Saturday, 14 July 2018

#BookReview ; The Last Color by Vikas Khanna

It's Holi, 2012, the Hindu festival of spring, and back in Varanasi after twenty years, a young advocate is celebrating a nation-wide Supreme Court order against an age-old tradition of social injustice meted out to the destitute widows of India - to whom even the simple joys of color were denied.

It was in this city that, twenty years ago, Choti, a sassy, tight-rope walker befriends an old widow, Noor. As a member of the ashram, she lives a life of complete abstinence, but her young friend's innocent exuberance and joy of life fills her with renewed hope.
The two form an unlikely bond, with Noor looking out for Choti, inspiring her to 'fly high' by seeking an education and fighting for her rights with dignity. Choti listens enraptured by the memories her friend shares: of playing Holi dressed as Radha, the consort of Lord Krishna, and flinging great bursts of her favorite pink-colored gulal into the sky. Choti promises her that they will play the next Holi together.
But then, one night, another friend of Choti's, Anarkali, is murdered by the heinous police chief and his goons. Being the only witness to her murder, Choti is imprisoned on the eve of Holi. Everything falls apart in the ensuing chaos.
Will Choti be able to keep her promise of playing Holi with Noor?
Pitting the smoke rising from the funeral pyres of Manikarnika Ghat, against the joyous color-bursts of Holi celebrations, Vikas Khanna's marvellously layered story of the survival of a delicate friendship, is brilliantly told and poignantly life-affirming.

The Last Color is a debut fiction book which is soon to be released as a feature film, written by Michelin Star Chef & James Beard Award nominee Vikas Khanna & published by Bloomsbury India. He is the host of MasterChef India, Twist of Taste & Mega Kitchens on National Geographic. He is the creator of the Holy Kitchens documentary series & Kitchens of Gratitude which have been screened at The White House & several film festivals & universities around the world.

The story is set in Varanasi & revolves around Choti, a girl who was abandoned in garbage as a baby & saved by a woman in yellow saree. She grew up together with other orphans in the “Nameless House with Pink Walls” where all most of them begged on the streets wearing costumes & make up to resemble different gods. But Choti always wanted to fly & performed her tight rope routine while her friend Chintu gathered money from the crowd. As the story moves forward we meet two friends of Choti, Anarkali, a Hijra who also begs for survival & Noor a white saree clad widow who is forced to live a life devoid of any color. The antagonist of the story is Raja, a corrupt police inspector who gets sadistic pleasure in torturing all the beggars in his area & also extorted money from them. Then one night Choti witnessed her friend Anarkali being murdered by the police inspector & his henchmen. One thing leads to another and she gets beaten up & imprisoned on the eve of Holi for reporting the crime. Will she ever escape from the clutches of the evil inspector & bring justice to her friend, also would she be able to play Holi with her friend Noor as promised? Would she ever fly? Get the book here to immerse yourself into the City of the Dead & a story which will stay with you forever,

To start with, I’ll have to confess that I used to have a huge crush on the author & hence naturally I was quite excited to read this book. The blurb already intrigued me & the story didn’t let me down either. From the starting itself the story kept me with it & the pace was perfect too. The story has diverse, believable characters & it spoke about poverty but didn’t romanticize it and that’s what I loved about it, also it mentioned other social evils too. The language is easy, the title & especially the cover is to die for. A must read!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

#BookReview ; Spirits In A Spice Jar by Sarina Kamini

For Sarina Kamini’s Kashmiri family, food is love, love is faith, and faith is family. It’s cause for total emotional devastation when, ten years after her Australian mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, unaddressed grief turns the spice of this young food writer’s heritage to ash and her prayers to poison. At her lowest ebb, Sarina’s dead Ammi’s typed-up cooking notes become a recipe for healing, her progress in the kitchen marked by her movement through bitterness, grief and loneliness—the daal that is too fiery and lumpen; her play with salt that pricks and burns. In teaching herself how to personalise tradition and spirituality through spice, Sarina creates space to reconsider her relationship with Hinduism and God in a way that allows room for questions. She learns forgiveness of herself for being different, and comes to accept that family means change and challenge as much as acceptance and love.

Spirits In A Spice Jar is a memoir written by Sarina Kamini & published by Westland. The author is an Anglo-Indian now living in Western Australia. A former food writer, food editor& food critic, she has spent twenty years working in Paris, California, Edinburgh, Barcelona & Melbourne.

The story revolves around the life of the author, her heritage as a Kashmiri Pundit & her memories which are deep rooted with the Kashmiri food her Australian mother used to make. It’s after 10 years that her mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the author rekindles her memories & the grief and tries to mould her feelings by trying to cook the food her mother used to make using several spices which gave life to each single dish. Get this book here to read not just about spices & food but also take a stroll down the memory lane of the author,
At first after reading the title I was a bit perplexed about what this book is going to be about, for once I guessed it must be a cookbook of some sorts but to my surprise I was wrong. The book is divided into seventeen chapters, each have been titled after a spice or food item & accordingly the story in each chapter relates to that ingredient. It seems that the book has been written seamlessly & tries to bind you together with the memories of the author. What I loved about this book was the closeness it made me feel with the author’s story, unfortunately & understandably it did proceeded in a slow pace which made it difficult for me to stick with it for a long time. The language is quite easy, the title as well as the cover is beautiful. An enriching read, not to be missed.

Friday, 22 June 2018

#BookReview ; Poonachi by Perumal Murugan

Through a seeming act of providence, an old couple receives a day-old female goat kid as a gift from the cosmos. Thus begins the story of Poonachi, the little orphan goat.
As you follow her story from forest to habitation, independence to motherhood, you recognise in its significant moments the depth and magnitude of your own fears and longings, fuelled by the instinct for survival that animates all life. Masterly and nuanced, Perumal Murugan’s tale forces us reflect on our own responses to hierarchy and ownership, selflessness and appetite, love and desire, living and dying. 
Poonachi is the story of a goat who carries the burden of being different all her life, of a she-goat who survives against the odds. It is equally an expression of solidarity with the animal world and the female condition. The tale is also a commentary on our times, on the choices we make as a society and a nation, and the increasing vulnerability of individuals, particularly writers and artists, who resist when they are pressed to submit.

Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat is originally written in Tamil by Perumal Murugan, translated into English by N. Kalyan Raman & published by Context, an imprint of Westland. Perumal Murugan heads the department of Tamil literature at a government college in Attur, Tamil Nadu. He is the author of ten novels & five collections each of short stories & poems, as well as ten books of non-fiction. N. Kalyan Raman is a Chennai based translator of Tamil fiction & poetry into English. He has published ten works of translated fiction & over 200 anthologies in India & abroad.

The story revolves around Poonachi, a black goat who was gifted to an old man by a mysterious person. Being a day old, the old man & his wife both were worried about her well being & from then her story of survival began. As she was already quite weak & frail, the old woman paid special ate ntion to her & gradually started feeling quite close to her. But as she grew up along with other goats that belonged to the old couple, she learns a couple of things about the lives of goats. In a series of events which leave her heartbroken & dejected, she realizes the bitter truth of life. A story about a goat but not entirely. Do get this book here,

I love Perumal Murugan hence I had a feeling that I’ll love this book too & that’s what happened. Though the story revolves around a goat we have to understand the underlying theme. The author has successfully layered several themes like politics, superstition, etc into the storyline without overpowering it. Whether it’s the compulsory tagging of goats or standing in queues, each subplot is a brilliant work in itself. The story turns emotional in several chapters where the reader would definitely feel the pain of the goat & that is only possible because of a strong storyline. I won’t forget to mention how amazingly it has been translated. The language is extremely easy, the title can’t be better & the cover is unforgettable. Deserves to be read by everyone.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

#BookBlitz ; Killer Moves by Varsha Dixit

Killer Moves
Varsha Dixit

Everyone has a secret. Aisha Khatri has many! 

Aisha’s life is seemingly mundane on the surface-she writes for television and takes care of her niece Kiara and her retired father. But when Kiara’s life is threatened during a modeling assignment for the famous Kabir Rana, once a suspect for his wife’s murder, the only way Aisha can save Kiara is by accepting the unique ability she has aggressively resisted all her life. 

But Aisha is not the only one with secrets. There are others who have secrets and will kill to keep them. Aisha is determined to protect Kiara even if it means placing herself in the crosshairs of a depraved killer who butchers beautiful girls and leaves them as grotesque displays. 

Is Kiara a target of a serial killer or is the killer closer to home-and Aisha’s heart? 

Who is Kabir Rana? An elusive and moody fashion photographer burdened with a dark past or a murderer who got away? 

How will Aisha save Kiara from a killer who is several steps ahead of an entire city’s police force? When the dead come calling, will Aisha answer? 

From the bustling streets of Goa to the beautiful palaces of Sirsa, Killer Moves is a fast-paced, gripping, romantic suspense tale with strong thriller and supernatural elements. 

Grab your copy @

About the author

Varsha Dixit, the best selling author of six successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman.Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.

You can stalk her @


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#BookReview ; The Adivasi Will Not Dance by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

In this collection of stories, set in the fecund, mineral-rich hinterland and the ever-expanding, squalid towns of Jharkhand, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar breathes life into a set of characters who are as robustly flesh and blood as the soil from which they spring, where they live, and into which they must sometimes bleed. Troupe-master Mangal Murmu refuses to perform for the President of India and is beaten down; Suren and Gita, a love-blind couple, wait with quiet desperation outside a neonatal ward, hoping—for different reasons—that their blue baby will turn pink; Panmuni and Biram Soren move to Vadodara in the autumn of their lives, only to find that they must stop eating meat to be accepted as citizens; Baso-jhi is the life of the village of Sarjomdih but, when people begin to die for no apparent reason, a ghastly accusation from her past comes back to haunt her; and Talamai Kisku of the Santhal Pargana, migrating to West Bengal in search of work, must sleep with a policeman for fifty rupees and two cold bread pakoras. 

The Adivasi Will Not Dance is a collection of 10 short stories written by Hansda Sowendra Shekhar & published by Speaking Tiger. The author is a medical officer with the government of Jharkhand. He is also author of the critically acclaimed novel The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey which was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2014 and the Crossword Book Award 2014. Sowvendra received the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in June 2015.

The book is a collection of several short stories which basically revolve around the lives of Adivasis or tribal people. Basically the stories talk about the lives of people living in different towns of Jharkhand. Each story talks about a different facet of their lives, the challenges & oppression they’ve been facing since a long time, how they’re treated in general & the stigma which follows them all around the country. Get the book here,
I am so glad I decided to start my reading challenge where I’m picking up a book each representing an Indian state, that’s how I got to pick up this book. It talks about several things from an insider’s perspective. From how Adivasi women have to indulge in flesh trade or how they’re attacked by Muslims on one side, on the other Christians want to just convert them while all their promises just prove to be lies & the rich Hindus just want to take away their land or leave their gods & worship the ones they’re told. The language, title & cover everything is to the point. This book is an echo of innumerous screams of Adivasis which have been scuffled for decades. Its loud yet subtle, political yet non-biased & will surely shake you to the core as an Indian, as a human. An important read in today’s time & a must read.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

#BookReview ; Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar

A paying guest seems like a win-win proposition to the Joshi family. He's ready with the rent, he's willing to lend a hand when he can and he's happy to listen to Mrs Joshi on the imminent collapse of our culture. But he's also a man of mystery. He has no last name. He has no family, no friends, no history and no plans for the future. The siblings Tanay and Anuja are smitten by him. He overturns their lives and when he vanishes, he breaks their hearts. Elegantly wrought and exquisitely spare, Cobalt Blue is a tale of rapturous love and fierce heartbreak told with tenderness and unsparing clarity.

Cobalt Blue is originally a book written in Marathi by Sachin Kundalkar, translated into English by Jerry Pinto & published by Penguin India. Sachin Kundalkar is a novelist, playwright & film-maker. He won the National Award for the Best Screenplay for the film Gandha in 2008.  Jerry Pinto’s debut novel, Em and the Big Hoom won the 2012 Hindu Literary Prize.

Cobalt Blue is a story about an ordinary traditional Marathi family of 5 people living together in Pune. Things get complicated when a new tenant moves into their house as he is to study art from an institute nearby & 2 siblings, the sister Anuja & the younger brother Tanay fell in love with him. The tenant, though a loner has peculiar attributes which attracts people towards him. As Tanay continued to spend more time with the tenant & comes close with him, Anuja gets introduced with him. With time she forms a special bond with him which Tanay didn’t understood. Then one day she ran away with the tenant without informing anyone leaving Tanay heartbroken. But his isn’t the only heart that gets broken. Get this book here to know the full story,
I heard great things about this book from my friends since a long time & it had been in my TBR since then. As I picked it up for my Pride Month read, I was keeping my fingers crossed for it to be an enjoyable read & now get why my friends raved about this book. The book basically has 2 parts, the first one is the story from Tanay’s POV & the second is Anuja’s. Both the characters are extremely believable, our unnamed paying guest has been portrayed brilliantly. He is a man who will intrigue you, no matter what & if a book comes out with his story, I would surely read it. Though the plot does include the stories of other people but our mystery man does indeed overshadow them. I will also lay emphasis on the diversity of stories present in our regional languages & only because we don’t know the language, we miss out a lot. Jerry Pinto has done a phenomenal work translating it by not diluting the emotions at all. The cover is intriguing, the language is easy & the title of the book is genius. A must read!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#BookBlitz ; India: Whose Country is it anyway? by A.P.S Kumar

About the Book:
India's rich diversity, both in its physical and natural aspects, is widely known. India has had a great past with achievements in literature, the arts, medicine and mathematics.

Indians were sea-faring and they spread their influence through their philosophy, religion and military conquest too. But Like a cosmic phenomenon, decline is every civilization is inevitable. Indian civilization too declined.

When a civilization rises, people are driven by idealism; when people are possessed of greed, it declines and falls.

Indians today are possessed of excessive, abominable, putrefying greed.

The author tells it all in an honest, engaging manner. He holds a mirror unto ourselves.

Book Link:

About the Author:
I hail from a middle class family. Son of a soldier, I did my studies in Bengaluru obtaining a Bachelor’s degree (from St. Joseph’s College) in Science and then in Law from a different college. 

Though not very serious about studies, I took to books with keen interest in social sciences history in particular, literature and natural sciences (in general) and current affairs. I am drawn wittingly towards that abstract thinking – that is, philosophy.

Worked in a Government-owned Insurance Company - United India Insurance Co Ltd - as a Salesman (designated as Development Officer) and retired voluntarily a decade ago.
I spend time reading and writing, travelling both within the country and outside. I ardently believe in community work; I concentrate on education of children, obviously from poor background.  

Nationalism – i.e. love of fellow citizens - is my creed. I am passionate about friendships, am devoid of all other -isms.

Contact the author via eMail