Book Review: Sniper’s Eye

“I’d had no family other than the Army and no home other than my base” 

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Title: Sniper’s Eye

Author: Mainak Dhar

ISBN: 8183861431 (ISBN13: 9788183861434)

Publisher: TARA PRESS

Pages: 238

Blurb: I was out on a date. Everything was perfect… Till that shot… a high-calibre one, no apparent sound. And, the man in front of me fell. A rifle with a suppressor? A sniper in the middle of a Mumbai mall? As the body count mounted, I was soon sucked deeper into the chaos unleashed by that shot. To survive and save those whom I care about, I have to become the man I left behind. I have no choice but to tap into a bloody past that has put me on the terror kill list. I may also have no option but to join hands with the sniper terrorising Mumbai. The problem is that the man has sworn to kill me. In a world where the young and poor kill and die in conflicts started by the old and rich, I and my unlikely companion finally discover the thin line that separates a mere killer from a hero. This is our story.

My Rating: 4/5

Review: Army is the one which interests me the most, over the past few years now. We cannot be ignorant to the fact that these men in uniform have been serving the nation selflessly. The author brings one of the sensational books of modern day war, and a twist in the plot with the introduction of Snipers. I have been attracted to the book on its release on the social media platform. You would pick up the book as a fiction one and realize that its the same action our soldiers do in their day-to-day lives. Aaditya Ghosh plays one of the strongest characters in the plot, wearing civilian clothes and forgetting his dank past from the Indian Army. Zoya, his girlfriend is another strong character supporting Ghosh in his fight against the odds. The mention of Snipers in the plot bring in a feeling of thrill where you intend to do the guessing game. Snipers and lone wolves are the two terms which you would encounter in the plot often. Characters such as Ravi, Phadke, Karzai, Rekha… have their own charisma adding flavor to the terror game in the story. It is one of the best plots I have read describing situation where the government and bureacureacts play the Armed Forces for their selfish motives and wrong deeds. There would always be a “Thapar” around us planning and plotting against their own people for their benefits. However, for every Thapar we will have a Major taking a bullet. For every terrorists, there would be a soldier sweating out and bleeding for us. The plot would keep you intact throughout where you wouldn’t be able to guess whose the villian and whose the hero. The part of the book which gave me goosebumps was- the description of the tattoo which read “Balidaan” and the logo of the Paras.

Some favorite lines from the book:

“You don’t have to be strong all the time. Perhaps that’s what love is, knowing that you can show your worst to someone and know that you won’t be judged” 

“I’d had no family other than the Army and no home other than my base” 

“Do you know the one difference between your jihadi friends and us in the Army? We don’t treat our enemies as subhumans. We bury their fallen with honour” 

“Better bruised than Dead” 

Thank you Vinfluencers for the review copy 🙂 I enjoyed reading the book.

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Block Game strong Captain!

That night, was the 11th rejection Sanya had from the matrimonial… Back of her mind she knew that consequences of her conversations with Mr. Nerd, yet the verdict disturbed her. Her night went sleepless and she woke to a gloomy Saturday thinking about her life and where is she actually going to land! She scrolled her Facebook and saw a handsome face tagged along with a mutual friend. A game buzzed in her head, for she was more vulnerable today than anyone else. She continued to stalk and gave pleasure to her sulking heart. There, she approached the link and asked for the number of the Handsome. She wasn’t denied the number, which was shocking. She texted the number trying her luck and freeing herself from the rejection trauma.

“Hi, Sad to know that the handsome is already taken” 

“Sorry, whose is this?” A reply came after ages 

“Doesn’t matter. I saw you tagged in a picture, mutual friend” 

“Then, I should know that mutual friend” 

“Naa, let it be”

“Ok, show me the picture atleast” 

“Image received” 

“And where did you get the number from?”

“Why you guys have to interrogate so much”

“Haha.. nothing like that, just a better introduction can happen if we clear the air”

“Ok, I know you through a cousin of mine…, Indian Army?”

“Yes”

“Captain” 

“Yo”

“Honey Singh fan?” 

“Not much though”

“YoYo, was in sync”

“Haha… yeah” 

The conversation went on for a while, where Sanya exchanged her musings with Lakshya and he exchanged the snaps shot by him. There was silence after a while… and the silence of night broke with few snaps from the mountains, waterfall and bullet rides. She smiled at the way he bragged his photography skills. And she dozed off typing a message, accidentally a click connected her call. She woke up to the innocent laughter and the handsome face of Lakshya in front of her. She disconnected the call afraid of the video calls. She woke up to the Good morning text at 0530 hours and dozed off again. At 0730 hours, she woke up… this time to the incoming video and not to her alarm. She blushed, as he raised an eyebrow asking her questions.

“Where are you posted?”

Sanya blushed at the place, he uttered. She had her travel plans in a fortnight to the place. She had all the time on earth to stalk him and drool over him. He had all the time, to show off his badminton skills, his Montra, drunk eyes and his Royal Enfield. As the day neared to meet him, Sanya went restless about everything…!

15 August 2018, 0300 hours 

“Good morning, Happy Independence Day”

“Happy Independence Day”

“I don’t want to come”

“Seriously? Are you kidding me?”

“No, I m not. Just let it be… I don’t want to trouble you”

“Can you stop over thinking! Just come over”

“Is this an order?”

“No, it is not. But stop over thinking. I will pick you up once you land”

“I will think about it in the flight”

“As you wish lady. But don’t do this”

1445 hours, Pune 

She received a message from Lakshya… “I am running a bit late, due to the cocktail party. Can you please take a cab and come to the location?”

She walked out of the airport and booked a cab, still lost in thoughts and scrolled his pictures in her phone. She waited outside the guest house, plugged her earphones and stood there. After 10 minutes, she heard a thud of the bullet and she turned to witness the most mesmerizing view of her life. He was dressed in black pull-over, khaki pants, aviators not to miss, a grin on his face and the Royal Enfield which read “Army”. She skipped a beat, and her subconscious mind said… “Don’t faint”. He parked the beast and walked in sync, which sounded like Melody. Sanya smiled in spite of the fact that she was angry. They walked in the guest house and she rushed to use the washroom… splashing water on her face to remove the blush. He sat on the bed waiting for her to return from the washroom. He decided to take her out for lunch, and make up for it.

“I am not that hungry, but sleepy. I have to be ready for the meeting tomorrow”

“Its ok. You have been travelling since morning. So, better have something”

“Oh you do remember I have been travelling?”

“Yes I do”

He accelerated the beast and she sat close to him… her heart racing badly.

“What happened to your neck?”

“Cancer. I have cancer”

That smile vanished from his face… his eyes were filled with sympathy and he stared silently at Sanya. Sanya laughed hard at that expression and told him the story behind the scar.

“If a guy would have cracked this up, I would have trashed him.. But aapko kuch kar nahi sakte” he uttered smiling at Sanya

Sipping coffee, they spoke about their families, their differences, Sanya’s love stories… She asked him to pull over as it started to drizzle, she grabbed a cigarette and puffed… He looked at her and said, “Aapko yeh nahi karna chahiye.” She smiled at him and narrated the saga of smoking cigarettes. He wasn’t convinced, they drove back to the guest house and all the while she remained silent. He nudged her while driving and she didn’t utter a word… grabbed him around the waist, support her head on his shoulders and closed her eyes till they reached the guest house.

“What happened? Why are you so silent?”

“What time you have to go back to the Unit?” 

“Like now now, I will have to leave” 

“Ok bye then” she pulled the blanket over her face

Lakshya walked till the door and returned to her.

“What do you want from me?” he asked her

“Nothing”  her head buried deep in her palm

He lifted her chin and stared in her eyes. She embraced him and stayed there for a while. They parted a tear trickled down her eyes (She had encountered the first man in her life, who didn’t treat her as a sex object). He saw that tear and walked out of the room controlling his outburst. The phones remain silent for a while and then Sanya called and shouted at him for not consoling her. He said he was standing outside the room near the lift, waiting for her to come and make things normal for him. Sanya found love in his care, a friend in his instructions and an innocent soul in his smile. She returned back from the trip, but still could not forget the time spent with him. She wrote texts for him on WhatsApp and deleted them, she uploaded statuses for him and check the number of views, she changed display pictures when he came online. But all in vain! One fine day, he called and instructed her… not to text, not to call or else he will have to block her, as he can’t handle the way things are turning between them. He knew Sanya had developed feelings from him, more than a friend and less than a lover. He decided to save his relationship, a 7 year long relationship. She shed a silent tear and deleted the 4,205 messages they shared. She sobbed while she showered, she sobbed while having meals… she tortured herself repenting meeting him. She tried getting back things to normal… but he blocked her in few days… punishing her. He blocked her from everywhere, and now she just stares at the screenshots she had… of them dining together, of them smiling together. He had mistaken her for falling in love with him, whereas she misunderstood his care for something else. She was more in love with care than the lust. She was more in love with his friendship than the relationship. She was more in love with herself when he was around.

“You won’t live in my stories, you will be the story of my life”, and I repent uttering the statement… Sanya thought for the rest of the day, sipping her whiskey on the rocks… dialing his number… deleting his number… stalking his Instagram every night. She wished for a friend for life, and all she got was a Punishment for life.

She still smiles to the memory of Lakshya singing, “Toh Chalun, Toh Chalun” from the movie Border.

She still smiles to the memory of Lakshya talking to her in his UP accent.

She still manages to smile at those snaps they took in those 8 hours of togetherness.

She still manages to wait for him to forgive her, and his display picture returning to view again.

“Humare Pandeyji thana mein nai karte hain duty” she shed a tear replying to an old message enquiring about Captain.

“More than the smile, I ll remember the fight..

More than the care, I ll remember the hatred.. 

More than the talk, I ll remember the rebuke 

For you broke my heart into zillion pieces 

For you stabbed me where it pains the most 

For you threw me off under the speeding truck 

For you slapped me hard for being a friend”

Book Review: Untold Love Stories From India

“Love is the only prayer; and lovers the only saints” 

Book Title: Untold Love Stories From India

Author: Khushwant Singh

ISBN-13: 9788192867403

Publisher: The Book Company

Format: Paperback

Pages: 120

Blurb: The best and the worst thing about destiny, is uncertainty.

These never before told stories of lovers and their unrequited love sprout the Godliness of emotions, with a bitter side of the pills of struggle and longing for the loved one.

Stories of your regular, next-door, everyday lovers—everyday heroes—no fanfare, no thrills. Just pure, unadulterated emotions from the hearts of people who knew these great souls. Shared over endless cups of elaichi–adrak ki chai with the author, these precious stories hold the power to warm a heart even in the harshest chills of the mountains.

Take this journey into a world of dreams, butterflies, and flowers—and ride the rainbow of life.

My rating: 3.7/5

Review: Love stories have been favorites since the times we started experiencing emotions in our lives. Love stories always hold a special spot in everyone’s life. It has shattered some hearts and mended some barriers in relations. Love is more than an emotion, it is an experience planned for each one of us by the Almighty (if you believe in one). For some of us, love is crap and it doesn’t matter to us in any circumstances. However, for some of us, love is prayer holding our beloved together. The broken hearts have zillions of stories to pen down about love and beloved. Every love story has a drama and spice added to it, be it fictional or the non-fictional world. We all have, had or will pass this phase of falling in and out of love. There are different love stories from across the country penned down by the author. These stories are more heart-wrenching than the one of Heer-Ranjha or even equivalent to that one. Revenge, heart-break, honour, religion and various factors have been well-depicted in the collection of love stories. Partition of India-Pakistan dwelled love stories taking lives of lovers across the borders by their loved ones. Out of all the love stories mentioned in the book, Captain Alec and Suraiya Kaif was my favorite one. A special reason to choose this one was the strong emotion of a fearless girl standing in front of a defence personnel. The emotion of forgiveness and falling in love with the innocence shaping their love story. A happy-ending to the love story might be a myth… but reading through the silk route of love and affection is pure bliss. The feeling of being in love is great, where people don’t care about the world. The author has well-depicted the stories from old times to the present. It has been an immense pleasure reading through some of the great love stories from the land of India.

A special thanks to Vinfluencers!

“Love is the only prayer; and lovers the only saints” 

Book Review: Table For One

“Letting go of the past and letting go of what wasn’t meant to be” 

Title: Table For One

Author: Neha Bindal

Publisher: Half Baked Beans

Pages: 171

Publication Date: 23 July 2018

Blurb: Taara Maheshwari, a single woman in her thirties and a successful lawyer, is tough from outside but a die heart fan of romantic movies from inside.

She grew up seeking her “happily ever after’ but amid various heartbreaks and culture of modern age short term relationships, her believe in “true connections” got replaced by the comfort of being “emotionally disconnected.”
After she turned 31, her parents persuaded her into meeting a guy for marriage who sounded just perfect for her. Acting on impulse, she told her parents that she would meet him only if they let her go on a trip to Europe.

As Taara went on to explore the world, she experienced what actually happens when a single Indian girl travels to Europe all by herself. Is it only about dancing, singing or falling in love? What happens after you fall in love? Does love conquer all?

Only her story would tell.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Review: I had to wait a little longer to unwrap the book mail for this beauty. I was travelling when the book arrived as an early delivery. I was anxious to open the package and dive into the world of travel. The book cover evidently describes about the plot of the novel, where you see shining European architecture, a travel bag and backpacking girl. The plot is about Taara and her expedition to Europe. A little hint of Bollywood hit “DDLJ”, where Taara tries to escape from the problems of her life. Every girls problem begins with love story, brutal heart breaks and happy ending in form of life partner. Taara was no different, a woman struggling with heart breaks and smiling at the dinner table for the sake of family. Maheshwari household was like every Indian household, where decisions were made by only the father and children had to obey. With life driving towards arranged marriage, Taara pulled the brakes and announced her solo trip to Europe. A super filmy one from the author, where her parents agreed to her decision (I would love that if my parents agreed ever). The author takes you to the romantic sunsets of Paris, artistic streets of Italy, serene meadows of Switzerland and some deserted cold nights. I believed I was travelling and shopping with Taara in her journey meeting new people. For few questions, life throws you in difficult situations… whether it was the deserted roads where Taara walked or stranger she met at the park. I was waiting for her prince to come up to her during her travel and change the course again towards the SRK-Kajol situation. However, the Euro trip had something else planned for Taara, who was set to marry just after the trip. The arranged marriage thing made the trip even more special one for her. I wished for a different ending to the Euro chapter, and know more about the family reaction after knowing the foreign encounters of Taara. I believe the trip got over pretty fast 😛 I would love to read a sequel to this book, where Table for One turns out to be Table for Two.

Some of the favorite lines from the book:

“You need to first accept yourself before having others to love you and accept you”

“Don’t be so scared in life” 

“My biggest fear in life is to end up alone” 

“There is always something new. Everything is changing constantly”

“Letting go of the past and letting go of what wasn’t meant to be” 

“Most Indian women spend their entire youth looking for a husband” 

We are all taught that the most beautiful part of a fairytale is “happily ever after.” But we fail to notice that all fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time.” 

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Review Goodreads

All thanks to the author and Half Baked Beans for the lovely book. 🙂

Most Romantic Destinations in the World

“Where ever you go, go with all your heart”

Are you looking for an exotic vacation with your better half? Stay tuned as we are featuring here some of the most amazing destinations in the world. All of these destinations are popular for different things but the common factor is the romantic atmosphere of these places that lets you spend some quality time with your beloved.

Look at the destinations listed below and find out how they can satiate your desire to spend those moments with your loved one that you were craving for. Pick up one from the list below and see how it redefines a romantic holiday.

  1. Bali

Bali always remains in the bucket list of lovebirds. Embarking on a holiday in Bali will give you all the chances to spoil yourself. The first-class amenities along with the pristine nature are all you need to spend the best holiday with your beloved. Bali is a paradise for photographers and if you wish to capture the lovely moments along with a picturesque backdrop, Bali is the right place for it. Plan a romantic honeymoon holiday in Bali and see how well you can spend the best time with your better half.

Bali Picture

  1. Kyoto, Japan

When we talk of Japan, the first thing that comes to our mind is the technological inventions the country is best at. Do you even know it is also a peppy place to spend some sweet moments with your loved one? The city of Kyoto and its vibrant beauty are truly breathtaking. This volcanic nation has a number of unexplored regions and you have a chance to spot the right cosy corner for yourself. Pack your bags and head to Kyoto, which has a perfectly romantic setting for you.

Kyoto, Japan

  1. Andaman & Nicobar Islands

If your definition of a holiday is synonymous with spending some chilled out and adventurous time with your partner, then the Andaman holiday packages will satiate your desires for sure. The Andaman and Nicobar islands are popular all over the world for their unspoiled beaches and amazing marine life. Explore the splendid beaches of the Andaman, indulge in the enthralling water activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling and embark on a special journey with your loved one this year.

Andaman&Nicobar Couple.jpg

  1. Bhutan

Well, if you are planning a sweet couple trip, then Bhutan needs to be in your bucket list. With the help of the Himalayan tours, you can spend some quality time with your better half in the lap of the Himalayas. Bhutan is set forth to create memories in its pristine landscapes and unspoiled nature. Travelling to Bhutan will prove to be a natural therapy for your mind and soul. Moreover, it is a place to escape to with your loved one and explore the hidden jewels. A trip to Bhutan is worthwhile, to give a fresh start to your life.

Bhutan.jpg

  1. Santorini, Greece

Imagine yourself capturing the magical sunset amidst the cerulean waters and feeling the warmth of love in the air. Feel yourself immersed in the stunning architecture of the 16th century BC. With the incredible views and exotic volcanic cliffs that beautifully overlook the Aegean Sea, Santorini remains a dream destination for the romantic couples in the world.

Santorini, Greece.jpg

  1. Ladakh

Ladakh is a valley in Kashmir and it is known for its unique treks. This is the only place in India where you can trek on a frozen river and the views you can capture are just worth a visit. If you are an adventure loving couple then the bike trip to Leh Ladakh is ideal for your adventurous romantic trip. The thrill of adventure amidst the air of love will leave you with numerous memories to cherish. Observe the grandeur and the untouched nature with your own eyes and believe that there is a paradise on earth.

Couple trip to Ladakh

  1. Maldives

Maldives is a paradise on Earth. Visit the coral islands with your beloved by your side, go for an amazing snorkeling trip, go fishing and explore those sandy beaches. Along with these activities, book yourself a personal villa with a personal swimming pool to have the best vacation ever in your life. The trip to the Maldives will leave you in awe and at the culmination of the trip, there would not be anything left to ask for.

Maldives

  1. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a dream destination for many of us. The breath-taking beauty of the place has left a number of travelers in awe and once you visit the place, you would like to visit it again and again. Prague is known as the land of 100 spires and it is a topmost honeymoon destination today. It is the best place for your lovely trip and you just need to hit the right place at the right time. Prague is the best destination for a romantic sojourn.

Prague

Book Review: A New Dawn

“The canvas was incomplete, bit colours were pouring in…..” 

Book title: A New Dawn

Author: Kamini Kusum

ASIN: B07DNZMHSF

Format: Kindle

Publisher: Half Baked Beans

Blurb: Shravan is a son of a rickshaw puller and Mugdha, daughter of a Railway officer. He has lived in penury while she has had all the material comforts. He dreams of being a soldier and serving the motherland while she lives in the world of colours.

Childhood friendship converts into pure love ignoring the boundaries of a bungalow and its servant quarter. However fate has some other plans and tears apart the two innocent souls, throwing Shravan into a life that has thorns all its way. Will the two live their dreams?

Will destiny bring them together again?

A novel that will make us believe that life is all about never giving up.

My rating: 4/5

Review: The book had been living on my Kindle shelf for quite sometime now. I wasn’t ignorant about the fact, but I almost forgot that I do have a Kindle to attend to.. in the world of Paperback books. Today, taking out some Me time out of my travel time I decided to dive into this novel. I had been reading the book in bits and pieces over the past couple of weeks. The story line of the book is simple where there is a family of Ramlal, struggling to shine in life. The characters are simple in their own way holding aura of their own. Mugdha would remind you of the movie “Mukaddar ka Sikandar” and Rakhi in the movie. Sharavan, the lead character of the story is one of the strongest characters in the plot. The most brilliant student of the class, fighting all odds, studying at the railway stations, pulling rickshaw and even working in shop, Sharavan had done it all for his family. Sharavan, Ganesh and Rina studied hard playing their roles in shaping better future of the family. Sharavan’s mother worked at the officer’s quarter supporting Ramlal and the kids. The series of events such as birthday parties, interest in each other’s hobbies and studies brought the kids closer. With the arrival of Jhanvi few things turned haywire. But that didn’t affect the friendship of Mugdha and Sharavan. I loved the series of dramatic events engulfing the life of Sharavan. However, I wasn’t ready for the climax in the way it happened. A love story where distance doesn’t matter, you need connection and trust in each other to fight against all the odds. A love story which could have resulted in a cat fight between Mugdha and Jhanvi. A love story which makes people belief in their lost confidence. There is a lot to learn from the plot; irrespective of the loss life always goes on. To learn more about the making of a soldier in the Indian Army, grab your copy now.

Some lines from the book:

“Their tender hearts were bound with selfless emotions but they were unaware”

“Feelings would always find their way, however indifferent the circumstances were” 

“The canvas was incomplete, bit colours were pouring in…..” 

Buy Amazon

Review Goodreads

Thank you Half Baked Beans for the copy. 🙂

Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Rachna

Book: Rachna

Publisher: Rekha Publication

Number of poems: 20

Pages: 32

Format: PDF version (First edition)

Rating: 4.5/5

Review: For the first time, I have got the opportunity to work for the review of Hindi poems. Somewhere deep inside I had a fear of not doing proper justice to the work of poets. But, I am glad that the publication house showed confidence in me and handed over this beautiful collection of poems to me. This book is a short read and would be loved by all. It is a book of poetry to fall in love with, collection of poems from the budding poets. I guess this one was the perfect start to my weekend reading through the deep thoughts ingested in the pages of poetry. There are some poems which take you back to the childhood days and there are some which take you back to your lover. Pranav Singhh is one of the favorite poets from the lot.

ये नींद तुम्हारी मैं रख लेता हूँ

वो सर्द चाँद रात भी तुम रख लो

-प्रणव सिंह

“Main and woh” is one of my favorite poems from the collection. There are few lines in the collection, which makes you romantic without a lover, heart broken without an experience and blush without a reason. Poems help you connect with emotions, some emotions beyond your own knowledge and some emotions out of experiences. These poems will take you back to the almirah of childhood and solitude of adulthood.

Some of my favorite lines from the collection.

जीवन तो वह किताब हैं,

तोलो तो सुख दुःख संतुलित हैं,

मनुष्य फिर भी क्यों हर घड़ी विचलित हैं?

पल्लवी लुथरा

दौलत बटोर ली दुनिया भर की

बस खुशियां संभालना भूल गए।

प्रतिमा श्रीवास्तव

छोटी सी उमर में नशें की आदत

कितनी बिगड़ी हुई हैंये आंखें।

कपिल गामोट

वो कहता है, बुरे वक्त में तुम न थी

मुश्किल वक्त में तुम न थी

कोई पूछो उससे, वो वक्त कैसा था

जिमसे मैं हीं न थी?

नम्रता रंजन

I am thankful to Rekha Publication for providing me an opportunity of reviewing this piece of art. It has been a great feeling to be associated with the Publication house.

More about Rekha Publication