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Monday, 22 June 2015
             



“RISHIKESH GOVINDRAO PANDE”

The computer screen showed my name in the list of “selected candidates” for a post in a government exam. I checked and re-checked whether it was my name or not. I couldn’t believe it. Okay, confession! I almost cried. Although, I was expecting a positive result for this particular exam, I couldn’t believe that I had actually been selected. I had to tell someone.


I called up one of my friends, all freaked out, and told him that I had been selected. I could feel my blood rushing throughout my body and my heartbeats could easily be heard by the bystanders and commuters. I started blabbering something to my friend and he said, in his calm and soft voice, “Congratulations Pande ji!” I somehow managed to thank him.


I had no idea what to do next. And while talking to my friend over phone, a thought came to me from the back of my mind, as if it was the next logical thing to do, as if it was programmed in my mind in times like these. I knew what I was supposed to do next. I quickly hung up on my friend. I knew exactly what I was supposed to do.


I quickly got up on my bike and started racing towards one place in the whole world which feels sweet to me – Home sweet home.


I reached my house; a two storey building, with a beautiful fa├žade which welcome the guests with a warm and compassionate smile. I found my sister sitting in the hall watching TV. I asked her where He is. She merely pointed towards the store room without taking her eyes off the TV. God, she loves her TV, I thought. I quickly went to the store room and found Him shuffling through old and rusty stuff. He was wearing a green t-shirt and black track pant. He looked a little sweaty which meant that he’d probably been working on something. I bent down to touch his feet and He looked startled and a little pissed.


“Hey, I’m working!” He said in his old and grumpy voice.


But as soon as he saw my happy face, he reckoned something was definitely going on with me and may be, just maybe, it’s good news. I looked straight into his old and experienced eyes and said,


“Dad, I have been selected for the government job!”


At first, he looked surprised. I somehow managed to get a glimpse of his surprise just for a few microseconds. But then, he looked relieved. He looked like a part of the thirsty land, relieved at the water drops sent directly from the heavens to quench its thirst. And then, his eyes got moist; he looked like someone on the edge of crying. I looked straight into his eyes and felt everything that he did as if his eyes reflected his emotions like a mirror into mine. I could sense slight hints of pride, happiness, relief, and surprise in his eyes. I stared into his eyes for a few seconds more, enjoying every second of it and without uttering a single word, I HUGGED HIM.


Memories are beautiful; they make us who we are. And this one beautiful and emotional memory of hugging my Dad on that beautiful day will always be in stored in my heart until the end of the time and beyond. On this Father's Day, #HugYourDad and let him know how much He means to you!


I saw you and you saw me,
And an unspoken bond,
Was formed within,
Pride, Happiness, Relief and Surprise:
Everything was shared,
When we hugged,
On that Beautiful Day…


~RP


“This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.”


Sunday, 10 May 2015




Date Published: February 20, 2015


Publisher: LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd.

Pages: 204
Source: Review copy provided by Jahid Akhtar

Format: Paperback




Goodreads Synopsis


Devastated by the floods, Bipin and his little boy Tublu move to a faraway land, where they meet the Sharma’s. This marks the beginning of a long and enduring relationship between Bipin and the Sharma’s, and the growing friendship of their children Tublu and Maina. The book captures the journey of this friendship through childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. From some interesting school and college humor, the story progresses on and develops into a mature narrative. As years pass, Tublu’s plain and silent crush on Maina develops into deep love and longing for Maina which bears the potential to conquer all of life’s challenges. The story has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.



My Review



A couple of days ago, I found out about the book ‘Story of Tublu’ by Jahid Akhtar. The blurb of the book as given above made me curious. I contacted the author of the book and he was really kind enough to send me the review copy of the book. I really want to thank Jahid Akhtar for the review copy of the book. I really appreciate that.


The story of the book is quite the simple one and very beautiful one indeed. The story is about Tublu and Maina, two lead characters of the book, who fall in love over the course of time. I really enjoyed reading this beautiful story. The entire book is a story of Tublu and Maina and their love story and it is divided into chapters quite well. Every chapter of the book is, in a way, a phase of life of Tublu and Maina. Every chapter kind of tries to sum up the period of time in Tublu and Maina’s life and hence, the pace of the story seems a little faster. I must mention here that had it not been for the pace of the story, I would have enjoyed the book even more.


The language is quite simple and flows beautifully throughout the novel. I really enjoyed how in certain places the author has used Hindi dialogues. The best thing about Hindi dialogues was that there weren’t too many! Anything which is over-done loses its shine and the author has justice to this rule by not using too many Hindi Dialogues. Apart from a few places where the author missed to use spaces between the words, the language was wonderful and I really enjoyed the simplicity of it.


The best part about the book was how two beautiful children, Tublu and Maina, fell in love with each other over the course of time. Tublu is somewhat shy and taciturn and lacks the courage to tell Maina how he feels for her. The author has beautifully written a story about young love and how over the course of time it grows and matures. This is where the author has done an exceptionally great job! Apart from that, I also enjoyed the information about the region author himself grew up in. The author hails from Assam and he has beautifully given bits and pieces of information throughout the story about the North-East. For a person like me, who is born and brought up in Maharashtra, this information was really helpful in understanding the North-East a little better.   


Probably the only thing that turned me off was that there were spoilers in the ‘Foreword’ and ‘Introduction’ at the beginning itself. I mistakenly read them before I finished the novel and hence, the story became predictable for me. I would advise readers not to read this part of the book before finishing the novel. But although that is the case, I must mention here that the author has surprised me on many occasions with his brilliant twists and turns and made the story enjoyable.


I would be rating this wonderful first attempt by Jahid Akhtar as 3 out of 5 for writing such a beautiful story in simple and beautiful language. I recommend it to all those who enjoy a simple and beautiful story in simple language.


Note: I sincerely apologize to Jahid Akhtar for the delay in reviewing this wonderful book. I am truly touched by his generosity towards me by granting me more time in reading and reviewing the book. I really appreciate that.


Huge thanks to Jahid Akhtar for providing me the review copy of the book. I really appreciate it.


~RP



Tuesday, 28 April 2015

                                                                                      



                                          
                                          Date Published: 10 August, 2014

Publisher: Bluejay Books Pvt. Ltd.
Pages: 200
Source: Review copy provided by Purba Chakraborty

Format: Paperback





Goodreads Synopsis



She is a successful author, a loving wife and the world's best mom. Her doctor husband dotes on her, her teenage daughter idolizes her and her readers yearn for her writing. Shouldn't all that respect and love make her happy? Yet, she is devoid of inner peace. In the wee hours of the night, her slumber is disturbed by horrifying nightmares. All her harmony is abducted and lost amidst the bunch of hidden letters kept in her cupboard. Those letters were written long back by her cousin, presently a patient at a mental asylum in Kolkata. Haunted by her inner demons and tired by the long-time secrecy, she decides to put end to her misery by surrendering to her husband and daughter, The Hidden Letters. . . Will she lose her husbands love and daughters respect? Can she forgive herself for her own selfishness which rendered her cousin's fate malignant?

 Find out more about the book on Goodreads:

Buy the book from Amazon:



My Review



“Men are governed by lines of intellect – Women: by curves of emotion.”
~James Joyce

I was minding my own business, looking for my next read on Goodreads, when I found out about Purba Chakraborty’s book, ‘The Hidden Letters’. I was looking for a book on strong woman characters and a great story on women’s emotions. The Hidden Letters fit my both criteria. The title and the blurb of the book was undoubtedly the most intriguing one I have ever read! The cover of this wonderful book was just perfect! I just couldn’t help but contact Purba and ask for a review copy of her book. Purba Chakraborty was kind enough to send me a review copy of her book. I really appreciate that.


The story of the book is probably the most unique and simple one I have ever read. The story of how a woman has to play various roles – a mother, a wife, a partner, a professional writer – was beautifully captured by Purba. Her story has shed light on different shades of a women and how women cruses through all of them. Her story is about an inspiring woman who is a successful writer, a good wife and a best mother. But the best mother and best wife isn’t perfect. She has taken a few decisions in the past, which she knows if revealed, will destroy her family. The revelation of these decisions will probably lead to loosing the respect of her daughter and love of her husband. Purba not only deals with the decisions her protagonist takes but also explains beautifully the reason behind them. Purba captures the different shades of women just so perfectly!   


One must admit that the lead character of Anaya is strong and powerful one. But, Anaya is not only as strong as a mountain but also as gentle and loving as a river. Purba has done a great job shedding light on different shades of women, in this case Ananya. The character of Anaya is my personal favorite!


The language of the novel is impressive but at the same I must mention here that lack of spaces between words, usage of wrong words in few places turned me off. I felt a little more comfortable in latter half of the book than first part of the book. As an aspiring author, and considering Purba’s second novel, she has done a great job. Her flow of sentences in second part of the book was so smooth that I just couldn’t put the book down! This book is definitely a page turner!  


One of the most interesting feature of this book was the titles of all chapters somehow gave me a hint of what is about to happen. This could have gone two ways – acted as a spoiler or a slight hint. I must admit that in my case, I felt that few titles of the chapters were spoilers and few acted as slight hints of what was about to come. But, I must also mention here that in no way the story was predictable. The story has few twists and turns and unpredictable ones considering we always expect good things to happen.


I also noticed that the length of all the chapters was almost similar and this trend was seen throughout the book. I reason why I could finish the book in just one sitting was probably the flow of the language and the universality of length of the chapters.


Anaya is a successful author, a loving wife and the world's best mother. But why is that she is devoid of a peaceful sleep at night? Why would a perfect mother fear losing respect and love of her family? What is the reason behind her horrifying nightmares? What wrongs she has done in the past which haunts her present?


Read ‘The Hidden Letters’ by Purba Chakraborty to find out…


I rate this wonderful book a 3 out of 5 for an excellent story and insights into a woman’s heart. I recommend this book to every man and woman to truly understand what it means to be a woman with many shades. This book is definitely an insightful one for everyone to view women in a completely different light. A must read!


Huge thanks to Purba Chakraborty for the review copy! I really appreciate that.



~RP
Friday, 24 April 2015




Date Published: 8 March, 2015
Publisher: Romour Books India
Pages: 158
Source: Review copy provided by Siddhartha Garg

Format: Ebook (PDF)



Goodreads Synopsis 


Child abuse, one of the many problems that persist in India today, is arguably the filthiest. Of late, we have heard of instances of children being exploited but the most gruesome abuse is child sex abuse. The Silent Scream takes up this issue which people normally turn a blind eye towards. Through the subtlety quoted instances mentioned in this narrative non-fiction we are exposed to the disturbing lives of child predators and their innocent, young unassuming victims. The Silent Scream is a ready guide to create awareness about this rampantly growing evil with the aim of sensitising the general public on the ways in which sex abusers operate. A humble effort is also being made to counsel the victims and carry forward the war against this menace so that other innocent souls are saved. 


Find out more about the book on Goodreads:

Buy the book from Amazon:




My Review


When India and the rest of the world is mourning and burning on the issue, and when everyone is merely voicing their discontent, one man, Siddhartha Garg, set out to write a book about it and guide India and the world through heart and soul of the problem and going one step further gave solutions. 'The Silent Scream' written by Siddhartha Garg deals with one of the most important problems of our society – Child sexual abuse.


A few days ago, I found out about the book through Facebook and I was convinced that this book is the ‘need of the hour’ as soon as I read the blurb of the book on Goodreads. I contacted the author of the book and asked if I could read and review his book. Siddhartha Garg was kind enough to lend me the review copy. I really want to thank him for his generosity.


The book is basically a case study where Siddhartha Garg first presents us a real life story of Harshita. This story fast paced, gripping and gives us in depth analysis of the problem. He has gone deeper into the psychological aspect of the perpetrator, the victim and the stigma associated with it and has done an excellent job at it. The book is also a fabulous guide which deals with the child sexual abuse head on. He gives us the guide to the perpetrators, signs of danger, Do’s for parents and children and most importantly helplines.


The Language of the book varies considering the contents of the book. Harshita’s story and ten stories from the book are told in simple language and are fast paced. Siddhartha Garg, the master of storytelling, hooked me to the story so much that I finished the entire book in one sitting!  Besides the stories, the rest of the part is a guide to children, parents and most importantly the victims of child sexual abuse. This part of the book follows simple and yet professional language.


Probably the most insightful and helpful feature of this book is an interview with Child Expert Ms. Sneha Bhatia. This is the part of the book which sheds the light on child sexual abuse, stigma associated with it and methods of dealing with the problem. This is a must read for every child, parents and victims. Apart from that, I also felt that Harshita’s story from the perpetrator's point of view was truly amazing.


Although the book is well researched, somewhere along the line I felt that there could have been more in depth research, sound logical arguments against the child sexual abuse and stigma associated with it. Considering the contents of the book, author first tried to put the emotional arguments through the case study of Harshita and ten other short case studies followed by few logical arguments. I felt that when the author did an excellent job in the former, he fell flat on the latter.


I rate this book a 3 out of 5 for dealing with the gravest problem our society is facing. His approach to deal with the problem head on and his guidance for parents, kids and victims, well researched and thorough, is probably the reason why this book is a must read for everyone. I recommend this eye opening book to every individual in India and abroad.


Huge thanks to Siddhartha Garg for the review copy. I really appreciate it.



~RP
Monday, 13 April 2015




Date Published: March 3, 2015


Publisher: Self-published at Smashwords

Pages: 292
Source: Review copy provided by Devika Fernando

Format: Kindle edition




Goodreads Synopsis


Some people are destined to meet.

It sure feels that way when Sri Lankan tour guide Sepalika meets Daniel. The mysterious tourist from Ireland steals his way into her heart and makes her question everything her life is built upon. Instant attraction turns to love – but does he feel the same? And what about the secret she’s hiding from him?

Follow the two on their quest for a happy ending amid the beauty and wonders of the tropical island paradise of Sri Lanka.
 



My Review


The story line of the novel is probably the simplest yet the most complicated one I have ever read. Sepalika, a tour guide in Sri Lanka, falls in love with a foreigner, Daniel, on her tour over the course of time. What started off from mere curiosity ends up in pristine love for Daniel. She struggles with her ethics and moral values for a while but in the end fails to hold herself back. Her history lessons to Daniel have the same effect on Daniel. His curiosity towards history and culture of Sri Lanka attracts him towards Sepalika. Does he feel the same, she wonders. And what about the secret she’s hiding from him? This book reminded me of one of the quotes by Rumi, 


“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.” 
~Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi


I really enjoyed reading this novel not only because of the story but also the language. Language of Devika Fernando’s novel, Saved in Sri Lanka, is simple and pleasant to read. It gave me pleasant experience throughout the novel. The metaphors used in the book made me fall in love! If at all I fell in love with Daniel just as Sepalika did, Devika’s metaphors is to be blamed for that.


When it comes to romance of two history geeks in Sri Lanka, you’re surely be given a lot of history lessons. Have you ever been to Sri Lanka? Have you ever been to sandy beaches and seen the beautiful temples of Sri Lanka? No? Well, Devika’s novel, Saved in Sri Lanka, will guide you throughout the island nation. One of the best parts of the novel was history lessons by Sepalika to Daniel.  For a history lover, this book is a treasure!


One of the most fascinating things about this book is conversations which are the very foundation of a romantic novel. Devika has done a great job at Sepalika and Daniel’s conversations which varied from Sri Lankan culture to love and arranged marriage debates. Every author, directly or indirectly, sometimes, goes in so much deeper inside a character that he/she confesses or puts forward their opinions on social, political, religious and economic issues. In addition to the beautiful history lessons, some insights into the social, political, economical and religious issues concerning Sri Lanka were indeed provided by Devika Fernando which made the conversations between Sepalika and Daniel more interesting.


The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that Daniel, male lead character, felt alien or a stranger to me even after finishing the novel. Somewhere along the line, even after finishing the novel, I couldn’t possibly understand why Daniel would do what he did. His actions and suddenness of the same lead to confusion. But, on the other hand, I also understand the reason behind it – Devika’s novel demanded a foreigner and so she gave us one. The narration from Sepalika’s point of view was the need of the novel and she did an excellent job at it. The magic of falling in love with someone over the course of time out of love and attraction is captured perfectly by Devika Fernando in Saved in Sri Lanka. Apart from a few spelling mistakes and one place, where Daniel was mentioned as David, the rest of the book was just a perfect romance novel!

UPDATE: The spelling mistakes and other mistakes have now been corrected! 

Does Daniel feel the same the way Sepalika does? And what about the secret she’s hiding from him?


To find out, read Saved in Sri Lanka by Devika Fernando…

Buy the ebook here: 
Amazon: http://tiny.cc/tvv0wx
Flipkarthttp://tiny.cc/eyv0wx


I rate this wonderful book a 3.5 out of 5 mostly for the history lessons and fascinating romance between Sepalika and Daniel. I recommend this book to every romantic novel lover, to the generation which falls for lust rather than love, to the history lovers and to the island lovers. This is a must read for all the Indians who wish to see the beauty of the island nation through the eyes of a Sri Lankan. This is a book not to be missed at any cost!


Huge thanks to Devika Fernando for the review copy! I really appreciate it.


Note: I sincerely apologize to Devika Fernando for the delay in reviewing this wonderful book. But, I believe that a book such as this one deserves a book review which does justice to it. For that exact reason, the delay was caused in the reviewing this book.


~RP
Sunday, 12 April 2015


I’m a social animal and I need internet just as much as I need food, shelter and clothes. But, most importantly, I need good friends in my life. So when I’m not eating grass or lying around half naked being lazy on my bed, I’m in touch with my friends. I love reading books and writing poems which almost always gets me in trouble at home. I’m pretty sure my parents think I’ll probably be a good show piece at a museum or fit in perfectly in a zoo.

So anyways, a couple of days ago, I was browsing through my Goodreads and Facebook account, and I found out that one of my friends, who sings wonderfully, had posted a collage picture on Facebook and, as soon as I saw it, I knew somewhere deep inside me, I was ‘feeling’ it. I had to follow that ‘feeling’ or else it would be lost in the wilderness forever.


I told ‘her’ (you heard it right! It’s a girl!) right away that I need to write a poem which suits her personality, as depicted in the collage picture. She was excited and so was I. She threw in a bucket of cool water on my head (Not really!) and gave me a permission to kick start my creative mind or whatever I have ‘up there’. I prefer to call my creative mind, cuckoo! Don’t ask!


As soon as I finished writing, I pinged and asked her whether she’s ready for it. She was. I told her not to share the poem with anybody and she agreed. A few minutes later, she was reading this:


“You smile on a summer day,
As if, to capture the heart of the day.
You pout in the darkness of the night,
As if, to capture the soul of the night.
Your hair – soft, dark and brown,
Make the chirping crickets fall prey.
Your eyes – beautiful, seductive and sexy,
Stir the heart of the ocean in a way.
Your mole – black and gracious,
Wards off all the evil away.

You, Princess,
The beauty of the night,
And,
The beauty of the day,
With your presence on this planet,
Sends the nature in the trance, always… ”

~RP


And, then there was silence; silence so loud that our neighbors came out on the streets in numbers and called police to file a complaint. I’m kidding! They called the post office! While she was reading the poem I wrote for her, my heart was pounding and I felt like my heart beats were actually drum beats used in a secret ritual of a secret society. Too much of Dan Brown, I assume.


When she finished reading the poem, at first, she couldn’t believe it. She was so overwhelmed that all she could say was, Rishi, I’m smiling! She was so excited that she even asked me whether she can show this poem to her best friends. I agreed, hoping they too would like it. I was happy that she was happy!


A collage of pictures it was which forced me on a journey to a distant unknown island in an unknown world which led to a cute smile on my cute friend. Following instincts, or heart to be precise, may sometime lead to the most beautiful memories which will never be forgotten.


This is my story. Where’s yours?


I am participating in the #DilKiDealOnSnapdealactivity at BlogAdda in association with SnapDeal.”


~RP