Chick-lit is here to stay

I am an absolute lover of all things extremely chick lit and girl boss-ey at the same time. With that being said, let me take a moment and name a few of the Goddesses here- Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Janet Evanovich and Lauren Weisberger. Hail Queens! The attitude of the protagonists portrayed by these authors rocked my world like the MJ song while growing up!

Talking about Indian chick-lit authors- they are so many in numbers and equally good. Given the Indian backdrop of tradition and hypocrisy always trying to be the villains, the girls try to find a way to go after what they want; of course around different plots. What I find similar to the American authors are the dramatic narratives that beautifully stitch comedy and realism at the same time. Although leaving a bit of show is comparatively different.

Read the the different authors to find out!

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Here I have 3 books:

  1. Keep the change by Nirupama Subramaniam
  2. Spot Girl by Komal Mehta
  3. Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake by Preeti Shenoy

I read the books back to back right before I had taken the Arundhati Roy diversion to the Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Much that the heavy weighed novels like hers and the likes attract me but these girly ones absolutely sit on almost 3/4th of the book shelves that I own. There is a thing about such stories that keeps you close to the reality with a slice of entertainment.

During the 2-months lock down, I kept re-arranging my book shelves only to find out that I have too many books in this particular genre. I was all smiles when I found out a year-long supply of old books to write the reflections and improve my reviewing skills.

The book reviews/reflections of the above 3 books would be up soon, followed by many more from the chick-lit/romance genres.

Faithful cheaters

World changed after it left the analog suit for the digital makeover. The air became calculative and heavy with acerbity. We started to think ironically. The sales and discounts made us spend the moolahs but we thought twice to pay for the carry bag. Girls sleeping around for easy success started bad mouthing co-workers to defend their shallow choices. Guys wanted a modern taste in his wife but with an intact hymen. The moon light beckoned the night clubs to give an easy access to each and every youngsters with dad’s economy.

Love became extinct.

Lust was the new definition that mapped the planet.

It started to get applied to every thing including bodily feelings.

I stayed a little away for the state-of-the-art redefined society. Of course, I had to be a part of the potential nincompoop condition. Being a part of the living things with the ability to think is difficult. We all fall for the biggest temptation, money. So much that we have not yet found or rather got comfortable in not finding an alternative to this blissful scam. I lived a twenty minutes Beetle drive away from my workplace. As I drove back each evening from the concrete smog, the banter of the crickets and the breezy silence showed me the way.

USA was almost at the verge of becoming the madhouse that it is now.

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I lived in a studio apartment with my boyfriend, who now wears the husband cap, used to shut himself from the outside world often to communicate to the creativity that he sold to the classy people of the new world. Looking back, I am in awe how the house demarcated the worlds. Both were chaotic- one lacked sanity. Go figure!

Of all these years living with him, has made me realize how easy it is to be surrounded by things we love, if only we looked around harder. I always had the kind of love where we could not have enough of each other. It still feels yesterday that we found out how we had similar satisfaction from popping blackheads and eating cold pizza. We still look at each other the same manner while we had different lovers at the college parties to make out with. If not for that teenage romance, we won’t have cheated on our lovers 12 years ago to find out how we were made to stay faithful to each other. The love was deep. Now it is the only the propaganda I believe.

The cheaters were not guilty.

With him, the coldness received from the mechanical life was well warmed with his genuine fire. Most nights we would reminisce. The times our bodies glided with the mushy roughness that made us responsible for each other’s happiness, are the times that kept us glued to the vows that we made to each other. Somewhere love was still alive. And it sparked rare honesty and unfathomable gentleness. We would make each other lose the ability to think. We would have moments of void- a little flavor of death. It was compelling. It is an orgasm, an analog pleasure.

Such is love, it always keeps aside a slice of chemistry amidst all the digital seduction around!

 

 

 

 

 

Ministry of Utmost Happiness

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A patchwork of too many narratives carefully put together, Arundhati Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a heavy duty paradise for deep thinking readers. An array of characters and how their lives are intertwined in different layers will leave you on the edge of recurring emotions.

The book starts with Anjum growing up to discover her tendencies and behaviors which, in Indian society is associated with a hijra. She lives harmoniously with other eunuchs of Khwabgah in Delhi. One such time, on her return from Gujarat, she gets stuck in a massacre of Hindu pilgrims in the state and the immediate hate of the government towards the Muslim.

From there we travel to Kashmir where the never ending war between Pakistan and India is made a business and the how the army is involved in maintaining the animosity for the same purpose. There we experience on and off flashbacks and present scenes placed immaculately that develops the parallel plots of the book. Here we get to experience the lives lived by friends Musa, Tilo, Naga and Biplab.

Arundhati Roy is very particular in bringing in a sense of magic in core realism. Being an activist herself, the influences are quite relevant. For example, the character of Dr. Azad Bharatiya who was sketched as a protester, he established his nest of revolution in front of the Jantar Mantar. The newsletter “News and Views” that he has been running for 10 years was given as much importance as the personal journey through the politics faced by Major Amrik Singh.

Each character is bound to make a strong mark in the reader’s mind and it will definitely linger for long. The book is a definitive and ambitious work of Arundhati Roy that will picture the political turmoil of India in her well researched use of words.

Some people might find it disappointing and unnecessarily elongated. At times, the transitions make it hard to recall the past events and link them to the present narratives. Almost excessive sub-plots could have been avoided. But with that said, the author still managed to impress her fan-base and gained a new one out here.

The Hungry Tide

There are writers who tell stories. And then there are writers who transport you into the world that they have created in the pages of the book. A reader like me who explores for the love of reading, it also lets me understand the mindset of the different authors. Few Indian authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, often come up with such unusual imaginations that really give a peek into their eccentric minds. The way they mold all the characters in their books are significantly portrayed through till the end. The sentences make you move. The books will make you walk into their pages.

The same reason why these authors are not everybody’s cup of chai.

And honestly, I’m almost one of them. The books are heavy with worldly meanings about life, nature, emotions, and so much more.

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Today I have The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh to reflect on.

It is a story about Piya Roy and Kanai Dutt who met on a train to the Sunderbans. Piya was on a journey to explore information about the Irrawaddy dolphins and Kanai was there to meet his aunt and to review a manuscript that was left to him by his uncle. Through the series of event, they keep bumping into each other as they get entwined into the past of this mangrove region. By the end they have chalked out a future for both of them that will keep them tied deep to the future of the Sunderbans.

The book will give you all the necessary inputs on class division, trafficking, ecological and economic disparities. There are elements of romanticism that faintly sparked in between the 2 protagonists. The pages will make you smell the soil, scratch the mud with feet while the characters travel through the tides and unravel the history of the place set in with treacherous background of the nature.

What confused me was the authorial sensitivities. Amitav Ghosh is undoubtedly a prolific writer with a wild vocabulary to pen down his stories. Now I am not a cynical reader, especially when it comes to best selling authors (for genuine reasons). As much as the story is gripping yet I found it way too measured. It definitely engrosses you with the description of the beauty of the region, the folklore, the political facade however, it lacks a definite smoothness in the narrative. Too many adjectives for every other thing was not necessary. At times the elongated conversations made the journey go off track. That resulted in an explosion of side stories which could have been avoided. At times, it gave a feeling that he really struggled through book just to make it look fat and important!

Overall, The Hungry Tide was almost phenomenal.

 

 

I am Malala

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Let me start this one with few quotes from the book to take you closer to to this biography.

“I come from a country which was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.”

“Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country – this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish.”

“Then they told me about the call from home and that they were taking the threats seriously. I don’t know why, but hearing I was being targeted did not worry me. It seemed to me that everyone knows they will die one day. My feeling was nobody can stop death; it doesn’t matter if it comes from a Talib or cancer. So I should do whatever I want to do”

“She explained that the bullet had entered through the side of my left eye where there was a scar, traveled eighteen inches down to my left shoulder and stopped there. It could have taken out my eye or gone into my brain. It was a miracle I was alive.”

Such is Malala Yousafzai, the brave teenager from the Swat Valley in Pakistan. She made it a point to raise her voice through whatever. Raised in the peace loving village, it transformed into brutal mound when the Talibans came and took control of their lives. Malala being popular for being vocal about her aspirations to educate and empower girls and women, received threats from the militant group in no time. One such time when she was returning home from school in a van, she was shot on her head by the Talibans. Malala survived. She was taken to England. And that proved to be the turning point of her life when she received the just platform to continue working on her beliefs.

The book is written in a crisp format and the turn of events are intelligently structured to keep the readers glued to the book.

It is an inspirational read and good break from the fiction to the reality.