Aadhe Aadhure: A hindi book review

 

 

My native language is Hindi or more of Hindustani with a mix of Hindi and Urdu. I am not really ashamed to accept it like many people are. Someone once told me that it’s really nice to be ESL. There are some stories which connect with you in the home tongue only. This is a review of the Hindi book.

Some time ago I watched a play called “Adhe-adhure”. The play was enacted during some theater festival. I was still new to play then. All I knew was that it is going to be a melodrama and that the play has been played by different actors since 1950. That’s really a long time for a story to survive. Another important fact of the play was that the one male actor played the role of five characters. Sounds intriguing, yes? That’s what pulled me to the play. Amidst the darkness of the theater, I was sucked into the story and left gasping at the end with a question of  “is this the end?” and yet with a lingering relief that the writer ended the story on the right note.

The story was of a woman who is trying to find her completeness in different men. The family is rife with strife. The kids have grown up in the midst of arguments. The story showed a married daughter returning to that angst-ridden home to find out what was that thing that she took from her home that keeps her from being happy? What’s that thing which bothers her even if everything is going fine with her husband and at her home?

It has been months since I watched the play. I had even forgotten the name of the play and actors. But those dialogues stayed in my mind. As if buried in my subconscious, at times, their bones rattled in my mind. I did not remember the complete dialogues, but yet I could smell them in my thoughts. It was like the smell of the sulphur in the chemistry lab of my school which just refused to leave me alone. I washed and washed and washed, but sometime or the other, it will be there again. I wanted to know the exact wordings, the exact lines that were said. Then I started hunting for the name of the play again. Checked the schedule of NCPA. Checked newspaper articles of that time. Conferred with the friend who accompanied me. Singled out the director’s name, Lillite Dubey. And then Googled. Finally, I had the name. Aadhe Adhure. Incomplete, it means. I needed to know that dialogue. It was like I was incomplete. So I went on and searched for the screening of the play. No success as the play was re-enacted once as a tribute to the original play.

But there was a book. A script of that play. I just checked to see if the book was in Hindi because I was sure English translation won’t have the same effect. It just can’t hit you that hard. My purchase was made once I was sure that the book was in Hindi.

It was a book whose story I already knew, already understood, yet reading it left me gasping once more. The whole story was verbatim same; I could see the actors playing the roles, yet it was a different experience. I had the heightened awareness of the dialogues and nuances presented in the story. When I came to that dialogue, I almost cried with relief. And when I reached the end, I raged at myself. How could I not see the male chauvinism in the play? How could I read something which saw women as such?

The story was the same. A main male character, a husband, who doesn’t work anymore and feels like a burden. The main female character, a wife, who works and feels burdened by handling everything. A boss whose favors the wife seeks for the betterment of her son. A son who scoffs at her efforts and can’t believe that she will hide her neediness behind him. A daughter who has returned from her husband’s place again to her parents’ home—without any money, without anything. There comes my favorite dialogue (Attaching the picture for those who understand Hindi):

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The play ends in the dialogue in which husband’s friend tells the wife that she is the one who is responsible for the pathetic state the main male character is in. Then comes my anger on why the writer didn’t seem to understand the plight of the women, the question on why didn’t writer delve into the character to understand the wife’s motivation and her reasons for discontentment.

Overall, it is a book which left a sour taste in my mind, but it is something which I will read again and again and again.

What I liked

Masterful dialogues. This is a play, and dialogues have to be effective for it to be successful. But the exchange of dialogues in the play is amazing.

What I did not like

The unbalanced scales of attitude towards men and women. The  story leans strongly in favor of men. Everything is blamed directly on the women. This fact has been identified in the introduction of the play as well, but the fact that it is there doesn’t go unnoticed till the end. Probably I did not notice it during the play because of the actors’ judgment and sympathies towards the women, but it is glaring in the book.

Overall Opinion:

I will give this book five stars. Everything in it is masterfully executed. Despite my anger and my hatred towards the treatment of women in the story, I loved it.

Five Stars

The Summer That Melted Everything–A Book Review

I have been sick! So sick that I was not able to get on phone or laptop even. For almost a week, it has just been me and my radio.

In my last post, I talked about the “Devil” and the book that made me think about the devil so much. Finally, I bring to you the review of the favorite book of mine of this year: The Summer That Melted Everything.

There are very few times when you do things out courtesy, but then you feel blessed. This book was like that. The author approached me for reading the book through the blog, and I said yes because she sounded sincere. I had no idea what I would have been missing if I had not read the book. This is the debut book by the author, but I can tell you it is mind-blowing. The way it is written is poetry in itself. The words, the flow, the suspense, and the questions that book raise– you are sucked into the world the author talks about.

Book Summary

 

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Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

The book starts with a description of 1984s and then explains how Devil arrived in Breathed, Ohio. Autopsy Bliss is the educated man who writes an invitation to Devil in his religious fervor. And Devil arrives in the form of a 13 year old boy Sal. Fielding, son of Autopsy, was first to encounter Sal, and he becomes the first friend of Sal, the devil. How appearance of the devil blurred the lines between the right and wrong, good and bad, is what the story is about. The story is about demons, and how we all uses different excuses to let that demon live and breathe.

I am not a writer enough to explain the plot of the story. You have to read it to truly understand the magic and mourn the devil.

What I LOVED

  1. Questions the book asked: The first thing I loved about the book is that it made me question myself. The story is so woven that there is no hero, no villain. All are in the shades of the grey. You will left wondering what’s right and what’s wrong.
  2. Plot: The plot of the books is tightly woven. There is not even a single chapter, single line, single word wasted. Everything connects with the other. Till the end, you’ll be biting your nails to understand what actually happened.
  3. Description: The book has amazing description. In fact the author has done a huge amount of research to present this description. The 80s are so well described that I felt that author was present there– seeing the story unfolding.
  4. Writing: Amazing, amazing writing. I know I’m repeating myself, but the books is poetry in itself. The book is filled with so many insights that my mobile is marked with all the highlights. There were times when I ended up highlighting pages after pages.

 

I am sharing few of the quotes from the book which just moved my heart and made me think so much. Probably these will make you think too.

“It was a heat that didn’t just melt tangible things like ice, chocolate, Popsicles. It melted all the intangibles too. Fear, faith, anger, and those long-trusted templates of common sense. It melted lives as well, leaving futures to be slung with the dirt of the gravedigger’s shovel.”

“After I fell, I kept repeating to myself, God will forgive me. God will forgive me. Centuries of repeating this, I started to shorten it to He’ll forgive me. Then finally to one word, He’ll. He’ll. Somewhere along the way, I lost that apostrophe and now it’s only Hell. But hidden in that one word is God will forgive me. God will forgive me. That is what is behind my door, you understand. A world of no apostrophes and, therefore, no hope.”
In the amphitheater of the great beyond, we all do our own autopsies . These self-imposed autopsies are done not on the physical body of our being but on the spirit of it.
I could actually type the whole book. It will not be enough to express my fascination and love for the book.

 

Overall Views:

I cried like a baby when I reached the end of the book. I thought for days after I finished the book. I still want to question why that happened, why that happened, but in the end, the book changed me. With each sentence, each instance it showed, each question it raised, the way I see the world has changed.

I can read and reread and then reread the book. It is that beautiful of the book.

My rating: Five Stars.

Five Stars

Do, do read the book. You will not repent it. This is a promise. It’s an intense book which will make you think and make you question. And you will be left with the afterglow that an incredible book leaves.

 

 

The Chocolate Thief– A “Delicious” book with “Chocolate” romance

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Author’s Name: Laura Florand

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Before I write this review, let me tell you that this is one book I’ve read five times. First time was in June when I mentioned it in one of my musings. But since it was the part of a series, I wanted to finish the series first before writing the review.

There are books which can make one flutter with the romantic tension, and then there are books which can make one crave the chocolate, romance, characters and the story. This is one such book. Normally, when I’m reading I don’t even like to get up for water. This is the only book which, during the process of reading itself, made me go out in a chocolate cafe to sample some goodness described in the story. The story was so descriptive that I had to be in the fragrance described in the book.

Summary:

Paris

Breathtakingly beautiful, the City of Light seduces the senses, its cobbled streets thrumming with possibility. For American Cade Corey, it’s a dream come true, if only she can get one infuriating French chocolatier to sign on the dotted line…

Chocolate

Melting, yielding yet firm, exotic, its secrets are intimately known to Sylvain Marquis. But turn them over to a brash American waving a fistful of dollars? Jamais Not unless there’s something much more delectable on the table…

Stolen Pleasure

Whether confections taken from a locked shop or kisses in the dark, is there anything sweeter?

This is the story of Cade who is the heir of Corey chocolates sold everywhere in the world. She comes to Paris in order to convince a chocolatier to endorse her premium chocolate line. Sylvian was her obvious choice as he was best in business, but when he looks at her horrified by the idea of branding the “Corey” chocolates as his, things go afire.

It’s a story of romance which kicks one like chocolate punch.

What I Liked:

1) Descriptions/Imagery/Writing: I don’t know what to call it. I should name it witchery as the language of the story bewitched me and like a book-machine took me inside the pages of the story. Absolutely delightful and engaging. An Example for you people:

All around her, the sorcerer lurked, in every darkest shadow. He was not there, of course. Logic told her he was home asleep. But logic had little to do with the feel of him. He was here. She felt him here. Watching her explore his lair – his eyes gleaming in the shadows.

One more:

The spice jars felt cold and round under her hand. Hot chocolate should have a touch of vanilla, fresh from Tahiti. A stick of cinnamon from Sri Lanka. Nutmeg from . . . Zanzibar? She hoped it was. In her opinion, every life should have something in it that came from Zanzibar.

I’m not sure these lines can make you feel the words or not, but they do transport me back into the book.

2) Paris: I have never been to Paris, but if somebody ask me where should a romance story be set up, I’ll go for two cities–Paris and Venice(Or maybe Scotland). But seriously Paris tops the list.  But the books brought the city alive. It brought those charms to forefront. One more example:

Outside, Paris put on darkness the way her women dressed for excitement – a black dress sliding over skin, something glittering in its threads. Paris pulled black net stockings over her elegant lines, added high-heeled black boots to click against pavement. Buildings lit in strings of jewels – an earring here, a bracelet there, and a shimmer of something over the skin, a dusting of glitter.

Cade stood at the window, watching that glittering, promising night through that cursed pane of glass. She watched it until it got tired of itself, until the jewels started to come back off, tossed carelessly on a bedside table – lights in apartments going out, heels stripping off, sore feet tucked under the covers.

3) Chocolate: And here’s where I can’t give examples. I never thought that chocolate making can be such a mesmerizing/arousing hobby. I never imagined that the description of the taste of chocolate can make me “tingle”. The author lured me in with the chocolate in title and made me the ardent follower with the description of the taste.

I am well aware that all the three points can be covered in single heading, but then it won’t do justice to the book. I liked everything about the book.

Final Thoughts

The book is a chicklit. You’ll find many who’ll say that such silly stories don’t deserve five stars, but my idea of judging the book is about how it made me feel, how much it was able to take me away from this world. This book did that and hence it deserves the five stars.

Warning for the prospective readers: You’ll crave chocolate after reading the book. So, keep the stash nearby.

Five Stars

Turquoise Silence- A Book Club Review


Turquoise Silence by Sanober Khan



A disclaimer: This book is a part of a blog tour conducted by The Book Club and all the reviews are done in exchange of a copy of the book from the publisher or author. No monetary trasaction takes place.


 

 

The Blurb
The book is a collection of free verse poems that encapsulate the poet’s most heartfelt emotions about life. They speak of moments that sweep our breath away, of beauty that bewitches the heart, of people, memories, sights, sounds and smells that awaken a sense of wonder and wistfulness. With rich metaphors and eloquently flowing imagery, the poet’s love for the simple things in life unfolds in different moods and tones, ultimately ending up in words felt, cherished, concieved and written… in turquoise silence.
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What I liked
Although writing poetry is an art achieved by a lot of practice, poetry for me is foray into the emotions.  This book helped me delve into the lines and moments of poet’s life.  The book starts with a poem called “Poetry In My Heart”.
When poetry
finds my heart

I am suddenly
the empress of the world

I sleep as a rock
and wake up as a mountain

I pause as a seed
and burst into silk floss trees

I stream through silence
ripple into whispers, and swell into a song

And these were the lines which entranced me into reading through the silence of the books.  The book then moves on to capture the beauty of moon and then moves on to fill the cup with overwhelming moments of the poet’s life. The book took me to a journey of the lonely nights of the poet, and some nights when she was blessed to see the beauty of nature around. I couldn’t help but smile when she expressed her joy in the poem called “Greetings”

I could greet you, my dear
with a huge, cupcake smile on my face

with butterfly flutters, in my hair
and summer clouds, in my arms

with presents and gifts,
and a lemonade kiss,
for your lips,

i could arrange for the whole city…to rejoice
in the festival…of your return,
with a heaven-spun feast

or i could greet you…. with a shriek

loud and excited enough, to interrupt…
the blissful wheeling of the seagulls

But among all the gems spread in the book, my utter favorite was “The Rain at 4 AM”. The book actually captured what I have felt many mornings when the rain drummed on my window. She says:

It’s different
the rain at 4 am
purer…
somehow
more tender-hearted.

I read these lines again and again to feel that difference. Isn’t it so true, so beautiful an explanation of tender rain. She goes on to explain how this rain is different and ends the lines with:

i’ve actually always preferred
the rain…as it is right now,
silently musical, at 4 am
unleashed,
yet restrained,

when I am more than content
to stay curled in bed,
as much as I’d love…
to lap up the rain

because some things,
sometimes

aren’t ours to hold,

but just beautiful
to listen to.

These lines left me with the feeling of that bliss, that calm joy of serenading rain. I can go on and give many more examples of what touched me in the poem, but I really don’t want to quote the whole book here. I’ll leave the rest for you to explore. 🙂

What I didn’t like

There was nothing in the book I didn’t like, although I wish for more variety. I love the freedom of free verse, but then I also enjoy the restricted rhythm of the form poetry which was missing. But it’s not the shortcoming of the book; it’s more like my thirst to read more of the poems.

Final Thoughts

Like most of the poetry, the book left me with the feeling of humbleness and gratitude. It touched me like an old friend, and few of the lines (like those mentioned above) decided to stay with me forever. In short, I loved it.

Meet the Poet
 
Writing poetry is a very different, mystical experience. There is no plot, no storyline, no characters…just a stage set for you and your own deepest self. When I wrote my first poem six years ago, I never imagined it would someday become such an important aspect of my life.
 I have always loved poetry for the creative freedom it offers, the minimal rules, its ability to elevate even the most ordinary moments. At the end of each poem I write, it feels as though I have not just evolved in my style, but also as a person.  My work first appeared in Cyberwit’s international journal, the Taj Mahal Review, which paved the way for me to getting two books published.
I have long been inspired by poets like Khalil Gibran, Rumi, Rabindranath Tagore ,Rolf Jacobsen, E.E Cummings, and John Keats. A voracious reader myself, I enjoy reading poetry and novels from around the globe.
Stalk her @
    

 

By My Choice- An Erotic Romance Novella

By My Choice

 

 

Author’s Name: Christine Blackthorn

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Sometimes, one comes across a book just by chance. I saw this little novella promoted somewhere, downloaded it when it was free,  and read it in one of my free hour. I didn’t have much high hopes from it because it said it was a vampire romance, but knowing Christine Blackthorn as an author I decided to give it a try. By the time, I reached the ending, I was at the end of my seat. It’s that good a book.

Synopsis

I thought about writing my own synopsis, but GoodReads’ synopsis does explain the story
 best.

Jennifer Ashton has spent her whole life in one Supernatural court or the other but the realities of what this means are only brought home to her when her best friend is forced to sell her to a vampire, and not any vampire, but one she knows well. Caught in the double betrayal of friendship and love she needs to decide what her life is going to be.

Jennifer is a financial manager, her control over every aspect of her own life complete. She does not allow anything to upset her rationality, no emotion, no sensation, no desire. The only weakness she has accepted is her unlimited loyalty to her best friend, the friend who betrays her by selling her to a competitor. She joins her new master in Paris where she begins to realise that he has as little choice as she does. Can she accept that by giving up everything, by giving him everything, they might both regain their lives?

What I liked

1) Focus on friendship:  There are very few novels which actually manage to keep a childhood friendship between a man and woman true and pure. This story explores the depth of friendship and shows the pain of the betrayal by the best guy friend. The best part was that they remain friends throughout. They don’t go together, not even to try.

2) The World: The world in this book is quite different and very fascinating. Though much of this world is shown in background, it’s still an intriguing world.

What irked me

Three little spelling mistakes: Though they are minute and can be easily missed, they stayed with me because I was reading it on mobile which has smaller screen and more focus. There’s saying my mom used to tell me: Even a small black dot is seen clearly on a perfect white paper. Same is the case with this book I guess.

Overall Opinion

A power-packed vampire story. This book will be a treat to anybody who loves supernatural romance. It has plot which will leave you thirsting for more.

Ratings

Five Stars

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Ocean at the end of the laneBook’s Name : The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author’s Name: Neil Gaiman

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I’m unable to decide whether it’s a story meant for children or grown-ups. As I sit thinking about the book, the eight year old in me– the one who made books her friends, the one whose ideas were simple, the one who believed that existence of fairies is possible– is surfacing again. But then the adult in me is telling me that I won’t be able to appreciate the nostalgia if I hadn’t grown up first.

So I don’t who are better suited audience for the book. The book, from what I’ve heard, is directed at adults, but I believe that even teenagers(if not children) will enjoy it.

Synopsis

Gaiman’s narrator is an unnamed English man in his forties, who returns to his childhood home and  is drawn to familiar places which he has not seen for ages, and which evoke memories long buried. He ends up by the house of his childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock, and remembers when he was seven years old and how Lettie used to call the pond beside her house an ocean. Then comes the story of what happened when he was seven years old. Layer by layer, the dust from the past is removed and the complete picture is shown, and we, the readers, dive into the realm of fantasy.

What I liked

1) Magical Fantasy: Gaiman has used a perfect language to express fantasy. In fact, the memory are so layered that for one moment, I forgot that it’s not real incident, but of some fantastical event. The line between reality and fantasy are blurred so well that I was actually on the travelling in the mind of the narrator.

2) Prose: Excellent. The book has so much gravity and depth that I can keep on posting quotes throughout the review and still won’t be able to do justice to its beauty. The book shows why Neil Gaiman is considered a master of craft. Each sentence, each words flow in the mind creating a sharp image of our reality and book’s fantasy. 

This doesn’t seem enough because the book was a treat for my mind. But then sometimes, words cannot express how the book makes you feel. You need to read it to understand the feeling. I was rendered speechless by the book. I finished it two days ago, but I’m still brooding about what I read.

What irked me

Closure : The book shows the other characters too. Father, mother, and sister. I finally didn’t get the closure on his relationship with them. We know what happens with Hempstocks, but then how does the event influence his relation with his parents?

Overall Opinion

I loved the book. The review is short not because the book is not good, but because it had rendered me totally speechless. I want to read it again and then again probably to soak in the beauty of its language. 

Rating

Five Stars