Fiction

Book Review: A Second Chance With Love In Corona by Abhinav Kashyap

A sweet love story of Kabir and Kia, this novella by Abhinav Kashyap gives an essence of how a married couple, living under the same roof and distant with time, come close and transform their relationship during the pandemic.

Pandemic brought tough times, especially the lockdown. When the news of lockdown broke suddenly, people went helter-skelter. There was a state of commotion. Everybody thought initially they would be shattered, their jobs and so many other things which become the livelihood and life support for families were at stake. A second chance with love in Corona sums up these feelings precisely through protagonists, Kabir and Kia and how they make the best of this time.

The story is about the duo who hardly could spend their sweet time together, since right after their honeymoon, due to the busy work schedule of husband. They now had all the time for themselves, thanks to the lockdown. During this period, they rediscover themselves and keep aside the adversity to rekindle the spark in their married life. It’s worth a read.

The book is a light hearted, bed time kind of an emotional read. Written somewhat in an informal and casual language, this 13 page book is a ‘take a break’ sort of writing. The climax of the book ends on a positive and a happy note conveying the underlying message, life does give a second chance, only if you know how to turn an adversity into an opportunity.

I congratulate the author, Abhinav Khashyap on his first book and hope there are many more to come. Best wishes!

Let me know in comments if you liked the book review. 

Pages: 13

Availability: Kindle

Buy: A Second Chance With Love In Corona https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08GZRT5B4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_GYhyFbYJG7QNV

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Book Review: The Mother I Never Knew by Sudha Murthy

Life is a big quest. If you start finding the reasons for everything, you may just end up losing your sanity. There are many sages who advice not to dig into the past.

Contrary to which, this refreshing book with two novellas present a gripping family drama of two men who are on their respective expeditions to validate some life events and bitter truths they explore later in their lives.

Why I found this book riveting and worth writing a review is because it comes with a strong message of coming to terms with past mistakes and not running from them. The sense of satisfaction one gets in exploring the unexplored and mending mistake knows no bounds and the book passes the message mightily. Once you face your biggest fears and accept the truth, you have nothing to hide or run away from. You can live peacefully in utter joy. Makes so much sense to me.

Sudha Murty needs no introduction. Her writing is simple yet intriguing. Even in her simplicity of words she gracefully weaves a plot within a plot. A simple story unveils an unexpected ending leaving you in absolute bewilderment.

Adding a new favourite author in my list hereafter. I’ll be reading more of her books and have decided to make a collection of her novels. Hope you like the book as much as I do. #bookreview

@_sudha_murthy

@penguinindia

@penguinukbooks

Pages: 206

Publisher: Penguin

Buy: The Mother I Never Knew: Two Novellas https://www.amazon.in/dp/0143422251/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Pg6wFbEC35E6V

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Missing (Part – III)

Our Story

Name of the Team: tête-à-tên

Read the previous part of the story here Part I, Part II

Juhu Beach, Mumbai – 14:00 HRS. -18:00 HRS

“Ah! Mumbai –I love you” exclaimed Jennifer capturing the perfect shot with her Nikon D7100 for her assignment on coastal lives. Capturing the changing coastal landscape all they way from Cochin to Mumbai. She had developed a knack of capturing faces and places using natural light to better the effect.

It was difficult to figure out what was more radiant–the flash in the camera or its owner. Jennifer chose  fluorescent colored  accessories that adorned her slender neck and silky arms. The royal blue phoenix tattoo needed a refill but still stood out as her message to the world. A near perfect example of a dusky southern belle with a chic sense of dressing. A carefully-careless sense of style,white cotton shirt half tucked in her casual pair of mint-colored shorts.

She panned the camera west to east capturing the essence of the ever busy Mumbai streets. Children playing on the beach, food stalls, flies, smoke billowing from a kettle, vendors and their trinket stallswomen walked down the street with their baskets perfectly balanced over their heads and babies by their sides draped in a typical Maharashtrian style Sari. Serpentine queues waiting for the bus on the other side of the road. Few steps away from the bus stand was a little girl in a frilly frock and two pony tails, perhaps with her elder brother, enjoying the strawberry ice creams. A bunch of girls, fashionistas, were chit chatting, sitting on a rock by the road. A middle aged couple sheepishly held each others hand, oblivious to the world going by, looking into each others eyes as the sun prepared to set in the backdrop.

There was a shot for every moment.Jennifer could not have asked for more.

 

Versova, Mumbai – 19:45 HRS. -20:30 HRS

It was nearly impossible to recognize the elegant Tara with all the scruffiness. Her puffed eyes gave away her mindset. She pressed the third button on the elevator at least a dozen times. Digging into the handbag, she searched for the keys and her cell phone.

“Yes, here it is”, Tara mumbled irritatingly. The clanking of the keys did not distract her from unlocking the main door with one hand while she speed dialled Shekhar’s number with the other. “Shekhar, any clue?”, she asked hopefully, yet knowing the response. “I’m trying my best,‘sweetheart?’, the word echoed in her mind for a fraction of a second, but the pain of her missing daughter overshadowed it.

‘Tara, did you post it on Facebook?’he asked.‘Huh – oh yes, I think, uh no, let me check’ she stuttered.  “Bye”, and he disconnected the callTara rushed towards her laptop. Her fingers mistyped a number of times a simple message. A cry for help from a helpless mother. As the hands of the clock rolled over, she cried incessantly, while writing a note about her missing cherub. She picked up her favorite picture – Roohi in a cheerful mood and colorful attire. Tara made sure that her daughter’s face was identifiable and cropped the rest of the photograph.

Tara Dutta had never been so nervous before entering a ‘post!’  Parallely, she called up her entire contact list friends and relatives alike, to spread the word. Within no time there were 80 comments and 261 shares. Shares looked more convincing to her than the sympathetic and sorry messages. Some even clicked on the “Like” button.

***

Ramada Hotel, Juhu. Mumbai – 20:15 HRS-21:00 HRS

Just when Jennifer was about to close the Facebook page, it refreshed. Her selection went from “Most recent to Top Stories”.“Holy crap! Haven’t I seen this little one before?”, Jennifer sat up on the bed. “How is it possible? Where have I seen her?” “I must’ve spotted somewhere!” her mind went on a time loop.She clicked on the profile details just to double check the hunch.Yet she could not point exactly why she felt a sense of déjà vu.

Jennifer kept on reading the comments and messages so that she could place the picture to the right location. Not able to find a connection, she switched off the laptop and lay on her back, staring at the ceiling. And then it struck her. ‘Yes the camera’! She yelped.

Capturing shots from the time she set foot in Mumbai, her camera had one thousand two hundred and thirty four photographs. Her fingers never tired browsing through those hundreds of images of the mayanagri in hopes of finding the little kid in one of its lanes.

The pictures covered the essence of this majestic city with a visage of young and old, rich and poor, the happy and the sad but none had managed to capture the little miss sunshine.When Jennifer was almost on the verge of giving up, she saw a similar face. A black and white photo of a little girl slurping an ice cream amidst the smoke and dust of the heavy traffic near Juhu Tara Road. ‘That’s her! I knew I had seen her. This is unbelievable!’

She went back to the Facebook post and compared the two photographs, back and forth, not once, not twice, but at least for fifty times before she could believe her eyes were trueThey found Roohi.

***

To read more, click Part IV

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Winninginaman's world-blog-anupriyamishra

Winning in a Man’s World

Winninginaman's world-blog-anupriyamishra
It’s a common advice for daughters to return home before the sunset. But, problems do not come knocking at your door. And, one such day was a day in the mid of May, when she was walking downtown.

It was a bright day with clear blue sky, people were seen walking up and down the street, cars and two wheeler were passing by at their usual frequencies. There had been something about this Park Street. It had always been untouched by the maddening crowd and looked surreal in its own capacity. Just a few steps down the Shanti Villa, was this magnificent street that leads to the downtown market. Not too far, not too crowded yet had everything available for household like fruits, vegetables and groceries, all at one stop.

Shanti Villa was an abode of four happy members–simple, sober and an absolutely loving family. Mr. Das the head of the family was a Bank Manager, her wife being a teacher was also an excellent mother to two children; a son—Shashank, the elder one and a daughter—Smriti. They belonged to mid-level middle class and by God’s grace had everything a well-settled family would have had. Both the children were brilliant in studies. Shashank wanted to be an Air Force pilot and Smriti wanted to pursue a PhD in Sociology. Das’ were an example for the entire colony. Neighbors did not envy them, but looked up to them.

It was just another day in Shanti Villa. As it was a Sunday, daily chores were delayed than normal hours. Shashank left for his friend’s place to enjoy the India Pakistan Cricket Match, promising to be back by lunch. Mr. Das after reading the newspaper, watching the News, decided to dye his leftover grays on his head and to his mustache, which was a blend of black and gray. Then he seated on his relaxing chair right in front of the TV to follow the cricket match. Mrs. Das was busy in her kitchen cleaning the jars and preparing for lunch in parallel.

Smriti was in her room reading a book, when she heard her mom calling. Gently placing a bookmark at where she had paused, she immediately ran towards the kitchen to listen to her mother. Her mother wanted her to bring a pack of yogurt from downtown market. Smriti took her wallet and left for the market.

It was almost midday around 1.00 PM. The Park Street was silent as it was May and summers were in good form. Since the distance wasn’t much, she decided to walk down. The street had abundant trees on both sides to provide enough shade. It wasn’t too long that she’d left from home; she realized that she was being followed. She started taking longer steps to validate her doubt. Yes, it was certainly someone following her. She turned around and there was a man with plain gestures on his face, more or less expressionless walking towards her. She looked around just to realize that there was none other than both of them till the expanse her eyes could see. Her heartbeats paced up, her hands shivered when she felt her pockets and checked that she had even left her phone behind.

A minute seemed like an hour and a step equivalent to a mile. Her steps became heavier. She did not know what to do. The man who followed did neither misbehave nor gave any such hint that she could complain of. When her whole focus was on the man behind her, suddenly there was a taxi that stopped and there was someone who pulled her in.

What must have happened later, is something that’s most heard of. No, it wasn’t a case of abduction of course; it was the intent of trampling the innocence.

After, waiting for almost an hour, when Smriti did not return home, Shashank was asked to look for her on the way to downtown. The next step was to lodge a complaint in the nearby police station. The same night, a girl was found in vicinity thrown behind the bushes in a terrible inhuman state. It was a shock, a breakdown for Das family. They tore to pieces to find her daughter in such a plight and took her to hospital.

However, Das’ were not the ones to believe in social stigma. They decided to confront the society and supported Smriti in every possible way. Smriti is now a Doctor and living a normal life. However, there’s a question for lifetime that the residents and neighbors of Shanti Villa have had. And, that question is, where are our girls safe? At what time during the day can we allow our daughters and sisters to step out of their home?

This is the current scenario. No girl seems to be safe in a country where you get a daily dose of news on gang rapes and murder first thing in the newspaper. Yes, there was a time when such news were in big, bold font as they were less frequently heard, however, this has become so common nowadays that even the media has started dedicating just a single petty column to these daily dilemma until and unless it’s something as sensitive, as shameful and as unheard of the cases like the Nirbhaya case that occurred in Delhi in 2012. This rape and fatal assault took not just the country capital, but almost the entire nation to tell.

The questions that continue to ring our minds are:
• How safe are we in our own country?
• Is government framing any strict laws to bring fear to such wrongdoers?
• Why the judgment is prolonged in such cases even when the culprits are caught?

I feel stunned to realize that crime rate is booming and we are bound by shackles of helplessness. Despite several NGOs or social platforms or even media propagating the messages across people, we are still handicapped to fight such freaks who disregard womanhood having been born of a woman.

This only reminds me of a quote by Marilyn Monroe:

“I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”

the-lowland-book review-anupriya mishra

The Lowland

the-lowland-book review-anupriya mishra
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Publisher: Random House India

Price: INR 499

My rating: 4.5/5

Book Review:

A journey that dates back to the times of the Naxalbari movement at the lowland, in an area of Calcutta called Tollygunge. This book by Jhumpa Lahiri talks less on emotion and more on practicality and selfish being of one of the main characters named Gauri. Without being impacted by melodramatic instances, the novel beautifully captures and enthralls you with different aspects of emotions at each level.

The detailed and accurate description of Tollygunge is splendid; “The flooded plain was thick with water hyacinth, which grew aggressively. Its leaves caused the surface to appear solid. Green in contrast to the blue of the sky.”

The story progresses describing the bond between the two brothers Udayan and Subhash in their childhood days. The beauty lies in the simplicity of deeds and actions that take place in Tollygunge between the two brothers. Their course of action seems realistic and easy to relate. With passing time, the differences grew between the two even more naturally. It’s usually observed that the siblings start having different ideologies with growing age, thus crops the difference and distance. Lahiri has crafted this transformation beautifully without any artificial embellishment of verbiage. In fact, the complete novel withholds immense description that’s surreal, but can connect you with the real world.

The dramatic contrast in relationships of the two brothers, mother and father, husband and wife, mother and daughter creates awe. It forces you to think how easily you can relate to it in today’s world, even though her story is based during the 20th century. Udayan, the elder one, being dead in the second half still holds importance throughout the story. He’s the protagonist in the real sense, though physically his role is minimal. Gauri, her wife marries his brother not out of love, but out of selfish motives. It’s astonishing to see a character so strong, outstanding wit, extraordinary practical, thankless and a truly self-centered woman like Gauri.

Lahiri has skills to make you feel a participant and you would feel the anguish and hatred for Gauri is so mean and using Subhash tactfully as a medium to get rid of her in laws and the place where she lost her husband, right before giving birth to Udayan’s child that she carried in her womb. The portrayal of a woman, who could change her appearance to mix in foreign culture just to escape from her past; who could leave not just the man who supported her in her bad times, gave father’s name to her daughter and later on even leaving her own daughter without a trace, is self exemplary to describe Gauri’s character.

The best and the most perfect contrast to Gauri are Subhash and Bela (Gauri’s daughter). They define loyalty, emotions, trust, and humanity in true sense. Bela, who would hate to think of her mother because she left her astray, probably at the growing age when she needed her most. The hatred was captured well at the end of the story at the time of Gauri’s confrontation with Bela. The cycle seems to complete at this juncture when Gauri sees and gets to know that her daughter too had a daughter, which means she was a grandmother now. However, no one else but she herself was the reason for the deprivation of the finest relationships on earth.

Jhumpa Lahiri is known to write in simple language, but this simplicity has so much of emotions engrossed and engraved in it. This is the fourth novel by Jhumpa is a tremendous display of encroachment of societal norms, not under helplessness or any dire situation, but to satiate the selfish motives of living the latter of your life on own terms just because the former did not turn out to be your way.

I personally loved the novel The Lowland as I see a multitude of variations in one’s mood, nature, choices and life as a whole. This is absolutely true and close to almost anyone on this planet. If we are humans, we got to be accepting the challenges in life. Everyone has their own ways to deal with them. The back and forth, the thud and thunder, the smooth landing back again is what makes or breaks someone. This book is an extraordinary journey through such remarkable events of life that touches your heart and soul, making you feel a part of the drama.

jhumpa_lahiri_book-review-anupriya mishra Image Courtesy: Google