The Town That Laughed by Manu Bhattathiri

unnamed (1).jpgI received the book The Town That Laughed by Manu Bhattathiri as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb:

Change is coming to the tranquil town of Karuthupuzha, nestled deep within the lush Kerala countryside. The mighty black river, after which the town is named, is now no more than a trickle. People have begun to listen to weather forecasts on the radio rather than looking out of the window to see if it’s going to rain. The jackfruit tree in the middle of town has suddenly started fruiting. And, most seismic of all, Paachu Yemaan, the Inspector of Police, who has terrorized the town for decades has retired. Desperate to find him something to do, his wife, Sharada, and the good-hearted Barber Sureshan decide that ex-Inspector Paachu’s post retirement project will be the reforming of the town drunk, Joby. What the two good Samaritans haven’t counted on is the chain of extraordinary events that their project is about to set in motion.

The story:

Karuthupuzha, a town in south India, is still somewhere in the seventies/ eighties as no one has a cell phone and people actually talk to each other by either going to their homes or shops.

The book begins with what changes have happened in the town and the most important change is that the only bus to the town has been repainted.  The other change is that the police inspector, Paachu, has retired and thus, there is a different police inspector. This book also has characters like Joby, the town drunk; Sureshan, the barber; Chako, the electrician and Varky, the photographer.

Paachu lives with his wife and his orphaned niece, Priya.

Sureshan cannot see Joby kill himself with alcohol, so he hatches a plan, Joby to take Priya to school and bring her back, he feels it is a win win for everyone, it would keep Joby busy and away from arrack, mainly because Joby is scared of Paachu and it would save Paachu the trips. So very reluctantly Paachu agrees with conditions.

My take:

This book has been written in a lighter vein but then it is serious at times.

Some characters have been developed in detail even with backstories and some are superficial. But that did not discourage me from the book, but I kept reading it. I loved Priya, she was like a breath of fresh air and also Mrs Paachu, Sharada.

The pace is slow and the stories in the book can be read as a standalone as well as in continuation with one another. They are like episodes of different TV series. They are about family relationships, friendships. This book reminded me of Malgudi days.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Aleph Book Company, in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

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The Royal Wedding: A Short Romance by M V Kasi

510ISZhEysL.jpgI borrowed The Royal Wedding: A Short Romance by M V Kasi from the Kindle Unlimited library.

The Blurb:

Jhanvi Mahasena has to marry in four weeks. It is an arranged match set by her rigid grandfather who is keen on a royal groom to maintain their royal bloodlines.

Not looking forward to marrying a man she absolutely doesn’t care for, Jhanvi decides to go on a pre-wedding trip as a medical volunteer to a flood relief camp.

There she comes across a handsome Air Force Commander who melts her heart with his daring rescue operations.

As a desperate attempt to stop her wedding, Jhanvi makes a bold proposition to the commander—for them to have an affair. The commander agrees, but he puts in a condition. He wants them to get to know one another for two weeks before proceeding with an affair.

Two weeks of whirlwind romance ensues, during which Jhanvi and the handsome commander fall deeply in love.

Meantime, back home, most of the wedding preparations are done while awaiting the arrival of thousands of guests to witness the royal event.

Will Jhanvi go ahead with an affair? Will the royal wedding proceed? And if it does, whom would Jhanvi be getting married to? The royal groom her family picked or the handsome commander she loves?

Read on to find out what happens at The Royal Wedding.

The story:

Dr Jhanvi Mahasena belongs to a royal lineage and her grandfather wants her to marry a man of his choice. But Jhanvi does not want to marry the boy he has selected and even avoids meeting him whenever an occasion arises.

Four weeks before the wedding, Jhanvi convinces her parents and grandfather to allow her to go as a medical volunteer to a flood relief camp. And they agree to it with a condition that she be back in time for the wedding.

At the camp, she meets Wing Commander Vikranth of the Indian Air Force, who is leading the rescue operations. And at the behest of her best friend, she asks him to have an affair with her, because she feels that she would be able to convince the groom to call the marriage off, but Vikranth suggests that they spend time with one another before they decide to embark on the affair.

And Jhanvi falls in love but what about her grandfather and the wedding preparations….

My take:

The cover pulled me to the story.

The author has managed to create well developed characters in a short story. though the scenes are not very detailed keeping in mind the word limit, still the author has managed to write an enjoyable story that is fast paced and that can be finished in one sitting.

Loved the book and am looking for more such short stories from her.

The Girl Child by De. B. Dubois

20d28-book2bcoverI received the book The Girl Child by De. B. Dubois as a review copy from the author as a part of the blog tour conducted by The Book Club. I would like to thank the author as well as the Book Club for the book. This story is set in Kolkata.

The blurb:

Growing up as a strong-headed single child with a privileged upbringing in Calcutta, Devi has learnt much from her surroundings. Her childhood memories are filled with mixed emotions – especially as she remains angry with her mother and the hypocrisy of women in India.

On an unexpected journey home, she encounters reality – new stories and experiences of strangers, as well as friends. It has been years since she left Calcutta, yet the city’s untold stories haunt her.

This time Devi is back in town to solve issues and above all, through some painful and hard revelations, to make peace with those she can.

My take:

The story has mostly been written from the point of view of Devi, the only daughter of a high ranked police officer, had a childhood which was a bag of mixed characters and experiences. Her grandmother, Nimai, calls her ‘God’s gift’. She is close to her father. The author has talked about what women face through other characters, even her grandmother, mother and friends, Priya and Cherry. Some part of the story is in flashback, and some part is in present.

The language is simple and the scenes have been described in detail and also the description of Kolkata, I could feel I was travelling with her.

The story is an eyeopener and I would recommend this book to everyone.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

 

Paradise Towers by Shweta Bachchan-Nanda

517guytgyBLParadise Towers is Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s debut book. It is the story of an apartment complex on Central Mumbai where people from different parts of the country live.

The Blurb:

Dinesh opens the door to the Kapoor flat to find Lata, the enchantress who works at Mrs Aly Khan’s, carrying a hot case with freshly made gaajar ka halwa. On the first floor, the inquisitive Mrs Mody wipes the dust off her precious binoculars to spy on the building’s security guard. The Singhs open the doors of their SUV, their four boys creating a ruckus – they are the newcomers, the outsiders. Through the peephole, the ever-watchful Mrs Ranganekar observes their arrival. Welcome to Paradise Towers, an apartment building in central Mumbai. Everyone here has a story to tell. Or maybe they have stories to hide. Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s quirky, intimate debut explores the intertwined lives in this building – a forbidden romance, an elopement, the undercurrents of tension in corridor interactions and an explosive Diwali celebration. Bachchan-Nanda’s is a dazzling voice that will draw you into the intoxicating, crazy world that is Paradise Towers.

The Story:

Paradise Towers is a multistorey residential apartment complex in Central Mumbai, few metres from the beach, built in the late 1960s as the last word in modern convenience. The building boasts of an elevator with a designated liftman and a designated gardener.  And meticulous planning keeps the building from getting flooded even during the rains. There are two apartments on each floor on either side of the lift with a common lobby.

The residents are an amenable bunch. On the first floor, in one flat live the Ranganekars, who don’t mix much with the other residents. Mrs Ranganekar has a tiffin service which keeps her busy in the mornings and she keeps an eye on the happenings of the neighbours through the peep hole of her door. The other flat on the first floor has new tenants, the Singhs and their four sons, who have moved in from Long Beach, New Jersey.

Both the second floor flats are owned by the Aly Khans and their five children. Mrs Khan is still trying to win the heart of her in-laws and their eldest, twenty year old Laila is in love. Lata, their house help, is close to Laila. And then there is Mrs Mody, the oldest resident, the first occupant of the building who lives on the first floor with her servant, Patrick. She and her late husband have seen many families come and go and she sits in her balcony and keeps an eye on the watchman and the residents with her favourite binoculars in the company of her parrot.

The fourth floor has the Patels and the Roys. Their children get along like house on fire, though the parents are always simmering in disagreement. Mrs Patel resorts to stress eating and is an excellent cook and Mr Roy loves food. Mr Roy is a chartered accountant, Mrs Roy is a strict mother and their daughter, Shaana, is a bookworm. The fifth floor flats are owned by two NRI Sindhi brothers who come once in a while. The Kapoors occupy the penthouse, Mrs Kapoor is a gossip who has to talk to her mother three times a day while her husband is in a well paid job.Dinesh is their man Friday/ houseboy.

This is the setting of the story, so now read on….

My take:

At the beginning, the author has described the building so immaculately right from the exterior of the complex, its gate, the building, the balconies, the driveway and even how the name is written, that the reader is drawn into the story.

And then the characters are introduced one by one as the story progresses and are connected. They are people from different regions of India, with different cultures, Punjabis, Parsis, Marathis, Bengalis, Gujaratis and their fleet of workers, Dinesh, Lata, Patrick and the cooks.

The story has been written as if the author is studying all the occupants in a longitudinal section of the building, observing them all the time. The story maintains a uniform pace and there are twists and turns in between. There is hidden humour, hidden sarcasm, but on the whole everything has been written in a lighter vein.

The language is simple and the author has used not-so-commonly used words, thus making the language a little different, but easily understandable.

Enjoyed the book, but the editing could have been a bit better.

Spotlight: The Girl Child by De. B. Dubois

 

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

 

The Girl Child
by
De. B. Dubois
 
 
 
Blurb

Growing up as a strong-headed single child with a privileged upbringing in Calcutta, Devi has learned much from her surroundings. Her childhood memories are filled with mixed emotions – especially as she remains angry with her mother and the hypocrisy of women in India. On an unexpected journey home, she encounters reality – new stories and experiences of strangers, as well as friends. It has been years since she left Calcutta, yet the city’s untold stories haunt her. This time Devi is back in town to solve issues and above all, through some painful and hard revelations, to make peace with those she can.
 
Grab your copy @
 
 
About the author

 

 
De.B. is an ordinary person with her daily struggles of being fun and peppy; as all those heavy readings on sociology, philosophy, history, art and culture have done her sombre. – Not that she is complaining, – however when things do get too hectic, her escape solutions are: long walks through nature trails with her adopted Maltese, a good glass of absinthe from Val-de-Travers, and creating visual arts. Her friends best describe De.B. Dubois as, – ‘the hermit’.
You can stalk her @
 
          
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The Schedule of  The Girl Child

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Your Name Type of Post Date of Posting
Ankita Review 10/11/2018
Arti Metroreader Spotlight 10/11/2018
Meenakshi J Review 10/11/2018
Nilima Mohite Spotlight 10/11/2018
Aparna nayak Review 10/12/2018
Chitra Iyer Spotlight 10/12/2018
romila Spotlight 10/12/2018
Ruchira Khanna Review 10/12/2018
Arti Metroreader Review 10/13/2018
Chittajit Mitra Spotlight 10/13/2018
Shruti Shankar Review 10/13/2018
D. R. Downer Review 10/14/2018
Debraj Moulick Spotlight 10/14/2018
Shruti Shankar Spotlight 10/14/2018
Sunita Saldhana Review 10/14/2018
Devika Fernando Spotlight 10/15/2018
Geeta Nair Review 10/15/2018
Rubina Ramesh Review 10/15/2018
Sundari Venkatraman Spotlight 10/15/2018
Geeta Nair Spotlight 10/16/2018
Inderpreet Uppal Review 10/16/2018
Surbhi Sareen Spotlight 10/16/2018
Kavita Rajesh Review 10/17/2018
Lata Sunil Spotlight 10/17/2018
Vasudha Rao Spotlight 10/17/2018

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The Bride’s Mirror by Nazir Ahmad, Translated by G.E.Ward

Brides-mirror-1I received The Bride’s Mirror by Nazir Ahmad, Translated by G.E.Ward as a review copy from the publisher Aleph Book Company and am thankful to them for the same.

The blurb: 

The Bride’s Mirror (Mirat ul-‘Arus) was the first bestseller in Urdu. First published in 1869, within twenty years it had gone into several editions and sold over 100,000 copies. An English translation was published in England in 1903 by G. E. Ward, and the book has been almost continuously in print ever since. The novel tells the story of two sisters, Asghari and Akbari, who are married to two brothers in Delhi.

Akbari, the spoilt, mean-tempered and impetuous sister, fritters away all the advantages she is offered and makes a mess of her life. Asghari, who has to contend with all sorts of disappointments and setbacks, prevails in the end and makes a success of everything she turns her hand to.

All through its existence, The Bride’s Mirror had been hailed as one of the most important works of Urdu literature ever published. The portrait it provides of the lives of those who lived in Delhi over a hundred years ago is an indelible one.

The story:

This book is the story of two sisters, Akbari and Asghari, married to two brothers. Both the sisters are opposite to each other. Sister 1, Akbari Khanam is foolish and ill-educated and bad tempered while sister 2, Asghari is very intelligent, sensible and kindly dispositioned girl. The younger one is loved by parents and everyone in their neighbourhood and the elder one was always on bad terms with her younger sister, but the younger one always treated the elder one with respect.

The elder one is married to Mohd Aqil and the younger one is engaged to his younger brother, Mohd Kamil. Seeing the behaviour of the elder daughter-in-law, their mother wants to break the engagement but, Mohd Aqil tells her not to do so.

And then Asghari comes into the household as the new daughter-in-law and we read about her and how she carries herself in the family.

My take:

I liked the story. There was a lot to learn from Asghari. Though the story was slow, I loved the way the book was written. Truly, a classic, the book has an old world charm to it. I liked the language style too. The letter from Asghari’s father is beautiful. But the end, it made me sad.

 DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph Book Company, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Cover Reveal: Paradise Towers by Shweta Bachchan Nanda

Dinesh opens the door to the Kapoor flat to find Lata, the enchantress who works at Mrs Aly Khan’s, carrying a hot case with freshly made gaajar ka halwa. On the first floor, the inquisitive Mrs Mody wipes the dust off her precious binoculars to spy on the building’s security guard. The Singhs open the doors of their SUV, their four boys creating a ruckus – they are the newcomers, the outsiders. Through the peephole, the ever-watchful Mrs Ranganekar observes their arrival. Welcome to Paradise Towers, an apartment building in central Mumbai. Everyone here has a story to tell. Or maybe they have stories to hide.

This quirky, intimate debut explores the intertwined lives in this building – a forbidden romance, an elopement, the undercurrents of tension in corridor interactions and an explosive Diwali celebration.

 

Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s is a dazzling voice that will draw you into the intoxicating, crazy world that is Paradise Towers.

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

4

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1

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