Tuesday, 31 December 2019

#BookReview : So Now You Know by Vivek Tejuja

The year was 1991. Vivek was eight. He realized he was gay. Only he didn't: he just figured that he wanted to be different. And that he was in love - for want of a better word - with Deepak, his best friend. Then Mast Kalandar released, with Anupam Kher playing Pinku, a stereotypical gay character. And Vivek realized he didn't want to be Pinku. So he tried to walk differently, gesticulate differently, and speak in as gruff a voice as he could - all to avoid being Pinku. Funny, poignant, heartwarming and heart-breaking all at once, this is a memoir of growing up gay in India in the 1990s, with Bollywood, books, and the Bombay sea for company.

So Now You Know is a memoir written by Vivek Tejuja & published by Harper Collins. The author has worked with books at Flipkart and now at Verve magazine, and writes regularly on books and the experience of reading, notably on his blog, The Hungry Reader.

I haven’t read many memoirs but when I came to know that Vivek was coming up with one I was immediately excited to read it. The book beautifully describes growing in the 90s realizing you’re gay, surviving through school & seeing movies where you see there is minimum representation whatsoever & even when there is, the said character is caricaturish. He wrote about every single experience of his in detail and how it shaped his life. If you haven’t yet realized why representation matters, this is probably the best Indian book you can read to understand this.
This is my last review of 2019 and I am glad that I am ending my year on such a great note. There very few Indian books out there which actually tells you how does it actually feel growing up knowing you’re gay & how the people around you makes you believe that it’s wrong or immoral. What does it do to the psyche of a child is an important question to ponder upon. Even though it’s a memoir but Vivek’s writing is fresh and it immediately makes a bond on a personal level with the reader. I can’t recommend this enough. Please read it.

Monday, 23 December 2019

#BookReview : Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar by Kochery C. Shibu

A Hydel project in the remote HImalayas- three people brought together by fate.
Nanda an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site, hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love for his dear ones, and the kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot that threatens to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.
Rekha, a kathak dancer at heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.
All throng the campsite like moths to a flame, some escape untouched,successful;some miss a step and perish. each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about the aspirations of these people, with their cares and worries woven to the site life. The fury of nature and hardships of project life have no mercy for the weak and no time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their lives and limb in the quest to fulfil their dreams.

Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is a fiction written by Kochery C. Shibu. The author is a graduate from the National Defence Academy he has held several important posts in the Indian Navy & he has retired as a naval officer. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is his debut novel. The technical content of the novel, namely the setting up of a hydro-project is drawn from his experience in these projects since 2005, as are many of the characters inspired from those whom he encountered at the project site.
The plot is set up in Dhauladhar, Himachal Pradesh where three of our main characters Khusru, Rekha & Nanda meet. With a plan to blow up the dam by terrorists, what will be the role of each one of our main characters is what the whole story is about. With deep character building by the author, we come to know about each one of the characters. And as the story progresses you will stay hooked to know more about what happens next.
The author’s experience with hydro projects has proved to be extremely useful for including details that only he could write about. The suspenseful backdrop along with three extremely diverse characters with intense life histories is what made this book riveting. The language is simple though in some places a bit technical but even with that, it’s a breezy read. Shouldn’t miss.

Monday, 16 December 2019

#BookReview : Small is Big - Volume 3 by Rafaa Dalvi

After the success of two volumes of Small is Big, Rafaa Dalvi is back with Small is Big – Volume 3, a final collection of 100 micro tales and the best part is that there’s a story for everyone, including YOU!
Are you interested in unconventional storytelling? How about a story where the beginning, middle and the end are on the same page? A narrative that makes you frown on page 1, nod in agreement on page 2 and chuckle on page 3?

Small is Big – Volume 3 is a collection of micro tales written by Rafaa Dalvi. The author has already published numerous times, his stories can be read in the anthologies – Curtain Call (editor), Kaleidoscope, Myriad Tales, and many more. He has also written three volumes of ‘Small is Big’, which is a collection of 100 micro tales. He’s the recipient of Indian Bloggers League Booker Prize 2013.

This book is the third installment in the series of books containing several micro-tales. It’s a 107 pages book with 100 micro-tales covering different emotions which I believe is the best thing to do. While I have read micro tales before but these stories have a special kick to them which catches you by surprise. Most of the stories stay with you for a long time & makes you revisit them again and again. The author did an awesome job writing stunning diverse micro tales which I am sure everyone will love. A must read.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

#BookReview : In The Realm Of Demons by Imran Kureshi

A roller-coaster fantasy horror story with Jinns, demons and nagins Mehran is a handsome young Rajput aristocrat – without a grand title, estate or any wealth. He lives with his widowed mother in a decaying mansion in Pakistan, Remembering his beautiful cousin boyer and his childhood in the glittering estate of his Nawab uncle in India. But hidden behind the grandeur of the old palace is a dreadful curse that strikes every heir to the nawabs line. Tragedy hits when, on a red moon night, a demon arrives and koyel falls victim to the terrifying curse.
Little does Mehran know that the curse will soon visit him and he will find himself in a world of demons, monsters and nagins.

In The Realm of Demons is a fantasy horror written by debut author Imran Kureshi & published by Juggernaut books. The author lives in Pakistan. He is a former employee of the Pakistan State Oil Company Limited and has been a freelance editor of books and PhD theses for over sixteen years. His collection of short stories set in rural Punjab, titled Billa Nayee and Other Tales, has been published by Oxford University Press.

The story revolves around Mehran who lives at the royal house of Hashtpur with his mother & some other family members. As the legend (curse) goes, the heir of Hashtpur is destined to die when the moon turns red. Everyone embraces themselves as the day comes but to their surprise instead of Mehran, Koyel his cousin gets taken away as per the curse. This makes our protagonist determined to go on a journey to unravel this curse & this journey is what makes Mehran meet his inner devils. Get this book right now to go on a roller coaster read!
Fantasy horror is quite a new genre for me and this book surely is a good introduction to this genre. All the characters develops quite well as the plot progresses with different twists and turns which won’t let you keep this book down. Unfortunately despite different unique plot points, it fell flat for me in certain chapters. The cover fits perfectly with the story, the language is easy too but I believe the title could’ve been a little bit better. Pick this up to get lost into a world of mystery & horror.