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Book Review: The Girl of My Dreams By Durjoy Dutta

Book Review: The Girl of My Dreams By Durjoy Dutta

read my first Durjoy Dutta book this weekend, and I must say I loved it. It surely was an unusual blend – of a love story and a psychological thriller. The Girl of my Dreams is an intricate tale of different shades of human persona. It has madness, mess, love and, manages to keep you on the edge from the first page.

The Book…

The book traces Daman’s journey in search of the “Girl of his Dreams”. Having met with a massive accident, Daman wakes up from a deep coma, with weird memory flashes. He seems to remember nothing about the accident, except that there was a girl named Shreyasi by his side at the time of the accident. Her hypnotic eyes seem to haunt him, and flashes of her face seem to appear in his dreams. Strangely, soon after, he meets a woman who claims she is the Shreyasi- the girl from his dreams. But is she the real one, whom Daman believes it to be or, is she simply just an obsessive lover and stalker? Unraveling this mystery is now entirely in Daman’s hands.

Characters & Plot

Every character has been etched in a fairly decent manner. Well-developed to suit the plot, whether it is the confused Daman, the more composed girl-friend Avni or the stable friend, Sumit. I loved the way Durjoy has brought out the flaws and insecurities that probably every relationship goes through.

Plot has multiple twists and turns. And as you tell yourself that you have probably guessed the outcome, would come yet another turn, which would change the course of the tale. The first half of the book races through, keeping you hooked. I wouldn’t say the same about the second half, as it tends to get a bit chaotic. A couple of portions seemed out of context. The narration could have been kept crisper, omitting unnecessary detailing.  

The Finale

An average climax with traces of a commercial Bollywood flick, I felt a little let down with the outcome. For the suspense that was built through the course of the book, the ending could have been worked out a little better.

The Girl of My Dreams by Durjoy Dutta is a novel of love, romance, thrills and suspense

A fast-paced metro read !!!

*Featured Image Courtesy: twitter
Book Review- Yashodhara Lal- When Love Finds You

Book Review- Yashodhara Lal- When Love Finds You

was recently told by an upcoming Indian author that my book reviews seldom present any Indian author and his book in positive light. Probably this is true, but it isn’t something I do with a pre-conceived notion or thought. At the beginning of 2016, when people were signing up for reading challenges on Goodreads, I took up a relatively different kind of challenge, of reading more Indian authors. We do have a fairly large publishing industry in our country, which churns out books by the dozens every month. Sadly, by the end of the year, I must say that I am a tad disappointed. 

Except for a few books, most of them aren’t really great literary pieces. Don’t get me wrong here. There is enough talent among Indian authors. There are decent story lines, and the comprehension and writing is fine too, considering English isn’t really the mother tongue of most. Yet, clearly, most books failed to leave a lasting impression. That magic, story tellers need to weave into their story to ensure readers are able to take something of the book when that last page is turned over, is missing. Most books are strewn with editing errors too.

Many authors, whose first book was a fantastic read, have failed to create the same impression with their subsequent ones. Yashodhara Lal’s latest book “When Love Finds You” is one such book. I loved her first book,Just Married, Please Excuse. It was a decent blend of humor and brilliant story telling. However, her latest book isn’t  anywhere close to this. 

Natasha, the protagonist in “When Love Finds You” is the strong willed working woman. She is the badaas boss, and she literally pushes her sub-ordinates to their limits to perform and bring in sales numbers. She is single and is sure that she has her life under control. At this moment enter, two new people into the office space, and into her life- Rishabh and Nikhil. Both are her superiors, smart and the entire office seems to drool over their looks. But things turn out a little different for Natasha as she begins to detest one, and the relationship with the other takes on a whole new form. Taking it on from here the book explores the emotional turmoil of Natasha, and how life teaches her to make some important decisions.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is an over stretched corporate saga, strewn with characters with no relevance. The second part delves into Natasha’s relationships. I liked the way the transformation in her is portrayed here, from the badaas girl to a mellower person. She sure is the tough boss, but she needs a bit of love and care too. The story actually picks up momentum from the third part onwards. I loved the way Yashodhara subtly highlights the stigma attached with a single successful woman. They are often considered vulnerable and face challenges in the form of sexual harassment too.

I wouldn’t really say the story line is something new, though I did like parts of it. It’s got a fairly predictable ending, and doesn’t really leave a lingering feeling after that last page is closed. Yashodhara Lal’s latest surely failed to impress!!

About the Author:

Yashodhara Lal is an IIM-Bangalore graduate who has worked across FMCG, technology and media companies, most often in marketing and most recently in leading corporate social responsibility for a large MNC. She is also a fitness instructor and a yoga and music enthusiast and lives in Gurgaon with her three loud children and perpetually bemused husband. Her bestselling titles include Just Married, Please Excuse (2012), Sorting Out Sid (2014) and There’s Something About You (2015). She is also working on a children’s book, Peanut has a Plan, due for release in 2016. When Love Finds You is Yashodhara’s fourth book.

 

Book Review: It’s All in The Planets- Preeti Shenoy

Book Review: It’s All in The Planets- Preeti Shenoy

It’s All in The Planets!!! Is it really so? We do often find life shaping up in a way that’s almost beyond our control. I remember reading these lines from a Ruskin Bond book recently- “What are we humans really just absurd little creatures strutting about as though we owned the earth and everything upon it. An ill wind comes along and we’re finished…” Bond’s writing never fails to make me smile at life’s little inanities.

So are all things in life destined to happen? Preeti Shenoy’s latest book delves into these questions, taking a peek into the role of planets and destiny on the lives of Aniket, Nidhi and Trisha. She brings together yet another complex web- of human relationships.

Aniket isn’t those dashing, handsome hunks. He does not have a Mills & Boons kinda sex appeal. All of 90 kilograms, he is an overweight, average looking techie from our very own city Bengaluru. He is head over heels in love with the beautiful model Trisha, who well, isn’t really all that intrigued by him or his mannerisms. Yet, the two are in a relationship. Trisha wants him to change in many a way. This leaves Aniket confused and insecure. He would do just about anything to make the relationship work, and seeks Nidhi’s help in the matter.

Nidhi is free spirited and pursues her passion, working as a pottery instructor. She is in a relationship with Manoj, who seldom appreciates the nature of her job. A chanced meeting with Aniket on the train, gets them talking. They enjoy each other’s company and she soon finds herself becoming Aniket’ relationship as well as fitness coach. How successful would Nidhi be in making Anikets and Trisha’s relationship a success? Or do the planets play a totally different role in all their lives? That’s the book for you in a gist.

Characterization

Preeti Shenoy has her main characters depicted with perfection, believable in every way; they are people you would find around you, in everyday life. Her story brings in Subbu, a true buddy, honest and frank to Aniket when he seeks his advice on all matters related to the heart. She portrays Manoj as the abusive person, who believes in the might of the man in a relationship.

She brings in an element of sweetness in Aniket, despite him being no tall, dark, handsome kinds, making him a loveable character. Nidhi‘s carefree yet mature demeanor makes her the girl most men would want to fall in love with. Aniket’s love and attraction towards the beautiful Trisha has certain innocence to it.

Writing and Presentation:

I would give a thumb up for the cover design, layout and the zodiac predictions at the beginning of every chapter. The most unique thing though is the manner in which the story has been narrated. I have read many a books that narrate the story in first person- books where one of the key protagonists brings out the entire story in their own words. Now here’s something of a different kind in Preeti’s latest. The two key protagonists – Aniket and Nidhi- simultaneously in their voice narrate their version of the same story.

The big letdown was the way the book ended. The final unraveling was pretty clichéd and predictable. Spoiler Alert!!! There wasn’t any explanation on the mental state and turmoil of Trisha and her life. Preeti does bring in a suspense element, yet despite this, the end seemed to be all hurried up and rather inadequate too.

I wouldn’t really call “It’s All in the Planets” a disappointment! I have read an earlier book of hers, “It Happens For a Reason” (Read the review here) and wasn’t too happy with it.

But with this latest, Preeti has definitely managed to bring in a decent read. Not really a great piece of literature, but definitely worth a read.  A quick and light book that’s perfect for a lazy weekend.

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I am a married woman and…. I don’t like to cook!!!

I am a married woman and…. I don’t like to cook!!!

“She caught me red handed! I had cut open the packet of instant sambar mix and was about to add a couple of spoons in water, when I noticed my mother-in-law peering from behind me. “You know how to make Sambar don’t you?” she asked. My sheepish grin gave it all away.

I am a married woman and…. I don’t like to cook!!! Well before you give me those judgmental looks. Let me make things clear. I do know how to cook, yet it is to me a mundane task that I seldom enjoy doing. But, years back the story was a bit different. Oh! Not that I enjoyed it then, just that I did not know how to cook……at all.

The initial year of being married was sheer bliss. We lived in a little sea facing apartment in Mumbai and just like other working couples, we had our own things to do. Travelling in the Mumbai local, getting back late and partying in the weekends. The kitchen in the apartment was the least visited place, except for the morning cup of coffee and toast, which too was prepared by an over-efficient Maharashtrian maid.  I was more than happy and content with the set-up, as I didn’t have to be bogged down by what to cook. Until, the mother in law decided to pay us a visit for a week. Being an orthodox person, she seldom ate food cooked by a maid, which meant, the kitchen had to be brought to some order.

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So the Sunday before the D-day, hubby and me, took stock of the entire situation. That is when he popped the most important question.  He hadn’t asked me this during our 5 yearlong courtship, nor had he bothered to discover it in the few months of being together as a married couple. “So you can cook right?”

“Well….” my sentence dragged on. I can try. “Maybe I should just pick up some books and read up. What kind of food does your mom like?”

“Mom loves traditional Kerala food. Let’s go shopping for cook books. You still have a week left….”

During the course of the week I spent laborious hours in the kitchen after work, churning out “traditional Kerala food”. The results were of course disastrous, when one evening I could take it no longer and burst into tears.

“I just hate cooking. I have to stand for hours, knead, chop and I even burnt my finger. I can’t handle this anymore.”

Comforting me hubby came up with this brilliant plan. “Let’s stock up instant food mix packets in the kitchen. It is just a week, so mom would not know. And then we could both learn to cook together”. Awwww I melted in his arms… That was the sweet side of him.

As the D day arrived, hubby and I seemed extra anxious and worried. Would we be able to pull it off? The first few days went off pretty well and mom in law quite didn’t find out. However one fine morning, I was caught red handed in the act, when she popped into the kitchen unexpectedly.

It was blasphemy! She just realized her daughter in law could not cook nor did she enjoy doing so.

As a young girl, I was way too happy to be in the kitchen- not really to learn the nuances of cooking, but to dig into the yummy stuff mom used to make. I could never make sense of the numerous little containers that were stacked up there. “How would you be able to run a family later in life if you can’t cook?” This is what my mom would often say. Yet nothing could get me to learn cooking. When friends, would discuss all things related to baking and cooking, I would be lost in a world of my own. Cooking seldom interested me.

But life sure has its own way of getting things straight for you. Over the years, as I matured from a newly married woman to the mother of two kids, the non- existent cook in me had metamorphosed into a mother who could cook up a meal in a jiffy. I still don’t enjoy it, but the kitchen isn’t that bad a place after all now. I guess those innocent smiles of appreciation I get, works as a motivational factor to experiment recipes.

Hubby on the other hand is yet to learn, unlike what he had promised. May be I shall leave the “traditional Kerala meal” for him to learn!!

barathon

5 Must Have Indian Accessories in Your Wardrobe- From Craftsvilla

5 Must Have Indian Accessories in Your Wardrobe- From Craftsvilla

For that perfect look, fashion accessories are a must. Be it a tiny bindi on the forehead or metal bangles worn on the hand, we Indian women can accentuate our beauty by incorporating them into our day to day dressing. And not restricting them to women, today fashion accessories are part of a man’s wardrobe too. Accessories are more of a personal style statement. In a country as diverse as ours, you could find a plethora of ethnic accessories, that in recent times, have not only become chic and trendy but they could be adorned with practically any attire.

Craftsvilla.com is a unique portal that brings together ethnic Indian accessories, with 1000+ designs to choose from. With an endless list of accessories, one could choose from the available purses, clutches, handbags, wallets, scarves, stoles, jewelry and watches. Craftsvilla.com’s accessories include handmade, Vintage, Organic and ethnic products from around India. These tiny little extras could be adorned as part of our look giving that dash of class to our overall persona. They complete the looks irrespective of the attire you wear. Craftsvilla’s attempt to bring out the ethnic vibrancy of different regions of India reflects in the wide range of accessories available on the portal. It connects the local artisans with the consumers, guaranteeing you a quality accessory at a reasonable cost.

Here are 5 great accessories from Craftsvilla.com that are an absolute must to complete your wardrobe.

Bangles are so much a part of India. From a new born to the elderly folk, they are a mainstay in a woman’s life. Over centuries bangles have evolved into more trendy forms.

bangles.jpg Available in different metals and diverse patterns they give a complete look to any attire. Traditional dresses or a smart office formal wear, you could adorn your hands with a bracelet, or a single bangle, or a dozen odd ones. Craftsvilla.com offers a variety of bangles in different metals to choose from.

cv-msanp68480850830-sanpromon_impex-craftsvilla_1These are a must for any attire. They have the power to enhance any look, be it a formal or professional look, or an ethnic look during festivities and celebrations. Available in various styles-printed, embellished or in woven fabric, Craftsvilla.com has a whole variety. So, whatever the day may seem like stoles/scarves/dupattas always complete the look. Want to make a drab kurta look chic? Throw that dupatta over your shoulder. Or how about making that cotton shirt look perfect for work, tie a scarf around your neck. A stole is the favourite of most young women these days who bear the heat and the dust of city travelling. They could be worn with jeans and kurtis.

cv-minay81363398660-inaya-craftsvilla_1Indians have worn anklets for centuries now. These are light weight accessories, that either come with tiny bells or ones that are simple and beaded. They adorn the ankle giving it an elegant look. Generally worn on both ankles, in recent times, a single piece worn on either ankle has become a style statement. Anklets make your feet look graceful, so walk around talk with that beautiful look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATalking about the feet, apart from the ankle, India’s traditional accessory is incomplete without having a jutti in the wardrobe. These are India’s very own ethnic footwear that is typically handmade, with or without embroidery. You could not only wear this with traditional clothes but also with a jeans and simple kurti. They could add a whole lot of vibrancy to any attire.

cv-mnmpl55304773390-bags-nmpl-craftsvilla_1This Indian cloth bag is the easiest way to carry things around. The traditional Rajasthan ones are elegant and colorful. It is important to buy good quality ones so that they are durable enough to carry reasonable weight. Craftsvilla.com jholas are priced reasonably and are durable too. These are for all ages and comes in different colors. Carry them with casual outfits.

Accessories today are a vital part of our look.  Have a look at some of the other accessories at Craftsvilla.com and take your pick. You sure would make heads turn.

 

We Aren’t a Country of Just Snake Charmers

We Aren’t a Country of Just Snake Charmers

My family was excited. The “cousin” in the household was to wed a beautiful French damsel. The youngster had left the country to pursue his masters in the United States, and seek greener pastures in corporate America. It was here that love blossomed between the two and after a whirlwind courtship they decided to get married.

The family in India took it all easy. They were happy that their son had finally decided to “settle” down, and were excited at the prospect of interacting with a family that was not only foreign to them but also spoke a language that was fairly new. For some strange reason, the French side wasn’t too happy with the alliance. To them India was nothing but a land of snake charmers, a poor country where people weren’t all educated. But let’s face it. Isn’t this the common thought that exists among many in the West? India to them is the land of the Taj, where Maharajas ruled and a country from where you pick up elephants as souvenirs. Theres nothing more to it. Or is there?

India is a country of snake charmers
But the practice long left the country

Snake Charming is the practice of pretending to hypnotize a snake, thereby making it dance to the tunes that are emitted from a wind instrument called pungi or bansuri. Commonly a street performance, the practice has been prevalent not only in India, but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Today the practice has been prohibited under the Wildlife Act. The few who remain can be found in destinations such as Rajasthan, solely to attract tourists.

Indians aren’t educated
Come on now, how do you explain the increasing number of professional colleges that come out in dozens every year?

The fact is that a large percentage of our population today seeks education. Every year, the country churns out in thousands, doctors, engineers, management professionals etc… Doesn’t this go to show that we do place importance on our population being educated? Of course rural India still may seem way behind. But hey, this doesn’t qualify India as an uneducated country.

India is unsafe
Well, it is as safe (or unsafe) as any other country in Europe, Asia or America

Oh well! The typical stereotype. We sure have had terror attacks, rape cases or sexual assaults in the past. But these are issues that are present on a global level too. Parts of the country, though are far more sensitive, such as Kashmir, but when you look at the broader picture, the country is as safe as most other countries.

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We have other shades too! 

If you have seen the Taj, you have seen India. And aren’t all souvenirs in India elephants?
It surely has the Taj. But, the country has this and much more too

Of course we are proud of the Taj. And we are also proud of its pristine mountains, rivers, plains, beaches, temples and palaces. The art and handicrafts greatly vary from place to place. You need to travel its vastness to pick up souvenirs that are anything but elephants.

All Indians are in customer support
Indians are in customer support and other things too

It would be rather surprising if one didn’t speak to an Indian customer care executive over phone, when living in the US, Canada or even for that matter Europe. For these countries, it is just a job that has been outsourced. For many in India, it is an opportunity. Look at it this way, customer care, technical support, call center or software support, you name it and we have surely left a mark. Indian’s have the skill in technical jobs as well as in various other fields. There is a large number of Indians in the medical field too across the globe.

The country today sure has surpassed the tag of being one of snake charmers and tantric. Of course, like the two sides of a coin, the country has a side of despair, some not so nice social practices and a population that’s on the brink of explosion. But look onto the other side of the coin and you see that the country is well into the road of development.

It depends on which side you place upwards!

The family’s “Indo-French” wedding was a success, with its cross cultural ceremonies. There were exchange of vows between the couple and exchange of gifts between the families. We ensured the French took back with them India’s true picture and a goodie bag that was loaded- well not with elephants this time!

Featured image source: pinterest