Author Archives: Geeta Nair

About Geeta Nair

Born in Independent India to two really wonderful people who cherished and nourished me with great care, I consider myself lucky to have had the best that life could offer me. Lucky to have had the best education , the best sibling, the best husband, the best daughter,the best of everything that I could ever want, Love to live life on my terms .

Children’s Book Review: Dance of the Wild

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TITLE: Dance of the Wild
AUTHOR: Richa Jha
ILLUSTRATOR: Ruchi Mhasane
PUBLISHER: Pickle Yolk Books
ISBN: 978-9352792276
 
 
THE BOOK
 
 
COVER DESIGN
 
 
Done in subtle shades, the cover gives us an idea of what to expect within it.
 


 
 
WITHIN THE COVERS
 
 
The story of little Shilu a wild yet lovable little girl, and her desire to be free of that one thing that distinguishes her from the animals and birds she sees around her; clothes, ‘Dance of the Wild’ has nothing to do with wild animals. Instead it deals with the wild nature in each living soul, a nature which we human beings try to suppress as we grow in age, yet can’t help but smile when the little ones display the same. Down to earth and riveting, the book has enough in terms of content and illustrations to hold the attention of even a little toddler. Reading the book to my little grandson of less than two years was like taking him on a journey he himself lives each day. The little guy loves to shed off that extra burden and feel the elements of Nature caress his body with love. He could easily relate to the story because he himself experiences the joy of walking nude. Apart from that all the characters in the book are very much a part of his life. He has a ‘pirate’ constantly beckoning him to run out and play and with it. He is mesmerized with the birds that fritter from tree to tree in our courtyard, without a care. He has a grandma in me who ‘pesters’ him when he sheds off his clothes and runs about without a care and also has a mother with whom he can share a secret. It was a pleasure reading the book to him and listen to him yarn a story of his own, based on the illustrations given within the pages.

Though the Amazon site mentions the reading level as 6+ years, my very own experience is that even parents of toddlers can pick it up and enjoy the smile it brings to the little one’s face. The book definitely has the ability to nudge the creative side of the little ones to relate and yarn stories of their own around the illustrations that are simple yet relatable. The book will also interest and inspire the targeted group i.e. 6+ year ones, to enjoy the world of books and take to the habit of reading and writing.
 
 
VERDICT
 
 
Narrated in down to earth fashion, the story is enjoyable, relatable and thought -evoking. The sketches in subtle colours and simple strokes are easy on the eyes yet alluring.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in or flipkart
 
 
MEET RICHA JHA THE AUTHOR
 
 

 
 

Author and picture book snuggler- creator Richa Jha is an Indian author, blogger, publisher and picture book enthusiast. She is an independent creator of picture books in English under her PICKLE YOLK BOOKS imprint.

To get to know her, do visit her profile at Goodreads

You can also connect with her via fb / twitter

Do take a look at her website

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Book Review: The Woman Who Saw The Future

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TITLE: The Woman Who Saw The Future
AUTHOR: Amit Sharma
PUBLISHER: Readomania
GENRE: Fiction ( Suspense)
ISBN: 9789385854552
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 

 
 
BLURB
 
 

Sapna Vaid has lived with a unique power for a decade; a power that turned her from a timid, wide-eyed, college-going girl into the most influential and powerful Goddess on Earth. Sapna can see the future and saves thousands of people around the world every year through her record-breaking, popular show ‘Lucky People’. The show had given Sapna’s life a meaning and gives her the courage to sleep every night, where death and blood await her in her dreams.

Even though the world is at her feet, the power costs Sapna her personal life. Thousands of prayers that come her way every year are her only solace, her only reason to live.

When a blinding hatred leads to a desperate act of revenge, a single misuse of her great power triggers a reversal of her fortunes. Now she must decide the path she has to take to preserve her unique gift and her fame, even if it turns her into a murderer on the brink of insanity.
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

Deviating from my normal pattern of review let me begin with what prompted me to take up the book. Was it the author, the blurb or something else?

Well frankly, the first thing I look into when I pick up a book to read is the genre and the blurb. I do of course browse the net to find out if there are any reviews online for the same. As far as writers I’ve read before are concerned, it’s generally the genre that matters. However, I took up ‘The Woman Who Saw The Future’ because it came from the ‘House of Readomania,’ and I must admit they did not disappoint me this time too. They once again proved that they are one of the best publishing houses in India. Their editing team is truly one of the best. Kudos to them. 👏

Now moving on….

The plot is unique; the storyline is gripping as well as intriguing and the narrative takes the story forward flawlessly. Who would think nightmares could mint money and skyrocket people to fame. Well, that’s exactly what the story puts forth. A harmless exercise with the aim of saving and providing succor to possible victims of accidents, calamities, etc., snowballs into a show of a magnitude that even the protagonist has not envisaged. With it comes fame and money. Revered by millions, she became a goddess of sorts in a short span. But……. was the fame, the money, the fan following worth the turmoil in her personal life ? To know that and a lot more, you will have to read the story of Sapna Vaid the woman who saw the future.

A story of nightmares, fame and following, ‘The Woman Who Saw The Future’ is also the story of innocence lost and failed relationships. It is the story of love, despair and much more. A package of emotions bundled together waiting for a release, the story is in short, all about human psychology.

Narrated from the point of view of multiple characters, the book helps us sum up each of the characters well, and makes it easy for us to relate to their thoughts and actions. In fact even those that don’t make an appearance to narrate their side of the story like Kabir, come live before our eyes making the characterization part of the book remarkable. Yes, if there is someone I would truly love to get to know more about, it is Vikrant Vaid i.e. Sapna Vaid’s brother.

The language is simple, crisp and free-flowing, and the pace is perfect. Never felt my interest waning. So, there was no question of a yawn escaping my mouth, or my brain making a wish for a break, even a wee-one.
 
 
VERDICT
 
 
An engaging read, one which can either make you sit up and think of the weird ways of destiny, or up the antennae of suspicion in you making you wonder where the story is leading to i.e. nudge the detective in you to unravel the mystery of Sapna Vaid, the book scores a 4 on a scale of 5.
 
 


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I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’
 
 

Buy the book @ amazon.in
 
 

MEET THE AUTHOR

AMIT SHARMA
 

An IT professional, Amit Sharma’s hobbies are varied. They range from reading, watching world cinema, traveling, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging, making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her unnecessary and prolonged shopping. He joined the ever growing band of Indian Authors with

Want to connect with him?

Then click HERE or mail him @ – amit.sharma123@gmail.com

Book Review: The Ghosts of Gurugram

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TITLE: The Ghosts of Gurugram
AUTHOR: Debeshi Gooptu
GENRE: Fiction
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
ASIN: B0778R9VVZ
 
 
THE BOOK
 
 


 
 
BLURB
 
 
When twenty-six-year-old Tara Chatterjee moves to Gurgaon to make a fresh start after a painful breakup, she finds herself in the middle of a peculiar situation. Her new home is inhabited by a ghost, a woman only she can see! Who is this woman and why does she keep appearing in front of Tara with her motley crew of friends? Will Tara be able to make sense of the chaos in her own life and unravel the secret of her haunted apartment?

Insightful and moving with flashes of wit, the story takes a look at the darker side of Gurgaon’s development and the growing menace of suicide and dowry-related deaths in the Millennium City.
 
 
MY TAKE
 
 
PLOT/ STORYLINE: The blurb ignites a spark of interest that does not fizzle out as most cracker flower-pots do these days. Instead the spark takes on an interesting hue that if the author wanted, could give the reader goose bumps. But interestingly the spark instead of turning dark and ominous is …….. I’ll leave it for those interested in reading the book to read and discover what I mean. No spoilers here. 🙂

A thriller of sorts, the book has at its core a relevant yet disturbing malady, a sad psychological state and an attempt to understand the issues that drive people to their end.

As the blurb states, the book is insightful and emotional. It addresses a serious topic with a subtle approach.Peppered with a wee bit of wit and humor, the book makes one wonder where we as a human race are heading to with concrete pillars piling up around us, hills, mountains, rivers and jungles disappearing by the minute and the ugly monster named greed overpowering our good sense. We are knowingly or unknowingly caging ourselves, and slowly yet steadily inviting our doom.

The twists and turns though not many, are interesting. However, I must admit that the icing on the cake is definitely the last part of the ‘Epilogue.’ I did not see that coming.

Characterization: Perfect. The characters are well-developed, and one can in fact visualize each one of those appearing in the story and relate to their emotions with ease.

Language: Simple, crisp and lucid with no pebbles (typos) to take away the taste nor jargon to act as stumbling blocks. It is free flowing.
 
 
VERDICT
 
 
So as it is, the story made an interesting read, the characterization helped me live the life of the characters and understand their side of the story well, the language made it a smooth journey from the beginning till the end. But…….

Wondering what it is that still makes me hold back that one star that could give the book a 5 on a scale of 5?

The answer is: The storyline. It holds a lot of scope for further development. I felt that the plot though brilliant, has not been developed to its full potential. Reading it was like enjoying a truly sumptuous meal only to find that the dessert an integral part of the feast, is missing. So I am eagerly looking forward to a sequel of the book to take care of this grievance. 🙂


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You can check out the book @ amazon.in

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If you have read the book do share your views of the same here in the comments below.

Spotlight: Brahmahatya

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Blog Tour by The Book Club of BRAHMAHATYA by Rajiv Mittal
BRAHMAHATYA
by
Rajiv Mittal

Blog Tour by The Book Club of BRAHMAHATYA by Rajiv Mittal
Blurb

A story of revenge and redemption and deeds shaped by forces that humans believe they have defined through mythology and scriptures but still struggle to understand. 

A woman employee of a retirement home is shocked to discover that a new resident is in fact the son impersonating his father. The son is seeking revenge. She, by her past actions, is unwittingly complicit in his being there and now tries to thwart his peculiar plans. A senile woman-resident and an enigmatic founder offer him sage advice. The samudra manthan (a major episode in Hindu mythology), a slightly dim secretary and a sinister boss play their part in ensuring justice is finally served but in an unexpected manner. 

The novel quotes frequently from the ancient Hindu scriptures and stories that the protagonists use to justify their actions. The treatment of the elderly in society is a major theme. 

‘I found Rajiv’s novel completely charming. The story is always interesting and is funny and moving by turns. It has really original elements with its setting and his use of the Hindu stories. I think it is such a good novel and with such appealing characters. I loved it!’ – Rebecca Smith, author of ‘The Jane Austen Writers’ Club’.

Grab your copy @


About the author


In Rajiv Mittal’s own words:

“I was born in Chennai, India in the early nineteen sixties. I am an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a CPA from Australia. I now live in Melbourne after a stint of several years in the Middle East. 
Writing was a vague aspiration. It became reality thanks to a stranger who said I reminded him of the main character from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. He quoted from it, ‘Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.’” 

Stalk him @  
                     

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Book Review: Ramona by Manoj V Jain

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TITLE: Ramona
AUTHOR: Manoj V Jain
PUBLISHER: Notion Press
GENRE: Fiction
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 
COVER
 

Apt! Complements the book, which is a window to a woman’s mental turmoil on being ‘deserted’ by the man with whom she set out to weave dreams beautiful.
 
 

 
 
BLURB
 
 

Sitting on an armchair near the window, Ramona-separated, mother of a son and a cookery teacher-muses on the events that have happened in her life in the recent past. A letter from her husband, not even nearly justifying his mysterious disappearance, shocks her and topples her world upside down. Bombarded by a thousand questions, accusations, a tumult of emotions and confusion, she begins to untie the knots one at a time with help from her family. But what she wasn’t able to do over months, a stranger does within a matter of minutes.
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

A sequel to ‘Balraj’ yet a stand-alone read, ‘Ramona’ can be categorized as a novella. A short read of around 100 pages, the book takes us on a ride through the life of the protagonist Ramona the ‘deserted’ wife of Balraj. Wading through a sea of emotions that range from denial to despair to anger to rebellion and finally a sense of calm, Ramona’s inner turmoil is nothing short of a ‘samudra manthan’(Churning of the ocean) of sorts. In the process she encountered the ‘Halahala’ (the poison) in the form of anger, the Ratnas( precious stones) that, took the form of the realization of the importance of her in-laws and the Amrita (sweet nectar) the calm that descended on her after going through the painful churning process- the climax.

A psychological read of sorts told in a simple, lucid and crisp language, the book is relatable and offers food for thought. We often tend to ignore our blessing and instead dwell on our woes without realizing that it is the blessings that drive us on, make life beautiful and fill it with sunshine.

A straightforward story, Ramona is also a grim reminder of the fact that often couples take their partner for granted only to drift apart. It is a reminder that even the ‘madly in love’ couple do fall out once they experience the grind of everyday life, unless they make it a point to find quality time for the other. Relationships don’t last merely on ‘love.’ To make them last a lifetime, one need to constantly work on them, feed and water them, tend to them with care and ensure that they remain fresh and charming. Neglect them, and they begin to wilt and slowly fade away into oblivion.
 
 

VERDICT
 
 

A short and breezy read with the power to make one think, the book scores a 4 on a scale of 5.
 
 

Want to get an insight into ‘BALRAJ?’ Well, here’s MY TAKE on the book.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in
 

THE MASTER STORY TELLER

Manoj V Jain

Interested in knowing more about Manoj V Jain and his books? Do visit his Author Page @ Notion Press

Book Review: This Delicious Life

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TITLE: This Delicious Life
AUTHOR: Lekshmi Gopinathan
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
ASIN: B0778WXHXR
 
 
THE BOOK
 
 


THE BLURB
 
 
Spluttering, simmering and steaming. A story that makes you hungry and feeds your soul. From Jaffna Crab Curry to Mor Kuzhambu, Spinach Casseroles and Tiramisu, nestled in the tiny fishing village of Iraalpatinam, comes a delicious and heartwarming tale of food, life and love. Meet the valiant lady sarpanch, the food blogger in search of peace, the able District Collector, a nomadic football coach and the beautiful fisher folks of this quaint village all bound together by their love for food. A yummy story of friendship, love and spices.
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 
The Main Course
 
 
Heavenly! Correct ingredients measured out in the right quantity and blended perfectly in just 214 pages to serve the perfect feast for the bibliophile in me; ‘This Delicious Life’ took me through a range of emotions and left me wanting more.

Refreshing and unique, the story starts with food and ends with food and in between we get to meet a range of people each with a story, a sorrow of their own, determined to live life on their own terms and make the best of it. What happens when their paths cross? Discover in ‘This Delicious Life.’

Each chapter in the book introduces a dish, its ingredients and its preparation but what strikes one is the way the same is seamlessly stitched into a story with two women poles apart in nature at its core, and the people they live among / come into contact. So in effect you have a story a fiction and a dish a reality. Is this symbolic? To me, yes after all don’t the stories that we weave sprout from life’s experiences. Sugared with imagination and spiced with tit-bits of gossip, rumors and our own observations these experiences are then dished out as fiction; the better the cook, the tastier the dish i.e. fiction.

An ‘allspice,’ the story is seasoned with a few twists and turns and has a dash of suspense that’s sure to tickle the brain while trying to satiate your stomach for a good read.

The characters are well developed, relatable and contribute to the story in their own humble way without standing out as the odd one, one who may force a raised brow or invite a sneer. While Radhamma comes across as a simple, down to earth, committed and determined lady, Matilda is a wild yet lovable character someone opposite to Radhamma but with the ability to complement her. Vishal, Gerry and Venkat the sub characters, act as lubricants that ensure that the story moves forward smoothly without a hitch.

The language is simple, crisp and lucid and the pace is perfect.
 
 

Dessert
 
 
Some truly wonderful quotes that left a lingering taste in the mouth :

“…..meditation is not sitting in a spot everyday and concentrating on a light in our head. It’s letting your senses feel every emotion, every instant, every moment in all their glory. Meditation is life, it’s not a compulsive routine.”

“…there is a lot of creativity, art and emotions behind every meal cooked. Cook like you would for the one you love the most and I believe it will taste better than the best.”
 
 

A tip that’s sure to spice up ‘The Delicious Life’ further?
 
 
Yes. Doing away with those typographical errors that stick out and taking a relook at the usage of ‘their’ at a few places.
 
 

VERDICT
 
 
A wholesome, mouth-watering meal dished out by a Super Chef, I’ll give the book 4 on a scale of 5.


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Check out the book @ amazon.in

Cover Reveal: Carthick’s Unfairy Tales

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Cover Reveal: CARTHICK'S UNFAIRY TALES by T.F. Carthick

CARTHICK’S UNFAIRY TALES
BY
Carthick

Blurb


A damsel in distress. An evil dragon. A concerned father seeking a savior to rescue his daughter. A hero galloping off to the rescue – a knight in shining armor. Now THAT is stuff of fairy tales.


But what if the father’s real concern is for the dragon’s hoard; What if the damsel’s reason of distress is the marriage proposal by her pompous and vicious savior; and what if the story is told by the horse who bears not only the overweight knight but also his heavy, shining armor all the way to the dragon’s lair and back, facing certain death in the process?


What if there was more – much more – to all your favourite fairy tales than met the eye?


This book chronicles not one but seven such unfairy tales – tales told by undead horsemen and living cities. Tales of mistreated hobgoblins and misunderstood magicians. Tales of disagreeable frogs and distressed rats and bears baring their souls. Once you read these stories, you will never be able to look at a fairy tale the same way ever again.

     
About the author






T F Carthick is a Bangalore-based writer and blogger who has been blogging since 2008. He is an avid reader of Children’s Fiction, Science-fiction and Fantasy. Enid Blyton, J K Rowling, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams are some of his favorite authors. His paranormal thriller ‘Bellary’ was one of the three stories in the book Sirens Spell Danger, published in 2013. Six of his stories have featured in multi-author anthologies and literary magazines. He has written over 50 short stories, many of which can be read for free on www.karthikl.com.


He is an Engineer and MBA from India’s premier institutes IIT, Madras and IIM, Ahmedabad and currently works as an Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Consultant at one of the world’s leading Consulting Firms.

You can stalk him @

            

  

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Cover Reveal: CARTHICK'S UNFAIRY TALES by T.F. Carthick



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Book Review: An Awfully BIG Adventure

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TITLE: An Awfully BIG Adventure
AUTHOR: Aniesha Brahma
GENRE: Fiction ( Fantasy)
FORMAT: Kindle eBook
ASIN: B076QG52JK
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 

 
 

BLURB
 
 

Seventeen-year-old Yoshita Ray has stopped believing in happily ever after and fairy tales ever since her mother abandoned her. But now that her father’s married again, Yoshita’s world is turned upside down by her new stepbrother, the ten-year-old true believer, Tanay Mukherjee.

On his twelfth birthday, Tanay makes a wish which whisks them away to a magical land where all the fairy tale characters are real! While Yoshita wants to do nothing but leave this place behind, her stepbrother wants to stay.

Will the rather unfortunately timed adventure tear the stepsiblings apart or will it play a hand in bringing them closer together?

Join them on An Awfully BIG Adventure to find out!
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

When children her age believed in fairy tales and happily ever after’s, little Yogita turned the cynic all because of a broken home. Things changed over the years with Yogita’s father taking in a new wife but inspite of being fond of her stepmother and stepbrother, Yogita could never ever get over the blow that her parents’ divorce had dealt her i.e. until something unexpected happened on her stepbrother’s twelfth birthday, something akin to a big adventure one that would force her to look at things in a new perspective.

Interesting, intriguing and inviting, ‘The Awfully BIG Adventure’ is a novella of just ninety nine pages that will transport you to your childhood and nudge you to remember those little characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Alladin, Pinocchio etc. deeply entrenched somewhere at the back of your mind, make you smile and wonder if life is actually all about ‘happily ever after’ or the reverse, whether we are mere puppets of our circumstances or is it our way of thinking that molds our destiny. In short, ‘The Awfully BIG Adventure’ is not merely a piece of fiction but a psychological take on the human attitude of distrust and cynicism, an attitude that takes root on account of adverse circumstances and needs something really awfully big to address it.

The language is simple, crisp and lucid while the pace is perfect. There are a few typographical errors here and there that need to be fixed.

My only grudge…….. The book ended too soon. Would have loved to see a bit more of action and interaction between the protagonists and the residents of The Charmed City and would have felt satiated with a bigger dose of magic. These would have given a better insight into the woes of the residents of the magical land as well as made it easier to understand and appreciate the intentions of the Queen in trying to thwart the siblings from leaving the city or permitting the residents of the city to try rewriting their story.

 
 

VERDICT
 
 

An interesting short read. I’ll give the book a 3 on a scale of 5.


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Check out the book @ amazon.in

 
 

MEET THE STORY TELLER

ANIESHA BRAHMA

Aniesha Brahma wanted to be an author since she was six years old. She was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She studied in Dolna Day School and completed her college degrees (including MPhil) in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. She works as a social media strategist/marketing executive, is the founder and editor of BUZZ Magazine and blogs (almost) regularly at http://www.anieshabrahma.com. Her debut novel was The Secret Proposal. It was followed by The Guitar Girl, When Our Worlds Collide and All Signs Lead Back to You. She has also worked on children’s books like P.C. Chandra’s Awesome Four and General Press’ Children’s Classic Stories. She was part of the UK-India 2017 India Wales’ The Valley, City and Village (VCV) Project and a speaker at Hay Festival 2017. Aniesha is extremely active on social media and you can get in touch with her by writing to her at contact@anieshabrahma.com.

 
 

Spotlight: Lean In To Relationships by Rishabh Jhol

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Blog Tour by The Book Club of LEAN IN TO RELATIONSHIPS by Rishabh Jhol


LEAN IN TO RELATIONSHIPS
by
Rishabh Jhol

Blog Tour by The Book Club of LEAN IN TO RELATIONSHIPS by Rishabh Jhol

Blurb

Doubt has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.

Madeeha works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is intrigued and charmed by her, and falls deeply in love. But the world political climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he find his truth? Fear doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. 

The novel uses Sufi philosophical terms to mark the journey to self-love and explores the tensions between Ishq-e- Mazizi (worldly love) and Ishq-e- Haqiqi (love for Divine). The novel uses the backdrops of various cities around the world to build its narratives – Cusco and Lima in Peru, Petra/Aqaba/Amman/Jerash in Jordan, New York/Philadelphia/DC/Chicago/Seattle/San Francisco. The cultures within each of these cities inform and influence the story so that each city becomes a character themselves participating in empowerment and liberation of the main protagonist.

It is a tender love story that triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation of deep lasting future relationships – a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.

Grab your copy @


Read an excerpt here:

Zehen was experiencing sweet joy in his heart. Memories bustled in the head. When did he first see her? Zehen searched his head madly. Orientation session? Corridor to the classroom? However, he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint the moment. A whirr of images, of moments, yet-to- be collaged. And a heart that already had a narrative, waiting to be inset.

We imagine that all romantic stories will have a sigh-worthy romantic beginning. But beginnings are when the heart awakens, when the soul remembers. A presence stills and emerges from the shadows of time.

His first memory was when she introduced herself in the class. They had gathered at Presidium University for a one-year course on Social Impact Leadership. Outside, the white fringe tree was laden with its grape-like fruits. The pine, oak and spruce waited for winter to tell the world how unchangeable they were. And the old Redwood stood proud like the institution itself. Inside, in the warm classroom, students from various cultures across the world had gathered. Icebreaker session was on and the usual round of introductions.

Introduction is a ritual. A cumbersome ritual. How does one reduce the tapestry of one’s entire existence, the colors, and the many weaves into a single palatable thread?

About the author


I was born into poverty. At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one -room hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.

It was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn’t have electricity that day. I couldn’t study or sleep properly. One of the watershed moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter installed at home. I knew we couldn’t afford an inverter. But my dad was always convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education.

Despite an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values more – Finance. Later, I got into one of the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in 2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad’s salary at the time.

When I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents, great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life. I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was the safe thing to do.

Following year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7¬year old relationship and of my 5¬year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can fail at what you don’t want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take a chance at what you truly want.

Next year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than myself.

I started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital. I primarily did topical research for MPs for their debates in the parliament and on TV shows. Partial project list includes:

Providing 108 rape survivors with medical, legal, financial, and social support over six months through one of my client’s NGO
Getting amendments passed in the communal violence bill that tackle systemic bias towards Muslims
Helping three social entrepreneurs raise a combined total of INR 43 lakhs from their MP for community initiatives
Along with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling as well. I solo travelled to all seven wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in the US. I have also written and published three fiction novels.

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Book Review: Fragments by Janaki Nagaraj

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TITLE: Fragments
AUTHOR: Janki Nagaraj
GENRE: Fiction (Anthology of short stories of various genre)
PUBLISHER: Amazon
ASIN : B074G4W2TD
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 

 
 
BLURB (on Goodreads)
 
 
“I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could” – Georgia O’Keeffe.

A serial killer on the loose who chooses a particular day of the month to kill his victims; a strained father – son relationship, when the father returns home after being presumed dead; a girl who can go to any extent for her career and money; a woman openly acknowledging the presence of the many ‘other women’ in her life; a lady’s dark past finally catches up with her… Life is an ongoing sequence of events meshed with everyday mundaneness so that it becomes difficult to isolate them.

‘Fragments’ captures the essence of those parts of our lives that we are not proud to show to others. It takes you through a range of emotions and leaves a big question mark on what is supposed to be.
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

A motley collection of short stories that bring out the various facets of life and human emotions, ‘Fragments’ touches hearts and tickles the brain. Each story is a surprise and showcases the creative side of the storyteller beautifully.

While ‘The Ritual’ defied the ‘sleuth’ in me and caught me unawares by its unpredictable climax, ‘The Homecoming’ captured the agony of the disfigured soldier, father to a son who hates his very sight, well. One can’t help but empathize with both father and son given that both of them are suffering the only difference being that while the father suffers on account of being the cause of the son’s agony and depression, the son suffers because of pent up emotions and misplaced hatred.

Close Call’ was a bit of a disappointment I must admit, but then the next one ‘The Last Laugh’ compensated for it. The title sure misled me till the last few lines. But then what is the use of building up a suspense if you can’t hold it till the end.

‘Naked’ left not only Ravi the character speechless but left me too. I’d never ever have thought of such a brilliant ending to a story that could either have a vulgar ending or a violent one. Hats off to the author for cooking up something like this – khatta- meetha.

‘If you can’t understand my silence….’sent shivers down my spine. The story is a reality check. It reminds us how vulnerable the young one is if not mentored on time regarding the harsh realities of the outside world. My heart went out to little Sharat.

‘The Escape to Hell’ too did not work for me but then the author adequately compensated for the disappointment with her next story i.e. ‘Stree’ where the plight of women is put forth effectively in just three hundred fifty plus words.

‘Quid Pro Quo’ and ‘The Other Women In My Life’ impart some life lessons. While the former emphasizes the saying ‘money can’t buy everything’ the latter gives us a valuable lesson on happiness. Via ‘Quid Pro Quo’ we also get an insight into how empathy and assistance come from unexpected quarters. It also imparts a valuable lesson in Karma.

‘What Goes Around…’ left me angry with the protagonist Simran. I’ve always believed that our sufferings make us better human beings, they nudge us to act when we see someone in a dire situation more so when we have gone through a something similar. But Simran left me wondering if I’ve been dreaming so.

‘I Don’t Want To Be An Adult’ struck a chord within me and I couldn’t help but feel strongly for ‘Jing band Aunty’ aka Parimala. Loneliness I must admit, is unnerving at times and more so when age catches up. But to beat it one must dig into the self and draw out that which makes us happy and keeps us young in spirit. The story reveals the secret of Parimala’s ‘youth,’ one that is looked down upon as eccentricity by society but which if pondered on deeply, is anything but that.

‘Sexy Body, Big Boobs’ is a bitter truth. It is a pill that scalds the throat and leaves the stomach burning leading to an ulcer that slowly but steadily becomes cancerous.

Language is simple, crisp and lucid and the style of narration is perfect. My only grudge is:
1) The number of stories is few.
2) The ending of some stories felt abrupt and rough. I would have loved to see them neatly filed and shaped even if it meant adding a few more pages.
 
 

VERDICT
 
 

A short read packed with myriad shades of life that encase various emotions like love, lust, greed, deceit, treachery, revenge, depression, etc., ‘Fragments’ will leave one wanting for more. I’ll give it a 3 on a scale of 5.


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Shop for the book @ amazon.in
 
 

THE STORY-TELLER
 

Janaki Nagaraj

To know more about Author Janaki do visit her profile page @ Goodreads