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Hello!! Welcome to my world :) I am a B.E. student and a self declared Bibliophile. Reading has taken its toll on me and now its time I pen something myself ;) Apart from my love for books, I also love sketching, painting, singing and cooking (Well only for the occasional experiments that i make ;)) Of course, now writing top the above list! This blog is a platform for me to share my thoughts. If you like any of my posts, do stop by and leave a comment :)

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Title: Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras
Author: Maitreyee B Chowdhury
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
ISBN: 978-9382473848
Number of Pages: 78
Price: 125 [INR]
Genre: Poetry

Blurb on the Book:

Benaras is a book that seeks to tell the little stories that make us who we are. The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody's story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.

This attempt at telling the story of the ancient, of love and of faith is to instill the confidence that poetry exists in all of us, everywhere, all that is needed is to smell its fragrance.

To those outside India, the book does not seek to be a representation of what India is or was, but a whiff of what it also can be. It is an attempt to ask people to see the little stories that govern all our lives, stories that we often don't see, but those that are important.

The audience for this book might be strewn across the globe, for faith is not religion-centric, it is people-centric and often without dimensions.

In poetry there is no beginning, no middle, nor no end. Like faith it is everywhere, it is omnipresent. The book affords no answers, nor no questions, but if you listen and read carefully you will see new things, a new beauty perhaps, one that has been silent so long.

My Review:

'Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras' is a collection of poems by Maitreyee B Chowdhury. When I first saw the cover page of this book, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that it was something different. So without much delay I flipped to the first poem and there was no stopping from then. I finished reading all the poems within an hour and half.

Benaras is the religious capital of India. It is a place looked upon by us with devotion. But what is the reality? Is it really as holy as it looks for us from a distance? What is the truth? The author had made a commendable job of nudging us towards the reality of this place through her wonderful poetry. 

The book is a collection of short poems, which holds great meaning. The characters in the book are most essentially us. Small, yet thought provoking, these poems will leave a deep impact on us.

Here are a few verses that I loved:

"You haven't lived,
Till you've lost'
He seems to say -
'Most of all Yourself"

This verse if from the poem 'Faceless in Benaras' which is the poem I liked the most in the book.

Verses like 
'Spat some Benaras into his Ganga
'God greets you in his stench,
pure and full of Bacteria'
    gives you a reality check about the condition of Ganga and places in Benaras.

I have never visited Benaras but reading this book, I felt like I was in Benaras, seeing it through author's eye. 

Here are some of my favorite poems:

  • Faceless in Benaras
  • The Stench of Ganga
All in all, the book makes a good read. I recommend it for poetry lovers.

My rating: 4/5 stars!


About the Author 


Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a web columnist and creative writer. She is author of Reflections on My India, a book of Indian traditions and spirituality in parts. Maitreyee is also author of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Ichhe Holo Tai, a bilingual multi media presentation of poetry. Maitreyee is featured amongst other Indian writers such as Gulzar, Shashi Tharoor and Deepti Naval in an anthology of Indian writers Celebrating India.


Maitreyee's Blog Tour

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Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Swathi :)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Title: Private India 
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi and 
               James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
ISBN: 978-0-099-58639-5
Number of pages: 448
Price: 350 [INR]
Genre: Thriller

Blurb on the Book:

In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with corpses.

For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world's finest investigation agency, it's a race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In a city of over thirteen million, he'd have his work cut out at the best of times, but this case has him battling Mumbai's biggest gang lord and a godman who isn't all he seems.

And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organization - along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens...

My Review:

When I received this book, I was shocked to see the number of pages! Though I don't mind reading lengthy novels, I had my doubts whether I will be able to finish it off in seven days, owing to my busy schedule. But all I had to do was start reading! And as the line on the cover page says, 'The pages turn themselves' and within three days, I was done reading!

Private India is the Indian branch of the worldwide detective agency Private headed by Jack Morgan. Santosh Wagh is the chief of the Indian branch of Private, who is in a constant battle with his alcohol addiction and wanting to perform his duty well. The book starts with the murder of Dr. Kanya Jaiyen and right from here, the story picks up pace. The story is about a serial killer who is on a killing spree, murdering people, women in particular, who seemingly have nothing in common. The murders happen at such a fast rate, almost two per day, that it leaves the Santosh Wagh and his team bewildered. The only thing in common is all these women are strangled with a yellow scarf. The clues left by the murderer are weird stuffs like dolls, drums, egg shells which seem no where connected! And to add more spice (or horror) to the story, there is also a terrorist group which plans on planting bomb in Mumbai, the city where the entire story is based.

The plot is very good and it leaves you guessing who could be the culprit. And to be honest, I couldn't guess it. Of the two suspense, I could only guess one. The book has everything that you encounter in real life - media which is hungry for news, local gangster who rules the entire city, corrupt officers and people who back stab. Like most thriller novels, the story doesn't revolve just around the main character, which is good. It keeps you engaged right from the beginning till the end. You cannot simply just stop reading! Such is the story line.

But the ending disappointed me a lot! A story which started well, ended with too much drama! It was like a movie scene; things that cannot and do not happen in real life are depicted at the climax! I cannot say much without revealing the mystery. So I will just stop at saying that for a book so well written, the ending could have been better! Also there are few unnecessary explanations and flashbacks given, which could have been omitted to optimize the story.

Few of my favorite lines from the book:
  • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
  • A smile is a curve that sets everything right.
  • There are always second chances - both in metal and men.
So what is the verdict you would ask. Well though the ending could have been better, the rest of the plot is brilliant. The book definitely makes  a good one-time read! I would suggest it to mystery, crime and thriller fans!

My Rating: 3.5 stars!

Until the next review ,
Keep Reading :)

Swathi :)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Title: Ramayana: The Game of Life - 
          Rise of the Sun Prince

Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
ISBN: 978-81-8495-530-9
Number of Pages: 217
Price: 250 [INR]
Genre: Mythology

Blurb on the book: 

One of the World's great literary masterpieces, skillfully retold for modern audiences.

Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives?

My Review:

There are some stories, which no matter how many times you have read, you find something new each time! Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are such stories. I have always been a fan of these. There have been numerous books on the epic Ramayana and many attempts have been made to re-narrate this epic over time. So what could be possibly different about this book? It was with this mindset that I picked up the book, expecting it to be just another story retold. But was I wrong?

The book is not a typical Ramayana story retold! The narration is crisp. As I started reading it, I was totally mesmerized by the story and the effort made by the author to illustrate even the minute details. There are so many details in this book that I wasn't aware of before. The book deals with the story from the time of Rama's birth till His marriage. But there is also a story in the beginning which narrates how this greatest epic of Ramayana came into being. How Rathnakar becomes Valmiki and how his angry curse turns into a beautiful verse of Ramayana.

As it is the story of Ramayana, it is natural to expect the hero of the book to be Rama. But instead of centering the story around Rama, the author has made the sage Vishwamitra as the hero of this book, which is the first of the six book series. Equal importance is given in describing each and every character in the story. The author has managed in providing a different perspective to the story, yet not spoiling the originality of the Ramayana.

The cover page is just awesome. It is attractive and prompts readers to pick it up instantly. The language used is simple yet compelling, which manages to engage the reader's interest throughout. What caught my attention the most are the footnotes that are present in almost every page of the book. The author has become successful in catching the reader's attention and interest by providing insights on various topics that otherwise will go unnoticed. It is said that Ramayana is not just a tale but a way of life. How the inherent wisdom from the tale can be imbibed in our life is effectively described in these footnotes.

Though there are so many quotes that are worth mentioning, the one that I loved the most is

  • Heroic acts may attract a common person, but acts of compassion and kindness attract the heart of great souls.

  • It is not the divine knowledge you possess that makes you divine but what you do with it that does.

Any series can be considered effective when the readers are enthusiastic and look forward for the next book. If you ask me, I say I am definitely looking forward for the second book in the series - Ramayana: The Game of Life - Shattered dreams. I suggest this book for all the readers who are interested in Mythology. Don't think 'Another Ramayana book?' Because when you read the book, you will find it worth it!

My Rating: 5/5 stars!

Until the next review,
Keep Reading :)

Swathi :)

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