Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review : False Ceilings.

Shakuntala's life is the base of this tale. Shakuntala is the convent educated  daughter of Kanshi Ram, who builds houses for the British, in pre independent India.Shakuntala is a riches to rag story.She gets married to a lad ,who loves her. She falls for him .Shakuntala is gifted cupboards on her marriage. Only she knows that one of the cupboards has a secret storage. She has something in that space.  Past marriage, love turns sour.

Shakuntala's son falls for a girl who according to his mother is neither of their stature nor caste. And yet, allows him to marry her. Life goes downhill past wedding .Shakuntala makes sure, that the girl feels harassed all the time. Shakuntala's grandson,Aaryan becomes an alien to all & everything.His sister knows that grandmother has been most unkind to her mother. Her son stumbles upon the secret compartment of his great grandmother .He feels amazed as also shocked. Why ? What is the secret, which was known to atleast one person in each generation & never shared with others ? Would it have made their lives different, from how it all turned out to be ? And would that be better or worse off ,than it already was ? And why ?

Was there no affection , concern , love or respect amongst the family members ? And if there was , then, why it never showed up ? Perhaps, it  was love, that made Shakuntala marry that lad who kept staring at her.And again ,it was love that made Shakuntala's son pine for that girl whom he married.And yet ,that love hardly sustained.It turned into something else, post marriage. True, there was pro creation & yet beyond that, there was just tolerance , not love or affection.

The story is set in Dalhousie.Dalhousie is  described so beautifully that the reader wants it on the travel itinerary.It has humour -The women entered a tear shedding competition after the wedding was over ." Typical Indian parenting as regards painting ," It is  fine as a hobby but not a career ." 

The youngster rebelling against marriage ," Am I supposed to sacrifice the rest of my life to keep my parents happy ? " Parents responding ," Why not ? ......What is  so wrong in sacrificing  a bit for us & that too for your own pleasure ? " The young rebel nailing it "I could never understand this  emotional sword of sacrifice which parents hold to cut open their child's right to make his own decisions. No parents give any sacrifice to bring their children in the world, far from it.They were having fun when the child was conceived.Remember ? And once a child is in this world, it's the moral responsibility of the parent to feed him & keep him alive......"

The riots & disturbances are narrated in a manner which makes them look  so futile & humans   look cruel & heartless.And  perhaps, we all harbour secrets amongst ourselves just like  the secret compartment in that cupboard & that too for no reasons.

A deserving read indeed.



Born in the lush mountains of Dalhousie in 1930, Shakuntala is a pampered child of a wealthy builder. On her wedding night she is gifted a secret to use wisely when the time comes. 

From the green valleys of Dalhousie to a village in Punjab reeling under the communal violence of 1947; from the Delhi of 1950s with its intoxicating smell of freedom to the Delhi of 1970s soaked in the hippie culture; from the Delhi of 1984 smelling of burnt tyres to the Delhi of 90s raising its Frankenstein of urbanization, the cancerous secret breathes with her, infects her. It is accidentally passed down, hidden under insecurities and jealousies, locked in its meaninglessness and leaving a trail of ruin. 

When her great- grandson accidentally discovers the secret in 2065, he is perplexed by the malice that flowed in his family's blood. Was it just the secret or his family would have destroyed itself even in its absence? Why was their love never greater than their unsaid expectations from each other? 

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Amit Sharma

Amit Sharma's first fiction book titled False Ceilings has been published by Lifi Publications. The book launch happened on 12 Jan 2016 in the World Book Fair in Delhi. 

Amit has been working in a Software Firm since the last ten years. He lives with his family in NCR. His wife is a teacher and they are blessed with a daughter who is in her terrible twos. 

Amit always keeps a book and a portable reading light in his bag (much to the amusement of his fellow travelers). His other hobbies include watching world cinema, travelling, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging, making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her unnecessary and prolonged shopping.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Book Blitz : My Last Love Story

My Last Love Story 
Falguni Kothari


Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreaking and poignant tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul.

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible.

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 

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 Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media and loves to connect with readers.

My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Review : "Voyagers Into The Unknown " by Ruchira Khanna

"Voyagers Into The Unknown " is the story of a tourist guide Raj .He has his own tourist company called "Raj Touristry " which promises happiness to the tourists in addition to a wonderful tour of Agra.Raj believes in word of mouth publicity.And many foreigners flock to his tours.

Some tourists are on their way to Agra to enjoy a happiness tour of Agra .They hope to get over their grief , their disatisfaction, their loss etal as they tour Agra.

One of the tourist is Ira Addison.She is still wondering why Pete left her. She has yet to overcome what  happened.She attempts something & is saved by a good samaritan.And yet, she is so involved in her own loss, that she hardly cares .Ira wants to get over her loss.

Another tourist is  Carl.He is a successful businessman with a mansion & loads of money.Yet, his mansion is bereft of his family.He is loud mouthed & nit picking to the core.He pines for his family.

There is a couple ,Darci & Lennard.They are very different from each other.They supposedly love one another & yet, there is some rift in the relationship.They are hoping to rekindle their love.

And in this tour, there is a local person,Asha. She is retired & hoping to have fun as she tours Agra.

Meera is the receptionist at the Taj where Raj's tourists are staying. Raj & Meera love each other .

As the tourists land in India & proceed to Agra, they are full of apprehensions. As they start the tour, they ease a bit though they are still unsure. And while they are returning to their hotel in the evening, a storm waylays them .They all land up in the hospital with broken arms, legs etal.They are attended promptly.Their physical injuries strat healing.As they heal , do their mental stresses heal ? Does Carl's family come back ? Are Darci & Lennard able to reignite their love ?Is Ira able to get over her loss ? Who was that good samaritan who saved her earlier ? Who is Asha ? Is she someone who has a secret agenda ? And why is Asha on the tour ? What happens to Raj & his tourist company ? Does he go broke ? Do Raj & Meera find happiness in each other ? Do all the tourist find what they came to seek from the tour of Raj  ?

The book has a lot of positivity going for it.It narrates how as humans we make mistakes & then find it difficult to even apolgise to our near & dear ones.It tells that we must avoid nit picking & come to terms with shortcomings & faults of others & accept all with gratitude.


In the historic Indian town of Agra, you can find a very unusual tour company, which is owned by a charming young man named Raj. Although Raj's official job is to show off the historical landmarks of Agra, including the legendary Taj-Mahal, his true mission is to heal the souls of his broken "birds," as he affectionately refers to his tour participants. His business operates purely upon word-of-mouth referrals, ensuring that all of his tour members arrive in Agra with their hearts in their hands, ready for the spiritual growth and cleansing that Raj is known to provide. Healing the hearts of the spiritually damaged can be a difficult job, and in this particular tale, Raj finds himself faced with his most challenging tour group yet. First, there is Ira, a stunningly gorgeous but fragile young woman on the brink of suicide. Next, we meet Darci and Lennard, a couple on the verge of divorce. Then there is Carl, an irritable, antisocial workaholic who has burned all of his bridges. Lastly, we meet Asha, an elderly widow who still yearns for the company and comfort of her late husband. When disaster strikes the tour group, everything is thrown into jeopardy, including lives, relationships, and Raj's very reputation as a tour guide. Raj must find a way to lift the spirits of these five special travelers, even in the face of death and despair. Venture into the unknown and discover how Raj Touristry heals the brokenhearted, one soul at a time. 

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A Reiki Master where she passes out information about channeling universal energy and conducts sessions. The author of “Choices”, “The Adventures of Alex and Angelo” but just another soul trying to make a difference in this lifetime.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Review :Nil Batte Sannata

Nil Batte Sannata ( it means good for nothing )  is the story of girl & women empowerment .It is the story of Beti Bacchao , Beti Padhao.....Save the Girl child, Educate her .

Chanda  is a maid in Agra..She has huge  expectations from   her daughter aptly named , Apeksha  (  meaning expectations ) .Chanda  works from dawn to dusk at many places to make ends meet .She is the maid  at a Doctor's home.She also does packing at a shoe factory & so on. The doting mom  gives pocket money everyday  to her ever complaining  daughter, nicknamed Appu  She is only worried about her Appu,  a happy go lucky girl.That Appu  has no aims in life, is what ails  Chanda . Chanda  has a lot of plans,  though it hits her every now & then, that her status betrays her thoughts about even sending Appu to college.And Appu is clueless in Mathematics ,a pet peeve of majority of  students.

Chanda's  empathetic employer arranges her  admission into Appu's school .The principal says, that is most unusual & agrees, that it is possible, because the Government's  intention is  Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao ,age no bar ! And  all hell breaks loose at home. Appu is furious. She doesn't want her mom in school.And for the sake of  peace, mom promises daughter that she  will leave school provided Appu scores well in Maths. And  Appu starts studying in right earnest. Exam results  show that Appu has indeed fared much better. Has Appu really transformed  ? Is Chanda  happy with Appu's new score ? Does Chanda leave school as promised because she lost the bet ? What happens next ? Why does Chanda  go to meet the collector, whom she met by accident, literally ? Who gets empowered, the mom , the daughter or both ? This & other things, form the rest of the movie ! 

Swara Bhaskar as mom & Riya Shukla as the teenage rebel breathe life into the roles of the mom daughter duo.Swara Bhaskar has won the best actress award in China for for her fine acting in this film  The film depicts  bitter sweet relationships that is  so representative of mother daughter duos   across all sections in  society.  The accusations by Appu  break Chanda   & yet, she emerges stronger.  The Principal by Pankaj Tripathi is played with fun & frolic. Ratna Pathak Shah is  the generous employer to the maid & is easily identifiable as such people are reminders that ,some people are more humane .Same  goes for the collector, played by Sanjay Suri .Appu's classmates are characterised aptly..They remind us of  many of our classmates .Kudos to young director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari for getting the best out of the actors.

The movie depicts ,  study of Maths too simplistically .And towards the second t half, it gets some what preachy. These flaws notwithstanding , the movie is full of hope & trust.It also proves that hard work pays dividends & how ! And we all have a duty / ies to dream big ! Only when we dream big, can we ever hope, of working towards achieving them ! 

The song "......Aur Ganit Mein Dabba gul "  from the movie has been riding charts across the nation.   

Delhi Chief Minister has tweeted to declare that Nil Batte Sannata is a great movie & tax free in Delhi  This shows  that Kejriwal is gung ho about PM Modi's Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign . Here's wishing that  BJP ruled states follow suit, to   support the PM's initiative in this  regard. The movie is picturised aesthetically showcasing ( never mind that it is just a glimpse )  the Taj Mahal, the Yamuna & the streets of Agra offering creamy  lassi in kuladds ( clay glasses )  & the like.Uttar Pradesh gets  promoted vide the movie .So , it needs to do its bit, for the movie by promoting it .After all, self promotion is good marketing .

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review : Encounters by Sumana Khan

I had done the Cover Reveal of Encounters earlier.I have heard that Sumana Khan writes superbly.So ,I was delighted to review ,this  book, by Sumana Khan ! And needless to add, I was spellbound ! And not only because , the tales are about the supernatural.Her writing & narration leave the reader thirsting for more !

There are five short stories.One is about a forensic scientist, who feels snug & secure with a strange tourist ,who keeps changing forms .Or is it, that it is her own imagination, gone wild ? Then ,there is an accountant ,who has retired .He rediscovers himself & thereby rekindles the life of his wife, whom he loves very much & how ! There is a incense stick salesman, who wanders off & comes back with a tale of a town, that has disappeared .And he wants to do something to recall, that lost community.What does he do ? Does he succeed ? And most important of all ,did that community ever exist ? And why did he, only imagine all that ? And there is a psychiatrist, who has to examine a girl .And as he starts investigating , he knows that, there is  something very bizarre .And he realises, that he is getting personally involved with his patient, which should never ever happen.Is he able to bring back his patient to normalcy ? And what happens to him ? What is the strangeness about the case, that he is handling ?

It is laced with humour ," Upma is like heavy on the stomach." And in another ," S.P B wept while singing some words backwards " as " this cassette is damaged " .Yet another one ...." I don't even know how we are related ,but he's always there in all the functions..... ."

And she  pays tribute to  our mothers & grandmothers and perhaps, to  majority of the women ,as she writes," with many women , when there are no options at all,they make the best of whatever situation , they are thrust in .They create a a new world ; they generate their own happiness .Generate ,mind you,not find.Their mental imprisonment is the greatest tragedy of our society .Instead of correcting it, we glorify it. That is the second tragedy." Many lumps rose in my throat as I read & reread this.

And to end, her stories made me realise that some casual meetings may change us forever & perhaps for the better !

Someone's Always Waiting
Sumana Khan

ENCOUNTERS is a potpourri of five sumptuous stories involving a motley crew of protagonists. Skating along the borders of fantasy and paranormal themes, the stories track incredible and poignant journeys of self-discovery, tracing the cathartic aftermath of fleeting encounters.

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You can get this book directly from the Publisher


Sumana was born and raised in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where she went on to graduate with a BSc in Electronics, much to the surprise of her teachers, and relief of her parents. In what can only be described as a quirk of fate, she ended up as an IT consultant - a role she essayed for more than a decade. She then moved to the UK where she quit her job and pursued academic and literary interests. The result of this pursuit has been two Masters, one published book, quite a few manuscript drafts, and above all, being stone-broke perpetually.

She currently lives in the UK with her husband and several books.  

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