Book Review: Koi Good News?

No Punjabi refuses meat!

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Title: Koi Good News?

Author: Zarreen Khan

ISBN: 9789352779055

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Pages: 388

Binding: Paperback

Blurb:

The hilarious private journal of a highly public pregnancy.

When Mona Mathur of Dehradun married her college sweetheart, Ramit Deol of Amritsar, there were two things she wasn’t prepared for:

1. The size of the Deol family – it put any Sooraj Barjatya movie to shame.

2. The fertility of the Deol family – they reproduced faster than any other species known to mankind.

It’s been four years since their wedding, and Mona and Ramit have done the unthinkable – they’ve remained childless. Of course, that also means that they’ve battled that one question day in and day out: ‘Koi Good News?’

It doesn’t matter that they have been happy to be child-free – they are married; they are expected to make babies. After all, there are grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and even colony aunties in waiting.

Now, the truth is, Ramit and Mona had been trying to conceive for the past one year. But having a baby isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be.

Finally, aided by the wine at their highly glamorous neighbours’ party, Mona gets pregnant. And so begins a crazy journey – complete with interfering relatives, nosy neighbours, disapproving doctors, and absolutely no privacy!

Honest, relevant and thoroughly irreverent, Koi Good News? is the funniest book you’ll read this year.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Review: Admitting the fact that this book is the one which tickled my funny bone. The author has used humor around the content to document the life of a couple who have been fed up with the question- Koi Good News? Mona and her experiences dealing about your cousins, and few uncles and their relatives…. and the vicious cycle goes on. A typical Punjabi family described in the plot, where if you don’t eat meat you aren’t classified as a Punjabi. “No Punjabi refuses meat”

The good thing about the novel was the story narration from two sides, Mona’s and Ramit’s. The plot describes about every individual in the family, moms, dads, a crazy sister-in-law, bunch of irritating cousins, gossip gang of aunties in the house and super hot neighbor duo. What else do you need for a masala-packed plot! The author has described real life problem, which every couple undergoes once they have tied the nuptial knot. The relatives go crazy with their demands on the very next day at times. But thank god, Mona and Ramit experienced it four years after their marriage. The phase from trying to a baby to deliver a baby is the toughest phase of any woman’s life. The author has described the feeling well. Nothing from the movies actually turns true when it comes to pregnancy hormones. Ramit’s mention of “Crazy pregnant women” “Mona has lost it” made my eyes water. A crazy head Shania is a 10-10 addition to the plot with all her extreme ideas and of course resemblance with Kareena Kapoor from K3G. A super hot duo Shashi- Laila making Mona jealous of their sex life is the best addition to the characters. “Red lipstick is clearly in”

I am glad that I came across this piece of work driving the bookshelves crazy. Grab a copy for a lighter version of fiction.

“They don’t have a family tree. They have a family forest.” 

“The right term is, are WE pregnant.” 

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About the author: After working for Pepsi, Hindustan Times and ACNielsen for ten years, Zarreen Khan decided to take a break and raise two children, who are sometimes kind enough to let her role-play as a marketing consultant. She lives in Delhi with her husband. Koi Good News? is her second book.

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Thank you HarperCollins India for this wonderful read. I love you guys. 🙂

SwAn: Miracle of Life

The joy called Wedding Sutras from College 🙂

2007- A year that changed many lives as we stepped in the gates of Trident, Bhubaneswar. Its been 11 years now and still I have a crystal clear memory of the days spent at the campus. A place which defines half of my life. A place which completes half of my family called “Friends”. Some places stay close to heart, and some hearts remain close to life. I remember the time when I laughed on the serious, poker face of a guy from Jharkhand. Life didn’t give me a slight hint, that this soul will be my brother for life. Written alot, s]]poken alot… yet I understood some silence between the words which we never shared – Anurag.

The chatterbox named, Swati who was just Ms. Fresher’s for me… full of life…. everytime she walked in the class. I envied her with every passing day at college.. how can someone not be sad for a second? How can you not bunk a day at college? Yes, that was Swati from college…

Some passing days at college, made us grow apart….

But, I am glad you both saw the tears in my eyes…. held me from behind and hugged the differences away…

I am glad you guys fought for the right reason…

I am glad you guys proved everyone wrong!

I am glad you stayed glued even in hard times.

I have no words to describe, how I hate the situation of not making it to your big day. At times, life punishes us in different ways. I take this as a punishment for the differences we had in life. I am glad that I witnessed the silence of your love, through the emoticons on Facebook and the quotes on Instagram. I won’t hesitate, but accept that I shed a tear when I saw your official announcement. I am glad that some relations made it to the wedding aisle from the back benches of college. I am glad that some relations made lived for a while and made it grand for life. I am glad that the prayers were heard and you guys emerged victorious. I hate the feeling that I can’t make it to this beautiful day… But with all my heart I have prayed and will always pray for the well-being of you guys. I am sorry for not making to the big day of your life. But I will turn up to your door once my life is abit sorted. One day!

A chirp I heard and the heads turned

A silence heard and the words turned

A laugh I heard and peeped 

A smile I saw and relieved 

A tear I shed and rejoiced

For the day is here

When my angels are getting hitched 

May you guys grow old together hand in hand, amidst the wintry morning… sweaty summers, joyful springs and merciless rains. May you the romance grow sweeter with every passing day. May you remains glued together till eternity.

After you guys, I believe in Miracles!

Book Review: Malana Cream

“Roads often become the end rather than the means to reach a destination.”

Title: Malana Cream

Author: Shalini Singh

ASIN: B07D6VPSRY

Publisher: HALF BAKED BEANS

Format: Paperback

Pages: 153

Blurb: Feminism remains misunderstood. Many women think that it culminates at sexual freedom while many end up using gender for favours even as men become increasingly embarrassed, confused, and covert misogynists. There are uncomfortable issues – little girls need much more to aspire for than being an Item girl (desire me) or a Cinderella (woo me) or a Daddy’s girl (protect me), intimidated men need not veer towards beards and over-sized vehicles and shoes to compensate for the intimidation, and chivalry need not be the biggest casualty of über-feminism. The inter-space between genders remains rigid, and the LGBTQIA community in the shadows . A frank, street dialogue on feminism and liberalism is missing; everybody’s shooting in the dark. Hence, this book.

My rating: 4/5

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Review: ‘Malana Cream’- the book title is the one which has the ability of turn heads around. The title is one thing which made me crave for this book by Shalini Singh. Digging deep in the pages of the book, I fell in love with the Dhauladhars and the valley. The first chapter lead to a craving for definitely alpha males like Ranveer. You have further to explore with the announcement of the drug abuse awareness called “Malana Cream”. A journey to the mountains is always special for everyone. For a person like me,  who has never been to an actual mountain range… climbed a few ranges here and there, reading was a complete resort to learn about the treks, star gazing, sleeping in tents, Bohemian women and the herb valley. I completely adore this piece of work which has some of the most rich vocabulary amidst the chapters. However, the book is no longer about the alpha male making women go crazy. It is about the feminism and power to women who are attractive enough to drive anyone crazy. The entry of Rito changed the pace of the story, where you encounter emotion attached to the dog, her love towards wild flowers and her interests towards porn stories. She was bold and fearless, a character every woman would yearn to be. There was Ranveer completely struck by Rito’s sexiness. This book would make you witness some incomplete stories, myths about traditions, stories in the temples, people of mountains and mountain of people. It is a maze which takes you to the world of trekkers and rockstars dwelling in the mountains. The plot is a short read but it has a lot to say about the valley, people and lifestyle. There are some of the unexplored places which have been described in the plot. After reading this book, I wish to pack my bags trek to the Valley of Malana and explore the unexplored life of a mountain-dweller.

My favorite lines from ‘Malana Cream’:

“Breaker of hearts of countless young girls- Alpha male”

“The rider doesn’t choose the bike, the bike does”

“Time does that, it fades the sharp around the story leaving a somewhat mellowed version”

“Women thrive on love stories and vice versa”

“The meaning of life is found while living it, not searching for it”

“Roads often become the end rather than the means to reach a destination.”

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Thank You Half Baked Beans 🙂

Book Review- Storywallah

“Zindagi se palen chura tha hoon, toh chor hi hua na” 

Life of a Story teller

Title: Storywallah

Author: Kumar Ganesan

ISBN 10: 9384315796

ISBN13: 9789384315795

Publisher: HALF BAKED BEANS

Format: Kindle

Pages: 91

Blurb: This book is like Kumar himself. Within minutes, it disarmed me with familiarity and led me into his world. I found myself mingling with his characters, speaking his language, sharing his emotions, and yet believing they weren’t his, but mine. As a person, Kumar does this to people he meets. He’s never a stranger to anyone for long. He’s not unique. He’s not melodramatic. He’s all that you expect him to be. His book is ditto this. It upset the tenets of writing in my head. It’s no fiction. It was simply a stroll back into my own life, like reading my own diary. That I think is what’s most unique about this nothing-unique book and its never-a-stranger author.

My rating: 4/5

Review: This book requires a chapter wise review. The short story trend in the one fascinating readers. The collection of beautiful stories by the author. Every story left an impact deep in my heart. However, the most favorite one was the girl robbed by a man in disguise, Fox Traveller guy Vikram. Its unusual how you meet people in every walk of life and they become stories. You turn around and you see millions of stories walking shoulder to shoulder with you.

A great concept which I had always heard “girls must wear floral garlands”, a south-Indian concept of describing womanhood. The chapter one described more about existing of a woman, “She was fearless”. Yes, most of the women wear their hearts on their sleeves… fighting back every situation in life and juggle around.

The story where the writer describes the life and people he met in his local is one of the touching stories I have ever read. “Mumbaikar who wore his local timings on his sleeve”. 

The story 3, where Pemba is the fear more than the ghost of life. “Your fears are your ghosts and to set them free you manifest into other forms including your family”.

Many of us have been drunk or sloshed, but the first encounter with the poison of life remains unforgettable. “Among many things that comfort me, one is Old Monk”. Most of the crowd around loves the taste of rum…. some kiss those rum stained breathe and some drown in pegs of the coke laded rum.

I hated the story where the girl leaves the guy just coz he cried or was rather emotional in one of the movie. Well, I would say or It has been said already “Yes! Real men cry, but they don’t make their loved ones cry”. 

There are few places in the collection which still require a bit of more translation. I had difficulty in getting through on the train incidents described. I connected more to Mumbai, and the life I had witnessed around travelling in moving from Fort to Navi Mumbai… Bade Miyans to Keema Pav joint.

“Zindagi se palen chura tha hoon, toh chor hi hua na” 

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Image source: Amazon India

Thank you Half Baked Beans 🙂

 

Book Review: How I Became a Farmer’s Wife

The night breeze caressed my face. I buried it into my old man’s broad shoulder

Title: How I Became a Farmer’s Wife

Author: Yashodhara Lal

ISBN 10: 9352775856

ISBN 13: 9789352775859

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Format: Paperback

Pages: 328

Blurb: Mild-mannered Vijay is the perfect good Indian husband – responsible and predictable. Well, at least he was, until he decided to turn Farmer! Vijay’s unsuspecting wife Yashodhara is caught off guard when, tired of the rigours of city life, he actually rents land and starts dairy farming! As if Yash didn’t have enough going on already, what with her high-octane job, three children and multiple careers. As Vijay dives deeper into his quirky hobby, the family is plucked out of their comfortable life in the steel-and-chrome high-rises of Gurgaon, and thrown headfirst into a startlingly unfamiliar world – complete with cows and crops, multiple dogs and eccentric farmhands, a shrewd landlady and the occasional rogue snake. Will these earnest but insulated city-dwellers be able to battle the various difficulties that come with living a farmer’s life? A laugh-out-loud romp that’ll leave you wanting more!

My Rating: 3.8/5

Review: It took a long time to publish this book review. The plot is fascinating with a different concept of farming. Well, in this world who wishes to dirty their hands in the dirty, among the farm animals… of course, that would be Vijay- our Farm man. There were few things which I could relate to ‘Y’. A woman in true meaning, juggling with tasks… Zumba, Yoga, music class and Kids. I loved the names these kids have- Pickle, Papad and Peanut. The book has described the characters so well… Rama didi being a genius doctor, Papaji supporting Vijay in his farm venture. Achu who was a great best friend and a ‘pardner’ to Vijay. I was a bit heart broken when the kids were neglected by Y and Vijay. But, later realized the modern day struggle of parents juggling around job and household chores. The story also highlights how a partner should be… supportive enough to back you up when it is most needed. There, by the end I was emotionally attached to the farm dogs who entered into the picture and became a part of Vijay and Y’s life. When you begin reading you might become judgmental about the things happening around. However, later you will be glad things didn’t turn the way you assumed them to be. There are a lot of questions which start to pop in head…. Will Y ever finish her book? Will Y leave her passion being frustrated from her life? Will Vijay quit the farm bearing huge losses every month? Will Mobeen turn out to be cruel? Will the kids to some mischief again? Yet again, there are a lot of things this plot teaches about married life and having your kids all around you every time.

“my pride coming up like a stone wall between us” 

“Your expectations change from each other and you fall into a different rhythm as the years pass” 

Read yourself and enjoy the climax, an unpredictable one.

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More info Harpercollins

 

Thank you HarperCollins India I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Hope to read more from you.

Book Review: The Door

Title: The Door: An Indie Horror

Author: Ell P

ASIN: B07D16R5NH

Pages: 21

Format: Kindle

Blurb: What would you do, if one fine day, a door, that was never there, appears in your living room?

Would you up and run?
Would you blast open the door?
Would you follow every single conspiracy theory blog?
Or would you just learn to ignore its existence?

Mishka and her family have only one choice, they will have to learn to ignore the strange door in their living room that only opens from the other side. And they do, until one fine day The Door, decides to make its presence known.

My Rating: 4.5./5

Review: My shelf is loaded with all genres of novels- thriller, love story and non-fiction ones as well. Recently, I was part of a workshop where I learnt the difference between a novel and novella. Before the workshop, I never knew there are short stories which are referred as shorter than novel and longer than short stories. An example of the famous novella was put up as a subject- The Old Man and the Sea- Ernst Hemingway. I remember reading that one, but never did I realize that it was a “Novella”.

So, for reader out there, Novella is a short long story where the word count falls below than 50,000 words. I believe this would add to the list of readers as many of us aren’t fans of thick novels.

‘The Door’ is a beautiful piece of work by one of the authors from the Write Club Bangalore, Ell P. I have been a fan of her work always since the time I started my journey at the Write Club. This novella is one of the best examples portraying the hardships of a modern day Mom. Simba is a curious but intelligent kid to give a tough time to his mom even in terms of story telling. I wasn’t sure about the plot when I started reading it. It spoke about everything sometimes spirituality, sometimes curiosity. This 24 minutes read kept me anxious about the things happening in the neighborhood where Mishka lived. I was mesmerized by the child, I would never have been this brave even if I had to fight a cockroach. The beauty of the plot is all characters fit in place…. it is a story where you fall affectionately for Tojo, love the bond between Aryan and Mishka and yes, curse ‘the door’ to close the climax for you. However, the plot is amazing but thank god I never read this at night.

Favorite ones from the novella:

“There were theories, some sane, some insane.”

“Our greatest enemy sometimes is our own imagination.” 

“Overcoming ones fear is very important” 

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About the Author: Lakshmi Priya, better known as Ell P is a leadership consultant/coach when the sun shines, and a writer/artist past midnight.

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More from the Author’s bookshelf

 

 

Book Review: The Story of a Long-Distance Marriage

“Only she would look for beauty who has shadows to fill”

Title: The Story of a Long-Distance Marriage

Author: Siddhesh Inamdar

ISBN-10: 9352775899

ISBN-13: 978-9352775897

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Format: Paperback

Pages: 192

Blurb: Rohan and Ira’s life takes an unexpected turn when Ira decides to leave for New York to study. They’ve been married for only fifteen months, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and Rohan is not going to come between his wife and her dream. So, sad but supportive, he stays back in Delhi, where he is on the brink of a promotion at a national daily. After all, his relationship with Ira is strong enough to survive the distance. Rohan prepares for a year without Ira, getting by with a little help from his friends: Yusuf, his on-call confidant who lives in Bangalore; Alisha, a colleague he likes catching up with over tea; and Tanuj, his new role model at work. Life without Ira is going surprisingly well. Until the day, that is, she reveals the real reason she left.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Review: An attractive book cover is always a fascination for the readers. This book all dolled up in yellow featuring the bathing robe of him and her; it is the cutest book cover. We begin with the book cover, and land in Amazon shopping cart. Yes, I do!

The story of ‘Rohan’ and ‘Ira’ is about the Delhi-based married couple running between careers goals and relationship goals. The hardships of a married couple residing in two different countries have been pictured in this novel. Maybe you will hate Ira when the fight begins, but eventually settle for the fact that she might have her complaints with Rohan. There is no dramatization of situation in the novel which is the best part of it. You don’t have to over stress yourself with the unnecessary details mentioned. The plot is not unusual one, but it gives a different touch to the couple stories we read. There are friends like Yusuf, Gaurav, Tanuj and Alisha who stand as pillars supporting the story of Rohan and Ira. How did I forget Momo! Momo is their dog, who Ira claims to miss more than she missed Rohan residing in the US. The plot has described strong emotions such as separation in the simplest form. This one time when Ira starts giving instructions to Rohan about the house and momo is the best emotion. It is said that at times, giving instructions while leaving is another way of saying ‘Goodbyes’. The places described at their best starting from the locality of Shahpur Jat, to the streets of New York, hills of Kunzum to the sweating wedding of Kolkata. I believe every novel has something to offer. Here, this piece has some marriage lessons for everyone. One of its chapter mentions about cooking and Ira once said to Rohan “cooking together is something that would bring us closer.” How true is that! And then, there are lines like these ‘What would it be like to start a life with someone new without the baggage of a decade?’ I went in a different zone pondering on this point for hours and missed my target of completing the book. Their marriage needed counselling I felt with every single time, Ira screaming and Rohan hanging up. Another aspect of the couple goals highlighted in the book is Travel. Well, we have termed it as honeymoon…but I think it is well depicted in the chapter that traveling helps you find a better person within you and solve the problems residing between the two. I believe you would be eager to know what happened to the chapter where Rohan met Alisha, or the chapter where Ira screamed at the sight of Momo. All you have to do is turn the page of this yellow shiny novel and explore the long-distance marriage yourself.

“Only she would look for beauty who has shadows to fill”

“Whatever I was looking for was always you” – Rumi