Wednesday 27 August 2014

Review – “The Kite Runner.”

Author – Khaled Hosseini
Published by – Bloomsbury
Price - 399

Ater I read “A thousand Splendid Suns” I felt the need to read another of Khaled Hosseini’s book in order to understand the different stories he could weave around a War affected zone. Well! In the beginning I just read a few pages of “The Kite Runner” and put the book away; I don’t know what it was, but I was not able to complete this book as fast as I had read his first. And then one day I picked up the book again and started turning the pages and that is when I found the book drawing me into the lives of the protagonists.

Set in Afghanistan in 1975, "The Kite Runner," is the story of a friendship between Amir and his friend Hassan. These two young boys share a bond that is deep, but then things change when emotions and feelings rear their ugly heads and destroy everything. People move, ties are severed and then there is guilt, extreme guilt and self-blame.

Suddenly in the dark lanes that appears hope and an opportunity to seek for forgiveness and find peace within the soul. The path is not easy, but it’s the only one that will remove the guilt to a certain extent!

My Reasons -

This book moved me just like his previous one because Khaled Hosseini had described the time, place and people so clearly yet again. He has crafted characters that are very much like the people we are in touch with every day. They are fed with emotions just like us – they sulk, they cry, they talk, they laugh and they make mistakes. A great writer, Khaled Hosseini is a master of tales. His crisp writing style, great descriptions and understanding of the human mind, all contribute to making his stories so good to read!

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Guest Post - "Haiku and Micropoetry" and "Equinox" by Madhuri Maitra

Moving finger…

The first Enid Blyton I read was "The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage." All of six, I fought sleep to read it through the end, not understanding half of it, but hooked!

As I devoured all Blytons and then many other books, the persistent niggle in the mind was – “I have to write, and write well.” Four decades later, I feel blessed to have two titles - ‘Haiku and other Micropoetry’ and ‘Equinox’ – to my name; and a website that I enjoy populating with good reads each week.

What took so long? These excerpts from my piece – A Writer’s Angst (2011) – trace a journey from doubt to self-belief – something many will identify with.

“Somewhere do I fear that my work is not “the best”? Of course it is not, I answer myself. Moreover, I am not in competition – at least not with anyone but myself. Whatever I do, there will always be some worse and some better. So why this unintelligent demand for acclaim! And from whom? And what is it worth in the long run?”

“…not judge myself as I write”

“Too lazy to take the responsibility!”

“I realize I had another bugbear – I am more comfortable with pen and paper – the romance, the fragrance of paper etc. Then it becomes a pain to type all of that. Further procrastination!”

“Poetry is not my forte; that I am sure of. Neither is fiction…”

Famous last words! My first two books ARE poetry and fiction!!
Such needless negative self-talk we put ourselves through!

Do catch the complete A Writer’s Angst only on

Monday 11 August 2014

Interview with Mr. Vijay Thakkar (Author)

What Doctors Think of Other than Medicine and Sex 
What Lawyers Think of Other than law and Sex 
Publisher - Partridge Penguin 
Available on - Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Flipkart

Mr. Vijay Thakkar, the author of "What Doctors Think of Other than Medicine and Sex" and "What Lawyers Think of Other than law and Sex"and I met on Facebook. Well! Both of us were publishing with the same publishing house and that is when I decided it would be nice to connect with someone else who was just as anxious as me…first book jitters! He was nice enough to respond and then began the long discussions about our books and how to market them. We met in “Coffee House” one evening and the conversation just flowed from family, careers, hobbies and books. All I can say that he is an honest, cheerful and a happy go lucky man and I wish him all the best for his future ventures. Below are some of the questions I put to him, some about his life, his plans and himself. The answers were prompt and revealed much about him as an individual. Read on..

What is your full name/age?
Vijay Thakkar/ 55

What are your books about?
My books are about my unique way of critically looking at these professionals - Lawyers and Doctors from my unique point of view, which is critical, honest, say it as it is way. I believe in calling a spade a spade, but in a straight and pleasant way without any malice. My sometimes wicked, but a very pleasant sense of humor is what I have presented in my books. The highlight being my dig at not just the subject of my book, the professional, but also the reader. I am sure that those with the remotest sense of humor and those who love an open, hearty laugh will love my books. I am now working on Architects and Politicians from that same and uniquely critical point of view.

How would you best describe yourself?
Honest, Happy, Cheerful and Curious.

Your favorite song/musician
Song : Aise To Na Dekho, Ke Hum Ko Nasha Ho Jaaye...
Singer : Mohd Rafi / Lata Mangeshkar
Musicians : S D Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Naushad.

A one-liner that you often use
Be yourself man.....

Your favorite travel destination and why
Mahabaleshwar/ Paanchgani.
Easy access, conveniently reachable and affordable.

A memorable experience
Parachuting in Hong Kong. Was fun and full of thrill
Para gliding in Shimla.

What inspired you to write these two books?
I wanted to express myself and give readers a reason to laugh and smile, of course taking into consideration that they appreciate wicked humor!

What has been your greatest achievement in life?
I have always lived life on my own terms – I was rewarded when I took the right decisions, and paid a penalty when wrong.

Are you planning to take up writing as a full time career? What are your future plans?
I will write as and when I want to. Future plans - None. I am happy here and now!  

Thursday 7 August 2014

Review - “14 Stories that Inspired Satyajit Ray”

Editor and Translator - Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Stories By - Satyajit Ray, Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Premendra Maitra, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, Rajshekhar Basu, Narendranath Maitra, Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Premchand, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay

Published By - Harper Perennial

Price - 350

Satyajit Ray had always been one of my favorite film makers. I have watched quite a few of his films whether they have been in Bengali or Hindi and each film has pulled a chord in my heart as each story has been different and very well-crafted into movies. When I saw this book in Crossword during my weekly visit, I just could not resist buying it. Having spent my growing years watching his movies I felt I needed to know about the authors who inspired this great film-maker to create masterpieces.

This book contains 9 stories by the authors listed above. Most of the stories are set in Bengal and cover a variety of tales from there. As you turn the pages of the book it is like taking a walk into the homes of the characters and actually living their lives. There is a story that talks about the freedom of women, the choices they have to make in order to go out and work; while another about how people can become blind in the name of religion. Another talks about the state of untouchables in India and then again we have a story that speaks about the fading away of glory that landlords were bestowed with. The variety of stories Satyajit Ray chose to make into movies is phenomenal, with my personal favorite being the ones by Rabindranath Tagore.

This book is a must buy because the language is simple, the descriptions beautiful, the settings easy to imagine and the characters real, just like you and me. Sharmila Tagore has rightly stated – “A wonderful way to introduce readers not only to some superb stories, but also to the genius of Satyajit Ray, who, from these stories, created great cinema.”