All The Books in 2016

Hello guys! 🙂

I hope you are all doing super good, and, if not, I am praying that 2017 brings tons of happiness for all of us.

I went through a huge uninspired phase where I just did not feel like writing here. I visited so many places in the last few months before coming back to India, but I was in such a trance of missing India that I did not feel like blogging it all. I will get to it pretty soon and hopefully we will have a fun ride in bringing back all the memories!

Now coming to a book roundup of 2016, I read very less this year for reason mentioned above. It’s funny because the circumstances were so conducive for reading. Anyway, I read less but I wanted to share it all. So, here are all the 6 books that I read in 2016, irrespective of whether I liked them or not. I am talking below how I found them to be:

  1. East of Love, West of Desire by Dinesh Prasad: I have written a whole blog post (which is one of my favorites on this blog) about this book. I loved it to the core, it was a pretty book to hold first of all. Secondly, it was one of my favorite themes – India Pakistan partition. Thirdly, I love reading short stories, these were stories woven around partition. Naturally, I loved it. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who likes partition tales of love and emotions.  IMG_1149_Fotor
  2. If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern: Okay, it was a positive book and a light read, so all was good with the world. I quite enjoyed reading it but it is definitely not a must read.
  3. Premchand ki Shreshtha Kahaniyan (Hindi): You know how much I love his stories, it’s a surprising thing even for myself that I have not read any of his novels so far. This year I am definitely going to change that. I am going to start reading his novels finally. As always, I thoroughly loved this collection of short stories.
  4. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Oh my God! Where do I even start? Can someone please take a moment to tell me why exactly is this book so famous? It was so painful to finish this book. There came a point when I started liking it and it had its share of good moments but, overall, it was just about okay. Its a love story, so to say, but as far as I am concerned, I found it so difficult to feel connected to the protagonists or feel their pain or whatever.
  5. The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh: I finally read something by him, can I now qualify for the serious readers tag? 😛 Kidding, okay! It is a good book and if you are reading it away from your home (whatever it is that you consider home 🙂 ), this will strike a chord at so many levels.
  6. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh: Here’s to my favorite book of 2016 which I happened to read right before the year ended. It is only a coincidence that my 2 books were back to back Amitav Ghosh’s. The first one I picked in a lovely bookshop in Berlin and the second one is from MDI’s library. This one is a medical thriller, building fiction around the fact that Dr Ronald Ross discovered the malaria parasite in India. It is an excruciatingly confusing read but, for me, it all paid off well in the end because I loved it thoroughly. Such an amazing read!

And with this,  I wrap up 2016 in this space. I cannot wait to talk to you again in 2017! Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

5 Books That I read in 2015 & hello from Berlin!

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Hello there! 🙂

I have reached Europe for the second part of my course, which I’ll be doing here in Berlin. I spent a day exploring Istanbul in Turkey as my flight had a stopover there. Istanbul was on my wishlist since a long time and I can’t begin to tell you all how beautiful is that! Of course, there’s going to be a post about it but my pictures have not done justice to the beauty or, more importantly, the spirit of Istanbul.

This post, however, is about 5 books that I read in 2015 and I thought that I’ll combine the book opinions in one post just because I am lagging so much in my planned posts, it’s too difficult to manage 😦 . So, here you go:

  1. Brahman ki Beti: I am a huge fan of Sharatchandra’s story writing and I am deeply in love with how his women characters are always so strong and way ahead of their times, almost all of us have seen them in the movie Devdas, if not read. Brahman ki Beti was another good read, on the similar lines though. However, I am a fan of that work of his, so I thoroughly loved it. Nothing out of the regular Sharatchandra work though!                                                                                IMG_20160216_204407_Fotor
  2. Angels & Demons: Here’s the thing – If you haven’t read this one, go read it RIGHT NOW. I’ll really say no more because this book is beyond captivating. I think many Dan Brown lovers will say so about all his books but this is the only one that I have read, so I don’t know. If I had to suggest a book to a non-reader to get him to read, this would probably be that one. 🙂 Only issue is that its a long one.                                                                                                                                                       IMG_20160216_204205_Fotor
  3. Durgeshnandini: It was an okay read. I didn’t relish it all that much, maybe towards the end I got into it more. After I finished reading this, I realized its probably considered a classic, a classic love story. Maybe one can read to find whether they liked it more than I did.                                                                                      IMG_20160216_204438_Fotor
  4. Our Moon has Blood Clots: It’s a memoir of a Kashmiri migrant, on how he felt when they had to let go of their motherland, for no fault of theirs. I have read a lot of such things of the India-Pakistan partition but this was my first time reading a Kashmiri forced migration story. It was gut wrenching to say the least, and felt straight from the heart. I also should mention that I still feel more deeply when I am reading about the other partition that I just mentioned, I don’t know how this bias has come into my being. Anyway, I whole heartedly recommend this one!                                                                   51DDMAMiiwL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_
  5. The Lives of Others: This Man Booker Prize nomination was on my to-be-read list since a long time because I felt like it resonates well with my taste of family drama or social kind of novels. It was exactly that, with the main idea being the Naxalite movement in West Bengal and around. Basically, the story of one family over generations and how Naxalism affected them. It felt very close to home because it seemed like this can happen to anybody. I liked it pretty much but I am not sure if there was anything out of the ordinary. I mean if you are interested in a fictional story that deals with Naxalism, then its pretty darn good but you will also have to go through loads of pages of family drama, which I like, but I’m not sure if everyone would.                                           lives of others

That’s pretty much it. I am sorry I am posting a Friday’s List post on a Saturday, but I was dead tired yesterday when I started writing it yesterday. Having moved to a new country and that too as a student, I would like to pat myself for writing this post on the second day itself, but I really didn’t want this post to be delayed any longer.

Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 😀

East of Love, West of Desire by Dinesh Prasad

IMG_1143_FotorCan we all stop for a moment here and call it the moment of the century/millennium?

I am sorry for the exaggeration but I can’t even begin to describe how long have I taken to write about this book. I am ashamed. I am going to give you the reasons for doing so in detail (just because I want to, you can skip that & move to how I feel about the book):

  1. After I started reading it, I got admission in the B-School I was aspiring for, I left my job for that and trust me when I say this, B-Schools leave you with no time for anything other than work (till a point, eventually you learn how to chill, well, sometimes). Hence, I never got around to finish the book till November.
  2. This book was sent to me for review purposes by one of the publishers I admire the most –  Tara India Research Press who are also the proud owners of one of the oldest & most famous bookshops in Delhi – Bahrisons (it has been there since 1953). I am a huge admirer of their passionate love with books, writing, Delhi & India. It meant a great deal to me that they sent the book over, I wanted to make sure that I am fully satisfied with what I write whenever I do so. Now, I have come to realize that I would probably never be fully satisfied with how this post turns up. So, let’s just move.

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Why I am saying they are one of my most admired publishers is because they put a lot of emphasis on contemporary Indian writing. Most of my readers are fully aware how much I like reading that. My favourite kind of books always end up being the ones related to stories of India-Pakistan partition. I was already head over heels in love with their publications when they posted about this book on their Instagram – ‘East of Love, West of Desire’ and how it is a collection of short stories related to partition. Anybody who is close to me or even anybody who reads this blog can make out that they can gift this book to me and I would love the fact that they understand my likes so well. So, I simply took the plunge and asked them if they would like to send over the book for me to review  share about it on the blog. They very sweetly sent it. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of my favourite things to have received over courier so far.

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The book is a gem, its a collection of heart-wrenching tales of partition by débutante author  Dinesh Prasad. The stories are about how circumstances and chain of events brought changes in the lives of people. Despite being fiction and few of the stories towards the end being wee bit film-y, the book has stories that warm the heart and bring a flood of emotions, one feels so absorbed by the story that it is difficult to describe in one word how one felt when the story ends.

What I especially liked about the book was that it has all sorts of stories. The book was fabulous in telling stories on all kinds of love – parent & child relationship, forbidden relationships, unexpected encounter with love, grandparent & child relationship and what not! The thing that I loved the most was how each story had a different setting. I hate giving spoilers so I’ll only tell you that there are stories set in Calcutta, Pakistan, Varanasi, England, Shimla, hospitals and, well, the list is endless.

Coming to my most loved part of this post, as I love asking, telling & knowing favourites from a group of things, I am going to tell you my favourite story from the collection. It was, without a doubt, the very first story – ‘Batti Sardar’. I don’t want to say even a word regarding what it is about, because I want to read it yourselves.

If you are anything like me or if you would want to read tales of partition that well up your heart with emotion, then I recommend this book to you, wholeheartedly. But please do one thing for sure, whenever you happen to read it, please leave a comment about which story you liked the most. 😀 I always, always love knowing favorites! 🙂

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A stroll through Delhi

Hello there! 🙂

Long time, no see. Well, yes, I do take the responsibility of not being around but I would rather make good use of whatever time I got here today. 🙂 Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I have made some really good bonds over the internet through this blog and I never ever expected that! Now this has become something I look forward to as part of writing here. So, if you missed reading the posts or just wish to say hi or anything else really, please do drop a comment. It will certainly make my day!

About this post, I know a few readers here who love my Delhi posts more than anything else. Probably, they turn out the best too because I love them a lot myself. As some of you have heard a million times already, I LOVE exploring places and cultures and, of course, writing about them and shooting them.

This reminds me that I finally got a DSLR. 😀 I know many people here were tired of hearing me crib about not having one. Let’s see how that goes. I really had no time to learn its workings so far and I think it has already been 2 months!

Cutting the blabber right here, this is what I did on a warm autumn afternoon in Delhi when I had to meet a very good friend of mine.

I think you will like this little photo walk. (Yes, the pictures are taken with the new camera).

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We first went to the Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. For those of you who don’t know, Gurudwaras are praying shrines for primarily the Sikh community. But some of us who have been brought up in a Punjabi culture do visit them too.

As far as Delhi is concerned, it is so cosmopolitan that you will see people of all sorts visiting all sorts of shrines, irrespective of their faith (or lack thereof).IMG_0302

Look at the beautiful lake inside the Gurudwara.

After this, we moved towards one of my favorite places in Delhi. Guess, guess. I can’t wait anyway. The Oxford Bookstore or ‘Cha Bar’, the very famous bookstore cum cafe famous for the n types of teas or ‘chai’ it stocks up on.

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This blue part of the bookstore is super enticing. Look at how beautiful and colorful it is with all the kids’ books. *Sigh*

What is only barely visible in the picture is that baby blue colored pool-like sitting arrangement. It’s one of the coolest ways to sit around in a bookstore (but I am not too sure if people sit inside that cavity as I never saw anyone doing that).

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The lighting arrangement at the cafe was on point, what with the Diwali theme going on. That girl with a cap is one of the servers.

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That’s just me trying different lighting.

I am sorry for not having any food photos. We were too hungry to click when the food came in.

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Oh, by the way, this piece of art right at the entrance was a little scary. Does she not look like a real human being? Oh, well.

That’s pretty much it. I hope you enjoyed this, really. 🙂

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Hello there!

I sit here and wonder if there’s anyone still reading this space. I haven’t updated here in two months. That is the longest I have been away from the blog, in terms of writing. I think the frequency is only going to get worse, but one thing that I can assure you is that I am never going to stop writing here and I am going to try that I keep bringing frequent interesting posts. 🙂

About this book, well, the strange thing is that I read it in the exact same way as the other much-loved book by  the same author – ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and I was eagerly waiting to know which one I like more. It’s weird but I went through extremely similar feelings while reading both.

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I read both of them in same situations, getting bored, not knowing what to do. I have the e-book in my laptop, might as well read it. Then, how each of them hooked me is beyond explanation. This was followed by late night sessions to read on my laptop till my eyes itched and crying all through it. I should mention here that I read Thousand Splendid almost two years back. The crying remained the same for both books.

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Khaled Hosseini has a way with words that can hold you like no one can. The sentences are such that it will take time for you to get over them and the story, well, it will leave you exhausted. Exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions. A tale of unbelievably strong friendship with a backdrop of Afghanistan war crisis and personal insecurities.

As far as I am concerned, this is a must read and so is the other one by him, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. Most importantly, whenever you read any of these, definitely comment here about your views. I love these two books just way too much, I want to know everyone’s opinions on these. 🙂

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I hope you get to read this as early as possible.

Till next time (which will be soon)!