spirit of the book and the author’s own interpretation makes you rethink portions which otherwise would have been left unanswered.

It is hard to miss how the author visibly stays clear of any controversy knowing how much our country is sentimental about all that it has held close to it, hence ‘ My Gita’ is purely the author’s own reading of the holy book.

Must must pick this up, as this truly has been a great journey from myth to philosophy. One that will surely leave you thinking and craving for more.

Review is for Rupa Publications but views are personal.


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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in books


#BookReview The house that BJ built by @anujachauhan

Having read all her books, there was much curiosity regarding her upcoming book “The house that BJ built” and getting an opportunity to read this book meant much and the experience has been thoroughly entertaining. I devoured it while traveling in those long metro rides battling crowd. I read the book while on a road trip, I carried it everywhere till the last page was read. The desperation to read and finish the book was not just to meet the deadline but also to know what next.

The thing with Anuja Chauhan’s writing is, she writes the way one would speak a regional language. With the typical “haan na” “toh” etc so it is relatable but what her writing is not: ‘crass or desi’ Being from Delhi, I loved and could relate to the little things about Bonu Singh, her fiery nature, yet softer side is very lovable. You cant help not falling in love with her. Samar is irresistible with his quiet charm and his altercations with Bonu makes for a fun read.

The flip side, the book took good 150 odd pages to warm up. I really had to get by these pages to feel hooked. Anuja Chauhan seems to be moving from one scene to another without any sort of indicative breaks in between. I had to flip back to check what just happened. What i really love about the book is the fact that Anuja doesnt think the reader to be dumb hence she does not explain each and every scene. She narrates the story as if we already have a context (we do if you have already read Those Pricey Thakur Girls) It felt nice to see how the Thakur girls have aged. Their change in nature and relationship with one another. Eshu’s romance and Angi mausi’s commentary kept the momentum going when the focus was away from Bonu and Samar. Loved all the character profiling, be it Chachiji or AK or even Dylan who appears briefly.

Property dispute is such a common thing in India, it often turns relatives into strangers and here we have this massive extended family carrying on their life despite the obvious monetary gain. There may not be something significant to harp about this book, but this book just worms its way into your heart with the relationships, the setting, the quick references, the endearing romances. If you love Jane Austen’s work, you will like Anuja Chauhan’s books. She leaves you with a void once the book ends, as you crave for more. I finished this book on a road trip, and honestly i had no idea of the distance as I was immersed. Pick this book up. You wont regret it.

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Posted by on May 26, 2015 in books


#BookReview : Chaos Down Under by Nishant Kaushik aka @chaosparticle

22358018I read Romance with Chaos a few years back. Liked what I read and curious I followed the author on Twitter. As I got to know the author I found this books to be an extension of him and totally loved it because Nishant the twitter friend is rather funny, entertaining and affable. This review has been pending for long but I can’t not mention that I am glad he wanted me to review this, for I enjoyed every bit of the book.

Having read the dork series which is based on office humor I felt that another book along the same lines would be rather repetitive but i am glad i am proven wrong. Writing on humour is tricky, because often people’s level of humour doesn’t match, I for one am not humorous and often is the butt of ridicule because I donot get jokes but surprisingly I enjoyed every bit of this book.

Office humor has been one such genre that has been written quite a lot on by Indian writers, and Nishant Kaushik’s “Chaos Down Under” belongs to the same space. This is a sequel to his earlier book “A Romance with Chaos” and is part of a trilogy. Nakul Kapoor, the protagonist, finds himself as the project leader of an assignment from an Australian client and has no resources whatsoever to get the job done. And so starts a series of events in which Nakul finds himself trying to get out of, including fudging data, dealing with a client that comes to work on a horse, a neighbor that views him as a free service guy, a girl who he wants to have a relationship with, etc. How he manages to extricate himself from the situations forms the crux of the story.

The story is set in 2 different places: one is the Bytesphere office in Mumbai and the other is in Australia.  Nakul Kapoor’s neighbor Suresh, which is my favorite and had me in splits with his antics There are situations that leave you laughing because of the absurdity of it all, and one can’t but admire the ingenuity with which Nakul manages to find himself in tricky situations. The reader would almost feel like wanting to do something to get him out of there.

The plot is a bit repetitive, in the sense that it’s been done before. Though the story may be nothing new, the humor certainly makes it a worthwhile read. And the best part is that you don’t even have to read the first book in the trilogy to follow this one.

So, pick up this book if you are looking for a good time laughing at the antics of a protagonist who cannot help himself from falling into unfortunate situations.

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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in books


#BookReview Ramayana – The Game of Life : The Shattered Dreams by Shubha Vilas

Ramayana – The Game of Life : The Shattered Dreams is a sequel to Ramayana – The Game Of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince, read the review here The book begins twelve years after the holy matrimony of Rama and Sita when they are sentenced to exile. The book revolves around the drama around the Lord Rama’s banishment, Kaikeyi’s devious plans, Dasaratha’s plight, Bharat’s dilemma.

The second installment of the book is not very different from the first. You have grown up with the epic so you know there is no surprise element in the book. The perspective from which this book is written is not new hence this has been a tedious read. However the basic value system remains the same and the book gives us insights about how complicated human relationships are, the rise and fall of these relationships and the difficult situations that one must triumph in the journey of life. Re-reading Ramayana is entertaining but I wish there was a perspective to the entire story line. This book is based on Kamba Ramayana and Ramacharitamanas and some woven threads taken from folklore like Loka Pramanatales. The folklore adds relevance of the epic in modern times.

What worked for the book? The book is written well and it addresses the doubts that rose to the mind while reading the first installment. Even if you have grown up reading the Ramayana there are still those values that never get dated. Rama’s virtues which sees him through his exile, his honesty that won him friends and hearts. You have lil take aways as you keep reading. I somehow felt that a lil pace would have made it more interesting as I had a tendency to skip parts.

 The footnotes makes this book so invaluable. So much of thought has been put in to explain, to educate that you can help but admire the mere thought of adding footnotes. This is probably the best part. In some ways, ‘The Shattered Dreams” talks about the virtues of a leader, the attributes that makes him the leader of his clan and more than which marks him as an enlightened soul.
This is a fine book if you want to read a simple narrative of the well known epic but in case you are looking at something deeper, you might want to look for something else. Pick this book up for a nice long train journey, look out for the footnotes and some management mantras.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in books

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