There’s Something About You

  • Title – There’s Something About You There's Something About You
  • Author – Yashodhara Lal
  • Publisher – HarperCollins Publishers
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 255
  • Price – INR 175
  • ISBN – 978-93-5177-199-9

Synopsis – This is not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Okay, they do meet, but there are some complications.

Trish is twenty-eight. She’s unemployed, overweight, single and snarky. She knows all that. And if one more person – just one more person – tries to fix her, she might explode. Sahil is thirty-five. He has superpowers. Well, kind of. He seems to think so, anyway. He’s also hot (okay, in a geeky kind of way, but still). And he plays the guitar, helps the underprivileged and talks about his feelings. Aren’t guys like that supposed to exist only in fantasies?

When Trish and Sahil meet, magic happens. Real magic, you know, like fireworks, electricity, that sort of thing. But here’s the problem. Trish doesn’t want anyone in her life. She has enough to deal with – dependent parents, flaky neighbors, bitchy editors, the works. And yet, Sahil is determined to be in her life.

Review – The book has an interesting cover with a girl and a boy overlooking the sea. The way the sea holds the story together and introduces the reader to the characters in the book is pretty accurately presented by the cover. I quite like the portrayal of the boy standing casually in the background where the protagonist (Trish) doesn’t really see him though he is around. The title captures the essence of the plot well. The fuchsia ink used for the title echoes the fact that the book is a Chic-lit.

The book revolves around the life, struggles and the battle of the protagonist, Trish (Trishna) with life, obesity, people at her workplace, Alzheimer’s disease and even death. The beauty of the plot lies in the true to life portrayal of Trish who is an ordinary girl with many imperfections, facing them all extraordinarily with her grit and sarcasm in a commendable way.

There is not a single dull moment in the book despite the fact the initial one-third of the plot pictures the mundane life Trish leads. She goes about facing hardships with pride. Her most striking quality, that comes across even as she plays agony aunt, is having her heart at the right place.

I wish to congratulate Yashodhara Lal on bringing forth the protagonist as an exemplary character who inspires even through failures and frustrations emerging as a clever, quick-witted lass who knows what she’s doing.

“There’s so much you know that you just don’t know you know.”

The book has a rich language, lucid narration and humor interlaced with sarcasm in just the right proportions. I loved the way, towards the end of the book the author has gently added that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit to acknowledge the fact, sarcasm can’t be used in every life situation.

While the author has taken care to limit the number of characters in the book, I felt Trish’s persona overshadowed the others. Sahil’s character failed to evolve to its full potential. While he is shown to bear the maturity of a 35-year-old, he fails to demonstrate the same in his brief interactions with Trish’s family. I also felt that Sahil’s powers weren’t given enough room to help in the final third of the book (I am avoiding sharing spoilers by limiting myself to not quote any examples from the climax). Having said that, I wish to congratulate the author on a sensitive portrayal of the many characters in shades of grey.

The book is in no way a romantic read as the title and the cover of the book seem to suggest. Though the protagonist has a love interest but the rushed way the book culminates to its end, left me feeling longing for a more detailed climax. The elaborate descriptions in the start of the book had set a benchmark which the climax fails to rise upto. While the author deserves due credit for spinning an interesting suspense and a thriller feel in the final third of the book, resolving it all by simple divine intervention somehow made it rushed and lackluster for me.

“Guilt and loss. Loss and guilt. Why did that combination feel so familiar”

The book successfully highlights many grave issues our society is succumbing under, trying to highlight the need for change in the thinking process. Trish’s sarcastic replies as Amy work wonders in that role. However, the book fails to make an impact by not suggesting any concrete solutions to any of the problems. The plot is intriguing in the start but falls flat towards the end, lacking fresh ideas. Sahil’s powers reminded me (faintly) of Edward in the Twilight series.

Overall, the book makes for a breezy read that’s unputdownable. I recommend this book for people who enjoy a light, breezy read, are fond of Chic-Lit and are looking for an impeccable narrative seasoned well with sarcasm.

About the Author – Yashodhara Lal’s USP is in taking the ordinary and making it hilarious. She graduated from IIM-Bangalore in 2002 and has over 12 years of experience in the Marketing Domain across two large corporations in FMCG and media.

She lives in Gurgaon with her husband Vijay, and the three small children. This is her third book after ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ and ‘Sorting Out Sid’.

Rating – 3/5

Turbulence

There is one topic I have been avoiding to write about since over two years. I have been mentioning about it in many posts, mentally drafted the post almost 500 times but somehow never have been able to publish it on the blog.

This hesitance has resulted in a long series of articles ending up as drafts (either on my blog or in my mind) because this base issue hasn’t been talked about. But, things are about to change for good. I am finally, ready to write about everything I have been holding back.

The topic in question is Stubbornness. The roots of this problem are long, strong and deep enough to make me lose my sleep, my peace of mind and lately sanity in alarming proportions.

Enough beating around the bush. Let’s come straight to the point. As a single parent, right from the day of Pari’s birth (that was coincidentally the turning point in my life when I had learnt that from that day on, I will be the sole responsible soul for my child’s upbringing) while I knew the life of being a single parent is going to be tough. But, never in my wildest dreams had I imagined such obstacles in my path.

Though there are a number of challenges that I face being a single parent, but for the sake of clarity, I am going to focus only on the emotional and psychological aspects of the issues I have been facing.

To begin with, it is an exhaustive drill. I have no choice but to play the parent 24x7x365. There are no vacations or weekly offs of being a parent which has slowly but surely been taking a toll on my existence. Though I have a number of people in my life who are often seen as possible care-takers for my child, but somehow, I have never been able to enjoy the luxury of having time off because either Pari refuses to stay away from me or the people I trusted, gave me enough reasons to not leave my child with them for longer than an hour at most.

I am avoiding from indulging in the blame game because that would only add to the bitterness and will yield no good. This is exactly where Pari’s stubbornness comes into picture.

To begin with, Pari’s favorite word is “Nahin” or ‘No’. She uses it as a shield and a sword at the same time. My every question has to swim across like a paper boat in a sea of ‘No(s)’ for everything. I am often pushed to battle it out with Pari to have things as small as her home-work done.

I clearly remember writing this letter to Pari where I tried to explain to her the importance of saying ‘No’ and meaning it. But, before could grow up enough to read that letter, life seems to have chosen to fight back my words. The ingrained stubbornness in her is a gift from both her parents. Her father and her maternal grandmother (my mom) are epitomes of stubbornness and their refined quality has expressed as a dominant trait in Pari right from birth.

Pari’s stubbornness is so disturbing that if she makes up her mind for something, nothing in the world can make her change it. No amount of explaining, cajoling, bribing, scolding, shouting (yes, I am guilty of that) or even pampering works. The result being, more often than not, Pari makes wrong choices and ends up in trouble.

Pari’s stubbornness has caused her to fall seriously ill on a number of occasions, but still she has shown no inclination in trying to pay heed to what I (or her grandparents) keep trying to explain to her in various forms and stories. No form of disciplining has worked on her till date. Even at school, I have been told by her teachers that Pari chooses to do what she wishes to. Though she is a disciplined child who obeys what her teachers and the staff at school instructs her to, but when it comes to doing work on her own, she has a mind of her own.

Let’s take a simple incident into consideration for better understanding. Three days ago, during a class activity, when Pari performed well, her teacher gave her a chocolate as a reward. While all the other students happily took the chocolate, Pari said thank you and returned it back to her teacher. Later I learnt, that the sweet given wasn’t the one Pari likes, so she chose to give it back to her teacher. Though Pari had told me about it, but when I had the opportunity to speak to her teacher, I noticed that she hadn’t taken this incident too well.

On days Pari is in no mood to study, she refuses to budge even when her teacher in school tries to make her write or recite. What her teachers find surprising is the fact that on being asked, she says it up front that she is in no mood to study.

Blame it on my being an old school parent, but I believe, inculcating discipline in life and an understanding of what is important in life should begin right from young age. My 4 year old is, in my opinion old enough to be talked to and be explained that study is as important as play and so is food. But, things are only getting difficult by the minute.

To be very honest, I am many times left dumbfounded with her logic and the way her stubbornness encourages her to take risks and end up in trouble. Being denied for a particular thing often triggers her to retaliate with all her might. She throws a fit of anger, cries and at times screams to have things done her way. I cannot blame it all on Pari alone.

In my tryst to balance discipline with being indulgent my parents have played a key role in spoiling Pari to bits. Whatever I tell Pari that she can’t have (because of any broken promise or tasks undone or any other reason) is given by my parents to her. So Pari seems to have found an easy way out of having things done her way. (I’ll perhaps do a more detailed post on this issue because it is a multi-faceted problem.)

This has led to a war like situation in my life. On one front I am seen fighting with my parents, trying hard to make them see sense in my subtle refusals to Pari’s endless demands while on the other, I am caught up being the BAD mom who seemingly disapproves of everything Pari has to say.

While I try my best to discipline Pari, my attempts often fall on deaf ears. I spend all of my day either with her when she is at home or preparing to make thing work well, while she is at school. The stress that this madness has been pumping in my mind is slowly building up enough pressure to keep me agitated and disturbed on more occasions than I would like.

Having said that, I am nowhere close to giving up. Not because I am a warrior at heart but because I really don’t have that option. Being a single parent, my child is my 100% responsibility and I can in no way see her walk down a path of self-destruction. I am aware I sound crazy at times, but occasions when Pari has fallen very sick as an outcome of her stubbornness or my parents giving into her wishes defying logic, I seem to have totally lost it.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the many rants that I can promise are going follow on this blog. So please be prepared for the same.

P.S.- .Now you can get live updates, scoop of upcoming posts & more of my blog on Viber public chat. If you use the free mobile app on your phone please do follow me there:  

Song on my mind: Pyar humey kis mod pe le aaya ~ Satte Pe Satta

India On My Platter

  • Title – India On My Platter – The 20,000 km Food Journey51mii7U17AL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_
  • Author – Saransh Goila
  • Publisher – Om Books International
  • Genre – Travelogue
  • Pages – 320
  • Price – INR 295
  • ISBN – 9-789383-202041

Synopsis – Backpacking through the country, young chef Saransh Goila sets off on a culinary trail through India, where in he discovers the various nuances of local cuisine. From rural villages to barren deserts to freezing mountains, he unfolds the flavor of his destination by meeting local villagers or erstwhile royalty, picking up a tip or two to use in his kitchen. Wherever he goes, he makes sure to visit the famous eateries of that place.

Through him, the reader can vividly smell the spices and taste the dishes that are described. The recipes given also present ways on using locally found ingredients. From having steaming Murthal ke paranthes to savoring tasty street food in home town Delhi, from cooking on a boat in Varanasi to cooking dishes using a bamboo hollow in Assam, Goila does it all and presents his adventures in a lucid, flowing narrative peppered with humorous anecdotes.

Review – The cover of the book has a fresh, positive and happy feel. The color scheme is subtle and the smiling portrait of Saransh made me like the book instantly. The title printed in the tricolor imbibes the feeling of patriotism in this travelogue. I quite loved the quiet hinting of the fact that the book is a travelogue by capturing Saransh Goila the renowned chef climbing a truck. It captured the essence of road trips and the fact that it revolves around food ever so beautifully.

The title simply adds to the flavor of the book while highlighting its true essence. I am in a committed relationship with food. That statement would have told you how much I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I am forever on the lookout for new recipes, hence watching food channels is always on my list. Chef Saransh Goila has always impressed me with his energy and enthusiasm to make food interesting while keeping it close to the preferences of the modern era and ensuring it is healthy. The day I learn about this book by chef Saransh, I was determined, I had to pick it up.

I must add, I am glad I read this book because it is fresh, fantastic, has plenty of food stories and celebrates the record making road travel by chef Saransh in an engrossing read.

“…even as a chef, or a cook, your conscience while cooking has to be clear. It may be a profession, but it is a noble act to feed people, so love, respect and selflessness have to be there whenever you cook.”

The simplicity of the narration, seasoned well with sharing of the emotional highs and lows and the background stories of the places visited make it a joyful read. It is not just a recipe book but an experience on its own. There are about 50 recipes from 25 states that have been written keeping in mind to share the terms in Hindi along with the English names, in an easy to follow format.

The language is rich, narration lucid and travelogue captures the beautiful landscapes, the deserted roads, the changing colours of the skies, food memories built while sitting on road or local eateries, on highway and many unique places too. The beauty of this journey lies in visiting lesser known places even while visiting cities that are principle places of tourist interest.

” Kullu made me realise the importance of instinct and a constant thirst for knowledge for a chef.”

The book revolves around a famous TV show ‘Roti, Rasta aur India‘ where chef Saransh & his crew was on the mission to travel by road 20,000 km within India, covering 25 states in 100 days, non-stop. Though I haven’t seen the show but like all books, this book surely captures the essence of the show in a picturesque way. Not only in words by Saransh, but also in the fantastic collection of photographs shared in the book, all the key incidents and recipes in the book seem to have come alive.

I wish to congratulate Saransh Goila on stirring up delectable food stories while exploring the length and breadth of our fascinating country. Besides the collection of recipes, the book is also an aromatic treasure of very handy tips of cooking tasty variants of the food. I particularly loved the idea of cooking rice in water infused with green tea. That’ll make the simple steamed rice go notches up on being aromatic & feeling fresh on the palate. The Chocolate Pakora recipe has left me in awe with the sheer brilliance of adding a popular ingredient to a dish we Indians adore. Many such wonderful food tales along with glimpses of our incredible India have made this book rank high on my highly recommended reads.

If you are a foodie who enjoys exploring the culture and learning about the traditions that go into churning our authentic Indian recipes, this book is a must read for you. This book will also make for an engrossing read for people who enjoy reading travelogues with an insight into local culture and eateries.

About the Author – Saransh Goila, is an Indian chef, TV show host, author, food consultant and columnist. He set a record in the Limca Book of Records, 2014, for ‘the longest road journey by a chef’, when he hosted India’s biggest food travelogue show, Roti, Rasta aur India on FoodFood Channel.

He is also popular for his online food and travel show, The Spice Traveller, and Health Challenge, where he makes favorite India dishes healthier.

Rating – 4.25/ 5

Awkwardness

I have been wanting to write this from a long time. To be precise, from the time Pari started going to school in a bus. But, I held back, because one, I wanted to give things a fair chance to change and secondly, I wasn’t sure whether to add it to the school diary series or let it just sit as an idle post.

Giving up all the confusions, laziness and inhibitions, let’s do the talking. From Pari’s bus stop there are just two kids who take the school bus. The other child, let’s name her Nina* is a 7-year-old. On realizing that Nina will be accompanying Pari, my initial line of thought was, this would be a great opportunity for Pari to mingle with an older child (in absence of a sibling) and learn the ways of life from a whole new perspective.

So far so good. But to make this natural bonding or friendship to happen, it was obvious that the parents who came along with the kids need to develop a rapport. I bet you must be wondering what’s unusual about expecting these things. Hold on your horses because the story has just begun.

Let us begin from day one (that is the morning following this day). Early in the morning, Pari, myself and my father arrived at the bus stop, ten minutes ahead of the time. A couple of minutes later, Nina arrived with her father. My father & I decided to introduce ourselves to Nina’s father to know each other better. However, Nina’s father, chose to introduce himself as the man behind <insert name of his business> rather than his own name. He chose to not be interested in who we were or anything related to Pari (her name, class, etc.)

His cold, nonchalant attitude killed our excitement in matter of seconds and we noticed his disinterest in becoming friends. It was entirely his choice and we as a matter of fact, chose to give him time to open up (if he ever would).

On the other hand, Nina who was sitting in their car, threw a tantrum saying she didn’t want to go to school. After little cajoling, her father managed to have her board the bus. Pari on the other hand was amused at Nina’s behavior and once she got back from school asked me why was Nina crying in the morning.

At that time, I told Pari that since Nina had recently changed school, she was missing her old friends and she might take sometime to begin liking her new school. Though Pari did get a grasp of this because she too has shifted school, but all this while, I could see her thinking why wasn’t Nina friendly towards her, unlike other children in the bus.

I am often amazed by Pari’s thought process. She often thinks and sees things that I, despite being a parent fail to note. Days moved on, but Nina’s tantrums started changing to making excuses of having aches here and there just to avoid school. I was well aware it was none of my business, but seeing a child panic struck, struggling hard to avoid school, made me go uneasy. I couldn’t shrug off her thought from my mind, hours after my visits to the bus stop.

15 days had passed since the new session started, but Nina was no-where enjoying the school life. Her father could be heard making excuses to the nanny in the bus to cover up Nina’s reluctance at boarding the bus. While all this continued, the situation between me and Nina’s father didn’t ease out. (Please note, my father accompanied us to the bus stop only for the first few days, now it was just Pari & me).

In the meantime, Pari befriended a handful of children in the bus. All elder to her but they seemed to have bonded like sisters in no time. They’d look forward to meeting each other, share snacks, sweets and even choose to sit together in the bus at all times.

As days moved on, Nina who had been staying grumpy and aloof all this while (for over a month) started feeling lonely. This was when her father approached Pari in an attempt to have her become friends with Nina. But the awkwardness was that her father and I are still far from being in talking terms. On a few occasions when I tried to greet him at the bus stop, he chose to give me a cold shoulder.

However, I have been talking to Pari about befriending Nina so that she doesn’t feel lonely. Things started changing recently when Nina started talking more with Pari. These days, Nina smiles the minute she spots me or Pari, walks up to us, has started making effort to join in Pari & her (Pari’s) bus friends. I can see Nina’s father wishing that Nina gets along with Pari because Pari loves going to school, makes friends pretty comfortably and yes, she isn’t scared to swim.

In Pari’s school, swimming is compulsory for all students right from Nursery. While Pari has taken to swimming from day one like a fish, Nina is very scared of the swimming lessons. My line of thought in this matter is, her parents should work with the school staff to help qualm Nina’s fears. But, what I see happening is, her father (cause I get to meet only him at the bust stop so I have no idea about her mother) has been trying hard to drum the idea in Nina’s head that all ‘good’ girls swim and ‘bad’ girls don’t.

This line of thought should make me glad that Pari is being called a ‘good’ girl. But my wrongly wired mind worries on hearing such things. Why have someone’s fears (that too of a child’s) be used to condition them as good or bad? Why can’t fears be named as they are and the child be taught how to gradually conquer them rather than shaming the child for being scared?

I don’t know, why I am so bugged by these things which as a friend told me “are none of my business”. As a parent, isn’t it important to help our children learn about life on a daily basis? What’s happening with Nina could happen to any child for that matter, then why can’t we all try to help each other and our children grow?

I know it sounds complicated and we can’t have a world where people behave the way we please. But this awkward behaviour from Nina’s father has been disturbing me from many days. I sincerely hope, someday things will change and Nina will learn to enjoy school and swimming.

* Name has been changed to protect identity.

The song on my mind: Jaane Kyun ~ Dostana 

What’s going on?

I am amazed by the fact, that this time I was off the blog for one full month. Not only did I not write a blog post but I didn’t read any of my favorite blogs either. My cousin’s wedding that I had been enthusiastically writing about all of June went well and I am aware I was expected to write a post on that. But here I was, gone off the radar like a plane in the Bermuda Triangle.

The good (or bad, I’m not sure) news being, no one actually missed me. But, I determined am to get back to my blog, no-matter how long a hiatus I give to blogging, I am back. Yet again.

For sake of posterity and sanity (because I have a truck load of topics to write about) I’ll let this post become a mishmash of what all had been keeping me busy.

My cousin’s wedding was grand. It was a family function, we are very closely related and many facts on the same line are well-known to me, but this wedding came to me like a gust of strong wind, shaking the roots of existence. I wasn’t quite prepared for the lessons I’ve brought home from the wedding. It took me quite sometime to gauge the depth of these. This has been one of the major reasons why I had been avoiding to write anything on the blog.

The lessons I learnt will be talked at length in upcoming posts, but one thing I noted was, money still makes the world go round. If you’ve got a bag full of money, life is a happy ride, if not, you better be prepared for a back-breaking bumpy ride. It has been many years of emotional suffering for me, which I am hopeful will end someday soon. I have been through many bouts of depression in the past few years, but still I have successfully managed to keep going, resolving every big or small issue in my life to ensure my child doesn’t have to go through the hell I have been through. I am trying my best to make that happen.

I have accomplished another major milestone in this direction. Please expect a password protected post on the same.

The schools have reopened to much relief. The summer holidays with Pari were fun but very exhausting. In the whirlpool of non-stop madness that ensued everyday, I had almost lost myself, my routine and yes the strict lifestyle watch. Though I had given into a number of indulgences in the past one month, but my determination of staying away from carbohydrates and regular exercise has stayed on. Strong.

Luckily, I have not regained any of the lost weight, but I do not have any impressive stats to share as well. No worries on that front because I have myself started feeling heaps healthier, fitter and cheerful ever since I started exercising regularly like I have been doing all my life.

The freelance work I do has taken a backseat because I am too busy sorting many pending issues in life. Basically, my life has become chaotic, leaving me craving to catch some sleep. I haven’t managed to sleep more than 5 hours any day lately. More so because I have too many unfinished tasks at hand and not because of stress.

The only accomplishment I have had in the past 5 years is slowly learning to cope up with the pain of the past, successfully forgetting it and moving on. Battling one issue at a time. The current phase of my life is among the final battles I am to fight for complete closure of my past. Pari is growing smarter by the minute and the many questions I have been dreading since her birth are here, waiting for me to answer them honestly yet sensitively.

The one thing I have done in plenty is cooking. Though I didn’t bother manage to click many photographs, but experimenting tasty recipes has been the high point of the past two months.

This is just the tip of the iceberg because a lot has happened and is going on in my life. All of those are soon going to be poured on this blog. Stay tuned and drop me an email with a password request when I post password protected posts. This time I’ll share password only on request, to avoid spamming people who have long given up reading this blog because of my frequent breaks.

The song on my mind: Main tenu Samjhawaan ki ~ Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania 

 

Mistress of Honour

  • Title – Mistress of Honour Mistress of Honour -1
  • Author – Bhaavna Arora
  • Publisher – Penguin Books
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 192
  • Price – INR 199
  • ISBN – 978-0-143-42528-1

Synopsis – A tale about passionate love and finding your soul mate, only to realize you will always come a close second.
When Potnis, a captain in the Indian Army, meets Pansy during Operation Blue Star, he knows he has found the love of his life. Their passionate romance leads them to the altar and blossoms into a beautiful child, Rihana.

History repeats itself when Advik, a wayward boy from a broken family, catapults into Rihana’s heart as smoothly as he conquers the skies as an Indian Air Force pilot. What follows is a night of unabashed love, transporting the couple to heavenly bliss. Where will their unbridled love lead them? Will Rihana remain a mistress to Advik, for whom the love for his country comes first, or will she be able to make a place in his heart that is second to none? This heartbreaking saga of love, courage and sacrifice will leave you asking for more.

Review – Mistress of Honour has a colourful cover with a woman’s silhouette portraying the spectrum of emotions beautifully. The cover does full justice to the plot and the title. The book has a well-thought, apt title, whose significance comes to fore only in the climax of the book.

The book begins with an introduction of the life of a brave captain in the Indian Army, Potnis. The book gradually introduces the reader to the dedication of a soldier towards his duty and how his family stands strong even in the toughest of times supporting the brave soldiers’ morale while praying for their well-being.

The beauty of the story lies in rational, open-minded thinking by all characters at every situation in life. Though, there have been moments of weakness, but the well-defined characters have been bestowed liberty to lead their lives with immense self-respect and integrity. This particularly holds true in the wonderful way the author has evolved the female characters in the story across three generations.

” Unlike other wives, she had to stand by her husband for a cause bigger than pretty disgruntlement or domestic disputes. An army wife quickly realizes that her husband’s duty is first to the country, and only afterwards to her.”

The yarn of love and patriotism that’s been knitted in the backdrop of Indian Army, helps the reader get a clearer picture of the lives of soldiers right from the time of their admission in NDA. Picturesque narration of the rigorous training they undergo and the difficulties they face in their careers both during war-time and at peace, often gifts goosebumps to the reader. I wish to congratulate the author on covering many key operations of the Indian Army (Operation Blue Star, Fighting militants in Assam, Helping restore peace in Sri Lanka and also the Kargil war) in a soul-stirring connection to the plot.

The language is simple and narration lucid with careful editing guiding the smooth flow of the story in this unputdownable read.

” Do you want to create history or be history? Think about it. Jump! Just Jump! You’re being groomed for war, and remember: there are no runners-up there.”

The book has a predictable ending with the protagonist, Potnis losing importance abruptly towards the last third of the book. At many points I felt the children in the plot were wielded with unusual maturity at their tender age. Students of class tenth and twelfth have been projected to deliver motivational lessons which can be seldom realized with the promptness (shown in the plot) by impressionable, young minds of the age Rihana, Advik & Kabir have been shown.

Towards the final third of the book, the plot took over a typical Bollywood movie turn, ending in a hasty attempt to put the dots together. The book would have gained immensely by taking care to describe the scenes in-depth, reducing the number of twists in the plot which at times come across as forced. Incorporation of a few dialogues in the story would have helped season this emotional read. Interaction between the characters in the plot would have been impressive had the narration alone not been burdened to communicate, all that was going on in their lives and minds.

I particularly found the incident involving Rahim (not sharing details to avoid spoilers) come across as not helping the plot much.

Nevertheless, the book beautifully shares an insight into the hardships, commitment and dedication of Indian soldiers while celebrating the strong women who stand by the men on duty. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a breezy read of stories inspired by real life heroes connected wonderfully in the backdrop of Indian Army.

About the Author – Dr. Bhavna Arora is a new-generation writer who is an avid learner from life. She is a young enthusiast who has two MBA degrees and a Doctorate from Pittsford University in Leadership to her credit. She also works closely with an institute for special children.

Rating – 3/5

Hama-Guri Goes To School

  • Title – Hama-Guri Goes To schoolHama Guri Goes to School Front Cover
  • Author – Aditi Bose
  • Publisher – Cresco Books
  • Genre – Child Fiction
  • Pages – 62
  • Price – INR 191 (For Kindle edition)
  • ISBN – 978-93-85202-02-5

Synopsis – Hama-Guri is a six-year-old boy who lives with his parents in a lovely cottage on a farm.
His life is simple, well almost. The curious mind of Hama is never at rest and he makes the humdrum routine of daily life come alive with important questions, the whys and the wherefores.

Hama’s adventures are as much about self-discovery as they are about the realization of what really matters.
Join Hama on his adventures and grow up (or don’t) with him the fun way. After all childhood (and the rest of our lives) is all about learning new things, exploring the unknown and reveling in the hidden novelty of the mundane.

These stories are imaginative yet simple and the lessons are easy to understand but often forgotten. Jump in and rediscover childhood.

Review – This is the first ever e-book I have read. Though I still have my reservations in place for reading e-books, there was something so compelling with the book’s synopsis that I simply couldn’t turn it down. To begin with, I am quite fond of children’s books and secondly it being school holidays, reading children’s books with my daughter can make for a joyful, learning experience, with time spent well bonding over inspiring stories.

I’d like to add, that Aditi Bose’s debut novel did fulfill all my expectations. The first thing that struck a chord in my heart was the thoughtful selection of topics of the five stories in the book. All five stories have an air of relatability which I believe every parent and also children can appreciate well.

The language is crisp yet devoid of any difficult words, making reading a joy ride. The narration is lucid peppered with thoughtfully crafted dialogues to keep the story flowing a natural course without getting preachy.

“She wanted to give Hama a chance to tell his story first. There would always be time to analyze actions and behavior later. It was important to allow the child to speak. Sometimes just listening is more important that talking. And it was listening time now.”

I particularly liked the thoughtfulness infused in each story, inspiring the reader (both adults and children) to see both sides of the coin. For example, in the fifth story where Hama-Guri learns about pocket-money, the wonderful way her mother teaches her about free-money and earned money holds one of the very vital lessons of life.

The beauty of the book lies in subtle delivery of the lessons. At the end of every story, I stopped to reflect over the many important lessons I learnt as a parent. I loved the playful, interactive ways involving fun and games, suggested to approach similar situations with my child.

“It is easy for children to make friends. They have lesser barriers guarding their persona and no egos to battle with.”

However, I particularly felt that the book would definitely benefit with adding the involvement of Hama-Guri’s father in the stories. Though there are places where his presence has been mentioned, but adding his active participation in his son’s life would definitely break the usual norm that mothers invest the most time and effort in the upbringing of children with fathers playing the strict breadwinners.

In the story about Hama-Guri’s fear of the sight of blood, while I appreciate the many ways his mother tries to talk him out of his fears, I believe the way Hama is shown to not being disturbed by the sight of blood (even in the slightest way) comes across as little dramatic. Though the way the story ends, it beautifully makes up for this.

I liked the example time-table shared in the last chapter. On that note, I’d like to suggest addition of a few graphics in the book to leave a lasting impression on the minds of young readers of this book. I’d love to see this book being made available in a paperback to let more and more children read it and even share it with their friends.

I wish to congratulate the author on churning out a compelling, inspiring read as her debut novel. I’d love to read many more books from her pen.

I highly recommend this book for every parent and young children to learn wonderful life-lessons presented in an interesting way.

About the Author – Aditi Bose has graduated from St. Xaviers College with Economics Honours and completed MBA in marketing from the International Management Institute, New Delhi. She has work experience in the field of research and recruitment. For the past few years, she has been freelance writing for a number of domestic and international websites. This is her debut novel.

Rating – 4/5

*P.S.- No comment has been made on the book’s cover illustrations as the e-book I read didn’t have it.