Sunday, May 24, 2015

MEET THE STRINGS by Chetan Jaiman


Meet the strings by Chetan Jaiman is a collection of  nine captivating stories. The racy style combined with novelty of  subject makes the book unique.
Each story  ,  different from the other, holds the reader to the very last word. Some are surreal while others are an in depth study in human psychology .

Story 1:

We get a hint of author's engaging tone right from this story. How an author , whose book has created a buzz  is startled at the door knock late in night .
A young boy comes seeking some answers , ones she would not tell easily to a stranger.
We are in store for a lot of surprises about who gets answered - the curious young boy or the famed author.

Story 2:
This is a rather bizarre story about how drastically an incident can affect someone.
A common thing that we are so accustomed to watching that we would hardly notice , changes the life of a rich lady, who was previously happy in her own world that revolved around her family. This one simply tells us of the power of a single thought and how it can start a chain that leads to no where  .

Story 3 :
The story starts from an abrupt idea , a seemingly impossible situation. The curiosity is swelled step by step , never giving the reader time to think about something else. As far as the story line goes it is completely unpredictable. How a young man is faced with a strange emptiness - a void where there is no life at all .

Story 4:
This story is a continuation of the previous one. The ending is surprisingly unique. All possible guesswork fails and we are suddenly pulled into a black hole of subtle spiritual truth , the beginning of it all . The easy language makes any common reader one with the protagonist, as if we are the onlookers to the happenings in the young man's life .

Story 5:
Two love stories told in different countries . One shows an orthodox societal pressure working against the lovers while the second one , a complex love triangle with a motive of revenge shows the fragility of relationships.

Story 6:

This story combines the supernatural with the intense  suffering on realisation of wrong done. It   is sure to send a chill down your spine.

Story 7:

Tale of an old lonely woman's encounter with a near death experience and how she interprets it. Very unusual imagination , iced with the author's characteristic trait of bringing out the exact feelings of a person in a particular situation and  mind's inner working in a striking manner.

Story 8:
In this one we have our protagonist suffering from a psychological disorder.  How a simple girl brought up in a conservative family falls in love with her own shadow.

Story 9:

This is sensitive story of a meeting between a prostitute and  a college student for his anthropology project.  How this occasional meeting changes their lives forever. It is thought provoking not only because it gives us a glimpse into the  defamed exploitative profession but also because the woman here becomes a mouthpiece for author's original philosophy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Crossroads , It's about time

Cross roads, it’s about time has certain timelessness associated with it.
The author expresses oscillating thoughts of a woman in a rather natural way. The transition between what has occurred and what is going on is done in such a subtle way that the reader gets carried away.
The story begins at the railway station, an important symbol in the novel indicating life choices.
Kavita , the protagonist sits on a faded green iron bench at the platform, waiting for her daughter to return. She feels nostalgic and some old memories return to her. She remembers meeting the love of her life in the train, a filmy situation filled with dramatic moments.
It is a story of a Indian woman , one just like any of us tolerating the tough times, subduing her pride and trying to somehow save the marriage. And yet it is different because here the protagonist is an epileptic by birth , she fights all the problems single handedly, refuses to take any of the abuses and decides to leave her husband for the sake of her daughter. An overprotective friend , a doting father , Kavita has it all but her struggle is her own.

It is as tough an internal conflict as fighting a callous world full of preying eyes who consider a single woman an easy victim. Her search for happiness brings more love to her life but destiny has other plans . It is a must read for all the woman who think it is essential to have a crutch or support in order to live and be happy. Also it is an inspiring tale of courage showing us when to hold on and when to let go, for one thing is for sure, this book teaches us self respect. It also paves way for individualistic thinking , how an Indian woman defies the age old notions and embraces a life she chooses.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tall Man Small Shadow by Vipin Behari Goyal

What strikes us first and foremost is a unique title- Tall man , small shadow. Since its inception the story line appears to carry  a deeper meaning , something more than what is apparent.

The narrator comes out as someone very frank , readily giving us his honest opinions .Vipin Behari Goyal has successfully  weaved an interesting story with certain original philosophies.  At no point does the author impose his thoughts and ideologies on us. Instead the novel is crispy enough to make one read the book in one go  . The story is written in style that is understood easily  considering  the complex plot .  Events in the story may challenge one’s rigid traditional beliefs or  seem to pose a threat to the cultural system , yet one cannot deny that these are very much prevalent in the society. 

Salil falls in love with a shadow of Aalya ,  the girl next door. Both these characters represent a typical cosmopolitan mindset- where the youth is confused, has little contemplation about their actions even when all they are doing is something seriously unethical.
Salil, does not think it incorrect to father the child of his ex-girlfriend knowing that she is someone else’s wife now. Aalya considers this lack of morals yet she feels very comfortable in her sexual experiences with a married woman , her guide , Seema. What she is doing herself never bothers her .Perhaps she is naive enough to be lured into these adventures or she is just exploring her sexual orientation. Interestingly , she is very much attracted to Salil and Seema even goes to the extent of giving her advises to woo him.

This shows the present situation where youth is facing identity crises. They are stuck between their own values and that of the rest of the world.
We see a mention of some social problem here and there. The elderly suffering due to neglect  as the trend of nuclear families is on a rise. It is very thoughtful of the writer to pen these current problems subtly pointing out the fact that one suffers because one expects and when these expectations are not fulfilled,  a strange sadness jeopardizes his entire existence.
While talking about Seema , the author comments that workaholics are escapists. Indeed so, this shows how minutely the author observes the world around him. Thus , we find a very matured thought process guiding the entire story .

The book “ Tall Man, Small Shadow” has its share of cheesy romance and sizzling scandals yet what makes it worth reading is the journey of the narrator , his intelligent meditation .
What also provides an uplift to the book is Sulekha, the narrator’s wife giving a dramatic ending to the series of coincident that we read about.
While the author gives us  a glimpse into the psyche of major characters- their deepest yearnings , their most sophisticated thoughts ,he also wishes to remove the remaining flaws of his own personality. This shows his critical nature is devoid of any bias!

There are instances of expert sociological explanation in the text where we see caste system , social change theory being addressed. The author serves as a torch bearer for the youth to bring change in the society by setting an example.
Towards the close of story , we find the narrator growing as a person...his thought process, his mind- set , his very soul. His soul expands to that  peaceful state  where he feels unaffected by happiness or turmoil, profit or loss. This self- enlightenment paves way for hope . The hope to accept who we are , to be able to face the truth.

Thus TALL MAN, SMALL SHADOW may not be a fable you want to escape in, it is one book that may help you face life as it mirrors the society very well...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Poetry Out And Loud -II by Sujata Parashar


Sujata Parashar makes beautiful poetry out of everyday mechanics. What makes me want to read her again is her manner of bewitching the reader with the simplest of words. Her poems are straight forward and reflect her candid attitude towards life.
It is this honesty that pierces through the reader’s heart.

 Her simple style is in no way lacking in beautiful images . To quote from ‘ The bridge of Friendship’ , the third poem in the collection–
“and  sadly even  land of five rivers
All of them burning...”
Such intense lines push us into a whirlpool of turbulent   emotions and we witness the poet’s plight not as a mere observer standing on the shore, but like a comrade drifting together in the same boat. Even the saddest of her poems end on a positive note, a hope   underlying all difficult circumstances like a silver lining in the greyest clouds!
Her poetry emerges from somewhere deep within her- and it is not just her soul, her poetry feeds the mind- in good humour  and  taste . Her observant nature is visible when she reveals her true thoughts to the readers, while stuck up in social situations  , so very characteristic of the modern world. The urge to break free from the constraints   that surrounds us and submerge the being into  deeper  and more meaningful  experiences is evident. In a way these mirror our times , the fact that we are losing on basic tenets of humanity and happiness and embracing the hollow foolishness trying to top some rat race.
 But it is not a one sided release , we as reader’s are released too.  These bits and chunks of dry humor somehow bring a faint smile on our face.
What holds more value is that  such  poetry does not have a melancholic effect on the reader, instead it belongs to the league of writing that revives the spirit after a toils of a hard day.
One finds himself uplifted, redeemed and accepting life’s experiences as teaching lessons...learning to move on ...

Her voice is neither too loud or over the top bold, she just manages to convey deepest yearnings of her heart in a very subtle way, which is an achievement itself.
Poems like ‘ Why blow your own trumpet’ and ‘ Tell the truth’ contain valuable advice applicable to each one of us in a non-lecturing style. Infact,   Sujata speaks like a friend sharing her views and not like someone  who tries to enforce  them on us!
While poems like ‘Guruji’ show the truth of so called religious leaders, who fool innocent public, it also shows what a minute observer, our very dear poet is.
To sum up in one line “ I find in her poetry, careful observation sewn together in soft words still  pricking our conscience deep within ”.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This is the second book by RAJIV SINGH is an author who is courageous enough to write on topics on which people refuse to comment. Infact, he rushes where angels fear to tread……his first book “SO NEAR YET TOO FAR” was a story based on extra marital affair . Unlike the cheap sizzling romantic thrillers which arouse the body not the heart, it really touches the reader.
In his second book he has addressed some major isuues. He notsalgically starts the novel in Shillong, the north eastern state whose natural beauty is marred by the separatist forces. These states have accussed NEW DELHI of ignoring the issues concerning them. A feeling of second class citizenship meted out to them by mainland Indians has led the natives of the state to seek greater participation in self governance.
There have been no. of insurgent activites and regional movements in all parts of north east.
The story moves from Shillong to Delhi back to Shillong and then Mumbai
Rajiv also tells us about the local goons who roam around freely and think themselves demi gods with social responsibility to save any girl from disgrace. They feel Deepak is simply playing with the girl …they keep an eye on him throughout . They even know about the elephant falls incident (that’s one element in rajiv’s novels he makes sure the reader identifies with the characters and enjoys sweet erotic moments crafted very skillfully)showing how much they could intrude in a person’s personal life….
The next major issue the entire book is focused on is the incurable disease called AIDS. The story discovers the reaction of a person to otherwise normal situations once he he is bitten by the termite called phobia. DEEPAK, a highly qualified individual who fears that he has become infected. A simple test can prove him wrong yet he fears social stigma and thus continues the thick black clouds of doubt to extend beyond the raven night when he made love to a stranger. The story also reveals the fact that once you are suffering from AIDS people have their attitudes changed, no matter how close they are to you…
Apart from addressing the social taboo , rajiv has meticulously potrayed the recklessness of todays youth in exploring their sexual desires. Although Deepak is not one of those who are too desperate yet the ravishing beauty of the girl casts a spell on him and he is bewitched to give in.
Neha’s story is heart warming especially for those who have been victims of beautiful lies .Rakesh is the man who gives her everything---status, money and love .But is it love that asks us to blind ourselves and kill our conscience which imbibes moral values we have grown up with????Neha’s part is depicted with utmost sincerity and delicacy. Infact Rajiv poignantly gives us the reason why a particular person especially a woman behaves in a particular manner…..the exploring of woman psyche is evident by the clarity with which he tells a part of the story from Neha’s perspective. I personally applaud Rajiv for bringing to our notice characters like RAKESH who are affluent enough with happy respectable families to boast in front of the society but secretly harbor illicit relationships without any guilt.
IN a nutshell it is a book that should be there in the shelf of any AIDS activist but also with anyone who has genuine love for life and seeks salvation in exploring the psychology of the social animal called man.
we should live every moment to the fullest and as rajiv says ”Don’t die before Death!!”


FOR THOSE who are tired of the novels that focus on cheesy relationships or the classics, preeti singh’s debut novel is a welcome change.It is a book that has something of both…it has soul and substance and delves into the human psychology bringing to surface the pain and agony of a person who crosses every limit to gain love and acceptance. Her novel takes the reader on a roller coaster
ride with her words that flow rather “ naturally”. She succeeds in creating the perfect imagery in front of the readers ,as one turns the pages of the book he is effortlessly carried from one chapter to another. The author’s treatment of the subject of epilepsy is also very sensitive and she has put the naked truth of the callousness of the people when they discover someone has it and their misconceptions about the disease. . A great book is not only that which entertains us but also gives us some message,just like PAULO we have the powerful message of KARMA conveyed subtly in the book I Karma in Indian religion is the concept of action or deed which causes the cycle of cause and effect. God does not make one suffer for no reason it is simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. In a layman’s words YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW .
The story is set in the beautiful valley of shimla. ANAND , the protagonist of the story is a boy who is abandoned by his parents and is left at the doorsteps of palash –an orphanage run by a samaritan called mr GONSALVES.He is assisted by SRIBEHEN ,the housekeeper who has a secret crush on him. To serve as the icing on the cake is the humourous character of Fluffy. The dog at palash who is a know all and smells everything that anand is upto. For a dog lover like me it was a delight to read some part of the story from a dog’s perspective.preeti singh lucky owner of the wonderful amber subtly brings out the helplessness of a dog’s inability to express his emotions and warn its master from impending danger.

AS a kid anand’s heart pained at his being poor…….the lustre of the luxurious cars hurt his eyes, he desperately wanted to be among the elite kids he yearned for that kind of lifestyle and riches…
Anand acts like one demi god and wants everybody to behave according to his whims and fancies. He firmly believes that he has the power to give punishment to anyone who wrongs him or is potential threat to anyone he loves. He manages to uproot anyone and anything that comes in the way of his happiness.
There is a mention of a box called “seeds” in which he keeps some remembrant of the evil deeds he does—its creepy just like any typical psycho killer. There are many victims of his disastrous wrath whom he kills for his crush, for his sister, for his own self ego .Due to his evil tactics and drive for money and power he becomes a local goon , manages a comfortable ,rather affluent life in delhi. Having illicit relationships with his landlady, as well as the wife of his business partner. He has it all…the women…money..power..lust ..passion and has got away with all his crimes…murders,…rapes n deceit. But he does return home to Shimla, thinking hes conquered the world….to be with his true love.